July 2004 Archive
- June 2004 -August 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.
E-mail note: For obvious Virus reasons, we neither send nor accept e-mail attachments without prior notice and agreement. All messages sshould be sent plain text.
RNW July comment - looks in the light of a refusal to renew the licence of CHOI-FM because of hosts' comments and US "indecency" penalties at broadcasting content regulation in Canada and the US.
RNW June comment - argues for strong public broadcasters and suggests the BBC licence fee system is better than other options.
RNW May comment - Looks at how radio as an aural medium is progressing as technological change opens new ways to listen and new competition.
2004-07-31: US radio revenues that in May were only up 1% following 10% increases in March and 4% in April rebounded in June, increasing by 3%, led by local revenues that increased 5% according to figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). National revenues for June were down 3%.
For the first six months of the year, combined revenues are now up 3% with local revenues up 4% and national revenues up 1%.
In RAB's Sales Index, which equated pre-dot com 1998 to a base of 100, the combined June figure was 137.8, the local sales index was 140.8 and the national sales index was 122.7: Year to date indices were 141.1, 140.3and 142.8 respectively.
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Radio's strength as a local medium continues to provide a sound footing for the industry as we anticipate activity in national to revive as the year rolls out."
Previous RAB figures (for May):
2004-07-31: Regent Communications has announced record net revenue and operating income for the second quarter to the end of June 2004 with revenues up 3.6% to USD 22.2 million and net income up 21.1% to USD 2.3 million (from 4cents to 5 cents a share).
Same station revenues for the quarter were up 3.6% to USD 22.23 million, same station net broadcast revenues were up 5.4% to USD 19.35 million and same station operating income was up 3.9% to 4.72 million.
For the first six months of the year revenues were up 5.7% to USD 40.1 million and net income was up 42.1% to USD 2.7 million (6 cents a share up from 4 cents).
Chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of Regent Communications said Regent was "pleased with our ability to deliver 5.4% same station revenue growth. This growth highlights the attractive characteristics of our focused strategy and reflects our success in operating leading station clusters in the attractive middle and small-sized markets. In addition, we were able to convert this top-line performance into 13.4% growth in same station operating income, to date outperforming the industry as a whole."
Looking ahead, Regent says it expects third quarter consolidated net broadcast revenues and station operating income of approximately USD22.2 to USD22.5 million and USD7.8 to USD8.0 million, respectively with per share earnings of five cents with expects three to five percent same station net broadcast revenue growth.
It also announced that it has now completed a USD 10 million share buy-back programme and that the directors have authorized a further USD 20 million buy-back scheme.
In other US radio business Westwood One and the Associated Press have announced that Westwood is to exclusively represent all AP Radio Ten Second Sponsorship Inventory from the start of next year.
Westwood One President and CEO Shane Coppola said, "AP has a tremendous brand, product, and heritage. We are thrilled to be their marketing partner. Today's announcement is another example of Westwood One's commitment to expanding our marketing options available to our fast growing roster of advertisers."
"Under this new agreement, Westwood One will now offer advertisers more choice, more inventory and enhanced market coverage. This is a win-win for everyone involved."
Previous Westwood One:
2004-07-31: BBC Radio 2, already top of the rankings, emerges as the biggest national winner in the latest official UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) which show it gaining another 530,000 listeners weekly since the last ratings and taking its share of listening up from 15.3% to 16.2% in a period when most stations lost listeners.
BBC Radio 4 was amongst other gainers with its weekly audience up 136,000 but the audience for its flagship Today breakfast show was down to its lowest level for almost three years as the boost to its figures following the 9-11 attacks has gradually worn away: The show had a weekly audience down 300,000 to 6.17 million a week.
Amongst the biggest losers were the BBC Radio Five Live and London Capital FM breakfast shows: The former, co-hosted by Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty, lost 270,000 listeners a week since the last survey and is down to 2.35 million and the latter is now hosted by Johnny Vaughan following the departure of long-time host Chris Tarrant.
Vaughan, who was on duty for nine of the 13 weeks, has lost 200,000 listeners since the last ratings, giving a boost to commercial rival Chrysalis-owned Heart FM's Jono and Harriet breakfast show co-hosted by Jonathan (Jono) Coleman and Harriett Scott who have added nearly 140,000 listeners this year and now have 971,000 listeners a week compared to 1.19 million for Vaughan.
The London breakfast show leader is BBC Radio 4's Today Show with 1.66 million - down 160,000 on the previous quarter, and BBC Radio 2 is in third place with Terry Wogan's show with 1.14 million pushing Heart into fourth slot.
In Scotland, Guardian Media Group (GMG) station Real Radio has overtaken Scottish Radio Holdings' Clyde 1 FM to become the top rated Scottish commercial station in term of listeners - 688,000 a week compared to 680,000 - but the GMG station is still behind SRH's flagship in terms of share - 15.1% to 17.1%
Overall radio reached 90% of the potential audience each week, down from 91% in the previous ratings, with the BBC reaching 66%, down from 67%, and taking a 53.1% share of listening, up from 52.6%, whilst commercial radio reached 64%, down from 65%, and took a 45% of listening, down from 45.5%.
BBC Local and Regional Radio stations reach was down from 10.648 million a week to 10.197 million.
Commenting on the figures, Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Radio & Music, said: "I'm delighted that BBC Radio is performing well across the board and attracting such a large and loyal following. I'd particularly like to congratulate Radio 2 on another record quarter; the station goes from strength to strength."
Despite the audience drop in London, Capital said they were pleased with Vaughan's progress on the breakfast show commenting that it usually took " at least 18 months" to bed in a new breakfast show.
Chrysalis also expressed satisfaction about the progress of Heart's breakfast show and Chief Executive Phil Riley commented, "The battle for London is as intense as ever and the gap between us and our rival for the top spot has never been closer. Those who said we didn't have 'a hope in hell' in winning the battle for listeners in London will have to think again. These outstanding figures, for not only our flagship station, but across the board, pay testament to our targeted marketing and well-focused programming strategy. "
Chrysalis also expressed satisfaction about the progress of its LBC stations, noting, "Year on year, LBC has seen an improvement in both reach and hours, with the flagship station, LBC 97.3 increasing total hours by 16.3% over the 12 month period. Excellent progress has been made at LBC 97.3 in refining the demographic profile of the station: 48% of the audience are now under 45s and 65% of listeners are ABC1, up from 28% and 57% respectively when we re-launched the station in January 2003."
GWR took most satisfaction from its overall share of UK commercial listening, 20.5% compared to 14.7% by its nearest rival, and also noted the success of Classic FM's breakfast show hosted by Simon Bates: This, it noted, now has 3.35 million listeners a week, up 324,000 on a year earlier, adding, "These figures mean that 1.3 million more people enjoy classic music on Simon Bates' programme than listen to the entire output of BBC Radio 3.
SMG-owned Virgin commented that it was performing well across the whole of its schedule but said the station still had issues with RAJAR concerning under-sampling of key demographics, particularly the 25-34 years-old group.
Emap chose to concentrate on its London performance noting that Kiss 100 has increased its reach and hours to become the number one station in London for 15 - 34 year olds. The station also recorded its highest market share, 4.7%, since December 2002 whilst Magic 105.4 recorded its biggest ever audience and maintained its 4.6% share
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 123000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.725 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 20%, and a listening share of 8.3%, up from 7.6% as its listeners stayed tuned longer.
*BBC Radio 2 gained 530,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.432 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 27%, and a listening share of 16.2%, up from 15.3%.
*BBC Radio 3 lost 269,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.021 million, a weekly reach of 4%, down from 5%, and a listening share of 1.1%, down from 1.2%.
*BBC Radio 4 gained 136,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.508 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 19%, and unchanged listening share of 11%.
*BBC Radio 5 Live lost 390,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.086 million, an weekly reach of 12%, down from 13%, and a listening share of 4.5%%, down from 5.1%.
*BBC World Service gained 52,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.367 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 3%, and an unchanged listening share of 0.6%.
*BBC Asian Network gained 110,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 493,000, an unchanged weekly reach of 1% and an unchanged 0.3% share.
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM lost 57,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.487 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 13%, and an unchanged listening share of 4.5%.
*The Wireless Group's talkSPORT gained 14,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.155 million an unchanged weekly reach of 4% and a listening share of 1.8%, up from 1.4%.
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) gained 146,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.632 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 5%, and a listening share of 1.6 %, up from 1.4%.
Digital national commercial networks:
*Core gained 3,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 132,000, too small for reach and share to be rated.
*Kerrang! lost 52,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 723,000, an unchanged reach of 1%and an unchanged listening share of 0.2%.
*Oneword gained 11,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 87,000, too small for reach and share to be listed.
*Planet Rock lost 21,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 221,00, a reach too small to be rated and an unchanged share of 0.1%
*Q lost 23,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 348,000, an unchanged reach of 1% and an unchanged share of 0.1%.
*Smash Hits gained 84,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 725,000, an unchanged reach of 1%, and an unchanged listening share of 0.2%.
*The Hits gained 53,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 880,000, an unchanged reach of 2% and a share up from 0.2% to 0.3%
*The Storm lost 23,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 78,000, to small for reach and share to be rated.
*Sunrise gained 12,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 581,000, a reach of 1%, and a share of 0.6%, down from 0.7%.
Also releasing its unofficial ratings has been GfK whose latest figures for London show Johnny Vaughan retaining the breakfast show audience for Capital at 2.6 million listeners a week in the six months from Jan 5 to June 20 compared to the previous period from October 27 to May 16 whilst Heart FM's breakfast audience is shown as falling from 2.6 million to 2.4 million.
GfK figures for commercial stations in the London area showed that for the period from January 5-June 20, 2004 in comparison to previous figures from October 27th 2003 - May 16th 2004) the five most popular commercial stations were:
Capital FM -2.600 million (2.638 million) - Reach up from 25% to 26%. Up from second.
Heart FM -2.441 million (2.639 million) - Reach down from 26% to 24%. Down from first.
Magic FM- 1.968 million (1.957million) - Unchanged 19%. Same rank
Kiss FM 1.549 million (1.381 million) - Reach up from 14% to 15%. Up from fifth
LBC FM 1.463 million (1.303 million) - Up from 13% to 14% and from eighth rank.
* Virgin Radio with 1.404 million (1.522 million), reach down from 15% to 14%, fell from fourth to sixth rank and talkSPORT with 1.202 million (1.381 million), and reach down from 14% to 12%, fell from sixth to eighth rank.
Previous GfK & GfK ratings:
Previous GWR (Classic FM owners):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous Wireless Group (TalkSport owner):
GfK web site:
RAJAR web site:
2004-07-31: Figures on radio listening from government body Statistics Canada show a significant decline amongst the 12-17 year old demographic over the past five years.
It was 11.3 hours a week in the fall of 1999 but had fallen to 8.5 hours a week by the fall of last year: In comparison listening totals for all Canadians fell from 20.5 hours a week to 19.5 hours a week.
The figures come from a survey of 86,639 Canadians aged 12 and older but the agency cautions that the return rate was only 42.8%.
RNW note: Statistics Canada does not speculate on the reasons for the decline but newspaper reports suggest that the Internet - especially as broadband availability grows - and other means of accessing material, music in particular, are affecting radio and fragmenting audiences in Canada in the same way as cable affected broadcast TV audiences.
In the US, according to a report from Interep, men are around a fifth more likely to be heavy radio listeners and a third less likely to be heavy TV watchers than the average adult.
Overall radio reaches 94% of adult males and 95% of the 18-34 male demographic each week. Top formats for men are Sports, Rock and Classic Rock.
2004-07-30: In more US radio results, Beasley Broadcast has reported revenues for the second quarter to the end of June up 8.7% to USD 31 million, Operating income from continuing operations up 11.6% to USD7.9 million, and station operating income up 8.9% to USD10.2 million. Net income, however fell by 13.6% to USD 3.8 million (15 cents a share from 18 cents) put down primarily to a gain in 2003 Q2 of USD 2.5 million from the sale of 150,000 shares of investment securities.
Six month figures were revenues up 7.6% to USD 57 million, operating income up 7.5% to USD 12.6 million, station operating income up 6.1% to USD 17.3 million and net income down from USD 6.4 million to USD 4.0 million (16cents a share down from 26 cents): It says the fall reflected 2003 gains of USD 3.3 million from the sale of investment securities shares and a USD 2.4 million loss in 2004 to write-off debt issuance costs related to the Company's old credit facility and certain fees to establish a new credit facility.
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley commented, "Revenue increases at 7 of our 10 market clusters combined with positive developments in Philadelphia led to better than expected revenue growth during the second quarter. This performance helped contribute to a significant year-over-year revenue increase for the Company, underscoring the benefits of programming changes we've made to competitively position the Company in this operating environment. Station operating expenses also increased, but as with other investments we've made in our Company, these expenditures made sense from a competitive and opportunistic standpoint, and we believe they will ultimately enhance the value of our station portfolio."
"Given the Company's prospects, its ability to generate free cash flow and the attractive valuation of its common stock," he added, "Beasley's Board of Directors believes that, in addition to reducing debt, opportunistic share repurchases represent an excellent use of capital. Periodically buying our shares while we continue to enhance the performance of our radio station assets will further support our goal of increasing shareholder value."
For the third quarter Beasley says it anticipates reporting a net revenue increase of approximately 4%.
Radio One Inc has reported net broadcast revenues for the quarter up 7% to USD 86.2 million, operating income up 11% to USD 39.2 million, station operating income up 11% to USD 48 million, and net income up 11% to USD 17.5 million (12 cents a share up from 10 cents.)
For the six months revenues were up 8% to USD 155.9 million, operating income up 14.9% to USD 64.6 million, and net income up 16.2% to USD 26.3 million (Up from 12 cents to 15 cents per share).
Commenting on the results, CEO and President Alfred C. Liggins, III said, "Even in the face of difficult industry dynamics, Radio One posted an impressive quarter on virtually all metrics. We grew revenue in line with prior guidance, controlled costs, posted double digit operating income growth, expanded our margins and continued to reduce our leverage."
"While the radio industry continues to find its footing, we are optimistic that with our ratings gains and new stations coming on line, we will continue to outperform the industry for the foreseeable future and continue to increase the long-term value of Radio One through a variety of initiatives over the upcoming quarters and years."
Radio One has also announced agreement to acquire Gospel-format WABZ-FM, Charlotte, North Carolina, for approximately USD 11.5 million dollars from Susquehanna Radio Corp.
It already owns Urban AC WQNC-FM (the former CHR/Rhythmic WCHH-FM whose format it changed in January) in the market and says it expects to change the call sign and format of its new acquisition, currently a 3Kw station licensed to Albemarle but due to double its power and move to the Charlotte suburb of Indian Trail,
Liggins said of the purchase, "This station will go a long way toward enhancing our position in Charlotte, as it will be a nice complement to our existing single-station presence there,"
In new Zealand, CanWest Global Communications Corp. announced today that it has received NZD300.0 million (USD 190 million) in cash proceeds from the sale of its New Zealand media operations to CanWest MediaWorks (NZ) Limited, a plan announced in May (See RNW May 20)
CanWest has a 70% interest in CanWest MediaWorks (NZ) Limited: It is to use the cash proceeds from the sale to strengthen its balance sheet.
Previous George Beasley:
Previous Radio One Inc.
2004-07-30: Former US National Public Radio (NPR) host Bob Edwards is joining XM Satellite Radio to host a new morning show 'The Bob Edwards Show', which is to be the signature programmes on a new XM Public Radio Channel.
Edwards hosted NPR's "Morning Edition" for nearly 25 years, attracting more than 13 million listeners weekly, before being dropped earlier this year.
He said of his move, "XM is the most exciting thing happening in radio. I think XM is reviving and reinventing radio. It's something entirely new, and at the same time it brings radio back to its past glory. Thirty years is a long time to bond with a particular audience, an audience I love. I hope a great many of my listeners will be interested in this new show on XM. It's a chance to visit with interesting people for longer than a sound bite. I see an enormous respect for radio among people at XM, and I am excited about creating the same radio magic on XM that I have been part of throughout my career."
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero commented, " We are thrilled to announce the launch of XM Public Radio and it is an honour to carve out this completely new space in the broadcasting arena with such esteemed public radio programming partners as American Public Media, WBUR and Public Radio International. We look forward to working with these partners to ensure that the quality programming they produce reaches the broadest audience possible."
The new XM channel is to be launched on September 1 with programmes from Public Radio International (PRI) and its satellite radio subsidiary American Public Radio; American Public Media, the national production and distribution branch of Minnesota Public Radio; and Boston public radio station WBUR.
They will include This American Life, Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?, Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac, Speaking of Faith, On Point, and Only a Game, among others.
2004-07-30: The latest report of the BBC Complaints Unit, covering the period from 1 April to 30 June this year shows one radio programme attracting more than a quarter of the complaints made.
In all the BBC Programme Complaints Unit dealt with 402 complaints concerning 210 items, 104 of the complaints being made about comments that were highly offensive to the Sikh community made by a guest on the BBC Asian Network's Sonia Deol programme.
The unit notes that no further action had been required since Sonia Deol immediately pointed out the offensiveness of what had been said and apologised to listeners, the Head of the Asian Network had also gone on air with her own apology and the Director of BBC Radio had met leaders of the Sikh community to discuss the matter before the unit had completed its investigation.
BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said in an introduction to the report that the Corporation was already demonstrating willingness to admit mistakes and take appropriate action when things went wrong.
During the period 154 complaints were upheld, 113 of them partly, relating to 27 items: The numbers compared with a total for the previous quarter of 363 complaints dealt with relating to 240 items, of which 77 complaints were upheld, 16 of them partly.
Of the total complaints 82 related to matters of fairness and accuracy, down from 120 in the previous bulletin: They related to 78 items, the same as previously.
The remaining 320 complaints concerned matters of taste and standards, up from 243; they related to 132 items, down from 162.
The fairness and accuracy complaints against radio that were upheld included three cases of party-political bias, two of other bias, and one of factual inaccuracy.
Party Political Bias:
*Complaint against the Radio 4 World at One programme that presenter James Cox had not maintained due impartiality in an interview with the Information Minister, Douglas Alexander, about the Phillis Report [on Government Communications]. The complainant said his question, "All I am saying to you, Mr Alexander, is that it would seem to an observer like me that the culture of mendacity is now so embedded in everything your Government does that it is very hard to believe that you would be converted to openness and honesty", was an expression of a contentious personal viewpoint."
The panel concluded that the "terms of Mr Cox's introduction to the item and of several of his questions appeared to reflect his own view on the matter at issue, and the tone of the item overall fell short of proper standards of impartiality."
*Complaint against the Radio 4 World Tonight programme by a listener who said coverage of a speech by Conservative leader Michael Howard on the programme and two other news programmes was biased against the British National Party (BNP).
The panel found that the focus in the report on the Howard speech was not on the BNP for two programmes but the World Tonight had widened its report, raising questions about the BNP's significance and character in ways, which called for a response from the party.
*A complaint that Sybil Ruscoe on BBC Radio 2, commenting on a trail for a programme about culture in the Thatcher years, had made her personal views on the Thatcher Government apparent, contrary to the BBC's guidelines on impartiality in such circumstances.
The panel found that her remark, "A lot of misery, that's what came out of the Thatcher years, didn't it - for a lot of people", unaccompanied as it was by any acknowledgment of more positive views, was not impartial.
A complaint from the Advertising Association that that an interview with the Chairman of the Food Standards Agency on the BBC Radio 4 Today breakfast programme contained criticisms of the advertising industry (in relation to the promotion of food to children) without any opportunity for a representative of the industry to respond.
The panel found that including the criticisms was legitimate but the item should have included a balancing element.
*A complaint that on the BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show a description of Tim Llewellyn as an "impartial commentator" on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was both inaccurate and deliberately misleading.
The panel found that as" Mr Llewellyn is associated with the Palestinian side, the description was incorrect" but went on to conclude it was a mistake made in the heat of the moment, when a live programme was not going according to plan, and not a deliberate attempt to mislead listeners.
A complaints against Sunday Sequence on BBC Radio Ulster by a listener, the husband of a former member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, who claimed that the programme's presenter had misrepresented some of the circumstances surrounding the resignation of his wife and another Commissioner.
The panel found that in an interview with the Chairman of NIHRC, the presenter said that the two resigning Commissioners had declined the opportunity of "explaining" their reasons for resigning whereas in fact, they had set out their reasons, both to the Commission and in a press release, though they declined to enter into discussion of them at the relevant Commission meeting. This was a slip by the presenter that went uncorrected at the time.
Taste and standards complaints upheld related to:
BBC Radio 1 Colin and Edith. The use of the F-word by Colin Murray in an encounter with a celebrity. Murray had apologised immediately.
*BBC Radio 4 Midweek. The use of the F-word by an interviewee, quoting a colourful comment by a character who appeared in his memoir of life as an inshore fisherman. The use was ruled inappropriate in the context and had been edited out of a repeat of the programme.
BBC Radio Five Live: Complaint about a text message read out claiming that gypsies came to the UK because they knew they were above the law in the UK. The presenter distanced himself from the comments but it was ruled it would have been preferable not to have included it in the programme [RNW Comment: another Ostrich ruling! Hide the bigotry rather than tacking it!].
Offence to religious feeling:
BBC Asian Network, Sonia Deol: This complaint, referred to above as attracting 104 complaints, related to comments made by a guest in a discussion "Inter-religious family life - does it really work?" The guest was daughter of an inter-religious marriage and her comments were held to be "ill-informed rather than intentionally disparaging" but were "likely to be offensive to Sikhs, and the complaints were upheld to that extent."
BBC Radio1 Sara Cox - A listener complained about the result of a 'truth' competition, where the judge awarded the prize to a contestant who admitted to having urinated in a train compartment late at night. In effect, this rewarded antisocial behaviour. This was held to have been a mistake.
Standards of interviewing/presentation:
BBC London, Jon Gaunt: A listener complained that Jon Gaunt had expressed unacceptable personal views during discussion of the police handling of a recent protest in which the security of the Palace of Westminster had been breached. He had insulted the police and called for peaceful demonstrators to be shot. The comments were held to have exceeded acceptable bounds.
The BBC also notes that the Programme Complaints Unit is to change its name to the Editorial Complaints Unit and become the first level of appeal rather than the initial point of contact for serious complaints. Under the new system the Unit's decision will be binding whereas previously the Head of the Unit has had to get the agreement of the programme-making or output department before finalising any decision to uphold a complaint.
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin (Governor's Appeals):
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin (Complaints unit findings):
2004-07-30: Rock veteran Dave Logan, most recently EVP Programming for Air America Radio (See RNW April 28) and before that with XM Satellite Radio as well as with Sony's SW Networks and PD of stations including WLUP-FM, Chicago, WNEW-FM, New York, and KFOG-Fm, San Francisco, is to succeed Joe McCoy (See RNW Columnists Jul 26) as PD of Infinities Oldies WCBS-FM, New York.
Logan, who takes over his duties on Monday next week, said he was "thrilled at the opportunity to work at one of the greatest heritage stations in the country."
2004-07-30: UK Chrysalis Group's Manchester station Galaxy 102 has been fined GBP 2,500 (USD 4,500) by the Ofcom regulator for a broadcast in which a male caller said he slapped his wife and recommended a "regular slap" to keep women in line: The same broadcast also included what Ofcom found to be offensive comments from the presenters and a 12-years-old girl who used offensive language when she was put live on air to comment on what she had just heard.
The caller who identified himself as Irish Frank was aired live on the station's breakfast show on October 15, 2003,when the discussion was about the responsibility for housework, recorded and used the following day on the same show in a discussion called "treat them mean to keep them keen." The show's female presenter then suggested that "Irish wank" was a better term for the caller and when a 12-year-old was asked her views she described Frank as a "fucking Irish Wanker" before being taken off air.
Ofcom said the broadcast, which because it was repeated had clearly been the subject of an editorial decision to broadcast it at a time when significant numbers of children could be listening, breached rules designed to protect younger listeners and also on seeking to elicit views on air from a child on matters likely to be beyond her judgement.
Chrysalis, which described Galaxy as an "edgy" station with an established local target audience of 15 to 34 year olds had admitted it breached the code and apologised for the incident concerned but also "vigorously defended its distinctive position within its (local) market dealing with a wide range of hard and soft issues" that "sought to explore emotive human themes which would arouse responses from its audience."
It has subsequently taken a number of steps to improve compliance with Ofcom's codes including a policy of excluding any young callers when adult topics are being discussed.
In setting the penalty, Ofcom said it had took account of the fact that a considerable amount of money had been spent on improving Galaxy's procedures which had already had a significant financial impact on it and noted that the broadcaster had admitted its error and had apologised for it.
Chrysalis says it will not appeal the penalty and will pay it although it was "disappointed" to be fined. It added that Galaxy has just achieved its highest ever audience share suggesting its audience were not "troubled" by the content and also that the ruling raised serious questions concerning how serious issues were to be handled when children were listening.
The penalty was in contrast to the latest Complaints Bulletin from Ofcom in which radio escaped censure: The medium was involved in only one case in which detail was listed - a case where not all swearing -use of the word fuck- had been beeped out of a Steve Penk show on Manchester Key 103: The item had been intended as a parody and the case was considered resolved as the station had given assurances that any future material of a similar kind would be fully beeped.
In addition, Ofcom upheld two standards cases against TV and considered a further five resolved and upheld another case of fairness and privacy upholding TV.
A total of 136 further cases were not upheld, 119 of them involving TV with details being listed only in two cases: The items involved had produced 162 complaints. 15 other radio cases were not upheld, no details being listed for any of these.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
Ofcom ruling (57kb PDF)
2004-07-29: In more US results Michigan-based Saga Communications has reported net operating revenues for the quarter to the end of June up 10.5% at USD35.1 million, operating income up 19.8% to USD 9.1 million, station operating income up 16.2% to USD 13.1 million and net income up 16.7% to USD 4.9 million (Up from 20 cents a share to 23 cents a share).
Same station revenues were up 5% to USD 33.4 million and same station operating income was up 13.2% to USD 12.8 million.
For the six months, Saga's net income was up 25.4% to USD 7.4 million (Up from 28 cents per diluted share to 35 cents) on revenues up 11% to USD 64.3 million and operating income up 21% to USD 14.4 million and station operating income was up 16.9% to USD 21.8 million.
Looking ahead Saga says it expects third quarter revenues to between USD34 and USD 34.5 million with station operating expenses between USD 21.2 and USD 21.5 million.
Westwood One has reported net revenues in the second quarter to the end of June up 5% at USD 139.6 million led by an 8% increase in national advertisements; operating income for the quarter was up 3% to USD 43.1 million and net income was also up 3% - to USD 25.1 million.
In addition Westwood noted that the number of its shares outstanding decreased around 6% in the quarter as the result of a repurchase of more than 2.2 million shares of its Common Stock at a cost of approximately USD 60 million.
President and CEO Shane Coppola said the results were "indicative of our commitment to enhance our products and services for both our affiliate stations and advertisers."
"We will continue to make the necessary investments in our business which will translate to consistent long term growth," he added.
CFO Andrew Zaref commented that the recent performance of Westwood's stock had provided an opportunity to accelerate its stock repurchase programme noting that in the first half it had spent approximately USD 123 million on buying back more than 4.3 million shares and at the end of June had USD 255 million available for future purchases.
Looking ahead, Westwood left its guidance for 2004 unchanged: It expects revenue to grow in mid-single digits, resulting in double-digit growth in operating income before depreciation and amortization.
In Europe, SBS Broadcasting SA has reported second quarter revenues up 21% to Euros 187 million (USD 226 million), station operating cash flow up 39% to Euros 45 million (USD 55million) and adjusted EBITDA up 44% to Euros 42 million (USD 51 million) producing net income up 12% to Euros 18 million (USD 22 million- from Euros 0.57 to Euros 0.58 per share).
For the six months revenues were up 21% to Euros 328 million (USD 395 million), station operating cash flow was up 52% to Euros 53 million (USD 64 million), and adjusted EBITDA was up 62% to Euros 47 million (USD 56 million) producing net income up 88% to Euros 14 million (USD 17 million).
In divisional terms in the quarter, radio net revenues were up 42%, mainly because of acquisitions during 2003, and TV was up 8%. Radio had operating losses of Euros 500,000 (USD 600,000) compared to operating income of Euros 2.3 million (USD 2.8 million) a year earlier, mainly due to operating losses at the 2003 Acquired Operations and the decrease in net revenue at SBS's Danish Radio operations whilst TV operating income was up 45% to Euros 35.8 million (USD 42.2 million).
For the six months TV net revenues were up 7% with operating income up 79& and radio revenues were up 40% with operating losses of Euros 3.7 million (USD 4.5 million) compared to operating income of Euros 2.5 million (USD 3 million) a year earlier, again put down mainly to losses at acquisitions.
During May and June SBS acquired and extinguished euro 14.5 million of its 12% Senior Notes due 2008, recording a loss of euro 2.5 million on this extinguishment of debt. In July 2004 it has acquired and extinguished an additional euro 5.0 million of our Senior Notes.
CEO Markus Tellenbach said of the results, " In the second quarter we once again achieved double digit increases in our net revenue and operating income as we continue to execute on our business plan. Our Television stations continued to outperform their markets, increasing organic revenues by 8% while operating costs increased by less than 1%."
"As we continue to focus on improving the performance of our assets and enhancing our cash flow generation, we will also be considering prudent opportunities to grow our business. We are effectively utilizing our operating infrastructure, established brands and popular content to develop new channels on a cost-efficient basis."
Previous SBS SA:
Previous Westwood One;
2004-07-29: The current US clamp-down on "indecent" broadcasting is having a "chilling effect" on at least two of Chicago's most free-wheeling radio personalities, Steve Dahl and Mike North, according to Robert Feder in his Chicago Sun-Times column.
Feder reports that Dahl - afternoon host on Infinity's WCKG-FM - and North - in the same slot on the company's WSCR-AM - told a meeting of the Illinois Broadcasters Association that the threat of tougher action had taken a toll on them.
"When I say anything [on the air] now, I think of it showing up in a transcript in a courtroom -- where I'm trying to defend myself -- or in a board room, for that matter," Dahl said. "So it has had a chilling effect."
"It does make you double- and triple-think everything you say, which, for me, is painful," he said. "It makes a five-hour show a five-hour show."
North added that with no clear guidelines about what constitutes indecency, every broadcaster is potentially vulnerable to a "witch hunt" or a vendetta.
"Our bosses don't know what can be said and can't be said," North commented...
"There's no guidelines. There's no set of rules. So it can turn into a witch-hunt or vendetta. If there's a boss that has a vendetta against one of his own people he can enforce this unknown rule, these unknown guidelines."
He was backed up by Dahl who commented, "The most frightening thing about the whole concept is the fact that one person's complaint can trigger an investigation -- and now a half-million-dollar fine. Nobody wants to address that because nobody wants to draw attention to themselves. So you just get this system that keeps perpetuating itself. And it's patently unfair, I think."
"The other troubling part is the fact [the FCC] is considering fining the actual performers too. It wouldn't just be the station."
Feder also reports that although his contract expired on Sunday, Erich Mancow Muller is continuing on the air as morning personality at Emmis Communications' WKQX-FM having agreed to a one-month extension of the previous agreement. Talks between Muller and Q-101 are described by both sides as progressing amicably writes Feder.
Previous "Mancow" Muller:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2004-07-29: Chrysalis's LBC London talk station director of programmes Steve Kyte has given in his notice and is expected to move to Australia, where his partner lives, according to the UK Guardian.
The paper adds that the station has had mixed fortunes since its re-launch by Chrysalis including a mix-up by ratings organization RAJAR that gave the AM station the much higher figures that were for its FM sister, an error that the paper says put back Chrysalis's initial marketing campaign by six months according to the company.
It adds that although the station has grown audiences it has not progressed as fast as Chrysalis radio chief executive Chris Riley had hoped: he wants to double its figures within three years but is behind target.
UK Guardian report:
2004-07-29: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a notice of apparent liability for USD 10,000 to the owner of a Kansas FM and also confirmed a USD 3,000 penalty on a Puerto Rico FM owner for failure to register its antenna structure.
The confirmed penalty was levied on Clamor Broadcasting Network, licensee of WKVN-FM and owner of an unregistered antenna structure located atop of the Atlantico Condominium on Naranjal Street, Levittown.
Agents had visited the building to find a 120 foot (36.6 metre) tower on top of the building, taking the total height to more than 200 feed (60 metres): It had a small notice on it that read "FCC Temporary Tower Registration 1011531" but the FCC had no records of the antenna.
