January 2005 Archive
- December 2004 - February 2005-
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 January comment - As Michael Powell prepares to leave the FCC, pressures mount for broadcasting regulation, and racially prejudiced and tasteless or offensive comments by hosts arouse outrage, we consider how far we should regulate broadcast inaccuracy,bigotry, indecency and racism.
RNW December comment - We look back at at Highlights, lowlights, high life, low life, and trends of 2004.
RNW November comment - Looks, as the "buying" season approaches at What we'd like from radio in the future.
2005-01-31: Rarely do we see really enthusiastic reports about US radio output, never mind that of commercial stations, that we felt we had to start this week's look at print comment on the medium with a Los Angeles Times editorial, "It's Not All Rock and Rap" that concerned "From the Top" on Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasting's classical station KMZT-FM.
With particular reference to yesterday's broadcast - we wonder of course whether there might be some related self-interest in the enthusiasm, but never mind that, it said the show was an " old-fashioned variety show that just happens to focus solely on young musicians, this weekend on young Southern Californians The music is good. The kids are even better. Latent fuddy-duddies who view gaggles of giddy teens mall parading in this afternoon's must-wear clothes may fear that America's future is in vapid hands. "From the Top" offers a calm, unpretentious riposte. The young people perform with skill and emotion, and then they chat and laugh with host Christopher O'Riley with an appealing innocence, poise and breadth. "We want to celebrate excellence," says Gerald Slavet, executive producer, 'to discover and hail these young musicians as we do student athletes.'"
"The 5-year-old program, from a different city every weekend, has celebrated about 1,000 young musicians across the land. On this week's program, taped last month before a USC audience, is Yumi Man, a 17-year-old violinist from La Crescenta; Rossina Grieco, a precocious 10-year-old pianist from La Jolla; 12 girls from the Los Angeles Children's Chorus; plus a Florida trumpeter and a Massachusetts cellist. Under the gentle but hip interrogations of O'Riley, a concert pianist in his own right, the youngsters reveal their skills and quirky personalities in a casual format suggesting that music is just a part of their unfolding lives."
RNW note: From the Top is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to encourage and celebrate the development of youth through music and the show, which is syndicated by US Public Radio International (PRI) is produced in association with WGBH Radio Boston and New England Conservatory of Music. It's web site gives details of stations that carry the show and also has a listen-on-demand archive of the show, which runs two hours. The archive is available through this link below usual links at the end of this column including the show referred to, which includes music from Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Hummel, Smith, Shostakovitch, Gordon, and Haydn].
In a not dissimilar vein, Paul Donovan's comments in his Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times, refer to BBC Radio 1's pop music output, commenting of its output, "Frustrated by the fact that its target audience of 15- to 24-year-olds is definitely the commercial radio generation - I have three children in that age group, and they listen to little else - it seeks both ratings and a genuine desire to go on doing what the late John Peel did, in finding often in- accessible and arcane bands that turn out to be the musical stars and export earners of the future."
He goes on to note changes at the station prompted both by ratings and by the more serious side, this time in reference to the "One-music" shows that start tomorrow in the slot formerly occupied by the Peels show..
Of the latter, Donovan comments, "I think it is wrong to ignore, as I once did, this aspect of Radio 1's existence. The writing, performing and publishing of British popular music is, after all, one of the biggest of what are now called our "creative industries " and then goes on to suggest an expansion into pop music by BBC groups, currently four symphony orchestras, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Singers, all of whom perform in classical or light music on Radio 3 and Radio 2.
The move, he suggests, "would obviously gain huge exposure - but also underline the BBC's commitment to live music-making across a variety of genres."
Also reporting on the debut of One Music was Amy Raphael in the UK Observer: She met the trio of DJs - "Huw Stephens covering the more obscure end of rock, Ras Kwame playing largely underground and urban acts followed by Rob Da Bank choosing anything from dub and ambient to techno hardcore, will Peel's eclectic taste be kept alive" - who are to replace Peel. A useful read for those trying to gain an idea of what the shows will include.
The BBC also came in for praise in the UK Times by BBC 6 Music host Phil Jupitus: Reporting on his show, Dan Sabbagh notes that he is "unlikely" to have more than "a few tens of thousands of listeners" to his breakfast show -from 07:00 to 10:00 GMT - on a digital only channel but gains job satisfaction.
Jupitus commented, "I get to choose between 10 and 14 tracks a day. Compare that to a rival station that rhymes with Xfn, and Christian [O'Connell, Xfm's breakfast presenter] gets to choose one a week."
Sabbagh continues, "His three-hour show is certainly eclectic, a word that 6 Music desperately wants to have associated with itself. On Tuesday this week Jupitus had an amiable, digressive interview with Bill Oddie, the comedian turned naturalist, while the choice of tracks ranged from American singer Tom Waits to Basement Jaxx's dance."
"6 Music's pitch is that it is aimed at music aficionados; 25 to 44-year-olds who have outgrown Radio 1 but feel too young for Radio 2 Sixty per cent of its output is meant to come from the BBC's capacious archives, the rest from new guitar-based music - and its executives get excited when the two are juxtaposed."
Capital-owned Xfm had a budget of around a third of that of 6 Music last year and Capital Radio managing director Graham Bryce commented [RNW comment: Somewhat disingenuously, if not downright inaccurately in our view from past listening to his station], They play a lot of album tracks and stuff from the archive, and we'd prefer them to concentrate on that. Supporting new and up-and-coming music is something the commercial sector does."
He then expressed some concern about the future, adding, "At some point the station will come under pressure to deliver ratings, and then they will go right up against the commercial sector with superior budgets."
Of that comment Sabbagh noted, "Bryce's point echoes an argument that is familiar to anybody at the BBC. If a BBC service has too few viewers or listeners, it is a waste of licence payers' money, but if it has too many then it is "unfairly" competing with the commercial sector. Against such critics is not easy for the BBC to win."
For the UK Telegraph the success story to note was that of BBC Radio 2. Latest ratings show the show dominating UK radio and in a report header "The secret of staying in tune with listeners" it commented of the success that it had succeeded "Through luck, judgment and the following of two intertwined rules, one musical, the other statistical."
It went on in a lesson that could not apply to a segmented market like the US terrestrial radio but
Might for a satellite channel there, to expand on the idea" The music of your teens, whether Beatles, rock, punk or garage, remains with you for ever. You will like other music but that first music will always attract you More people were in their teens when the Beatles were famous than at any time in British history. That group is now in its 50s. People who liked punk are in their 40s. People who liked Madness are in their 30s. That's a big overall demographic.
After the praise back across the Atlantic it wasn't difficult to find examples of crassness, in particular comments made by New Jersey 101.5 radio host Craig Carton about Mary Jo Codey, wife of acting New Jersey governor Richard J. Codey.
She had suffered from postpartum depression and the host, as reported by the Associated Press, commented, "What Gov. Codey ought to do is approve the use of medical marijuana so women can have a joint and relax instead of putting their babies in a microwave. Then all they want to do is cook Doritos. Women who claim they suffer from this postpartum depression . . . they must be crazy in the first place."
According to the report we saw by Jean Rimback in New Jersey, the acting governor confronted Carton in a hallway, and admits telling the host that if he had not been governor he would have taken "him outside." He said he "defended my wife like any man would."
The host reacted by milking the episode for all it was worth, and subsequently called Codey a "schoolyard punk," demanded an apology and threatened to run him out of office.
[RNW note: We assume the comment was intended to be jocular in manner but it betrays not only insensitivity but also apparently ignorance - par for the course, maybe - about the distinction between postpartum depression, which affects around a tenth of women, and the much more severe postpartum psychosis, which affects around 0.1-0.2% and whose symptoms include delusions and hallucinations that often focus on hurting themselves or their babies.]
Now our recommendations for listening, and we could hardly start any other way but by recommending From the Top and One Music on BBC Radio 1, the first through the web site archive for those who cannot listen on a local station in the US and the second via either the web site or off-air from 23:00 to 01: on Tuesdays through Thursdays.
Then there's BBC 6 Music for the Jupitus Breakfast show and BBC Radio 2 where we'd suggest Terry Wogan's breakfast show from 07:30 to 09:30 GMT for a check on what can keep eight million listeners a week.
After that it we'd suggest 20:30 tomorrow on BBC Radio 2 for the second part of Behind the Smile The Real Life of Bob Marley followed by the fourth part of the Billy May Story.
Then for literature, the drama on BBC Radio 4 this week (10:45 GMT and an evening repeat at 19:45) is a new adaptation of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne.
Later in the day the channel's Book at Bedtime (22:45 GMT) is Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
And finally to end the week with a little comedy, there's The News Quiz, also BBC Radio 4, at 18:30 GMT on Fridays.
From the Top web site
From the Top - Shows archive:
Los Angeles Times - Editorial:
New Jersey - Rimbach:
UK Observer- Raphael:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Telegraph on BBC Radio 2:
UK Times- Sabbagh:
2005-01-31: A former Clear Channel woman intern is suing the company over sexual advances made by a former DJ at its contemporary KRQ-FM when she was working at the station.
The advances led to the arrest and subsequent conviction of the DJ, Richard Marcel Benjamin ("Donovan") who pleaded guilty in January 2004 to attempted sexual abuse: He was sentenced to 60 days in the Pima County Jail on work furlough, followed by three years on probation as a sex offender, but was not required to register as a sex offender. He was also was ordered to pay $95 in restitution to the woman.
Clear Channel fired the DJ after the arrest. He had initially been charged in March 2003 with for indecent exposure, a Class 1 misdemeanour, and two counts of sexual abuse, a Class 5 felony.
The Tucson Citizen reports that according to documents filed by the woman's attorney she was attending University of Arizona in October 2001 and attended a recording session at KRQ for school credit, when she met Benjamin.
She says he called her cell phone later that night and complimented her looks and she told him not to call again and reported the incident to her professor and Clear Channel, which responded in e-mail, promising to document her complaint.
She says that later, when she was hired as an intern by the company and assigned to Benjamin, she was given assurances she would be safe but soon after that another female intern complained to station staff that Benjamin asked her to give him a naked picture of her to use in a radio promotion and had repeatedly called her and was fired without explanation.
The incident that led to Benjamin's arrest occurred on March 11, 2003, when she said she was working and Benjamin touched her breast with his hand, then exposed his genitals to her and "forcibly caused" her to touch his penis: Benjamin told her not to tell anyone, which she initially agreed to, fearing she would lose her job as the other intern had but on March 26 that year she told his supervisors and Tucson police about the incident, leading to his arrest and firing.
Clear Channel told the paper it does not comment on pending litigation but the Citizen says it has filed papers saying never told station officials of her allegations while she was working as an intern at KRQ so they could not resolve the issue and she didn't suffer the trauma she claims she did.
Previous Clear Channel:
Tucson Citizen report:
2005-01-31: Latest figures from Autobytel Inc.'s Automotive Information Center are encouraging for satellite radio, which it says is now offered as an option on nearly 40% of new vehicles now on sale in the USA.
The organization comments that although still not a common "standard" feature, the appearance of satellite radio as an available "option" has more than tripled over the past three years to reach 38.2%.
It says so far in the 2005 Model Year, 56 new models have been introduced in the US and there are now, at the trim level, 1,671 models of vehicles available for sale in the country.
2005-01-31: Former New York jazz radio personality Mort Fega has died in Florida aged 83 of complications following back surgery: He began in radio in New Rochelle, New York in 1955 and became one of the first modern jazz DJs known for his "Jazz Unlimited" Saturday show as well as hosting various jazz festivals.
After New York, Fega worked as a jazz disc jockey in Phoenix from 1969 to 1975 and in 1986 he moved to Florida in 1986, where he hosted a jazz radio show.
Jazz News tribute:
2005-01-30: The main regulatory news this week was the decision of the US administration that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should not push the issue of its media ownership regulation to an appeal to the Supreme Court (See RNW Jan 28) although others could still potentially do so: They have until the end of the month to file briefs with the court to ask it to consider the issues: Elsewhere matters were fairly routine with a steady but low level of radio related decisions.
In Australia, the Australian Government has asked for tenders from head hunting companies to carry out the search for a head for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that is due to take over media regulatory roles currently filled by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) and the Australia Communication Authority (ACA): The ABA itself issued one radio decision, a ruling that a Western Australian community station had breached one of its licence conditions by broadcasting advertisements. (Both RNW Jan 25)
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued two radio decisions, both in Quebec. They were to:
*Grant a third extension, this time until April 2, 2005, of the time limit for Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for an extension of the time limit to submit an application for the use of a frequency other than 100.1 MHz to operate its new radio programming undertaking in Montréal.
*Approve of frequency change for CFUT-FM, Shawinigan.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has said it proposes to renew one Dublin subject to satisfactory conclusion of negotiations and signed a new five year agreement with a Dublin hospital service (See RNW Jan 29).
There were no radio decisions in the UK but Ofcom published the conclusions from its public consultation on spectrum liberalisation, which it says was positively received. As a result says Ofcom it is to proceed with the first phase of liberalisation for holders of Business Radio, Fixed Wireless Access and Fixed Links licences. It adds that it expects liberalisation to be extended to more licence classes later this year, with further classes to follow in 2006-08.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as noted opted not to pursue to the Supreme Court the issue of its media ownership regulations (See RNW Jan 28 and below). There was also official confirmation that Kenneth Ferree, Chief of the Media Bureau, is to step down in March (See RNW Jan 25).
The FCC also authorized XM to launch two satellites to replace its current XM Rock and XM Roll that have solar array problems that will shorten their life and announced a forum for Low Power FM Operators (Both RNW Jan 28).
In Texas it has asked KELI-FM, San Angelo, which is operating below minimum Class C facilities, to show cause why it should not be reclassified Class CO to allow a second FM in Lometa.
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-01-30: In an interview to be broadcast today US President George W Bush has said that the best way to protect children from broadcast indecency is action by their parents.
The President told C-SPAN President and CEO Brian Lamb, "As a free speech advocate, I often told parents who were complaining about content, you're the first line of responsibility; they put an off button the TV for a reason. Turn it off. I do think, though, that there can be a -- that government can, at times, not censor, but call to account programming that gets over the line. The problem, of course, is the definition 'over the line.'"
The President defended outgoing FCC chariman Michael K Powell over his actions in relation to broadcast indecency, saying, "...I were interviewing an FCC chairman, please tell me where the line is, and make sure you protect the capacity of people to speak freely in our society, but be willing to -- if things get too far, call them to account. I think Michael did a good job of balancing that."
Regarding what was "over the line" and the suggestion of heavy penalties for broadcast indecency the President referred to a statement made by Justice Potter Stewart in the 1964 Supreme Court case of Jacobellis v. Ohio, commenting, "Look, it's the old -- the classic definition of the Supreme Court -- by the Supreme Court on pornography, you know it when you see it. I think that was Judge Potter Stewart who said that."
RNW comment: Although we can easily see how a comment like that of Justice Potter Stewart -"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it..." - can appeal to a politician, it nevertheless strikes us as a rather crass cop-out that can cover a multitude of arbitrary opinions and one that should have led to widespread derision for any senior judicial figure for making it.
C-Span interview transcript:
2005-01-30: The Indian High Court has asked the country's government to clarify by Tuesday next week the timeframe within which it will decide on the recommendation made last year (See RNW Nov 29, 2004 ) by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that it change from a licence fee to a revenue-sharing system for private FM licences. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry however objected to the proposal on the grounds that it would produce a sharp fall in revenues.
The private companies say that the licence fees are eating up all almost their profits or more and three companies - Entertainment India Network India Ltd., Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd and Radio Today Broadcasting Ltd, filed petitions asking that the government be directed to take a decision on the recommendations.
They also asked the court to set aside an order made in November last year ordering them to deposit within two months a third of the licence fee due for the year and their counsel argued that inaction on the recommendations was causing them large financial losses:
Previous Indian Radio:
2005-01-30: Salem is to launch its FISH contemporary Christian music format in Omaha tomorrow on KGBI-FM, which it is acquiring from Grace University (See RNW Oct 27, 2004).
Salem radio executive vice-president Joe D. Davis commented of the station, "The ratings performance and reputation of KGBI-FM already have set a high standard. Its strong Christian heritage is a firm foundation for the quality programming that Salem Communications listeners have come to expect."
2005-01-30: Although the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided not to pursue the issue of media ownership regulations to the US Supreme Court, the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has said that it will appeal to the Supreme Court the Third Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling upholding most of the FCC's new media-ownership rules.
In particular it wants to reverse the Commission's new Arbitron-based radio market definition method whose implementation was allowed by the court.
In a statement it said, "We're disappointed with reports that the Solicitor General will not be seeking Supreme Court review of media ownership rules. We continue to believe the Supreme Court needs to clarify lower court decisions related to media ownership, and NAB will be seeking that review on Monday, Jan. 31."
The decision not to pursue the matter gained support from the Democrat Commissioners, Jonathan S Adelstein and Michael J Copps who said in a joint statement, "The commission should seize this second chance to do the right thing."
"We should immediately begin a comprehensive proceeding to adopt rules that will promote the core values of localism, competition and diversity. We call on the FCC to gather a far more complete record, including independent research studies on media concentration in a variety of markets, so that we can make a decision that has a more solid foundation than the last failed effort."
2005-01-29: The power of Howard Stern has been shown in the most recent radio ratings according to an article in CNN-Money, which notes that, all the six Clear Channel stations who dropped him following the US brouhaha about broadcast indecency have lost significant numbers of listeners.
In Pittsburgh, it notes, WXDX-FM has fallen from third in the previous ratings to 11th in the time slot; WTKS-FM in Orlando, Florida. has dropped from second to eighth; WNVE-FM in Rochester, New York went from sixth to 14th place on a ratings freefall and KIOZ-FM, San Diego from fifth to tying in 20th place.
On the reverse side, when Infinity added Stern to four stations in New York, California and Florida last summer, ratings jumped with WOCL-FM in the Orlando market showing the greatest gains, up from 17th to first.
The ratings according to Michael Harrison of Talkers magazine show Stern to be" "one of the biggest radio attractions in the modern era a phenomenon."
The report notes that with the impending departure of Stern to Sirius, Infinity is looking at a large revenue hole although CEO Joel Hollander suggested in December that the company doesn't lack for interest among celebrities and other wannabe successors.
It tips as the most likely successor as Chicago personality and former shock jock Erich "Mancow" Muller, whose "Mancow Morning Madness" on Emmis's Q101 is headed for syndication and who is now trying to position himself as Stern's heir apparent, but without the obscenity.
"He's taking it to the edge without going over the edge" and putting station licenses at risk, said Harrison.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-01-29: UK Chrysalis stock, which had plunged on Thursday following radio ratings that showed Emap's Magic FM overtaking its Heart FM in London (See RNW Jan 28) and the issuing of a third profits warning within six months regained most of the loss ground by the end of trading on Friday.
They closed the week at GBP 1.80, up 5.4% on the day, having dropped to below GBP 1.65 at one point on Thursday. They began the week hovering around GBP 1.85.
The group's difficulties prompted new rumours of it being vulnerable to a takeover although there are suggestions that it could sell it non-radio holdings, estimated as being worth around GBP 200 million (USD 378 million), around two-thirds of its current market valuation, to build up funds for an acquisition.
Following the ratings, Chrysalis radio division chief executive Phil Riley told the UK Guardian that it had already been aware of problems for Heart and was addressing them.
"You never ignore evidence if it suggests there is something wrong," he said. "Since the last RAJAR [ratings] wasn't great either, we have spent time looking at it and refreshing the logo, image and [creating] a new ad campaign to move the brand and station on. But there is a time lag between doing it and it showing in the numbers."
He also said they had made mistakes promoting the company's LBC talk station, commenting, "There aren't enough people finding [LBC]. We've been thinking about the need to get the marketing on more of a consistent and reliable basis "We have had a couple of false starts: The TV advertising we did with [LBC host] Nick Ferrari was too complex and he wasn't as famous as he needs to be for TV ads. It was an error we've learned from."
"The outdoor and tube advertising we have now is much more in line with what the station stands for," he added. "I am convinced the market is there."
UK Guardian report:
2005-01-29: The "Miss Jones in the Morning" team on Emmis's WQHT-FM (Hot 97) in New York appear likely to be reinstated in due course according to a report in the New York Daily News even though protests are still continuing over its tsunami song parody.
The paper reports that assistant program director E-Bro said, "A lot of people have called in support of Miss Jones. That's good" and adding, that the host - Tarsha Nicole Jones - had been the target of "a media smackfest. ... A lotta of things get said in the heat of the moment. We'll see how it all plays out."
Protests staged a demonstration outside the station organized by Queens Councilman John Liu who has demanded that the Jones team be fired, said also wants Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sanctions on WQHT, which is almost certainly ruled out because the agency's remit relating to content only applies to matters of indecency.
The report says many radio insiders think that the matter will be determined by advertisers and notes that some of them, including McDonald's and Sprint, have temporarily pulled ads - leading Emmis radio president Rick Cummings to issue a statement saying, "No company advertising on our station had any connection to the 'Tsunami Song' ... [or] endorsed or sponsored the offensive material."
The report also noted that Miss Info, Korean-American Minya Oh, had distanced herself from the parody, was not suspended.
At Clear Channel rival WWPR-FM (Power FM) former WQHT host Troi Torain (Star of Star and Buc Wild), who has just taken over the morning slot, and who in 2003 was suspended then fired from Hot 97 after allegedly disparaging advertisers on air (See RNW May 22, 2003) agreed that advertisers were "the real story."
He could also not resist a dig at Miss Jones, a former colleague with whom he had fallen out, saying, "For this b-, I'd say it's a wrap. See ya."
RNW comment: In view of Torain's abuse of a woman at an Indian call centre (See RNW Jan 12) - which presumably could be against FCC rules since we doubt advance permission was obtained to make the broadcast, - we feel that he would have been better to have kept his mouth shut. Our view is that the tsunami song was in very poor taste that presumably was intended to be a Michael Jackson parody but was nowhere near as reprehensible as Torain's call. If Jones is to be fired, we'd like to see a combination of all those he should have upset - i.e. anyone who objects to abuse of those who cannot defend themselves, abuse of women, and racially prejudiced comments - launch a campaign for all advertisers to boycott all Clear Channel stations until Torain is fired.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Daily News report:
2005-01-29: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has re-awarded in principle the special interest FM licence for Dublin City to the incumbent, Dublin Public Service Radio Association's Anna Livia 103.2 FM, which offers a talk-based broad format service.
It says the award is subject to clarification of a number of matters within the application and the successful conclusion of contract negotiations.
Also in Dublin it has also signed a new five-year deal with Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (broadcasting as Mater Hospital Radio), which is to continue with a mix of music-based shows, specialist programmes, and regular music requests,
In other activities it has appointed Stephanie Comey to the position of Scheme Director of the Broadcasting (Funding) Scheme, which is principally designed to support new television and radio programmes and is funded through an amount equal to 5% of the television licence fee.
2005-01-29: Florida Attorney General Charlie Grist has filed a brief with the state Supreme Court supporting the use of search warrants to obtain information such as medical records but saying prosecutors should not have free rein, a comment that has led radio host Rush Limbaugh's attorney to claim his argument over Limbaugh's records is being supported by Crist.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Crist argues that a judge should oversee the process and review the records to determine if they are relevant to the investigation and should be turned over to prosecutors.
"Florida's constitutional right of privacy guarantees citizens freedom from unwarranted observation of, and interference in, any aspect of their medical records. Thus, a workable balance must be struck between these two competing interests," he said.
Limbaugh is being investigated over allegations of doctor shopping to obtain prescriptions to support a drug addiction and his lawyer Roy Black told the paper he was encouraged "to see that Florida's top law enforcement officer agrees with our position that the decision of the 4th District Court of Appeal should be reversed because it does not adequately protect the medical privacy rights of the patient."
Black has argued that prosecutors should have notified Limbaugh that they intended to obtain his medical records thus allowing the host to ask a judge to decide whether prosecutors could issue subpoenas for the records.
RNW comment: Increasingly as this case goes on, it seems to us that both Limbaugh and Black are misrepresenting court decisions: In this latest development Crist's argument seems to us very similar in its thinking to that of the Florida appeals court that rejected Black's argument by a majority decision in October last year (See RNW Oct 7, 2004) and whose decision was appealed to the State Supreme Court. Black's take on this decision grabbed at the dissenting vote but even this did not to us seem to support the host.
The dissent by Judge Melanie G. May included comments that "common sense suggests that law enforcement would itself be handcuffed if required to give notice to a person before lawfully 'seizing'' evidence" and goes on to say," I would grant the petition, issue the writ, quash the order of disclosure, and remand the case to the trial court to determine the relevancy of the records seized and to whom, if anyone, those records may be 'disclosed.'"
Our overall reading so far is that the very most that Limbaugh can hope for is to get off on a technicality - the kind of thing he would inveigh about himself if it applied to someone else - but that the Supreme Court will clarify the rules in a manner that would not, had they been clarified before, have prevented the seizure of the records.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel report:
2005-01-28: The Bush administration has decided to abandon efforts to relax media ownership regulations in the US that had been proposed under toutgoing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell.
In what the New York Times report terms a "a final slap at Mr. Powell" it reports that the US Justice Department will not ask the United States Supreme Court to consider a decision last year by a federal appeals court in Philadelphia that sharply criticized the attempt to deregulate the rules and ordered the commission to reconsider its action.
The Times report says officials said one reason the administration decided not to seek Supreme Court review is that some lawyers were concerned that the case could prompt the justices to review related First Amendment issues in a way that could undermine efforts by the commission to enforce indecency rules against television and radio broadcasters.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia last year ordered the commission to reconsider the deregulation of the rules and the US Supreme Court had set next Monday as a deadline for parties involved to file any initial appeals. Large US media companies had wanted the US government to take up the issue.
New York Times report.
2005-01-28: The big gainers in the latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) were BBC Radio 2 on a national scale with particular success for its breakfast host Terry Wogan and Emap's Magic-FM in London: It overtook Chrysalis' Heart FM for the first time and was the second most listened-to commercial station in London, just 0.1% behind Capital FM.
Sports stations suffered in comparison with the previous quarter when they were boosted by the Olympics and other sporting events and Chrysalis was reduced in its comment to an honest note of "disappointing audience figures" following its London reversal and to add, "These disappointing audience figures, coupled with the weaker than anticipated trading in the first half of the 2005 financial year, lead us to believe that revenues for the radio division in the full year will show a year on year decline in the region of 3%."
The BBC overall did well with a 54% share of listening, down from 54.4% in the previous quarter but up from 52.9% a year earlier whilst the commercial sector had a 44.2% share, up from 43.7% in the previous quarter but down from 45.3% a year earlier.
Commenting on the BBC results, Jenny Abramsky, Director BBC Radio & Music, said: "Today's strong figures mark the end of an excellent year for BBC Radio. I am particularly pleased to see the Asian Network top the half million mark and Terry Wogan's figures [his weekly audience topped 8 million for the first time and in London he took his figures up 13% to 1.23 million] are simply awesome."
BBC Radio 1 slipped slightly and was back below 10 million but its breakfast host Chris Moyles increased his audience by 150,000 a week.
In London Magic took its listening share for the quarter up from 4.8 to 6.1%, just behind Capital with 6.2% and ahead of Heart, which slipped from 5.4% to 5.3%. BBC London slipped back, with its share falling from 2.0% to 1.7%
Commenting on Magic's London success, Mark Story, Emap's MD of programming, said: "This is a historic day for Magic as we take the number two position and are poised at just 0.1 per cent off the number one slot. When Emap launched Magic in 1998 we were confident it had the potential to be a number one format. This remains our ultimate goal and we'll continue to invest in the brand to build on today's historic success."
Capital stressed gains for all its London station breakfast audiences, noting an additional 83,000 listeners for Johnny Vaughan on Capital FM and in a statement said, "Capital Radio showed that it has got London covered, with particular success at breakfast across all of our London stations. At 95.8 Capital FM, Johnny Vaughan continued to hold the coveted number one commercial breakfast show position for the third consecutive survey and increased the lead on the show's nearest competitors."
GWR stressed the performance of Classic FM, its national station, and its digital stable and GWR Group Executive Chairman Ralph Bernard commented, "Classic FM continues to build its status as an upmarket advertising medium with its best ever ABC1 profile. In digital radio, GWR's strategy of creating distinctive new brands is confirmed by the success of Planet Rock, Core and The Storm. The Digital Radio Development Bureau forecasts that the number of digital radio receivers will double from 1.2 million to 2.4 million in 2005, and our digital brands are ideally placed to benefit from this expansion."
For the commercial industry, the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) noted demographic success and its Research and Communications Manager, Alison Winter said, "Today's RAJAR data reveals record figures among the core advertiser demographic of housewives while the ever-growing number of diverse commercial radio services available via digital platforms are clearly demonstrating that they can attract and maintain a loyal audience."
A similar stress was put on the figures by the UK Radio Advertising Bureau, which noted a slight fall in listening. Its Media Planning Director Peter Cory said, "Quarter 4 2004 results provided mixed fortunes for Commercial Radio, demonstrating a marginal dip quarter-on-quarter in total hours, but once again delivering longer term positive trends against key advertiser demographics, with record reach and hours for housewife audiences. We remain very upbeat about the future, as radio moves on from the internal distractions of the RAJAR Court Case and the Capital/GWR merger, and continues to increase its relevance in an increasingly time-squeezed and on-the-move society".
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 116,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.926 million, a weekly reach down from 21% to 20%, and a listening share of 8.2%, down from 8.6%.
*BBC Radio 2 gained 245,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.305 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 27%, and a listening share of 16.4%, up from 16.1%.
*BBC Radio 3 gained 28,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.100 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 4%, and an unchanged listening share of 1.3%, up from 1.1%.
*BBC Radio 4 lost 16,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.406 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 19%, but a listening share of 11.5%, up from 11.3% thanks to longer listening.
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, lost 417,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.981 million, a weekly reach of 12%, down from 13%, and a listening share of 4.3%, down from 4.9%.
(Including Sports Extra it gained 6,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.052 million, a weekly reach of 12%, and a listening chare of 4.4%)
*BBC World Service lost 92,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.273 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 3%, and an unchanged listening share of 0.60%.
*BBC Asian Network gained 62,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 535,000, an unchanged weekly reach of 1% but its listening share was down to 0.3% from 0.40%.
On the commercial side for national networks:
*GWR's Classic FM gained 59,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.204 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 13%, and a listening share up from 4.2% to 4.4%.
*The Wireless Group's talkSPORT lost 188,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.994 million an unchanged weekly reach of 4% and a listening share of 1.6%, down from 1.7%.
