Febuary 2005 Archive
- January 2005 - March 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 February comment - Expresses concern about the pressures put on broadcasters by pressure groups, the public and advertisers without any relation to discernibly consistent standards.
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.
2005-02-28: When Wired is running an edition headed "The End of Radio", it's a fairly obvious choice to start our look at print comment on the medium but the headline description is somewhat misleading since the end would seem judging by features within the magazine (its March edition) to be at most an issue of threats to current terrestrial radio in the US since other titles include Howard Stern and the Satellite Wars - more about change than an end; The Resurrection of Indie Radio - on a coming "digital boom"; and Adam Curry Wants to Make You an iPod Radio Star - on the current fad for podcasting, something that we rather suspect will prove like blogs to be but a small part of listening habits rather than a major threat to broadcasters.
The problem with the article on Stern by Ana Marie Cox, editor of the DC gossip blog Wonkette, is one of careless attention to fact or loose use of language - take your pick of description: "He's obscene and obscenely popular" and later "some people think Stern crosses the line of decency" - some tautology there Stern used to be syndicated by the biggest oligopoly in the radio business [RNW note: Tell that to Mel Karmazin!] " and so on.
When it comes to opinion, however, which is most of the article, Cox is back on firmer ground since like most opinions you can choose to either agree or disagree. On the issue of censorship that underlies Stern's move to Sirius, she writes: "When the FCC goes after Stern, even those of us who like hearing about girl-on-girl sex (and, really, who among us does not?) don't defend him on artistic grounds. Like Larry Flynt or the Ku Klux Klan, Stern has to be defended on the precarious ground of the slippery slope: You may not like what he says, but if the government shuts him up, who will they silence next? fundamentally, Stern's vulgarity is so completely free of political content that we're forced to defend it on its own terms - it's gross, sure, but a lot of people think it's funny, and you can always change the channel."
She quotes Sirius executive vice president of programming Jay Clark as saying of the Stern move that listeners "will certainly follow him, because he's a friend. They wake up with this man every morning, and they've been doing it for years. That's a big hole in your life if this person goes away. That's the personal touch."
And Stern on the changes the absence of FCC regulation will make: "I'm not saying the whole show's gonna be one big X-rated show. But I am gonna be using the f-word. You know, sparingly. And I'm gonna be using the c-word, for women's privates," he said on the air. "I think that word is funny. I use it all the time. In my psychiatrist's office I used it three times the other day."
Cox then draws some wider ranging conclusions about the nature of Stern's move and the idea of listening in general as technology changes, something she argues that has made for people choosing more personalized media: "You pick one of hundreds of carefully targeted channels. Once you're tuned in, if it feels like you and the DJ are one on one, that's because you are. That's the same game that Stern has always played; his move to satellite makes the rise of more deeply personalized media seem inevitable It might not be a revolution, but it is the Pilgrims setting sail: Stern is staking his claim on the coming individualized, on-demand media world. There will be more voices and more places to hear them."
Taking the idea further Cox comments, " Our options will grow - and have grown - beyond changing the channel: Now we can start one...
Satellite radio itself may not be the technology upon which our great narrowcasted future is built - it may turn out to be the laserdisc or the Betamax. Either way, Stern's move heralds the future of radio, and maybe of media in general. He has made it possible to look at the chaos of individually produced enterprises (podcasters and print-on-demand publishers and bloggers and yes, even me! Me! Me! Wonkette!) on the fringe of the media world and suddenly see a new center."
"The future that Stern is defining actually isn't about speech. It's about a less legalistic, more human freedom: expression. The best revolutions, like the best comedy, come from rage - tricksters who nudge and needle the establishment until it can't help but change. "
There are obvious pluses in this change that allows people to listen pretty well to what they want but there can also be downsides and Randy Dotinga in his North County Times column headed "Roses, raspberries & radio awards" takes up one of them.
"KLSD gets a 'thorny rose'," he writes, "for choosing to keep its listeners better informed but setting a disturbing standard in the process."