Clamor said it had filed a registration application in 1999 but this was returned saying that a Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) clearance was required in order to register the tower and also said it had taken the FAA two years to conduct a new study and that it had been awaiting a response to its 1999 filing with the commission. The FCC rejected the arguments and confirmed the full penalty.
In the Kansas case, American Family Association, licensee of non-commercial KBMP-FM, Enterprise, is said to have failed to meet FCC location requirements, to have failed to maintain a meaningful management and staff presence at its main studio, and also apparently failed to comply with a Bureau order by failing to respond fully to a Bureau inquiry that directed AFA to produce certain information concerning the main studio of KBMP.
AFA acquired the construction permit for the unbuilt station from Solid Rock Broadcasting, Inc. in August 1999 and in June 2001 requested a waiver of the Commission's main studio rule so as to co-locate the main studio of KBMP with that of its co-owned Station KCFN-FM, Wichita, Kansas.
It sent further letters in August 2001, and May 2002, having by then started operations of KBMP on March 6, 2002.
The waiver was granted in October 2002 but without prejudice to any enforcement action concerning the rules already breached. It was subsequently asked for various information relating to its actions but this had not been forthcoming.
The Commission, in deciding on a full base level penalty of USD 7,000 for operating in breach of its rules, noted that AFA had jumped the gun before in Missouri, where it had been issued with a USD 5,000 forfeiture order for operating KBKC-FM, Moberly, Missouri, without a main studio, again after applying for a waiver but before this had been granted.
Regarding the failure to provide information requested it issued a USD 3,000 penalty, reduced from a base penalty of USD 4,000, because it had provided information in two of the nine categories for which this had been requested.
2004-07-28: Denver news/talk station KNRC-AM has been closed down by NRC Broadcasting following failure to "attract enough of a listener base over the past two years to continue operating" according to a statement on its web site from CEO Tim Brown.
The station was the group's first, going on air on June 24, 2002, but has struggled from the very start.
NRC has since then acquired other outlets including "Americana" format KCUV-AM and KJAC-FM - JACK FM in Denver, its latest station, which was acquired in April this year.
It also has nine FM stations serving the Colorado mountain resort communities of Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Vail, Eagle, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Steamboat Springs and Craig that it says are "healthy and demonstrating growth."
It says it plans to acquire more stations in Colorado and in several mountain resort communities later this year.
KNRC web site:
2004-07-28: In further signs of health in UK digital radio, Pure Digital is launching an updated version of its Evoke-1, currently the world's best-selling digital receiver, and Intempo has announced two new models.
The latter, nicknamed Kitty are the models KT-01 and the KTB-01 - mains or battery models that receive FM or digital and have eight presets: They are priced around GBP 80 (USD 145).
The new Evoke model, the Evoke-1XT, is a mains kitchen model featuring a six presets, a countdown timer, radio and tone alarm and display with adjustable brightness plus a USB connector for product updates.
It should be with retailers next moth priced just under GBP 100 (USD 180).
In the US, iBiquity has licensed two more manufacturers for its HD digital technology.
The deal done with D&M Holdings, parent company of Denon Ltd., Marantz Japan, Inc., McIntosh Laboratory, Inc., and Digital Networks North America, Inc. (DNNA), is for use of the iBiquity technology in premium home audio systems by Denon and Marantz.
2004-07-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a fine of USD 3,000 on the Pacifica Foundation for failure to conduct required monthly and weekly tests of the Emergency Alert System at WPFW-FM, Washington, DC, and failure to verify the log in writing by the chief operator.
Pacifica had not denied the offences but sought a reduction on the basis of corrective measures taken and status as a small business entity but the commission upheld the full penalty.
2004-07-28: Former Infinity Radio President Dan Mason has added another consultancy with the announcement that he is to join All Comedy Radio as a consultant and advisor.
Mason, who retired from Infinity in 2002 (See RNW Aug 21, 2002), will work directly with All Comedy Radio co-founder and CEO Michael O'Shea to help build the company.
Mason, who began his radio career in Kentucky in the early 70s working overnights moved through a series of station roles before becoming President of Cook Inlet Radio Partners in 1998, President of Group W Radio in 1993 and President of CBS Radio in 1995: Later when it had been renamed Infinity, he oversaw the integration of the original CBS, Group W and American Radio Systems stations.
Since he left Infinity he had has been working as a consultant for a number of radio organisations including iBiquity and last year joined the board of Spanish Broadcasting System (See RNW June 11, 2003).
2004-07-27: The former New York WNEW duo Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) in an interview with John Mainelli in the New York Post say they would apologize to their listeners because the Sex in St Patrick's Cathedral two years ago that led to the termination of a "very good show" but otherwise are unapologetic.
The two said they had been well paid but "miserable" since they were taken off the air by Infinity, which is still contesting the USD 357,000 fine levied for the incident - the first penalty the pair had attracted.
"Infinity enjoyed what we were doing for them, and we got the [ratings] that they could sell," said Anthony Cumia, adding, "When the heat got too hot, they kicked us out the door."
The pair also attacked Infinity star Howard Stern and Hughes commented," "He's such a hypocrite and full of s-t because when we were at Viacom, he went to the bosses and made us shut up [so] we couldn't even mention his name."
"He might whine and cry like he always does about the FCC being on him and the President trying to get his show off," said Cumia "but he's making way too much money for Viacom to even consider letting him go."
Mainelli notes that Opie and Anthony have talked of a move to satellite radio when their WNEW contract ends - their web site currently says, "Negotiations are going real well. Anthony and I are surprised that it's taking so long, but we should finally have something to report real soon." - and then takes up the possibility of a return to terrestrial radio, something the duo say they would like but don't see happening.
"We know if we went back on commercial radio, there would be such a bull's-eye on our foreheads because of all the indecency crap that's going on," said Hughes.
Cumia added, "The climate in radio is the worst it's ever been. The lack of FCC restrictions on satellite radio doesn't mean we'd use the f-word every day, but it would be nice to talk about things and not worry about getting an FCC violation," he says.
"Everyone's so scared that they're just pulling everything back No one wants to take even the slightest chance of saying not only sexually offensive stuff that might get an FCC violation, but it's 'don't badmouth the country, don't badmouth the president, don't say anything racial' - not even in the context of comedy."
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Opie and Anthony web site:
New York Post report:
2004-07-27: XM is to add five more 24-hour traffic and weather channels to its service from August 2, taking the total to 21. The areas being added are Atlanta, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, and Seattle.
Commenting on the service, XM President and CEO Hugh Panero said, "XM provides the most comprehensive traffic information you can find on the radio. We're using advanced technology to give drivers the information they need, whenever they need it. With 24- hour traffic and weather reports, you can plan your route, avoid delays, and save time."
2004-07-27: Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has announced that it has agreed to sell its suburban Chicago radio stations WDEK-FM, WKIE-FM and WKIF-FM to Newsweb Corporation for USD 28 million in cash. The sale, subject to FCC approval, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
SBS chairman, president and CEO Raúl Alarcón said the sale was part of its strategic plan of disposing of "certain non-core stations to de-leverage the Company and significantly strengthen our balance sheet."
2004-07-27: The UK Wireless Group has jumped onto the bandwagon of Canada's adoption of Arbitron's Portable People Meter for TV ratings in Quebec (See RNW July 22) to accuse British ratings organisation RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) of getting "left behind" in its methods according to a report in the UK Guardian.
Mike Franklin, the managing director of TalkSport, which is owned by the group, told the paper, "The move towards passive electronic measurement of audiences is gathering pace around the world... and RAJAR is being left behind,"
The Wireless Group says electronic ratings show its audience to be three times as large as those produced by RAJAR's diary methods and is currently suing RAJAR for damages it alleges have been caused too its business by under-measurement of its audience.
RNW comment: The Guardian, which often seems to us on this issue to be a house magazine for Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie, notes in its report that BBM Canada is scrapping its push-button set-top boxes, used for TV ratings, does not highlight the fact that this is currently only being done in Quebec and Montreal, and does not mention that BBM has not so far adopted the PPM for radio ratings- although it is examining the possibility of doing so.
The Wireless Group has a vested interest in plugging a system that measures much shorter listening periods and boosts its figures but we think a well-respected national newspaper should be a little more cautious about the way in which it plugs his line.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2004-07-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has cut from USD 10,000 to USD 8,000 a penalty on Barnacle Broadcasting Company, Ltd for offences relating to its failure to exhibit ll red obstruction lighting from sunset to sunrise on its 382-metre (1253 feet) tall antenna structure in Port Royal, South Carolina.
Barnacle had argued against the penalty on various grounds, saying that it did not know of the outage that was observed by the FCC, was not nor was applying to be a licensee, had no prior offences, had not received notice of its obligations from the Commission, had no prior offences, was operating an area prone to lightning strikes, had made repairs promptly, and couldn't afford to pay.
The Commission accepted that a reduction of USD 2,000 was due on the basis of a good prior record but dismissed all the other arguments, noting that financial details provide were not sufficient for a reduction on hardship grounds.
The FCC has also announced the appointment of George R. Dillon as Assistant Bureau Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. Dillon most recently served as the Bureau's Engineering Advisor, assisting the Bureau Chief on a wide range of public safety, technical and management projects.
2004-07-26: This week we start our look at print comment on radio with a somewhat gloomy outlook on the medium's future from Tim Cuprisin in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in which he adds the I-pod to satellite radio as a threat to terrestrial radio in the US.
The New York Post's influential radio writer, John Mainelli, writes Cuprisin has dubbed the revolutionary little digital music player "radio's latest rival" but Cuprisin then goes on to report some skepticism about the scale of that threat a voiced by Edison Media Research radio analyst Sean Ross who noted that US radio listening had started before the I-pod came along.
Ross, who's a consultant for Chicago's innovative new "9 FM," WRZA-FM launched last month with the slogan: "We Play Anything" commented, "There's been a larger set of issues piling up," Ross says. "Radio is responding to the broader picture and finding out that there's a tangible demand for variety."
Cuprisin follows the thought by writing," Of course it's far too early to measure the success of 9 FM, or commercial radio's new competitors for our attention. But anything that offers more variety - whether it's 100 channels of mostly commercial free programming on satellite, a playlist of up to 10,000 of our favorite songs on iPod, or a radio station that promises to play "anything" - is good news for listeners bored with the present state of commercial music radio.
On to another potential problem for listeners and Rob Pegoraro's column in the Washington Post that took up comments from readers about the effect of introducing digital transmissions that caused interference in their listening to distant AM signals at nighttime.
One reader noted that where he was a Toronto station he normally listened to on 1540 AM disappeared totally when Cincinnati WSAI-AM conducted digital tests on 1530.
The issue is one that is known about and was noted in tests that iBiquity carried out under the oversight of the US National Radio Systems Committee but the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) concluded that the trade-off was well worth while, writing "the dramatically improved audio quality from [HD Radio] service is well worth the predicted and limited reductions in analog coverage."
Pegoraro comments on this, "I suspect that the FCC will come down on the side of HD Radio, and I can't say that this is necessarily wrong. Distant AM reception has always been a bonus feature, not a right Plus, in the long run the Internet solves this distance-reception problem quite nicely."
RNW: Since a station isn't generally going to get significant additional income through attracting [uncounted] distant listeners there won't be any pressures to keep distant nighttime AM listening going, which will end yet another feature that was once attractive about radio - being able to hear output from half a continent - or in the UK - a continent away.
From north of the border, there was some concern about the future of radio in a Toronto Star report by Greg Quill centred on the latest ratings, which showed CBC Radio One's Toronto morning flagship, Metro Morning heading the ranks.
The most recent survey for the period between mid-February and mid-April notes Quill gave the CBC show a 10.1 share in the 0600-10:00 weekday slot: he adds, For the first time in most observers' memories, the non-commercial public broadcaster has beaten out commercial-driven, gimmick-laden, prize-happy, chatterbox private radio stations CHUM-FM (9.8 per cent share), CFRB (7.8 per cent), EZ Rock (7.5 per cent) and Q107 (6.9 per cent) in the most important and certainly most lucrative time slot, Morning Drive Time."
The figures produced what could be seen as a slight element of sour grapes from Gary Slaight, president and CEO of Standard Radio, which operates three of Toronto's 18 commercial stations: He noted, "The CBC is not supposed to be about competing for an audience - it's a tax dollar-supported public broadcaster that doesn't have to air commercials to survive I'm not surprised they're on top, given the CBC's huge marketing budget and its free access to TV ad time. The show has been percolating in the top three or four spots for a long time. But I am surprised they're making such a big deal out of being on top of a game they're not supposed to be playing."
He insisted, however, that the figures wouldn't have a significant commercial effect and insisted that Toronto's highly competitive commercial radio market has never looked so healthy.
He was backed to a degree by Dave McDonald, manager of ad agency McLaren McCann Canada's radio group who said the figures wouldn't "directly affect advertising buys in the morning" but then sounded a note of warning about the effects of other media such as satellite radio and Internet audio services, saying, "There's much more crossover from radio to other media in the 18-34 demographic, the `money group.' People are expecting more and more from radio because of competition from other sources."
Toronto radio veteran Bob Mackowycz, now involved in a group trying to introduce satellite radio into Canada, said he thought commercial radio's best days are over and noted that American radio stocks have fallen around 20 per cent in the last few years.
"The high-tech communications bubble caused by deregulation in the 1990s went hand-in-hand with the wholesale dumping of radio properties," he said. "Commercial stations have had to increase their ad load to maintain income, and as a result listeners have had it with commercial radio, airing between 18 and 22 minutes of ads every hour."
Julie Adams, program director at Rogers-owned CHFI-FM also said she had seen changes since 9-11, producing a "greater interest in the state of the world, a need for more local information, and less interest in gimmickry."
"The shift I'm feeling these days is away from unbelievable personalities, the shock jocks and zoo characters that used to populate morning radio," she said. "Even at Top 40 radio it's evident that listeners want real people on the radio."
And on to some reminiscences of the past from Joe McCoy, the "real McCoy" at CBS as David Hinckley writes in the New York Daily News.
McCoy was at WCBS-FM for 23 years, leaving his PD post a month ago, and he backed up the Ross comments above in terms of variety. McCoy said he missed radio the way it used to be, adding, "Radio's changing. Most stations now sound like Anytown, USA. A lot of the excitement is missing."
WCBS, he said, avoided that for many years, saying, "I was fortunate. I started programming 'CBS in 1981 and for 20 years I was pretty much left alone. We didn't get calls from a general manager saying, 'Why are you playing that record?' That's a freedom you don't get very often in radio. We could take chances, and I think the result was that we created a great radio station."
Even then though, the freedom wasn't absolute. McCoy, who started as a DJ, recalled that on his first day he stack of R&B records and headed for the studio but en route his program director stopped him, shook his head and said, 'No, that's not what you're playing. We have a playlist.' "
McCoy adds that he was right, commenting, "Jocks tend to be into music. If it's time for a Temptations record, they might pick 'Girl, Why You Want to Make Me Blue,' because it's a good song you don't hear so often. But most listeners want 'My Girl.' You have to think like a programmer."
What all the above neglected of course was one element of radio that other mediums can't effectively match - traffic news - and in the Washington Post Jennifer Frey notes "Bad Traffic Means Good Ratings for News Radio."
In this case the evidence comes from the latest Arbitrons that show WTOP-AM increasing its share, something that vice president of news and programming Jim Farley attributes not to big stories but rather to big gridlock.
"Our competitors have always said that when we get a great book, that was because of this story or that story, but there's always something," he says. "We took a big spike toward the end of this book for the Reagan funeral. Not because of the news . . . but because everyone in town wanted to know about the traffic."
Now for some recommended listening and again, because of the variety on offer on the listen again portion of its web site to the BBC and to begin with a documentary, Face the Facts, from BBC Radio 4, which investigates safety standards in Athens as the Greeks rush to finish constructing facilities for this year's Olympics.
So far at least 14 men are admitted to have been killed and 180 injured in the construction - the programme estimates the death toll could be as high as 40 - compared to just one death for the Sydney Olympics and two for those in Barcelona
Also well worth a listen from Radio 4 is the latest of the Test Tubes and Tantrums series: The whole series is on the site but this one, looking at the political success of Trofim Denisovitch Lysenko, who had it largely wrong but said what his political master wanted to hear, and Nikolai Ivanovitch Vavilov whose science was better but not his politics - he died in prison - should maybe have some contemporary resonance.
Also on Radio 4 this week in the 08:45 GMT Book of the Week slot are the Diary of King George V, constructed using the late monarch's own diaries, and this evening's Sound of Life at 20:00 GMT, the first of eight in a series that sets out to discover why the natural world sounds the way it does and begins with an attempt to work out when animals began to communicate using sound.
For those of a more musical bent, the Mark Radcliffe Show on BBC Radio 2 at 21:30 GMT on Thursday looks at the Cambridge Folk Festival while BBC Radio 3 continues with the Proms this week .
Back to science cum politics, and we go down under to Australia where the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Ockham's Razor programme last week featured a report on public views on gene technology that's worth a listen as is the previous week's dissertation on the effects of the light bulb by Daniel Grafton who got an MA on the topic at the University of New South Wales.
And for comedy? BBC Radio 4's 1730 GMT slot will again have the Now Show on Friday and has last week's show on the site and then there's Right Said Ted and Myles in which Myles Rudge and Ted Dicks, joined by Beatles' producer George Martin, recall the great era of the British comic song when they co-wrote songs such as Hole in the Ground, Windmill in Old Amsterdam and Right, Said Fred.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation -Ockham's Razor site (Links to audio of shows mentioned):
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel - Cuprisin:
New York Daily News - Hinckley:
Toronto Star - Quill:
Washington Post - Frey:
Washington Post - Pegoraro:
2004-07-26: Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan has told the San Antonio Express-News that the company is "poised for greatness" but added, "But the greatness will have to be engineered. It will have to be created. It's not just going to happen.''
He said the company has changed since he took the helm two years ago and comment of the way Clear Channel was built up through acquisitions of more than 20 companies, "The cultures came together and they came together as a collision''
[RNW note -Hogan took over after former Clear Channel Radio CEO Randy Michaels was forced aside - See RNW Jul 24, 2002 - an event that led radio veteran Ron Jacobs to proclaim on on his site that July 26, 2003 was GOOD RIDDANCE RANDY MICHAELS DAY)
Nevertheless said Hogan "We did a lot of things right'' and he claimed that much of the criticism of the company comes from myths and confusion.
Referring to critics who say Clear Channel Radio supports pro-war rallies, homogenizes radio content, axes news staff at stations, uses voice tracking technology, broadcasts indecent material and centrally controls content on its stations, he noted that it only controls a tenth of US stations in the least consolidated US mass medium and said control of stations was in the hands of local managers.
"The culture of Clear Channel in San Antonio is different than Denver or New York,'' said Hogan. "We want our local teams to reflect what's going on in their radio markets.''
Regarding indecency issues - Clear Channel in June agreed to pay a record USD 1.75 million to settle all outstanding complaints against it (See RNW Jun 10)- he said, "We think the whole indecency thing for Clear Channel is behind us. One of the things we've been challenged with is, all of the focus has been on Clear Channel.''
Hogan also distanced himself from Howard Stern's Show, saying many people did not know he was employed by Infinity and had only appeared on six Clear Channel stations, "Howard hasn't changed, but we have. We are not going to put ourselves in the position to defend the indefensible.''
He also said many more changes were planned or in train, referring to its cutting down on advertising load just announced (See RNW Jul 20), plans for large-scale conversion to digital (See RNW Jul 23) and a research and development department in Houston developing new radio formats and Clear Channel University, a training centre with 15 employees.
On one thing he was clear: Even though Clear Channel has a stake in XM, he doesn't see satellite radio as the future although he added that it was never good to take a competitor for granted.
Previous Clear Channel:
San Antonio Express-News report:
2004-07-26: Veteran British DJ Tony Blackburn today celebrates 40 years in the business on his Breakfast Show on UBC's Classic Gold Digital: Blackburn, who was born in Surrey in 1943, began his career on 28th July 1964 on the offshore pirate station Radio Caroline.
In 1966, he joined another offshore station, Radio London with whom he introduced the first ever soul programme in the UK.
He went "legit" in 1967 when he moved to the then BBC Light Programme in August 1967 and shortly after that was the launch (and breakfast) DJ for BBC Radio 1 on 30th September 1967 - the first song played was The Move's Flowers in the Rain.
He hosted the station's "Breakfast Show" until 1974 when he took over the morning show for several years, followed by work on other shows.
After leaving Radio One in 1984, Blackburn was at BBC Radio London before joining Capital Radio in July 1988 to launch their new Capital Gold station where he presented his soul shows until December 2002.
He moved into his current slot, co-hosting the show with Laura Pitson, in March last year (See RNW Mar 31, 2003).
2004-07-26: Reports earlier this month in the UK Sunday Times that three Irish radio stations were up for sale (See RNW Jul 12) have now been denied by all three stations according to Radiowaves.
It says that following earlier denials by Highland Radio, Shannonside's Chief Executive Paul Devlin has denied that there is any truth in the story, and LMFM's Chief Executive Michael Crawley says that the reports are 'greatly exaggerated'.
Radiowaves also reports that Paul Claffey, Chief Executive of Mid West Radio, has also ruled out any sale of the Mayo-based station and that Scottish Radio Holdings have pulled out of a possible purchase of Galway Bay FM because of the asking price of around Euros 18 million (USD 22 million).
2004-07-25: The most important regulatory news of last week was probably more the passage of a Senate Committee vote that would remove third-adjacent channel restrictions that would potentially mean many more low-power FMs in the US: In terms of actual regulatory decisions, things were fairly quiet.
There was nothing at all on radio from Australia or Ireland but in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of actions.
In order of province they included:
Approval of application for change to the authorized contours of CKKX-FM, Peace River's transmitter CJHP-FM High Prairie, by increasing the effective radiated power from 2,000 watts to 2,700 watts and by increasing the antenna height.
The Commission notes that this change reflects the "as-built" technical parameters and that there will be no significant change in the coverage area.
Call by the CRTC, following receipt of an application for a broadcasting licence to provide a commercial ethnic radio service to serve Vancouver, for applications from other parties who wish to offer such a service.
Call by the CRTC, following receipt of an application for a broadcasting licence to provide a commercial radio service to serve Kamloops, for applications from other parties who wish to offer such a service.
Approval of new transmitter in Kootenay Bay for CJLY-FM, Nelson.
Approval of deadline until December 1 for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. to commence operation of new FM in Vancouver.
Approval of new transmitter in Flin Flon for CINC-FM, Thompson.
Approval of new transmitter in Baie-Sainte-Anne for CJSE-FM, Shediac.
Approval of transmitter relocation and increase in antenna height for CFNS-FM, Amherst.
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licences of CFDR-AM and CFRQ-FM, Dartmouth.
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licences of CIOO-FM and CJCH Halifax.
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licence of CIEZ-FM, Halifax.
Approval of application to change the authorized contours of its transmitter CJLF-FM-2 Peterborough by relocating the transmitter and by increasing the antenna height.
Revocation of licence of CFJR-AM, Brockville, which has been replaced by a new FM now in operation.
Approval of increase in antenna height from 22.6 metres to 47.6 metres of CKUN-FM, Christian Island.
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1
September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licences of CKEY-FM Fort Erie and CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines.
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licences of CJMX-FM, CJRQ-FM and CIGM-AM, Sudbury.
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licence of CHNO-FM, Sudbury.
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licences of CKPR and CJSD-FM Thunder Bay.
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licence of CJLB-FM, Thunder Bay.
Prince Edward Island:
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licences of CFCY-AM and CHLQ-FM, Charlottetown
Administrative renewal, which does not dispose of any substantive issue that may exist, from 1 September 2004 to 31 December 2004, of the licence of CHTN-AM, Charlottetown.
Approval of applications to amend the broadcasting licences for CHRD-FM Drummondville and CFEI-FM Saint-Hyacinthe in order to be allowed to broadcast a lower level of Canadian popular music on these "oldies" radio stations.
Approval of power increase from 430 watts to 1,496 watts and increase of the antenna height from 46.5 metres to 61.3 metres of CILE-FM, Havre-St-Pierre.
Approval of power increase from 900 watts to 1,900 watts and decrease of the antenna height from 199.1 metres to 193 metres of CKLX-FM. Montréal.
The UK was fairly quiet but Ofcom has now advertised a new local commercial FM licence for Ashford, in Kent, and the immediately surrounding area.
In the US, as already noted the issue of low-power FMs has come up again. In addition to that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has held a further localism meeting in Monterey, California (See RNW Jul 23) and has also confirmed a number of penalties for technical offences (See RNW Jul 24):
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-07-25: Details published by the Smoking Gun web site of US shock-jock Howard Stern's deal with Clear Channel indicate that if he has similar deals with other affiliates his recent ratings success that many think ahs been spurred by attacks on him could lead to a hefty pay off.
Stern's deal with San Diego station KIOZ-FM paid a basic annual fee for five years starting at USD 850,000 and increasing in USD 25,000 increments to USD 950,000 in the final year. In addition it included bonuses related to ratings that would have given him an additional fees whenever his 12 plus share exceeded 6.0 calculated on the basis of the share minus 6.0 multiplied by the annual fee and divided by six.
Other Clear Channel contracts details published on the site were for USD 2.2 million in Louisville, USD3.35 million in Miami, USD 3.87 million in Orlando, 3.91 million in Pittsburgh and USD1.68 million in Rochester.
The Smoking Gun says that when Clear Channel cancelled Stern in late February, the unexpired terms of the radio deals called for the shock jock to receive future payouts of at least USD 12 million.
Previous Clear Channel:
Smoking Gun story:
2004-07-25: In Britain, UBC Media has reported turnover for its 2004 financial year to the end of March up 29.1% to GBP 13.30 million (USD 24.4 million) producing gross profit up 9.6% to GBP 3.55 million (USD 6.50 million), and an operating profit before goodwill and development expenditure of GBP 405,000 (USD 742,000) more than seven times the GBP 73,000 (USD 134,000) for 2003: After amortization and development expenditure it had an operating loss of GBP 1.02 million (USD 1.87 million), down from GBP 1.53 million (USD 2.80 million) a year earlier.
In divisional terms, UBC's radio production revenues were up 10.7% to GBP 2.18 million (USD 3.99 million); Classic Gold Digital revenues were up 4.2% to 4.69 million (USD 8.59 million); its Facilities and Radio Services revenues were down 7% to GBP 1.18 million (USD 2.16 million) but it noted that its profit margin were higher as it focused on higher margin business; and its commercial division more than doubled revenues from GBP 2.59 million (USD 4.75 million) to GBP 5.24 million (USD 9.60 million), put down to the contribution of the "Traffic & Travel News"
Service that it launched in the final months of the previous financial year in anticipation of a recovery in the advertising market."
Chairman Michael Peacock said he was "am delighted to be able to report another strong performance" during a year in which UBC "maintained the momentum behind its strategy of building a business that delivers organic growth, while positioning it to benefit from the ongoing transition of analogue to digital radio."
Regarding digital radio, he added, "UBC is now firmly established as a strongly positioned player in the digital radio market. I believe this is a particularly exciting stage in the development of the Company. The way in which UBC has responded to the challenges and opportunities of the past year gives me confidence that the next twelve months will see continuing progress. The board is optimistic that prospects for the Company are good."
Chief Executive Simon Cole took up the theme, commenting, "2004 is the year in which digital radio came of age. Our vision for the future of radio, which we spelt out in previous annual reports, has continued to take shape.
He also noted that UBC had announced its intention to take full control of its Oneword Radio national commercial radio station with the purchase at the end of June 2004 of the 50% interest in the station held by its Hong Kong-based partner.
"Securing full control of Oneword Radio is an important step in ensuring the long-term viability of this exclusive, spoken word licence on the national digital multiplex, Digital One," said Cole. "We believe this licence is a key asset in UBC's digital portfolio and will benefit from the management focus which will result from our taking full control."
UBC also said it has started the current year well with results so far meeting expectations and a 78% rise in first-quarter sales at its commercial division thanks to sales of its traffic bulletin service to more stations; it added that the outlook for the remainder of the year is positive.
2004-07-25: Although the clampdown on "indecency" in English-language broadcasts in the US may be in full spate, Spanish-language radio is still slipping through the net according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel.
It notes examples in which the popular Spanish-language morning radio show, Otro Día, on Casselberry-based Salsa WONQ-AM aired callers imitating sexual acts and ethnic slurs aimed at Mexicans and blacks and a 2002 interview with Puerto Rican salsa singer Michael Stuart on La Buya in which he was pressed to reveal his favourite sexual position: La Buya broadcasts out of Altamonte-Springs on La Nueva Mega (WNUE- FM), airs sexually explicit crank calls and gets its guests to reveal intimate experiences.
The paper says that Hispanic leaders are concerned that their communities are damaged because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fails to regulate such programmes.
Alex Nogales, the president and chief executive of the Los Angeles based National Hispanic Media Coalition told the paper he couldn't understand why the FCC "doesn't have more bilingual investigators to handle the growth of Spanish-language programming."
"These programs do not provide an accurate representation of Hispanics," said Nogales. "These shock jocks are disgusting and they hide behind the language because few of the FCC's investigators speak Spanish."
The paper says the FCC told it that only one of 20 investigators in the agency's obscenity enforcement bureau speaks Spanish and that it sends Spanish-language program complaints to outside firms, which translate the transcripts.
As with English-language broadcasts, fans and station personnel take a softer line: The paper quotes Miguel Restrepo, one fan of La Buya, as saying, "You can always change the station if you don't like what you're hearing. Whatever they say, no matter how obscene or ridiculous, shouldn't be taken seriously."
Josiván Padilla, the host of Otro Día, commented, "Are we profane? Well yes, but this is for people who want to laugh a little about nothing in particular."
La Nueva Mega's programming director, Super Martínez, said he's softened some of La Buya's content because of listeners' complaints.
"I wouldn't consider our program vulgar, but it does contain adult language and topics that we closely monitor," Martínez said.
Orlando Sentinel report:
2004-07-25: Montreal-based Astral Media has reported profits for its financial third quarter to the end of March up 21.3 % to CAD 24.5 million (USD 18.5 million- CAD 0.46 per share), including a CAD 1.05 million (USD 794,000) loss from discontinued operations, on revenues up 11% to CAD 139.9 million (USD 105.8 million).
For the first nine months profits were up 22.4% to CAD 61.3-million (USD 46.3 million), on revenues up 10% to CAD 386.4-million (USD 292.1 million).
For the third quarter, advertising revenues were up 19% at Astral's TV station, 10% for radio- that had record operational margins of 37.3% helped by "efficiencies" from recent acquisitions, and 18% for outdoor.
CEO Ian Greenberg commented, "Excellent advertising revenue growth in our specialty television, radio and outdoor divisions combined with the sustained strength of our pay television subscriber revenues have made this a robust quarter for Astral Media." "For our Radio group, advertising revenue increased by 10% for the quarter. Our Outdoor division also posted strong results with an 18% increase in advertising revenues for the quarter."
He added that Astral expects profit growth to be in the 18- to 20-per-cent range for the year and told the firm's confidence call it looked "look forward with confidence to the end of this year."
Astral says it expects to have cash in hand of CAD 70-75 million by the end of the year and Greenberg, asked about possibly distributing some of it to shareholders, said it was a matter for the board but he preferred to keep the funds for acquisitions
Toronto-based Corus results were not as strong with revenues in the third quarter up 6% to CAD 163.9 million (USD123.9 million) and for the year up 7% to CAD 503.8 million (USD 380.9 million) but for both periods net income became net loss - a negative CAD 51.2 million (USD 38.7 million, Cad 1.20 per share) for the quarter compared to earnings of CAD 12.3 million (USD 9.3 million - CAD 0.29 per share) and a negative CAD 37.2 million (USD 28.1 million - CAD 0.87 per share) for the first nine months compared to earnings of CAD 27.6 million (USD 20.9 million- CAD 0.65 per share) a year earlier. Corus noted that the nine-months figures reflected the non-cash negative impact in the current year of a change in Ontario tax rates (USD0.42/share) and a write-down in film investments.
Corus's adjusted net income and adjusted basic EPS* for the quarter, which excludes various items not indicative of the Company's core operating results, were CAD 9.1 million (USD 6.9 million) and CAD 0.21 compared to CAD 15.2 million (USD 11.5 million) and CAD0.36 and for the nine-months were CAD 41.0 million (USD 31 million) and CAD 0.96 compared to CAD 34.6 million (USD 26.2 million) and CAD 0.81 a year earlier.