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 137,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.461 million, an unchanged weekly reach of 5%, and a listening share of 1.4%, down from 1.5%.
Digital national commercial networks:
*Core lost 20,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 122,000, too small for reach and share to be rated.
*Kerrang gained 112,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.120 million, unchanged reach of 2% and unchanged listening share of 0.5%.
*Oneword lost 3,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 112,000, too small for reach and share to be listed.
*Planet Rock gained 30,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 261,00, taking its reach to 1% and an unchanged share of 0.1%
*Q gained 54,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 375,000, an unchanged reach of 1% and an unchanged share of 0.1%.
*Smash Hits lost 10,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 714,000, an unchanged reach of 1%, and an unchanged listening share of 0.2%.
*The Hits lost 54,000 to end up with a weekly audience of 826,000, an unchanged reach of 2% and a listening share up from 0.2% to 0.3%
*The Storm lost 13,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 67,000, to small for reach and share to be rated.
*Sunrise gained 24,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 536,000, an unchanged reach of 1%, and share down from 0.4 to 0.3%
Previous GWR (Classic FM owners):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous Wireless Group (talkSPORT owner):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2005-01-28: Barnstable Broadcasting is exiting the Hampton Roads with the sale for USD 80 million of its five stations in the area to Max Media.
Barnstable will still own six stations in Long Island, New York and three in Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Virginia-based Max Media already owned 32 radio and 11 TV stations; The stations it is now acquiring are WGH-FM (The Eagle), oldies station WFOG-FM, rocker WXMM-FM (Max-FM), inspirational WXEZ-FM (Star 94.1) and all-sports station WCMS-AM.
The Virginian Pilot quoted Max Media COO Gene Loving as saying, "We're excited to be adding these stations," but stressing that there are no plans for format changes.
Virginian Pilot report:
2005-01-28: Air America gains another market today in Memphis today when Entercom's Adult Standards WJCE-680AM is re-branded Progressive Talk 680 WWTQ-AM with a line-up that starts at 05:00 with "Morning Sedition" and ends at midnight with "The Mike Malloy Show" and includes Al Franken's show, "Unfiltered," "The Randi Rhodes Show" and "The Majority Report."
The station will also offer local news, weather and traffic and WJCE Operations Manager Jerry Dean told the Memphis Business Journal that the station hopes to add its own live morning show in a few months but had not decided on a host for it.
The growth of "progressive talk" has also benefited the Rev Jesse Jackson according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun- Times. He reports that Jackson's weekly show, "Keep Hope Alive with the Rev. Jesse Jackson" that made its debut in April last year on the company's WRGB-AM in Chicago has also been added to the company's progressive talk stations and now has affiliates in 23 markets including five in the US top ten.
The latest are WWRC-AM in Washington, D.C., WXDX-AM in Detroit and WCKY-AM in Cincinnati that switched to the format earlier this month (See RNW Jan 16).
Previous Piquant (Air America owner):
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Memphis Business Journal report:
2005-01-28: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized XM Satellite Radio to launch two replacement satellites, XM3 and XM4 to replace the company's two existing satellites - XM Rock, launched in March 2001 to a 115 degrees West location, and XM Roll, launched two months later to an 85 degrees West location. The two existing Boeing 702 satellites have solar array problems that will reduce their useful life.
XM3 will then be launched to take over from XM Roll and XM has been given permission to move its current XM Roll satellite location to that of the present XM Roll and operate it from there - each satellite will operate at half-capacity during this period - until the successful launch of XM4.
XM will then be allowed to operate the current satellites as in-orbit spares for the remainder of their licence terms, thus ensuring that XM can continue to provide its service without interruption.
*The FCC has also announced that it is to hold a Low Power FM forum on the morning of February 8 at its headquarters.
It will be open to the public and will focus on the experiences of low power FM licensees getting on the air, staying on the air, and meeting local needs and on issues affecting the future of low power FM.
Speakers will be operators of LPFM stations and after the forum representatives from stations in the audience will be invited to comment about their stations or issues relating to the future of LPFM.
2005-01-27: Emmis has suspended indefinitely host Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones) and the New York Hot 97 Morning Team following the airing of a parody "tsunami song" that made light of the Asian tsunami and included the lines:
"There were Africans drowning, little Chinamen swept away.
You can hear God laughing, 'Swim you bitches swim."
In a statement Emmis said the team had been suspended for the airing of the song and other comments made at the time (See RNW Jan 24) and noted that, although apologies had been given, station management felt that stronger action was necessary to demonstrate the severity of the situation: Miss Jones had apologized on air as well as on the web site (See RNW Jan 26)
Emmis Radio President Rick Cummings said in a statement, "What happened is morally and socially indefensible. All involved, myself included, are ashamed and deeply sorry. I know the members of the morning show are truly contrite. They know their actions here are inexcusable."
Before the suspension was announced David Hinckley in the New York Daily News had said the station was "weathering" the storm of protest and wrote, "The question of the moment about Hot 97's well-circulated "Tsunami Song" might be this: Miscalculation or mission accomplished?"
He noted that the station at first played things cool and, although Miss Info disassociated herself from the song, posted it on the station web site and as protests got louder, Miss Jones called it "my first boycott," and said she would play the song once more just to show that protesters can't dictate what goes on the air.
Protests continued however and Councilman John Liu, whose Queen's area has a large Asian population, said if WQHT is serious about remorse, its parent, Emmis, "should donate a week's worth of ad revenue to tsunami relief." Sprint, who had been the advertiser mentioned during the exchange when the song was played, says it is to withdraw adverts from the station.
Hinckley suggested that the song had gained attention for Hot 97 to the detriment of rival show Star and Buc Wild (Troi Torain and his half-brother Timothy Joseph) on Clear Channel's WUSL-FM (Power FM). Torain, who had also been involved in protests over verbal abuse of a woman at an Indian call centre, was formerly a top rated host at Hot 97 where he had also been involved in controversy over remarks made in poor taste.
Hinckley, who had commented of the song, "Getting people to notice is the whole point" ended by asking presciently," So at what point does an attention getting device attract too much of the wrong kind? And is there any such thing?"
The answer was not that long in arriving for once.
Previous Miss Jones:
New York Daily News report:
2005-01-27: Sirius Satellite Radio, which says it now has more than 1.24 million subscribers, has increased its 2005 subscriber guidance to more than 2.5 million: It ended 2004 with 1,143,258 subscribers and says its revenues were up more than four-fold, costs of adding new customers were significantly down but its losses were also up, from USD 226 million to USD 712 million (USD 0.38 to USD 0.57 per share) for the year and from USD 148 million to USD 262 million (USD 0.14 to USD 0.21 per share) for the final quarter.
Total revenues rose from USD 12.9 million to USD 66.9 million for the year and from USD 4.8 million to USD 22.7 million for the quarter
Operating losses were up steeply - the GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) loss went up from USD 438 million in 2003 to USD 678 million in 2004 and the adjusted loss was up from USD 330 million to USD 456 million.
In the final quarter of 2004, the GAAP loss increased from USD 125 million in 2003 to USD 259 million and the adjusted loss went up from USD 91.6 million to USD155.2 million.
Sirius puts the increased losses down in part to increased subscriber acquisition costs as it added new customers - in the fourth quarter it added 480,969 subscribers, up more than threefold on a year earlier.
Sirius says it ended Sirius ended 2004 with approximately USD759 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, which it believes is sufficient to reach cash flow breakeven under its current business plan.
In 2005, it says it expects revenues of approximately USD 210 million with an adjusted loss from operations of some USD 480 million with total operating cash used, capital expenditures and purchases of restricted investments amounting to around USD 350 million, down from around USD 452 million in 2004.
During 2005 it says it expects average monthly churn is expected to be in the range of 1.6% to 1.7% during 2005 - the 2004 churn rate was 1.6%, its lowest - and the cost of acquiring a subscriber should drop to below USD145 - it was USD 177 in 2004, down from USD 293 in 2003 - with further declines expected in 2006.
Commenting on the results, CEO Mel Karmazin described 2004 as a "turning point" for the company and said it was "a strong indicator of what we believe the future holds for a new entertainment category still in its early days."
Of the year he said, "Not only did we greatly exceed our estimated subscriber target for the year, but we also beat estimates in subscriber acquisition costs and monthly churn. The fourth quarter produced blow-out sales, heavily fuelled by the holidays, and solid numbers in our automotive channel, which we believe will be a major contributor to our subscriber growth in 2005."
"Our strong start this year, along with an expanding slate of compelling programming, the introduction of third generation products later this year, and the anticipated arrival of Howard Stern next January, all contribute to our enthusiasm for the growth prospects of Sirius."
Karmazin also bluntly dismissed during the Sirius conference call rumours that the company was to be merged with its rival XM.
Earlier a Forbes online poll on the best moves Sirius has made lksted hiring him as its best move (around a third of the votes cast) with getting factory installation in DaimlerChrysler, Ford and BMW vehicles second (16%).
Sirius shares ended the trading day just under 1% down at USD 6.18 and fell a little further after markets closed. XM shares were up 1.38% at USD 33.14.
2005-01-27: UK Chrysalis Group has followed on the heels of Capital and GWR (See RNW Jan 26 ) with a trading update showing a revenue fall for its radio operations. The results contrast with more upbeat updates from Scottish Radio Holdings and Emap (See RNW Jan 25)
The update for the first five months of the company's financial year - from September 1 to the end of this month - says revenues for the period were down 3% on a year earlier although Chrysalis chairman Chris Wright noted that the comparison is with "particularly strong first 5 months in the previous financial year, where like for like revenues for the same period increased by over 21%." "Encouragingly," he adds, "we have seen signs of improvement in the national advertising market since the beginning of January and hope to regain our lost audience share over the next two Rajar surveys [RNW note: The next UK Rajar - Radio Joint Audience Research - ratings are to be released tomorrow. In the previous two surveys, Chrysalis's Heart FM in London, which had toppled Capital FM from the top listened-to rank in London briefly- See RNW Oct 24, 2003 - has lost ground against its rival.]
Regarding other divisions Wright said Chrysalis Music has seen "an excellent start" to the year, its publishing operation "continues to benefit from the worldwide success of OutKast and the outlook for the remainder of the year remains encouraging, with interests in a number of albums across all territories" and "good progress continues to be made at Chrysalis Books."
He said that results would be biased more towards the second half in 2005 than in previous years and concluded, "Overall, I am pleased with the progress made at the Chrysalis Group in the first five months of the 2005 financial year as we continue to build on the excellent assets and market positions in our core radio and music businesses."
2005-01-27: US lawmakers are reviving proposals for massive increases in penalties for broadcast indecency that died when Congress adjourned last year..
In the House Michigan Republican Fred Upton, who chairs the House Commerce sub-committee, and who was a prime drafter of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 has unveiled a bill to raise the maximum fine from its current USD 32,500 per violation to USD 5,000 and also require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider revoking a station's licence after three violations.
In the Senate Kansas Republican Sam Brownback is introducing a measure to increase the penalties to USD 325,000 per violation up to a USD 3 million maximum for continuing violations according to his spokesman reported by Reuters.
Congress adjourned last year without acting on similar proposals that had been folded into a compromise measure that would have raised fines to as much as $500,000 per violation and a maximum of $3 million for continuing violations.
2005-01-27: Former Sydney 2UE colleagues Alan Jones and John Laws are to be going head-to-head with each other for an hour a day following changes to its scheduling by Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB where Jones is now breakfast host.
Jones show on 2GB has been extended by an hour, now running from 05:30 to 10:00 with Ray Hadley following from 10:00 to 13:00. Laws remains in his 09:00 to noon slot and the speculation is that 2GB is trying to use the extra hour of Jones to keep listeners from switching stations to Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE, the one-time Sydney leader that has languished in the ratings since Jones moved to 2GB.
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-01-27: Minnesota Public Radio's newest station, 89.3 The Current, KCMP-FM, is now on air in Minneapolis-St Paul on the frequency previously used by St.Olaf College's classical music public station WCAL-FM and is airing pop in place of classical. It had previously given broad details of the programming to be aired (See RNW Dec 19, 2004).
The Current's output will air for most of the time in Rochester on KMSE-FM, also acquired from the college by MPR, but KMSE will keep classical music from 06:00 to 09:00. MPR will continue to air its news and information programming in Rochester on KZSE-FM and will also retain The Morning Show with Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole on its classical station KLSE-FM.
Music on the new station will be chosen from a library of some 5,000 albums, around a hundred times the choice offered by the playlists of many US commercial stations.
MPR President Bill Kling said they were " very proud" of the new station, adding, "We've gathered people from within MPR and bright new voices in the community to create a unique format and a unique sound."
2005-01-26: Latest figures from the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau show that DAB digital radio sales in December exceeded expectations comfortably and took the cumulative total of receivers now sold to 1.272 million, well above the 1 million target set by the Bureau at the start of 2004.
Figures from electronics industry auditor GfK showed sales of DAB digital radios in December at 346,400 were more than a third of the total now sold.
The DRDB is forecasting another doubling of the total of DAB receivers sold by the end of this year.
Previous UK DRDB:
2005-01-26: Arbitron has reported final quarter revenues in 2004 up 11.4% on a year earlier at USD 72.9 million producing net income up 10,3% at USD 9.6 million (USD 0.31 per diluted share up from USD 0.28).
For the full year Arbitron's revenues were up 8.4% to USD 296.6 million, and net income was up 21.4% to USD 98.4 million (from USD 1.63 to USD 1.92 per diluted share).
Arbitron also noted that during 2004 it reduced its long-term debt from USD 105 million at the end of 2003 to USD 50 million at the end of 2004.
Commenting on the results president and CEO Stephen Morris spoke of "yet another challenging year" during which the company was able to increase revenues and earnings.
He noted that Arbitron had signed long-term contracts with a number of companies including Clear Channel and Viacom its two largest customers and said this would allow Arbitron to "focus our energies on helping our customers take advantage of the opportunities that we believe the advertising environment will present in 2005."
Morris also spoke of the development of the company's Portable People Meter (PPM) and noted that it had completed the first two waves of recruitment for PPM tests in Houston.
He told the company's conference call that the Houston test was critical but was only part of the activities linked to the PPM including an economic study of its impact and accreditation of the PPM by the Media Rating Council that needed to be carried through this year.
Morris said the full spring survey, which would show both diary and PPM results, would be critical information in determining the impact of electronic measurement.
Looking ahead, he said he said, "Given the current state of the radio advertising economy and the continued stability of our core ratings business, we believe that Arbitron is in a good position to deliver continued growth in revenue and profitability in 2005."
Previous Media Rating Council:
2005-01-26: Capital Radio and GWR, which are to merge to form Britain's largest commercial radio group, have both issued trading updates that show weaknesses and concerns over the next year.
Capital's update, issued in connection with its Annual General Meeting, showed revenues in the final quarter of 2004 down 4% on a year earlier although it said there had been some signs of improvement and it anticipated that January revenues would be flat year on year.
GWR like-for-like figures for the quarter were down 3% on a year earlier and it commented that although the market was relatively weak in October and November it had shown some growth in December.
During that month total revenues were up 5% helped by an 8% increase in national revenues. GWR says the growth came mainly from its national commercial station Classic FM whose national revenues were up 10% on a year earlier.
For the quarter, however, Classic FM's revenues were down 7% on a year earlier when they had shown a 12% year on year increase whilst GWR's Local Radio Group, which accounts for around 70% of group revenues, saw revenues decline 3% in the quarter: In the final quarter of 2003 they had been up 13% year on year.
GWR says that like-for-like total Group revenues are likely to be down by 4% year-on-year in January and forward visibility remains short term.
The two groups said that talks are being held with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) about the sale of 106 Century FM in the East Midlands and they expect to complete the merger in early May.
2005-01-26: Emmis's WQHT-FM Hot 97 in New York has now broadcast an apology by Program Director John Dimick and also by host Miss Jones ( Tarsha Nicole Jones) over the "tsunami song" parody that was aired on its "Miss Jones in the Morning Show" last week (See RNW Jan 24).
In her comments the host said, "I apologize to all who have been offended by my poor decision to go along with playing that insulting (to say the least) Tsunami song. I should have known better and I didn't. So I'm sorry and hopefully we can move forward from this, or I can move forward from this being a better hostess, because I am better than that, and I know better than that -- and you deserve better radio than that."
The station, which had already posted an apology, has also now removed the (non-working) link it was still carrying on Monday to the song.
There have been calls for action from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) but the agency has so far made no comment about the matter.
Previous "Miss Jones":
2005-01-26: The BBC Governors Programme Complaints Committee in its latest finding covering the final quarter of 2004 has partly upheld one appeal out of 14 concerning complaints rejected by the Corporation's Complaints Unit.
One appeal related to a matter of taste and decency and 13 to matters of fairness of accuracy with one of the latter, a complaint concerning a segment of a TV programme on narcolepsy being shown in another TV programme out of context, being partially upheld.
Another complaint concerning BBC trails for digital radio that promoted digital audio broadcasting but was not platform neutral because it failed to mention that digital radio was also available on satellite and terrestrial digital TV platforms was held to be out of the Committee's remit and referred to the BBC's Head of Marketing, Radio & Music for a response.
Of the other eleven fairness and accuracy appeals not upheld, four involved radio, two of which alleged bias against Israel: One related to an Islamic cleric's reference to Israel as "the traditional enemy of the Arabs" and another to a news report on an attack by Israeli warplanes on what Israel called "Palestinian targets" in Lebanon and said to be biased because it did not mention in the first bulletin - which aired only minutes after the Israeli Defence Force released a statement saying the raid was a response to attacks from Lebanon - although later bulletins focussed on the IDF statement
The other appeals relating to radio concerned a discussion about media coverage of Europe that the complainant alleged implied that to be anti the European Union was to be xenophobic and a report that Muslim Council of Britain was urging voters to vote in the forthcoming elections in order to halt the rise of far-right parties had been biased because there had been no opportunity for the British National Party (BNP) to respond.
Previous BBC Complaints Unit bulletin:
Previous BBC Governor's appeals report:
2005-01-25: Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) has announced a strong start to its 2005 financial year with revenues from continuing activities up 11% on a year earlier in the first quarter running from October to December and like-for like-revenues up 5%.
In an update given at the company's Annual General Meeting SRH chairman Lord Gordon of Strathblane said its radio local advertising had remained strong but "the national market was challenging, particularly in December."
"Notwithstanding this," the update continued, "like-for-like radio revenues were up 3% compared with the corresponding period last year (continuing operations plus 13%). In press, revenues grew 8% compared with the same three months a year ago."
Early trading for the second quarter said SRH looked encouraging for all revenues and the Board "looks forward to a good result for the group overall, for the financial year to 30 September 2005."
SRH is due to issue interim results on May 19 but there is continued speculation that it is likely to be the target of a bid from Emap, which holds just under 30% of the company.
Emap itself issued an unscheduled trading update in advance of an investor road show in New York and Boston this week in which it said current trading was good for UK radio and consumer magazines and for B2B display, was strong for TV and B2B exhibitions and weak for B2B recruitment.
In France it said advertising was tough and newsstand sales were weak but subscriptions were stable whilst in the US circulation was stable and advertising was reasonable.
Also in the UK, Capital Radio has announced that its Strategy and Development Director Nathalie Schwarz is to leave the company at the end of this month.
Schwartz, who joined Capital as Company Secretary and Head of Legal Affairs in 1998 and was appointed Strategy and Development Director in 2001 and has been a member of the board since December 2003.
She led the group's submissions to UK regulators the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Ofcom for its merger with GWR, which has now been approved but is leaving with no post to go to and reports are that there was no suitable position for her in the merged group.
Paying tribute Capital chairman Peter Cawdron said in a statement, "Nathalie has been an influential figure both at Capital and within the radio industry and has made a significant contribution to the Group's progress We wish Nathalie every success in her future endeavours"
Previous Lord Gordon:
2005-01-25: The Australian federal government has invited head-hunting companies to compete for a tender to find a head for its planned Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that is due to take over media regulatory roles currently filled by the Australia Communication Authority (ACA) and the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).
The planned merger was announced in May last year at which time the government said the new body would be responsible for regulating telecommunications, broadcasting, radiocommunications and online content: It added that the ACMA will be established by 1 July 2005, subject to the passage of enabling legislation.
The tender documents say the chair of the new body will have a role that also encompasses the duty of chief executive officer and will report to the Australian minister for telecommunications.
The job would be offered for an initial period of up to five years with possible re-appointment up to a maximum of ten years and will have an annual operating budget of some AUD 70 million (USD 54 million) and collect taxes and fees amounting to around AUD 450 million (USD 347 million) a year.
The document also notes that the new body is being formed in part because of a "convergence of communications technologies" and adds that the person appointed will need a "sound understanding of relevant technological issues and their potential impact on the regulatory environment".
In an unrelated ruling, the ABA has said community radio station service Radio Mulba in Port Hedland, Western Australia, breached its licence conditions by broadcasting advertisements.
The licensee had argued that it had not intended any breach in interviews of six retailers during a live broadcast from a shopping centre, that it had not received payment, although the retailers gave information on the goods or services they offered and shopping centre management representatives gave such details for three other retailers. It said it had suspended the broadcasts when told of the investigation and would ensure there were no such future broadcasts.
The ABA noted that this was the first breach by the station and proposes to take no further action. It rejected an additional contention that naming brands of cigarette during comments that were intended to highlight tobacco companies' disregard for people's health amounted to advertising tobacco products.
2005-01-25: Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting has announced the launch of what it terms a "multi-media business-to-business campaign designed to emphasize the power of Infinity radio" through adverts in national and media trade publications.
The "How Far Will You Go?" campaign will target such groups as media planners and buyers in an attempt to persuade them to pay attention to the scope offered by Infinity.
Over the next few months the campaign will be extended to include radio, outdoor, direct mail and online, and will be incorporated into the sales and marketing efforts of local Infinity stations across the country.
It will include testimonials from Monster and Daimler Chrylser executives, to communicate how agencies and clients can realize the full potential of a new idea with radio. One ad states, "At Infinity Broadcasting, we're taking the world's most relevant free media to places most have never dreamed. Think big, and go bigger. Take your ideas to Infinity."
Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander commented in a statement, "Advertisers today need to think differently in targeting consumers - the media landscape continues to get fragmented and clutter is still a problem - but radio remains one of the most effective tools in a media planner's arsenal."
"Infinity stations attract millions of listeners each morning, day and night, and it has been proven time and time again that this is a responsive audience. We are taking this opportunity to present a bold and provocative campaign which not only illustrates the reach and impact of Infinity, but encourages advertisers to take full advantage of their ideas by utilizing this highly functional medium."
In an unrelated announcement Infinity has also given a partial reprieve for fans of its former WHFS-FM that it switched to a Spanish-language "El Zol" format earlier this month (See RNW Jan 13) and which it hopes to change to WZLL-FM.
It has put the station's programming online through the AOL Radio Network as WHFS.com, a 24-hour, seven day a week audio stream of the former alternative rock station. It is also to air "HFS on Live 105.7" on evenings and at weekends on its Baltimore Live 105.7 FM.
The nightly programming hosted by Tim Virgin will feature personalities and music previously heard on WHFS but Live 105.7 FM's daytime programs, including Howard Stern and Don & Mike, will continue as at present.
2005-01-25: The BBC has started to re-launch its Internet Radio Player in a move that should be completed today and make almost all the Corporation's radio output for a week after its broadcast.
The Corporation already makes most of its output available online, particularly that of Radio 4 almost all of whose output is already available on=demand for a week after airing and some for much longer, and says that its service attracts more than 10 million hours of listening a month: The new player will add more than 80 extra programmes including Colin & Edith, Jo Whiley and Vernon Kay from Radio 1; Steve Wright, Sarah Kennedy and Ken Bruce from Radio 2; Morning on 3 and Performance on 3 from Radio 3;and a number of programmes from its digital networks as well as featuring live streams of all the BBC's local radio stations.
It will also offer listeners the option of stopping a programme at any point, switching off the computer and then resuming listening from that point at any time during the seven days the programme is available.
In addition it will give details of current and next programmes for each station and will be integrated with the BBC's News, Sport and Weather Players and will also allow listeners to stay with a programme whilst checking what else is on offer through links to lists of most popular programmes or programming of a particular genre.
Commenting on the benefits of making it possible to listen by genre the BBC's controller of Radio and Music Interactive Simon Nelson told the UK Independent that the current design of its Radio Player just could not cope with the hundreds of programmes on offer.
"There are thousands of people who would enjoy the comedy we put out but just wouldn't go to brands like Radio4 and negotiate a schedule that includes The Archers and Woman's Hour," he says.
"We can offer comedy programmes to 25-year-olds who are not ready to tune in and listen to them on Radio 4 We want to push down this road of introducing people to stuff they wouldn't normally listen to."
Nelson noted that people were put off because of their perceptions of the output of BBC networks, commenting, "Radio 3 makes world-beating jazz programmes but many people still regard it as a classical music station" and adding that there were other jazz-related offerings on Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio Scotland, Radio Wales, Radio Ulster and 1-Xtra.
Nelson said he hoped future versions of Radio Player would emulate websites such as Amazon and iTunes, taking users on a journey by noting their listening habits and recommending related programmes on other BBC networks.
The paper also noted the major resources that the BBC had put into its system and said these were not available to the commercial sector although some commercial networks such as SMG-owned Virgin and Emap-owned Kiss were providing on-demand services.
It also reported some scepticism in commercial radio about the appeal of this, quoting Nick Pigott, digital content manager for GWR, as saying he was not convinced that radio on demand had the same appeal in the commercial sector where schedules are often built on consistent music programming. "I believe that for commercial industry it's something of questionable benefit at the moment," said Pigott.
UK Independent report:
2005-01-25: Following the announcement that US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K.Powell is to step down in March (See RNW Jan 21), the Commission's Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree has announced that he is to leave on March 4.
Ferree, who was appointed to his current post in 2001 by Powell, has not said what he intends to do after he leaves. He had headed the FCC cable bureau before he moved to his current post.
The FCC says that a decision on who will succeed Ferree will be up to whoever is appointed chairman of the Commission.
2005-01-25: Italian publisher Mondadori, which is controlled by Fininvest, the holding company of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's family, has announced completion of its purchase of Italian National Radio Group Radio 1-0-1 for Euros 39.6 million (USD 51.7 million): Last year it had said it was to pay Euros 42 million (then USD 52.5 million) on the purchase, a move that raised concern about excessive influence by Berlusconi on Italy's media (See RNW Oct 21, 2004).
Fininvest has also said it had taken a 10% stake in local station owner Rock FM.
The deals are seen as the start of moves by Italian media giants to buy into the country's fast growing radio sector and last year Mondadori's CEO and deputy chairman Maurizio Costa said he hoped Radio 101 would be the first of a series of investments in the sector and also commented on potential synergies between radio and other parts of the Fininvest media empire.
2005-01-24: This week to start our print look at radio we could not resist the opening paragraph of Gerry McCarthy's Radio Waves column about Irish Radio in the UK Sunday Times: "With its flexibility and speed of response, radio remains the best barometer of the public mood," he wrote. "If there is such a thing as a national conversation it can be heard on talk shows. But some forms of public conversation are more fruitful than others."
McCarthy, whose remarks would certainly not apply in all countries - it certainly doesn't fit the styles of many popular US hosts- then went on to consider different styles of talk radio - that of Gerry Ryan whose method McCarthy said was to "the conversation personal Actively introducing his beliefs allows Ryan to modulate the conversation in a highly productive manner."
"He does not act the part of a neutral modulator or passive sounding board. He interacts, making himself a part of the equation. This has a definite psychological effect. Conversation works best when both participants make equal contributions."
"By contrast," commented McCarthy, "Liveline is still hidebound by an ethos of neutrality. Joe Duffy, its presenter, tends to act the part of a neutral referee, playing callers off against one another. He avoids taking sides and generally aims to balance opposing points of view As a result, Liveline can get locked into sterile political debate with tried and tested arguments winging back and forth like ping-pong balls. The form inhibits it from reaching the places Ryan is able to touch."
Also discussing styles - and noting a difference between the UK and US - was Guy Browning in the UK Guardian.
In "How to ... ... be a DJ" he began, "A good DJ gives you more pleasure in your ear than anything other than actually putting in a figure and waggling vigorously. Bad DJs encourage you to put both fingers in your ears and keep them there."
"DJs," he continued, "have to be able to deal with the public as if they were normal, sane people, even when bats are clearly loose in their belfry. The ability to interrupt and cut people short is therefore vital To be a successful DJ in the US, you need to have lots of opinions and share them at high volume."
"In Britain, successful DJs must be masters of self-deprecation. Given the looks of most DJs, this probably comes naturally. There are no good-looking DJs over 40, as TV claims the cute ones."
Browning took another dig at the occupation later, commenting," Some radio stations are all music and some are all talk. The worst combine the two, where the DJ talks over the music. DJs are divided into those with musical integrity and those with producers. The first choose the music and try to convince you that it's worth listening to. The others play what they're told to play."
Also from the UK, a tribute to a DJ in the other UK Sunday Times Radio Waves column - that of Paul Donovan: His column this week was on the UK Radio Aid programme to aid tsunami victims (See RNW Jan 18), a programme carried by most of Britain's commercial radio stations, the first time they have co-operated to broadcast a single show since commercial radio began in the UK 32 years ago.
After commenting on the programme itself Donovan pays tribute to the DJ who thought up the idea, writing, "There was, of course, the same mixture of philanthropy, corporate PR and silly exhibitionism we have come to expect from charity bashes akin to Children in Need and Comic Relief. For all that, it was worthy - and, amazingly, put together in a fortnight."
"Good for the Capital disc jockey James Cannon for coming up with the idea, but not drawing attention to the fact. He told me he had two small children, had been much distressed by what he had seen on television, felt guilty within days that he had not donated money and gradually realised that broadcasters were a collective mouthpiece with a power for good. Until last week, he had been noted only for his "Flirty at 9.30" spot, but now he has an honourable place in broadcasting history "
After that we cross the Atlantic for a quick reality check on a different subject, that of "liberal" or "progressive" talk radio, the label depending on the spin; On WorldnetDaily, whose spin could be described as from fairly far to the right, Brian Maloney, plays down the success of "national left-wing programmes" in the US, in a report that may have a slant but also makes some valid points.
Writing of the current outlets, he says, "Corporate giant Clear Channel Radio has been converting small, also-ran radio stations around the country to a new liberal format featuring a varying blend of Air America and leftist programs originating from other radio networks
"In some cities such as San Diego and Portland, Oregon, initial indications are that the format might be drawing an audience. San Diego's KLSD-AM moved into 16th place in the latest Arbitron radio ratings survey, down slightly from the previous reporting period but up somewhat from the station's old format."