KLSD dumped its hourly news updates from Air America to take CNN, of which Dotinga comments, "On the face of it, the decision makes sense: CNN is a news network, not a talk-show network. If you want news, you go to the people who specialize in it. "
However he then comes to what he feels to be the disturbing aspect of the change when it is seen in the context of changes at KOGO-AM, also run by Clear Channel. It moved its news to Fox.
Dotinga notes that KLSD program director Cliff Albert said research had shown CNN as having the "best reputation among moderates and liberals and frankly had more of a liberal perception than any other network."
He then comments, "Oh, goodie. The liberals who listen to KLSD will get their news from a network they think is on their side Thank goodness the conservatives have more sense. They can handle news from a seemingly neutral source, right? Wrong. Right-wing station KOGO ---- run by the same management as KLSD ---- just inked a deal with the radio arm of Fox News, the cable network that cynically declares itself to be 'fair and balanced.'"
"Maybe someday we can all have our own personal news providers so we'll never have to hear anything we disagree with."
Both the above articles touch upon the relationship listeners have with the radio they listen to, a topic that Helen Fields wrote about in the Washington Post in, "Hey, It's My Radio. So Why Is It Tuning Me Out?"
"There's something special about radio, something uncommonly intimate," she writes. "It's not like television, where you're part of the studio audience, applauding wildly or laughing uproariously. When I'm listening in my house or in the car, it's just me and the voice on the air Which means that I feel mighty possessive about my radio stations. And when they abandon me, as a couple have recently done, I take it personally."
"The first to go was WHFS, the alternative music station that saw me through much of my adolescence Another long-time favourite, public radio station WETA, decided to drop classical music and go all-news and talk Suddenly, I find myself adrift in the ether, lost without a radio station of my own."
The loss of the two stations was not ranked equally by Fields " I have to admit that when WHFS changed format last month, it had been getting worse for years Losing classical WETA, though, has me feeling truly bereft."
After commenting on past listening to WETA, she writes, "I realize nostalgia like this is pretty ridiculous coming from a 29-year-old. But in the irritating way of things that keep changing, and even with my relatively short perspective, it seems like radio used to be so much better. I remember listening to the BBC's sci-fi miniseries "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" as a child in Hampton, Virginia. Where are the bizarre new comedies like that now? I love the programming produced and distributed nationally by NPR -- it has sustained me on stations across the country -- but back when no one but my mom listened to "All Things Considered," Susan Stamberg and Ira Flatow took a microphone into a closet and chomped on wintergreen Life Savers to watch the sparks. Now they would get letters complaining that the time they'd wasted on candy should have been spent on serious news. As if serious news were all there is to life."
Fields is not completely unrealistic however and notes, "Of course, radio has to strike some balance between quirkiness and audience size. While I might enjoy a radio station that played nothing but Italian opera, Japanese pop and NPR news, I realize I'm probably the only person who would. Still, for the companies that own commercial stations like WHFS, the answer has generally been to seek out quirkiness wherever it may hide and kill it in its den."
"One of the delightful surprises on a cross-country drive last summer was passing through the range of an AM station in West Virginia as an old man sang one unintelligible song after another, unaccompanied. Weirdness like that is rare. You can cross the country and hear the same damn music with the same, or close enough to the same, damn voices talking between the songs, wherever you go."
Back now to Wired and The Resurrection of Indie Radio by Charles C. Mann - again a case where closer attention to fact would have been welcomed: He starts by noting, "Steve Jones, the Sex Pistols guitarist, is now deriving his paycheck from Clear Channel Weirder still, it's all cool. Jones' five-day-a-week gig as a DJ at Indie 103, a Clear Channel-backed station in Los Angeles, is not a sign that he has pathetically sold out his youthful beliefs [RNW note: As per concerns expressed earlier this month (See RNW Feb 26 ) Indie 103 is an Entravision station and the Clear Channel tie-up, now being dropped is for a local sales agreement, not the programming and in fairness this is made clear way down the article)]."