In divisional terms Corus Television revenue for the quarter was up 13% to CAD 84.7 million (USD 64.1 million) but radio was almost flat - revenues rose from CAD 60.1 million (45.5 million) to CAD 61 million (USD 46.2 million) and content division revenues were down 3% to CAD 19.9 million (USD 15.1 million) whilst for the nine-months TV revenues were up by 10% to CAD 254.1 million (USD 192.3 million), radio revenues were up 1% to CAD 169.6 million (USD 128.3 million) and content revenues were up 18% to CAD 84.9 million (USD 64.2 million)
Executive Chair Heather Shaw commented, "We're very pleased with our operating results this quarter, despite the write-down in the film investments at Content. The Company is committed to owning content and we continue to add exciting new titles to our library.
President and CEO John Cassaday commented, "Advertising demand for radio and television was strong in the quarter. Our third quarter advertising revenue results were excellent with the exception of two radio markets which were impacted by competitive factors. Despite these competitive pressures, we are on track to achieve our segment profit growth targets in our core radio and television businesses We are on track to achieve our year-end consolidated cash flow target of 25% growth over the prior year."
Earlier this month CHUM, which is also based in Toronto, reported revenues for its third fiscal quarter to the end of May, up 4.1% (from 142,916) at CAD 148.8 million (USD 112.6 million) and for the nine months up 4.2% at CAD 430 million (USD 325.3 million) producing net earnings for the quarter 44.2% at CAD 14.27 million (USD10.8 million - CAD 0.52 per share up from CAD 0.43) and for the nine months 24.2% up (from 23,400) at CAD 29,05 million (USD 22 million- the per share price was up from CAD 1.01 to CAD1.06, a lower percentage because the issuance of 2.1 million shares since the previous year).
In divisional terms, TV revenues for the quarter were up 3.6% to CAD 113.5 million (USD 85.9 million) with EBITDA up 7.8% to CAD 24.4 million (USD 18.5 million) and the corresponding radio figures were revenues up 6.9% to CAD 32.7 million (USD 24.7 million) and EBITDA up 16.6% to CAD 10.4 million (USD 7.9 million).
For the nine months the figures were revenues for TV and radio up 4.9% to CAD 329.8 million (USD 249.5 million) and up 2.9% to CAD 92.3 million (USD69.9 million) and EBITDA up 3.7% to CAD 57.6 million (43.6 million) and up 19.5% to CAD 27.3 million (USD 20.7 million).
CHUM has also announced the appointment as CFO of Alan S. Mayne, who joined it from TD Securities Inc. where he was Managing Director and Co-Head of Mergers & Acquisitions and led the team that advised on CHUM's acquisition of Craig Media Inc., which is currently awaiting CRTC approval, and the execution of CHUM's equity offering in July 2003.
Mayne took over from Taylor Baiden, who left his post of Vice President of Finance after a 32-year career with the company.
Also in Canada, CBC/Radio-Canada, Standard Radio Inc. and Sirius Satellite Radio have announced the appointment of Kevin Shea as CEO for the partners' Sirius Canada joint venture to bring satellite radio to Canada.
The application is one of three subscription audio services bidding for a licence, one from Canadian Satellite Radio (CSR), a Canadian corporation currently wholly owned by Canadian businessman John Bitove that would offer XM services by satellite, and the other from CHUM using terrestrial repeaters.
2004-07-24: Clear Channel has reported revenues for the second quarter up 7.2% on a year earlier at USD 2.5 billion but net income of USD 253.8 million (an unchanged 41 cents per diluted share and including approximately USD 41.3 million of pre-tax gains- 4 cents per diluted share after tax- related primarily to the early extinguishment of debt) was only up 1%.
Radio revenues were up 3% to USD 996.8 driven by local revenues, the Company's syndicated radio programs and traffic revenues. National advertising revenue declined in the quarter and Clear Channel said the primary driver of revenue growth was in its small and mid-sized markets- those outside the top 25.
Among other divisions outdoor advertising revenue was up 12% to USD 639.5 million while Live Entertainment was up 9% to USD 734.5 million and other revenues increased 8% to USD149.9 million.
Interim CEO, president and COO Mark Mays told investors during the company's conference call that current revenue pacings were flat but he expected some improvement in the third quarter, noting that September pacings were "very strong."
On the long-term he commented that the company's potential had never been better, adding, "We are continuing to reinvent our businesses and are leading change in the businesses in which we compete. Our strong operating performance this quarter generated 12% earnings growth and produced a significant amount of free cash flow. As a result, we have increased the level of our dividend and implemented another share repurchase plan."
"We continue to believe that the purchase of our common stock represents an attractive opportunity to benefit the long-term interests of the Company and its shareholders. We expect to continue to deliver superior results and returns to our shareholders for years to come."
He also noted that his father chairman and CEO Lowry Mays, who was attending a physical therapy session while the call was on, was now out of hospital after emergency surgery to relieve swelling in his brain (See RNW May 5). He added that his father had been well enough to attend a recent board meeting at which the board approved a USD 1 billion stock buyback programme.
CFO Randall Mays told investors and analysts that the company may stop giving financial guidance from next year although it is standing by the guidance given for this year and would like shareholder feedback before finalizing the decision.
"We believe that providing guidance to Wall Street creates short-term disruption to trading of our stock," he said, continuing, "it focuses investors' attention - and I think some people would even argue that maybe management's as well - on shorter-term goals to the detriment of accomplishing longer-term goals."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
2004-07-24: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has reacted negatively to approval by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee of legislation sponsored by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy that would allow low power FM stations to operate on a third adjacent channel to a full power FM station and thus greatly increase the number of such stations that would be permitted.
In a statement NAB president and CEO Edward O Fritts said "Hundreds of LPFMs are broadcasting and hundreds more are awaiting final authorization without rolling back needed interference protections. It's unfortunate that local radio listeners will be the unintended victims of the inevitable interference that would result from shoehorning more stations onto an already overcrowded radio dial."
The Senate vote had followed the issue of a report by the Mitre Corporation that said there would not be significant interference from LPFM stations: the NAB wants further studies, which Mitre said were not needed, to be conducted as Congress had originally requested.
The Senate Committee also approved the Public Broadcasting Reauthorization Act of 2004 to re-authorize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) through fiscal year 2011: the CPB was last re-authorized in 1992.
RNW comment: The NAB is seems to us is abusing its position and the public purse in this matter. We feel that the testing so far is adequate to allow LPFM to progress and there are already provisions to allow for changes to be made should interference actually occur.
In our view the politicians should offer NAB no comfort on this matter and even if it does yield to lobbying for further testing it should only do so on the basis that NAB will pay all the costs and has to poll its members for their approval so they have to put their money where their mouth is.
Only if significant problems are found should NAB get a dime back.
2004-07-24: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that broadcasts on radio stations in Toronto relating to unauthorized use of a callers voice and on a Calgary station related to comments about massage parlours and the sex trade breached Canadian Broadcasters' Codes.
The latter involved three episodes of the Forbes and Friends morning show broadcast on CJAY-FM in November 2003 concerning which the CBSC panel found that there were no breaches of codes in ethnically related comment about which there had been a complaint but that some sexually explicit comments did breach the codes.
On the first broadcast in question, the hosts' brief comments on the news report that dog and coyote remains had been found in a freezer in an Edmonton Chinese restaurant were followed by a parody song that implied that cat meat might be a menu item instead of the chicken, beef, or pork listed there. On the broadcast that aired the next day, the hosts presented a news story of a police raid on Calgary massage parlours alleged to have been operating as common bawdy houses. The police had been attempting to close a trafficking pipeline for Thai sex trade workers. Charges laid included conspiracy to procure a person to enter Canada to work in a bawdy house, living on the avails of prostitution, keeping a common bawdy house and participation in illegal drug-related activities. The story was followed by the broadcast of a song apparently entitled "Singapore Whore".
Although the panel commented that song was not found to be in breach of codes relating to discriminatory comment it found that some of the comments, specifically those relating to the repetition of a prostitute's invitation to have anal intercourse with her, were unduly sexually explicit and did breach the codes.
The other case related to a competition run by CISS-FM (JACK 92.5,Toronto). A woman had called in to find out the telephone number she would need to dial at contest time found that her brief exchange with the deejay had in fact been broadcast (apparently on a tape-delayed basis) as a part of the promotion for the contest.
Although she had not been identified on-air and the brief dialogue consisted merely of a confirmation of the number to call to attempt to win the tickets, the complainant objected to the broadcast of that recording on the grounds that her voice had been used without her consent.
The panel found that the broadcast had not invaded the privacy of the complainant (since she had not been identified), but agreed that the broadcaster's use of her voice without her consent breached one of the standards to which private broadcasters adhere.
2004-07-24: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC_has confirmed a number of penalties for tower-related offences: The largest penalty was one of USD 13,600 on FNX Broadcasting, LLC, licensee of WPHX-AM, Sanford, Maine, for violations involving failure to maintain a meaningful managerial and staff presence at its main studio, and failure to maintain the public inspection file at the main studio.
It had originally proposed a penalty of USD 17,000 but reduced this to USD, 13,600 on the basis of a history of past compliance. FNX had sought further reduction or cancellation on the basis that it was in substantial compliance at the time of inspection, had promptly come into compliance and also on financial grounds but none of these were accepted.
It also issued a penalty of USD 6,300 to James Chladek, licensee of WXMC-AM, Parsippany-Troy Hill, New Jersey, for failure to enclose each of two of WXMC's antenna structures within effective locked fences. It had already reduced an initial base penalty of USD 7,000 to USD 6,300 on the basis of a history of compliance.
In Tennessee it denied a petition for reconsideration of a USD 2,400 penalty imposed on East Tennessee Radio Group L.P., for failing to inform the commission of a change in ownership of an antenna structure in Sevierville, Tennessee.
The penalty had already been reduced from USD 3,000 on the basis of a past history of compliance.
The commission has also allowed an extra four weeks for the submission of comments relating to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the retention of programme recordings by broadcasters as a means to enhance the enforcement of the statutory prohibition on indecent and obscene programming.
The original deadline were comments by July 30, 2004, and reply comments by August 30, 2004: The Arizona Broadcasters Association and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association had requested extensions of 45 days to both deadlines but the commission, while accepting that there had been a delay in publishing the Notice that shortened the period for comments felt that only a shorter extension was justified.
2004-07-24: Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi has filed a CAD 1.65 million (USD 1.25 million) damages suit against CHUM Ltd over comments made in April on Ottawa Team 100 by broadcaster Don "Dandyman" Romani that suggested he beat his wife Leanne (See RNW Apr 10).
Romani, who according to the claim said on air, "I'll bet you his idea of aerobics is to bang her around once a week. Well, lookit, you think a man that would go after Magnus Arvedson [the Senators forward with whom he was involved in an altercation in March last year], would not go after a woman? Same thing ... same thing" was initially suspended and then fired.
Domi and his wife are each seeking CAD 700,000 (USD 530,000) in compensatory and punitive damages and Domi himself is seeking an additional CAD 250,000 (USD 190,000) in special damages.
Domi's agent, Pat Morris, said the player's sponsorship-related income has slowed in the wake of the controversy.
"Tie makes a lot of money off the ice and those matters have slowed down, notwithstanding a great season," Morris said.
Toronto Star report:
2004-07-24: A former Australian radio announcer has become the first person in Victoria to be convicted of bullying without the use of physical violence; He also pleaded guilty to another charge of wilfully placing at risk the health of persons in the workplace through physical abuse.
Reginald David Mowat, an announcer at Ballarat station 3BA from February 2000 was sacked in October 2003 after allegations of attacks on six co-workers.
Ballarat Magistrates Court was told that Mowat in one incident was alleged to have slapped a co-worker and used threatening behaviour, in another allegedly said to a co-worker: "Fair dinkum, you're f---in' useless . . . you're just f---in' me around" and then said: "I will take you down the back and f---in' smash you, I will." And in yet another said to another colleague: "I will f---ing kill you", before grabbing the man around the neck and saying he would "smash" him.
Mowat pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others in the workplace by using abusive language and was fined AUD 10,000 (USD 7,140) and ordered to pay costs of AUD 1700 (USD 1,200).
Melbourne Age report:
2004-07-23: Viacom has reported second quarter net earnings up 14% on a year earlier to USD 754 million (43 cents per diluted share, up from 37 cents) with operating income up 10% to USD 1.4 billion on revenues up 7% to USD 6.8 billion.
The increases were driven by its cable operations - revenues up 18% to USD 1.587 billion- and TV - revenues up 11% to USD 2.064 billion: Other divisions all recorded increases but much lower.
In descending order, Outdoor was up 5% to USD 584 million, Entertainment was up 3% to USD 951 million, Radio was up 2% to USD 561 million, and its Blockbuster video operation, which Viacom is expecting to separate off in October, had revenues up 2% to USD 1.421 billion driven by an increase in sales that offset a decline in rentals.
Infinity Radio operating income for the quarter of USD 267 million was flat as expenses increased 4%, primarily due to increases in marketing, program rights amortization and employee-related expenses.
For the six months to the end of June net earnings were up 33% to USD 1.5 billion (84 cents per diluted share up from 63%) and operating income was up 14% to USD 2.6 billion on revenues up 9% to USD 12.5 billion. Free cash flow for the period was up 25% to USD 1.8 billion.
The six-month figures included a charge of USD 56 million in the second quarter in severance charges following management changes, most notably the departure last month of Mel Karmazin as chief operating officer (See RNW June 2) and of Jonathan Dolgen as head of Viacom's entertainment group.
They also included recognition of a tax benefit of USD141 million, net of minority interest, from the resolution of the Company's federal income tax audit for the years 1997 through May 4, 2000.
Commenting on the results chairman and CEO Sumner M Redstone said Viacom had finished the first half with "an outstanding second quarter performance, highlighted by double-digit gains in net earnings and operating income and high single-digit growth in revenues."
He also said Viacom had made "made significant progress in our planned separation from Blockbuster and we expect it to be completed in early October."
Viacom says it expects deliver full year 2004 revenue growth of 5% to
7%, operating income growth of 12% to 14% and earnings per share growth of 13% to 15%, the latter two excluding a 2003 non-cash charge related to Blockbuster, the
2004 severance charges and the 2004 tax benefit from the resolution of the Company's federal income tax audit. It also said it intended to resume its stock buying programme after the separation from Blockbuster.
The company, which in May declared a quarterly cash dividend of six cents a share to stockholders of record at the close of business on June 1, 2004- paid on July 1, earlier this week declared another six cents a share dividend payable on October 1 to stockholders of record at the close of business on Aug. 31.
At its conference call, Viacom co-COO and President Les Moonves, commented on suggestions of sales of part of its radio portfolio, saying some were "great" and others marginal".
"We're going through our roster and looking at where there might be opportunity to swap or sell some of the stations," he said. "I don't know how extensive it will be - it probably won't be that extensive - but there are a few stations that we're looking to do something with, and I'm sure that before too long that will happen."
Moonves also commented on advertising spot loads in light of the Clear Channel announcement earlier this week (See RNW July 20) that it was to cut loads, saying Infinity had already quietly started a spot load reduction programme at some of its stations without making " a big announcement."
Moonves said there had been "a bit too much clutter on radio" on radio that was probably hurting programming and in markets where it made sense to reduce inventory and attract better pricing it had been doing so although the idea didn't make sense at all its stations.
In other results, Arbitron, which faces losing some 8% of its revenues should it fail to agree a new deal with Infinity (See RNW Jun 25) has reported second quarter revenues up 5.9% on a year earlier to USD 65.1 million but EBIT (Earnings before interest and taxes) was 1.7% down - from USD 16.1 million a year ago to USD 15.9 million.
A 39% reduction in interest charges to USD 1.9 million - Arbitron in June paid USD 10 million to cut debt to USD 75 million - came to the aid of the bottom line and net income was up 7.6% to USD 8.6 million.
At the company's conference call, President and CEO Stephen B. Morris took said of its failure to reach agreement with Infinity, "Without question Infinity's absence is a real loss for us and we are going to work very hard to get them back."
Analysts were told that without Infinity third quarter revenues should grow 1.5% to 3% , EBIT would be down 14.5% to 16.5% and net income would be down 11.5 to 13.5 % and full year figures are expected to be in line with Arbitron's update when the Infinity contract was not renewed: Revenues up 5-7%, EBIT to be down 5% to7% and net income to be flat to down 2%.
Morris also spoke of "definite progress" with the Portable People Meter, noting its adoption for TV ratings by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) in Canada just announced (See RNW July 22) and also of success in improving response rates.
Regarding the planned Houston trial of the PPM, Morris said that they were hearing an "increasing chorus from buying community for radio to participate" and he opined that there was time for the three companies that had said they would not take part - Cox, Infinity, and Radio One Inc. - to be brought on board.
Diary systems said Morris could not deliver all that advertisers required and that meant electronic measurement was needed and he was confident the radio industry would be on board by the time it mattered.
He ducked questions about long-term growth and details relating to negotiations with Infinity but said that Arbitron would continue to approach its customers in terms of the credibility and quality of its service.
Morris concluded by saying that Arbitron was very much alive and well and moving forward on adding quality and value and helping radio to better accountability via electronic measurement.
2004-07-23: Clear Channel has announced an "Advanced Technology Initiative" in conjunction with iBiquity to, in its words, "to identify, develop and deploy technologies and products that improve the quality of radio for listeners, advertisers and the industry."
The project, which will be tied in with an accelerated rollout of digital radio by Clear Channel, is to be headed by radio-technology expert Kevin Lockhart who has been appointed to the newly created position of senior vice president of technology development
Clear Channel says it is to install digital broadcasting equipment in 1,000 of its stations with the installation covering 95% of its top hundred markets within three years.
"Radio has a great opportunity to capitalize on new technologies," said Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan.
"Kevin Lockhart has been instrumental in advancing radio technology for many years, the past four with Clear Channel Radio. We're committed to leading the industry in this important area and he is an ideal person to lead our effort to exploit new technology developments."
Lockhart commented, "Digital radio is a transforming application and Clear Channel Radio is committed to passing on its benefits to our listeners. The ability to deliver radically improved, CD-quality radio programming and reception, along with data and related services, is a powerful advantage for the radio industry and an important advance for listeners."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-07-23: Philadelphia rock radio veteran Hy Lit is suing Infinity's oldies WOGL-FM for age and disability discrimination, saying his salary and benefits were slashed after the visible symptoms of his Parkinson's disease increased although it has not impaired his voice or "ability to perform as a radio music show host."
Lit, who is 71 and began his broadcast career began in 1954 as host of The Rock and Roll Kingdom on WHAT-AM in Philadelphia, was hired by WOGL in October 1988, first as a freelance announcer and then as an employee and disc jockey.
He is still broadcasting on Sunday evenings but he says that since his Parkinson's disease, a degenerative neurological disease that he contracted, in 1987 begin to show visibly about May 2000 the management progressively cut his salary.
It began by reducing his pay from USD 140,000 to USD 75,000 without reducing his on-air schedule of 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday then in March 2001 cut it again to USD 35,000 and limited him to Sunday nights.
In January 2002, the suit says, his employment was ended and he became a USD 700-a-month independent contractor without benefits.
The lawsuit against the station, its general manager Sil Scaglione, and Viacom Inc. and Infinity Broadcasting, calls for his reinstatement as a full-time employee plus monetary damages compensating him for lost back and future wages, emotional distress, and "loss of reputation and status in the community of his peers."
The suit adds that Lit continues to have the "enthusiastic support of the Philadelphia listening audience" and notes that his Sunday night program was the top-rated radio program for that time slot in the latest Arbitron ratings.
Philadelphia Inquirer report:
2004-07-23: BBC Radio 4 and BBC 7 controller Helen Boaden is to become Director of BBC News in September in succession to Richard Sambrook, who has been moved to become Director of the BBC's World Service & Global News Division in what has been seen by some as a sideways move to take the last senior executive involved in the Hutton inquiry and the row with the British government over its Iraq dossier.
In his new role Sambrook will be responsible for developing the BBC's overall global news strategy across radio, TV and new media.
Boaden will be responsible for all UK-wide news and current affairs across radio, television and new media and for all BBC News staff, including Newsgathering and both will be members of the BBC's new Journalism Board, reporting to Deputy Director-General Mark Byford, together with Pat Loughrey, Director Nations & Regions, and Stephen Whittle, Controller of Editorial Policy.
Nigel Chapman, who has been Acting Director, World Service, since February has been confirmed in the post: he will report to Richard Sambrook on all World Service activities.
Boaden's career background is that of a reporter, producer and editor of award winning TV and radio current affairs output, but she lacks experience in daily news output.
She began her journalistic career in 1979 on WBAI-FM in New York, joined the BBC on Radio Leeds in 1983, going on to become a reporter and editor of the BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme File on 4.
She won a Sony award for Best Current Affairs Programme for her report on Aids in Africa and in 1990 was also named Radio Industrial Journalist of the Year by the Industrial Society for an investigation into safety standards in the oil industry.
Commenting on her appointment, Boaden said, "It's a privilege to be asked to lead the team who will ensure that BBC News remains robust, original, independent and fair. I love Radio 4 and have had a truly wonderful time there but this is a huge and exciting new challenge which I shall relish."
Her current post is to be advertised shortly.
In the British commercial radio sector, Capital FM's "Flying Eye" traffic reporter Russ Kane has announced that he is to leave the station after nearly 20 years with the station, which he joined in October 1984.
His decision follows the death of his wife Sally from cancer at the age of 43. The couple had thought the disease, which she contracted six years ago, had been defeated and had co-authored a book "'Shout at the Moon'" about her experiences. They had six-year-old twin sons and Kane said he wanted to spend more time with the boys: He plans to take up a directorship at an advertising agency and continue with other media work.
Russ Kane web site:
2004-07-23: Big US media companies came under attack as being unresponsive to local issues at the Federal Communications Commission's localism meeting in Monterey, California, on Wednesday evening.
The meeting, the only west coast event of six such meetings being held, was presided over by Commissioners Kathleen Abernathy, Jonathan Adelstein, and Michael Copps with the latter two reiterating their concerns over consolidation in the US broadcast industry.
Abernathy told the audience at the Monterey Conference Center they were there to talk about the responsiveness of a broadcasting station to represent the public interests of communities and what obligations broadcasters had to serve the local community.
The hearing heard numerous expressions of concern about the inadequacies of broadcasts on local issues and also concern from Monterey County emergency services chief Harry Robins about increasing radio-station automation that could create difficulties in broadcast communications to the public should there be an emergency at night.
The broadcasters at the meeting defended their local activities and Buckley Broadcasting executive vice president Kathy Baker, said that serving local interests makes good business sense and is the right thing to do: Buckley owns two radio stations in Monterey County,
FCC localism hearings have already been held in North Carolina, Texas, and South Dakota and two more meetings are schedules, one in Maine and the other in Washington, D.C.
Monterey Herald report:
2004-07-22: The two giants of US Radio Clear Channel and Viacom's Infinity are now suing each other following an announcement by Clear Channel, already facing legal action from Infinity and Howard Stern's company One Twelve, Inc., that it is to counter sue in the matter of its cancellation of Stern's shows on six of its stations that had carried the programme.
Clear Channel says in its counter claim that the suit launched by the other two companies (see RNW July 2) has no merit because it had every right to drop the show because "certain shows were not in compliance with federal law and FCC [Federal Communications Commission] regulations, as is explicitly required by the contracts between the parties."
Infinity and Stern were suing for USD 10 million whilst Clear Channel has set a more modest claim of USD 3 million plus. It relates to lost advertising revenue, refund of monies paid to Infinity and One Twelve, Inc. while the show was suspended, and indemnification for fines imposed by the FCC relating to the Howard Stern show.
Clear Channel notes that the contracts for Stern's show stipulated that it could not alter it in any way and thus meant that it was powerless to remove "unlawful content" before it aired.
Clear Channel's Chief Legal Officer Andrew Levin said the Stern Show was dropped because he and Infinity "refused to assure us that future programs would conform to the law."
"That was a key term in the agreement," he added, "and we gave them every opportunity to make good on their word before we permanently retired the show."
Levin said to continue broadcasting Stern could have put its licences in jeopardy and commented, "We simply weren't willing to put the future of our radio station licenses in the hands of Mr. Stern or Infinity. Fortunately, our contract doesn't require us to do that."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-07-22: Sirius has reported revenues and losses in the second quarter to the end of June both up compared to a year ago, the former more than six fold from USD 2.1 million to USD 13.2 million whilst operating losses were up from USD 109.8 million to USD 133 million.
Adjusted loss from operations for the quarter was USD 97.3 million compared to adjusted loss from operations of USD 86.5 million for the second quarter of 2003
Overall Sirius reported a net loss applicable to common stockholders of USD 136.8 million (11 cents a share) compared with a net loss applicable to common stockholders of USD 111.8 million, (12 cents a share) a year ago.
At the end of June Sirius had 480,341 subscribers - it has now topped half a million - adding 128,678 during the quarter 81,185 of whom came from retail operations and 47,652 came via OEM installations through Sirius' automotive, boating and trucking partners.
Sirius President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton said the quarter was "a strong one" and "indicative of the excitement that we continue to generate for our premium programming."
He told analysts during the company's conference call that he expected OEM sales to grow and retail ones to decline.
Sirius also said during the conference that it has decided not to renew its in-orbit insurance policy on its three satellites after the policy expires at the end of this month.
CFO David Frear said that insurance rates had not risen to the point where it didn't make sense to keep the policies going and noted that DirecTV, Echostar, and Intelsat have all taken similar action.
Rival XM, which is still involved in negotiations with its insurers about the premature aging of solar reflectors on its two satellites, still has in-orbit insurance.
2004-07-22: The UK Guardian Media Group (GMG) has reported revenues up 20.7% to GBP 634.8 million (USD 1.17 billion) in the year to March 28, much of it due to taking full control of Trader Media, publisher of classified car advertiser Auto Trader (See RNW Aug 7, 2003), without which the rise was 6.6%.
The Group, which is owned by a trust, made an after-tax profit for the year of GBP 55.1 million (USD 101.3 million), up 68.5%
Within the results its national newspaper division cut losses by 17.3% to GBP 6.2 million (USD 11.4 million) on turnover up 5% to GBP 227.5 million (USD 418.2 million), its regional newspapers turned in a profit up 25.3% at GBP 30.7 million (USD 56.4 million) on turnover up 4.3% to GBP 127.2 million (USD 233.7 million); the Trader Media Group contribution to profit was up 73.2% to GBP 73.8 million (USD 135.6 million) on turnover up 68.9% to GBP 203.5 million (USD 373.7 million) and its radio division cut its losses from GBP 6.3 million (USD 11.6 million) to a third of this. Losses from other activities were down 21.5% to GBP 11.7 million (USD 21.5 million).
Chairman, Paul Myners, said the "resilience of the Group's structure and strategy "had "played a major part in a year of significant progress."
"Our companies have continued to perform well in a period of intense competition," he continued. "We have resisted the quick fixes which others have employed to confront the challenges of a rapidly changing sector. Our established policy of investing in quality and innovation is producing benefits for the future of the organisation."
Commenting on the radio division results chief executive Bob (Sir Robert) Phillis said it had "once again showed remarkable growth" with "growth in revenue and audience levels outperforming the radio industry as a whole."
On a like-for-like basis revenues were up by nearly 60%, with Jazz FM in London up 65% and in the Northwest, where it re-branded as Smooth FM in March having dropped the jazz format (See RNW Dec 9, 2003), more than doubling.
In May GMG sold its shareholding in Radio Investments Limited to The Local Radio Company plc for GBP 13 million (USD 23.9 million) : It has also disposed of its interest in Oneword Radio during the year, putting this on the books as a loss of GBP 300,000 (USD 551,000).
2004-07-22: Clear Channel, which in March applied to move the transmitter for its 50,000-watt News/Talker WWVA-AM, The Big One, out of Wheeling, West Virginia, to Stow, Ohio (see RNW Mar 28) , has now withdrawn its application to the FCC.
The station was founded in 1925 and is the oldest in West Virginia. It is best known for broadcasting, Jamboree USA, which started in 1933 and is the second-oldest country music program after the Grand Ole Opry.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-07-22: BBM Canada [The Bureau of Broadcast Measurement], the Canadian industry consortium for audience ratings, has adopted the Arbitron Portable People Meter (PPM) as the official ratings system for buying and selling commercial airtime on French-language television in Quebec and Montreal.
BBM, which acquiring exclusive rights to PPM technology in Canada in 1992, has been operating a PPM services since September last year in parallel with its current push-button system and is to phase the latter out in Quebec by the end of the year.
It is also examining the PPM as a potential radio audience measurement system in the province of Quebec and has already encoded all 28 local Montreal radio stations and is forming a local committee to look at the current methodology and the data provided by PPM. This committee will examine how to best utilize PPM technology in radio and draft recommendations on future uses of PPM by the BBM for radio audience measurement.
The PPM is being already used in Belgium to measure Flemish radio and television audiences for programming and marketing applications.
2004-07-22: Prosecutors in Arkansas have now charged two former KABZ-FM DJs following an investigation into their alleged distribution of hardcore pornographic DVDs last month that led to the cancellation of their morning show (See RNW July 9).
Faulkner County prosecutors charged Phillip Beard (Phlip Satchel) and Chris Brown of the former Morning Buzz team with two felonies each. Deputy Prosecutor Angela Byrd told Arkansas Business.com that the charges fall under state codes barring possession and distribution of obscene films and each charge carries penalties of one to five years jail and fines of up to USD 2,000.
The two are alleged to have handed out hardcore gay pornographic DVDs at the first-ever Conway Gay Pride Parade.
KABZ is owned by Signal Media whose president Phillip Jonsson said in a written statement, "I regret the embarrassing incident that involved some members of the Morning Buzz crew."
"My associates and I have begun the rebuilding process," he continued. "We are developing a morning show that will be entertaining, informative, humorous, ethical and Arkansas based. I am pleased with the actions we are taking."
Arkansas Business report:
2004-07-21: A report in Investor's Business Daily published as Clear Channel opted to cut back on its advertising load (See RNW July 20) notes falls of around a quarter in many radio stocks this year, including those of Clear Channel, and quotes one analyst who cut his rating as citing spot load as at the centre of the industry's structural problems.
Banc of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby, who cut his sector rating to neutral from buy, said the industry's increase in its advert loads had "it bastardised the product" as advertisers came to view ad availability as limitless, said Jacoby.
"The industry didn't learn the proper discipline. It acted a little immature," he added, noting that advertisers realised that many listeners switched station during long advert breaks.
Barrington Research analyst James Gosssaw few risks to Clear Channel because of its market leading position. He. said so far satellite radio was not yet a big factor although it was growing and added that the Clear Channel move, if rivals followed course, would "create a firming in the perceived values and price levels of the advertising inventory."
US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) president and CEO Gary Fries blamed the weakness of radio stocks on inexperienced analysts commenting that , "a bunch of analysts came on the scene," in the Internet boom when advertising was at a high point. He said radio had been growing at a steady pace and although it wasn't "blowing the doors off" it was "holding its own".
He also contended that the problem was a poor advertising environment for all media and that analysts weren't accustomed to seeing the industry function normally in relation to the economy.
Radio he said had advantages as an effective way to reinforce brand identity and a medium where it was easier to start a campaign.
He also cited an unreleased study showing that listeners consider radio ads more personal and relevant and said, "We in the radio industry do not see any deterioration in regard to our relationship with the consumer. We don't see a decline in anybody's camp except the investor community."
The RAB in conjunction with Arbitron has announced a "request for proposal (RFP)", led by former Infinity executive David Pearlman, to conduct a comprehensive study - to be funded by Arbitron - of the likely economic impact of the latter's Portable People Meter on the radio industry.
Pearlman said the study would look at various potential effects of the PPM on radio including its share of advertising revenue and also the potential impact on how radio sells, programmes and promotes the medium.
In preparation, he said, " we began the RFP development by travelling across the country, meeting with top radio executives to ascertain their expectations and goals for such a study."
Fries commented. "The RAB PPM Task Force has met with Arbitron executives several times over the past few months and has made the undertaking of this study a high priority."
"We understand that the timeliness and quality of a ratings system are major factors that affect the flow of dollars into a medium, yet by the same token, making a dramatic change to a new methodology can have a profound impact on how a medium is valued. It is essential that the radio industry understand the positives and negatives of electronic measurement and this study will examine what it might mean to move from diaries to the Portable People Meter."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-07-21: Media workers unions in conjunction with a number of Democrat politicians and the Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday called for full public hearings by the Commission as it reconsiders US media ownership regulations.