Maloney then has a few digs at the hype of the programming before going on to say that successful conservative talk shows in the US "were road-tested in individual cities first, and only after the demand was there were they syndicated to a waiting national audience. They didn't create supply until there was demand When in later years, conservative programs were placed into national status without the host having the on-air seasoning and proven ability to draw an audience at the local level, the result has almost always been eventual failure."
"In Air America's case," he says, "the cart has been placed before the horse. 'Hosts' without a minute of talk radio experience were placed on their network based mostly on marquee value rather than demonstrated talent."
Figures of massive growth for the programming, says Maloney, mean little because of the low base from which they began - he says of hosts Ed Schultz and Rush Limbaugh, "Rush Limbaugh was tacking on one major-market powerhouse after another in his early syndication days, while Schultz's additions have been little flyswatter operations, many in remote locations. To make a comparison based on just a numerical count of affiliates is disingenuous at best.
Maloney details some success for Air America but more failure and writes of the future, "More risky 'building on spec,' or a radio format with staying power? My money's on the former. But one thing liberal radio has in its favor is a decent number of politically sympathetic radio company executives and station programmers who've been trapped in positions for years running shows they personally hate.
After the comment, the content, and first BBC Radio 4 and Sir Winston Churchill, who died 40 years ago: This week's Book of the Week- 09:45 daily with a repeat at 00:30 - is The Fringes of Power, readings - covering the period from May 1040 to May 1945 - from diaries kept, in clear breach of regulations, by John Colville, Churchill's Private Secretary for much of the second World War.
Also, at 20:00 GMT tonight on Radio 4 is a Churchill's Roar, a Routes of English special that looks at and analyses Churchill's eloquence and next Saturday at 20:00 GMT The Archive Hour "Farewell to Winston" looks back at Churchill's state funeral.
Staying with the Archive Hour and eloquence in a different medium, the Archive Hour last week - on the Listen-Again part of the site - was Louis's Lost Tapes in which Humphrey Lyttelton presents extracts from a unique interview by Voice of America with Louis Armstrong about his career and picks out some of his favourite records.
And still with music but in a more analytical mode, Radio 4 at 15:45 GMT has How Strange the Change, a series that explores the mysteries of key signatures and the curious effects they can have on musicians and listeners alike.
For a different genre of music we suggest BBC Radio 2 tomorrow night and the Real Life Of Bob Marley at 20:30 GMT, the first of two programmes on the late singer: This once included comment from his fellow Wailer Bunny Livingston, various musicians and broadcasters and also former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga.
Then for drama, we'd suggest BBC Radio 3's Drama on Sunday, which last week was a tale of friendship, betrayal, passion, and a thirst for revenge in Sandor Marai's Embers.
And for language, BBC Radio 4 last Friday in the last of the most recent series of Word of Mouth included a look at gun-related idioms in everyday speech from magic bullets to smoking guns, had Lucinda Lambton fuming about management speak, and also looked at the changing use of haitch as an initial consonant and on the aitch/haitch shibboleth in Northern Ireland where to this day getting it wrong in the hands of a sectarian gang can be a very dangerous business.
Also on language, US National Public Radio's Morning Edition on Wednesday (available via the web site) considered in Translating the Untranslatable, linguist Christopher J Moore's new guide to the most intriguing words around the world.
From a different continent, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Background Briefing on Sunday was The Importance of Beatrice: Endangered livestock, a programme that looked at the loss of rare breeds as farming goes monoculture in many ways, a move that one agricultural expert has described as a "biological meltdown" that threatens international food security
It also notes that consolidation isn't only a media issue - three corporate breeders, for example, dominate the world's turkey market and the concentration of ownership combined with genetic uniformity puts food supplies in a potentially vulnerable situation.
As Chuck Bassett, Executive Director of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, put it, "We try and find a one-size-fits-all remedy, or solution, or fix to things, and if we can find just one cow that produces milk and just one breed of cattle that produces beef, or just one chicken that produces fryers or broilers or eggs, then life becomes easier. It's much like a democracy: a democracy is not easy to manage, dictatorships are much easier to manage, and when you have only one particular breed or one variety, it's a lot easier to manage that than the diversity associated with multiple breeds or varieties. "
"However that ease of management, or that control, is at the expense of the diversity that is essential to the long-term viability of a particular breed or system, or you try and get into a one-size-fits-all situation, you pay on the backside anyway, you pay the price of doing that."
Then there's American invention and that ranges mightily: BBC Radio 4 tomorrow at 11:30 GMT looks at one of the less - or more - consequential of them in A Man and a Can, the story the invention by the late CBS engineer Charles Douglass of the Laff Box, the original canned laughter device.
And finally The Goodnight Tapes on BBC Radio 4 this morning at 11:00 GMT: The tapes are recordings made in prison by both mothers and fathers and taken out to be played to their children at bedtime. Nearly half of Britain's prisoners are under 25, most are parents and some two-thirds of them are effectively illiterate thus making written communication difficult at the very least. This programme illustrates the degree to which recording the stories as well as keeping up a link also teaches the prisoners about themselves, right and wrong and being a parent.
UK Guardian- Browning:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times - McCarthy:
Worldnetdaily - Mahoney:
2005-01-24: Following on the heels of abuse of an Indian call centre operator by Star and Buc Wild on Clear Channel's WUSL-FM, Philadelphia, the morning show team on their former station Emmis's WQHT-FM, Hot 97, New York, and former Star (Troi Torain) colleague Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones) are also under attack for racism.
In this case Asian Media Watch has called for complaints to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the airing twice on the "Miss Jones in the Morning" show on Jan 20 of a "tsunami song" that, like the WUSL call was initially posted on the station web site.
The song includes the lines,
"There were Africans drowning, little Chinamen swept away.
You can hear God laughing, 'Swim you bitches swim."
It also has a chorus that runs,
"So now you're screwed. It's the tsunami,
You better run and kiss your ass away. Go find your mommy.
I just saw her float by, a tree went through her head.
And now your children will be sold. Child slavery."
Asian Media Watch terms it, "Yet another example of racist hate radio aired on New York's Hot 97 WQHT-FM" and notes an earlier example in which in response to the sale of a board game called "Ghettopoly", Jones enflamed an already racially charged situation by asking listeners make their own board game called "Chinkopoly" and to make demeaning imitations of Asians as retaliation towards Ghettopoly's creator who is an Asian American.
After protests about the tsunami song Emmis posted an apology on its web site reading, "HOT 97 regrets the airing of material that made light of a serious and tragic event. We apologize to our listeners and anyone who was offended."
It adds, "HOT97 takes pride in its community involvement and in the last few weeks has joined with broadcasters nationwide to raise money for victims of the Tsunami. Our relief effort will result in a substantial cash donation As an additional sign of HOT 97's commitment to the cause, Miss Jones in the Morning, along with her entire staff, have agreed to contribute one week's pay to Tsunami Relief efforts."
Another of the show hosts, Miss Info, Korean-American Minya Oh, raised objections to the song during the show and was then abused by the other hosts: The song was introduced as by the "Miss Jones in the Morning Show plays- minus Miss Info- Of Course" "Why don't you just quit?"
The other hosts, then attacked her asking "Why is it always without you" and were told by Miss Info that "the song is really offensive to me."
She then said that although she supported the right of the others to parody anything she opted not to involve herself and during a heated on-air argument with Miss Jones was told that she "should just give the damned gossip"..." If you want to be separate, be separate and be off" "You're always trying to undermine everything we do" and that "you feel superior probably because you're Asian and you're not, you're not."
The Hot 97 site on the Morning Show's page still lists under the heading "Funny SH*T" a link to the Tsunami song but this is no longer working although Asian Media Watch and other sites have posted copies
RNW comment: The exchange if nothing else shows that Miss Info is infinitely more civilised in the usual meaning of the word than her colleagues. We would hope that should the obvious tension spills over into any effects to push her out all the sponsors would have enough "values" to let it be clearly known they would then boycott not only the show but Emmis should such action be taken.
Asian Media Watch web site:
Hot 97 site:
2005-01-24: US giant Clear Channel is winning itself some PR points in Minnesota by coming to the aid of public station KBEM-FM, which is facing the loss of half its income through cancellation of a contract to deliver traffic reports (See RNW Dec 23, 2004).
According to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune it will deliver a USD 25,000 cheque to the station today and is also to broadcast messages on several of its Twin Cities stations asking listeners to support KBEM and plans to help the station with its winter jazz festival and future pledge drives.
Dan Seeman vice president and general manager of Clear Channel's local stations which include KBEM's main competitor "Smooth Jazz" KJZI-FM, told the paper, "We hope this turns into a long-term partnership. I'm hoping we can grow the jazz lifestyle in the market."
Seeman added that Clear Channel's attraction to the station had a lot to do with its educational component. In addition to its jazz programming, KBEM also serves as a training ground for 150 students who go through North's broadcast communications program each year.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-01-24: Polish Second World War hero Jan Nowak-Jezioranski who later became head of the Polish section of Radio Free Europe, diligently organizing anti-Communist broadcasts for two decades has died aged 91 in a Warsaw hospital
Nowak-Jezioranski, who was awarded the America's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1996, fought in the 1939 campaign after Hitler's armies invaded Poland and after Poland was defeated joined the resistance. He took part in the Warsaw uprising in 1944 and after the war joined Radio Free Europe in Munich. He moved to Washington in 1976 and served as a consultant to the National Security Council.
In the 1990s, Nowak-Jezioranski lobbied for Poland's membership in NATO and the European Union.
Medal of Freedom site - Nowak-Jezioranski page (Includes AP report on death):
2005-01-23: The main news from the regulators this week came from the US where Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael K. Powell announced at the end of the week that he was to step down some time in March (See RNW Jan 21): Elsewhere there was nothing from Australia but a steady level of activity from other areas.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has finally said it will allow a Quebec station exchange between Astral and Corus, but only subject to conditions relating to local programming (See RNW Jan 22).
The CRTC has also said it will allow CHMP-FM, Longueuil, Quebec, to remove the existing condition of licence regarding the broadcast of English-language vocal musical selections on the basis that Astral and Corus say they will finalize their deal under the conditions required: CHMP-FM (formerly CKOO-FM) is owned by Metromedia CMR Broadcasting Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Placements Belcand Mont-Royal inc., which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Corus Entertainment Inc.
In Ontario the CRTC has granted an extension until August 31, 2005 for the commencement of operation of a transitional digital radio undertaking, associated with its existing station CHWO-AM, Toronto, and also approved a change for the CJWA-FM, Wawa's transmitter CJWA-FM-1 at Chapleau involving a power reduction from 130 to 111 watts and antenna height reduction from 37 metres to 30.5 metres.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has posted a report on Irish language radio (See RNW Jan 22) and in the UK, Ofcom has published its plans for the next three years: It also announced the award of a new FM licence for Ashford in Kent to Lark FM (See RNW Jan 21).
Ofcom also released its comments on the awards of new local FMs for Edinburgh and Blackburn (See RNW Dec 17) and posted the three appplications for the new Durham FM (6.75 Mb of PDFs - See RNW Jan 8).
The Edinburgh licence went to The Wireless Group's Dunedin FM against competition from 11 other applicants: Ofcom said that, while it recognized that while a speech-based service potentially represented a greater commercial risk than some of the formats proposed by other applicants, it would provide a greater broadening of choice in the Edinburgh local commercial radio market than would the other proposed formats
The Blackburn licence went to the Blackburn Broadcasting Company Ltd.'s The Bee against competition from three other applicants: Ofcom said the amount and type of speech content proposed by The Bee would broaden choice in relation to the existing local commercial radio services available in the area, as would the proposed adult contemporary music mix with tracks taken from each of the last four decades and it also felt that The Bee had made an appropriate degree of commitment to output designed specifically to appeal to the area's relatively large Asian population.
Ofcom also published its latest complaints bulletin, upholding no complaints for once (See RNW Jan 18).
In the US, as noted, the main news was that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell is to stand down: Touted as most likely successors are current Commissioner Kevin J Martin and former Texas regulator Becky A. Klein (See RNW Jan 22).
The FCC has also announced a USD 20,000 consent agreement with a Louisiana station owner over various breaches including unauthorized transfer of control and EAS and tower offences but cancelled on the basis of inability to pay a USD 10,000 penalty on a New York man, now unemployed (See RNW Jan 19).
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-01-23: UK radio ratings organisation RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) has released the findings of a six months industry-wide consultation on the services it should provide: Main findings include continuing provision of a single audience measurement survey covering the BBC and all commercial radio, that it should be able to monitor all delivery platforms, and that any changes in methodology should be affordable.
The consultation followed the first phase of audiometer testing of the first generation Arbitron Portable People Meter and GfK Radiocontrol watch: These tests identified shortcomings in the meters then available and a second phase of testing with second generation meters is currently underway, now additionally including a third meter, the Eurisko Media Monitor.
The consultation showed that there were concerns about the ability of the current diary survey to cope with industry change and the multi-channel radio future but although many taking party "expressed a growing belief that the survey needs to improve, through sampling and/or methodology, to meet the needs of the digital age", the report also says that, although "Advertisers and media planners were particularly keen on the idea of audiometers There were many concerns with audiometers and the impact of change."
In a positive note for RAJAR, which has been criticized strongly over its continued use of the diary system by The Wireless Group - which lost a court battle on this matter (See RNW Dec 17, 2004) - the consultation showed "majority support a thorough testing process and the careful introduction of audiometers" combined with "widespread unease about the transition."
Amongst the issues considered were the definition of listening - RAJAR's diary system records listening for five minutes or more whereas the rival GfK system sponsored by the Wireless Group measures any listening and the consultation showed that there were difference of opinion this -one suggestion was basing the definition on passive exposure - being present when a radio is nearby - for a shorter period maybe down to one minute, a difference summarized as "listening versus hearing."
There was almost uniform acceptance that the UK radio map, which is complex and allows stations to report on Total Survey Areas they define, needed to change but no clear agreement on what the system should move to and there was also no agreement on the frequency with which ratings should be produced - some wanted information weekly whilst others would retain the current quarterly reports. Tied in with this was concern about the costs of a new system.
Commenting on the findings, RAJAR managing director Sally de la Bedoyere said the organization was "delighted to report there is wide consensus that a single audience measurement system, which includes both BBC and Commercial Radio, is essential for the future of radio audience research, and that while the introduction of electronic measurement is seen as very important, the accuracy and robustness of the data, allied to cost was the key."
"We now have a far clearer picture of the needs of the industry and the feedback we have received will help enormously in framing the specification for the new contract which we will be drawing up in the next few months", she added.
Previous de la Bedoyere:
2005-01-23: Although so far Star and Buc Wild (Troi Torain and his half-brother, Timothy Joseph) have so far only suffered removal from the air for one day by Clear Channel's WUSL Power 99 FM, Philadelphia, following abusive comments made by Star to a woman at an Indian call centre (See RNW Jan 12), those protesting the comments have not given up their action.
The American Jewish Committee and the U.S. India Political Action Committee are urging a WUSL to take strong disciplinary action against the duo for what it terms "their recent profane and racist program targeting the Indian community."
The AJC and USINPAC ask the station to "move expeditiously" against morning hosts Star and Buc Wild, "including consideration of terminating your employment of Star and Buc Wild."
They say of the action taken so far, "we believe this measure to have been woefully inadequate, and urge you to take further steps to discipline these men for their actions." "Only then can you begin to rectify the unfortunate situation they have created, and to temper the outrage and pain they have caused."
Since the furore broke out, the duo have launched in New York on WPWR-FM (Power 105.1), and Star said on the first day of their morning how that he apologized to "All Asians" over the remarks, which included calling the woman a "bitch" and a "filthy rat eater."
"India, we love you. I was so moved by all your phone calls. You just don't understand the hate, that's all. I support outsourcing. Let's move on," he added.
Torain also showed on the show that he hasn't toned down his comments in some areas saying on the same show in an attack on Howard Stern that the latter has "told his listeners to rat me out to the FCC" and adding, "I came for the long-haired [homosexual] down the dial, Howard Stern."
RNW comment: As we commented at the time, we considered the exchange crude abuse. We're also rather puzzled, since we're pretty certain Torain did not get permission to broadcast the call, why so far we have seen no reports of a complaint to the FCC over this matter, which is on the surface a clear breach of regulations.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Star and Buc Wild:
2005-01-23: The Museum of Broadcast Communications, which recently received a USD1 million donation from Paul and Angel Harvey and a USD 250,000 grant from The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, has now been given a further USD 250,000 by the Polk Bros. Foundation.
Polk Bros. was once one of the country's leading television retailers and the funding, says the Museum, will go toward exhibit development and the expansion of the MBC's new facility in downtown Chicago, scheduled to open in the spring of 2006.
It adds that it will allow the Museum to create an exhibit examining the role of America's retailers in the TV explosion of the 1950's.
Previous Museum of Broadcast Communications:
2005-01-22: Although most responses to the announcement by US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell that he is to step down some time in March have been generally positive, Howard Stern broke the mould by posting on his web site a picture of Powell with horns coming out of his head and fangs in place of two of his teeth.
Stern's reaction was a response to the FCC clampdown on broadcast "indecency" during Powell's tenure as chairman but Powell's fellow commissioners were more kind and singled out other activities: Republican Kathleen Q. Abernathy wrote of it being an "honour and privilege" to work with Powell and singled out an area Powell himself had highlighted in his list of accomplishments in her subsequent comments.
"In his four years as Chairman and in his prior service as a Commissioner, Chairman Powell has led with extraordinary vision, intelligence, and integrity," she said in a statement. "His myriad accomplishments are highlighted by his vigorous promotion of the digital migration across all industry segments. Thanks to his vision we now benefit from the deployment of new broadband networks that use fibre optics, power lines, and various licensed and unlicensed wireless technologies. He has also led the charge to advance the digital television transition and recognized the importance of developing pro-innovation and pro-investment policies for Voice over IP. "
Fellow Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin, whose name is amongst those suggested as a possible successor, also spoke of it being an "honour and privilege" to work with Powell and commented, "Over the last four years, I have been impressed by his tireless efforts to promote the nation's communications industry. The country has been well served by his enthusiasm, dedication and engaging manner. He should be proud of all his accomplishments while leading the Commission and as an advocate of new technologies."
Democrat Michael J Copps in his statement said, "I have enjoyed working with Chairman Powell and I continue to admire the knowledge and enthusiasm he brought to the Chairmanship of the FCC. He has worked long and hard to advance his vision of our telecom future. While he and I have had some differences on issues, we never let that get in the way of a collegial relationship. Michael has served our country honourably in many capacities already and I look forward to his continued participation in the public dialogue in the years ahead."
Considering likely successors to Powell, Stephen Labaton in the New York Times says Commissioner Martin and Becky A. Klein, a former Texas regulator appointed in the 1990's by the state's then-governor, George W. Bush, are the leading candidates.
Both, says Labaton, have close ties to Mr. Bush and track records that are less ideological than Powell but Martin has a possible advantage as a sitting commissioner because he would not need senate confirmation to the post.
Klein received significant support in a bid for a Texas Congressional seat because she was tipped as a possible successor to Powell last year (See RNW Aug 18, 2004).
Labaton says officials and executives say other candidates being considered to replace Mr. Powell included Michael Gallagher, the top Commerce Department official on telecommunications issues; Pat Wood III, another former Texas regulator who is head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Janice Obuchowski, a consultant who worked in the Commerce Department during the administration of the first President Bush.
New York Times report:
2005-01-22: Digital radio sales in the UK exceeded expectations and took the total now bought in the country well over the 1 million mark according to latest figures from the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB): The total is based on preliminary figures from electronics industry auditor GfK and the DRDB says that when final figures are in it expects to exceed the 1.2 million total it had estimated in its Five Year Forecast published in October.
DRDB Chief Executive Ian Dickens commented, "The sales figures for 2004 are totally in line with expectations and, as such, add weight and confidence to the DRDB's Five Year Forecast for set sales. The forecast calls for a further 1.2 million DAB radios to be sold in 2005. Based on the volume of products we know is coming through this year, and an ever increasing consumer interest in DAB, we are confident this target can be met."
Sales during the Christmas period were double those of a year earlier and one retailer reported that its digital sales for the period this year were 30% digital/70% analogue compared to a 15% digital figure for 2003.
Sales have been spurred by a doubling of the number of models available -- from some 50 a year ago to 130 in 2004 - and also by significant price reductions: Basic models are now available for around GBP 50 (USD 95).
Previous UK DRDB:
2005-01-22: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved a Quebec station exchange announced by Montreal-based Astral Media and Toronto-based Corus Entertainment last year (See RNW Apr 1, 2004) but has imposed conditions relating to local programming.
In the exchange Corus will acquire CKAC-AM, Montréal, CHRC-AM, Québec, CJRC-AM, Gatineau, CKRS-AM, Saguenay, CHLN-AM, Trois-Rivières, CHLT-AM, Sherbrooke, CKTS-AM, Sherbrooke and CFOM-FM Lévis whilst Astral will acquire stations CFVM-FM Amqui, CJDM-FM Drummondville, CJOI-FM Rimouski, CIKI-FM Rimouski and CFZZ-FM Saint-Jean-Iberville.
In approving the deal said CRTC chairman Charles Dalfen, "The Commission decided to put an end to three years of uncertainty for these French-language AM stations and their employees. However in so doing, the Commission wanted to ensure that these stations would continue to respond to the needs of their communities."
The commission added that in reaching the decision it considered, among other things, the precarious financial situation of the Quebec-based AM radio stations in the transaction, which is valued at CAD 11 million (USD 9 million), but also concerns regarding the proposed local programming of each of the stations.
It noted that Corus wished to amend the licence conditions of the French-language AMs it was acquiring and significantly reduce local programming - Corus had proposed licence conditions requiring CKAC to broadcast 40 hours of local programming with 20 hours for the other stations.
The CRTC felt this was inadequate and is requiring CKAC to broadcast at least 60 hours of local programming for 2005-06, 70 hours for 2006-07 and 80 hours for 2007 to 2009 with minimum local programming required of the regional AM stations of 27 hours, 32 hours, and 37 hours respectively, for the same periods. It also noted that it expects more than half the local programming to be devoted to spoken word programs of direct and particular relevance to the communities served, such as local news, local weather and local sports reports, as well as the promotion of local activities and events.
The Commission also noted that changes proposed at CKAC to a new orientation toward sports and health format will complement existing programming in Montréal and that programming of CHMP-FM Montréal, also owned by Corus, will include current events, public affairs and cultural news, and that Corus will have a staff of 17 journalists for its French-language Montréal stations, CHMP-FM, CKAC, CINF (Info 690) and CKOI-FM.
Astral has committed to establishing a service that will provide regional information to the stations in its three networks.
In addition the licences issued to Corus and Astral will be shorter than normal in order to enable the Commission to re-examine the situation in due course.
Astral and Corus now have 30 days to advise if they will finalize the transaction under these conditions.
2005-01-22: Former UK DJ and radio mogul Chris Evans has told the UK Guardian he has no interest in returning to radio or in making a bid for Virgin Radio, which he sold to SMG and from which he was subsequently fired four years ago.
Evans told the paper that his return to the airwaves as part of the UK Radio Aid programme to raise money for tsunami victims had not rekindled his interest in radio.
"I was worried that when I finished my two hours at 10am, that I would get that feeling again- that I wanted to do radio - but I was relieved that when I came off air I didn't have that feeling because I don't want to go back to radio," Evans told the paper.
He also ruled out a bid for Virgin, commenting, "Absolutely not. I don't like business. I don't like meetings. I don't like dealing with banks."
Evans added that losing his GBP 8.6 million (then USD 14.2 million -See RNW June 27, 2003) claim against SMG over his dismissal was the best thing that happened to him because it had forced him to re-examine his finances and his lifestyle.
Virgin fired Evans in June 2001 from his breakfast job after failing to turn up for work and going on a drinking binge. He had had claimed that he was owed a final instalment of 4.9 million SMG shares- the third instalment, due in January 2002, of 15.8 million SMG shares that he was to have received under the GBP 225 million (USD 370 million) sale of his Ginger Media Group, which owned Virgin, to SMG in January 2000.
Previous SMG (Virgin Radio owner):
UK Guardian report:
2005-01-22: Around a quarter of listeners in the Republic of Ireland tune into Irish language radio at least occasionally, nearly the same percentage as those who speak the language, according to a telephone survey conducted for the country's Advisory Committee in Irish language programming. The Committee was set up in 1999 by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge and consists of representatives from the BCI, Foras na Gaeilge, Gael-Linn and five independent stations.
In all MORI Ireland spoke to just above 1200 listeners in October and November last year as part of the survey that the BCI says aimed to "establish a reliable and robust data set representing the views of relevant parts of the general public on the provision of Irish language radio programming in Ireland, with a view to gaining a solid understanding of public attitudes and preferences towards this topic and hence providing a basis for meaningful, evidence-based discussion and reliable public policy formation."
The BCI comments that the report "clearly shows that current Irish language radio listeners are not a homogenous group " although it comments that the reach of Irish language radio in the country is "impressive" given that "only slightly more than this proportion [a quarter] feel confident enough to claim to speak Irish with any great proficiency."
Irish language radio is currently broadcast by the national Irish language station, Raidió na Gaeltachta, which operates as part of state broadcaster RTÉ, and a number of local and community stations, most of which provide English and Irish language programming although Raidió na Life in Dublin broadcasts exclusively in Irish. The BCI notes that programme schedules show that community stations rather than local commercial stations provide most BCI-licensed Irish language programming content in Ireland [RNW note: The report does not mention Ireland's numerous pirate stations.].
The report provides information on a number of facets of Irish radio listening as well as that on linguistic ability - only 6% said their Irish was very good, 25% said it was quite good, 37% it was quite poor and 32% that it was very poor.
Even in Gaeltacht regions [those officially designated at Gaelic speaking] 43% said their spoken Irish was poor with more than three-quarters saying they were not involved in Irish language activities - that last figure rose to 97% in the sample overall.
The report comments, " the fact that 86% of the younger age group are not involved in any Irish language activities does not reflect well on the continued use of Irish in the years immediately following compulsory Irish."
In terms of overall interest in promoting Irish, there appeared to be a divergence between what people said and did: 57% said they were "Champions" (Regarding Irish as important for them and the nation); 32% said they were Idealists (regarding promotion of Irish as important for the nation but not on a personal level) 7% were rejectors (did not feel the matter important); and 3% were pragmatists (who said the matter was important to them but not the nation).
When asked if they would listen to Irish language radio if they understood the language, 80% of the rejectors said they would and just above half - 51% said they would listen if there was programming in Irish that was not available in English.
When it came to government promotion of Irish language radio, the figures were better for the language with 79% of the total supporting the idea, 84% of the 15-34 demographic and 76% of those 35 and over.
In terms of broadcasts, 86% said they had watched Irish language TG4 TV at some stage with 85% of those who said their Irish was poor, but for radio - where 93% tuned in daily and 46% for an hour or more in a session - only 25% said they listened to Irish language radio and only 14% listened daily: Of the 9% of the total who were involved in Irish language activities 58% listened to Irish language radio.
Overall of those who did listen 35% said it was to improve their Irish and in programming terms the top three preferences were 46% for music, 42% for news and current affairs and 16% for talk shows.
In terms of station format, 36% said they wanted Irish language radio programming on an Irish language radio station, 26% prefer monolingual programming on a bilingual radio station and a further 30% prefer bilingual programming on a bilingual radio station.
Looking to the future, the report says " a significantly greater number of people believe that the main aim of Irish language radio should be to capture new listeners in the future (89%) than believe it should concentrate on keeping its existing listeners (73%)" and later goes on "the greatest difference in terms of options for the future development of Irish language lies in whether Irish language programming should be restricted to dedicated Irish language radio stations (31%) or whether Irish language programming should be provided by all radio stations (78%) [RNW note: We're not sure how these figures add up within 100% total!]"
Amongst the conclusions are that Irish language radio programming must reflect the variety of listeners including those outside Gaelic-speaking areas and with varying proficiency in the language and must take into account the geographical distribution of Irish listeners and speakers; large groups of listeners must be targeted such as proficient speakers of Irish who do not listen to Irish radio; with specific regard to music programmes, there is significant potential and support for
Irish language programming playing English language music, specifically dedicated to the younger 15-34 age group; and there is strong support for a much greater provision of bilingual programming across a variety of programme genres on all stations.
The report suggests further research with specific mentions of the questions of why people do not listen and the needs of younger audiences.
Report: Turning on and Tuning in to Irish Language Radio in the 21st Century- English and Irish languages (56 page, 965 Kb PDF):
2005-01-22: Member's of Minnesota's Senate Transportation Committee were told by their chairman Steve Murphy, a Democrat, during a debate on a bill to reinstate funding for traffic reports on public radio station KBEM-FM that they should get in their automobiles "tune in to the radio station and then come back and vote."
Murphy postponed a decision until Tuesday next week after debate on the cancellation by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) of its USD 418,000 a year contract with the station (See RNW Dec 23, 2004).
Democrat Sen. Chuck Wiger, who wants the contract reinstated, said he disagreed with MnDOT that other sources of traffic information are available and questioned the agency's assertion that information can be accessed via phone and computer, asking, "How many of you check your laptops while you're driving?"
Among committee members expressing scepticism about the value of the reports were Republican Sen. Dick Day who said he thought all traffic reports are basically useless, commenting, "If there's an accident ahead there's nothing I can do about it anyway."
Another Republican, Sen. Mady Reiter, said the money could be better spent on bridge and road improvements
KBEM traffic coordinator Mike Mauren told the committee no other station duplicates the service that Jazz 88 provides with traffic reports every 10 minutes during drive time and that have run as long as seven hours when severe accidents called for that commitment.
For MnDOT traffic engineer Bernie Arseneau said the agency's ability through electronic information boards had improved over the past five years: In 1989 the broads could offer only 12 different messages, he said, adding, "Today that number is 77, soon to rise to 87."
KBEM general manager Coleen Kosloski has confirmed that 10 part-time staff members will be laid off this week as the station starts to compensate for the contract loss and to keep the station's KBEM's eight full-time employees.
Minneapolis Star Tribune report:
2005-01-21: Following a day of reports that he was to step down, US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell has formally confirmed that he will leave the agency some time in March.
In a statement confirming his intention to leave Powell said he had "sent a letter to the President thanking him for the incredible privilege of chairing the Federal Communications Commission during his first term. With a mixture of pride and regret I informed him of my intention to step down as a commissioner and chairman some time in March."