Of the programme itself, Mann writes, "Jonesy's Jukebox is just possibly a peek at the future of radio itself. Which may be the weirdest news of all - not so much that a Sex Pistol is, once again, helping to shake the dust off rock and roll, but that music radio could even have a future."
He quotes Jones as saying about running music to a corporate beat, "FCC no!" I'm out of here if they tell me what to FCCing play - that's it, mate."
And the music on his two-hour show bears out his claim. A head-snappingly diverse jumble of vintage punk, unsigned local bands, ancient pop novelties, and a whole lot of vividly alive rock and roll, Jonesy's Jukebox is, according to Blender magazine, nothing less than "the best show on the radio."
Mann then adds, "More than that, Jonesy's Jukebox is just possibly a peek at the future of radio itself. Which may be the weirdest news of all - not so much that a Sex Pistol is, once again, helping to shake the dust off rock and roll, but that music radio could even have a future in the past decade, radio changed from a village of small, independent stations to a bastion of the US media oligopoly, content to deliver sterile, cookie-cutter broadcasts. The transition made sense economically, because Big Radio was able to cut costs by consolidating advertising departments and using the same programming across the country. But alienated listeners fled in droves."
Later, after quoting Indie 103 music director Mark Sovel as saying, "The popularity of the iPod is directly related to the crappiness of radio" Mann comments that some of the industry players noted the success of NPR and says a "scatter of stations around the country "have tried to create a kind of rock radio that models NPR's conversational tenor, lengthy attention span, and relative lack of hype."
Using the term Neo-Radio coined by music-radio consultant Fred Jacobs Mann says the DJs at these stations, "DJs have a measured, sometimes wry tone. They aren't afraid of long pauses - 'dead air,' in the jargon - and they mix in sentimental favorites with unpredictable material. Listeners are encouraged to call in, to pick tracks, to feel a sense of ownership" and comments, "In some ways, NeoRadio is a throwback to the past, when radio stations were the centers of the kind of virtual communities now more common online."
And the reason that Mann sees a future in this development is digital, which will offer the chance of broadcasting multiple digital signals on a station's frequency " as many as six streams per station, depending on the fidelity requirements of the programming" and also when combined with a storage buffer the ability additional facilities such as displays and to record programming for time shifting [RNW note: Something already available on a number of digital radio receivers that use the Eureka system that has been adopted in most of the world.]
He quotes Jim Griffin, founder of media consulting firm Cherry Lane Digital, as saying of US radio after the change to digital, "At the other side of the transition digital radio isn't necessarily radio in the way we think of radio, other than the fact that it uses transmitters. It's all about pushing and pulling bits into the buffer."
After that on to what in the end we still feel is the crucial element in all this, the audio that comes out of the equipment and the reason we think that podcasting and the rest are unlikely to take over the mainstream unless they system allows talent to be squeezed out of it.
First nostalgia and politics and comedy and comment all combined on BBC Radio 4 in "Yes Minister - the View from Whitehall" from Saturday, a programme in which former UK Conservative Party leader William Hague looks at the influence of this British TV satirical comedy that many considered one of the best ever means of learning about the ways of the bureaucrat.
Then going a little further back in time, Radio 4 in The Archive Hour on Saturday repeated the Sony-award winning "Lance Corporal Baronowski's Vietnam", a programme compiled from the recordings made by Lance Corporal Mike Baronowski who was killed in action in Vietnam on 29 November 1966. It tells the story of the war from the perspectives of two Marine comrades and Baronowski's own brother and sister and on Sunday the station followed up with Life after Vietnam in which producer Alan Hall brought the stories of the Marine's family and comrades up to date.
It included Baronowski's sister telling of her fears on learning of her son's determination to join the army, his brother Alexander revealing how even now he finds it impossible to listen to the tapes, Ray Borowski talking of the battle that led to his medical discharge from the Marine Corps and Tim Duffie explaining why and how he managed to track down his old comrades and the family of his dead friend.