The reconsideration was made necessary by a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the unions said in a letter to FCC Chairman Powell that this meant the FCC now has an opportunity to "seek broad-based public input where the impact of such regulatory changes will be felt the most -- local media markets."
"That is precisely where our members work and where consumers get the bulk of their news, information and entertainment," the unions said, adding that the single field hearing held by the FCC last year was "woefully insufficient" to determine the effect the proposed rule changes would have in an already highly concentrated media industry.
A poll of 400 workers from a cross section of print and broadcast news professionals, commissioned by four media unions - The Newspaper Guild (TNG-CWA), the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA) -- both affiliates of the Communications Workers of America -- the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE)- shows that most believed industry consolidation already has compromised the quality of news reporting and feared that further media concentration will continue the trend and lead to too much control over the news by a few corporate executives.
Around 80% of those polled said there has been a lowering of journalism standards, with the most serious problem facing the industry being too much emphasis on the bottom line, in the view of 83 percent of the participants.
A similar proportion believed that things would get worse should further media concentration be allowed. Other top concerns include the influence of ratings or circulation on coverage and programming (82 percent); a loss of credibility with the public (79 percent); a declining quality of community coverage (74 percent); incomplete reporting and errors (73 percent), and too little focus on complex issues (72 percent).
On Monday, media activists launched a campaign -- organized by the Public Interest, Public Airwaves Coalition, comprising the United Church of Christ Office of Communications, the Alliance for Better Campaigns, Common Cause, and MediaChannel.org - designed to push local stations into providing more political and public-interest programming.
The Community-by-Community Campaign is said to be a response to falling cover of local elections and FCC Commissioner Michael J Copps said at its launch that he had read that many Americans saw more prime-time entertainment on a single night than election cover during an entire campaign.
Copps noted that in the four years from 1996 to 2000, cover of the Presidential race on network evening news had dripped by a third with the situation being even worse for local elections where in 2002 more than half local evening newscasts included no campaign coverage.
Copps commented that minorities in particular had suffered and commented, "In spite of the tidal wave of consolidation that drowned radio after 1996, the FCC charged ahead last June to make things even worse with its decision to unleash the same kind of Clear Channelization on the rest of our media.. .
Fortunately, that ill-advised and sorry decision galvanized millions of Americans across this country."
Commenting on the Philadelphia court decision he said now was not the time to appeal that but for the FCC to take advantage of the second chance it had been given and this time to "people in the process instead of shutting them out."
In a dig at FCC chairman Michael K. Powell, who had opposed public hearings, he said, " I have asked Chairman Powell to set up a series of ownership hearings around the country starting right away. We don't have time to waste on this. But it's been almost a month since I asked and, so far, no response."
"Now is the time for a rededication of our efforts. The good news is that, for now, we have checked the majority's mad rush to consolidation. But remember the rules have been returned to the very Commission that devised them in the first place. We could still end up with rules every bit as bad as the ones that have been returned to us. So we have a lot of work to do."
2004-07-21: BBC Radio 2 tonight (1800-2100 GMT) devotes its output to what it grandiloquently terms the first of its "Great British Music Debates" that will feature key British music industry figures discussing their industry.
Tonight's programme, hosted by Stuart Maconie, centres around a live studio-based discussion on music sales and also features specially recorded sessions from British music names along with features and documentaries. Listeners will be encouraged to text for their choice of Radio 2 sessions from artists including Sting, Pet Shop Boys, Elvis Costello, David Gray and Annie Lennox and one listener will get the chance to go to next year's South By South West Music Festival in Texas.
Amongst those listed as featuring in the programme are Xfm and former BBC Radios DJ Zoë Ball, DJ Paul Gambaccini and BBC Radio 1 Controller Andy Parfitt
The event follows a similar "debate" last year and is to be followed by two more this year, the next on November 10 at the same time.
Among topics expected to be high on the agenda are whether copy control technology actually stops people playing music, whether legal downloading will lead to the demise of the CD in the same way as this killed vinyl, the relevance of record sales charts in today's music business, and whether British radio should feature more British music.
BBC Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas said there had been "extraordinary" feedback about the future of music from last year's programme and continued, "One year on the issues are bigger and the risks for British music are even greater. Hardly a day goes by without the music industry hitting the headlines - downloading, ring tones, the charts, live music - so this year we are giving Radio 2 listeners even more access to put their views and questions to the people who shape and influence British music."
2004-07-21: Mexican radio company Grupo Radio Centro, S.A. de C.V. , which owns and/or operates 14 radio stations, 11 in Mexico City, has reported second quarter revenues down by 56.2% to MXN 116.7 million (USD 10.2 million), largely because of the effects of political expenditure in 2003 but also because of lower revenues as a result of its dispute with Infored that lost it the latter's top-rated "Monitor" news show: InfoRed subsequently won a court action in the dispute and has been broadcasting programming on other outlets (See RNW May 29).
Although it cut its broadcasting expenses for the quarter by 35.1%, the result of the lost revenues was to reduce broadcasting income by 78.4% to MXN 28.1 million (USD 2.46 million).
Grupo Radio's financing costs were also more than doubled primarily because of an increase in foreign exchange losses.
The company had a loss before provisions for income tax and employee profit sharing of MXN 25.7 million (USD 2.26 million) compared to a gain before provisions for income tax and employee profit sharing of MXN 8.4 million (USD 5.12 million) for the second quarter 2003.
Overall it had a net loss of MZN 23.1 million ( USD 2 million) compared to net income of MXN56.3 million ( USD 4.9 million) a year earlier.
For the half-year broadcasting revenues were down 49.6%, expenses were trimmed by 20.3%, broadcasting income was down 84.7%, and Grupo Radio ended with an operating loss of MXN 26.5 million (USD 2,3 million) compared to operating income of MXN122.8 million (USD 10.8 million) and an overall net loss of MXN 63.3 million ( USD 5.6 million) compared to net income of MXN 64.5 million ( USD 5.7 million) a year earlier.
In the US, Milwaukee headquartered Journal Communications, Inc. increased its net earnings by 36.8% to USD 20.8 million for the quarter to June 27 : The 2003 quarter had included a USD 1.5 million liability, net of tax, for employment-related taxes.
Operating revenues for the quarter, led by Journal's broadcasting operations, were up 4.3% at USD 208 million and Chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith commented, "Journal Communications finished the first half of 2004 with another strong performance, driven in large part by the same benefits that we have been reporting for the past three quarters. Chief among them were continued gains in productivity benefits from our new newspaper production facility, broad-based advertising revenue expansion at our publishing businesses and our television and radio stations and cost controls throughout the organization."
Journal's broadcasting revenues were up 12.2% to USD 42.3 million with publishing up 4.6 % to USD 83.6 million but telecommunications were down 1.8% to USD 36.8 million and printing services dropped 15.9% to USD 17.4 million. Other revenues were up 18.1% to USD 27.9 million.
For the half-year publishing revenues were up .38%, broadcasting ones up 10%, other revenues up 9.8% whilst telecommunications were down 2.4% and printing services fell 9.7% to result in an overall increase of 2.9% to USD400.7 million and net earnings up 31.9% to USD 36.5 million.
Previous Grupo Radio:
Previous Journal Communications:
2004-07-20: US radio giant Clear Channel has announced a plan to "significantly" cut the maximum number of minutes per hour of commercials on all its stations and also to reduce the number of adverts in a single stopset so as to cut the amount of "on-air clutter" on them.
In association with this it is to introduce premium positions within the shortened advertisement breaks, a move that it hopes will increase the advertisements value.
A similar move has already been made successfully in Australia by DMG on its Nova network where it has been able to charge a premium (See Jul 3, 2003).
Commenting on the move, Clear Channel Radio chief executive John Hogan said, "Clutter is a major issue in our industry and our decision to limit the amount of commercial time and length of breaks, while reducing promotional interruptions, will benefit listeners, advertisers and the industry as a whole."
The new Clear Channel caps will vary according to format and time of day - an example given was that country-music stations, which have been playing 18-24 minutes of adverts during the morning drive slot, will be limited to a maximum of 12 minutes an hour with no more than four minutes for a single break and no more than six adverts in a break.
The New York Times quoted Merrill Lynch broadcasting analyst Laraine Mancini as saying of radio's practices, "Radio wanted to take every dollar that was getting thrown at them. And you didn't have to produce more to do it; just take a song off and add commercials."
She added that the expansion of commercials into programme time had bred frustration, saying, "People don't want to spend a quarter of their time listening to the radio listening to ads."
The move will put pressure on other operators and Edison Media Research executive vice president Joseph W. Lenski told the paper, "Since they are the 800-pound gorilla, when they make a public stand on this, I think other groups in the industry will have to take notice."
However Infinity president and CEO Joel Hollander said that Infinity would continue to leave inventory decisions in the hands of station managers although he noted that since he arrived limits had already put on some stations such as Houston country station KILT-FM where commercial time was trimmed from 15-16 mins an hour to 12.
He said this had produced "positive results" in terms of higher ad prices and stronger ratings.
RNW comment: This move seems to us overdue. At one time there were regulations on the amount of advertising that could be run but when this was removed corporate owners in many cases in our view succumbed to short-term greed and overdid things.
Apart from the fact that in most parts of the world many people tune to another station when there are long runs of advertisements - frequently eight minutes and up to around 18 in the US - research shows that many others who may stay with a station mentally tune out after the first few adverts.
In the US there is a dilemma in that most listeners prefer fewer commercial breaks enabling music to be played longer but at the same time around an eighth of them go to another station when they hear the first advert - a practice that has more than doubled over the past five years - and others are taking up satellite subscriptions partly because of the absence of advertisements.
The balance, however, would appear to be swinging away from massive advertisement loads: We wonder now when the US will follow another likely DMG lead from Australia - moving towards targeting an older demographic more vigorously as demographics change rather than over-concentrating on the younger audience.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times report:
2004-07-20: Sen John McCain's bill to remove third-adjacent-channel protection requirements between LPFMs and existing stations, which would increase significantly the number of LPFM stations possible, is expected to be on the agenda today when the Senate Commerce Committee votes on several bills.
The move does not affect non-commercial FMs that radio reading services on their sub carriers and they will retain the protection.
In another move in D.C. today, unions representing half a million media workers will join with a number of members of Congress and the two Democrats on the Commission - Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein - in calling for full public hearings as the Federal Communications Commission reconsiders its rules on media ownership.
The Congress members will be California Democrat Diane Watson, New York Democrat Maurice Hinchey, Vermont Independent Bernard Sanders, and Washington Democrat Jay Inslee.
Unions represented will be the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA); the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET); The Newspaper Guild-CWA (Communications Workers of America) and the Writers Guild of America.
2004-07-20: The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) has organised a two-day Access to Capital Conference and Hall of Fame Reception that ends today in Washington D.C. and is bringing together financial institutions and entrepreneurs in the hope of increasing minority ownership in the broadcasting industry.
Currently minorities own only 4.2% of US broadcast stations by number and 1.3% by asset value and the MMTC hopes that the U.S.
Court of Appeals in Philadelphia June 24, commanding the FCC to begin immediately to find ways to advance minority ownership will aid them in their quest.
MMTC Executive Director David Honig commented that the ruling "ought to inspire a wave of investment in minority owned broadcast ventures": He added that the "the three greatest impediments to the growth of minority owned broadcasting are access to capital, access to deal flow, and regulatory initiative", all of which are on the agenda of the meeting.
2004-07-19: For the first time we can remember, Canadian radio got a fair sprinkling of coverage in the US last week and all about a French-language station in Quebec that most would never have heard of until the Canadian regulator decided not to renew its licence largely because of comments made by its two of its hosts (See RNW Jul 14).
Predictably most comment came on the basis of an attack on free speech and the cover north of the border was more comprehensive with a number of commentators noting that ample warning had been given and the hosts had pushed the regulator into a corner.
Amongst the better-argued comments we saw was one from Miro Cernetig in the Toronto Star: He began by noting, "At its raunchiest, filling the public airwaves with degrading jokes about the mentally ill, black immigrants and homosexuals, CHOI-FM is the sort of station most people call noise pollution."
He went on however to note that although it is the city's top rated station "best days the vast majority of the city's residents choose to tune it out" and continues to say that the decision had "suddenly elevated CHOI from being a relatively obscure source of local trash radio into a national cause célèbre in the fight for freedom of speech."
The hosts concerned André Arthur and morning man Jean-François Fillion he writes were only "regional celebrities" but now Fillion, "Instead of expressing regret or any sense of introspection over why his on-air musings are deemed indecent by so many, he is now using the larger stage to cast himself as a defender of free speech. With six weeks to go before the station is silenced, his aim is to stoke a revolt against the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) , hoping for a reversal."
The ploy, he says, seems to be working, and he goes on to comment," As the Montreal Gazette declared in a lead editorial this week, people don't like it when 'nine little-known commissioners appointed by the federal cabinet' silence a radio station. 'CHOI's commentators might be boorish troglodytes, but they're troglodytes with a right to speak and troglodytes with an enormous audience that has the right to hear them,' says the Gazette. 'If they break the law, prosecute them; if they commit libel, sue them. But Canada is too mature a democracy to use state power to silence them.'"
He suggests that rather than refusing a renewal, the CRTC could have opted for other measures - he suggests incrementally heavier fines, acting on each violation of broadcast standards or a suspension of the station's licence.
"Instead," he writes, "the commission lost it patience, opting to bring out its regulatory sledgehammer. CHOI may very well be silenced as a result. But not the show's famous host. Fillion's popularity and martyr status might even help him find another gig in front of a microphone."
In similar vein, Margaret Wente in the Toronto Globe and Mail in a comment headed, "How to become toast" was not to be numbered amongst the regulator's supporters. She starts by writing, "If all it takes is about 20 complaints a year to shut someone down, your humble pundit would have been toast long ago" and notes that over two years, the CRTC received 45 complaints about "racist, sexist, slanderous and crude on-air comments."
On the basis of a CAD 25 million (USD 19 million) value put on the station by owner Patrice Demers she computes it works out to works out to CAD 555,555 (USD 425,000) per complaint, even more than Howard Stern cost clear Channel.
Her solution? She quotes a station fans: "Sometimes, they go too far And then I shut off."
Which is a cue to go south of the border where today Howard Stern goes on air in nine new markets on Infinity stations. And in the same way that the CHOI decision has put heat on the regulator, so the decision to penalize Stern has aroused strong feelings.
In his case, however, it is conceivable that the effect could affect not just perceptions of the regulator but also the result of the US Presidential election.
Writing on this Bloomberg columnist Andrew Ferguson notes that this year Stern's "good candidate" is not "one of those moderate-to-conservative Republicans Stern has endorsed in the past, such as Ronald Reagan or George Pataki or Christine Todd Whitman...No, this year the good candidate is John Kerry. And Stern is devoting hour upon hour of airtime to boosting him and blasting his rival, President George W. Bush."
Putting the potential impact into perspective, Ferguson quotes Mike Murphy, a longtime Republican political consultant: "If you're a president running for re-election and 28 things go wrong in a week, Howard Stern turning against you is going to be 27th on the list Still, it's a symbol of something else that might be going on. Stern listeners should be Bush voters."
Murphy, who helped manage Whitman's 1993 campaign against New Jersey governor Jim Florio, added, "Stern's audience hated Florio, so Stern hated him too It was helpful to have (Stern's endorsement), but it was just an indicator of what was already happening.''
Ferguson notes the value of Stern's audience - "people who traditionally vote 60-40 Republican" to the Republicans and, whatever his political sincerity, his ability to read that audience, ending with another quotation from Murphy: If you're looking for what's going wrong for Bush, Howard Stern isn't the cause of it. But he is a symptom that something's going wrong.''
Stern was also the subject of a Chicago Sun-Times report by Mike Thomas who started off by commenting on Stern's liking for sex but then brought up other facets of his show.
While sex might sell the show, he wrote, " It invariably overshadows the far more imaginative elements of Stern's program (which grows more politically hued and virulently anti-Bush by the day) and gives his many detractors reason to whine and tattle. Stern, though, isn't famous because of sex. He's famous in spite of it."
He quotes fellow broadcasters in praise of Stern's qualities. From a non-fan, Steve Robinson, vice president of classical station WFMT-FM, who says he finds the show "unappealing" but monitors it occasionally out of professional curiosity, came the comment on the allure of the show: "To me, it says, in the most general context, people are attracted to informality on the radio. And I think he was a pioneer in that. It may not sound like much, but it is."
"As a matter of fact, I don't care what market you're in, I don't care if you're in the smallest market in Nebraska or in New York or wherever it is, there's always a Howard wannabe, there's always a Howard wannabe show. And that says a lot about his effect and about his enormous, I guess, creativity and impact. It's tremendous. And he's the best at it. I mean, I've never heard a local person who's the Howard wannabe who can even touch it."
A particularly glowing comment came from This American Life host, Ira Glass who said, "He's emotionally present and he's emotionally honest more than anybody hosting a program on radio or television." "In a typical show, you'll hear him rail like a maniac against the FCC, goad some girl into taking off her top and talk about his girlfriend in an utterly real way. I heard him the other day talk about his daughter going to the prom and what it was like to meet the prom date and how he felt like an idiot in a way that was really funny, but really, really real. Not put on... "Nobody else is that honest. It's hard to be that honest on the air."
And finally, still in Chicago, comment from Ed Schwartz's "Chicago Ed" column about the other US talk host, Rush Limbaugh.
This time the comment isn't about the host's honesty but the reverse. "' An old sage once said. Writes Schwartz, 'tell a lie often enough and people will start to believe it.' What's interesting is when the liar lies so often and with such conviction that he becomes convinced that his lie is the only truth."
"Need an example? Just try any Rush Limbaugh radio show. They're all the same. Hour after hour of Republican propaganda and conservatively skewed personal opinion often sans truth or a hint of fact or fairness."
After comment on some examples, his conclusion, "Rush Limbaugh is the most polarizing, one-sided, unfair talk show host I've ever run across. He likes to tell his listeners every day that his talent is 'on loan from God.' Too bad he didn't borrow some heavenly integrity to go with it."
RNW comment: Schwartz is obviously not of the same political persuasion as Limbaugh but there would in some ways be heavenly irony in the laws of unintended consequences should his comments on matters such as the abuse of Iraqi prisoners - something we cannot but hope would arouse the ire of any decent American - turn some people off his favoured candidate from one side of the talk-show spectrum whilst Stern was doing the same from the other.
After which, on to programmes worth a listen, and we start this week with radio drama from the BBC in the form of the Saturday Play on Radio 4 - Radio Daze, a psychological thriller set in Broadcasting House [the BBC's headquarters for radio] in 1956.
Then US politics, this time as seen last week (and on the Listen Again part of the site) through the eyes of Robert Hodierne, the senior managing editor for the Military Times in State of the Union, the second in a series being aired by Radio 4 on Friday evenings with a Sunday morning repeat - next Friday's programme (1950GMT) features New York Times correspondent Tim Egan.
Sticking with Radio 4, we move on to comedy with the Now Show (Friday 17:30 GMT with a Saturday repeat), which is currently on its usual strong form.
And for those with an interest in cult TV, last Saturday's "Britain in a Box", also Radio 4, looked at "The Prisoner" and the final show next Saturday takes a behind-the-scenes look at some other TV cult classics.
For music and comedy combined, BBC Radio 2 on Thursday at 21:00 GMT has The Day the Music Died, a topical weekly comedy for Radio 2 about events in the music industry: It is preceded at 20:00 GMT by Mark Lamarr's Shake, Rattle and Roll that this week features Texan Rock 'n' Rollers like The Veletones, Big Walter Price, Johnny Caroll and Jimmy Dee.
For those who want classical music, the 2004 Proms festival features on BBC Radio 3 during the current season and for those with more "pop" tastes we'd suggest BBC 6 Music's Dream Ticket tonight at 21:00 GMT three hours including The Animals and Neneh Cherry in session from 1965 and 1989 with the featured album coming from Dexy's Midnight Runners
Bloomberg - Ferguson:
Chicago Ed re Limbaugh (comment is in archive for July 12):
Chicago Sun Times - Thomas:
Toronto Globe and Mail - Wente:
Toronto Star - Cernetig:
2004-07-19: Former Clear Channel Florida host Clem Todd - Bubba the Love Sponge - has turned his attention to the law and politics and is running for Sheriff of Pinellas County, Florida, as the sole Democrat contending for the role.
Todd was fired after his show attracted indecency fines totalling nearly three-quarters of a million dollars (See RNW Feb 25). He is still off the airwaves.
He is facing whichever of two Republicans, long-time Chief Deputy Jim Coats - chosen as his successor by outgoing Sheriff Everett Rice, who is running for a Florida state House seat - or retired Ohio sheriff's deputy Tim Glassburner, wins their party's nomination.
Coats is expected to gain the nomination and has decried the idea of Bubba running an agency with an annual budget of around USD 225 million that employs almost 3,000 people.
Clem, who says he was a lifelong Republican until around two months ago, is running with the slogan "Common Sense Justice" and will be on the ballot as "''Bubba Clem."
He says he plans to bring an end to the "good old boy" network currently in place and improve communication between the Sheriff and the people who work in the Sheriff's Department.
He also said he'll give women and minorities opportunities to attain positions of power within the department, commenting, "I'm going to hire the best candidate, man or woman, regardless of race, colour or creed."
Previous Clear Channel:
Bubba news release re candidacy:
St Petersburg Times re Coats candidacy:
2004-07-19: Considering the likelihood of consolidation in the UK commercial radio industry that has been touted since the British Communications Act came into force last year, the UK Sunday Times says that the sticking point in a GBP 800 million (USD 1.5 billion) merger between Capital Radio and GWR has been the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) 29% stake in GWR.
It says Capital was reported to have made an approach about acquiring the stake in February but was rebuffed although there have still been serious talks between the companies.
The merger is seen as a good fit since Capital is primarily focussed on London whilst GWR is regionally focussed and thus would not expect severe problems with the competition authorities.
It also notes that Emap, which already holds 27% of Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH), is said to be interested in acquiring the rest and would also escape competition authority pressures because of the regional fit of the two companies.
UK Sunday Times report:
2004-07-19: Seattle radio is to gain yet more Spanish language outlets according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer which reports that Entercom is planning to sell KNWX-AM, one of eight stations it owns in Seattle, to Bustos Media Corp. of Sacramento, which plans to turn it from English-language business news into a Spanish-language outlet that will feature a mixture of locally produced programs and promotions and its nationally syndicated shows.
The call sign is to remain with Entercom and no announcement has been made concerning a new sign or the value of the transaction.
Seattle already has two Spanish-language stations and gains another today according to the Post-Intelligencer when Salem is to convert KTFH-AM, currently offering international programming as "The Bridge" to Spanish-language programming: Salem already operates Spanish language business station KKMO- AM "Radio Sol" and Multicultural Broadcasting's KXPA-AM also broadcasts Spanish programming.
Bustos president and chief executive Amador Bustos said the city was "under-radioed market for the size of the Hispanic audience" and added, "Seattle is a fast-growing Hispanic and Latino metropolitan market."
Bustos already owns four AM stations in Portland and he termed Seattle "a natural extension."
Entercom vice president and Seattle market manager Kevin McCarthy said the company decided to sell KNWX after looking at its portfolio of stations and concluding that the business format and the signal at 1210 wouldn't be able "to deliver the audience or (advertising) revenue vitality delivered by our other stations." He added that Entercom would be interested in a deal to purchase a replacement station to again take it up to the limit should one become available.
The paper says the deal has aroused speculation that Entercom, which was up to its market limit in Seattle, could be interested in Fisher Communications Inc.'s KOMO-AM but Fisher Chief Executive William Krippaehn said this was not so, commenting, "There's nothing for sale.
Previous Bustos Media:
Seattle Post Intelligencer report:
2004-07-18: Last week was fairly busy for the regulators almost everywhere with decisions of particular note coming from Canada, where a Quebec station was refused a licence renewal largely because of comments made by its breakfast hosts (see RNW Jul 14), and Australia where the new Melbourne licence that is to be auctioned next month has attracted seven bids (See RNW Jul 17).
In Australia, as well as the Melbourne announcement, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has also released a "Guideline for Licensees" regarding the process it is to use to decide whether it should review a commercial radio licence area plan should a program format be changed after a change in control of a licence.
The guidelines were released following a Ministerial direction that it has to consider whether to exercise its power to vary a licence area plan where, within three years of a change in control, a commercial radio program format changes from one of broad appeal to one of more limited appeal, and the change results in a reduction in the number of broad appeal services in a licence area.
The direction is intended to ensure that changes in control of commercial radio licences do not lead to reductions in the diversity or range of services available within relevant licence areas.
Should the relevant conditions come about the ABA has to consider whether to exercise its power to vary the relevant LAP to include one or more additional commercial radio broadcasting licences.
In Canada, as well as the controversial decision to refuse licence renewal to CHOI-FM and advertise a new commercial licence for Quebec, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has also been involved in a number of routine renewals and other decisions.
In order or province these included:
Approved licence renewal for national English-language radio network operated by NeXaudio.net Inc to 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for CKOV-AM, Kelowna to 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for CKBD-AM, Vancouver to 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for CFAM-AM, Altona to 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for CJAR-AM, The Pas, to 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for CFBC-AM, Saint John, to 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for community-based campus station CFRU-FM, Guelph to 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for CJWA-FM Wawa, and its transmitters CJWA-FM-1 Chapleau, and CJWA-FM-3, Michipicoten, until 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for community-based campus radio station CJAM-FM, Windsor to 31 August 2011.
Approved licence renewal for religious French-language FM VF8015, Shawinigan to 31 August 2011.
In Ireland, the main radio-related activity concerned two new Dublin licences for which the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has received seven applications (See RNW Jul 14). Also in Ireland, Dublin's pirate stations closed for a while midweek as a precaution fearing raids by the Commission for Communications Regulations (ComReg) (See RNW Jul 16).
The UK was quiet as far as specifically radio matters were concerned but Ofcom has issued its new Broadcasting Code for consultation (See RNW Jul 15).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been involved in an enforcement action in which it reduced the penalty against a Florida AM from USD 7,000 to USD 1,000 (See RNW Jul 13) but there was still no sign of action over rumoured heavy penalties for indecency against Infinity for the Howard Stern Show
The FCC was also involved in rulings over competing claims for a number of AM licences that led the Democrat Commissioners to call for a re-examination of the criteria used for such decisions (See below).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-07-18: Arbitron's spring figures are now to be released to publications following a reversal of the organization's announcement last week that it was to expand its "client exclusive" list so as to block publication of ratings from 106 markets, including all the ten and 90% of the top 50.
The company came under pressure from many publications and has now reduced to list to 31 markets, mainly small non-continuously rated ones.
The ratings - Arbitron has posted its latest list on its web site - will be marked by absence of Infinity stations as the stalemate between the two over a new contract continues.
Infinity, which said last month it was moving its ratings deal to Houston-based Media Audit (See RNW Jun 25) has not changed comments made last month by CEO Joel Hollander that it would "grow our business using other means" but Arbitron is still leaving the door open for a new contract.
It has been in the same situation before three years ago when Clear Channel let its contract expire and operated without ratings for a month until a new deal was agreed (See RNW Oct 7, 2001) and has also run right up to the wire on other occasions.
Clear Channel at that time was Arbitron's largest single client by far, accounting for around a fifth of its revenues: By contrast Infinity, which has 185 stations, accounts for around 9%.
Arbitron has already issued an update saying loss of the Infinity contract would cut its revenues by around USD 12 million and earnings by 5-7% (See RNW June 26): It is due to release its second quarter results on Thursday and President and CEO Stephen Morris is almost certain to find the issue of the contract at the top of the agenda for questions at its conference call.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-07-18: A call for the re-evaluation of criteria for balancing the interests between serving most people and serving communities with fewer broadcasters is raised by Democrat Commissioners Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J Copps in a statement issued together with a US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to refuse applications for review filed by losers in an AM auctiona for which there were mutually exclusive applications.
One licence went to Kemp Communications, Inc. for a new AM at Las Vegas, Nevada, and the two other applicants - Green Valley Broadcasters, Inc., which wanted an AM at Sahuarita, Arizona, and Nelson Multimedia, Inc., which had also bid for a Las Vegas station - had applied for a review.
The latter had failed to submit by deadline amendment details following the issue of a Mutually Exclusive Public Notice and had sought a waiver of the deadline; Both Nelson and Green Valley also contended that their applications were not mutually exclusive with that of Kempt and none of the applicants should have been required to file the additional information.
Green Valley also argued that the Commission was in error in its evaluation of the respective needs of Sahuarita and Las Vegas for an additional local service: It would have been providing a second local service to a community of 439,500 persons in the daytime and 20,122 at night, compared to Kemp's Las Vegas proposal, which would serve 836,318 persons in the daytime and 520,241 at night.
The Commission dismissed the review arguments and noted that in view of Sahuarita's proximity to the Tucson Urbanized Area and the fact there are in excess of five aural services available to Sahuarita and Green Valley's proposed service area, there is no reason to favour a second local transmission service at Sahuarita over additional service to a substantially larger number of persons.
The Commission also denied an application by Robert E. Combs for a review of staff decisions relating to his application for a construction permit for a new AM at Boise, Idaho, and his petition for leave to amend the application.
Combs together with Palmetto Radio Group, Inc., which wanted an AM at Sunrise Manor, Nevada, had filed applications exclusive with Kemp and Lotus applications for a Las Vegas AM.
The Commission had decided that the Las Vegas area applications had priority and ruled out Combs' application, putting only the latter forward to auction. It again decided to uphold the decision, finding no justification to reverse its ruling that the Las Vegas area applications had priority.
In yet another case, Nelson Enterprises, Inc. had made an application for a new AM at Plano, Illinois, that was mutually exclusive with an application from D&E Communications for a new AM broadcast station at Baxter, Minnesota. Nelson had argued that the applications were not mutually exclusive and that the staff had erred in their determination which application had priority under its rules. Both arguments were dismissed.
In their statement concurring with the decision, Adelstein and Copps, whilst concurring with the decisions made, said they were concerned that the priorities established in 1982 had "has devolved into a raw population comparison where the applicant seeking to serve the larger, more urban area nearly always wins irrespective of the number of stations already serving each community. "
"While service to a greater population is an important criterion under our public interest examination, we have concerns when it becomes the sole criterion," they wrote.
"As a general public interest priority, an applicant should have a chance to convince us that there are other compelling reasons - beyond mere population - to award its proposal a dispositive preference We believe there are ways to simplify the process and ensure rural applicants an opportunity to compete on a more even footing. We urge that in the near future the Commission will give some thought to re-evaluating its allocation policies, and in particular its treatment of the public interest assignment priority."
2004-07-17: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has announced that it has received seven applications for the new Melbourne commercial licence that is to be auctioned on August 12, the last of a series of four new commercial FM licences being issued.
They are from ACN 110 030 530 Pty Ltd; Banbury Pty Ltd; Daily Mail (UK Radio 3) Pty Ltd; GTShelfCo 2 Pty Ltd; HR Broadcast Investments 2004 Pty Ltd; Melbourne Radio Company Pty Ltd; and River View Radio Pty Limited.
The ABA says it will not be releasing any further details about the applicants but amongst the groups expected to be bidding are Macquarie Bank; RG Capital, for which the bank has put in a friendly bid; and a partnership between John Singleton and Sir Richard Branson: The licence has a reserve of AUD 1 million (USD 720,000) although it is expected to fetch AUD 70-100 million (USD 50-72 million).
DMG is tipped as the likely high bidder because of its interest in building a two-station network, similar to that of Austereo, in Australia's capital cities. DMG has won the earlier auctions for licences in Adelaide (for AUD 24 million (then USD 16.9 million - See RNW Nov 1, 2003)), Brisbane (for AUD 80 million (then USD 58 million - See RNW Apr 23)) and Sydney (AUD 106 million (then USD 78 million - See RNW Apr 16).
2004-07-17: The US House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property has been listening to re-hashed arguments about copyright and internet streaming this week at a hearing termed, "Internet Streaming of Radio Broadcasts: Balancing the Interests of Sound Recording Copyright Owners with Those of Broadcasters."
From the broadcasters came calls for an easing of restrictions, from the recording industry one for even more.