"Having completed a bold and aggressive agenda, it is time for me to pursue other opportunities and let someone else take the reins of the agency," he continued. "During my tenure, we worked to get the law right in order to stimulate innovative technology that puts more power in the hands of the American people, giving them greater choices that enrich their lives. Evidence of our success can be seen increasingly in the offices, the automobiles and the living rooms of the American consumer."
Powell, the 41-years-old son of outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell, has been an FCC Commissioner since 1997 and chairman for four years. When he first took office he indicated a preference for a light regulatory touch and market-based approach but his last years in the post saw the FCC mired in controversy over its June 2003 proposed new media ownership rules that are still working their way through the courts, and a crackdown on broadcast "indecency" that has led the commission to levy a higher total in penalties during his tenure than under that of any predecessor: Penalties proposed last year totalled nearly USD 8 million including a record USD1.75 million settlement by Clear Channel to wipe its slate clean (See RNW June 10, 2004), a USD 300,000 settlement by Emmis (See RNW Aug 13, 2004) and a similar USD 3.5 million settlement by Viacom to settle its outstanding penalties excluding the USD 550,000 fine proposed for the Janet Jackson breast incident during the Super Bowl (See RNW Nov 24, 2004). Viacom is still contesting the last penalty.
Powell news release (Word document):
2005-01-21: Air America will be back on the airwaves in Los Angeles next month as part of changes Clear Channel is making in the city; The network, then owned by Progress Media but now by Piquant, had been on air in Chicago and Los Angeles on stations owned by Multicultural Broadcasting but was taken off following a financial dispute (See RNW Apr 15, 2004).
Clear Channel is to run progressive talk on the KXTA-AM frequency currently simulcasting sports-talk with XTRA-AM - the station will be re-branded KTLK - K-Talk - from February 3. KTLK is already in use by Clear Channel in Santa Barbara, California, and no announcement has been made about changes to its call letters.
The line-up, as with the three Clear Channel stations in Cincinnati, Detroit, and Washington, D.C that switched this week (See RNW Jan 16), will include Air America shows and the Ed Schultz Show, which is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks.
Clear Channel had already announced that it was to switch the simulcast sports-talk output of XTRA and KXTA to KLAC-AM from the same date and move the latter's standards music programming to XTRA's frequency.
Clear Channel told Reuters it could double to 44 the number of stations carrying progressive talk programming and its radio vice president of programming for news/talk/sports Gabe Hobbs told the agency, "The election cycle last year gave rise to dissenting voices, which gave rise to a new format in talk radio. When the public says it wants more of this, we provide it."
Prior to 1988, talk radio was very liberal, but then Rush Limbaugh was an overnight sensation and the genre of talk radio became somewhat conservative," he added, noting that progressive talk is one of the fastest growing formats in radio.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Piquant (Air America owner):
2005-01-21: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new commercial licence for Ashford in Kent to Lark FM, one of six applicants (See RNW Licence News Oct 24, 2004).
Lark will broadcast as KM-FM Ashford, and is owned by Kent Messenger Ltd (67%), Barretts Ltd (10%) and Hobbs Parker Partnership (7.5%), with the balance of the shares held by 10 individuals.
It offered a full service of music and speech for adults of all ages in the area, playing a wide variety of contemporary and classic tracks accompanied by locally focused news, comprehensive local and practical information and other speech features relevant to listeners in the Ashford area.
Ofcom has also published for comment - with a deadline of March 6 - its annual plan for 2005/6.
It says its "guiding principles over the next three years will continue to be those we set out 18 months ago in the early days of Ofcom, in particular, a bias against intervention, but a willingness to intervene firmly, promptly and effectively where required" and as part of the consultation is to hold events next month in Edinburgh, Cardiff, London, Belfast and Leeds.
Ofcom says that in 2005/6 it "will begin a three-year programme of delivery, focusing on implementing the strategic reviews and opening up markets", in 2006/7 it "will sustain progress, working to embed the conclusions of our reviews and establish a benchmark for 'best practice' regulation" and in 2007/8 it will "review and refocus" its work through testing and evaluating the impact of its new policies, and assessing the further scope for reducing regulation across the sector.
For 2005/6 it lists its priorities as implementing its strategic reviews, opening up markets and encouraging innovation, addressing important citizen and consumer issues, international engagement, taking opportunities to reduce regulation, working effectively, and understanding future developments.
2005-01-21: Citadel's executive VP and general manager in Memphis Tony Yoken has resigned his position in charge of the company's four stations in the city and they are to be run for the moment by its southeast regional president John King according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Citadel bought the stations from Barnstable Broadcasting last year for USD 100 million (See RNW Jan 31, 2004).
Yoken, who had been with Barnstable in Memphis since 1987, told the paper he was considering numerous options and added, "It's a very competitive corporate broadcasting environment out there, it's all about the bottom line."
"Sometimes a change is a good thing that helps the entire operation get to the next level. I'm not saying I ran out of tricks or anything like that, I just felt it was a good time all around."
Memphis Commercial Appeal report:
2005-01-21: Conservative US host Rush Limbaugh's lawyer has met the January 20 deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court to file arguments as to why prosecutors acted illegally when they seized the hosts medical records using search warrants during their investigation into whether the host was involved in doctor shopping - illegally seeking multiple prescriptions - to obtain pain killers (See RNW Dec 9, 2004).
In his submission attorney Roy Black asks the Florida Supreme Court to overturn a 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal, which ruled in October last year that the state's medical privacy laws don't apply to search warrants (See RNW Oct 7, 2004) and says the records should be returned.
Black cites earlier decisions by the Florida Supreme Court and Florida's Third District and Fifth District courts of appeal where justices ruled that Florida could create higher privacy standards for medical records and impose higher search and seizure standards on law enforcement than those in the federal Fourth Amendment and the Florida Constitution.
Prosecutors now have 20 days to file their response and Black will then have a further 20 days to respond for Limbaugh.
RNW comment: Reading through the 38 page brief that Limbaugh has posted on his site we cannot see that the arguments significantly differ from those presented to the Court of Appeal that rejected them.
In some ways Black's brief contains what we would consider misrepresentation of the appeal court's ruling directed for public consumption rather than judicial scrutiny although other parts of the brief include sound points regarding the right of a State to pass laws that differ from federal legislation whose relevance to the actual issue will presumably be considered by the Florida Supreme Court.
Perhaps the best frame of mind is to consider the brief in the same light as some of Limbaugh's posted comments which when we checked the legal brief included "The American people are not idiots anymore" - a quote that if made by certain people would almost certainly lead the paragon of Excellence in Broadcasting to accuse them of saying "The American people were idiots", which the words clearly mean although that perhaps wasn't Limbaugh's intention.
Brief to Florida Court (38 page, 1.43 MB PDF):
2005-01-21: Commenting on his firing by Clear Channel (See RNW Jan 14) former Chicago WKSC-FM night time host "Java Joel" Murphy has told Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times that, although he "crossed the line" with a "joke" about adopting "three black kids" and "taking them to the zoo to see where they came from", the incident, which provoked one complaint from a woman listener "looked a lot worse on paper than it sounded on the air."
Asked what he was thinking about after he made the remarks, he said, "Boy, the phones are sure going to light up on this one!" and then continued, "And you know what? I got a grand total of two calls -- and the two ladies who called me were related! Anybody who knows me or knows my show knows I'm not a hateful person. Our show poked fun at white suburban females just as much as male Hispanics and gay Asians. I had just as many black listeners call me up and say, 'Don't listen to them, Java, we know you're just joking around.'"
He said he would take the comment back if he could and regarding his dismissal commented, "I was surprised that it only took a few phone calls to get me fired. I think they wanted to do damage control before any damage was done. In this day and age, I can't say I blame them."
As to what he had learned from this, he told Feder, "Perception is everything, intention means nothing, and white liberals have bigger hang-ups with race than African Americans."
RNW note: Joel, who moved to Chicago from Rochester, New York, had also been voice-tracking evenings at other Clear Channel stations including WKGS-FM (KISS) in Rochester, where he is still listed on the station's web sit despite the company having dropped him.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-01-20: XM satellite radio has taken the US terrestrial "Radio. You hear it here first"campaign launched earlier this month (See RNW Jan 12) and turned it to its own advantage with a campaign under the slogan "Hear it here best."
In a posting on its web site it lists under the heading, "Not Only Do You Hear It Here First, It's Commercial Free" facets of XM's service under headings including "First", "Live", "New" and "Exclusive" including claims that it is the "ultimate destination for any music lover", is the "national live concert leader", is "dedicated to helping you discover all the great music beyond the Top 40" and that one channel it gives "artists time to tell their stories and play the music that you want to hear" and on another, "features stunning recreations of classic albums by their original artists, recorded LIVE - in sequence and before an audience of fans - with all the benefits of 21st century technology."
2005-01-20: In a posting on the company's web site Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan re-iterates his contention that the I-pod is more of a threat to US terrestrial radio than XM and Sirius's satellite services commenting, ": Despite the buzz surrounding satellite radio, I believe iPods are a bigger threat, because you have a larger number of people with an alternative source of music."
"That said, I can remember when people were predicting the death of radio after 8-tracks came out. Despite continually evolving technologies, nothing has replaced the local information and local personalities we give our audiences. We know our communities, and we respond to their needs. Over the holiday season alone, Emmis radio stations raised $500,000 for charitable causes in their local communities - I don't see how satellite radio can match that reach."
"Sirius and XM may or may not be viable businesses, but the reality is that two of Emmis' stations reach more people then the entire satellite industry, and those satellite subscribers still spend much of their listening time with terrestrial radio. "
Smulyan also contended that the industry's move to digital broadcasting was in no way related to the threats from satellite radio, saying, "We've talked about high definition radio for years; this is absolutely not a response to the satellite newcomers. It's taken a long time to get HD radio through the pipeline and to get government approval, but this is something broadcasters have been working on for quite a while. "
Regarding the manner in which US radio is meeting new challenges, he writes, "In Radio, we have a multi-pronged effort; senior managers from major companies - including myself and Radio President Rick Cummings - have come together with the National Association of Broadcasters to focus on an industry marketing campaign, which launched this month. The Radio Advertising Bureau has conducted research that has been favourably received by the advertising community, and the RAB has also beefed up efforts in calling the major national accounts, especially those that have not previously used radio. Broadcasters are coopering in new ways to tell our story, and I think radio as a whole will benefit from these campaigns."
Emmis site - Smulyan Q & A:
2005-01-20: A survey commissioned by the BBC in connection with a study of accents and dialects in the United Kingdom has highlighted some continuing views on preferable accents and also shown the Welsh to be more chauvinistic or patriotic than Britons in general - they found BBC newsreader Huw Edwards and the late Richard Burton to be "more pleasant" on the ear than Sean Connery who won the poll overall and in the rest of the United Kingdom.
The top five overall were Connery, TV newscaster Trevor McDonald, radio host Terry Wogan, actor Hugh Grant and TV newsreader Moira Stuart with the Queen in sixth spot just ahead of Glaswegian comedian Billy Connelly.
Connelly was also in the least pleasant list in second place behind Northern Ireland Protestant politician Ian Paisley and followed by TV host Cilla Black, TV host Paul O'Grady and drag artist Lily Savage who shared fourth rank, and comedian Jasper Carrott. The Queen was in eighth rank and British Prime Minister Tony Blair was in tenth spot on the least pleasant list
In regional terms the most-wished for accent was a Standard English accent, which topped the poll in terms of pleasant sound and being helpful in a career although the Queen's English was at the top of the rankings when it came to association with prestige: least popular was a Birmingham (Brummie) accent, which came bottom of the poll in all the categories.
The main reasons people would like to change their accent were that other accents sounded more pleasant than their own and to make themselves better understood.
Also ranking well in terms of pleasantness were southern Irish and Scottish accents.
The survey is linked with the BBC's Voices project in which the corporation will record the voices of at least 1,000 interviewees from an eclectic mix of people from all corners of the UK.
The audio material collected using methodology from the School of English at the University of Leeds will be used to make a significant contribution to updating Leeds' Survey of English Dialects, the first methodical and scientific attempt to map British accents and the special local idiosyncrasies in language in the British Isles.
It will also provide content for an online interactive dialect map of the British Isles and the audio interviews will be deposited with the National Sound Archive at the British Library and sound archives in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mick Ord, Project Director for the BBC's Voices project, said: "We are combining BBC journalism and story telling with academic input and rigour to bring to life, in an accessible and entertaining way, a linguistic blueprint for Britain.
"The challenge between now and August will be to turn the raw material into content.
2005-01-20: Salem says it expects to complete the purchase of WKAT-AM, Miami on January 31 and switch it from classical to its news talk on the same day.
The line-up from Salem will be mainly a roster of conservative hosts including Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Michael Savage, and Hugh Hewitt but it says it is to continue local news, weather and traffic and also broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoons as well as coverage of Florida International University Basketball..
2005-01-20: Orlando radio host Drew Garabo has been fired by Clear Channel's WTKS-FM according to a report in Florida Today that quotes the company's regional vice president of programming Chris Kampmeier as saying that the station "is going in a different direction so we've decided to go our separate ways."
The station on Wednesday carried the story on its web site with the headline: "Garabo Gets The Axe!" and saying "That's right . . . after more than 11 years of employment at WTKS-FM, Drew Garabo is no longer with the station. Why? Who cares! What will Real Radio do at night? Who knows?"
A day later it was still carrying a reference to the firing with a link to Garabo's farewell on the site. This read in part, "So, This is how it ends...I've learned that when your boss calls you to come in to a meeting before your show it's rarely good news. My discontent with my current job had been growing and manifesting itself for quite some time now, and something had to give. Today, it gave. I can honestly say that while it's never easy being forced to move in another direction, I can totally see how this is a good thing for WTKS and for me personally."
"I marched to the beat of my own drummer for the better part of my career, and being forced to adhere to what others thought would be good for ratings or advertisers never really sat well with me. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved for this to come to an end in a different fashion...but as they say, "one door closes and another opens."
"I've spoken my mind, dealt with the consequences, and now I'll see what life has in store for me and my family. Best of luck to all of you, and maybe our paths will cross again. If not, stay true to yourself and those who love you."
RNW comment: Full marks to Clear Channel in continuing to carry Garabo's farewell: After so many corporate sites that exist in a world of total corporate perfection whatever the facts, it really is welcome to find a station that carried a straightforward announcement of a firing and then the host's version.
Previous Clear Channel:
Florida Today report:
WKTS web site:
2005-01-20: US Armed Forces broadcasting services in the Pacific Region, hit by the failure of an Intelsat satellite, may be partially restored within the next couple of days although for direct-to-home (DTH) receivers restoration is likely to take at least a week according to the US Department of Defense.
It says that a solution to provide the full AFRTS/AFN service to AFN stations and head-end cable companies has been identified and is being tested: The solution requires changes to satellite receiver set-ups but for DTH services space has to be freed up on another direct-to-home satellite.
The problem has taken out services to China, Korea and Japan andit is the first time in 40 years that the satellite-service provider has totally lost a satellite.
The AFN/AFRTS service remains available from the AFRTS/Navy Direct-to-Sailor (DTS) satellite but this needs at least a 1.2 meter dish and a C-band configured LNB.
2005-01-19: Minneapolis-St Paul public station KBEM-FM, which is facing a financial crisis after the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) decided to cancel its annual USD 400,000 contract with the station to provide traffic reports (See RNW Dec 23, 2004) has so far raised only around USD 20,000 at the half-way point of its emergency pledge drive that was launched to cover the lost income according to the Star Tribune.
The lost contract amounted in value to half the jazz station's operating budget and station officials say it needs to raise USD 130,000 by next month to avoid cuts in staff and programming.
"The response by the community has been incredible so far," KBEM marketing director Kevin Barnes told the paper, "but we need more help."
"We have to get our budget in line so we're not too far in the hole. What the MnDOT challenge has shown us is that to be dependent on one funding source is suicide. Whether it's private or public money, there has to be a real diversified source of support."
Minneapolis Star Tribune report:
2005-01-19: Rumours are growing- and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) share price has risen - in the UK that Emap will soon make a bid for SRH now that restrictions on the amount is must bid for shares in the company has ended.
When Emap bought 28.7% of SRH, the takeover panel imposed conditions requiring it for a year - which ended on January 16, to pay the same price or more for any further purchases of shares in the Scottish company.
The lifting, however, will have no practical effect since shares in SRH were already well above the GBP 9.30 per share that Emap paid and rose a further 1% on Tuesday to end at GBP 9.75 per share.
Many analysts think Emap has little or nothing to gain by waiting to make a bid but when the company released its interim results in November last year chief executive Tom Moloney played down suggestions of a bid, describing Emap's stake in SRH as "a strategic stake in a fine company (See RNW Nov 17, 2004)."
2005-01-19: Radio New Zealand, which at the moment has only a limited internet operation, expects to develop the service and include on-demand audio services from some time next month or in March according to chief executive Peter Cavanagh.
He told a parliamentary select committee that the site's development was in the second phase of redevelopment and would include, as well as audio on demand, online news and basic weather and finance information plus programme information.
"I have very actively championed this project because I believe having a good, solid online service is now a fundamental part of core business for public service broadcasters," Cavanagh said of the provision of on-demand audio.
According to the Stuff New Zealand web site, provision of on-demand audio will cost around NZD 260,000 (USD 180,000) to set up and around NZD 260,000 (USD 250,000) a year to run.
Previous Radio New Zealand:
Stuff New Zealand report:
2005-01-19: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has agreed a consent decree with Radio & Investments, Inc., licensee of KFRA-AM and KDDK-FM (formerly KFMV-FM)) of Franklin, Louisiana, in relation to alleged unauthorised transfer of controls of the station and violation of various technical requirement including failure to install and/or maintain Emergency Alert System equipment, failure to register its antenna structure and post the registration, failure to maintain and staff its main studio, operating at excess power, failure to conduct equipment performance test, failure to maintain station logs and failure to maintain a public file and make it available.
Under the agreement Radio and Investments will make a USD 20,000 voluntary contribution to the United States Treasury, payable in monthly instalments from this month until December, and also take action to certify within 90 days that each violation has been remedied and also at the start of 2006 and 2007 carry out inspections and certify that each station is complying with all terms and conditions of its Licenses.
The FCC has also cancelled on financial grounds a USD 10,000 penalty proposed on Milton Goodman of New York, New York, for by failing to respond fully and in writing to a Letter of Inquiry
Goodman had said he was unable to pay any amount and submitted documentation showing that he is currently unemployed and dependant on his brother for financial support as he was living on USD 500 a month and bills were at the level of or exceeded his income.
2005-01-18: Australian metropolitan commercial radio advertising revenues in 2004 were up 14.8% on 2003 at AUD 557million (USD 420 million) and in December, the increase on a year earlier was 14.7% to AUD 50.3 million (USD 40 million).
Increases ranged from 5.9% in Adelaide - to AUD 49.8 million (USD 37.6 million) - to 24.2% in Brisbane - to AUD 81.4 million (USD 61.5 million). The Sydney market, by far the largest, saw and 11.4% increase to AUD 220 million (USD 166 million) and second-placed Melbourne had an 18.4% increase to AUD 150.3 million (USD 113.4 million). Perth revenues were up 15.1% to AUD 55.1 million (USD 41.6 million).
PricewaterhouseCoopers compiled the figures for the country's five major capital city markets and Joan Warner, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, commented, "The result was the industry's strongest growth rate in many years, reflecting the buoyant advertising market."
"A lot of new advertisers have been attracted to radio this year because it offers the best value of all main media in terms of reaching large audiences per advertising dollar. We're looking to build on this momentum in 2005 because radio continues to be extremely competitive, particularly when compared with some of the significant rate rises reported for other media."
The industry has for 18 months been running a campaign to sell the strengths of radio as an advertising medium and this is to be refreshed from the start of next month with a new batch of adverts.
Warner said the first ads would target the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and finance sectors, "focusing on radio's flexibility and emotive impact, TV ad avoidance and radio's ability to reach consumers who are often too busy to read newspapers."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-01-18: The UK commercial radio industry has raised more than GBP 3 million (USD 5.6 million) for victims of the Asian earthquake and tsunami through its 12-hour UK Radio Aid event that ran for 12 hours on Monday.
The day was marred a little by hoax bids for a dinner date with singer George Michael and his boyfriend Kenny Goss, which reached GBP 4 million (USD 7.43 million) before the item was withdrawn by the E-Bay auction site. Bids for the date stood at GBP 14,000 (USD 26,000) by mid-morning and then started rising rapidly, topped GBP 1 million (USD 1.86 million) by 14:00 GMT and then leapt to GBP 4 million (USD 7.43 million) at which stage E-Bay, which is to launch an investigation into the hoax bids, withdrew the item and then re-launched it with a restriction to authorized bidders.
By late evening the dinner date had risen to ninth in the rankings and attracted bidding up to GBP 6,2000 (USD 11,500) with four-and-a half days to run. At that stage the top three bids were of GBP 31,100 (USD 57,750) for a trip to the Brit Awards with Chris Evans (two and a half days left); GBP 16,200 (USD 30,000) for a yacht and crew for a week in the Caribbean (three-and -a half days left); and GBP 12,700 (USD 23,600) for a tour of Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British Prime Minister (six days left).
The last of these was put up during an appearance by British Prime Minister Tony Blair on a segment of the show hosted by Chris Evans, the former DJ and media tycoon.
The prime minister announced one of the other prizes, a free mobile (cell) phone for life, prompting a question whether he had a mobile himself and if it had a Crazy Frog ringtone.
It turned out it did but he doesn't answer it himself - a response that was not adequately followed up in view of the prime minister's oft mentioned incapacity to deal with much modern technology.
After this Blair announced his own prize, a tour of Number 10 Downing Street, although he said he wouldn't be the guide although he would have a "cup of tea" with the lucky winner.
His session ended with a quiz on his life that all guests were invited to take part in: He scored five out of seven, including getting his wedding anniversary correct.
2005-01-18: A Washington Post report on the end of the Tavis Smiley Show on US National Public Radio (NPR -See RNW Nov 30, 2004) suggests that like Christopher Lydon, another US host who lost his public radio show (See RNW March 3, 2003), he may have overplayed his hand in demanding control over the show.
Smiley, notes the post, went public with aspersions against NPR, commenting to Time Magazine, "It is ironic that a Republican president has an administration that is more inclusive and more diverse than a so-called liberal-media-elite network."
NPR said that Smiley would not negotiate on his demands and the Washington lawyer who represented NPR said, "We tried to meet, we tried to talk by phone. We were woefully unsuccessful . . . I have been doing this 30 years, and I have never had an experience like this. I was disappointed because I wanted to make a deal, and more important my client wanted to make a deal."
Smiley responded to this by saying, "What NPR is apparently upset about is not that I would not negotiate, but that I wouldn't acquiesce. I do not do my best work in chains and shackles. For black kids and brown kids yet unborn, I felt I had to say no. They were being disrespectful."
The details issued by each side that were published by the paper indicate that the spin on one side or the other in many people's normal terminology would be termed lies - each agrees that Smiley hadn't asked for a personal pay rise but little after that.
NPR spokesman David Umansky told the paper Smiley wanted to tape the daily show a day early, which the network deemed impractical for a topical news show, also wanted not only to own the program but to control the rebroadcast rights, which NPR says is a violation of its federal funding rules, and the host also insisted on a USD 3 million promotion budget, which NPR found absurd since its entire advertising budget is USD165, 000 -- 80 percent of which, executives say, was spent on Smiley's program in each of the last two years.
Smiley reported the paper said it would be ungentlemanly to discuss contract details but his spokesman said the USD 3 million figure was "just not correct" (The Post notes that a letter from Smiley's agent says NPR must make a "cash marketing commitment" for the show "of not less than $3 million.") and Smiley himself said of the 80% figure, "I don't believe that 80 percent figure," he says. "I have never known any Negro at any entity where he is the only Negro to be given 80 percent of the marketing budget. That's a lie."
The paper also says tension developed last year, when NPR officials insisted that Smiley return a free Chrysler the automaker had given him: Smiley said DaimlerChrysler surprised him with the car -- and a $50,000 donation to an intern program he started at Texas Southern University -- when he gave the school $1 million on his 40th birthday and added he was happy to give back the car "once we heard it was a violation of ethics."
The show was created with a consortium of African American public radio stations and Loretta Rucker of the consortium, said she was "sorry" that Smiley left but that "Tavis is very, very ambitious."
"We believe NPR has really made a valiant effort to increase diversity," she commented.
NPR has now hired former "BET News" anchor Ed Gordon as a new host.
RNW comment: Without seeing all the correspondence and details, it is impossible to come to a firm conclusion on this matter but our gut feeling in this case is with NPR, just as it was against it over the way it handled the move of Bob Edwards from Morning Edition, leading him to jump to XM.
In this case the details indicate to us that Smiley, whose show we appreciated, over values his talent - we feel in any case that US broadcast media is far too much about the star and too little about the stories - and is not only smart but greedy, which is the way we would have seen a bid to control the show.
As for accepting a gift of a car, or anything worth thousands of dollars, from an organization a broadcaster might finding him or herself reporting about, there should be no need to be told it is a violation of ethics: If Smiley couldn't work that one out, perhaps things have worked out for the best for NPR. Certainly WBUR didn't lose audience after Lydon went and we wish NPR and Gordon well with the new show.
Washington Post report:
2005-01-18: The UK Regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints against radio or TV in its latest bulletin just published compared to one radio and three TV cases, one partly, upheld and another TV case considered resolved in its previous bulletin.
Unusually it did not list details of any single complaint either, merely listing a total of 152 TV complaints against 115 items and 27 radio complaints against 25 items that were not upheld or were held to be outside its remit.
Previous Ofcom complaints bulletin:
2005-01-17: This week we start our look at print comment on radio in the US capital where Infinity has just switched WHFS from rock to Spanish-language El Zol (See RNW Jan 13) and Clear Channel is to switch WWRC to Air America "progressive talk" from syndicated sports talk.
Both moves were largely dictated by ratings and commenting on the latter change, due on Thursday, Marc Fisher in the Washington Post says the change "can't possibly do anything but improve the ratings for WWRC", which doesn't figure in the DC ratings at all.
He then goes on to comment on the nature of the DC market for Air America and also on its varying success elsewhere in the US.
"Despite the heavily blue voting character of the Washington area, standard AM talk shows, which skew red, win strong ratings here," writes Fisher.
"Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity do well on WMAL. But there are signs that Washington listeners want an alternative: The generally liberal talk shows on National Public Radio win unusually good ratings in this market, and the left-libertarians of raunch radio -- Howard Stern and Don & Mike on WJFK -- do very well, too."
This, however he goes on to say, does not guarantee success, noting that in it is "mainly on AM stations with weak signals and low-rent dial positions " and that in "other heavily Democratic cities where Air America has been around for some months, the ratings record is inconsistent, but it does show a generally lukewarm response to the project."
In a short round-up Fisher notes success in Portland, Oregon - "a dependably liberal town" - but much less elsewhere including Boston, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and San Francisco
Fisher also commented on the demise of WHFS under the title, "In a Way, WHFS Was Already Gone" that set the tone for his remarks which included, "For nearly a quarter of a century, rock fans in the Washington area have argued about exactly when WHFS began to, you'll excuse the expression, suck. Some say the glory days of free-form rock ended when the station stripped deejays of the right to play whatever music they were into. Some say it happened when the station was sold to a big company that wanted the deejays to sound as smooth and solid as polished jewels."
"Now, it hardly matters. The station that introduced Washington listeners to The Who and Root Boy Slim, to sandals at Georgetown Leather Design and bongs at local head shops has flipped to tropical love songs."
He then goes on to some reminiscing from Josh Brooks, "one of the original members of Spiritus Cheese, the trio of deejays who took over HFS starting in 1969, adding underground rock to a station that specialized in the serene sounds of Mantovani and the 101 Strings."
Brooks, Mark Gorbulew and Sarah Vass went to DC from Bard College in New York but had no success getting jobs and then, after WHFS owner Jake Einstein said he would sell them time, bought two-hours in the evenings and spent their days getting customers for commercials.
"We had spent our years in college being stoned and listening to music, and we wanted to be able to continue that," Brooks says. "We just wanted to get the music out there and make enough money to sustain ourselves."
They succeeded in connecting with the capital's young but never had huge ratings and Brooks commented, "It was always much more fervent than it was quantity The whole point was not to have slick deejays with a trained delivery. It was about the music, not the personalities."
That changed when Einstein sold the station and it began its progression through corporate hands before ending up in Infinity's stable in 1996 and Brooks, who had moved to Frederick, Maryland, stopped listening.
In New York it was not so much a matter of forthcoming format changes - although they may yet happen - but past ones at Infinity's WNEW-FM, also once a former rock legend, now "the new Mix 102.7", that led Matthew Flamm in New York Business to put the headline "Format-hopping alienates everyone."
"Over the past two years, " writes Framm, "the station has changed formats about as often as J. Lo switched boyfriends" before going on to quote Meredith Smulian, associate media director at R.J. Palmer, as saying, "I don't know what their plan is. They've had years to figure it out, and it's still catch as catch can."
Over the past year says Framm the former adult contemporary station has gone from being a clone of easy listening Lite-FM to an imitation of (Clear Channel's) WKTU and its ratings are still declining despite around USD 2 million being spent on advertising and promotion: It was ranked 23 in the fall Arbitron ratings.
And the future, "What WNEW is trying to do is find a hole in a bunch of women-focused radio stations that are very well positioned in our marketplace," says Mark Lefkowitz, media director at Furman Roth Advertising, who has placed clients with WNEW only sporadically in the past year."
There were no signs of concern from Clear Channel: Its senior vice president for programming in New York, Tom Poleman argued, "I'd argue that the closer they get to mimicking KTU, the harder a time they're going to have. The leader tends to win in these situations."
Moving over the Atlantic we find a totally different note but a remarkable man remembered in Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times. He was George Campbell, who has just died aged 92.
Campbell worked for the BBC World Service for 40 years, retiring as head of its Romanian Section and was once listed in the Guinness Book of Records as "the world's greatest linguist"- he was said to be able to speak and write in 44 languages.
As Donovan summarizes his life story, when Campbell "was a child, a dog attacked him, leaving him with a stammer. His teachers thought he was slow and sat him at the back of the class. There, from books he found at Inverness fish market, he taught himself the basics of Spanish, Portuguese and Danish, as well as the French and German on the syllabus. His natural bent became his life's work. In retirement, for fun, he taught himself Basque."
Donovan uses Campbell as a peg to note that rather than diminishing in importance languages other than English are not being marginalized - Arabic for one is currently experiencing a resurgence.