Giving testimony on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Susquehanna Radio's Group Operations SVP and GM Dan Halyburton said the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - a "burdensome and unworkable law" - had made it impossible to "to create a viable business model for simulcast streaming" contrary to the intent of Congress, which was to "foster Internet streaming while preserving the longstanding mutually beneficial relationship between the radio and recording industries."
Halyburton said the DMCA had created a recipe for "losing money" with rules that meant once a station attracted enough people to pull in advertising the rates went up to the extent that it lost money. He also said the rules meant stations were too restricted in programming, specifically because of a bar on pre-announcements and limits to number of cuts stations could play by one artist or from one album as well as being concerned about onerous record-keeping that might be required.
He repeated NAB calls for an end to fees for streaming a local on-air signal, for recording industry fees to be set at rates comparable to those of composers and songwriters rather than around six times the amount, for changes to statutory license conditions to make them consistent with broadcast practices and that record keeping and reporting requirements should not be such as to preclude streaming.
Halyburton argued that simulcasting over the Internet by terrestrial stations should be treated differently to streaming by web-only organisations but this was opposed by Jonathan Potter, Executive Director of the Digital Media Association (DIMA), who said the law should not differentiate solely on the basis of the technology used to deliver "deliver content to consumers" and argued further that exempting over-the-air broadcasts from recording fees whilst charging them to Net-only stations was an example of double standards.
Potter was in agreement with Halyburton in opposing "ephemeral copy" fees - additional charges made where songs are stored on multiple "server" computers to facilitate streaming and the "performance complement" restrictions on how often material can be played within a period.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continued to argue for even stronger regulation because of what its General Counsel Steven M. Marks termed the "tremendous pain" to the industry from peer-to-peer piracy and resultant losses in sales. Marks argued that broadcasters were "free to ask" copyright owners for different terms from those in the DMCA (RNW comment: Please Mr Piranha, would you bite less?) and also expressed concern about technology that could record webcasts and the potential for recording digital radio broadcasts that he felt required stronger regulation. (RNW comment: Bearing in mind the technical limitations and thus inferior quality of streamed material would it be so crazy to suggest that the industry might stress the technical superiority of CDs and thus use streaming - like terrestrial broadcasts - as a promotional tool? We suggest until this particular ostrich - which had in our view become fat, complacent and lazy - gets a really large kick up its rear it will remain with its head in the sand.)
2004-07-17: A UK analysts note to clients says that Capital Radio and GWR Group are believed to be "far into the negotiations" but "stuck on management issues and relative valuations" according to the UK Guardian.
It cites the note from Panmure Gordon analyst Jesper Jensen as a sign there could be something in the rumours that Capital Radio and GWR Group are set to kick-start the long awaited consolidation of the radio sector and says the stockbroker's team is convinced that the two companies are discussing a nil-premium merger.
UK Guardian report:
2004-07-17: WRMF-FM, Palm Beach, former morning co-host and program director Russ Morley is suing the station's owner Palm Beach Broadcasting LLC for breach of contract, alleging that the station owes him at least USD 70,000.
The Palm Beach Post says that according to the suit filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court Morley had a contract under which, if he was dismissed, the station either had to continue to employ him for four months or pay him six month's salary.
He was being paid USD 140,000 a year plus health insurance, bonuses and 20 vacation days according to the suit.
RNW comment: Let us not think of such terms as "greed" and "conceit" but comparing this with the USD 12 million lawsuit launched against public station WAMU-FM by its former general manager Susan Clampitt (See RNW Jul 16) is an interesting exercise. Perhaps Morley is a tougher character when it comes to "physical, emotional and psychological distress" for which Ms Clampitt wants USD 3 million. Potential future employers will presumably take such details into account for each of the two.
Palm Beach Post report:
2004-07-16: Quebec station CHOI-FM, whose licence renewal was denied by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission earlier this week (See RNW Jul 14) has launched a campaign for public support and says it is to seek a judgement to suspend the decision - due to take effect when the licence expires on Aug 31 - and then plans to ask Canada's Federal Court to overturn the ruling.
Genex Communications Inc. has retained National, one of Quebec's most prominent public-relations firms, to lobby on its behalf and its CEO Patrice Demers says he will petition the federal cabinet.
He has managed to get some prominent political support including that from opposition Conservative Leader Stephen Harper who said the decision was heavy-handed and in a news release pointed to the freedom-of-speech provisions in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
On the other hand CRTC chairman Charles Dalfen said that the decision came down to a balance of rights, commenting, "It's a matter of balancing it against equal and opposite rights. This is not about controversial comments. It is about abusive comments."
Quebec City MP Christiane Gagnon, who is heritage critic for the Bloc Québécois, said there is blame on both sides and added that the punishment was very severe the station through its actions left the commission little choice.
Alan Borovoy, chief counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, told the Canadian Press that is was risky for the state to be able to take such strong action.
"Of course, freedom of speech is not an absolute," he said. "There could be legitimate restrictions on free speech. But you're dealing here with the CRTC's licensing power. It's a very risky proposition to have a licensing power used in this way."
Most newspaper editorials including those in the Toronto Globe and Mail and Toronto Star expressed similar concerns and already the station, which has a history of mobilising public opinion against authority, has already garnered significant support from its fans.
RNW comment: Bearing in mind that CHOI's owner Patrice Demers is known as an accountant of conservative views rather than a strong defender of civil liberties as such, we still suspect that almost all of his protests are related to profits not any genuine free speech concerns: Indeed he almost said as much in an interview when he commented that if the CRTC did not think he was responsible enough to own the station, he should have been given the opportunity to sell it rather than have its value destroyed through loss of the licence.
That suggests to us that he gamble on continuing to get away with things and now seems to have lost: There is an issue of free speech but in the end Demer's finances seem to us a side issue as regards this.
As we have already commented, if this decision opens the way to a rational and thoughtful debate on how far the state should regulate, so much the better. In so doing, however, it has to be recognised that for many a businessman the only real sanction is financial and licence loss is the ultimate one with massive fines - which would attract the same editorials of concern - the only other one with teeth.
It does seem to us, however, that if the conclusion is that the state should have no say in content - except maybe in terms of formats so as to ensure diversity - then the beauty contest system of allocating licences is inappropriate. The logic then is to re-auction the licence to the highest bidder at the end of each term: That way the public gets maximum payment for its spectrum and control is honestly dumped by government and stations, subject only to normal civil law, have the right to be as obscene or obnoxious on the airwaves as they can get away with.
Toronto Globe and Mail editorial:
Toronto Star editorial:
2004-07-16: Ireland's Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Dermot Ahern has suggested that the country consider moving away from its current "beauty contest " system in which the regulator evaluates a winning radio licence bid to an auction system.
The suggestion follows the release of a report on radio licensing that was commissioned from Netherlands-based Ox Auction Experts on which comments are being invited with a deadline of the end of September.
Ox were given a remit to conduct a study of the objectives, process, structural issues and policy interface around the licensing of radio services in Ireland, along with an analysis of international best practice.
The report identifies five "key actions" for the development of radio licensing policy:
*maximising use of spectrum for radio broadcasting,
*improving licensing procedures,
*focussing on effective output enforcement,
*clarifying objectives of ownership rules, and
*establishing clear digital radio policies
The report says more "transparency" is needed in licence allocation and comments that the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) does not appear to have an overall strategy for the future release of the remaining FM and AM spectrum.
It says the current approach also has core weaknesses in terms of "a defined lack of predictability and accountability, which are both related to the absence of a systematic approach to evaluating applications based on clearly defined evaluation criteria. Indicating the key criteria to be used and their relative importance in evaluating applications could address this weakness" but then continues, "In order to reduce the subjectivity of the licensing process, an auction could be considered as an alternative procedure."
"Beauty contests can be made very transparent and rather objective, but at the end of the procedure, there is always an element of subjectivity. If bids are of comparable quality, then the decision ends up in a rather grey zone."
It notes that because of the subjectivity element, the Dutch government, whilst not moving to a full auction system, introduced a financial bid as a decisive factor in case of tied bids in the beauty contest.
In concludes that in the end the decision to stick with a beauty contest or move to an auction is essentially political and notes," An auction procedure may work well if the values of the licences are relatively high In the case of companies that operate around break-even (like smaller local radio stations) there is no room for a substantial bid, so an auction could generate random results"
Ahern said would consider seriously the licence award process and added, "In certain circumstances, radio licences give rights of use to highly-valuable economic resources. Auctioning of such licences may be one suitable and fair way forward in licensing such national resources."
He also commented, "Independent radio in Ireland has flourished in recent years. I wish to see the continuation of that success. This review involves a far-reaching assessment of our radio licensing process and has identified a number of areas that we will need to address. I am interested in hearing the views of all concerned."
"Not all available spectrum is being used. We owe it to the listener to ensure that the broadest range of programming is available. This could include specific licences for formats not covered or under-served by the existing mix of stations, such as specialist music stations."
Irish Government site - links to Consultation paper (407kb, 14 page PDF) and Ox Review (1.7Mb, 133page PDF):
2004-07-16: Former WAMU-FM general manager Susan Clampitt, who was dismissed last year following reports of financial and morale problems at the station ( See RNW Nov 1, 2003), is suing American University, the station's owner, and its president Benjamin A. Ladner for more than USD 12 million in damages according to the Washington Times.
The paper says Clampitt's suit for wrongful termination includes USD 3 million for "severe physical, emotional and psychological distress" and that she is claiming that WAMU host Diane Rehm "informed several individuals" in July 2003 that she intended to force Ms. Clampitt from her job.
The suit says Ladner approved Clampitt's "financial and budgetary recommendations" and failed to take any responsibility for the "policies and practices that caused staff discontent."
Washington Times report:
2004-07-16: Dublin's main pirate operators opted to go silent on Wednesday in view of reports of impending raids: Staff from the Commission for Communications Regulations (ComReg) have recently been seen taking photographs of station sites, actions that in the past preceded obtaining warrants to enter property, and have also visited some mountain sites.
Some dozen pirates are thought to have gone off the air as a precautionary measure but Kildare pirate Passion FM could still be heard and in the evening some low-power stations were also on the air.
In May last year, ComReg launched a significant action against the pirates in what they have subsequently termed "Black Wednesday."
At the start of this month ComReg secured eight convictions of pirate operators in the Dublin District Court and reminded "operators, landowners, advertisers and anyone who facilitates illegal broadcasting that they may be in breach of the law and could also be liable to prosecution."
ComReg web site:
2004-07-16: Jones Media has announced a number of executive changes following the announcement that Ron Hartenbaum is leaving Jones MediaAmerica to form WYD MediaManagement, which will develop new commercial network radio programs that will be marketed and distributed by Jones.
Hartenbaum, one of the founders of MediaAmerica, which was sold to Jones, has previously worked for ABC Radio and Westwood One and developed sales and marketing programmes for the NFL, NCAA and the Motor Racing Network. He is also on the board of advisors for the Washington, DC-based producer of liberal radio programs Democracy Radio.
His role at Jones will be taken over by Robert Hampton, who will also be CEO of Jones MediaAmerica and remain Group VP/Director of Jones International.
Gary Schonfeld becomes Exec. Vice Chairman/Radio, and takes a seat on JMN's board of directors and JMA EVP/COO Jed Buck becomes the division's president.
Previous Jones Media :
2004-07-15: The UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom has published for consultation its proposed Broadcasting Code that next year is to replace six codes of practice from the regulatory bodies incorporated into it including the UK Broadcasting Standards Commission codes on standards and programmes and the Radio Authority News and Current Affairs Code and Programme Codes plus the sponsorship rules contained in the Radio Authority Advertising and Sponsorship Code.
Amongst the ideas it has mooted are a proposal to weaken sponsorship restrictions that currently prevent news presenters from hosting sponsored programmes and TV companies from mentioning a sponsor during a show except when editorially justified, a restriction that does not apply to radio.
It is also proposing to allow some sponsorship by betting companies of programmes concerned with horse or greyhound racing of betting; they are currently not allowed to sponsor these programmes although they may sponsor others.
It would also ease restrictions on the way sponsors messages can be worded by broadcasters , although still insisting that any such messages do not "undermine the principles of separation, editorial integrity or transparency".
In addition, provisions in last year's Communications Act stipulating the protection of under-18s are to be incorporated in the new code.
Ofcom says the draft code improved the balance of regulation by placing greater emphasis on rules to safeguard the young, and in particular children ( the under-15s) by better targeting of many rules that were previously applied to all channels whether or not they were aimed at a younger audience.
Also potentially affected are broadcasts of programmes from foreign news channels which, although they would still have to comply with accuracy and impartiality rules, may be forced to carry on-screen information about their origin.
Ofcom says that research carried out last year and complaints received during the Iraq war suggest that UK audiences require an indication of whether news they receive was primarily made for an overseas audience.
Comments on the proposals have to be submitted by October 5.
Ofcom News release (Links to draft document - 3PDFs totalling 718 kb/ 148 pages including Annexes):
2004-07-15: The BBC's Director of Radio and Music Jenny Abramsky has strongly defended the corporation's radio services in a speech on the final day of the UK Radio Festival in Birmingham.
She also revealed that it is to publish the monthly online, streaming and 'on demand' performance of all its national radio stations on the internet.
She took up head-on some of the criticism of BBC services commenting that some of her commercial colleagues had referred to it as "The State Broadcaster" and also the call for the BBC to broadcast only services that are not provided by the commercial sector.
"We are the public service broadcaster, not the State one," she said. "There is a considerable difference - our independence is the most important thing. As [BBC chairman] Michael Grade has said, unlike the US 'Britain took a different, public service path. It set out... unashamedly, to build an instrument of public value'."
"Does BBC Radio continue to deliver public value?," she asked. "Will it continue to bring something special and impactful for its listeners, citizens, society as a whole?"
"I have been hearing some of those old 'Himalayan' arguments coming forward once again in the debate about this Charter Let the BBC be there to do what the market does not and leave the market to do everything else."
"I have even heard some argue that the BBC should develop programmes and services when a market is in its infancy to help it grow - and then withdraw when that market reaches maturity."
Rejecting these arguments Abramsky commented on the value of the BBC's speech networks, Radio 4 and Radio Five Live, in particular relating to news coverage, and then noted that "The provision of news and current affairs" was also central to the remit of its music channels noting examples such as 1Xtra documentaries on Islamic Pride. She went on to comment on the main BBC "pop" music channel, "Public service radio stations must push the boundaries and tackle difficult issues For Radio 1 that means putting news programmes in the heart of its daytime schedule with a programme like Newsbeat, and delivering programmes, like Sunday Surgery, which help the youth of this country deal with simply being young today.
"It means a music network covering D-Day anniversary and explaining to today's young people what the young of 60 years ago had done for their future."
Although she paid tribute to commercial radio in a number of areas such as its support of digital broadcasting and role in local communities, Abramsky stressed that their role and that of the BBC was different.
"What a public service broadcaster must do in the 21st century is grow talent, develop public taste, underpin cultural life," she said. "The universality of the licence fee demands it. By supporting British talent - writers, musicians, performers - and enabling a rich diverse culture to thrive in the UK, BBC Radio creates cultural and creative value Commercial radio, understandably, reflects what the public like, but you need the BBC supporting music at its roots and across the board, if public taste is to grow.
She specifically defended Radio1, which she noted attracts around half the UK 15-24 demographic, in terms of its news and music, with particular reference in the latter case its support for "terrific new music" and for live music, noting, in a sideways swipe at some commercial stations, "We want to broaden tastes not narrow them."
In similar vein she said of BBC Radio 2 that it "nurtures talent, plays the broadest range of music, more than any other radio station, supports folk, jazz, gospel as well as operetta and rock 'n' roll
It invests in music documentaries that expand your appreciation of music "
Then in another sideswipe, she commented, "Radio 2 has always spoken to a broad audience. I know some of you here would like that relationship to shrink... Well I applaud Radio 2 because, in growing its audience, it has done so with quality programmes and taken creative risks along the way."
After similarly commenting on the cultural value and services from other channels including Radio 3 and newer digital channels, and admitting "the privilege of licence funding", Abramsky commented that the "BBC with its public funding has an extra responsibility and must invest in moving radio and its listeners forward, using and consuming new technology."
She noted comments made by Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) David Elstein earlier: "David Elstein said on Monday and I quote: "One of the things about the BBC is, its ability to address audiences, creatively and inventively, has kept it going. BBC Radio has deeper roots than television has... as long as we all appreciate the point of BBC Radio, and the value over and above, BBC Radio will still be a significant player. Amen to that."
Elstein in his speech, the Guardian Media Group Radio Lecture, had concentrated on commercial radio's value, noting that it accounted for more than three quarters of local radio listening, 62% of all listening by under 35s, a 76% share of children's listening [RNW comment: We are not quite sure from the ratings exactly how this is calculated] and commented, "It is an innovator, and has developed new formats throughout its 30-year history, including the sports phone-in, jazz, classic rock and dance music stations, services for Asian, Greek and Afro-Caribbean listeners, and the mix of light music with current affairs and information which is now almost universal. Sadly, this is not the buoyant picture of commercial radio you would get if you were to read, say, the BBC Charter Review documents."
Regarding industry consolidation, he noted that since the passage of the Communications Act only 11 of the 23 stations that had changed hands had been bought by existing groups and continued, "Of course, more consolidation can and will occur but consolidation brings benefits in our experience and to suggest that it is an inevitable signal of downward progress is frankly just a cheap shot."
He then went on to consider allegations of narrow syndicated playlists: "a careful choice of music is important to all music stations but local commercial radio does not rely on central music playlisting to hold and increase its audience - it relies on providing relevant and timely local programming. Some companies do share the task of music scheduling among stations. It makes sense, because it saves duplicated tasks taking up valuable resources."
Also speaking at the festival was the founder of Iraq's first talk radio station, Radio Dijla: Ahmad al-Rikabi, former head of the US-funded Iraqi Media Network, said his inspiration for the project came from BBC Radio Five Live and London LBC.
He said that staff at Dijla were trained through listening to the two British stations on the Internet so as to gain an idea how to treat callers and pace their speech.
"I found it very difficult to explain to the staff what is talk radio. It took me a while to explain this. So I had to bring them into my room and switch on the computer to surf the net and I made them listen to 5 Live and LBC. I said this is how talk radio sounds," he said.
al-Rikabi said the station's success was founded on talking to ordinary people about their priorities when other stations were concentrating on the politics of the Iraqi government and Coalition.
"One of the things that made it popular was the priorities of Radio Dijla. For the Iraqi listener his priority is the tomato price today, how much it costs. We are following the agenda of the street," he said.
He also noted the benefits of being able to use the local vernacular whereas the BBC Arabic service, which broadcasts to 22 countries, had to use a traditional form of the language and of the problems he had faced when with the Iraqi Media Network, the US-funded broadcaster.
"On paper we had a budget of USD 65million," he said, "but in reality I had to negotiate for four days to get some money for one of our newsreaders who was receiving USD 60 a month, while the adviser in charge was on USD 1,000 a day despite having no media experience."
Previous Al Rikabi:
UK Guardian Radio Festival page (RNW note: The Guardian is a sponsor of the event and this page links to a good range of stories about the event and also UK broadcasting more widely):
2004-07-15: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has refused to allow complaints against Greater Boston Radio concerning comments made on WTKK-FM, Boston, that had led to complaints from the US Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which called for the dismissal of talk host Jay Severin (See RNW Apr. 25).
The FCC received a number of complaints about the comments that were alleged to have advocated violence against Muslims but said that on First Amendment grounds and in accordance with precedence that it takes enforcement action in such cases only when a court has adjudged that the broadcast posed a "clear and present danger."
RNW comment: In this US context, as opposed to the one in which CHOI-FM has been refused a licence renewal largely because of comments by its morning show hosts (See below), we think the FCC policy is correct. Our view is strongly that in such cases the insistence on a prior legal adjudication concerning the broadcast is sensible albeit we would have no problems with a corollary of three-strikes and you risk losing all your licences and being totally out of the business should a licensee breach civil law repeatedly.
What we do find objectionable is an effective change of penalties without warning - as has happened with indecency penalties in the US. We also think a strong case can be made that there is something seriously amiss with a society that offers the degree of protection it does to the comments of some talk hosts yet wets its knickers at the mere mention of a sexual organ or function.
2004-07-15: Sirius says it has now surpassed half-a-million subscribers to its satellite radio service and expects to reach one million by the end of the year.
President and CEO Joseph P. Clayton described the number - around a third of the subscriber total for rival XM - as "another major milestone" and added, "In the second half of the year, we expect to attract many additional subscribers as more consumers recognize our premium programming, and tune-in to our broadcasts of live, play-by-play coverage of NFL games."
Sirius also announced that former NFL head coach Dan Reeves has signed on to host a daily weekday morning talk on Sirius NFL Radio, which is due to launch on August 2nd and will be the first 24/7 channel devoted entirely to comprehensive coverage of pro football.
XM, which has not pushed sports as hard as Sirius, has just announced that it is to broadcast Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Pacific-10 Conference (Pac-10) collegiate football and men's and women's basketball games from this fall (autumn) as part of its basic channel line up. No details have been released of the agreement to carry the games.
2004-07-15: In more signs of developing strength for digital radio, Sony and Morphy Richards have each announced moves in the UK market whilst RadioScape has announced two new DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) modules and in Australia Sydney 2UE morning host John Laws today opens a digital radio display at the store in the suburb of Alexandria.
The two UK receivers are the Sony XDR-S1, a DAB-FM(RDS) -AM set to be introduced in September, and Morphy Richards Ordio DAB, a 2 band, battery and mains operated DAB radio with FM RDS.
Digital radio now accounts for nearly two-thirds of UK sales by value but more than two-thirds being bought by those aged 35 plus and the Ordio has been designed to appeal to younger purchasers; included in its features are a rewind facility that can be set to allow the user to skip back up to 10 mins in time if the start of something has been missed. -
Commenting on Sony's entry into the market Ian Dickens, Chief Executive of the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) said, "The significance of Sony's arrival to the DAB digital radio market cannot be overestimated. It speaks to the growing maturity and robust nature of a new technology that is rapidly capturing the consumer's imagination, and delivers a message of confidence to both retailers and manufacturers."
There was also a boost to digital's hopes in the UK at the Radio Festival in Birmingham this week where Ofcom's senior partner in content and competition Kip Meek suggested that the ending of analogue transmissions in the UK could come soon after the targeted ending of analogue TV between 2010 and 2012.
Some radio executives at the meeting including GWR chairman Ralph Bernard supported the idea, mooted earlier this month by Culture secretary Tessa Jowell, of setting a target date for ending analogue (See RNW Jul 8).
Bernard suggested this would provide an incentive for manufacturers to increase their range of digital receivers: Others remained more sceptical with both Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) chairman David Elstein and Guardian Media Group (GMG) radio chief executive John Myers putting the likely date at more like 2025-30.
BBC Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden suggested that cost was a key factor, noting that you could still buy a "a perfectly good analogue radio" for under GBP 10 (USD 18.50)
The new modules from RadioScape are a module specifically for automobiles that can process three DAB channels on a multiplex simultaneously to provide any combination of audio channels and data channels of news or travel information and an advanced Tri-Band DAB Receiver module designed for personal audio recording that will be available in August, in time for receivers targeted at the 2004 Christmas market.
The latter allows pre-programmed recording and can accept MMC and SD removable memory cards as well as having a USB connection to transfer audio to computers. It will be priced around USD 40.
The automobile module is said to have been designed specifically to provide optimum reception whilst rejecting electrical interference and also features service linking that will automatically tune into another DAB transmitter of FM signal when an automobile moves out of range of a station.
The Sydney display will feature a selection of top selling receivers from round the world including boom boxes, pocket radios and PC cards by PURE Digital, Goodmans, Sangean, Blaupunkt, Bush, Morphy Richards and Ministry of Sound and a highlight will be the Bug - just launched by Pure Digital and the first radio in the world that lets users pause, rewind and record live radio.
After a three month stay in Alexandria the display will move on to different retail locations over the next year.
Twelve Sydney stations are currently simulcasting their signals on digital as part of a consumer trial of the technology.
2004-07-15: Quebec City CHOI-FM owner Patrice Demers says he is to go to the courts to save the station, which employs 35 people and whose licence renewal application has been rejected by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) largely because of a history of offensive comments by its morning show hosts Jean-François (Jeff) Fillion and André Arthur (see RNW July 14).
Demers told the Toronto Globe and Mail it was a matter of free speech, commenting, "You just witnessed an act of censorship that is totally unjustified and incomprehensible. I will probably lose CAD 25-million (USD 19 million) because I stood by my hosts and gave them freedom of speech."
Although CHOI had also been involved in a number of regulatory breaches the announcement laid significant emphasis on the material broadcast and CRTC chairman Charles Dalfen told the paper, "This is the first time that the non-renewal is based on a pattern of verbal content as exclusively as this one is," adding, "This was a unanimous decision of the panel. We felt there were no other options."
CHOI's controversy-seeking style had gone along with a rise in the station's success: It was losing money and was bottom of the ratings when Demers purchased it in 1996 but has since moved up to top rank.
Although the morning hosts have not attracted much support more concern has been expressed over the effect on employees working on other shows and Florian Sauvageau, head of the journalism program at Laval University, although accepting that the regulator had little option but to crack down after giving a series of warnings expressed concern about this and the effect on freedom of speech.
"The CRTC has deprived afternoon journalists and hosts of their means of expression, even though they didn't cause the same problems as the morning (crew)," he said.
RNW Comment: Bearing in mind the warnings that had been given - and that CHOI had agreed to become a member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) yet continued as before - we don't have that much sympathy for Demers although we do for some of the station staff. In the end, either there is a regulator for companies using public airwaves, in which case it needs enforcement powers, or there is a free-for-all.
If Demers felt strongly enough about free speech, he should have been doing more to campaign on the issue as such rather than just continuing to flout warnings. There is little doubt that many of the comments made by the hosts were bigoted and objectionable and equally that they attracted a significant audience - the real question is how far a society wishes to limit comment using airways leased from the public and the deeper debate of how any media or publicity organisation should also be allowed to do the same (as for example Clear Channel's right to refuse to accept an anti-war poster that is definitely not illegal on its site in Times Square, New York).
In the particular case concerned we end up agreeing with the regulator although we feel a public service will be done if proper public debate ensues rather than just sloganeering from one side or the other.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2004-07-15: US radio revenues that in March were up 10% and in April 4% were only up 1% on a year ago in May according to figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) with local revenues up 1% but national revenues down 1%.
For the first five months of the year, combined revenues are now up 3% with local revenues up 4% and national revenues up 2%.
RAB's Sales Index, which equated pre-dot com 1998 to a base of 100, the combined May figure was 134.9, the local sales index was 134.4and the national sales index was 137.3: Year to date indices were 140.5, 140.1 and 142.1 respectively.
Putting gloss on the slowdown, RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "The recovery continues to be without big energy, but comments from advertisers indicate that there is a lot of optimism for the fall on the planning table. For the shorter term, June is shaping up for enhanced growth, with local continuing to lead ahead of national."
Previous RAB - figures for April:
2004-07-14: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced that it is deny renewal of the licence of controversial Québec station CHOI-FM when it expires at the end of August and will be advertising a new French-language commercial FM licence for the city. The Commission has only denied renewal of five licences previously since it was founded in 1968.
CHOI was bought by Genex Communications Inc. in 1997 since when its programming has been the subject of numerous complaints about the conduct of the morning show -and material aired by Jean-Francois Fillion and André Arthur that the CRTC says included "offensive comments, personal attacks and harassment."
It also notes that "on numerous occasions" Genex had failed to comply with Canadian regulations as well as the station's Code of Ethics, adherence to which is required by one of its conditions of licence and says it "considered that offensive comments made by the hosts over the station's airwaves tended or were likely to expose individuals or groups of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of mental disability, race, ethnic origin, religion, colour or sex The Commission also considered, among other things, that the station's hosts were relentless in their use of the public airwaves to insult and ridicule people."
In 2002, CHOI was allowed only a short-term renewal for two years and the Commission commented at that time that it imposed conditions on the licence and said that it intended to "to examine closely the licensee's adherence to its commitments, the Radio Regulations and the conditions of licence set out in this decision (See RNW Licence News Jul 21, 2002)."
In November last year the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) ruled that what it termed "nasty insults and ugly epithets" directed by Fillion against rival radio hosts in Quebec City were "unduly coarse and offensive" and in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics (See RNW Nov 21, 2003).
The CRTC says that its "comprehensive review of the facts led it to call into question the credibility of Genex and its controlling shareholder, sole director and chief executive officer, Mr. Patrice Demers, regarding Genex's ability to understand and exercise its responsibilities under the Act as the holder of a broadcasting licence."
It then concludes, "In view of the inflexible behaviour demonstrated by Genex, its lack of acceptance of its responsibilities and the lack of any demonstrated commitment to rectify the situation, the Commission cannot reasonably conclude that Genex will comply with the Act, the Regulations and its Code of Ethics if its licence is renewed. Consequently, the Commission has denied Genex's application to renew CHOI-FM's licence."
2004-07-14: The BBC Governors in the Corporations 2004 annual report and accounts is generally favourable in its comments about radio, saying its national services are holding up well and its new digital services are "establishing valued and distinctive niches." But it expresses concern about listening by younger people with specific references to its Radio 1 popular music channel and 1Xtra digital service.
It notes that the "radio landscape in Britain is changing fundamentally" as people listen in new ways - via digital TV, the Internet or mobile devices - and comments that the "BBC can make a difference: to individuals by giving them unique access to things they value to citizenship and democracy by providing independent information; and to society by investing in the cultural and creative life of the UK."
In expressing concern about Radio 1, it says "Radio 1 is critical to the BBC commitment to reaching young audiences - and its health is central to the success of BBC Radio overall" but goes on to note that a new strategy has been put in place to bolster it in the long term
"Research showed," they say, "that some aspects of the Radio 1 offer were off-putting. For example, although nearly half of 25 to 30 year olds have children, the network was projecting a "relentlessly single" image. There was evidence that listeners wanted the network to be more relaxed and less intense about its music - and they also wanted some older music."
There was some praise however as they said," The analysis carried out in 2003/2004 demonstrated that Radio 1 plays a greater number of different songs across the week than any of its nearest competitors. More than 460 tracks on Radio 1 were not heard on any competitor measured during a sample week in each of May and October 2003. Radio 1 also played more live music than its competitors."
In the case of 1Xtra concern was expressed about how far it was meeting its remit in terms of speech output and the governors commented, "the main challenge ahead is engaging the target audience with speech programming. Listeners come for music and the station has to find innovative ways to capture their attention for quality speech."
Other stations got more favourable notices with the comment on Radio2 noting "In a crowded marketplace, Radio 2 has held its audience, retaining its position as the UK's most listened to radio station."
Concerning Radio 3,although there were general praise the governors noted there was concern from some quarters about the amount of non-classical music played, but Radio4 again received praise as continuing "to deliver across a broad range of genres, including drama, comedy and religion" and Radio 5 was also praised for its news output.
BBC Annual Reports site (Links to report - 1.76 Mb 152 page PDF):
2004-07-14: Radio One Inc has hired Zemira Jones, formerly the President and General Manager of Disney-ABC Radio's radio stations in Chicago, as its Vice President of Operations: He will be based at the Company's corporate headquarters in Lanham, Maryland and will report to Radio One's Chief Operating Officer, Mary Catherine Sneed.
Jones, who was named as one of the "Top 25 Most Successful African-Americans in Radio" by Radio Ink Magazine, resigned from his Disney-ABC post last month, a departure that was followed by a corporate re-organization in Chicago (See RNW Jun 12).
He has a quarter-century experience in broadcasting and nearly two-decades of experience in general management or general sales management.
Sneed commented of his appointment, "We are thrilled to have Zemira join Radio One. His experience and knowledge are exactly what we need to strengthen our management bench and allow us to be better positioned for future growth opportunities."
Previous Radio One Inc:
2004-07-14: UK Chrysalis in an update says that its radio operations have grown revenues at more than twice the overall industry growth with like-for-like revenues over the past ten months up 20% compared to an industry average estimated to be around 8% and adds that half-way through July revenues were 10% ahead of a year ago.
It is providing no general update but has singled out radio - its holdings include Heart, LBC, and the Galaxy network - for its strong performance.
Group Chief Executive Richard Huntingford commented, "'I am delighted that the significant revenue out performance demonstrated by Chrysalis Radio in the first six months of the financial year has continued into the second half. It is particularly encouraging that this growth has been driven by a strong contribution from our entire portfolio of brands.'