Donovan notes that the BBC World Service broadcasts in 43 languages - "including English, though not Korean or Uighur" and each of them has a section of the Service's web site: It also monitors - with some American help - broadcasts in some 100 languages - "Korean and Uighur, which is spoken by a Muslim minority in western China" and Chris Westcott, the director of BBC Monitoring at Caversham, argues that being able to monitor languages has become more important "because the web has given a global footprint to languages once confined to a relatively small area
And of the linguistic abilities of Caversham staff he says, "I don't think we have anyone here at Caversham who can speak 44 languages, but quite a few have mastered six or seven I think sometimes we're in danger of under- estimating the linguistic abilities of the British."
The last item of course is a cue to consider radio in world terms in our selection this week of programming worth a listen and to start off we'd suggest a dip into A World in Your Ear which airs on Fridays at 13:30 GMT on BBC Radio 4 with a repeat on Sundays at 20:00 GMT but which is regrettably not available on demand on the web site.
Available on demand from World Service - after its airings on Wednesday (09:05, 13:05 and 19:05 GMT) and Thursday (01:05 GMT) - will be the latest in the Service's "The State of the Union", a series of four programmes looking at how Americans see their country. All four will be on the documentaries are of the site after airing - last week's from Minnesota is there now and this week the report is from Arizona to be followed by reports from Texas and Ohio.
Then from BBC Radio 4 (available until Wednesday on the listen again part of the site) we suggest The Indian Particle Man, a programme on another remarkable man, the linguist and physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. He was the son of a Calcutta railway worker who translated physics publications from French and German into English and as a physicist collaborated with Albert Einstein.
Then on Wednesday this week at 23:00 GMT BBC Radio 4 has "Tina C's Tiny Island Tour", the story of country and western singer Tina C in the tiny island of Britain that includes such classic works as "Love Must Have Made Me Deaf, Cos You Used To Whisper and Now You Shout." In the programme, the character created by Olivier Award-winning writer and performer Chris Green explores the special relationship between the UK and the US.
For those interested in a more documentary view of country music, on Saturday at 10:30 GMT Nick Barraclough concludes his three-part exploration of country music with a look behind the scenes in Nashville including interviews with Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks and record label executives: Last week's programme will be available on the web site until then.
Still on music and with Radio 4, we'd suggest For One Night Only tomorrow at 13:30 GMT in which Paul Gambaccini looks at The Who Live at Leeds on Valentine's night, 1970, a concert that turned them into a mainstream rock band: Last week's programme on the 1964 Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli Concert at the London Palladium is available on Listen Again until then.
Moving channels on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday, Mark Lamarr continues his Shake, Rattle and Roll series in a programme in which he plays unusual cover versions of famous songs, including Sunny Side of the Street by The Bees, Whole Lotta Shakin' by Sheree Scott and These Foolish Things by The Dominoes.
For classical music BBC Radio 3's Composer of the Week (noon GMT, weekdays) this week is Lili Boulanger, daughter of Ernest, granddaughter of Frederic and sister of Nadia, all members of one of the most distinguished musical families of the nineteenth century.
Then for history, Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 ( 09:45 GMT weekdays) is based on George Rosie's collection of essays on some of the more unexpected aspects of Scottish history including such gems as a plan to drop millions of anthrax-infected cakes on the cattle of Hitler's Germany, the story of the Scottish drug barons who made a fortune out of opium and pushed Britain into war with China and the influence of Scots in the development of the Ku Klux Klan.
Finally we'd suggest the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Background Briefing, which on Sunday was entitled Psychopaths in Suits, a report on psychopaths - using the word correctly in a medical sense - in business.
ABC, Australia - background Briefing site:
New York Business- Framm:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post - Fisher on Clear Channel WWRC format switch:
Washington Post - Fisher on Infinity format WFHS switch:
2005-01-17: Austereo is to follow a number of other radio companies, including Clear Channel, in establishing a centralised web design and development team for its stations following independent operation of sites in the group.
In a statement, CEO Michael Anderson said, "We have been interacting with our listeners through our Today Network sites and the Triple MMM Freq Club sites for a couple of years now and we have found any content or interactivity we can deliver within an online environment in particular is in high demand."
"The more we push the boundaries the more our listeners want Agencies and advertisers are also telling us they want an enhanced online presence from the group, reminding us we should be well positioned to take advantage of the anticipated growth in time individuals spend consuming advertising and other media content via the web."
Austereo says it is to base its new web hub in Sydney and expects to be fully operational by March this year and Anderson added, "Once the team are fully in place we look forward to significantly improved web sites that will result in a richer and more interactive experience for our listeners, as well as the obvious flow on benefits that will result for our clients."
2005-01-17: Two more Indian private FM's are closing down because of mounting losses blamed on high licence fees.
According to the Indian Economic Times, Radio City's Lucknow station and Radio Mirchi's Pune station have both given notice of closure, following in the wake of Mumbai Win 94.6 that closed in April last year and the earlier closure of Mid-Day run Go 92.5.
Because of the problems of the industry the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has already recommended that the Indian government switch away from its current fixed fees to a system of 4% share of revenue for existing stations (See RNW Nov 29, 2004).
The closures mean that of the 108 licences bid for in the first phase of Indian private FM licensing fewer than 20 will be in operation and almost all of them are losing money.
Of the losses in the 2003-4 financial year licence fees accounted for nearly 90% of the total.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Economic Times report:
2005-01-17: Veteran Buffalo DJ Tom Shannon is to retire at the end of March as afternoon DJ on oldies WHTT-FM although he hopes to continue producing "Behind the Music" segments giving the history of particular records that are by the station twice a day.
The Buffalo News quotes Shannon, who is 66, as quipping, "I've been doing this for 50 years. I don't just play oldies, I played them when they were new."
Shannon made his mark in the late 1950's on WKBW-AM (now WWKB), which in 1957 changed its format to "Top 40": He had begun his radio career in 1955 aged 15 as a newsman at WXRA, now WUFO, moving to WKBW in 1958 where colleagues included Dick Biondi and Joey Reynolds.
Shannon moved to CKLW-AM in Windsor, Ontario, in the 1960's and after various other stints was back at WWKB in the 80's and was working in Nashville on a cable TV home shopping show when WHTT recruited him for afternoon drive eight years ago.
Buffalo News report:
2005-01-16: Last week was again fairly quiet for the regulators with nothing on the radio front from Australia and Ireland and only a low level of activity elsewhere.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in a number of routine licence activities. They included, in order of province:
*Approval of extension until June 6 of time limit to submit application for alternative frequency of a smooth jazz FM approved for Edmonton.
*Call for comment with a deadline of February 16, on an application by O.K. Radio Group Ltd. to amend the licences of radio programming undertakings CJOK-FM Fort McMurray and CKYX-FM Fort McMurray by deleting the transmitter CJOK-FM-1 Tar Island from CJOK-FM's licence and adding it to that of CKYX-FM.
*Call for comment with a deadline of February 16, on application by Native Communication Inc., Thompson, to renew the licence of the English and Native-language radio network, expiring 31 August 2005.
Prince Edward Island:
*Call, following receipt of one application for a commercial licence in Charlottetown, for other applications with a deadline of April 11.
The CRTC has also amended its call for applications for a French-language station for Québec, issued in July last year when it denied the application by Genex Communications inc. for the renewal of the broadcasting licence for the French-language radio station CHOI-FM, Québec (See RNW July 14, 2004), by removing the language specification, which it does not usually specify.
In the UK, Ofcom has updated its list of FM licences under offer or to be offered this year (See RNW Jan 14): It also announced the appointment of three additional members to its Advisory Committee for Scotland.
They are Julie Ramage from Cambuslang, currently Head of Research with nmp Ltd.; Martin Robertson, the Public Relations Manager with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) in Edinburgh; and Susan Neal from Lockerbie, a Communications Officer with Dumfries and Galloway Council.
The US was also fairly quiet although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is to look into suggestions of payola at Entercom's WKSE-FM, Buffalo, and the dismissal of program director Dave Universal (see below) and denied an attempt to revoke Uniradio's permission to supply sports programming from California to Mexican station XEMO-AM (See RNW Jan 15).
It also proposed a USD 28,000 penalty on Univision for broadcasting a phone call without gaining permission from the other party first (See RNW Jan13) and confirmed a USD 20,000 fine on Pacific Spanish Network, Inc. (PSN), for providing programming via the Internet to a Mexican AM in breach of the terms and conditions of its authorization (See RNW Jan 11).
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-01-16: More than 260 UK commercial radio stations have now opted to join in tomorrow's "UK Radio Aid" appeal during which they will replace their normal output with a nationally syndicated programme running from 06:00 to 18:00 GMT dedicated to raising money for a Tsunami appeal.
Already more than GBP 500,000 (USD 935,000) has been bid by advertisers for slots in the programme and half as much again raised through donation of station profits for the day.
The presenter line up begins with Davina McCall and Dermot O'Leary, followed by the first broadcast in almost four years from Chris Evans at 8am with guest Kate Thornton.
Simon Bates follows from 10 to noon with assistance from Jade Goody and Frank Skinner and the lunchtime slot features Zoë Ball with Shane Ritchie followed at 2 p.m. by Mark Goodier and Sharon Osbourne before the programme is wrapped up by Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Tarbuck from 4 until 6p.m.
There will be live sessions from Ronan Keating, Jamelia and David Gray and celebrities who will appear during the day will include Ricky Gervais, Angelina Jolie, Kim Catrall, Kylie Minogue, and Christian Slater.
2005-01-16: Air America Radio has announced that it is adding three more Clear Channel affiliates - WXDX -AM, Detroit; WCKY-AM, Cincinnati; and WWRC-AM, Washington, D.C.; It is also soon to add Saga's WKVT-AM 1490 in Brattleboro, which will air "progressive talk" in place of four of its weekday syndicated conservative talk shows, according to the Rutland Herald.
Commenting on the addition of the Clear Channel affiliates, Air America Radio president Jon Sinton said in a statement, "We are excited about entering these major markets. These cities now have an opportunity to voice their local and national concerns. In other parts of the country we have found that a strong loyalty to Air America Radio was quickly established."
In Brattleboro, Air America gains its second Air America affiliate in Vermont and adds insult to injury because the station, according to the Herald, is dropping shows by Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Howie Carr and Joy Brown to make way for Air America's "Unfiltered," hosted by Rachel Maddow, Lizz Winstead and Chuck D; the "Al Franken Show;" the "Randi Rhodes Show;" and the "Majority Report," hosted by Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seider.
The paper quotes WKVT program director Peter Case as saying that the replacement shows will be a "better fit" for the area than the conservative programmes currently aired and adding, "We're calling this a right-to-left switch. For many years, our programming leaned to the right, but Brattleboro is a very liberal area and our line-up had to reflect that."
"People listened to Rush and the others because they challenged the listeners to think," Case added. "We think this new line-up will be just as challenging and thought provoking."
WKVT is not switching totally leftwards as it will continue to air Don Imus and also keeps the Drudge Report in its weekend line-up. WKVT will also add the "Ed Schultz Show", which is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks.
Perhaps co-incidentally the right-wing website Newsmax.com has just attacked Schultz, drawing a parallel with his support from the Democrats and attacks on right-wing radio host and columnist Armstrong Williams who took nearly a quarter of a million dollars for promoting the US administration's No Child Left Behind campaign but did not reveal the payments. .Since the story was broken, Williams has been dropped by most of his outlets and the FCC has launched an investigation into his activities.
Newsmax asks, "Schultz's position doesn't seem to be all that different from that of Mr. Armstrong, who maintains that he never touted a position on any issue that he didn't already believe in - even if some cash did change hands."
The attack led to a response by Democracy Radio CEO Tom Athans who commented, "The difference between taxpayer-funded government propaganda and private investment in a new media venture is as obvious as the difference between Ed Schultz and Rush Limbaugh."
RNW comment: If the US right-wing, who in our view seem more suited to the times and policies of the former Soviet Union, cannot see a difference between one person taking in secret payments that could possibly be illegal and not disclosing that interest - the root principle at issue in the Australian radio talkback radio scandal that led to new regulations about disclosure - they are obviously very bigoted. If they can see the difference but ignore it for propaganda purposes they are dishonourable.
Perhaps it is no surprise that a recent Harris Poll showed much less trust in the media in the US than in Europe, apart that is from Italy where Prime Minister Berlusconi owns most of the private TV industry and trust in TV is much lower. The surprise in the poll to us, however, was that radio in the US gained such greater trust 43% to 33% than the press, which was distrusted by 62 to 22 percent, a higher percentage in the last case than anywhere else except for UK with 20% trust in a market significantly affected by a number of tabloid papers relying very much on gossip and sport.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Piquant (Air America owner):
Rutland Herald report:
2005-01-16: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell has told the commission's enforcement bureau to investigate the cases of conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, who was paid by the Bush administration to plug the president's "No Child left Behind" programme and former WKSE-FM, Buffalo, program director Dave Universal who was fired by Entercom after suggestions in a New York Times report that he might have improperly accepted gifts from record company executives (See RNW Jan 13).
In a statement Powell said he had instructed that the investigations be opened "in response to recent reports regarding potential violations of the "payola" and sponsorship identification provisions of the Communications Act."
Universal, who has consistently denied improper behaviour, has issued a statement in relation to the New York Times article in which he insists that he did nothing improper and says, "Did I fly to NYC several times a year to see Yankee games? Yes, I did! Every rep I went with I consider a friend, and were Yankee fans too. Rather than do a dinner that might cost a thousand dollars, we'd watch a game and eat chicken fingers. Did I go to other sporting events a few times a year with other reps? Yes, I did! I had great relationships with most of my reps, but even better one's [sic] with those who liked sports like me. NEVER were these trips based on any kind of airplay."
"Entercom and my GM knew that I occasionally went with record reps to various sporting events to build relationships. Never once was I told not to do this. A convention? I went. An artist showcase in a warm city? You bet I was there! At some radio chains, I realize this is not allowed, and if I was ever to work for them, I would follow all their rules and policies. But, in my position, I was told if I was with a rep, it was ok."
"Nobody questioned how my relationships were fostered when Entercom was making millions of dollars because of them. How did I spend 60 grand putting together a radio show that would make 500? RELATIONSHIPS. I had them, and was encouraged to keep them. I acted as the "Indy" for WKSE for the last 7 years. Unfortunately for me, I did my job in that area too well. With all that's going on in the state of New York, it was easier for them to get rid of me, than defend how I did business for them. I believe they will come to see this was not the right thing to do."
2005-01-15: Following on the heels of Astral and Corus (See RNW Jan 14), CHUM has also reported strong results for its first quarter of fiscal 2005 running to the end of November last year.
Revenues for the quarter were up 3.3% on a year earlier to CAD 170.6 million (USD 131.8 million) but EBITDA was up 34% to USD 42.9 million (USD 35.2 million) with earnings per share up 56% from CAD 0.50 to CAD 0.78.
In divisional terms, radio revenues were up 9.1% to CAD 36.1 million (USD 29.7 million) and TV was up 1.7% to CAD 121.7 million (USD 100.1 million) whilst "other " revenues fell 0.4% to CAD 2,7 million (USD 2.3 million) whilst radio EDITDA was up 25.2% to CAD 13.1 million (USD 10.7 million, TV EBITDA was up 37.5% to CAD 33.7 million (USD 27.7 million) and "other" EBITDA fell 31.9% to increase the loss to CAD 3.9 million (USD 3.2 million).
Regarding the radio division CHUM said its performance was "excellent" and added, "The Company's AM and FM stations (excluding CFAX and CHBE) showed revenue growth of 24.7% and 3.7%, respectively, over the corresponding period last year."
"Management attributes this strong revenue performance to a favourable advertising market, especially in home improvement and decorating and automotive retailing, and the strong market position of the Company's radio stations. Format changes to certain AM stations during the past two years have led to improved to improved and more stable ratings. This contributed to the excellent performance of the AM stations."
2005-01-15: Infinity's switch of alternative rock WHFS-FM to Spanish-language El Zol (See RNW Jan 13) is not only offering opportunities to competitors WWDC -FM (DC101) owned by Clear Channel and Hearst's WIYY-FM (98Rock), Baltimore, but also suffered a number of teething problems.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the station hasn't yet got its act together linguistically: It reports that when members of the Baltimore office of the Mayor's Hispanic Liaison, who had tuned into the station, called to make a request "there was no one there who speaks the language!"
Jose Ruiz, the mayor's Hispanic liaison, said he was also amused to hear a morning announcer joyfully announce in Spanish, "Thank God, it's Friday!" then proceed to give Saturday's weather. "Me, I thought it was Thursday," Ruiz added.
The reason was that the station was initially simulcasting output from other stations from Spanish Broadcasting System - it does not yet have an on-air staff: It has now switched to music only and
Infinity spokeswoman Karen Mateo said of calls, "Luis Guerra or Marc Anthony or anyone else, listeners should hold off for now. The station is not taking listeners' requests at this time. As we hire an on-air staff, that will be something that we will do."
An online petition to bring back WHFS has attracted some 12,000 signatures but a number of Spanish speakers in the area welcomed the switch, saying another Spanish-language station was welcome although some thought more than music was needed.
Carmen Nieves, executive director of the nonprofits Centro de La Communidad in Baltimore, told the Sun a thought-provoking talk radio show is needed, saying, "That's way more important, educating them about laws and things that may have an impact on their lives,"
"I'm happy there's a radio station that will play music all day," she added, " but that's not what we need. If I want to listen to salsa, I'll put a CD on my stereo."
Amongst the opposition stations, DC101 received a number of calls from listeners paying tribute to WHFS and its program director Joe Bevilacqua voiced a promo that included the content, "DC101 would like to thank the staff and disc jockeys of WHFS for over 20 years of Alternative Rock that made them legendary. We know a lot of you grew up with WHFS and will miss it. Over the next few days, we'll continue to pay tribute to one of D.C.'s heritage radio stations that sadly now is gone. DC101 will continue to be D.C.'s Rock station. Remember, DC 101 Rocks. Always has, always will."
WIYY was more in your face about the change: Its web site carried a message, "Welcome to 98 Rock, HFS listeners. To help you convert to 98 Rock we're givin' away the shirts off our backs. All you have to do is mail in your old WHFS gear to [WIYY Promotions Dept] and we'll mail you a new 98 Rock T-shirt!"
Previous Clear Channel:
Baltimore Sun report:
2005-01-15: Sirius and XM Satellite Radio will on Sunday (GMT - Saturday ET) broadcast "Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope," the live benefit special organised by the NBC Universal Television Group to help victims of the tsunami tragedy in southern Asia.
It will be on the Sirius CNBC Channel 101 and XM's MSNBC channel 130 in stereo from 01:00 to 03:00 GMT,
Both companies have links on their web site to organizations to which donations can be made.
(Both companies offer free three-day online trials for non-subscribers who might wish to listen but are not subscribers).
2005-01-15: Viacom has upped Joel Hollander to the position of chairman and President and CEO of Infinity; he had been its President and COO since May 2003.
Hollander succeeds John Sykes, who is leaving Infinity and taking on a new role in Viacom at MTV Networks overseeing the development and launch of new branded television networks.
Commenting on the moves Viacom co-president and co-COO Leslie Moonves paid tribute to Sykes' work at Infinity, saying he had "brought real big-picture, out of the box thinking to radio, which is what the industry has needed for a long time." said Moonves.
"The same attributes that distinguished him at MTV Networks," he added, " translated into creative, non-traditional radio programming for Infinity, and the industry took notice."
Moonves said Sykes had wanted to return to TV and said of Hollander's appointment "Joel is one of the finest operators in the radio business, hands down. He has brought tremendous energy, industry savvy and discipline to Infinity Broadcasting since joining the company, where he has helped our stations grow their ratings and revenues in a challenging advertising climate."
"He's also helped sell Madison Avenue on the power of radio and our Infinity brands, which has made a huge impact," said Moonves. "I have the utmost confidence in Joel and his team, and I look forward to working with them as we realize the full potential of our industry-leading portfolio."
Hollander, who will have overall responsibility for Infinity's 183 stations and oversee its day-to-day operations, reporting to Leslie Moonves, and said Infinity had "the industry's strongest, most powerful collection of stations, and I am looking forward to working with Leslie and all the hard working employees at Infinity as we maximize our full potential and really sell the power of radio
Having his ear and guidance will be a huge benefit as we seek to grow our businesses."
2005-01-15: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied a petition to revoke Uniradio's permission to supply sports programming from California to XEMO-AM, Tijuana, Mexico, filed by a California licensee whose station was affected by interference from XEMO.
The Commission had proposed a USD 25,000 fine against Uniradio for delivering the programming after XEMO had been found to be to KRLA-AM, Glendale, Californian in breach of the conditions under which it ha been permitted to supply the programming.
It denied a petition by New Inspiration Broadcasting Company (NIBC), licensee of KRLA that of Uniradio's permission to supply that said the FCC erroneously dismissed its initial petition to revoke Uniradio's permit.
Nib's petition acknowledged that XEMO has reduced its power levels to 5 kW and that process under the U.S.-Mexico treaty had been completed but contended, with supporting documentation that XEMO has yet to construct and thus operate a technically coordinated and approved two-tower directional antenna system and said that because XEMO currently is "operating with a different facility which has not been notified to and accepted by the United States," Uniradio's permit should be revoked.
Uniradio responded by terming NIBC's contentions speculative and said XEMO is "ordering new broadcast equipment and arranging for the construction of not one but two antennas" and will bring its facilities into full compliance by spring of 2005, the commencement of baseball season, when Uniradio resumes its transmittal of the San Padres games and related programming.
The FCC held that NIBC's petition raised no new or otherwise unknown facts nor demonstrates material error or omission, which would warrant reconsideration but said it would consider revisiting the issue should XEMO fail to bring its facilities into compliance with approved technical parameters when Uniradio resumes transmittal of programming in spring of 2005
2005-01-14: Both Montréal -headquartered Astral and Toronto-based Corus have reported strong results with Astral reporting net earnings from continuing operations up 22% on revenues up 9% and Corus Entertainment reporting net income up more than five-fold on revenues up 6%.
Astral net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter to the end of November 2004, the first quarter of fiscal 2005, were CAD 25.6 million (USD 20.9 million) and consolidated revenues rose 9% to CAD 140.0 million (USD 114.5 million).
Astral said the performance reflected "solid organic growth across all business units" and President and CEO Ian Greenberg commented, "Continuing on the momentum created in Fiscal 2004, we are obviously delighted with our strong financial performance for this first quarter of Fiscal 2005."
In divisional terms he commented, "On the Television side, strong point-of-differentiation programming on our networks continues to pay off with a 4% increase in subscription revenues and a 28% increase in advertising revenues. Radio reported a 5% increase in revenues along with solid results in the fall BBM ratings, further positioning our two key networks Énergie and RADIO RockDétente in the top positions with listeners in Québec. Finally, our Outdoor Advertising division also stood out with a 26% increase in revenues compared to the same period last year."
At Corus results were led by an 8% increase in radio revenues to CAD 65.5 million (USD 53.6 million) pushing its profits up 18% TO cad 21.0 MILLION (USD 17.2 million) whilst TV revenues rose 6% to CAD 98.5 million (USD 80.5 million) pushing its profit 13% higher to CAD 44.9 million (USD 36.7 million).
Overall Corus had net income of CAD 29.1 million (USD 23.8 million - CAD 0.68 per share), up from CAD5.7 million (USD 4.7 million -CAD 0.13 per share) a year earlier.
Its president and CEO John Cassaday commented, "Our media properties performed exceedingly well in the quarter. We continued our positive momentum on Television, and Radio made an excellent contribution both in terms of top-line growth and profitability."
Within radio, Corus reported strong growth in the Ontario and Quebec regions while in the West, Vancouver has started to recover from a year earlier.
Executive Chair Heather Shaw commented, "Our focus on growing the revenue in Radio while controlling our costs was clearly demonstrated in the first quarter with segment profit growth of 18%."
Corus's Content division lagged behind with revenues down to Cad 18.9 million (USD 15.5million) from CAD 30.7 million (USD 25.1 million) a year earlier and was only just in the black with profit of CAD 100,000 (USD 81,700) compared to CAD 2.6 million (USD 2.1 million) a year earlier.
Previous Heather Shaw:
2005-01-14: Being rude and racist to a woman at an Indian call centre may only earn a top ratings star (i.e. Troy Torain - (See RNW Jan 12) a fairly mild slap on the wrist but when the comments come from a less popular host and are directed at a more numerous minority, Clear Channel is much less forgiving as Chicago night-time host Joel Murphy ("Java Joel") has just found out.
Murphy has been fired by WKSC-FM (Kiss FM) after comments made on Tuesday during which he alluded to a 1980s sitcom about an English housekeeper who helps raise three youngsters and led the host to joke about the possibility of adopting "three black kids" and "taking them to the zoo to see where they came from."
A statement issued by Clear Channel Radio regional vice president and WKSC general manager John Gehron said the station would no longer air the show and added, "The comments made by Java Joel on the Jan. 11, 2005 show were inappropriate and do not reflect the opinions of WKSC or its employees."
Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times notes that Murphy, as well as his live broadcast in Chicago also customised his "Rubber Room" on recorded voice tracks for airing on Clear Channel stations in other markets, including Cleveland; Pittsburgh; Cincinnati; Louisville, Kentucky; Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, New York. He said Murphy could not be reached for comment and added that Gehron had said no decision had been made about a replacement.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2005-01-14: UK regulator media Ofcom has updated its list of "smaller" new commercial FM licences to be advertised this year and says it hoped in March to add further "larger" licences to the list.
It notes that all of them are offered provisionally and that any identified frequencies are still subject to co-ordination and may be subject to restrictions.
The timetable for FM licences announced and to be issued is now:
Ashford, Kent - smaller licence - Advertisement July 23, 2004: Applications deadline, October 21, 2004.
Kidderminster - smaller licence - Advertisement 18 August 2004: Applications deadline, 18 November 2004.
Belfast - larger licence - Advertisement 08 September 2004: Applications deadline 8 December 2004.
Cornwall - smaller licence - Advertisement 08 September 2004: Applications deadline 8 December 2004.
Durham - smaller licence - Advertisement 07 October 2004: Applications deadline 6 January 2005.
Manchester - larger licence - Advertisement 10 November 2004: Applications deadline 9 February 2005.
Banbury - smaller licence - Advertisement 10 November 2004: Applications deadline 9 February 2005.
Norwich - smaller licence - Advertisement 08 December 2004: Applications deadline 9 March 2005.
Ballymena - smaller licence - Advertisement 06 January 2005: Applications deadline 6 April 2005.
To be advertised:
February 2005: Solent region - larger licence and Torbay - smaller licence.
March 2005: Swindon - smaller licence.
April 2005: Barrow-in-Furness - smaller licence.
May 2005: Swansea - larger licence and Northallerton - smaller licence.
June 2005: Ipswich - smaller licence
July 2005: Warwick - smaller licence.
August 2005: Shrewsbury - smaller licence.
September 2005: Plymouth - smaller licence.
October 2005: Southend - smaller licence.
November 2005: Rotherham - smaller licence.
December 2005: Newry - smaller licence.
2005-01-14: Although some analysts think Clear Channel's "Less is More" decision to cut down on advertising "clutter" is leading to it losing some local advertising to competitors, the move is gaining a positive response from listeners according to a survey by Atlanta-based media and market intelligence company media and market intelligence company Navigauge.
Navigauge studies more than 46,000 stopsets and more than 127,000 commercials over a three-month period and its CEO Tim Cobb said the results "indicate that premium pricing for commercials early in the stopset are justified."
The study used Navigauge's patented passive in-car monitoring technology coupled with Aircheck on-air content data to study the commercial breaks and says that the data shows the longer the break, the lower the percentage of the qualified audience that makes it through the entire break and back to station programming.
Less than two-thirds of the qualified audience that tuned prior to the start of the first commercial break is retained after four commercials - regardless of their length - are aired.
Just under half the qualified audience is retained when six or more commercials run first position 30-second spots retain more audience than the first position 60-second commercials.
"Our data show that there's a significant correlation between the length and composition of radio commercial breaks and listener retention," says Ted Hawthorne, SVP of Research for Navigauge. "More timely and deeper intelligence such as this insight into the out-of-home consumer's response to commercial messages will enable programmers and advertisers to make the most of the significant audience opportunities that radio offers."
RNW comment: From a British perspective it would appear a "no-brainer" that listeners are turned off by too many adverts and also that they retain most of the first and last adverts in a break - as well as mentally switching off more if the first advert is a long one.
That has also been borne out in Australia by the experience of DMG's Nova, which from the start adopted a policy of limiting adverts but charging premium prices.
This is one of the few areas where we see digital as a clear benefit in the US since it will allow extra adverts in the extra channels made possible.
We still have doubts, however, about the commitment to programming that will compete strongly enough with other options, particularly if wireless develops enough to make internet stations easily available whilst on the move.
Whichever way it goes, we cannot but see US commercial radio ending up with lower returns in the future than those investors have come to expect as consolidation proceeded apace.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-01-14: As rumours have continued that Howard Stern could be off terrestrial airwaves and on Sirius before his contract expires in a year's time, other hosts have been making pitches to take over his affiliates.
Latest of them are Opie and Anthony (Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia), who as well as their show on XM Satellite radio recently filled in Stern's slot on four Citadel stations with a for-terrestrial version of their show (See RNW Jan 4).
Cumia told Billboard Radio Monitor they would "absolutely be interested in replacing some of Stern s affiliates" and added that when they era at WNEW-FM - from which they were dropped after the Sex in St Anthony's Cathedral stunt - "we shared Howard s audience, and I think it s a no-brainer to pop us in, especially some of those markets that we were really big in."
Cumia added that they had kept in touch with Citadel chairman and CEO Farid Suleman, who they knew from Infinity days, and got along well with him; the spell replacing Best of Stern shows, he said, "was sort of a testing ground for putting us back on terrestrial radio."
Regarding the restrictions of indecency regulation, Cumia said the duo were enjoying their freedom on XM and added, "We don t want to compromise what we re doing, and we re pretty happy with the show right now. It s quite a lot of freedom when you don t have to worry about the FCC on you. We would t want to compromise that to get back into terrestrial radio."
"But," he went on, "we think and other people think that there is a way to do this that would put us on, even live, and not compromise what we re doing with satellite. That s still got to be hashed out with whoever we decide to work with."
The other main pitch so far about taking over from Stern on terrestrial radio has come from Emmis Chicago host Erich "Mancow" Muller, who has said that Stern jumped to satellite because he isn't good enough to make his show work in the current anti-indecency climate.
He suggests there are hosts, clearly numbering himself among them, who can keep their edge and audience in the current situation.
Previous "Mancow" Muller:
Previous Opie and Anthony:
Billboard Radio Monitor report:
2005-01-13: After three and a half decades as a rock station, Infinity's Lanham-based alternative-rock WHFS-FM is moving to a Spanish language Tropical "El Zol" format of Caribbean and Central American dance current hits targeted at adults 25-54.
The station, whose signal serves both the DC and Baltimore markets, had been a cutting-edge rock 'n' roll radio station but of recent years had fallen well behind its main competitor, Clear Channel's DC-101 and in recent ratings ranked 20th overall and ninth among its key target audience -- listeners 18 to 34.
Originally a classical music station, WHFS switched to pop music in the 1960s before turning to rock about 1968. As well as seeing its ratings decline it has also fallen victim to demographic changes as alternative rock withered and the Hispanic audience grew - Infinity said in announcing the change that the Hispanic population in Washington, D.C. has grown more than a quarter in the last four years to more than 400,000, and is expected to continue to be the fastest growing group in the area.
The move takes a step further a Viacom-Infinity strategic alliance with Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) under a deal under which Viacom's KRZZ-FM, San Francisco - now Regional Mexican KRZZ (La Raza), went to SBS in exchange for a Viacom 10% holding in SBS plus warrants that would allow it to take the holding up by around half as much again (See RNW Oct 6, 2004).
SBS served as a consultant and adviser on the reformatting of the station and Infinity President and CEO Joel Hollander said in a statement, "We have made clear our desire to expand into this burgeoning market and believe this move marks an important step in our commitment to Spanish radio."
"There exists a tremendous opportunity for Infinity to launch a Spanish-language format in Washington, D.C. where almost 10% of the population is not being directly served. El Zol will be the most powerful Spanish radio station in the area and will provide listeners with the music, entertainment and information relevant to the many segments of the Latino culture."
Infinity says that during its initial launch phase, El Zol will play hits from such artists as Juan Luis Guerra, Marc Anthony, Hermanos Rosario, Monchy Y Alexandra, and Victor Manuelle, with on-air personalities to be announced at a later date.
It will try and place existing staff with other Infinity stations.
2005-01-13: Two Christians, one in the US and one in the UK, have quit their jobs because they say activities by their employers were in conflict with their beliefs.
In the US Tim Scott, half of the veteran Tim and Mark (Derringer) team on Sandusky Corporation's KDKB-FM, Phoenix, has opted to leave the airwaves to "pursue other interests." He was quoted by the Arizona Republic as saying, "I didn't feel I could be the Christian I wanted to be and needed to be, doing a rock-and-roll radio show. I grew more and more uncomfortable with some of the edgier material that I think is necessary for a rock-and-roll morning show to survive."
He did not criticize the station, however, saying "It's a great company - it's just time for me to move on."
On the KDKB web site general manager Chuck Artigue comments, "It is with regret that we lose this fine broadcasting team. We wish both Tim and Mark great success in their future endeavours."
The duo made their debut on the station on March 6, 1989, before which they had hosted a morning show in Baltimore, Their Tim & Mark Charities, formed in 1997, has raised more than USD 300,000 for individuals, families and organizations which care for Arizona children.
Artigue told the Republic that the station is investigating whether there are any other opportunities with it for Derringer whose contract, like that of Scott, runs to the end of February.
The other resignation was one of protest by a BBC Radio 3 producer over the Corporation's airing on TV last weekend of "Jerry Springer- The Opera."
Producer Antony Pitts went ahead with his reignation despite attempts by BBC Director-General Mark Thmpson, once before and once after the broadcast, to talk him out of it.
In a letter Pitts gave a definition of blasphemy and listed what he had found blasphemous in the broadcast, noting, "words even now do not convey the offensiveness of these elements in their context".
His examples of blasphemy included "the ridiculing of the figure of Jesus on the cross, dressed to imply sexual perversion", "the repeated mockery of the wounds (stigmata) of Jesus, linked to acts of crudeness" and "the singing of 'Jerry eleison' as a contemptuous travesty of an act of worship".
In the electronic edition of the BBC in-house magazine Ariel he added that the issue had been talked about a lot and said "I've got great admiration for his leadership for taking the trouble to do that" although for him there was no turning back.
Pitts said he felt, "a corporate responsibility for what has happened - aggravated by the fact that the BBC did not give sufficient attention to the overwhelming level of listener protest in advance. [RNW note: Some 50,000 complaints were received but as with indecency complaints in the US it would appear that the vast majority were basically similar or identical complaints from an orchestrated campaign}."
Thompson, who is a Catholic, said before the broadcast that he did not think there was anything blasphemous in the broadcast. He met Pitts on Monday but was unable to persuade him not to resign.
BBC chairman Michael Grade has revealed that he sought personal assurances from Thompson that there would be no breach of broadcasting rules and told the Broadcasting Press Guild, "I sought and was given reassurances from Mark Thompson that he had satisfied himself that the programme was compliant in every respect."
RNW comment: In our view many religions can reasonably be held from the standpoint of other religions to be blasphemous or close to it going on the basis of the definition quoted by Pitts - "contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous matter relating to God, Jesus Christ, or the Bible, or the formularies of the Church of England as by law established."
We'd certainly defend people from any religion who with a good knowledge of history were contemptuous of or reviled various aspects of the Church of England or indeed mocked it and from some experience of near theocratic states (try Ireland and Iran) think reviling religious authorities in some circumstances a pretty positive act.
We would not, even bearing in mind the acts of Jesus in the temple when it came to the traders there (Matthew, XXI, 12), defend those who do so in places of worship or even the trashing of the over-commercial activities of some modern churches but in the wider world think the best response to material found objectionable on a late night TV channel is the off switch or turning to another channel. In the end we'd commend to Mr Pitts as a Christian a thorough re-reading of the Sermon on the Mount.
Arizona Republic report on KDKB:
KDKB web site comment:
2005-01-13: A New York Times report suggests that Entercom fired Dave Universal, program director of Buffalo, N.Y., pop station WKSE-FM, because he may have improperly accepted gifts directly from record label executives.
Universal says he did nothing improper and told the Times, "I did nothing that Entercom was not 100 percent aware of, or approved of, the entire time I was there. I was allowed to do whatever I had to do to foster relationships."
The paper says his dismissal, after 17 years working for the station, came during an internal investigation into whether he improperly accepted travel packages and other gifts but says Entercom refused comment on the dismissal although Pat Paxton, its senior vice president for programming, did say the company had "policies in place that prohibit Entercom employees from accepting gifts that exceed USD 25 in value, not just from record companies, but all vendors that we work with."
The action follows an investigation by the office of Eliot Spitzer, the New York State attorney general, into the music industry's record promotion practices, including the labels' use of independent promoters who are paid to push songs to radio programmers and says the Entercom case "raises questions about another aspect of the promotion business: the labels' direct efforts to woo the programmers."
Federal payola law, notes the paper, prohibits broadcasters from accepting money or anything of value in exchange for playing a specific song, unless the payment is disclosed to listeners. Spitzer's office served subpoenas to major record labels last year in relation to possible improper behaviour by record labels and radio companies and many companies have now dropped deals with independent promoters.
The New York Times report indicates that concerns may go wider than the practices of independent promoters and rumours abound suggesting other radio programmers are potential targets for investigation.
New York Times report:
2005-01-13: Clear Channel's WUSL-FM (Power 99) in Philadelphia has now posted an apology on its web site over the crude abusive exchange with a woman at an Indian call exchange by Star (Troi Torain) and replaced Wednesday's edition of the Star and Buc Wild Show Show with a rescheduled radiothon for tsunami victims as protests continued about the call (See RNW Jan 12).
The apology reads, "The Star & Buc Wild Show prides itself on walking on the edge. On December 15th, we crossed it. We know the pain racial slurs cause and apologize that this comedy segment went too far."
The story has received wide cover in India and given Torain and Wild (his half-brother Timothy Joseph) publicity that could only be considered good by those who believe that of any publicity.
One of the most scathing was in the Times of India: Headed "So who the "eff" are Star and Buc" it began, "Vicious, callous, unprofessional, idiotic and of course racist. Those are the top qualifications mentioned in radio jockeys Star and Buc Wild's resumes, we presume."
"For those who don't know, meet RJs [RNW note: India uses the terms radio jockeys] Star - real name Troi Torain and his half brother Buc Wild, aka Timothy Joseph, the two RJs on Philadelphia's Power 99 radio."
"Both are notorious for their acerbic attacks on dead singers, live singers and of course anyone and everyone they very well please. "
"Star even revels in calling himself 'The Hater' and describes himself on his official website as someone who "has the audacity to be unconstrained by neo-conservative intellectual influence."
"Very nice, but when you think about all that The Mad Hater has to show for his non-neo-conservative attitude; all you see is some very conservative, old world, nonsensical gibberish. Something that should not be allowed outside the walls of a mental asylum."
After giving details of the call the report also notes that after singer-actress Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001, Star mocked the death on Emmis's WQHT-FM (Hot 97) by playing a sound-effects tape with a woman's bloodcurdling scream followed by a loud crash leading his co-host Miss Jones to storm off the air: Wild was on holiday at the time.
There was a storm of protest and e-mail campaign against Torain at the time and he was suspended for a short while by Emmis.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Star and Buc Wilde:
Power 99 web site:
Times of India report:
2005-01-13: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a USD 28,000 penalty on Univision for broadcasts by stations in Arizona, California, and Texas, of a telephone conversation without first informing the party to the conversation of its intention to do so.
The call in question was between the complainant, an Account Executive at Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC- subsequently taken over by Univision), the parent corporation of the stations at the time of the incident, and Raul Brindis, host of the "Raul Brindis and Pepito Show."
A transcript attached to the complaint detailed a call to him by Brindis, who pretended to be another man who had met the complainant at a local club and, after a flirtatious conversation, revealed the "joke" to the complainant on air.
Univision did not deny the broadcast but argued that, because he was an employee, the licensees were not obliged to notify him that a conversation would be broadcast. It also argues that because it was not the parent company at the time of the broadcast it should not be held responsible and also said that the incident was an isolated one that did not meet its standards and that is has since put into place a compliance plan because of the incident.
The FCC gave all the arguments short shrift and proposed the standard USD 4,000 penalty on each of the seven stations - KHOT-FM, Paradise Valley and KHOV-FM, Wickenburg, Arizona; KVVF-FM, Santa Clara, and KZOL-FM, North Fork, California; and KLNT-FM, Houston, KGBT-FM, McAllen, and KROM-FM, San Antonio, Texas- that had broadcast the call.
It specifically noted that Univision's argument that under FCC rules prior consent to broadcast a conversation is presumed where "the party to the call is associated with the station (such as an employee or part-time reporter) ." was too broad a reading of the rule since it would mean that "by agreeing to work at HBC the complainant - as well as each and every employee at the company from the CEO to the cleaning crew - implicitly consented to having conversations aired without prior notice."
2005-01-13: Emmis is to spend USD 14 million on expanding in Europe through the purchase of Slovakian company D.EXPRES, a.s., which owns and operates Rádio Expres, a national radio network in Slovakia.
It says the "properties are cash flow positive and, at closing, the acquisition will be accretive."
Rádio Expres, which broadcasts from Bratislava, is the top-rated private commercial radio station in Slovakia and features a format of popular music, news, and entertainment and Emmis International President Paul Fiddick commented, "Slovakia fits our strategy because it presents an opportunity to leverage our other international success in one of the world's fastest developing economies."
Emmis International currently owns nine FM radio stations in the Flanders region of Belgium and has a 59.5% interest in the national top-ranked radio station in Hungary.
In other radio acquisitions Citadel is spending USD 4.1 million to purchase AC WCXT-FM, Muskegon, Michigan from Waters Broadcasting Corporation, the latter's only remaining radio property. WCXT's signal covers most of Grand Rapids where Citadel already has four stations well four in Muskegon.
In Nebraska, Salem is to spend USD 3.1 million on purchasing KCRO-AM, Omaha, from Eternal Broadcasting, LLC. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year and Salem says KCRO-AM General Manager Johnny Andrews will serve as Market Manager for Salem in Omaha.
Salem President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III commented of the deal, "Our acquisition of KCRO demonstrates our commitment to Salem's foundational Christian Teaching and Talk format and allows area listeners to enjoy many of the same programs they have heard for years on this station. KCRO joins KGBI-FM, our new contemporary Christian music station, and provides another venue for us to serve Omaha and surrounding areas."
2005-01-13: Chicago WGN-AM program director Mary June Rose has resigned after eight years in the post; she has no other job to go to and told the Chicago Sun-Times her main concern is to care for her ill mother in North Carolina.
She joined WGN in 1996 after spells as program director of WBT-AM in her native Charlotte, North Carolina., and WIBC-AM in Indianapolis.
I need a break -- a nice long break," she told Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times, adding of the station, "It's a great place. I figured I'd be here two years. What an incredible ride. I could have never imagined it."
Mark Krieschen, vice president and general manager of the Tribune Co.-owned flagship, said a nationwide search would begin immediately for a new PD and that Rose will stay on until the end of the month.
"After leading the station through a string of successes and even guiding the programming department through the loss of Bob Collins [former top-rated morning host who died in a plane crash in 2002 See RNW Feb 9, 2002), Mary June is now ready for new challenges," Krieschen told staffers. "She will be missed."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-01-12: The tsunami that struck parts of Asia and Africa after the undersea earthquake off Indonesia on December 26 has had an unprecedented effect in getting broadcasters in various parts of the world to set aside rivalries and unite in efforts to raise aid.
The latest example comes from the UK where, in an unprecedented move, all the major commercial companies next Monday cease competing as commercial radio stations replace their usual broadcasts for 12 hours (06.00 - 18.00) with nationally syndicated output, dedicated to raising money for the children affected by the Asian Tsunami.
The broadcast - UK Radio Aid - will reach an estimated audience of over 20 million listeners - the biggest ever UK commercial radio audience for a programme and will be split into one-hour segments, each hosted by two guest DJs, who will introduce live acts, interviews, competitions, auctions, pledges, messages and news breaks.
Participating stations will each donate a day's profits and this will be built upon by asking listeners to donate one hour of their time or money to the appeal.
Those taking part include Capital Radio, Chrysalis, Classic Gold, Emap, GMG Radio, GWR, The Local Radio Company, SMG-owned Virgin, SRH, UKRD, The Wireless Group, and many independent stations.
The 12-hour broadcast will be aired live from Capital Radio's HQ in Leicester Square, London, and is being supported by major politicians including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, plus musicians, sports and TV names.
Mark Story, chairman of UK Radio Aid said of the planned broadcast, "I am immensely proud of and grateful to our colleagues across commercial radio who when asked for an extraordinary response to this disaster were all in immediate agreement to unite for this very special day.
After the initial fantastic response of the UK public to help save lives, the money raised from UK Radio Aid will be devoted to the second phase of aid: long-term projects for children, especially those who have been left without family or homes.
Although this is a response to a tragedy, the day will be very much about hope, with a lot of fun and extraordinary entertainment thanks to the generosity of the artists, presenters and radio companies involved."
There have also been other co-operative efforts, notably in Chicago where the Chicago Media Tsunami Relief Drive raised USD 1.7 million for the American Red Cross International Response Fund a week ago. In all some 17,000 donors pledged sums up to USD 100,000 in response to public-service announcements and news reports giving details of where to donate.
In addition broadcasters have been involved in individual fund-raising drives although in some cases suggestions of co-operation were spurned as in Canada where the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Canada for Asia prime-time TV fundraiser being aired tomorrow is being carried by some specialty channels but not by the main commercial channel CTV, which gave short notice as the reason not to join in. CTV is involved in its own effort.
In Australia, the country's commercial radio industry is giving practical help as well as raising funds. It is donating around 50,000 radio receivers to help authorities to communicate to communicate vital information about water, food and medical aid to survivors and has also offered the help of engineers to set up temporary broadcasting facilities in disaster zones.
The Australian industry, which gained the support of the Asian-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) to coordinate the initiative through the region, has also coordinated the provision of seven transmitters so far.
RNW comment: Although aid is to be welcomed in the current circumstances, fears have been expressed by various agencies that the current media-led outpouring could end up doing more mid-term harm than short-term good should it lead to a reduction in other donations. In particular a number of organizations have pointed out that the monthly death toll from common diseases (Some 240,000 a month from AIDS, 165,000 a month from malaria, and 140,000 from diarrhoea) vastly exceeds the overall total from the tsunami and that if tsunami aid is taken away from funds that were intended for other purposes it could end up leading to increasing rather than reducing overall deaths.
In addition the whole of Western aid is less than the amount many impoverished nations would gain were the west to remove de-facto economic trade penalties such as tariffs on their exports and subsidies on agricultural produce that both inhibits local production and leads to a reduction in market price.
For overall good effect, we'd like to see the media put out effort again in six months for the less dramatic, larger scale and equally appalling toll from preventable disease. Real concern might lead those prepared to spend massively on heavily-promoted grand drugs to demand quid-pro-quos of research into diseases that affect many poorer areas and provision of drugs to those areas rather than supinely allowing drug companies without objection buy politicians to ensure that cheaper generic drugs can be supplied to the poor. We'd love to see all drugs adverts subject to a ten-times spending tax with the funds hypothecated to research on diseases or provision of cheaper drugs for [poor countries: It would probably also benefit US health services despite the squawks to the contrary that would come from those currently benefiting from the current market-rather-than-medical-need situation that applies in America.
2005-01-12: US terrestrial radio, which has been playing down the threat from new competitors such as satellite and internet stations and music downloads, is to market itself over the next month in a broadcast and print campaign to promote itself.
The campaign is being sponsored by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), although non-members will also receive the adverts, and is being targeted at an 18-34 demographic
Promotional adverts sent to thousands of radio stations use the tagline: "Radio. You hear it here first" in an attempt to persuade the American public that radio is the main medium in which people hear new music.
Radio chains such as ABC Radio, Beasley, Bonneville, Cumulus, Clear Channel, Emmis, Entercom, Infinity Jefferson-Pilot, Radio One Inc Regent and Susquehanna will donate airtime valued at around USD 28 million in addition to a print campaign to be launched in youth-oriented magazines.
The 30-second spots feature artists including Nelly, Avril Lavigne, Ludacris, Hoobastank, Alicia Keys and Ashanti, saying how radio contributed to their success.
RNW comment: What is lacking in the current climate is any firm information and we would like to see an organisation such as the Pew Research Centre put some effort into finding out where listeners in the US do hear new music first - even better were similar surveys conducted in other countries as well for comparison.
Ideally we'd like an annual survey to be conducted over a decade or so and thus show trends as well as snapshots of the current situation. If it should show radio doing a good job, then all credit to radio and if it didn't then there'd be pressure to improve. Either way new artists would benefit.
2005-01-12: Yet another example of the crude abuse that seems to attract some US radio listeners has been posted online and in audio form, this time an exchange between a Clear Channel station and a woman in India answering - politely - calls to an advert for hair beads placed in the US.
The call from morning host Star (Troi Torain) of the Star and Buc Wild (his half-brother, Timothy Joseph) show which is to debut on New York WWPR-FM (Power 105) next Monday, was broadcast on WUSL-FM (Power 99) in Philadelphia and also posted on the station web site.
Following publicity given to the clip, it was removed from the station web site and community-affairs director Loraine Ballard Morrill told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the station reprimanded the employee who posted the clip on the site.
In the clip, which the paper says part of a show that aired last month without complaint, Star posed as a white father trying to buy beads so his 6-year-old daughter could look like tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams and after learning his query had been answered by a call centre in India, called the woman who answered as "a filthy rat eater" and threatened to "come out there and choke the... out of you."
Morrill told the paper the more serious matter was posting the clip on the web site and said the employee who posted it would undergo sensitivity training, adding that the station planned to post an apology (RNW note -It was well hidden if it was there when we checked on Tuesday) and added, "'Essentially [we're] apologizing for things on our Web site that were racially inflammatory and insensitive, saying, 'We took it off our Web site and it won't happen again.' "
She also said that since learning about the clip station managers had held "extensive discussions" with star and "made clear this is not acceptable."
She also said most of the e-mails of complaint she had received came from people who did not listen to the station, which has a mainly African-American audience.
The paper notes that since the show began airing on the station three months ago it has increased its share of the younger audience
Alter Net has a transcript of the clip and a link to audio in MP3 format: The transcript runs:
"Ma'am what the 'F' would you know about an American white girl's hair?"
"listen bitch, don't get slick with the mouth! don't you get slick with me bitch!"
"Listen to me you dirty rat-eater, I'll come out there and choke the 'F' out of you! You're a filthy rat-eater! I'm calling about my American 6-year-old white girl. how dare you outsource my call! Get off the line, bitch!"
It also carries a response to a complaint from WUSL general manager Richard Lewis that says, "All of us at WUSL-FM do not condone the use of offensive language in any form, on or off-air. This situation has been discussed with the people in question and I am confident nothing of this nature will happen again. I have also reprimanded the staff and reminded them that posting such material on our station's Web site is not acceptable and will not happen again. I sincerely regret any discomfort this may have caused you or any friends and family."
"WUSL-FM (POWER-99), for many years, has been synonymous with being a helpful resource for our listeners and offering a great radio station to listen to, and my goal is to continue to build on that. Again I apologize to you personally for this and I understand your point of view. I do appreciate your taking the time to let me know your thoughts. "
RNW comment: The main concern from Clear Channel management seems to be that the web posting made this crude abuse widely available and the apologies strike us as hypocritical to say the least.
In our view anyone who listens to the show probably needs "sensitivity-training", the station management certainly does (it would make a good stunt to put it on closed circuit TV so people can tape it and see how what their attitudes really are) and the apology would have a lot more credibility were Clear Channel corporate management to put some teeth into policy statements.
In our view has shown by announcing its "zero-tolerance" corporation policy on indecency it has show that it does not shrink when necessary from keeping stations in line with corporate policy - and we see no reason it could not look hard at the host's contract and add- and announce publicly - a clause that would withhold say a quarter's pay and should he make further racist, misogynistic, or anti-Semitic comments - not only fire him but give the withheld pay to an organization like the American Red Cross.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Star and Buc Wilde:
Alter Net report:
Audio of clip (1.96Mb MP3)
Philadelphia Inquirer report:
2005-01-12: In a dig at Clear Channel's recently-announced deal with by Audiovox Electronics Corp to sell its traffic information (See RNW Jan 7), Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times reminds his readers of the company's "Traffic Destination Rights Program" that he brought to light last year.
Feder noted at the time that as a result of the deal that allowed sponsors to promote themselves through traffic reports on the company's Chicago stations they all ceased giving Kennedy Expressway travel times to O'Hare Airport.
Instead those who Feder comments "corrupted Clear Channel Radio's traffic reporting information" provides travel times "from Downtown to the Allstate Arena", a concert and sports arena that has an exclusive booking arrangement with Clear Channel Entertainment.
Feder continues, "Listeners were never supposed to know the real reason O'Hare had been erased from Clear Channel's traffic map or why it had been replaced by an entertainment venue with ties to the radio company. In fact, the deal would still be secret if this column hadn't obtained an internal memo describing it in detail. Since then, no other sponsors have signed on."
He then goes on to note the new service is being offered for USD 59.90 a year/ USD 95.90 for two years.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-01-11: BBC Radio 1, which comments that it is widely accepted that the late John Peel, who died in October last year of a heart attack whilst on holiday in Peru (See RNW Oct 27, 2004), "can never be replaced" has announced that his late-night slot is to be filled by three shows hosted by three DJs "dedicated to championing a diverse, unpredictable and non-commercial mix of new music."
House DJ Rob Da Bank, who has been hosting Peel's 23:00 to 01:00 Tuesday through Thursday nights slot since the broadcaster's death, will host Thursdays. He is currently one of the hosts of The Blue Room, an early morning weekend show that plays an eclectic mix of electronic and dance, old and new.
Tuesday slots will be hosted by Huw Stephens of the Radio 1 Thursday night show Bethan and Huw in Wales that looks at the most exiting new music around with particular emphasis on up-and-coming acts breaking through in Wales and Wednesday slots will go to Ras Kwame, currently host of the black music 100% Homegrown show on Radio 1Xtra.
The three shows will air under the banner OneMusic, which already exists within Radio 1 as a website that gives people advice and inspiration on all aspects of the music industry from how to record a demo to what to look out for when signing a record contract.
Radio 1 says the trio, whose new show airs from the start of next month have been chosen for their "depth of knowledge across a variety of musical genres" and Radio 1 Controller Andy Parfitt commented, "As a DJ, John Peel was unique. Supporting new music and seeking out the unusual was at the heart of what John was about. We have spent a long time debating how best to continue John's work and believe that by having a series of DJs hosting a selection of shows under the OneMusic title, we will ensure that his legacy lives on."
2005-01-11: Veteran Brisbane broadcaster Ian Skippen, who was with Austereo's long-time leading Brisbane station hot AC B105 for 16 years, has now teamed with Greg Martin, Jade Jones and Greg "Sully" Sullivan on "The Other Breakfast Show" on the company's re-vamped Triple-M in the city.
The move has come as part of Austereo's move to refresh Triple-M which in the last ratings (See RNW Dec 7, 2004) toppled B105 to head the ratings for the first time in 14 years after changes to increase its appeal to a more adult audience but was still bested in the breakfast slot.
B105's Morning Crew is now made up of Jamie Dunn, Penny Cooper and new addition Dean Kesby.
Skippen, who left B105 last month, said he was "proud of my 16 years with the Morning Crew, we achieved so many amazing things in our time together" but wanted to be part of the changes at Triple-M.
"I'm very thrilled by the new challenges at Triple M - it's a station which is really capturing the listeners' attention," he added. "Triple M is spontaneous with a totally different attitude."
Austereo will be facing increased competition in Brisbane later this year when DMG's Nova FM launches in the city: Nova has already made large inroads into Austereo territory in Melbourne, where in the last ratings it was third-placed with an 10.5 share compared to 10.5 for fourth-placed Fox FM's 10.5 and 8.8 for Triple-M in the fifth rank, and Sydney, where in the last ratings it was in second place overall, well ahead of Austereo's Triple M in sixth rank and one-time leader 2-DAY in eighth place.
2005-01-11: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 20,000 fine on Pacific Spanish Network, Inc. (PSN), for providing programming via the Internet to a Mexican AM broadcast station in breach of the terms and conditions of its authorization.
The decision follows the issuing of a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) last year (See RNW Aug 1, 2004) in relation to the continued supply of material after PSN became aware that interference was being caused to US AM stations following changes at XEKTT, Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, one of three Mexican AMs to which provision had been authorized. PSN had not responded to the NAL.
2005-01-10: We start this week's look at print comment on radio with criticism of balls and breasts on radio in the UK and US, the first of which criticizes a narrowing of range to meet the interests of a single large audience to the detriment of the overall, a situation that we'd suggest is the basis of most US radio.
In his sports column headed "How football ruined my radio" Peter Oborne in the UK Observer takes task BBC Radio's over-emphasis, as he sees it, on soccer to the detriment of cover of other sports. Drawing a parallel with the effects of pollution on wildlife, Oborne writes, "Commercialization has had the same kind of effect on sport as pollution has on rivers. Even comparatively common species - cricket, horseracing, athletics, rugby - have been forced into rarer and more secluded habitats. They have fallen victim to the ubiquity of football."
"This phenomenon has many manifestations, but one of the most wretched cases is the degradation of BBC Radio's Sports Report. This wonderful show dates back more than 50 years and many of the great names in sports broadcasting have been associated with it: Eamonn Andrews, Des Lynam, Peter Jones and, more recently, John Inverdale. It is an integral part of the lives of all sports lovers, and the arrival of its famous five o'clock theme tune was the most magical moment of any Saturday afternoon."
He then continues, "Apart from that tune, almost everything else essential has now been abandoned It used to be a great hour-long sports news magazine. Now there is barely time for the top football stories, before the viewers are rushed off to Radio 5's next live football match.
"When Sports Report was at its prime, there would be a long item from an overseas Test series, some comprehensive rugby coverage, the latest athletics, the day's big horseracing. There was even scope for an in-depth and writerly piece comparable to Radio 4's From Our Own Correspondent."
"Now it no longer has proper time for any sport beside football. But I don't even have the impression that football is covered in the same way. There used to be comprehensive coverage from the lower football league but even that seems to have diminished. The BBC bosses are colluding in the destruction of one of the most priceless pieces of the British broadcasting heritage."
Oborne reports that in compiling his column he spoke to BBC Radio Five Live controller Bob Shennan who "had the integrity to concede that the BBC was, as he put it, 'in the horns of a dilemma'."
Shennan he says noted that other sports had intruded into the time slot but also pointed out that football rights "are extremely expensive, they underpin what Radio Five Live does, and a huge number of listeners listen to the BBC sports output" concluding, "We've got to be hard-nosed and professional. Nor can we deny the world is changing."
And the breasts? That's an issue that Clear Channel probably hoped would quietly go away despite a campaign that the US National Organization for Women (NOW) started before Christmas to complain about a radio competition that offered breast implants for women in its "Breast Christmas Ever" Contest " competition that NOW listed as running on stations in Florida (Jacksonville and Tampa), St. Louis and Detroit.
To quote NOW," Shame on Clear Channel! The same radio network that sponsored pro-war rallies and banned the Dixie Chicks is risking women's health and safety with its latest offensive venture.
In an appalling effort to grab attention and raise ratings, radio stations owned by conservative media giant Clear Channel are promoting potentially dangerous plastic surgery and marketing unrealistic and unhealthy images of women. Clear Channel stations are awarding breast implants to women in the "Breast Christmas Ever" contest."
"These stations ask women to submit essays explaining why all they want for Christmas is a pair of larger breasts. Winners must allow the stations to show before-and-after photos on their web sites, and sign a liability release absolving the radio station, plastic surgeon and Clear Channel from any responsibility should they have problems with their implants or require additional medical treatment - problems which, not incidentally, are frequently necessary and very expensive."
"Aside from the voyeurism and misogyny implicit in these contests--which are based on the premise that women are more attractive and desirable to men when they have large breasts--they are also potentially hazardous to the health of the so-called winners."
That the issue hadn't died became clear last week when a number of US papers carried stories on the issue including one from Jenice Armstrong in the Philadelphia Inquirer that was headed, "IS CLEAR CHANNEL tripping or what?"
The article said that apparently some 91,000 listeners entered the contest and after calling the contests "blatantly tasteless" went on to suggest that a little sexual equality might not go amiss.