2004-07-14: Seven applications have been filed for two new Dublin licences advertised by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) for Dublin - an alternative rock licence that has attracted five applicants and a multi-cultural broad format licence that has attracted two.
The five applicants for the rock licence are Dublin Rock Radio Limited (Phantom FM); Radio Eleven Limited (Radio Eleven); Edge 105.2 Limited (Raw); City & Country Radio (Dublin) Limited (Xfm Dublin); and Scrollside Limited (Zed FM);
The multi-cultural broad format applicants were Failte FM and Global 94.9 FM.
2004-07-13: Infinity-run syndicator Westwood One, which already has 11 national networks, has announced an additional expanded line-up of 15 RADAR (Radio's All Dimension Audience Research) networks that will debut with the RADAR 82 ratings in October.
The company had four networks in the top 25 in the RADAR 81 ratings released last month (See RNW Jun 29), led by second placed Westwood CNN Max Radio Network after which Westwood Source Max Radio Network was 12th and Westwood Blaise Radio Network and Westwood Navigator Radio Network were 20th and 21st respectively.
Channels added to the new line-up include CBS FM, CBS Mix Weekend, CBS News Max, CBS News Primetime, CNN News Reach, Digital 24/7 Music, Edge, FM Weekend Source, NBC LITE FM, NBC LITE FM Max, NeXt FM, Power FM, Power FM Max and Traffic Sponsorships I & II.
Westwood has also announced that it has signed up host Jim Bohannon to continue his eponymous show and America in the Morning in a multi-year agreement although no details were released. The Jim Bohannon Show airs on 309 radio stations and America in the Morning on 313.
Bohannon, who has been broadcasting for 37 years, noted, "This September will mark the 20th anniversary of both The Jim Bohannon Show and our newsmagazine America in the Morning and next March will mark my 25th year with the company."
"It continues to be a pleasure to work with the Westwood One team," he added.
Previous Westwood One:
2004-07-13: Eminem is to be executive producer together with Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine and Shady Records Vice President cum Eminem manager Paul Rosenberg on a new hip-hop and lifestyle channel on Sirius satellite radio.
The programming will debut this fall and will include a weekly show by Eminem's DJ Green Lantern plus specialty shows hosted by Eminem and acts from the Shady Records roster.
The move is seen by Eminem as a way to reach an audience without the restrictions of terrestrial radio and he commented, "Once upon a time not too long ago, the feds wanted all my music off the air. Now we'll be on Sirius 24 hours a day, playing the best hip-hop...not just from Shady Records, but from everywhere."
"We'll deliver an uncut hip-hop radio station like never before. I can't wait to start dropping new material, exclusive tracks and uncensored hip-hop featuring me and everyone else, freely saying whatever the hell we want."
Rosenberg said that although the channel will not be solely limited to Shady artists, "we plan on delivering exclusive, obscure and/or hard to find music from our acts. Also, the channel will give fans further access into our world with live show broadcasts, unique remote interviews and on-air artist segments. We are thrilled to be the first nationwide label-driven 24-hour music radio station."
Earlier this month Sirius added five more channels to its music output including an Elvis Presley channel (See RNW Jul. 2).
2004-07-13: No complaints against radio and only two TV complaints, both relating to bad language or swearing, are upheld by the UK regulator Ofcom in its latest complaints bulletin.
In all the report lists complaints against 217 items but most of these - 192 TV complaints about 122 items and 15 radio complaints against 19 items are not upheld without any details being listed.
In addition to the two TV complaints upheld, details were given of two more considered resolved by the broadcaster's actions, and two others that were not upheld.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2004-07-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 7,000 to USD 1,000 the penalty it proposed on a Florida AM for failure to maintain an effective locked fence around the base of its AM antenna tower.
Power Country, Inc., licensee of WGRO-AM, Lake City, had sought a reduction or cancellation on the basis that the inner base fence surrounding the AM tower was locked and effective before the inspection but a hasp fell away from the fence post "when an inspector pulled on the lock." It additionally contended that an outer fence surrounded the property and constituted an "effective locked fence at all times" and also provided a receipt for an order for a new inner base fence it placed almost a week before the agents' inspection. It also said it was unable to pay the USD 7,000 forfeiture and submitted supporting financial documentation.
The Commission accepted that the efforts to comply with regulations and ability to pay constituted reasons to reduce but not cancel the penalty and cut it to USD 1,000.
2004-07-13: UK GWR's former chief executive Patrick Taylor was paid more than GBP 860,000 (USD 1.6 million) in the past year according to figures in the group's annual report that has just been published.
More than two-thirds of this - GBP 587,000 (USD 1.1 million) was compensation for loss of office in addition to which he received GBP 146,000 (USD 272,000) in salary for the four months of the financial year he worked until he retired in June aged 55 and another GBP 130,000 (USD 242,000) plus value added tax for consultancy work on the Livetime datacasting project; Taylor is also entitled to a share of revenues from GWR's partnership with BT on this deal and also took up 300,000 of his share options in September last year, making a gain before tax and expenses of GBP 43, 500 ( USD 81,000)..
GWR's director of new media and digital Simon Ward, who stepped down at the same time under a GWR streamlining (See RNW Jun. 18, 2003) received a total of GBP 173,000 of which GBP 97,000 was payment for loss of office. Neither has yet been replaced and GWR, which in May reported strong results for the year (See RNW May 27) said then it is still keeping "under review" the appointment of a chief executive to replace Taylor.
Of the executives who remain, chairman Ralph Bernard received a total of GBP 459,000 (USD 856,000) in salary, bonus (GBP 50,000) and expenses (GBP 9,000), up 12% on the previous year on top of which pensions payments were made of GBP 100,000 (USD 186,000) and Steve Orchard, the company's head of local radio - who took over the day to day running of the group after Taylor left - was paid GBP 369,000 (USD 688,000), up 40% on the previous year: In addition h his pension payments were another GBP 62,000 (USD 116,000).
Roger Lewis, the Managing Director and Programme Controller of Classic FM, was paid a total of GBP 320,000 (USD 597,000), up 2%, with pension payments on top of GBP 75,000 (USD 140,000) and finance director Wendy Pallot was paid GBP 217,000 (USD 404,00), up 34%, with pension payments on top of GBP 22,000 (USD 41,000).
2004-07-13: The Senate Commerce Committee chaired by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, will hold a hearing today on the overdue re-authorization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the US federal body that distributes funding to public broadcasters.
Its proceedings, which are due to start at 09:30 local (13:30 GMT) will be webcast and amongst those on the panel are new CPB President Kathleen Cox; documentary filmmaker Ken Burns who is representing PBS; Peter A. Frid, CEO and G.M. of New Hampshire Public TV; plus two McCain constituents - Carl Matthusen, G.M. of KJZZ-FM and KBAQ-FM in Phoenix and Loris Ann Vicente-Taylor, G.M. of KUYI-FM of the Hopi reservation in Arizona.
2004-07-12: To start our look at print cover on radio this week, we go to the San Francisco Chronicle and an editorial in favour of low-power FM. It bases its argument largely on the need for diversity and the reduction in this that community advocates say has resulted from the radio consolidation that followed passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act
Citing the bill introduced by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Vermont Democrat Sen.Patrick Leahy, that would ease the interference protection inserted into the original 2000 LPFM legislation following lobbying by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the editorial notes that the changes "eliminated LPFM availability by about 75 percent" and left the nation's top 50 cities with "but one LPFM station among them."
It concludes:" After spending nearly three years and USD2.2 million of taxpayers' money, a study found that broadcasters, as McCain put it, 'grossly exaggerate' their claims -- LPFMs are too weak to disrupt high-powered transmissions."
"So this month, McCain and Leahy introduced the Low Power Radio Act of 2004 to end the blackout of LPFMs in urban areas. It could clear the way for as many as 1,000 new stations. "
"Big Radio should not have an exclusive right to the public airwaves. The McCain-Leahy bill represents a noble attempt to open the airwaves to more voices."
Still with non-commercial radio but moving across the Atlantic, the week saw more attacks on the BBC licence fee.
One report we noted in the UK Guardian by media business correspondent Dan Milmo said that former TV executive David Elstein, who has drafted a paper on the BBC commissioned by the opposition Conservative Party that called for the fee to be phased out and BBC TV to be funded through subscription, was not turning his attention to radio.
Elstein, among his other roles, is now chairman of the Commercial Radio Companies Association (See RNW Mar 25 ) and he is due to deliver the gives the Guardian Media Group radio lecture at the Radio Festival today.
In his interview with the paper he was scornful of the BBC's charter review document, terming it a work of "arse clenching" boredom and he also described culture secretary Tessa Jowell as "ignorant" for labelling his BBC report a Tory party publication.
He says he will be more cautious about radio, commenting, "Given that commercial radio is full of opinionated loudmouths occupying the breakfast slots, do they need another? I try to think about issues before I say anything. And I will be more cautious about that because I know less about commercial radio and I need to learn about it,"
However he also does not seem likely to be pulling too many punches since he added of the current situation in the UK, "In 2004 we have a new regulator and a new ownership regime from the act. We have a new BBC regime, a new training regime, a new licensing regime, in terms of community radio, and new rules on localness. It is getting in the way of what commercial radio should be doing, which is serving its audiences and customers."
Although published after the comments had been made, the Elstein interview probably preceded remarks made by Jowell concerning consideration of a timetable for switching off analogue radio in the UK. Those remarks did not gain general support even in the industry (See RNW Jul 9) and prompted a commentary in the UK Independent by Tim Luckhurst headed, "Switching to digital radio is expensive and wrong."
Luckhurst notes that in the UK radio has not been killed by TV but is in fact more popular than ever and put part of the reason for this down the simple equation," Radios are cheap. The average UK household contains five."
"Many households contain a dedicated radio for each channel listened to," he continues. "We know that re-tuning is possible. But what is the point when a serviceable set can be obtained for a fiver [USD 9], and that thing shaped like a football someone got for his birthday when [former England soccer player] Gary Lineker was still playing delivers Five Live with admirable clarity?"
"Analogue switch off would end this. Every one of these radio sets would fall silent. Maintaining present levels of radio listening would require the replacement of 100 million analogue sets with the same number of digital radios."
Although manufacturers, he writes, salivate at the prospect, but radio industry executives do not advocate cutting off analogue. He then contrasts the idea of cutting off analogue radio with that of dropping analogue TV and points out that there is an immediately visible quality gain for pictures but for much of radio that is "simply not true."
And in what we consider a piece of sound analysis, he goes on," I consider it a treat to listen to music on my digital radio, but for speech it is pointless. . The difference in the timbre of Edward Stourton's voice or the quality of Nicky Campbell's jokes is too small to notice."
"Like eight million others, I make regular use of the BBC's online radio-player device, but not because it is digital. The BBC's attempt to present online listening to missed episodes of The Archers as proof of demand for digital is astonishing cheek. Listeners are enthused by the opportunity to hear what they have missed, not by the technology delivering it. They can do it because they already possess computers for other reasons.
"The reality is that digital listening will grow alongside analogue listening, but is unlikely to replace it. In 10 years, homes may contain one digital set for that "appointment to listen" occasion, but it will share space with several old-time trannies."
A more positive view of digital radio was provided by Paul Donovan in his UK Sunday Times Radio Waves column that he pegged on the fact that soon the UK will have had digital radio for a decade.
"For most of that time, it was the dampest of damp squibs, with no sets and no stations," he comments but then notes the benefits of a combination of a fall in the price of receivers, the technical quality, more stations and ease of use capped with an increasing provision of digital-only services.
"Yesterday [Saturday], for example," he writes, "6 Music devoted 13 hours to David Bowie, and next weekend 1Xtra will devote a mammoth 59 hours to garage music. Meanwhile, BBC7 has reinstated 90-minute plays, long gone as a regular part of Radio 4; it gives national exposure to shows previously heard only in Scotland or Northern Ireland; and it is now commissioning, as its editor, Mary Kalemkerian, explains, "original sci-fi and fantasy drama that would not suit the Radio 3 or 4 schedule".
"The most striking example will come in the BBC's coverage of the Proms, which begin on Friday. For the first time, those who listen to them on DAB will get detailed notes scrolled across the screens during every concert (as opposed to only a few, as happened last year). Not only will each piece be fully billed as it is being performed, but at least one work in each Prom will be accompanied by between 10 and 20 individual scrolling messages."
RNW comment: Donovan accepts that there will be a digital switch-off eventually but he does not take up the cost point raised by Luckhurst leaving us with the reaction - Roll on the five-pound digital receiver or keep analogue.
Donovan, of course, provides the ideal cue for our first recommendation for listening - the Bowie material is available on-demand from the BBC Six Music web site as also are last week's Dream Ticket shows that last week had a lien-up including Radiohead, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Groove Armada, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Bjork, Eurythmics, and David Bowie; this week's shows include Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Morrissey, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, The Prodigy, and REM.
Moving over to BBC Radio 2, Friday sees the third of four programmes in which Stuart Maconie traces the life and career of Ray Charles (18:00 GMT - last week's programme is still on the web site for now).
On Thursday the channel has the third of Mark Lamarr's 12-part series Shake, Rattle and Roll at 20:00 GMT followed by the comedy The Day the Music Died presented by Andrew Collins with Jon Holmes and Robin Ince.
Changing to a completely different beat, the Composer of the Week (Daily at 11:00 GMT) on BBC Radio 3 is Ethel Smyth, who was born into an upper middle class military family in 1858 and lived until 1944.
For more comedy, we'd suggest The Now Show (Friday in the BBC Radio 4 17:30 GMT comedy slow) and for drama Woman's Hour on Radio 4 today begins a ten-part adaptation of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things.
For those concerned about the Catholic Church Radio 4 today (10:00 GMT) has Vocation Vocation Vocation concerning the future of the priesthood in the UK whilst at 19:00 GMT Edward Stourton presents the final part of his four-part series In the Footsteps of Muhammad (The whole series is on the BBC Radio 4 Listen-again site).
San Francisco Chronicle - LPFM editorial
UK Guardian - Milmo:
UK Independent - Luckhurst:
UK Sunday Times -Donovan:
2004-07-12: Irish broadcaster Eamon Dunphy, who dropped his Last Word programme on national station Today FM to move to a chat show on TV3 that was later axed (See RNW Dec 8, 2003) is reported to have signed a deal to host the breakfast show - presented since the station was launched two years ago by David McWilliams - on Dublin station NewsTalk 106 from the autumn (Fall).
There have long rumours of a move to NewsTalk in various slots (See RNW Dec 16, 2003).
On the business side in Ireland, three of the country's prime local radio stations are reported to be up for sale according to the UK Sunday Times: They are Donegal station Highland Radio, Louth & Meath station LMFM that reaches into north Dublin, and Longford station Shannonside FM.
LMFM is Ireland's largest local station outside Dublin and Cork and reaches around 300,000 people; prices of between Euros 8 million and 10 million (USD 10-12.5 million) are expected.
Also in Ireland, Solas AM, which won the medium wave religious licence for Dublin three years ago, has now said it has not yet given up despite reports that it was pulling out (See RNW Jul 1).
It told Radiowaves that it now has planning permission for a 61m mast and 10 kw at a site in Orlagh, Tallaght, owned by the Augustinian religious order, but there are restrictions that it is trying to work through.
Previous Newstalk 106:
UK Sunday Times report:
2004-07-12: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell has joined the ranks of the Bloggers with the launch of his regular Blog on the AlwaysOn Network that so far has a statement from him in rather more formal style than most web logs and deals mainly with telecommunications although further regular "columns" are promised.
Its introduction sets out reasonably succinctly Powell's approach to regulation, commenting, " the correct answer is not to regulate new firms the same way incumbents have traditionally been regulated. The answer is to "regulate down" as markets become competitive. Specific market failures that arise, if any, should be addressed with targeted and specific remedies."
He later writes of the future as it may affect broadcasters in terms of using modern technology to reclaim spectrum using digital technology to utilise "white spaces" without causing interference but noting, "Broadcasters, however, claim these unused channels as "their" spectrum. Yet a public policy that favours innovation and experimentation would seek to open these unused channels to develop new wireless services just look at how much value has been created in the sliver of spectrum that has become Wi-Fi! If the high-tech community believes that new digital technologies will enable this kind of new thinking about and use of spectrum, then I need to know that.
Although Powell is asking for technical comment, a significant portion of the responses relates to content and indecency regulation and also matters like the loss of existing rights if technology is used to prevent recording broadcasts.
The tenor of the comments in general is against such technology and critical of the FCC's indecency clampdown - one response being in part "Putting Clear Channel on trial for 3 year old complaints is just lazy and reeks of desperation to find ANYTHING to justify your and your constituents personal/religious opinions to a citizenry that on the majority doesn't make the same decisions you do. Reversing decisions on NBC in 2002 for use of the "F-word"? I realize that this isn't the same as a something based on a guaranteed right to a fair trial, because that's Double Indemnity."
Another was more succinct: "This "indecency" garbage is way out of hand. Free speech should be unregulated, that's what makes it free."
Even from the technically biased there were some blunt words, one entry reading, "If you want to reach out to the tech community, go to MIT and talk to some of the U.S.'s future engineers and innovators and see what they think about shit like the broadcast flag and the DMCA. You'll likely find out that the FCC and congress is handcuffing them intellectually."
Yet others drew comparisons between attitudes such as to violence and sex and also the scale of penalties, one entry saying, "I would like to know how you feel about the soon to be USD3,000,000 fine for indecency while the fine for aiding a terrorist is only USD11,000" and there were a number of posts that defending Howard Stern and attacking the FCC for penalising him and not Oprah Winfrey, an issue Stern has raised on his site, complete with transcripts.
RNW comment: Although there were sceptical comments, one terming the entry "not a blog just another attempt by a political appointee to appear in touch with average people" we rather welcome this idea and will be interested to see what responses it spurs from Powell. In particular, although the blog is in no way a scientific sampling, there was overwhelming opposition to copyright holders being able to prevent home recordings and we'll be fascinated to see how which side of the fence Powell jumps to on this issue.
2004-07-11: North America was the busiest area for the regulators last week with Canada's announcement of a November hearing regarding subscription broadcast audio services at the top of the file but there was nothing at all concerning radio from Australia or Ireland and nothing specifically radio-related in the UK.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), as well as its announcement concerning subscription audio - which involves two satellite bids, one linked to Sirius and the other to XM, and a terrestrial proposal from CHUM (See RNW Jul 9) was also involved in renewals and other decisions concerning a significant number of analogue services.
In order of province they were:
*Renewal of licence for CHSU-FM Kelowna and its transmitter CKBL-1-FM Big White Mountain, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for CKLZ-FM, Kelowna, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for CKTK-AM, Kitimat, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for CKKC-AM, Nelson and its transmitters CKBS-FM, Nakusp, CKKC-1-FM, Crawford Bay, CKZX-FM, New Denver, and CKZX-FM-1, Kaslo, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for CJMG-FM, Penticton and its transmitter CJMG-FM-2 Oliver, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for CKOR-AM, Penticton, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for CJAT-FM Trail and its transmitter CFKC Creston, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for Type A native radio programming undertaking CKQN-FM, Baker Lake, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for CILT-FM, Steinbach, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
*Renewal of licence for CJOA-FM Thunder Bay and its transmitter CJOA-FM-1 Candy Mountain, from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011.
The commission is also asking for comment and interventions, with a deadline of August 11, for the following applications (in order of province):
*Application by Radio Nord Communications inc. to renew the licence of the French-language radio network for the broadcast of programming originating from any AM or FM station of Radio Nord.
Local licences (in order of province):
Alberta and British Columbia:
*Application by O.K. Radio Group Ltd. To add a 10 watts FM transmitter at Tumbler Ridge to broadcast the programming of CFGP-FM, Grande Prairie, Alberta in order to serve the population of Tumbler Ridge.
Application for renewal of licence of CKDY-FM, Digby, and its transmitter CKDY-1-FM, Weymouth.
*Application by CFFX_AM, Kingston, to add a 50 watts low-power FM transmitter at Kingston to broadcast the programming of CFFX, in order to improve the quality of its signal in the downtown core area of Kingston.
*Application by University of Toronto Community Radio Inc. to amend the licence of radio programming undertaking CIUT-FM, Toronto, to broadcast predominantly Farsi-language (Persian) programming using a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel.
The CRTC has also announced public hearings to be held to consider a number of applications including the subscription service licences we have already mentioned and an earlier hearing on September 7 with a deadline for interventions or comments of August 13. This is to consider a number of applications including, in order of province:
*Application to change the authorized contours of CHZN-FM, Edmonton, following a transmitter relocation and power increase from 64,000 to 100,000 watts.
*Application to convert CBXJ-AM, Jasper, to FM.
*Application to change the contours of CJLT-FM, Medicine Hat, by changing frequency and increasing power from 48 to 2,300 watts.
*Application for a new low power English-language commercial FM in Nelson.
*Application to convert CKKC-AM, Nelson, to FM.
*Application for a new English-language FM tourist information service in North Vancouver.
*Application for a new English-language commercial FM in Sechelt.
* Application by Telephone City Broadcast Limited for a licence to operate an English-language commercial FM at Brantford.
* Application for a new English-language commercial FM at Haldimand County.
*Application by Sound of Faith Broadcasting to amend the licence of radio programming undertaking CJTW-FM Kitchener so as to change frequencies and increase the effective radiated power from 50 watts to 1,585 watts.
The commission notes that the two above applications are mutually exclusive.
*Applications by Astral Média Radio inc. (Astral) and 591991 B.C. Ltd. for authority to acquire, in the context of an exchange of assets, certain radio undertakings involved in Astral's takeover of Telemedia that was allowed subject to certain disposals. After various plans that fell through Astral and Corus reached agreement on a station exchange deal earlier this year (See RNW Apr 1).
Under the latest plan Astral will acquire from Corus the stations CFVM-FM, Amqui; CJDM-FM, Drummondville; CJOI-FM, Rimouski; CIKI-FM, Rimouski, and CFZZ-FM, Saint-Jean-Iberville (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu); it is requesting amendment of the licences of CFVM-FM and CFZZ-FM to allow these "oldies" stations to reduce the level of Canadian popular music to 30%
In connection with the acquisition it proposes "tangible benefits" of CAD 660,000 (USD 500,000, representing 6% of the value of the proposed transaction).
Also linked with the above is an application from Astral Media inc., on behalf of Astral Media Radio Inc. for authority to effect a corporate reorganization in order to acquire the assets of the radio programming undertaking CFOM-FM, Lévis.
In addition to the above Astral is applying for a licence to operate a French-language radio network, originating from CKAC-AM, Montréal, to broadcast the football games of the Montreal Alouettes during the 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons. This licence would ultimately be transferred to Corus under the deal along with the following stations: CKAC-AM, Montreal; CHRC-AM, Québec; CJRC-AM, Gatineau; CKRS-AM, Saguenay; CHLN-AM, Trois-Rivières; CHLT-AM, Sherbrooke: CKTS-AM, Sherbrooke, and CFOM-FM -AM, Québec.
Corus proposes no tangible benefits on the basis that the stations have been unprofitable on a consolidated basis for the past three years.
In addition to the above Corus is proposing to also acquire the assets of digital radio licences CKAC-DR-2, Montreal, and CJRC-DR-2, Gatineau as well as those of the Radiomedia French-language information network; CHLN's network to broadcast some of its programming on CKSM; Montreal Canadiens hockey network; and the Montreal Alouettes network.
Corus proposes to operate stations CJRC, CHRC, CHLT, CHLN and CKRS as all-talk programming stations and provide listeners with network programming from station CKAC Montreal, which it proposes to transform over three years into an all talk station, primarily oriented towards sports and health.
Corus also proposes to amend the conditions of licence of CKAC, CHRC, CHLT and CHLN in order to reduce the level of weekly local and news programming that these stations are required to broadcast, which currently ranges from 41 to 64 hours weekly, to 40 hours for CKAC and 20 hours for the other stations.
*Application by Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc. (Metromedia) to amend the broadcasting licence for CHMP-FM (formerly CKOO-FM), Longueuil, to replace its existing conditions in line with a proposal to operate a specialty format devoting more than 50% of the broadcast week to spoken word and to offer musical content only on Saturdays and Sundays for approximately 6 hours a day.
*Application by Radio Express inc. to renew the licence of CKOD-FM, Valleyfield: In connection with this application the Commission notes the apparent failure of the licensee to comply with regulations concerning the provision of logger tapes and the submission of annual reports and says it expects the licensee to show cause at this hearing why a mandatory order should not be issued requiring it to conform to the condition of licence that requires these.
*Application from Groupe Radio Antenne for authority to effect an intra-corporate reorganization under which Antenne 6 wishes to acquire the assets of the station CHVD-FM Dolbeau, and subsequently, dissolve the company Radio CHVD inc.
* Application by Radio Communautaire Missisquoi (RCM) to amend the licence of CIDI-FM Lac-Brome: This relates to the grant of an application for the licence subject to changes in technical parameters.
* Application to amend the licence of CFNJ-FM, Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, to add an FM transmitter at St-Zénon.
*Application to convert CJNS-AM, Meadow Lake, to FM.
*Application for a new English-language commercial FM in North Battleford.
There was nothing specifically relating to radio in the UK although Ofcom has issued a report on its first six months work with specific reference to its new "light-touch" approach to complaints and disputes investigation that it says has reduced unnecessary regulatory intervention in regards to telecommunications.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed that broadcasters should be required to keep recordings of output so as to improve its enforcement of indecency regulations (See RNW Jul 8) and has also been involved in a number of enforcement actions although there's still no announcement re any indecency fines against Infinity for broadcasts of the Howard Stern Show that led to the proposal of penalties on Clear Channel.
Among enforcement actions were the issuing of a USD 4,000 penalty on a Pennsylvania auto parts dealer for use of equipment on an unauthorized a frequency and of a USD 20,000 penalty against a California pirate operator (see RNW Jul 10). It has also required three FMs to show cause why they should not be reclassified to allow new local services (also Jul 10).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-07-11: The UK's 2004 Radio Festival, organized by the Radio Academy, takes place from tomorrow until Wednesday at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham and as well as UK speakers will this year include an Iraqi participant, Ahmad al-Rikabi, founder of Baghdad talk station Radio Dijla (See RNW June 11).
Other attendees include BBC director of radio and music Jenny Abramsky, who will address the Festival on the corporation's radio plans and current legitimate but former pirate host Tony Blackburn who will be in a seminar about pirate radio.
There will also be seminars on the value of the "over-50's", a growing demographic that is beginning to pull in advertisers as well as demanding attention from broadcasters and on the battle of the breakfast shows.
Previous Radio Academy:
2004-07-11: Legendary US radio DJ Bill Randle, known for his part in introducing Elvis Presley to America at large as well as aiding the careers of a host of other US stars including Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, and Fats Domino, has died aged 81.
Randle was the subject of a 1955 Universal short film "The Pied Piper of Cleveland", which included cover of a gig in Cleveland that had Presley on a bill headlined by Bill Haley and the Comets and Pat Boone.
Randle was born in Detroit in 1923 and worked on radio there before going on to freelance in various cities before joining WERE-AM in Cleveland and being named top DJ in America by Time Magazine: He also hosted a nationally syndicated Saturday show from CBS in New York
2004-07-11: After initially defending them over complaints about their use of derogatory terms for people of colour and homosexuals, Clear Channel is to remove from the airwaves next week for "sensitivity training" its morning show team, The Monsters, who air in Tampa, Florida, on WXTB-FM in the slot left vacant when Bubba the Love Sponge was dismissed; their show originates in Orlando and also airs in Jacksonville.
Last week the St. Petersburg City Council voted unanimously to send a letter to Clear Channel condemning the language used on The Monsters, which features jokes about white rural culture and characters who praise beer, partying, sex and pranks and have used words such as "nigra," "spic," "jigaboo" and "fag."
The St Petersburg Times reports that after the city action, Darryl Rouson, a lawyer and president of St. Petersburg's NAACP chapter called the company Friday to tell them he would bring up the matter next week at the group's national convention in Philadelphia.
It quoted David C. Reinhart, regional vice president and Gulf Coast market manager for Clear Channel Radio as saying, "We've paid attention (to the complaints) and taken some action They're being trained not to use those terms. We're hoping to leave it at that."
Reinhart, it added, said that the show was monitored but he couldn't say why such epithets were allowed, or why they concluded on Friday that such conduct was no longer acceptable.
The paper says the retraining might include an on air talk upon their July 19 return with civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson but Rouson said training would not be enough if it did not stop such comments; although he was prepared to give training a chance.
Rouson said he still plans to report on the Monsters controversy to NAACP officials.
Monsters leader Russ Rollins told the paper he felt abandoned by company officials, who often encouraged his team when ratings were good, before receiving public complaints.
"I'm (thinking) `OK, isn't this the type of broadcast that was OK'd by the company? You wanted us to be edgy,' " said Rollins. "Now, we're not just talking about (eliminating) racial slurs, we can't make fun of stereotypes. It's irritating, because you don't know where the line is."
"We can't come off like we're choirboys when we come back . . . we won't keep our core listeners," he said. "Once again, Clear Channel is backing down . . . I guess we'll just start picking on each other and making fun of rednecks. That's always OK."
RNW Comment: Noting that on July 6 a St Petersburg Times report on the show by its TV/Media Critic Eric Deggans listed a whole series of examples of language used on the show from as far back as March - and reported that Dan DiLoreto, Tampa vice president and market manager for Clear Channel, refused to talk about the matter, hanging up the telephone in mid conversation after accusing the press of a "witch hunt" and that Clear Channel's senior vice president of corporate communications Lisa Dollinger didn't return phone calls- it seems a fair conclusion that Clear Channel's concerns yet again started when reaction was so strong that their business was likely to be damaged.
Were the company openly amoral and honest enough to come clean about its priorities, we suspect it would come in for even more flak. In other words public hypocrisy would trump that of the company. What a reflection on the public and indeed what an incentive for small highly motivated groups to push their agendas vociferously at the expense of the general public interest!
In this case, we can't understand why many businesses would wish to advertise on the show but it would strike us as unfair should the hosts again be made the fall guys. If any action is to be taken, it should go much further up the tree - probably re-training of the whole board of Clear Channel would be insufficient to create real sensitivity but it might make good reality TV!
Previous Clear Channel:
St Petersburg Times report:
St Petersburg Times media critic report:
2004-07-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined a California pirate operator USD 20,000 for unauthorised transmissions using two frequencies.
Stanley Mark Mayo of Victorville had not responded to a notice of apparent violation issued at the end of March this year.
The FCC has also issued notices relating to the reclassification of three stations to allow new local FM services.
In Georgia, WSTR-FM, Smyrna, is being asked to show why it should not be reclassified as a Class CO so as to allow a first local FM service for Opelika, Alabama.
In Oklahoma, KRXO-FM and KTST-FM in Oklahoma City are each being asked to show why they should not be reclassified as a Class CO so as to allow a first local FM service for Cushing, Oklahoma and Gotebo, Oklahoma, respectively.
KRXQ, KTST and WSTR are all currently operating below the minimum Class C facilities.
2004-07-10: A Texas disc jockey's "immature joke" has landed him under arrest and facing a possible misdemeanour charge - making a terroristic threat - punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a USD 4,000 fine and the show on which he appeared has been taken off the air..
According to the American-Statesman, police said Dan Chappell - "Lunchbox" on the Bobby Jones Show on Clear Channel's Kiss FM in Austin that regularly stages stunts - drove to a convenience store then, to see how the clerk would react, placed a mask over his head and face, walked inside, bought a USD1.09 pack of gum and left.
The clerk at the story, Atif Akhlaque, thought he was about to be robbed and pressed its "silent alarm": he added that he could hear the man talking on his cell phone, as if he was narrating what was happening and how Akhlaque was responding. The station had recorded the encounter using Chappell's cell phone for a future broadcast.
Police spokesman Kevin Buchman said, "We are taking this very seriously. People at convenience stores, banks and other places of business are on heightened alert, and some business owners have been known to carry weapons Trying to pull off a prank endangered the life of not only himself but anybody else who might have been in the store."
Chappell and host Bobby Bones have now been suspended until further notice; station manager Dusty Black said it is not unusual for morning radio shows across the country to air pranks and practical jokes but added in written statement, "KISS FM does not endorse behaviour that may endanger the public or our employees, and we take these matters very seriously."
Kiss makes no formal mention of the matter on its web site but in Jones' Blog on the site he says, "Off The Air We will be off the air until further notice....Hopefully, we get to come back soon, Your friend, Bobby"
Previous Clear Channel:
Bobby Jones Blog:
2004-07-10: The chairman of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters David Ferguson has told the Music Tank forum of music and radio industry executives that the range of music on radio is declining because stations were offering only a limited range.