"Why couldn't the stations offer similar contests geared at men?" wrote Armstrong. "I'd be curious to see how many men would have written essays trying to win penile enlargements.
Contest winners had to agree to submit to before-and-after photos that would be posted on the stations' Web sites. Would that still have been the case had men been involved?"
RNW comment: We rather suspect the target audience for the stations involved would be rather shy of this suggestion, which would presumably require erect rather than flaccid photographs, but the point seems reasonably made. Perhaps NOW should have been campaigning for equality of treatment and for all members of Clear Channel's board plus station management to be entered as a condition of licences?
On to more serious topics, this time as perceived by US National Public Radio (NPR) ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin in his comments to close last year that have been published on the organization's web site.
He began with picking up, in a section headed, "Tsunami Coverage: Where Was NPR?" on issues related to the cover of the tsunami that hit on December 26 following the earthquake off Sumatra.
" on the day the story broke, many listeners wrote in," said Dvorkin, " to ask why NPR was giving the story minimal airtime."
"Listener Barrie Pribyl wrote: 'As a major fan and supporter, I want to say how disappointed I am in your coverage of this world crisis. Your coverage is no different than the commercial stations'. We know that the story is always the same: crisis; increasing number of fatalities; people without water, food or housing; disarray of the NGOs' getting help to ground zero, etc., etc. These... stories are not helpful, nor illuminating. I would prefer more background stories about the geography of all of the countries affected: their economies, their governmental infrastructure, the depth of their resources (money, medical, technical), what's the role of their religious institutions to provide aid. I heard a very interesting piece on the "News Hour" about the Maldives and remote ethnic tribes. Tell us more about what we don't know..."
Dvorkin commented, "As a listener, I thought the weekend newsmagazines were struggling to report anything of substance. NPR newscasts over the weekend, in contrast, did an extraordinary job" and then went on to say that on the next day "Morning Edition sounded remarkably unprepared for the scale of the story On the day when many listeners expected more, Morning Edition seemed to miss the enormity of the news."
"Also, the tone of Morning Edition was curiously distant and even callous. If a story about the largest natural disaster in 40 years doesn't merit moving to "special coverage," what would?"
" by Monday afternoon All Things Considered was able to broadcast a number of very strong background reports. NPR regained its editorial footing, but it took far too long."
RNW comment: The same view, of course, could be expressed about most other broadcasters including some parts of the BBC and in TV terms it was noticeable that Murdoch's Sky News in the UK - thanks in part to an on-the-ball overnight freelance - despatched reporting teams speedily and that CNN gained an edge in the US because it has more people on the ground outside the US than its competitors. In international reporting terms most US radio remained a wasteland.
Dvorkin also took up another issue that aroused many comments from NPR listeners, the editing of its Christmas Eve broadcast of David Sedaris's Santaland Diaries that cut out a flirtatious exchange between Sedaris, working a stint as a Christmas elf called Crumpet at Macy's department store in New York, and an elf named Snowball.
"Many listeners," commented Dvorkin, " wrote to say that they feared the worst -- that NPR had decided to excise the section for fear of an anti-gay backlash. But the reason for the edit was not ominous"
He went on to say that since Ira Glass originally produced the story in 1992 and who aired it unedited on This American Life, NPR had cut down the time it allowed for features and that the cut was simply because of this.
Dvorkin, who refers to posts concerning the matter on outsidethetent, including one from Glass who suggests people listen to the original (see link below) and think what they would cut, says he was "assured by the producer who edited the story that his intention in deleting the passage was, indeed, only to save airtime. However, many listeners remained persuaded that NPR was buckling under homophobic pressures -- even thought it wasn't."
Finally, before listening recommendations, a change of tack by Clear Channel over Internet streaming detailed by John Borland of C-Net in an article in which he commented that "2004 was the year that Internet radio was reborn."
He spoke to Evan Harrison, the new head of the Internet business at Clear Channel and formerly at America Online, who commented, "I've always felt that no medium is more powerful on a local level, or brings as much emotion to music fans, as radio. Now is the time to get aggressive...I want to compete with everything else, but use the stronghold that our brands have already formed."
Borland gives much of the credit to Eric Ronning and Andy Lipset who convinced AOL, Yahoo and MSN Net radio services plus Live365 -to pool their advertising space, and by using Arbitron figures to establish listenership, they convinced large companies that Internet radio advertising was worthwhile.
Borland notes that stations had problems attracting local online advertising since many people listening to a stream were not in the station's area, many of them people who had moved away to somewhere else. That left the streaming business to the big players who could attract national advertising but many smaller stations, which had also been hit by royalty charges, dropped their streams.
Harrison said Clear Channel could get some of the best of both worlds by using its stations as gateways into a network of online services, many fed by local stations but also offering customized channels. The service would then allow advertising to be sold across the network but also offer the opportunity to target local adverts at listeners in local markers.
Harrison says Clear Channel, which now has some 200 stations providing web cast services independently of each other, will start to change its system and introduce new content from around the second quarter of this year.
Borland notes that the move may also be driven by fear as new competitors emerge for traditional radio and wireless broadband develops meaning that drivers could tap into stations on the Internet rather than on the air.
RNW comment: As we have already noted, there are considerable strains already on Internet streams with fairly frequent drop outs or quality reductions so we don't see the Internet threat as being as serious as made out providing the broadcasters including satellite radio are supplying a quality product that people want to listen to.
We still have our doubts about the programming that will be provided - and can't see any way to provide quality programming and local content without investment in people - but can never see a station stream providing the same technical quality as a good FM signal never mind that of satellite or digital radio.
And listening suggestions? First try this link to listen to Sedaris's NPR broadcast if you want to take up Ira Glass's suggestion of working out what you might like to cut to shorten this broadcast.
Next a couple of programmes from BBC Radio 4 that demonstrated how truth can be just as strange and gripping as fiction. First from Saturday was A Savage Love in which Lemn Sissay looked at the story of African prince - or not - Peter Lobengula, son of the Matabele warrior king - or an imposter - who appeared in a variety show in England at a time when Africans were considered savages - noble or maybe not - married a Cornish actress only to fall foul of a racist newspaper campaign, was divorced by her, and ended up buried in a pauper's grave in Salford in Lancashire.
Then there was It's My Story: Mafia, Masons And Murder -on Thursday.
This looked at the story of the death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi, found hanging under a London bridge in 1982, and the investigation into it by financial investigator Jeff Katz who did not accept the police verdict that it was a case of suicide. Italian authorities are soon to rule whether four people identified largely through Katz's investigations should face trial for conspiracy to murder.
Still in documentary mode but with a different emphasis, tonight at 20:30 GMT Radio 4 broadcasts Matador an audio essay about bullfighters set in Murcia and including an interview with the matador Francisco Rivera Odonez, grandson of the legendary matador Antonio Odonez.
Then crossing the Atlantic, but partly taking a view from outside, on Wednesday into Thursday) 09.05/13.05/19.05pm/and 01.05 GMT) BBC World Service broadcasts the first of The State of the Union, a four part series in which Owen Bennett-Jones investigates how Americans view their country.
And a final couple of further suggestions from Radio 4, the new science-fiction drama Nebulous that began last week on Thursday (still on the Listen Again part of the web site) and continues this Thursday at 23:00 GMT and comedy cum current affairs in The News Quiz, which returns on Friday (18:30 GMT).
For more comedy BBC Radio 2 on Thursday at 22:00 GMT (repeated Saturday at 1330 GMT but not repeated on the listen again part of the site) we'd suggest It's Been A Bad Week featuring Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis looking at the past week and also on Saturday (13:00 GMT gut again not on the listen again art of the site) The Smith Lectures in which Arthur Smith revisits the mythical 50s fleapit, the Tooting Bec Ritzy.
Also from Radio 2 we'd suggest Tuesday and Elvis at 20:30 GMT, a look at the King's life and legacy, and then on Wednesday at 22:00GMT Without Frontiers in which Charlie Gillett explores how artists working in a variety of musical genres have interpreted a certain subject.
The first programme of this new series covers the North Atlantic, and combines Canada's Kate and Anna McGarrigle, New York's Wax Poetic and Ireland's Van Morrison with Mariza from Portugal, Youssou N'Dour from Senegal and Pata Negra from Spain.
For our last suggestion, we cross another ocean and suggest Sunday's Background Briefing - Need for Speed - from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in which Anna Hipsley considers how out liking for speed can build on itself so that the more speedily we can do things, the more impatient we become. Basically greed for without thinking of what we want something for!
C-Net - Borland:
NPR - Dvorkin:
Philadelphia Inquirer - Armstrong:
UK Observer - Oborne:
Links to Audio:
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Background Briefing page:
2005-01-10: Nebraska Public Radio Network (NPRN) changes its name today to NET Radio as part of a re-branding that its parent NET (Nebraska Educational Telecommunications) says is part of an effort "to build recognition for all of the services NET provides to the citizens of Nebraska."
NET general manager Rod Bates commented, "People often refer to NET and its services by many different names, and sometimes they don't realize that the same organization is behind all of the programs and services they use and enjoy."
Also to change its name is the Nebraska ETV Network, which becomes NET Television in March.
In addition to the name change, the radio service is to resume streaming on the Internet on January 24 with a site that will also include playlists of recently aired music.
SW Nebraska News report:
2005-01-10: Commenting on California-based Liberman Broadcasting's planned IPO (initial public offering) Forbes Magazine gives it a thumbs-down. Liberman, it says is a "small company coming late in the cycle and it won't add much to investors' portfolios."
It then adds, "The broadcasting company plans to use net proceeds raised in the deal to repay debt, generally a good way to mute early response to an IPO because investors want to see their money used to grab market share. Company insiders are also cashing out, another downbeat note for IPO investors. This deal won't pop on the opening."
Liberman plans to offer 11.050 million shares, including 1.050 million held by current shareholders at USD15 each through underwriters led by Credit Suisse First Boston and Forbes notes that at the end of September it had debt totalling around USD356 million. It reported net income for the nine months to the end of September of USD 2.1 million but reported losses in 2001 and 2002.
Forbes says an investment in Liberman is a bet on the growth of the Hispanic market in the US and notes mixed results for other Spanish-language broadcasters following their IPOs.
Univision, the largest among those listed, recently traded just above USD 28 per share, having launched at USD 23 in IPO in September 1996 and gained 37% in initial trading whilst Spanish Broadcasting System, which went public in October 1999 at USD 20 per share, gained about 39% on its first day but has recently traded just above USD 10 and Entravision launched in August 2000 at USD 16.50, gained about 14%, and recently was just above USD 8
Forbes also suggests that investment in Spanish media may be a bet against assimilation and that children of recent Spanish-speaking immigrants will continue to listen to Spanish broadcasts although they have also learned English: It notes that most of the foreign language newspapers that served waves of European immigrants in the early 20th Century have not survived.
Forbes Magazine report:
2005-01-09: The past week was again quiet for the regulators with no radio-related announcements from Australia or Ireland and no major developments elsewhere although US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K Powell again affirmed his view that satellite radio would continue to remain exempt from indecency regulations that apply to terrestrial broadcasters (See RNW Jan 8).
In Canada the only radio announcement from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was the announcement of changes to an application by Radio India (2004) Ltd. to operate a commercial specialty FM station in Vancouver. The main change we noted was a power increase for a transmitter in Abbotsford from an average effective radiated power of 450 watts (maximum effective radiated power of 2,100 watts/antenna height of 336 metres) to an average effective radiated power of 630 watts (maximum effective radiated power of 3,000 watts/antenna height of 339 metres).
In the UK, Ofcom has advertised a new licence for Ballymena in Northern Ireland (See RNW Jan 7) and issued its proposals for planned community radio stations (See RNW Jan 8). In regard to the previously advertised new Durham FM licence it has received three applications (See RNW Jan 8).
The USA was also quiet although the FCC did affirm a USD 25,000 forfeiture on a on the licensee of a now-defunct New Mexico FM (See RNW Jan 4).
Previous Licence News:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-01-09: Entercom's KIRO-AM, Seattle, has revamped its line-up in an attempt to regain its leading position in the market.
Starting from tomorrow, veteran talk host Dave Ross, who took leave of absence to make an unsuccessful run for Congress, is moved from mornings to afternoon drive; His mornings slot goes to Allan Prell, who had done some stand-ins whilst Ross was away..
Ross will start the afternoon slot at 3p.m. thus taking an hour from the noon show hosted by Dori Monson. In addition Seattle TV sports anchor Tony Ventrella takes over evenings.
KIRO, which has fallen in the ratings since it lost Seattle Mariners broadcasts two years ago and had to face new competition including that from the introduction of Air America into the market on one side and from the right with sister station KTTH-AM, has also laid off afternoon news co-anchor Val Stouffer and business reporter Kevin Ebi, according to John Sandifer of broadcast union AFTRA.
Program director Tom Clendening told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the moves were designed to capitalize on "the strongest personalities in the market" and said moving Ross was prompted because "there are more potential listeners in afternoon drive."
"We got a great gift in November when we got Dave Ross back," he added. "We started thinking how we could take advantage of that," by supplementing the headlines with Ross' analysis, commentary, interviewing ability and credibility with his audience.
He said Prell's stand-ins had received a response that "was pretty incredible, both positive and negative" and added, "He's unusual, but very compelling to listen to."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2005-01-09: A Kentucky judge has ordered Clear Channel's WHS-AM in Louisville to supply broadcasts of Louisville football and men's basketball games including Cardinals' men's basketball games to Sirius Satellite Radio following a suit brought by the University of Louisville in conjunction with sports rights holder Nelligan Sports Marketing Inc.
Nelligan and the University of Louisville Athletics Association reached a deal with Sirius last October to make Cardinals' games available at Sirius' choosing.
According to an AP report the case underscored a deterioration in relations between the University and station after Clear Channel signed a deal with the University of Kentucky, which, from fall 2007, would give UK priority of the Cardinals when both were playing at the same time: The station currently has rights to games from both but the Cardinals have priority.
The lawsuit was launched after WHAS last month refused to make broadcasts of the Billy Minardi Classic featuring Louisville's men's basketball team available to Sirius, which had intended to initiate, is broadcasts of Cardinals games with the competition.
After Clear Channel signed the University of Kentucky deal, Louisville said it would end the relationship after the current contact ended in 2007 and Gregg Hovious, an attorney representing Louisville and Nelligan accused WHAS-AM of denying Sirius access to Cardinals' games to "bully" Louisville into agreeing to release Clear Channel from the last two years of the contract.
Previous Clear Channel:
Mercury News/AP report:
2005-01-09: XM satellite radio has announced that the initial purchaser of USD 300 million of its 1.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2009 has now exercised an option to purchase an additional USD 100 million of the Notes to take the total up to USD 400 million.
The closing sale of the additional notes is expected to be completed on Wednesday (Jan 12) and the notes are convertible at a rate of 20.0 shares of the company's common stock for each $1,000 principal amount of notes, representing a conversion price of $50 per share of common stock, subject to adjustment in certain circumstances.
XM has also declared a regular quarterly dividend - payable in shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock at a rate of $1.0313 per share of Series B Preferred Stock owned, with fractional shares to be paid in cash - on its 8.25% Series B Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock.
2005-01-08: The first week of the year has been quite busy for radio deals in the US with the most significant deals being in the Spanish language sector.
In Texas, Border Media Partners is spending USD 19 million on expansion by adding four more stations in the Austin market: It already has three stations there and has six stations in San Antonio.
The stations bneing acquired, from Dynamic Radio Broadcasting Corp., are KFON-AM, Austin; KKLB-FM. Elgin, and KELG-AM, Manor, which simulcast a Regional Mexican format; and KTXZ-AM, West Lake Hills.
In California, Latin Entertainment Network Inc. is spending USD 14.5 million to enter the Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz market with the purchase from Wolfhouse Radio Group Inc.
It gets KHDV-FM. King City; KTGE-AM and KRAY-FM Salinas; and KMJV-FM, Soledad.
Also on the move in California are KJFX-FM, Fresno, KTSX-FM, San Joaquin and KFRR-FM, Woodlake (in the Fresno market), which are going for a so-far undisclosed price from Mondosphere Broadcasting to the Wilks Broadcast Group.
In Georgia, Chang Soo Kim is paying USD 3.3 million to Pacific Star Broadcasting Inc., headed by President Charlie S. Kim, for a first station, Spanish variety WPBC-AM, Decatur in the Atlanta market.
And from the end of last year former Boston business station WBIX-AM, which went under following an attempted suicide by former owner Bradford C. Bleidt who confessed he had purchased it with money from his clients' accounts (See RNW Nov 15, 2004), is now formally in the hands of the receiver who last month handed its operation over to former owner Alex Langer, who was still owed money on its purchase (See RNW Dec 2, 2004).
Also from last year, it has emerged that Nassau Broadcasting Partners is paying USD 14 million for its purchase, announced after Christmas, of WARK-AM & WARX-FM, Hagerstown, Maryland, from Manning Broadcasting Inc.
Previous Border Media:
2005-01-08: UK Media regulator Ofcom has published its proposals for the management and administration of the new Community Radio Fund established under Britain 2003 Communications Act to provide financial support to new Community Radio stations.
The government through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has made GBP 500,000 (USD 940,000) available to the fund for the 2004/5 financial year, has also agreed to make the same amount available for 2005/6 and has indicated that a similar amount is likely to be made available in the medium term. The first licences under the scheme are expected to be issued early this year.
In a 21 page consultation document issued by Ofcom with a deadline for responses of March 3, it says it "considers that it is appropriate to consult on the precise nature of this Fund before it is possible for grants to be made from it" and adds that it "anxious to ensure that such support for the sector is well targeted, used efficiently, and delivered in a cost-effective manner."
It is suggesting the establishment of a three- member small Community Radio Fund
Panel, independent of the Committee that awards such licences, which will meet as required to examine applications and make awards and suggests one member of the grant-awarding Panel should be appointed from the Community Media Association, which already has experience of awarding grants in this sector as well as a second Ofcom representative with relevant expertise.
Funding it says should be made on a basis of individual licensee need and merit with grants being issued to "support core competences, such as financial management, fund-raising and administrative support, because these are functions which are both essential and often very difficult to fund from other sources."
As well as grants, stations will have to find their own funding from such sources as local and national government departments, charities and donations as well as from advertising and sponsorship that may be permitted: There will be restrictions to prevent a station getting more than half its funding in any year from one source and a cap of 50% on funding through advertising and sponsorship.
It says that regarding charitable support "initial investigations suggest that charities, in particular, might find that merging their available finance into a centralized independent fund would be a cost effective way to support the sector without incurring the considerable financial overheads of dealing with individual applicants. We would like to identify potential contributors and encourage them to support this new sector by contributing to the Community Radio Fund."
It also suggests that should additional funds become available in future the Panel should be given the freedom to develop innovative ideas for grant-giving and might consider an awards scheme as well as grants.
As regards grants, it says it thinks the uses to which these can be put should be strictly defined, suggesting such areas as part-funding of staffing and staff skills training, possibly in the latter case in collaborative projects between a number of stations.
Ofcom has also given basic details of the applications for a new commercial FM licence for Durham that it advertised in October last year (See RNW Oct 8, 2004).
In all there were three applicants:
*Durham FM - proposing a music plus local news and information station targeted at a 25-54 demographic.
*Durham 2Day FM - proposing a locally focused, Adult Contemporary station.
*Prince FM - proposing a Durham area lifestyle station playing popular hit music from the last 35 years.
2005-01-08: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael K. Powell re-affirmed his views that the Commission should stay out of censoring satellite radio but dodged a number of other issues at a question-and-answer session at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Regarding censoring satellite radio he played down suggestions that terrestrial broadcasters would suffer unless the same restrictions that apply to them are extended to cover satellite and added," "I think it's a dangerous thing to start talking about extending government oversight of content to other media just to level the playing field."
Powell suggested changing technology would push the US towards easing restrictions, saying, "At the end of the day, I think we're going to move in the direction of the Jeffersonian free-speech tradition."
When pushed about the issue of suggested bans by groups such as the recording companies that the ability of radio receivers to store and record audio be banned, he avoided a direct answer saying that the issues were "difficult and complex" and then pushed again commented, "Welcome to the hell of the FCC. There's no shortage of people wanting to get us to save them or hobble their competitors."
He also ducked questions about a time frame for decisions concerning digital terrestrial radio.
2005-01-08: Fisher Communications, which two years ago said it planned to restructure its operations and remain independent rather than accept a buyout, has announced the departure of President and Chief Executive Officer William W. Krippaehne Jr., who also gives up his position on the Fisher Board.
The company said Krippaehne, who oversaw the transformation of Fisher from a flour-milling and real estate business that created radio and TV stations to promote its products, was asked to leave by the board.
Fisher decided to sell its flour mills in 2000 (See RNW Nov 11, 2000) and concentrate on broadcasting but it had bought at the height of the dot-com bubble and built up debt of more than USD 300 million when the record profit of 2000 turned into losses that have continued since then although it reported a profit in 2003 because of disposals. In the third quarter of last year it was still reporting operating losses although revenues were up (See RNW Nov 6, 2004).
Krippaehne had been with the company for 23 years and in a statement issued through the company said, With the corporate restructuring and refinancing work behind us, it is appropriate for the company to seek new leadership with more direct operating experience in the broadcasting business. After 23 years of service to the company, it is time for me to move on and I wish the employees, management and the Board continued success."
Benjamin W. Tucker, Jr., currently President of the company's subsidiary Fisher Broadcasting Company, will become acting President and Chief Executive Officer. He joined the company in 1999 when it spent USD 217 on the purchase of 11 TV stations from a Disney subsidiary.
2005-01-07: Well behind Europe, the US is finally to get local traffic data direct to vehicles with the announcement by Clear Channel that it is to make the information available - subject to an annual subscription fee- from Clear Channel stations to owners of automobiles equipped with Audiovox Radio Data System Traffic Message Channel (RDS-TMC) equipment.
Clear Channel announced the service at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, saying the service would be available in 48 of the top 50 US markets using information from the company's network of reporters, traffic cameras, helicopters and airplanes.
The data is to be integrated into the navigation system and will show the information as an overlay on a moving map.
Clear Channel Radio's Executive SVP of Distribution Development Jeff Littlejohn said of the introduction, "As the only broadcaster in the U.S. providing real time, digital transmission of traffic information over this proven, global standard, Clear Channel is teaming with Audiovox to let consumers detect accidents and slow traffic conditions, enabling them to adjust their routes immediately. This offering is an extension of our aggressive and continued commitment to the broad roll out of digital radio services."
A similar service is currently available in ten European countries and the Traffic Message Channel (TMC) extends the basic service using RDS - the limited bandwidth data channel associated with FM radio broadcasts that is used for basic information such as the radio station name - by adding current traffic information that can be read by on-board navigation systems.
In the UK the basic Radio Data System was introduced in the early 1990s but for automobile use radio text is not normally fitted since it is perceived as a distraction to drivers: Instead car radio receivers have a traffic announcement (TA) system that, when a radio station transmission covering the area where an automobile is travelling has a traffic announcement, over-rides whatever station or other audio is being played, increases the volume, and plays the traffic broadcast.
RNW comment: Having on a number of occasions observed drivers, distracted by navigation equipment, either become involved in an accident or become distracted to the extent that they have driven dangerously, we have our doubts about this particular development, as indeed we have with navigation or any other systems that require a driver to look away from the road to gain information from a moving screen. We would be inclined to insist on safety grounds that all such equipment be banned unless it can be placed in a line of sight that does not require looking down to view it.
An audio warning system as provided by the TA system is very useful, if more limited, than continuous data and does not distract in the same way,
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-01-07: Emmis Communications has reported a strong third quarter running to the end of November 2004 with both TV revenues, aided by political advertising, and radio performing well to increase revenues by 11% over a year earlier to USD 169 million, excluding figures for three Phoenix stations involved in a swap with Bonneville for its WLUP-FM, Chicago that was announced last year (See RNW Oct 5, 2004). If these stations are included, net revenues would have been USD 176.4 million.
Third quarter, operating income was up 24% to USD 48.5 million and station operating income was up 16% to USD 71.7 million producing net income up 75% to USD 19.8 million and net income applicable to common shareholders nearly doubled from USD 9.1 million to USD 17.6 million (USD 0.31 per share compared to USD 0.17 per share).
Within the figures, TV, thanks to the boost from political advertising performed most strongly with net revenues up 24% whilst radio net revenues were up 3% to USD 69.8 million of which international radio net revenues amounted to USD 4 million.
Commenting on the results Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan said they demonstrated "the benefits of having a strong strategic focus" and continued, "Our continued emphasis on being the best operators in our businesses, paying down our debt and continuing to build long-term shareholder value has helped us achieve success in our markets, in our industries and on our balance sheet. By holding to this plan, we expect to continue our record of achievement in the months ahead."
Of radio's performance, he said, the results were attributable to continued out performance of its markets, highlighted by seven consecutive quarters of raising rates while optimising the amount of inventory the Company sells.
2005-01-07: UK media regulator Ofcom has advertised a new commercial FM licence for Ballymena in Northern Ireland.
The coverage area will include a 15 plus population of up to around 55, 000 and applications, together with the usual non-refundable GBP 1,500 (USD 2,800) fee have to be submitted by April 6.
2005-01-07: Although most attention in terms of "progressive" US talk radio has been devoted to Air America's programming, Fargo, North Dakota, based Ed Schultz has if anything outdone its success with his show, which is syndicated by Jones Radio Networks.
Since The Ed Schultz Show began syndication on January 5 last year, it has attracted 70 affiliates; this compares to a total of 56 attracted by conservative host Rush Limbaugh in his first year.
Schultz, who was born in Virginia, has been on the airwaves in Fargo for 16 years having first moved to Dakota on a football scholarship. He spent nearly 15 years as a sportscaster before launching his regional talk show "News and Views," in 1992 and taking it to the top of the ratings with a 20% share.
He also picked up a number of awards including a Marconi, a Peabody and two Eric Sevareid awards and also moved "leftwards", a change he says began when he met his now-wife and producer Wendy, who was a psychiatric nurse and who invited him to join her for lunch at the Salvation Army shelter where she worked so he could meet some of the "bums" he had been criticizing on his show.
Commenting on the first year of syndication Shultz said, "We're excited about the growth of the show. Even more importantly, we have changed attitudes about the viability of progressive talk as we have created a new category in the radio industry. The key now is for us to deliver ratings and continue to be a viable entity in the market."
2005-01-06: Both the US satellite radio companies made full use of the International Consumer Electronics Sales (CES) show in Las Vegas this week to make announcements of success and new products.
XM rubbed things into rival Sirius with an announcement that it now has more than 3.2 million subscribers - compared to 1.14 million for Sirius - and CEO and President Hugh Panero at a news conference took the opportunity to also have a dig at broadcasters, saying that the National Association of Broadcasters' job was to oppose new competitors and described as an "empty gesture" the organization's petition, later withdrawn, to get the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bar the satellite radio companies from providing local traffic and weather information (See RNW Nov 10, 2004).
Panero said that by the end of the year XM expected to have 5.5 million subscribers - Sirius is forecasting 2.3 million for its service - and continued, "I predict that satellite radio overall will double the number of receivers shipped to 7 million in 2005, and I believe that year-end satellite radio hardware sales could be a billion-dollar industry by 2006."
On the programming front, XM announced that it from next month it is adding to its line-up hosts G. Gordon Liddy, who has just confirmed on his web site that he is moving syndication of the show to Radio America from February 7 as already reported by Radio and Records (See RNW Dec 30, 2004), Dr. Laura Schlesinger, and Fox Sports' Kevin Kennedy and Tony Korhnheiser.
XM has also announced that it is to use On2 Technologies, Inc. TrueMotion video compression technology in XM's in-vehicle prototype video entertainment system and says that competing video codecs failed to achieve the same results.
As far as equipment is concerned, XM has announced new portable radios by Pioneer Electronics and Tao and that Panasonic will offer thirteen models of XM-Ready car stereo head units this year.
Its partner Delphi Corp. it is expanding its satellite radio product line-up with the introduction of the Delphi XM Signal Repeater -- the first system that wirelessly rebroadcasts the XM satellite signal throughout most homes and smaller offices.
Sirius, whose auto partners have lagged behind XM partner GM, has announced that Ford is to offer factory-installed Sirius receivers on up to 21 vehicle lines and says it expects this to add a million subscribers over two years.
It also announced that XACT Communication, a leader in consumer electronic solutions, and motorcycle industry leader Kuryakyn USA are pleased to announce the release of a satellite radio receiver mount, made specifically for recreational vehicles; this will allow motorcycle and scooter riders amongst others to listen to Sirius either with FM modulation through their existing stereo or through direct helmet-headset plug-in and Kuryakyn USA is also to supply pre-amped speakers for additional options for music listening on a recreational vehicle.
Sirius also announced that its smallest "Plug & Play" satellite radio -- Star Mate, which is about the size of a deck of cards, will be in retail stores from this month and added a partnership with Microsoft to use the latter's Windows Media Video 9 to enable it to provide two or three channels of video content, primarily aimed as entertainment for children in automobiles.
It hopes to introduce the service in the second half of 2006 and CEO Mel Karmazin commented, "Working together with Microsoft will help ensure the exciting development of a solid and user friendly video platform for Sirius for years to come."
2005-01-06: The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has seen further developments concerning US digital broadcasts with an announcement from iBiquity Digital Corporation has signed a deal with 21 radio ownership groups to convert 2000 AM and FM stations nationwide to HD technology.
The groups are ABC Radio, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc., Bonneville International Corp., Clear Channel Communications, Inc., Cox Radio, Inc., Cumulus Media, Inc., Emmis Communications Corp., Entercom Communications Corp., Entravision Communications Corporation, Greater Media, Inc., Infinity Broadcasting, Jefferson-Pilot Communications Co., Journal Broadcast Group, Liberman Broadcasting, Inc., NextMedia Group, Inc., Radio One, Inc., Regent Communications, Inc., Saga Communications, Inc., Sandusky Radio, Susquehanna Radio Corp., and Univision Radio, Inc.
These deals are in addition to an announcement that the Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB) has also announced a matching grant for 159 Public Radio stations to head towards conversion to iBiquity's HD Radio.
Executives from the companies involved lined up at iBiquity's news conference to outline the importance of the conversion and statements released through iBiquity included comments from many executives.
Among them Clear Channel's Executive Vice President and CFO Randall Mays said its aggressive rollout of digital - it is to convert 95% of its stations in the top 100 markets within three years - demanded "proven technology and a strong partner" and they had found both in iBiquity.