He said he had "serious concerns" about the impact of national play lists and syndication of shows on the range of music available and linked what he called the "continuous decline" to consolidation in commercial radio, commenting, "As consolidation has taken place in the commercial market, you can almost quantify the decline in range that is available."
Following the meeting Ferguson spoke to BBC Online and told them that "programming on many commercial stations is so clearly designed just to persuade people not to switch it off or change channels, rather than present them with something new and interesting."
He added that BBC Radio 1 had a duty to play new music, calling it a "vital entry point" without which new artists could not penetrate the marketplace and noted that more than half the station's current play list was comprised of US artists.
BBC Online report:
2004-07-10: The new Voice of America (VOA) Urdu service is now formally on FM in Pakistan where FM101 has commenced transmissions of the programming, which it has been carrying as test transmissions since the start of the month.
Radio Aap ki Dunyaa began transmissions last month for 12 hours a day an AM signal covering Pakistan and northeast India - and also for three hours a day on short-wave - with a service of news, information and entertainment including a mix of Pakistani, Indian, and Western music
Aap ki Dunyaa, headed by Dr. Brian Q. Silver, is staffed by 27 people in Washington plus a network of more than 15 stringers in Pakistan, India and North America. is chief of the service. All staffers from the original VOA Urdu Service are now part of the Aap ki Dunyaa team.
2004-07-10: The latest report from the BBC Governors Programme Complaints Committee on appeals relating to programme complaints that were rejected by the Corporation's Programmes Complaints Unit deals with a total of nine complaints, six against radio, but upholds none of them.Five of the complaints related to perceived anti-Israel bias.
Eight complaints related to fairness and accuracy and one - against Jon Gaunt on BBC London radio - to matters of taste and decency.
This related to an e-mail concerning the war in Iraq that he read out from a man whose son was in Iraq and who suggested Gaunt was a warmonger. In his response Gaunt had said he didn't really understand the points made and used a throwaway line suggesting that the son could desert. The complainant considered this an incitement to desertion but the Committee after listening to the recording said the choice of words was "injudicious" but was not actually suggesting desertion, rather that the matter was one foe the man and his son to discuss.
The accuracy and fairness complaints were mostly against BBC Radio shows and were:
*A complaint of pro-government and EU bias in a World at One report. No such bias was held to be present.
*A complaint against You and Yours regarding "alleygating" - the closure of footpaths as a crime prevention action - that the complainant said was distorted. The Committee said there had been misunderstandings about the item by the complainant although it accepted that a comment that a footpath, long-closed, had been closed "for 25 years" could not be substantiated.
* A complaint against Broadcasting House and another against the Today Programme - the latter relating to a review of newspapers - over the deaths of two babies after the parents were apparently delayed at an Israeli checkpoint.
A further complaint against Julian Worricker on BBC Radio Five Live related to comments by the BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner about the interpretation of the Palestinian position and UN resolutions. The complainant had felt there was anti-Israel bias but the committee, which had considered the material at two meetings, said it was even-handed.
Of the three TV complaints two concerned supposed anti-Israel bias and another the fall of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that it said had not sufficiently taken account of the historical background and facts concerning the civil war in Yugoslavia and unfairly blamed him and the Serbs.
RNW comment: Reading the full transcripts it is difficult not to gain the impression that a determined pro-Israel lobby both in the UK and US, has a policy of complaining so as to push broadcasters into a pro-Israel bias and to inhibit proper questioning of Israeli statements and reporting on its actions. It's a tactic that is ultimately bound to be destructive if it succeeds and we are happy to note that, although giving the complaints serious consideration, the response was a dismissal.
Previous BBC Complaints:
2004-07-09: The suggestion that analogue radio could be cut off in the UK (See RNW July 8) has met a frosty reception from a number of UK radio groups that according to the UK Guardian see the idea of forcing people to upgrade to digital as impractical and unlikely to happen.
Among them was on of the leading pioneers of digital broadcasts, Emap, that is involved in the operation of 13 digital multiplexes round the UK and runs leading digital channels such as Kerrang!, Smash Hits! and The Hits in addition to its analogue network that includes the Big City Network plus Magic and Kiss.
Dee Ford, the managing director of Emap Performance Radio, told the paper her company didn't see any "urgency" to prepare an analogue switch-off timetable, even they had more digital listening than any other commercial radio group in the UK.
She also added a note of caution about new analogue licences being advertised, saying , " here are a lot of FM radio licences that are about to be advertised that have to be given time to become viable stations before thought is given to the switchover from analogue to digital."
The BBC's controller of radio music interactive Simon Nelson said that a switch-off was a long way off although he added, "One of the things this review is quite rightly looking at is the possibility of analogue [radio]switch-off some time in the future."
Contrasting the idea with the situation for TV, he added, "The issues around radio are more complex than TV. There's the issue with many more legacy sets and the transfer of hundreds of smaller stations. There's a hell of a lot of ground to cover," he said.
Capital Radio was more welcoming about the idea and its director of strategy and development, Nathalie Schwarz, commented, "We welcome it. Digital is definitely the broadcasting medium of the future." "The government should try to set out some objective criteria, whether that be specified performance criteria based on set penetration or number of listeners or the amount of listening hours. That would bring certainty to manufacturers, certainty to advertisers and certainty to the radio industry," she added.
She suggested that a 2015 date for ending analogue was feasible.
RNW comment: As we have already noted, we do not see a strong enough argument at the moment for enforcing an analogue switch off; In all, if we assume costs of around GBP 50 (USD 90) per receiver, the idea will force people to spend around GBP 5 billion ( USD 9 billion) in replacing equipment that delivers a perfectly satisfactory service. Maybe in a decade, the equation will have been significantly changed as people buy digital devices: If so, our view that people should be entitled to exchange their analogue receivers for digital ones free of charge would start being an acceptable expense: If it isn't then the idea should be rejected.
UK Guardian report:
2004-07-09: Applications for licences that would allow broadcasts to Canada by Sirius and XM satellite radio, the former through a by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) application in partnership with Sirius and Standard Radio Inc. and the latter through an application by Canadian Satellite Radio Incorporated (CSR), in partnership with XM are to be discussed at a public hearing on November 1 in Gatineau, Quebec. Also up for discussion is a third subscription radio proposal from CHUM Limited that would use terrestrial transmissions to be carried by wireless companies (See RNW Mar 9).
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) says that in considering the applications it is seeking public comment on the amount of Canadian content that should be required by any such new service; what would be the appropriate level of support for Canadian Talent Development and how such contributions should be allocated to "equitably support English- and French-speaking talent in all regions of Canada?"; what provisions should be made to "ensure that licensees are accountable for the programming provided on any non-Canadian channels?"; how many subscription radio services the Canadian market could support and the appropriate mix of services; the impact of any subscription radio service on other audio services in terms of the impact on existing conventional stations, existing pay audio services and on the roll-out of digital audio broadcasting (DAB)?"; what class and terms of licence should be issued and the conditions of authorization for any over-the-air transmitters.
The service proposals in ascending subscription order are for a CAD 9.95 (USD 7.55 ) a month service from CHUM that would initially offer 50 channels, all of which would be produced in Canada by the applicant; a CAD 12.95 (USD 9.83 ) a month service from the CBS/Sirius/Standard partnership that would initially offer 78 channels, four of which would be produced in Canada by the CBC; and a CAD 12.99 (USD 9.86 ) a month service from the CSR/XM consortium that would initially offer 101 channels, four of which would be produced in Canada.
Previous Canadian Satellite Radio:
2004-07-09: The Euro 2004 soccer championships have boosted UK talkSport's revenues by around 40% in the quarter to the end of June according to figures presented to the annual meeting of its parent, the Wireless Group, by chairman and chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie.
Mackenzie said that, excluding the effects of its purchase of Forever Broadcasting at the start of this year (See RNW Jan 20), revenues at the group's local stations had increased by 13%.
The station received a massive boost from sponsorship from "Nivea for Men" that as well as boosting revenue for the quarter helped to take them up nearly 90% in June.
MacKenzie told the meeting that the group would be interested in further acquisitions and also launched an attack on the BBC over its three-year GBP 39 million (USD 72 million) exclusive deal for live radio rights to Premier League soccer terming it "disgraceful" and saying talkSport had been priced out of the auction by what he termed a "taxpayer-funded monopoly". He is threatening to take the issue to the Office of Fair Trading and European trade regulators.
MacKenzie also said that the group was likely to face a GBP 1.3 million (USD 2.4 million) bill if its battle with official radio ratings body RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) over its use of a diary method rather than electronic ratings went all the way to a trial.
The Wireless Group has sponsored unofficial ratings using the wristwatch RadioControl device from GfK that show it with a much greater audience than those given by RAJAR, which points out differences in methodology - RAJAR looks for periods of listening of at least five minutes whereas the device picks up any listening, however short.
GfK has just released its latest ratings, which offer no real comfort to talkSPORT in the sense that its listening fell overall and in London but they were much more disappointing for Capital Radio as GfK showed Chrysalis's Heart FM going into top rank in London as its share increased and that of Capital's Capital FM flagship fell.
It was the first time Heart's reach had topped that of Capital and rubbing salt further into the wounds, Heart's breakfast show took the lead over Capital's show, which is now hosted by Johnny Vaughan: Both shows had been heavily promoted and each increased its audience but Heart pulled up more- in his first four weeks (April 19-May 16), Vaughan averaged 509,000, a 34% increase but Heart went up to 546,000, an increase of 176% increase.
Overall the weekly reach figures for the main UK networks from GFK for the period from February 16th - May 16th (with in brackets GfK prior period, January 26th to April 25th, and then RAJAR figures to the end of March) in rank order were:
BBC Radio 4 -16.10 million (16.46 million; 9.37 million): Unchanged weekly reach of 37%.
BBC Radio 2 -14.85 million (15.15 million; 12.90 million): Weekly reach down from 34% to 33%.
BBC Radio 1 -11.66 million (11.53 million; 9.85 million): Weekly reach figures given by GfK have to be inaccurate if last set was correct as it shows a decrease when the audience increased.
BBC Radio Five Live -8.82 million (8.72 million; 6.48 million): Unchanged weekly reach of 19%, down from 20%
BBC Radio 3 -3.37million (3.41million; 2.29 million): Weekly reach down from 8% to 7%.
talkSPORT -5.81million (5.95 million; 2.14 million): Unchanged 13%.
Classic FM -5.42 million (5.54 million; 6.54 million): Unchanged 12%.
Virgin -3.52million (3.45 million; 2.49 million): Unchanged 8%.
GfK figures for commercial stations in the London area showed that for the period from October 27th 2003 - May 16th 2004 in comparison to previous figures from October 6th, 2003 to April 25th, 2004 ) the five most popular stations were:
Heart FM - 2.639 million (2.523 million) - Up from 25% to 26% and up from second
Capital FM -2.638 million (2.533 million) - Down from 26% to 25%.
Magic FM- 1.957 million (1.884 million) - Up from 18% to 19%.
Virgin Radio 1.522 million (1.474 million) - Up from 14% to 15%
Kiss FM 1.381 million (1.464 million) - Unchanged 14%
*talkSPORT with 1.381 million (1.394 million) rose from seventh to sixth rank with an unchanged 14% reach.
Previous GfK ratings:
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous Wireless Group:
2004-07-09: In more US radio deals, NextMedia is spending USD 24.5 million to buy five more stations in North Carolina.
It is acquiring WAZO-FM, WMFD-AM & WRQR-FM from Ocean Broadcasting and WKXB-FM & WSFM-FM from Sea-Comm and has already begun operating the stations under Local Management Agreements. The deals are expected to close later in the year.
2004-07-09: Signal Media of Arkansas, which on Wednesday last week took its regular morning show on KABZ-FM, Little Rock off the air has now cancelled the show.
The action followed allegations that Morning show producer and personality Phlip (Flip) Satchel had offered pornographic videos to protestors lining a gay parade route in Conway, about 25 miles- 40 km - north of Little Rock, the preceding Sunday
It was replaced with a syndicated sports show and according to the Associated Press the company says the morning show staff now no longer work for the station, although it did not clarify whether they resigned or were dismissed.
Police in Conway have still not announced whether they intend to file criminal charges against Satchel.
2004-07-08: The US may move into line with most of the rest of the world in regard to requiring broadcasters to keep recordings of their output if a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is put into effect.
The FCC says the move - to require recordings to be kept for 60 or 90 days - is being proposed "order to increase the effectiveness of the Commission's process for enforcing restrictions on obscene, indecent, and profane broadcast programming."
The FCC is asking for comments on the proposal to require recordings to be kept and says this would allow it to make more informed decisions.
Its current proposal would require recordings to be kept only between 6a.m. and 10 p.m., the period when indecency regulations apply, and it asks not only for comment regarding the period for which they should be kept - 60 days or 90 days- but also whether there would be benefits in requiring a 24-hour record, whether for digital output it should be required for all streams including subscription ones, how a requirement will affect the record keeping practices of stations, and the cost implications.
It also asks whether current policy that requires a complainant to provide a recording or transcript of material complained about should be changed and whether there are any First Amendment issues or copyright issues in retention of third party commercial material.
The proposal was welcomed by Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps who noted in a statement that he had "long suggested that broadcasters retain tapes of their broadcasts for a reasonable period of time."
He also noted that " over the past years, broadcasters continue to respond to FCC letters of inquiry that they do not have a tape or transcript of what they broadcast" and continued, "I am pleased that my colleagues seem to be coming around to the idea that we need to address this issue. I am also pleased that the Commission appears to be accepting the idea that a tape or transcript from the complaining citizen may no longer be necessary, especially if we can obtain the record of the broadcast from the station."
RNW comment: Although we expect the usual blather from some broadcasters, we cannot see any reasonable objections to the requirement As we have previously noted, modern technology has made it easier and cheaper to keep records and we can see no reason why, if an individual can retain a recording of a broadcast for personal use, a regulatory body cannot do the same.
In our view copyright holders have no reasonable reasons to refuse to allow a regulator to keep a record so determinations can be made according to full factual evidence - in fact we'd consider any organization that did should be held unsuitable to hold copyrights and should lose all their rights if they did - nor can there in the circumstances be any reasonable First Amendment refusal - if you're prepared to broadcast something over the airwaves then we can see no good reason to then refuse to be judged on the actual material broadcast.
In fact we're puzzled at the mentality that can bring up the First Amendment in this context rather then the Fifth, although we see no good reason why the latter should apply either.
In our view, if the industry should manage to lobby against the idea, the best approach would be for the FCC to then come up with a plan to record all over-the-air broadcasts in the US 24/7 and then charge the broadcasters in increases in their licence fees: We suspect they'd soon find they could do the job more economically!
2004-07-08: The days of analogue radio in the UK may be numbered according to the UK Independent which says that in a foreword to a report that is soon to be published by the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB) the Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has signalled for the first time that the government is considering an analogue switch-off date.
The paper says that in the foreword she writes, "Later this year, I will be reviewing the take-up of digital radio and considering how long it would be appropriate for sound digital broadcasting services to be provided in analogue form."
Any switch-off decision would render around 100 million existing receivers useless but digital receivers have been dropping in price - the paper says that by the end of this year sets will be available for around GBP50 (USD 92) - and mobile phones that can tune in to digital are soon expected to be on the market.
The paper plugs some of the potential advantages of digital in its report including screen displays that can give details of music played, interviewees, or news and receivers with automatic recording capabilities including the ability to listen to material broadcast in the period before a listener tuned in.
It quotes the BBC's head of radio interactive Chris Kimber as saying of the extra facilities that digital can provide: "Only 10 years ago, radio was a one-way experience. But digital technology has given the radio ears that provide programme makers with instant feedback."
"Before they had to rely on getting letters back but now we have chat rooms, message boards, text messaging and e-mail. Programmes can really connect with audiences in a way that 10 years ago they could not."
RNW comment: A hundred dollars per receiver - and a reasonable analogue set can be had for a fifth of this - may be nothing to government ministers but for many people replacing analogue will mean replacing several receivers so the cost to a household could well be several hundred. In addition, as we have noted before, unless the whole world is on the same standard, making such a move could be a significant drawback for travellers who currently can take a small analogue receiver almost anywhere in the world and get news and other services.
We have long had the view that the current British government, from the very top down, is too easily taken in by the blandishments of industry lobby groups and too ignorant of basic science to make sound decisions in many areas. This to us seems another of them.
Unless there is a pressing need to use the analogue frequency for services that are more important to most people than existing analogue radio - not a desire by industries to use them for profitable services for which a desire can be created - we think analogue should be retained for radio. For television services the balance of benefits from frequency freed up tilts further towards dropping analogue, although even here we are of the view that to evaluate true costs all households should be able to request a free analogue to digital converter should they have old sets: Many of course will have moved to digital screens anyway because of the benefits they can bring. For radio, we do not think the balance justifies dropping analogue until a worldwide standard is in effect for digital as it is for analogue now.
Our view is that as so often the current plan will end up being in effect a regressive tax in that it will force people to spend money that the poorer can ill afford for the benefit of services that they do not really need. In our view, the change - if it is to be made - should be allied with a digital for analogue receiver free exchange service (thus ensuring that the true costs of the change are met by those who want to remove the analogue frequencies).
UK Independent report:
2004-07-08: Salem Communications has announced that it is to pay Cleveland Classical Radio LLC USD 10 million for WRMR-AM, killing the big band format in Cleveland.
From Monday Salem will move WHK's News Talk signal, currently on a weaker signal at 1220, to WRMR's 1420, frequency: No announcement has yet been made on what will be done with the 1220 frequency by Salem, which also operates WCCD-AM; WKNR-AM; and WFHM-FM in Cleveland.
Commenting on the purchase, Salem President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III said it would give Salem "a full cluster of stations in Christian Teaching & Talk, Christian Contemporary Music, News/Talk and Sports."
"The new WHK-AM," he added, "will offer listeners a good signal both day and night further strengthening our presence in another top 25 market, and placing our growing News/Talk platform in 15 of the top 25 markets."
WRMR was acquired from Salem in July 2001 in a complex deal in which classical station WCLV-FM's 95.5 frequency went to Salem in exchange for WHK-AM plus equity, WLCV went to the non-profit WCLV Foundation and was moved to the Class A 104.9 frequency owned by Clear Channel while Clear Channel gained Salem's 98.1 frequency in Canton, Ohio.
The big band format had mainly attracted older listeners who were less wanted by advertisers and WRMR had become a drain on its sister station.
2004-07-08: Another US university is considering selling its broadcasting stations according to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, which reports that Barry University has asked a consulting firm to evaluate its options for Boynton Beach-based WXEL-Ch. 42 television and WXEL-FM 90.7.
The paper quotes Barry's assistant vice president for university relations Mike Laderman as saying no decisions have been made and the institution was not in a rush to make a move.
Sun Sentinel report:
2004-07-07: Nearly half the staff of Voice of America (VOA) have signed a petition calling on the US Congress to investigate the organization's Broadcasting Board of Governors that they accuse of "dismantling the nation's radio beacon" according to The Hill.
The petition accuses the broad, an "independent" entity responsible for all government-sponsored broadcasting, of launching new Middle East services that have no editorial accountability at the expense of VoA services to the same area and also of cutting back on broadcasts to Eastern Europe and in English around the world.
The Hill quotes a VoA English language editor, who it says asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, as saying, "We're being bled white to support this expensive and ill-advised operation to the Middle East It's shameful and also very sad that we're missing an opportunity to be doing what we should be doing."
The editor said more than 460 of VoA's 1,000 strong staff had signed the petition, which cites as examples coverage of Radio Sawa, al-Hurra and Radio Farda - services comprised mainly of music with some news and targeted at younger people - that the petitioners say provides inadequate news that is produced separately from VoA's main news and is not subject to VoA's charter, which guarantees balanced reporting.
The petitioners give examples of important breaking news that was missed including for Radio Sawa the capture of Saddam Hussein and also claim that the news itself if unbalanced and say the board members are placing too much emphasis on gaining larger audiences rather than being concerned about the stations' content and influence..
Alan Heil, a former VoA deputy director who helped distribute the petition, commented, "Its very, very important for the United States to have something on the air that's more food for thought and is part of the dialogue and not just a pop music service."
RNW comment: It seems to us that, although young people may listen to pop music on a US service, they are generally unlikely to be politically influenced by it and that already news coverage on US services in the area is distrusted to varying, but increasing degrees.
The situation is not as it was for services to the former Soviet Union and its client states, where people wanted an alternative to the state broadcasters whose reporting was widely seen as propaganda.
In the Middle East there are now alternatives from Arab satellite TV channels whose cover is more in tune with the preconceptions of people in the region and has too often been shown post-hoc to be more accurate than official statements from the US military and officialdom.
In the circumstances, and against a background of an administration that is often regarded as perceiving all dissent as hostile rather than an opportunity to perceive real problems and tackle them, the VoA already has an uphill struggle.
If VOA ends up tagged even more as propaganda, the best bet would probably be for it to be closed down completely in the Middle East since the changes that would then need to be made for it to regain credibility would in our view need long-term commitments of funding together with political independence that are unlikely to be sustainable in the current polarized state of US politics.
The Hill report:
2004-07-07: Veteran Scottish radio broadcaster Jimmy Mack has died aged 70 following a struggle against cancer.
Mack, who remained on air in his regular Radio Clyde "Saturday Night With Jimmy Mack" slot until a fortnight ago, began his radio career in 1965 on the pirate radio ship "Comet", home of Radio Scotland 242.
He subsequently joined the BBC in Glasgow, hosting shows for Radio Scotland then working Radio 1 and Radio 2 until he moved to Kent where he hosted the Radio Medway breakfast show for six years as well as producing programmes for BBC Radio 4 and filling in on BBC Radio 2.
He returned to Scotland in 1979 as the host of BBC Radio Scotland's mid-morning "Jimmy Mack" show and subsequently in 1990 joined commercial station Radio Clyde as launch host of Clyde 2's Drivetime show.
After eight years in the slot he moved to Early Evenings and Weekend Breakfast until 2001 when he reduced his workload and launched his Saturday evening show.
2004-07-07: Entravision has announced that it has spent USD 55 million on the repurchase of 2,542,006 shares of its Series A convertible preferred stock from TSG Capital Fund III, L.P.
The purchase was funded by a combination of cash on hand and bank borrowing and Entravision says it also has in hand an option, subject to raising funds, to repurchase the remaining 3,323,096 shares of Series A preferred stock from TSG Capital by June 30, 2005.
It adds that the price will reflect a small premium to the liquidation value but will remove the potential uncertainty resulting from the April 2006 put option associated with the stock.
2004-07-07: Internet radio network Live365 has announced the launch of a new Internet radio player, Radio365 that facilitates access to thousands of its online stations and allows browsing by genre or a search for stations that play a specific artist, album, or track.
For Macintosh users, but not those using the Windows system, it is also linked to iTunes enabling those registered with iTunes to purchase a track they have heard if it is in the iTunes catalogue.
2004-07-06: Canadian commercial radio profits were up in 2003 by 8.4% to CAD 1.2 billion (USD 905 million) according to latest figures from Statistics Canada, which notes that this is the second-largest year-on-year increase for 15 years.
Within the figure, FM again grew by more than AM-their air times sales were up by 9.8% and they had a profit margin before interest and taxes of 25.2% whilst AM grew airtimes sales by only 4.5% and had a profit margin of only 1.6%.
Despite this, Statistics Canada says the 2003 results "represent a significant turnaround for AM radio" and notes "This segment of the industry has sustained losses before interest and taxes every year since 1990. Air time sales by AM stations declined every year during that period with the exception of 1997 and 1998."
Statistics Canada also notes that, because of cost containment, radio had its best profits on record last year as operating expenses were up only 3.7%, less than half the growth in revenues of 8.2%: This produced profits before interest and taxes of 19.1% of revenues and the report notes that for the past six years private radio generated a higher margin that private TV.
Broken down further the figures show large market stations outperforming those in smaller markets - in the five largest metropolitan areas profit margins, led by Calgary and Ottawa-Gatineau with 29.2% and 27.2% respectively, averaged 23.3%, compared with 15.4% for stations in other census metropolitan areas and 15.3% for those operating outside census metropolitan areas.
There was also stronger revenue growth by French language stations (up 11.9%) than English ones (7.8%) with ethnic stations lagging with a 5.2% growth. In profit margin terms however English stations had the highest margins (20.3% up) followed by French (15.2% up) and ethnic (6.9% up).
In staffing terms there was a small growth in 2003, from a weekly average of 8,934 employees in 2002 to 9,009 employees in 2003.
Previous Statistics Canada:
2004-07-06: Research conducted in Australia by Colmar Brunton Media Solutions shows strong interest in digital radio with more than two thirds of all those polled saying they would "quite or very interested" in buying a digital radio if the service was available in their area: The figure goes up to four fifths for respondents aged 20-24.
The survey was conducted in May in Sydney with 1500 respondents and showed that about half of respondents were aware of digital radio - 66 per cent of males and 43 per cent of females.
Audio quality and absence of interference was listed as the most attractive feature of digital radio by 75% of respondents with 71% putting signal reliability as second. There was also significant mention of such features as the ability to select stations from a menu (45%) and the benefits of a screen to display rolling text such as news and song titles (42%). There was a higher percentage wanting an information screen and rewind feature amongst younger respondents whilst older ones rated menu selection highly.
Commenting on the results, Joan Warner, chief executive officer of industry body Commercial Radio Australia said the research was "very encouraging and supports the view that Australians are early adopters of new technology, see benefits in the concept of digital radio and are prepared to invest in new radio sets, primarily for the enhanced sound quality."
She added, "The new research supports the industry's position that there is a strong potential consumer market for digital radio in Australia, and adds weight to the argument that the Government should clear the way for its introduction."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2004-07-06: The British Government has given the BBC four months to redefine the remit for its online services following publication of an independent report that said some of its online activities were too commercial and should be dropped.
The report by Philip Graf, the former chief executive of Trinity Mirror says the "remit and the strategic objectives, which guide BBC Online, should be more clearly defined around public purposes and/or programme-related content" but adds that while "innovation and creativity" on the BBC web sites must not be lost the high quality of a service does not necessarily make it distinct from commercial services.
"BBC Online content," it says " must be distinctive in its provision of a public service" and goes on to say the BBC should prioritize news, current affairs, and information of value to the citizen, and education and that for other content, such as sports the BBC should not compete for online rights unless these are linked to broadcast ones.
It says that the BBC should be allowed to continue to operate a search engine but this should not be allowed to give priority to BBC sources, that it should set " a target of, at least, 25% for online content (excluding news) supplied by external and/or independent suppliers by the end of the current charter" and also noted that some sites - such as fantasy football, games sites and "what's on" listings - were not sufficiently distinctive from commercial alternatives, or were inadequately associated with public service purposes to be justified by the remit.
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell called the report "authoritative and constructive" and commented on the role the BBC had played in the Internet revolution before commenting, "I am now looking to the BBC's Governors to ensure that BBC Online remains a key player in the future. This will mean developing the service to take account of the vastly different technological landscape it now operates in.
The report was welcomed by the BBC and commercial online companies. The BBC's Director of New Media & Technology Ashley Highfield commented, "Graf's report contains important advice, commentary and criticisms of our online service and we shall be considering these thoroughly over the coming months."
He added that the Corporation had already been applying some of the principles of the Public Value Test and as a results, some sites have been charged with becoming more distinctive (e.g. Films), some have recently been re-launched with slimmer areas of content (e.g. Lifestyle), and five - Fantasy Football; the central What's On events listings; the Surfing portal; the Games portal; and Pure Soap - are to be closed.
The British Internet Publishers Association, which in its submission for the report accused the BBC of breaking "a catalogue of promises" and spending five times its agreed budget of GBP 21 million on its internet services (USD 38 million), welcomed the report and its criticism of the BBC for operating too many sites insufficiently distinct from commercial sites.
RNW comment: In radio terms, the report specifically praised the Listen Again features of the BBC site and generally praises the Corporation for its sites. It does not find any hard evidence of any severe impact on commercial sites and is generally constructive in tone.
In our view if core broadcast-related and public service remits are adequately financed, we think the report may end up benefiting the Corporation and that the thinking it will have to do about its service will be positive.
DCMS web site - links to Jowell statement and Graf report (891 kb PDF/953 Kb, 182 page Word document):
2004-07-06: Jefferson-Pilot Communications' radio division President Clarke Brown has joined the board of Saga Communications, filling a vacancy left by the resignation of Kristen Allen in May.
There are no market overlaps between Saga's holdings - they include 52 FM and 27 AM radio stations, 3 state radio networks and 2 farm radio networks - and those of Jefferson-Pilot, which has 17 radio stations.
Saga says the move is being made by Brown in preparation for likely retirement within the next year to 18 months and its CFO Sam Bush told Radio and Records that Saga took advantage of an "opportunity for Saga to pick up someone knowledgeable" adding " there are no intentions of Saga and Jefferson-Pilot from ever directly getting together."
In other US radio business Salem Communications has announced that it has completed the redemption of USD 52.5 million of its outstanding 9% senior subordinated notes due July 2011, a transaction that will mean it reporting a one-time loss of roughly USD 6.2 million.
Previous Saga Communications:
Radio and Records web site:
2004-07-05: Politics of various kinds infuse most print cover of radio that we noted over the past week, be it the lobbying of special interests or related to "indecency" and it's in the former category that we'd put the comment made by former broadcasting executive David Elstein in the UK Sunday Times attacking the BBC licence fee.
Headed "Piffle in, piffle out: the great BBC con will go on and on", Elstein expands what we consider a fairly simplistic argument -" why must we pay for the BBC if we don't want it " into a rather squalid polemic attacking the organization.
We wouldn't have bothered with the piece but for the fact that it is part of a campaign to which we have referred before by various media organizations and individuals, virtually all of who would benefit from a weakened BBC, against the Corporation.
As per our comment last month we consider the benefits brought by the existence of the Corporation far outweigh its costs and on balance prefer a licence-fee funding to a straight government subvention for a number of reasons, although we accept that the fee is effectively a tax and that it is a regressive one in that, like most things, its costs bear proportionately heavier on the poor than the wealthy.
To us the argument put here against the licence fee is not dissimilar to one that could be levied against almost any form of public expenditure - why should those against a war and prepared to take the risk of being attacked pay for the military or those who are housebound pay towards the upkeep of parks and libraries, or those rich enough to need and have hired private security have to pay for a public police?
In the end it seems to us the concept of the public good and much that most people value about the society in which they live is absent from the Elstein argument and that a debate that could be valuable is in fact demeaned into propaganda and abuse.
On however to indecency and in this case the similar effects from the anti-indecency campaign on speech in Spanish-language broadcasts to those more widely reported affecting English-language broadcasts.
Writing in Hispanic Business Daniel Shoer-Roth notes that the Spanish language broadcasters have tightened up their rules and lists some examples of words that "have been removed from the on-air lexicon of Univisión Communications by a memorandum sent to the network's radio and TV stations."
"Some employees have dubbed it 'the censorship list','' he writes, giving examples of words that can be entirely innocent in some countries but have a "double and obscene meaning in others."
They include "Papaya" (we're not absolutely sure which slang meaning is considered so objectionable in this case but assume it comes from the Cuban list for also includes bollo, crica, chocho, chocha, papeleta, papo, perilla, raja, sahuaca, and toto.), "bicho" (which we take it is the Puerto Rican male equivalent and "tortilla" (which we guess many Mexicans, and not just females with liking for females, could explain).
Circulating at Univision apparently is a satirical script ''The Censorship Monologue'' written by writer-producer Anardis Vega that uses more than 30 forbidden words sticking carefully to the dictionary definitions.
There's also a forbidden list at Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) according to Enrique Santos, one of the hosts of El Vacilón de la Mañana but he also worries about the uncertainties.
''Neither the company nor us want to be fined for being indecent, but at the same time, we don't have black-and-white definitions of what we can say,'' he said ''All this has caused a lot of uncertainty in our work. Personally, I feel there is much tension,'' he said.
On to the lobby politics and this time another branch of the Murdoch Empire, Fox News, which carries a commentary by Radley Balko concerning satellite radio. In it he contends that NAB [the National Association of Broadcasters] has wielded its lobbying power "at the expense of technology, innovation, and - ultimately - consumers."
"NAB fought cable television through every stage of its development" he notes going on to remark on its success over the decades in "snuffing out similar efforts in radio", the latest being its "victory" over the licensing of low-power FM stations that "would have given thousands of amateurs, low-budget operators and undiscovered talent access to the airwaves."
Regarding satellite radio, he comments "NAB's position is a precarious one. Satellite radio has taken off because traditional broadcast radio is so darned dreadful. That means the NAB is forced to argue that the government must prevent satellite providers from offering localized programming because allowing them to do so might drive local broadcasters out of business."
"But at the same time, NAB must argue that the service local broadcasters currently provide is of high enough quality to merit that kind of protection in the first place. It's an absurd case on its face. If FM and AM radio broadcasters were really giving consumers worthwhile local content, they wouldn't need government protection from XM and Sirius."
Balko concludes," The good news is that it looks likes NAB is going to lose this time. XM has already begun offering traffic and weather, pending action by Congress and/or the FCC. And more local programming may be on the way. That may drive a few traditional radio stations out of business. But it will also ensure that those that survive will do a better job of giving you the kind of programming you want Which is sort of the whole point of a free market."
And finally, before considering some programming still worth a list, back to polemic and the "talent on loan from God. More than I'll ever be able to use, ladies and gentlemen. Wish I could share some of it, but it just isn't possible. I mean if it were possible to do, I would do it. I just don't know quite how, to divvy up my brain and still use the half that I have. The other half tied behind my back just to make it fair. I realize that when I say that, many of you people think that I just have an out-of -control ego. I'm sure that many of you, for many years, (think) "This guy is a buffoon. He's a buffoon himself. Look at this, ego. It's out of control."
Rush Limbaugh, from whose web site the above comes, was sounding on about Michael Moore last week, particularly concerning comments likening Moore to him. On which, he comments, "Do you realize I'm sitting here minding my own business? I've been doing this for it will be 16 years in August. For the last I would say ten years the Democrats have tried to come up with their own version of me. So many times I have lost count Just three weeks ago it was this new talk radio network, then their new website. It's been Jim Hightower. It's been Mario Cuomo. It's been -- give me some other names."
"Who else have they tried out there? Gary Hartpence they tried giving him a talk show or he talked about doing it (program observer interruption) Oh, yeah, Bill Clinton doing a talk show. They've been looking for "me" on their side for all of these years, and they can't find one. Of all the people on the conservative side that the Democrats think they need a version of, it is me."
"Yet my ego is grounded. I'm not sitting here feeling all puffed up. I'm not sitting here feeling, 'Wow! I am somebody.'"
And now for some programmes online that we consider worth a listen. We start by looking ahead and on Thursday (10:30 GMT) BBC Radio 4 has Yiddish Swing, the story of the integration into American life over the generations of the million plus European Jews who emigrated to the US between1880 and 1920.
From the same channel and now online from last week's "It's my story" comes "The Liberation of Daphne" about Daphne Watts, who after leaving school at 15 was an unpaid labourer on her parents ' farm in Somerset. She sold it when they died and since then has discovered the pleasures of doing what she likes.
From BBC Radio 2, also on Thursday, Mark Lamarr at 20:00 GMT hosts the second of a 12-part series on Elvis - the first is still on the web site: It is followed by the comedy of Punt and Dennis at 21:00 GMT.
Earlirr in the week, Tuesday (20:30 GMT) sees Radio 2 air the final programme in George Melly's six-part series on Bessie Smith.
Moving musical genres' BBC Radio 3's Composer of the Week this week (11:00 GMT daily for an hour) is a series of five programmes on mid-18th century Neapolitan opera seria.
And back to Radio 4, which having ended Alistair Cooke's Letter from America, broadcast on Sunday Tony Grant's Letter to Alistair from one of his former producers: Next week sees the start (Friday at 19:50 GMT with a Sunday repeat at 07:50 GMT) of a new series State of the Union, commencing with the view from Detroit from African American Detroit news columnist Betty DeRamus.
Still in the US, last Friday (and still on the NPR site) saw the Tavis Smiley show mark the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights act in conversation with Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University, and the author of two Johnson biographies, the second one called Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973.
The Friday show also included Tony Cox talking to Miami Herald reporter Erica Bolstad about the purging of suspected felons from Florida's voter rolls: A judge on Thursday ordered that the list of suspected felons be made public and a Miami Herald investigation fount that more than 2,000 potential voters had been incorrectly labeled, enough maybe to make the difference (again?) in a close presidential election.
Fox News - Balko:
Hispanic Business - Daniel Shoer-Roth:
Rush Limbaugh web site:
UK Sunday Times - Elstein:
2004-07-05: Online publication the San Antonio Lightning, which last month broke the news that the jobs of KTSA-AM, San Antonio, veterans Carl Wiglesworth and Eliza Sonneland were on the line - they were subsequently dropped - now says that industry rumours are that the station is up for sale by Infinity and that Salem Broadcasting, which owns KSLR and KLUP locally, is said to be "looking at the possibility" of a purchase.
Neither party has made any official comment to back up the rumours but Viacom chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone has openly said that it might sell off under-performing Infinity stations (See RNW June 5).
Following the dumping of Wiglesworth and Sonneland, KTSA is to put former WOAI_AM host Chris Duel into Wiglesworth's afternoon slot and Jack Riccardi is to move to take over mornings from Sonneland.
The San Antonio Express says the moves are to take effect tomorrow and says Duel and KTSA general manager Reid Reker have promised to add a strong female presence on the new afternoon show.
The changes at KTSA judging from an internal memo from Reker that according to the Lightning was e-mailed to all staff at the station in error came against a background of financial woes at the station - the memo says that it has "very little chance of hitting budget" this year and suggests regarding Duel that "if he starts very inexpensively, we can get him a good bump in year two and it helps us get over some huge revenue and severance hurdles."
It also implies that age may be related to the decisions as well as ratings, commenting, "John and I REALLY need to figure out whether we should make any changes with Ricci (Ware). He is extremely passionate and it could be very demoralizing for the entire staff if we move him. Not only that, we will have a tougher time with HR trying to change two people over 60 than just one."
Wiglesworth following his removal has written in the Lightning thanking people in San Antonio for their past support, adding, "At the moment I see nothing for me in radio, though I desperately wish there would be. I will not go to another city. You are our neighbours and this town is our home."
He says he will find a way to make a living in the town and is to open a "little concession trailer" - "Carl Wiglesworth's Grand Champion Bar B Que" and "Chili" - on August 1.
San Antonio Express report:
San Antonio Lightning report (has links to earlier reports):
2004-07-05: Following a strong first half of the year in which radio took a 7% share of total advertising revenue in the period- it took a 7.1% share in the first quarter and had a 7% share for the year from April 2003 to March 2004, according to figures from the UK Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) - the body is predicting that the medium could achieve a 10% share.
RAB chief executive Douglas McArthur says the target is now achievable because of growing radio audiences in the UK and a better understanding and acceptance of the medium by advertisers and agencies.
The industry was challenged to hit the 10% target as long ago as 1996 by former Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) chairman turned business guru Sir John Harvey Jones: At that time it had a 4.3% share and McArthur noted that he had previously preferred 8% as a target but then added, "The latest figures confirm our position of being over 7% for the whole of the last year, so I think I need to re-address this daunting target of 10%."
Previous UK Radio Advertising Bureau:
2004-07-05: Clear Channel Chairman and CEO Lowry Mays has had to return to hospital following complications from brain surgery two months ago after he suffered swelling of his brain caused by localized bleeding and a small blood clot (See RNW May 5).
Clear Channel spokeswoman Lisa Dollinger told the San Antonio Express that doctors still expect a full recovery but no timetable has been set for Mays' return to work.
His son Mark P. Mays was appointed interim CEO in May (See RNW May 8):
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Lowry Mays:
Previous Mark Mays:
San Antonio Express report:
2004-07-04: Last week was yet again one where the US saw the most important developments concerning regulation, in this case the Federal Communication Commission's notice of inquiry into broadcast localism in the country (See RNW Jul 2). In addition, although no announcement had been formally made, it is widely expected to propose a USD 550,000 penalty on Viacom in relation to the brief flash of a Janet Jackson breast during the Super Bowl halftime show and rumours are also circulating that penalties of around USD 1.5 million will be issued to Infinity in connection with Howard Stern broadcasts that were carried on some three times as many of its stations as the six Clear Channel ones for which a USD 495,000 indecency penalty was proposed; this was subsumed into Clear Channel's records USD 1.75 million payment to clear the books of all outstanding indecency complaints against it (See RNW Jun 11).
Elsewhere things were quiet in Britain and Ireland but there was a reasonable level of radio related activity in Australia and Canada.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), as well as announcing that there is to be no criminal prosecution of Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE for breaches of rules and licence conditions concerning host John Laws declaration of commercial interests (See RNW Jun 29) has been involved in community licence activities.
* A proposal in New South Wales to make FM channel capacity available for community radio service 2CUZ Bourke at Goodooga, Lightning Ridge, Walgett and Weilmoringle - all within the 2CUZ licence area- and remove channel capacity for an unallocated open narrowcasting service at Walgett. In addition the ABA is seeking comment on a request from community radio service 2WEB to include the townships of Cunnamulla and Cobar.
Regarding the latter the ABA points out that there is already a wide-purpose community radio service in Cobar but asks for comments related to the Cunnamulla request.
* The release in Queensland of additional capacity for three national radio services in Emerald and one national radio service in Mackay plus channel capacity, planned under the Commercial Radio Blackspots Program, for an existing Emerald commercial service at Middlemount and Blackwater and for existing Mackay commercial services at Glenden, Nebo and Clairview/St Lawrence.
In addition the ABA has decided to extend the Moranbah community radio licence area to include the towns of Burton Mine, Coppabella, Goonyella, Moorvale, Peak Downs, Saraji and Woorabinda areas and the Woorabinda community licence area to include Zamia Creek.
*The advertising of new community licence for the Roxby Downs area of Southern Australia.
*The advertising of a new community radio licence for Swan Hill, Victoria.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been involved in a number of licence renewals. In order of province they were (All from 1 September 2004 to 31 August 2011):
Renewal of licence of CKGR-AM, Golden and its transmitter CKIR-AM, Invermere:
Renewal of licence of CKBL-AM, Kelowna:
Renewal of licence of CJOR-AM, Osoyoos and its transmitter CJOR-FM Oliver:
Renewal of licence of CIGV-FM, Penticton, and its transmitters CIGV-FM-1, Keremeos, and CIGV FM-2, Princeton:
Renewal of licence of CHOR-AM, Summerland:
Renewal of licence of CIVH-AM, Vanderhoof, and its transmitters CIFL-AM, Fraser Lake, and CIFJ-AM, Fort St. James:
Renewal of licence of CJRB-AM, Boissevain:
Renewal of licence of CKDM-AM, Dauphin:
Renewal of licence of CFRY-AM, Portage La Prairie and its transmitter CFRY-1-FM, Portage la Prairie:
Renewal of licence of CFQX-FM Selkirk:
Renewal of licence of CHSM-AM, Steinbach:
Renewal of licence of CKMW-AM, Winkler/Morden:
Renewal of licence of CFRW-AM, Winnipeg:
Renewal of licence of CITI-FM, Winnipeg
Renewal of licence of CJKR-FM, Winnipeg:
Renewal of licence of CKMM-FM, Winnipeg:
Renewal of licence of CJEM-FM, Edmundston, and its transmitter CKMV-FM Grand Falls
Renewal of licence of CJYC-FM, Saint John:
Renewal of licence of CKDH-AM, Amherst
Renewal of licence of CHFX-FM, Halifax:
Renewal of licence of CKEN-FM, Kentville:
Renewal of licence of CKAD-AM, Middleton:
Renewal of licence of CIGO-FM, Port Hawkesbury:
Renewal of licence of CJCB-AM, Sydney:
Renewal of licence of CKPE-FM, Sydney:
Renewal of licence of CFAB-AM, Windsor:
Renewal of licence of CIGL-FM Belleville:
Renewal of licence of CJPT-FM, Brockville:
Renewal of licence of CFLY-FM, Kingston:
Renewal of licence of CKFX-FM, North Bay:
Renewal of licence of CHEZ-FM, Ottawa:
Renewal of licence of CKKL-FM, Ottawa:
Renewal of licence of CKQB-FM, Ottawa, and its FM transmitter at Pembroke:
Renewal of licence of CHAS-FM, Sault Ste. Marie:
Renewal of licence of CJQM-FM, Sault Ste. Marie:
Prince Edward Island:
Renewal of licence of CJRW-FM, Summerside:
There were no radio decisions from Ireland and in the UK the only Ofcom radio-related matter came in the release of its latest complaints bulletin in which one complaint against radio was upheld (See RNW Jun 30).
There were no radio decisions from Ireland and in the UK the only Ofcom radio-related matter came in the release of its latest complaints bulletin in which one complaint against radio was upheld (See RNW Jun 30 2004-06.html#OFCOM8).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as its localism inquiry (See RNW Jul 2), has also been involved in a number of enforcement actions including the issuing of penalties totaling USD 58,5000 for public inspection and other file offences along with ten licence renewals it has approved, the cancellation of a USD 7,000 penalty against a Connecticut AM (See RNW Jun 29); confirming a USD 7,000 penalty against a Florida AM for tower enclosure offences (See RNW Jul 2); and confirming a penalty on a Colorado AM but reducing that on a Utah FM (See RNW Jul 3).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2004-07-04: In the second part of its survey on indecency, Paragon Media Strategies reports that the vast majority - 84% - of Americans believe that there is now more indecent material in the media than there was five years ago but even more - 87% - felt First Amendment free speech rights to be important and 85% felt that parents, not the government, should take responsibility for keeping children away from indecent content.
Rather less - 71% - felt that there was too much indecent material in the media with nearly as many - 70% - feeling that media companies were not making enough attempt to control such content.
The survey was of 401 respondents aged 18-64 who listened to radio at least an hour on the average weekday with 39% describing themselves as conservative, 37% as moderate and 21% as liberal: the conservatives were least likely to regard free speech rights as important (82% compared to 97% of liberals) and that parents should take responsibility (84% to 90%) with the reverse true when it came to views on whether media companies were taking enough steps to control indecency (83% of conservatives felt they were not compared to 53% of liberals) - the moderates were between the other groups in all cases.
When split according to ethnicity, black and African Americans were most concerned about First Amendment rights (97%) than either white (85%) or Hispanic respondents (81%) with the proportions reversed when it came to views on whether media companies were doing enough (89% of Hispanics felt they were not compared to 71% of blacks and 68% of whites) whilst 88% of Hispanics, 87% of black or African American, and 84% of whites placed most responsibility on parents.
Split according to age there was less divergence about First Amendment rights with the 18-24 and 25-53 demographic most concerned (98%) and a slight tailing off to 95% amongst those 45 and over and parental responsibility versus that of the government (86% of 18-24, 85% of 25-34, 87% of 34-45 and 83 of the 45 and over thinking parents should take the responsibility).
There was more of a split over whether there was too much indecent material - 65%, 59%, 74% and 80% - and over whether media companies were doing enough - 65%, 59%, 74% and 76% (both in ascending demographic order),
RNW comment: We were a little surprised over the ethnic divides about free speech in this survey, less so about the political ones, although we wonder whether the latter might have been different had there been a Democrat administration. The good news for radio, when allied with the first part of the survey, which showed more people felt they had been exposed to indecent material on TV and the Internet than in radio or print media, was that more people in all groups were concerned about First Amendment rights and parental responsibility than were concerned about too much indecency.
Paragon Media Strategies site:
2004-07-03: XM satellite radio says that it ended the second quarter with more than 2.1 million subscribers; this is some 418.000 more than at the end of the first quarter.
XM President and CEO Hugh Panero said the quarter was another " outstanding" one, adding, "We saw significant growth at both retail and automotive dealerships, and we experienced very strong sales for Father's Day. We have an exciting summer ahead of us, with a wide variety of exclusive programs on tap."
2004-07-03: The Australian commercial radio industry has committed itself to providing airtime valued at AUD 20 million (USD 14 million) to continue its national advertising campaign to persuade advertisers and marketers of the value of the medium.
The funding will take the campaign, which has already been running for 12 months, through another year and Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner noted the success of the campaign so far, saying advertising revenues on metropolitan radio in the past 11 months were up nearly 11% on a year earlier to AUD 472 million (USD 294 million) with the May national figure AUD 44.3 million (USD 31.2 million () nearly 13% up on May 2003.
"Radio has performed consistently well over the past twelve months in increasing advertising revenue which is very pleasing," commented Warner, continuing, "but the industry's main objective is now to convert this into a larger slice of the overall advertising pie."
The new adverts target mothers, the finance sector and the over 55s and reinforce the message that radio is an effective medium in reaching an audience compared to other mediums and Warner noted that an independent evaluation of the campaign in December last year showed half the advertisers surveyed saying that the campaign had improved their opinion of radio as an advertising medium and/or they intended to use radio more heavily in the marketing mix.
Michael Anderson, chair of the radio industry Brand Committee and CEO of Austereo, said, "The campaign over the past twelve months has not only exceeded our expectations in terms of generating awareness and altering the perceptions of radio, but it also demonstrated how to use radio creatively to maximum effect. In looking to continue the campaign for a further twelve months, we seek to maintain that momentum and also to create further opportunity to position the strength of radio with individual agencies and clients."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2004-07-03: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a full USD 7,000 penalty on a Colorado AM for tower enclosure offences but reduced by USD 800 one on a Utah FM for using a translator to extend its authorized contour.
In Colorado it confirmed a USD 7,000 penalty on Pilgrim Communications Inc., licensee of KDMN-AM, Buena Vista, for failure to keep its antenna structure enclosed within an effective locked fence or other enclosure. Pilgrim had not denied the offence but sought reduction on the basis of remedial actions taken and inability to pay. The first was, as usual, rejected, and the commission concluded the financial evidence provided did not justify a hardship reduction.
In Utah, the commission has reduced from USD 4,200 to USD3, 2000 a penalty on Simmons-SLC, LS, LLC, licensee of KJQN-FM, Brigham City, and translator station K264AC, in rural Utah County, Utah, for using the translator station to extend KJQN's signal beyond its authorized contour.
Simmons had not denied the offence but sought reduction on the basis of a history of compliance: the Commission agreed to the point of an USD 800 reduction.
2004-07-03: Former gospel artist and radio personality Ray Edwards, who was the Sunday afternoon voice on WOL-AM and WYCB-AM radio for a decade, has died aged 58.
Virginia-born Edwards moved to California in the 1960s and landed his first radio job in Los Angeles, subsequently working in San Francisco, Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore and Trenton, N.J. before moving to Washington in the early 1980s. He joined WOL in the early 90s and in 1994, he was named radio announcer of the year during the 10th Annual Stellar Awards in Chicago
In the late 1990s, after WOL had switched to all-talk, he worked at Radio One's gospel station WYCB for around a year, retiring in 1999.
Washington Post obituary:
2004-07-02: Fresh from seeing its media ownership regulations thrown out by a Federal Court in Philadelphia (See RNW June 25), the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now started a consultation regarding localism and how broadcasters meet the needs and interests of their communities.
In its Notice of Inquiry, the FCC refers to a number of specific issues including those of local programming and whether this means it should be locally originated or produced or programming of specific interest to a community regardless of source and also whether it should continue to rely on market forces and as sufficient to encourage broadcasters to air community-responsive programming.
The commission also asks whether is should distinguish between radio and TV stations in rules and policies to promote localism and notes that cable and satellite TV services provided an incentive for stations to distinguish themselves by providing local programming (RNW comment: We are puzzled how this fits in with decisions by some TV stations to drop local news and also the degree to which localism can be a good fit with the format programming in US radio when the latter is allied with practices such as voice-tracking).
In particular it is asking for comment on the profitability of producing local news compared to that of other programming and how far the economics of this differ between radio and TV as well as implications should there be government requirements that stations are required to produce local news programming.
It also asks for comment regarding the broadcast of public service announcements and also regarding political programming where stations are expressly required to allow "reasonable access" to or the "purchase of reasonable amounts of time" on its facilities by a "legally qualified candidate for Federal elective office" and also to afford equal opportunities to all candidates.
It notes that at one localism hearing a witness reported research showing that during the 2000 election, the majority of the subject stations aired less than one minute of "candidate-centred discourse" per night before election events and during 2002, only 44% of the 10,000 news broadcasts studied contained any campaign coverage at all, and only 14% of the campaign stories that were aired focused on local elections. The research also suggested that larger station group owners air less local campaign news than smaller and mid-sized station group owners.
It also takes up the issue of practices in using record promoters that have been described as a " de facto form of payola", suggestions of tie-ins with other businesses such as concert promotion by a broadcast group and of national playlists and voice-tracking that some allege damages localism but that are not currently the subject of any rules.
It also noted the effect of the 1996 Telecommunications Act that both extended licence periods from three to eight years and sets bench marks for renewals that prohibit consideration of whether another licensee might better serve the public, allowing such consideration only if a renewal has been denied because it fails to reach statutory standards [RNW comment: A rule change that were stations individuals could be considered as legalisation of a self-serving oligarchy mandated by individuals who in many cases have received financial benefits from those who benefit by the rule change.]
Separate statements concerning the inquire were released by a number of Commissioners including FCC chairman Michael K Powell who says that, "Over the last several years, the Commission's review of the media marketplace has clearly demonstrated that the broadcast community, at large, has made great strides in serving the needs of their local communities."
Republican Commissioner Kevin J Martin in his comments supports the Inquiry but also draws attention to the issue of how far FCC rules protect an affiliate's refusal to air network programming.
Less complimentary was Democratic Commissioner Michael J, Copps who in a dissenting note said there were issues where the Commission should be taking action on some issues that had already been raised not asking more questions and noted the concerns that he and fellow-Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein heard raised at localism hearings concerning the effect consolidation had already had on US media.
"Localism is one of the fundamental goals of our ownership rules and of the public interest," he commented. "I believe that it is impossible to divorce localism from ownership. What if we get to the end of this new proceeding and determine that localism is not served by ever-greater media concentration? With the consolidation genie out of the bottle, it will be too late then to stem the tide."
His fellow Democrat Jonathan S. Adelstein, while being more welcoming of the Inquiry, also wanted more public involvement and commented in particular of the issues of payment, without disclosure, for programming.
"Today, we seek specific information to determine what actions the Commission should take to address modern-day pay-for-play practices," he wrote. "This problem is not limited to any single company or any one form. Nor is it simply a radio problem. Increasingly, the television world is blurring the line delineating infomercial and infotainment from genuine news and information. The effects of such undisclosed paid-for programming run deep - for artists and musicians, labour groups, politicians, journalists, researchers, educators, and each and every one of us who listens to the radio or watches television. The public deserves to know who is trying to influence them. The Commission has broad authority to do just that, and, if broadcasters aren't doing it themselves, it's time we stood up to protect the integrity of the public airwaves. "
2004-07-02: Howard Stern's company One Twelve and Infinity Broadcasting East Inc., which syndicates his show, have filed a lawsuit against Clear Channel seeking USD 10 million in damages, saying that they had not been informed when Clear Channel dropped Stern's shows.
The two say this is in breach of license agreements but Clear Channel chief legal officer, Andrew Levin said in a statement that the fault lay with Stern.
"Howard Stern is the only one who has broken the law," said the statement. "His contract explicitly requires his show comply with all FCC rules and regulations. On several occasions, it clearly did not. Clear Channel Radio had both a legal right and an obligation to stop broadcasting it."
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-07-02: Sirius has added five more music channels to its service taking the total to 65: They are Elvis Radio, Underground Garage, Boombox, Area 63, and Vacation.
It has also announced that the Orbiter Model SR4000 plug-and-play receiver is now being shipped to RadioShack stores across the country.
The receiver includes an infrared remote and has a retail price of USD 99.95: It is compatible with mobile and home docking stations and a boombox.
2004-07-02: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), which in February announced that it was to drop Public Radio International (PRI) as the national distributor of its programming (See RNW Feb 13) has now announced that it is to distribute them using a new division introduce American Public Media.
The new division has now begun to handle distribution of most programming including A Prairie Home Companion, Marketplace, Saint Paul Sunday, Sound Money, Speaking of Faith and The Splendid Table, but Marketplace and Marketplace Morning Report will be distributed by PRI until the end of June next year.
MPR says it chose the name to help distinguish its national from its regional radio services and President William Kling commented, "As we move to a period where people are listening to our programs on the radio, downloading our audio on the Web, and listening to us with devices like the iPod, we think it is essential to have one brand that reflects the national character of our content and one that can be tracked through all these new media."
2004-07-02: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 7,000 penalty on a Florida AM for failure to maintain effective locked fences around the bases of its three AM antenna towers or a protective property fence around the towers.
Metropolitan Radio Group of Florida, Inc., licensee of WRXB-AM, St. Petersburg, had not disputed that the entrance gate to the property had remained opened and unlocked but had sought reduction or cancellation on the basis of a history of past compliance and because it had taken prompt action to change its policies regarding locking the gate and had also ordered fencing.
The FCC pointed to a previous penalty of USD 12,000 against the parent group, Metropolitan Radio Group, Inc., and also noted that following an inspection in April this year its agents had found the main gate of the perimeter fence open and unattended, that there was no chain or lock hanging from the fence, and that there were no base fences around the three towers and no additional interior fencing.
It confirmed the full penalty and also gave Metro 30 days to report whether it had come into compliance with FCC rules with a warning of possible additional enforcement action in case of continued non-compliance.
2004-07-01: The Howard Stern Show, which was suspended in February by Clear Channel and subsequently dropped completely by its six stations that had aired it, has now added more affiliates and is due back in five of the markets concerned - Orlando, Pittsburgh, Rochester, San Diego and Southern Florida: Stern still has no outlet in St Louis, where he had been on WTFX-FM - with the announcement that it is to launch on nine more Infinity stations from July 19.
Stern's show currently airs on 36 stations, 27 of them owned by Infinity: The stations he is adding are KQBT-FM, Austin; KIKK-AM, Houston; KRNC-FM, Fresno; WOCL-FM, Orlando (where he was formerly on Hot Talk WTKS-AM and will take over from The O Show with Tony); WBZZ-FM, Pittsburgh (where Stern was formerly on Clear Channel's Modern Rock WXDX, which has just announced that its afternoon drive host Alan Cox will switch to Stern's morning slot on July 6: Stern takes over the morning slot held by the B937 Morning Show of Dave, Bubba, Shelley and Brian and the station will change format from Top 40 to New & Classic Rock); WZNE-FM, Rochester (where the show was formerly on Active rock WNVE-FM; here Stern takes over the morning drive slot from Ty); KPLN-FM, San Diego ( where Stern was formerly on Active Rock KIOZ-Fm, which put Mike Esparza in his slot; here Stern pushes Woody & Wilcox out of morning drive); and WPBZ-FM, West Palm Beach (Stern was formerly on Classic Rock WBGG-FM, Miami, in southern Florida; here Stern replaces Mark, Genny & Dahmer.).
Infinity President and COO Joel Hollander commented, "Howard has dominated the radio landscape for more than 20 years. The millions of listeners who tune into the Howard Stern Show on a daily basis are unmatched in the industry. He delivers one of the most loyal audiences in radio who will no doubt embrace his return."
Stern himself, who had announced his return in a conference aired live on his show, said he had been "devastated" when Clear Channel dumped him and "threw him under the bus."
He then went on to defend Infinity and attack both Clear Channel and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The host, whose web site currently has a countdown to the end of his contract, also said he would not be moving to satellite before his the contract, which had 18 months to run, ends although he had given the idea "lots of consideration".
"In the face of all of this FCC crap, in the face of being thrown off stations, in the face of being threatened that I'm supposedly not allowed back on in other markets, I am going back on, and I am adding nine new stations," he commented.
He went on to attack the FCC, saying, "This will teach the FCC a lesson that we don't give up. We are going to fight back. I am not going to satellite."
"The press has been predicting that I'm finished, that the only place left for me is satellite radio and clearly it is not. Will the censorship continue? Yes. Will we continue to be having these battles with the FCC? Yes. Will these other companies attempt to keep me off the air? Yes."
As far as Clear Channel is concerned, Stern who is currently top-rated in the male 25-54 demographic in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and Boston, commented, "Clear Channel has to be crapping their pants. They don't want me back on in these markets because I will quickly rise to No. 1 in every one of these markets."
Although Clear Channel paid a a record USD 1.75 million in a settlement with FCC last month (See RNW June 11) to wipe its slate clean of indecency complaints, including a number against Stern, Viacom has fought against penalties imposed on Stern - in 1995 it agreed a then record USD 1.7 million to settle outstanding complaints against him.
Should penalties be levies on the basis proposed against Clear Channel it would be facing a similar penalty and according to Reuters a proposal to fine parent Viacom USD 550,000 for the Super Bowl half-time incident in which a Janet Jackson breast, complete with nipple cover, was revealed, is being circulated at the FCC. The report says the penalty would be of USD 27,5000 on each of 20 Viacom owned and operated TV stations but would not be levied on other CBS affiliates that are not owned by Viacom.
Previous Clear Channel:
2004-07-01: Emmis has reported record first quarter results with net revenues up 13.8% to USD 161 million and pro-format net revenues up 9.7% to the same figure producing a earnings per share of USD 1.36 compared to USD 0.01 for the same quarter a year ago.
Within divisions reported radio net revenues were up 17% to USD 74.7 million (pro forma net radio revenues were up 6%) whilst TV reported revenues were up 13% to USD 68.4 million and publishing net revenues were up 2% to USD 17.9 million. USD 2.9 million of the radio revenues came from international operations.
Emmis also said it had completed a successful debt refinancing that will significantly lower the cost of capital and improve pro forma free cash flow by approximately USD 25 million.
Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan called it "another strong quarter" in a "highly competitive environment" and added, "In radio, New York continues to lead the way as investments we made last year in product and management are paying off. Our television group had nine stations in eleven measured markets exceed their market revenue growth, with a strong political season ahead."
"These results reflect our focus on strong revenue growth and quality cash flow...with the debt refinancing we completed this quarter, we are on track for a record year."
In other US radio business, Entravision has announced agreement to acquire Sacramento station, Rhythmic CHR KBMB-FM (the Bomb) for USD 17.4 million in cash from Diamond Radio. Payment would be split into USD 5.6 million at closing, plus USD10.5 million to secured creditors.
Entravision chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa noted that the addition would give his company four FMs in the market - it already owns Mexican KRCX-FM, Spanish KRRE_FM and Oldies KCCL-FM - and added, We are always looking for strategic acquisitions that will enhance our existing television and radio station clusters. Sacramento is one of the fastest growing Hispanic markets in the United States, and KBMB-FM is an excellent fit with our three existing radio stations in the market."
In Georgia, Salem has announced completion of its USD 16.4 million purchase of WAFS-AM in Atlanta from Moody Bible Institute: It is to re-launch the station as a news/talk outlet in August.
Salem owns four other stations in the Atlanta market - WFSH-FM, WGKA-AM, WLTA-AM and WNIV-AM.
2004-07-01: Irish would-be religious broadcaster Solas AM, which won a medium wave licence for Dublin three years ago (See RNW May 1, 2001) had opted to throw in the towel without even going on air according to Radiowaves.
In 2002, Solas, whose directors include former executives of Irish state broadcaster RTÉ, accused RTÉ of ruining its transmission times (See RNW April 6, 2002 ) at which time we commented on the expressed preference by some applicants for an FM licence: Solas had subsequently operated a religious station as Spirit FM under a temporary licence but the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland refused a follow-up temporary licence.
RNW comment: Solas's behaviour in this case seems to us to be underhanded to put in kindly in that they appear to have bid for one licence mainly with the intention of using it as leverage to get another. The BCI in our view would not be unreasonable to reject any future applications from any group involving people who had substantial links with Solas, who have denied a licence to others for years.
2004-07-01: Evening DJ Jo-Jo on KKMG-FM (Magic M) in Pueblo, Colorado, has run foul of local groups following broadcast comments during a contest to win free tickets.
News First of Colorado Springs quoted Christina Ortiz, executive director of the Pueblo Rape Crisis Center, as saying, "The DJ was telling the caller that in order to win these tickets she would have to smack her child hard enough for it to be heard on the air and make her child cry in order to win the tickets.
Ortiz said she initially changed channels but the went back to see if the comments were real and heard a lot of complaints that the DJ laughed off, commenting, "we do this to increase our ratings and my management loves this kind of controversy."
News First reports that he DJ is still on air although he later broadcast an apology and the station says it has taken disciplinary action beyond the apology.
News First report:
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