Infinity CEO Joel Hollander said, Consumers are constantly in search of new technologies which will enhance their overall listening experience. HD Radio not only delivers improved sound quality but can provide the kind of on-demand information radio listeners desire."
Cumulus chairman and CEO Lew Dickey Jr said HD Radio would "bring a depth of audio enhancement second to none while providing additional revenue streams from new services and applications. From a business perspective, these are very exciting times for Cumulus and the industry as a whole."
Regent chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs said HD would "especially benefit those in middle and small-sized markets" and added, "This new technology will enable us to bring more local programming broadcast at a higher quality than ever before. HD Radio is simply another tool that will allow us to better serve the interests of our local communities, and markets of all sizes will benefit."
Peter Smyth, president and CEO of Greater Media, which hopes to convert all its 19 stations by the end of this year, said he had HD radio in his car and "it's just amazing when the music surrounds you; it's a whole new quality of experience. Superior sound, coupled with the information that we can display on the dashboard, will allow us to provide all our Greater Media listeners with vastly improved entertainment, and we do it for free! We encourage receiver manufacturers to put HD Radio in every car in the country."
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)president and CEO Edward O. Fritts said, "Whether it's playing regional music or providing news during times of crisis, local radio has its finger on the pulse of the community. It is a bond that no satellite service, cable channel or MP3 player can ever hope to duplicate. Today's announcement demonstrates the commitment of America 's terrestrial broadcasters to the promise of digital and ensures an improved listening experience for the 175 million daily listeners of local AM and FM radio stations."
On the equipment side for HD, RIVERadio has announced that it is to develop a "high quality, low cost, transportable HD Radio receiver " by the middle of this year but gave no details of target price.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Randall Mays:
2005-01-06: Author and BBC broadcaster Humphrey Carpenter, known for his biographies and the Mr Majeika children's books, has died aged 58 of a heart attack at his Oxfordshire home.
He has recently been hosting the BBC Radio 4 Great Lives series the most recent of which was about Robert Burns and was broadcast on News Years Eve (It is still on the station web site).
Carpenter began his BBC career as a general trainee in 1968 and then moved back to his home city and to BBC Radio Oxford two years later subsequently working on BBC national radio where he worked on Radios 3 and 4.
Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright said of him, "Humphrey Carpenter was a wonderfully engaging broadcaster, intelligent and hugely wide ranging in his tastes and interests. He played a vital role in launching Radio 3's ongoing arts discussion programme Night Waves and was a regular presenter of other programmes on the network including our afternoon drive time programme In Tune."
"He also wrote the definitive history of the Third Programme and Radio 3, tackled with his customary energy, sensitivity and insight.
Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer added, "Humphrey was a much admired and valued presenter and contributor on Radio 4. He graced the airwaves for many years on a broad range of musical and literary topics and will be much missed."
2005-01-06: Sydney 2UE morning host John Laws is facing legal action in Tasmania over shows made on his show that Gay activist Michael Dempsey says incited hatred against gay people.
Dempsey filed complaints with Tasmania's anti-discrimination commission claiming that Laws and Channel 9 TV host Sam Newman each breached Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Actin unrelated broadcasts.
Similar complaints against Laws were filed in Sydney last year by activist Gary Burns after comments made by him on the same show about which Dempsey is complaining; in it, he called Straight Guy television star Carson Kressley a "pompous little pansy prig" and a "pillow-biter" and went on to play a recorded track featuring the line 'piss off pansy'.
Laws took out an advertisement in Sydney's gay papers apologising for his comments but he and another 2UE host Steve Price are appealing against a decision by the New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal that ruled that they had "vilified homosexuals" during an on-air exchange in June 2003 (See RNW Nov 23, 2004).
Dempsey said that no similar action had been taken in Tasmania and added in a statement released by the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group, "This is about vilification and protecting vulnerable members of the community, not a person's right to express an opinion."
Melbourne Age report:
2005-01-06: BBC West Midlands has announced that veteran broadcaster Les Ross, who was dropped by Saga last year and almost immediately agreed to join the station (See RNW Dec 13, 2004) is to present a new Sunday morning show for the station from February 6.
His show, from 09:00 to noon, will be part of a new line-up for the station that also sees Ed Doolan take over as host of its main religious programme, the Sunday Breakfast Show.
The Sunday afternoon shows will be hosted by Carl Chinn and Bob Brolly.
Ross began his radio career at BBC Radio Birmingham in 1970 before moving on to commercial stations Radio Tees, BRMB and Saga FM and commented, "I always thought I'd come back to BBC Birmingham. In my opinion, you can't do better than be on local radio in your home area. I'm very much looking forward to it."
Station manager Keith Beech said they had been "working with Les to create a show that is new and exciting, but that also incorporates variations on some of his most popular features, which many listeners will remember."
2005-01-05: France's first English-language radio station should be on the air on an AM frequency by the end of this month, but only part-time in a deal with daytime French station, Radio de la Mer, which is releasing the 8:00 pm to 7:00 am to Paris Live Radio, which already broadcasts on the internet using Live365's services.
Its Australian owner, former barrister Ian de Renzie Duncan, who moved to Paris four years ago with his French wife, told Agence France Presse that getting AM - and eventually FM - play was vital to attracting advertisers and becoming a "100 percent professional" station.
"It's the next step. We get on and make a go of that, and then the whole FM issue will get fluid next year," he told the Agency.
Duncan said the station, launched in May last year (See RNW May 15, 2004) now has around 30,000 listeners a day to its service, which is targeted at tourists and English-speaking expatriates living in Paris using American, Australian, British, French and Irish DJs.
Paris Live Radio site:
2005-01-05: According to the South-Florida Sun-Sentinel, Beasley Broadcasting's WQAM-AM, Miami, is dropping Howard Stern's syndicated show from Monday in favour of a new show by its drive-time host Hank Goldberg.
The paper says station general manager Greg Reed declined to comment on the potential changes and would only say conversations are taking place but nothing has been finalized.
The report was strengthened by a mention of the changes by morning host Neil Rogers on his show and the disappearance from the station web site of details about Goldberg's show, although it still shows Stern as being on the station "6:00-10:00AM (or so) Weekdays."
The time variation for Stern, who sometimes overruns until 11:00 has displeased Rogers, who had just signed a new two-year contract extension running until December 2008.
The Sun-Sentinel says Rogers, the station's "biggest generator of ratings and revenue has been vocal in expressing displeasure about having to start his program whenever Stern feels like ending his."
It says Goldberg, who is a "notorious night owl and club hopper" will start his show at 7 AM rather than 06:00 and had said he expects a hefty pay rise to move to the early slot and had added, "There isn't enough money to get me to do [a 6 a.m. program]."
Stern was dropped by his previous Miami outlet, Clear Channel's WBGG-FM, in February last year and picked up by Beasley in July.
2005-01-05: The UK Regulator Ofcom upheld one standards case against radio and one against TV plus a two further fairness complaints against TV, one of them partly, in its latest Complaints Bulletin: It also considered one radio and one TV case resolved. In addition it said in one legacy case that a TV advert should not be broadcast again in the same form and retracted a September complaint upheld against a TV station over interruption of a programme by an advert.
Ofcom now encompasses all complaints in a single bulletin: Its previous programming complaints bulletin upheld one Fairness complaint against radio and one standards complaint against TV with two other TV cases considered resolved.
In addition to these it listed details of one TV complaint that was not upheld and also listed without detail a further 20 radio complaints relating to 19 items and 231 TV complaints relating to 172 items that were not upheld or were outside its remit. This compared to 226 TV complaints relating to 183 items and 20 radio cases relating to 20 items that were held to be not in breach or out of remit in the previous bulletin.
The radio case upheld involved the breakfast show on the Noise, Hull, concerning which there had been complaints by two listeners about the use of language such as ("shit", "tits" and "balls" plus a third complaint about a mystery noise' competition, broadcast at a time when children were on school holidays. Listeners were asked to guess a noise finally identified as the sound of a "woman spitting after sucking a man's willy".
The station was operating under a restricted service licence aiming its programmes at a 16-24 year old audience and an unreserved apology was offered on its behalf by the Project Director of Regional Radio Limited.
Holding that there had been a breach, Ofcom commented, "Although we agree that the presenters' response to the caller was inappropriate, we question why a competition referring to oral sex was included at a time when children were available to listen. What was also of particular concern was that the station's comments imply that there was no effective compliance policy in place at the station. Restricted Service Licensees are subject to the same compliance rules as any other licensed service and must comply with the Programme Code. This breach will remain on the broadcaster's file."
Considered resolved was a complaint about City Beat, Belfast, in which a listener complained that the presenter read out a listener's comment from the station's website "in a very camp, lisping voice" and referred to him as a "homo" and a "dick".
The station said that the presenter was not homophobic and did not consider being homosexual a reason for ridicule but it fully accepted how his comments could have been misunderstood and had instructed the presenter not to use expressions that could expose him to similar judgments and conclusions.
Following discussions with the station, Ofcom said it believed City Beat had "satisfactorily resolved the matter and is aware of the need for future vigilance to avoid any similar occurrence."
Previous Ofcom complaints bulletin:
2005-01-05: Arbitron has named a company veteran Pierre Bouvard, President Of Its New Ventures And International division, to the new position of President Of Portable People Meters And International in an attempt to speed commercial introduction of its portable people meter (PPM) technology.
The new role will take over responsibilities formerly shared between Arbitron's president of U.S. media Owen Charlebois and its former executive VP of Integration and Implementation, David Lapovsky, who retired at the end of 2004.
Bouvard will become responsible for introducing a PPM ratings service in the U.S. and Arbitron President and CEO Steve Morris commented of the move, "Pierre has a keen understanding of how our customers can use audience ratings to grow their business. There is no person at Arbitron who is better qualified to help the U.S. radio and television business realize the benefits that the PPM can deliver."
Arbitron has invested around USD 80 million in PPM technology but is finding resistance amongst some US radio groups to its introduction. Following an earlier Philadelphia trial it is now involved in a Houston test of the system but Radio One and Cox Radio refused to participate.
The system is already in operation in some overseas markets and is one of three competing technologies currently under evaluation by UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research - See RNW Oct 12), which currently uses a dairy system (as does Arbitron in the US), in connection with its planned move into electronic metering.
Australia is also considering a move to metering but like RAJAR considered the technology not yet robust enough and in April 2003 signed a new three-year diary deal with Nielsen Media Research (See RNW April 10, 2003).
2005-01-04: Sirius Satellite Radio says that it ended 2004 with a total of 1.143 million subscribers, comfortably above its 1 million target, and expects to double the number by the end of this year.
Sirius put the results down to a combination of "robust retail sales, growing awareness of the benefits of satellite radio, and greater recognition by consumers of the company's premium quality programming" and CEO Mel Karmazin said it was "very pleased to have significantly exceeded" its target.
"2004 has been a watershed year for Sirius with the introduction of exceptional programming and feature-rich products," he added. "This strong finish underscores the momentum that we continue to see for our service, including commercial-free music, news, weather, traffic, entertainment and the best sports coverage in satellite radio. We believe that this enthusiasm will continue, and we expect to double our subscribers during 2005."
Rumours are still strong that Howard Stern is likely to move to Sirius before the end of his Infinity contract that runs to the beginning of next year and he did little to counter this in his first show of the New Year, devoting part of it to attacks on Citadel and its chairman and CEO Farid Suleman, a former president and CEO of Infinity.
Citadel has been outspoken about its displeasure over Stern's plugs for Sirius and during Stern's holiday break had been airing music and special terrestrial edits of XM's Opie and Anthony Show in place of "Best of" Stern on WAQX-FM, Syracuse, New York, WWKX-FM, Providence, Rhode Island, WQXA-FM, York-Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and WBBL-FM, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The stations did not air Stern's return either.
Previous Opie and Anthony:
2005-01-04: More details have emerged of the amateur radio operation that kept the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean in touch with the world after they had been hit by the tsunami that followed the December 26 earthquake off Sumatra, Indonesia (See RNW Dec 30, 2004).
When the island was hit, one of India's leading ham operators, Bharati Prasad, was in Port Blair attempting to set a new transmission record for round the world amateur radio contacts: "The phone links had disappeared, so I started using my radio set to connect with people in mainland (India) and giving information about people in Port Blair... In fact, I was one of the first people to get in touch with a radio guy in Thailand who told me what was happening there barely minutes after the waves hit (the beach town of) Phuket," she told the Economic Times of India.
She said she was first contacted by bellboys and bearers at her hotel to pass messages on to relatives to let them know they were safe.
They brought me slips of paper which had the names and the phone numbers of their family members and I asked by radio contacts in Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai to make phone calls and tell them that their boy is safe," she said.
The authorities have now asked her to set up eight radio centres throughout the region, including remote, and worst-affected islands like Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay, and Andaman police chief SB Deol commented, "The radios are really helping us. They are providing invaluable information about conditions around the islands - who needs what, where... Now within a day or two, 15 radio operators (from the National Institute of Amateur Radio in Hyderabad) are coming here and we will be dispatching them to the remote islands. They will be our connectivity points."
Prasad- code name VU2RBI - has been an amateur radio enthusiast for more than 25 years and her 15-year-old son is one of the world's youngest radio operators: She said she became "interested in ham radio because my sister and brother-in-law used to do it."
She had gone to Port Blair - the first person in 17 years to get permission to do radio work here - to get a record of contacting more than 35,000 people around the world through her radio set.
India Economic Times report:
2005-01-04: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 25,000 penalty on the licensee of a now-defunct New Mexico FM for violating radio frequency radiation exposure limits and for failing to install and operate Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment.
A-O Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of former FM Station KTMN, Cloudcroft, was issued with a Notice of Apparent Liability for USD 28,000 in November 2002 (See RNW Nov 19, 2002) after an inspection following complaints about the station's power levels. During the inspection, the station which was then silent because of a the effects of a power surge that had affected transmitting capabilities, was powered up and agents found that at 40% of its authorized power publicly accessible areas outside the fence surrounding the lookout tower exceeded the FCC's radiation limits for the general population by more than 200%.
A-O, whose licence was later automatically forfeited in because it had remained silent too long (See RNW Licence News Mar 19, 2003) has subsequently filed for Special Temporary Authority to construct and operate a radio station at a new site, responded by arguing that the violations did not "relate to silent stations", that it had "complied substantially" with the rules, that it was unable to pay any forfeiture, that it had a history of overall compliance, that it was not required to have EAS equipment installed because it was within a 60-day grace period and that its transmitter site was "not readily accessible to the public."
In response to this the FCC accepted that the company had displayed good faith by obtaining EAS equipment before the FCC's inspection and reduced the fine by USD 3,000 on this basis but it rejected the other arguments and in December 2003 issued a forfeiture order for USD 25,000 (See RNW Dec 31, 2003).
A-O responded in January last year with a petition for reconsideration in which it argued amongst other things that the violations "were the direct result of FCC actions", that by suspending operations it was "doing what it could to avoid any prohibitive RF exposure"
The FCC said that the breaches of radiation limits occurred between the time the licence for the station was granted in 2001 and the time operations were discontinued, that the authority granted had been on the basis of an antenna 18 metres above ground level and that its positioning only 13 metres AGL did lead to excessive ground level radiation, and noted that the reasons given in other responses for closing the station were not to reduce radiation but because of "a transient failure of the station's computer."
It also dismissed other arguments including an allegation of entrapment because of the test transmission during which levels were ascertained and confirmed the penalty.
2005-01-04: In a brand name expansion, Viacom's Spike TV is to be launched on radio in conjunction with Viacom-owned Infinity Broadcasting.
The "Guy-brand" TV channel made its debut as SPIKE radio on Monday on Infinity's former "Hot Talk" KSFN-AM, Las Vegas, which has been re-branded "SPIKE 1140 AM - Radio For Men."
Shows on the station include Tom Leykis, "Don and Mike" and "The Big Johnson Show" plus sports including the Dodgers baseball, USC Trojan football, and NFL Doubleheader Sunday.
The station is to add sports-news from The Sporting News Network and SPIKE TV will produce brief segments on "men's issues focusing on health, fitness, lifestyle, and the cable network's programs."
In a news release demonstrating his command of management-speak SPIKE 1140 Vice President and General Manager Marty Basch commented, "We are thrilled to be the first station in the nation to be branded as SPIKE Radio. This partnership will offer unique cross-promotional and multi-platform sales opportunities."
2005-01-03: In our look at print comment on media this week we concentrate on technology, regulation, hosts and bias, starting with technology and a series of articles that suggest the march of technology could provide both threats and opportunities for existing terrestrial radio in the US.
In the Chicago Tribune Leon Lazaroff notes that, speaking at an investors conference last year, Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan had estimated that the iPod was "a much bigger challenge to us than satellite radio."
"With iPods, we're talking about people choosing to listen to their own music rather than what's on the radio. That's significant," said Smulyan.
Lazaroff also quoted Michael J. Wolf, a senior partner at McKinsey & Co.'s global media and entertainment practice, who said the average consumer can become a do-it-yourself media producer by mixing an iPod with a digital video recorder and a souped-up cell phone.
"We're at a fork in the road where a consumer can take what's been programmed for them or they program for themselves and create a world of `my media,'" said Wolf.
Smulyan was also quoted on the satellite radio threat by Frank Ahrens, who in the Washington Post said that regular broadcast radio would try to fight against the competition by converting to digital, thus offering the chance to improve technical quality and also offer extra channels and text services.
On satellite radio, Smulyan said it "will either see strong upward movement, or the bubble will start to burst" adding "I pick the latter."
In the Boston Herald, Dean Johnson picked up on the combination of satellite radio and storage featured in the MYFi currently being promoted in the US: This XM portable receiver allows the programmable recording of five hours of material but only works with XM although Sirius is expected to introduce its version.
Commenting on its ability to time shift programming and potential impact on terrestrial broadcasters, radio consultant Holland Cooke said, "The silver lining to all this is that things like MyFi have started to hold radio's feet to the fire about content, especially local content. Radio has been trying to mail it in for the last couple of years, and they've left the door wide open for new technology like this."
"People are catching on to what radio has been doing. Who wants to listen to 18 straight minutes of commercials?"
The other problem US radio faces, of course, is that of what can now be aired in a climate of an indecency clamp down but ill-defined rules that have led to an ultra-cautious approach.
Ahrens comments on this matter that although measures to drastically increase maximum fines stalled before the US recess they are likely to be passed this year but that broadcasters are hoping that the Supreme Court will reconsider rulings that allow current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations because of the changed broadcasting environment. Fox is currently challenging a USD 1.2 million penalty for TV indecency and, reports Ahrens, is likely to take the issue to the supreme court unless the FCC backs down.
He quotes Adam D. Thierer, the Cato Institute's director of telecommunications studies as saying,
"Make no doubt about it -- if the industry gets serious enough about this and mounts a major challenge to the indecency rules [and] fines, it would represent the best chance in years for the courts to re-evaluate" the indecency rulings and adds, "if the Republicans are so foolish as to adopt direct indecency regulations for cable . . . it would be a killer case to tee up" the indecency rulings.
Dissatisfaction with the current situation was also expressed by Clear Channel, despite it having forked out USD 1.75 million to clear its rap sheet for indecency.
Its chief legal officer Andrew W. Levin commented, "If Congress doesn't fix it, we will continue to have bizarre results: For example, an NFL running back can let the f-word loose live on ESPN and the FCC is apparently powerless. The same word could cost CBS Sports USD 300,000. It makes no sense and certainly does nothing to protect kids, which is the whole point in the first place."
And then there are the hosts and bias. In the UK the accusation is of left-wing bias: It comes from Michael Gove, who as well as his journalistic roles on the London Times is also Chairman of Policy Exchange a new centre-right think-tank.
He writes of BBC Radio 4 that it "sounds reassuringly conservative and bourgeois, but it is the voice of the Left."
After commenting on the nature of the channel he writes, "But while the form of Radio 4 is conservative, and dear to many of us for that reason, the content reflects a different temperament. Radio 4 operates, as so many British institutions do, on two levels. Its structures reflect the natural conservatism of the British people, but the world view of its guiding spirits is more naturally radical, leftish and Guardianista."
"The leftish bias in Radio 4's content," he comments, "manifests itself subtly, yet insistently. Voices from the far Left such as Linda Smith and Jeremy Hardy are introduced on the News Quiz, or given their own shows, in a way which gives no clue to their political shading. The station treats them as though they were souls with no mission save laughter, like Humphrey Lyttleton or Nicholas Parsons, but the humour of Smith, Hardy and others such as Mark Steel is deployed for a particular polemical and political purpose."
Maybe reflecting his own position in the political spectrum, Gove writes, "The impression is thus established that the left-wing take is the naturally objective view, the right-wing perspective a tolerated anomaly As the BBC seeks to have its charter renewed and its licence fee guaranteed, the need to address the left-wing spirit which infuses so much of its output is pressing. That is the real ghost in the machinery."
One wonder how Gove would have reacted were the BBC to move as far to the left of the spectrum as conservative US hosts are to the right. Among the articles reflecting this that we noted was one from the Los Angeles Times entitled "Voices of Experience."
In it Michael T. Jarvis contrasted the on-air persona and views of a number of hosts with their "real-world dossiers."
Amongst them were:
*Don Imus with an on-air "Everybody should have a shotgun. I do" and his abrupt and brutal real-life dismissal of a nanny over her carrying a small knife and cap pistol she had taken to his ranch for his six-years-old son.
* Bill O'Reilly with on-air attacks on former President Clinton - "Every clear-thinking American knows [President Clinton] lied to avoid losing a sexual-harassment lawsuit" and his subsequent real-life settlement of a sexual harassment case.
* Rush Limbaugh with an on-air "There is no way the people of this country who are earning and producing the wealth should have that wealth transferred and have it go up somebody's nose or in somebody's wrist. Drug testing works" and subsequent real- life admission of addiction to pain-killing drugs.
And now for listening recommendations starting with BBC Radio 4 and Dear Professor Einstein a five part series at 15:45 GMT this week that, on the 100th anniversary of his annus miribilis, the year he produced three papers on physics which changed our understanding of the universe, looks at various aspects of Einstein's life and thoughts through his correspondence.
Also on the station starting at 23:00 GMT on Thursday is the first of its six-part Nebulous science-fiction series charting the activities of Professor Nebulous and his team of eco-trouble shooters.
Changing channels, BBC Radio 3's Sunday Feature on Jan 2 was Gunther Schuller at 80 in which Geoffrey Smith explored Gunther Schuller's multifarious career and the controversies it has generated. It included contributions from jazz musicians Joe Lovano and George Russell; composers taught by Schuller including Oliver Knussen, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Mike Gibbs; students from New England Conservatory in Boston and music critics.
Also on Radio3, the composer of the week this week is Sir Michael Tippett (noon to 13:00 GMT) and its Drama on 3 slot next Sunday (20:00 GMT) carries Features Like Mine, a new play written especially for the station by Ted Whitehead: It is about a man returning to his home town and re-examining his relationship with his father.
Changing Continents and Ockham's Razor on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on December 26 in Ockham's Dragon looked at how, should such a creature have ever existed, it would be able to soar or hover.
From the US, we'd recommend for those interested in photography Preserving Precious Photos in the Digital Age and also 'Magnum Stories': A Photographic Master Class, both from National Public Radio's All Things Considered on News Year's Day.
Back on BBC Radio 4, Sunday saw the first of a five-part series Cookbooks that Changed the World in which writer Ben Rogers tells the stories of five cookbooks that shaped whole cultures and are still influential today. The first was Lushi Chinqiu, an ancient Chinese book of history that contains some of the founding principles of all Chinese cookery.
And finally from Radio 4 a programme to put the Corporation on the spot in a year's time -- the annual "Correspondents Look Ahead" in which BBC correspondents made their predictions for 2005.
Boston Herald - Johnson:
Chicago Tribune - Lazaroff:
Los Angeles Times - Jarvis:
UK Times - Gove:
2005-01-03: Connecticut Public Radio, which has been operating WPKT-FM, one of its five statons, at half power since December 23 following damage caused when water leaked into a transmission cable during a heavy rainstorm and subsequently froze, rupturing the cable, may remain on reduced power until up to the middle of this month according to the Meriden Record-Journal.
WPKT, whose main transmitter is on West Peak in Meriden, was only off the air for a few hours before a back-up transmitter was brought into operation.
Other Connecticut public radio stations, which broadcast the same signal, are not affected but for some people in WPKT's coverage area reception is being affected.
John Dankosky, news director of the five-station state-wide public radio system, said the holiday period had compounded difficulties in obtaining parts for repair of the main transmitter but said a worst-case scenario was a further two weeks.
"The signal's just not as strong as it usually is," said. "For many people, it's not really noticeable, but for others it is. We've certainly gotten phone calls." Periodic announcements inform listeners about the signal reduction.
2005-01-02: Last week most of the regulators took a long break with no activity on radio from anywhere but the US: There the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) showed itself keener on the work ethic and imposed a number of penalties in between Christmas and the New Year.
In the first set (See RNW Dec 28) it confirmed a USD 14,000 penalty on the licensee of a Virginia AM for exceeding power levels and pubic inspection file breaches, one of USD 9000 on Citadel for main studio and public inspection file offence at an Oklahoma FM and a third of USD 10,000 on a Florida citizens band operator for using uncertificated equipment.
Following that it confirmed a USD 10,000 penalty on Cumulus for failure to clean and repaint the towers of a Georgia AM but cut to USD 5,600 a USD 7,000 penalty on a Texas AM (See RNW Dec 29).
Previous Licence News:
FCC web site:
2005-01-02: The Columbia University Laboratory where FM radio technology was developed by Edwin Howard Armstrong has now been given National Historic Status according to the New York Daily News.
Armstrong, who was born in New York City, in 1890 built his own crystal set as a teenager and patented his first major radio invention in 1913, the use of the triode to amplify a radio signal and thus enable it to be heard in a normal environment instead of just on headphones in a quiet area.
The patent was later overturned and reinstated several times in a series of legal battles with Lee de Forest, inventor of the triode whose patent had been purchased by AT&T until eventually in 1934 a scientifically ignorant US Supreme Court ruled in favour of AT&T and de Forest.
Armstrong, who had received the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) Medal of Honour for the discovery then attempted to return it but the offer was refused and later he received other awards for the invention including the Franklin Medal and the Edison Medal.
While this battle was going on he invented and in 1920 received the patent for the much superior "super heterodyne receiver", the basis of modern radio and TV receivers and many types of cellular phones, selling the patent for this and the "super regenerative receiver" he had also invented and becoming a financially independent millionaire.
He then turned his attention to making FM possible and by 1934, he had filed a series of patents relating to this, demonstrating his equipment in 1935 to an IRE conference at which he played music transmitted from a friend's house in Yonkers. He invented both wide band FM and FM multiplexing.
The development however was a threat to the established order of AM and led him into a battle with corporate interests that managed to lobby the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny him an experimental licence although it relented when he threatened to take his invention overseas and was given a small licence.
RCA, however, had developed its own FM system ignoring his patent, which it offered to buy in 1940, and Armstrong became involved in another legal battle, this time against RCA and NBC that began in 1948 and which was still going when with his fortune almost gone he committed suicide on January 31, 1954.
His widow Marion pursued 21 infringement suits he had filed shortly before his death and won two and settled the others successfully by the mid 1960s.
RNW comment: The Armstrong story has plenty of echoes today in the attitudes of lobbyists like the US National Association of Broadcasters and large corporations plus lawyers and politicians who, if not actually corrupt, we consider contemptible by comparison to many of those whose work is negated or diminished by them.
We rather regret that rather than threatening to take FM overseas he didn't just do it and, we'd like to think, have built up his fortune elsewhere enough to sock a much harder one to RCA and other US corporate pirates.
New York Daily News story:
2005-01-02: Boston businessman Chris Egan whose dream of business radio in the city died when his deal to buy WBIX-AM collapsed following former owner Brad Bleidt's confession that he had bought it with clients money (See RNW Nov 15, 2002) is considering a purchase of sports format WWZN-AM (the Zone) to revive the idea according to the Boston Herald.
The paper says sources close to Egan, son of EMC Corp. founder Richard Egan, and a real estate investor and Republican activist, say he's been in talks about buying the Zone and has looked at the station's financials.
WWZN, owned by Microsoft co-founder, billionaire and Sporting News Radio owner Paul Allen, has been up for sale for some time with a price tag of around USD 10 million compared to the USD 7 million price that had been agreed for WBIX,
The paper notes that WWZN is in the final year of a four-year contract to air Boston Celtics basketball games: It has an option for a fifth year, but is not expected to pick that up.
Egan's spokesman, Rob Gray, told the paper Egan remains interested in entering the Boston media market, adding, "But whether WWZN or another station represents that opportunity remains to be seen.''
Staff at the former WBIX business station were dismissed last month after a court-appointed receiver put the station into the hands of former owner Alex Langer (See RNW Dec 2, 2004).
Boston Herald report:
2005-01-01: This year since holidays have taken up so much of the past week - and disaster much of the rest - we start the year with a programme recommendation.
This is the BBC World Service " Disaster In Asia: The Week That Shocked the World" that airs tomorrow (13:05 GMT with a repeat at 18:05 GMT -only the latter is listed in the Service Internet schedule).
In the programme, hosted by Owen Bennett Jones, BBC correspondents across the region from Indonesia to Sri Lanka assess the relief effort and ask how these countries can recover.
2005-01-01: A new Singapore station is to follow policies introduced by DMG's Nova in Australia and also to a degree by US giant Clear Channel in keeping advert breaks down.
MediaCorp Radio's Lush 99.5, has just launched on the frequency it previously used to broadcast Singapore's National Arts Council's dedicated arts station Passion 99.5FM - which was closed because it was only reaching around 30,000 listeners.
The new station has a format of Urban Lounge and Nu-Jazz music according to Channel News Asia, which quoted the station's creative director Andrew Crothers as saying, "If you ask most people what they hate about radio, it's either the commercials or the deejays talking too much. And we know how annoying they can be. That's why we promise never to play more than two commercials in a row."
Channel News Asia report:
2005-01-01: California-based BiCoastal Media Holdings which is buying Entercom's Washington state stations country format KBAM-AM, oldies KEDO-AM, adult contemporary KLYK-FM and classic rock on KRQT-FM is to introduce a more local emphasis and bring back local news starting next week according to the Longview Daily News.
Station manager Julie Laird told the paper, "We will definitely be more local, and more relevant," adding, "We actually are starting local news again."
Entercom had dropped local news output but Laird said local news would now be carried on all four stations and that reporter Phil Blair had been hired and would start work on Monday.
The deal, filed in November, is still awaiting FCC approval but Laird said no problems were anticipated.
Longview Daily News report:
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