After documentary, drama and comedy, music and first BBC Radio 2, which on Friday at 21:30 GMT airs the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist 2005 with four finalists - Brenden Wheeler and Sophie Rhodes on euphonium, Vicki Reynolds on tenor horn and Nick Walkley on the cornet - accompanied by the Black Dyke Band.
And for those who missed it, until tonight BBC Radio 3 still has the finals of its Choir of the Year competition in the Performance on Three slot from last Monday - in all six choirs competed in four categories with the overall winners being the Oriel Singers from Cheltenham who also took the Adult Choir category. Other winners were the St Catherine Singers - Elstree, who took the Youth Choir title, and the Methodist College Junior Choir - Belfast, who took the Children's Choir award.
Back to Radio 2 and mixing music and religion, the second and last Hungry for Heaven programme at 20:30 GMT tomorrow looks at rock musicians who turn to religion: The first programme will still be on the web site until then.
Then mixing drama and religion, the Drama on 3 slot on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday featured Tom Kelly's The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene, based on the documentary evidence of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, published in 1955.
Following that yesterday the third in the Sunday Feature Europe of the Mind series looked at the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the rise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's modern Turkey, and the potential admission of Turkey to the European Union.
Then the media and two suggested programmes featuring Brooke Gladstone of US National Public Radio (NPR), the first from NPR's "On the Media" earlier this month (Feb 11 and on the web site) when in "The Ballistics of Radio" she considered issue of Low-Power FM and whether moves by Sen. John McCain to ease current interference restrictions will lead to a boost for the sector. Surprise, surprise, a significant factor in the opposition it would seem is likely to be money - the threat through losing listeners to the income of commercial companies and the threat through losing funding to community stations to the income of NPR itself.
The second outing was in Australia where on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Media Report she was interviewed on the issue of the threat to jail two American journalists because they have refused to reveal their sources in relation to enquiries they made stories that were not published about who leaked the name of a CIA official, Valerie Plame, wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson who reported after a fact-finding trip to Africa to see if Iraq had tried to buy enriched yellowcake uranium that it hadn't, thus weakening the US administrations case: The one person who leaked the name, pro-administration columnist, Bob Novak, has not been arrested leading to speculation that he may already be co-operating with investigators, ore may be protecting himself via a convoluted route - if he committed a crime by publishing the name he can plead the Fifth Amendment - on self-incrimination - to protect himself whereas the others because they opted not to break the law and did not publish have no such defence.
And finally from an issue that would be comic were it not serious in its implications to one that is comic largely because it doesn't take seriously news that is sometimes very serious, BBC Radio 4's News Quiz: It airs on Friday at 18:30 GMT and last week's show is on the web site until then.
ABC Australia - Media Report:
North County Times - Dotinga:
Washington Post - Fields:
Wired - Ana Marie Cox
2005-02-28: According to the UK Sunday Times, Clear Channel International is poised to make a bid for the outdoor advertising arm of SMG ahead of a potential break-up of the company, which is already facing a GBP 100 million (USD 190 million) bid for its Virgin radio arm from a venture capital group led by Lord Waheed Alli.
SMG chief executive Andrew Flanagan has insisted that Virgin Radio but the Alli consortium is now approaching shareholders directly.
The paper also reports that UK Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie is reported to have held talks with other private-equity firms, including HG Capital, about re-instating his nil-premium bid to buy out the company following the collapse of negotiations with US firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Sunday Times report:
2005-02-28: Mexican broadcaster Grupo Radio Centro has reported final quarter 2004 broadcasting revenues down 15% on a year earlier to MXN 185 million (USD 16.67 million) and for the full year down 36.4% on 2003 to MXN 552 million (USD 49.70 million).
It put the final quarter decline down to the loss of income from the Infored news programming that it ended after a dispute which had resulted in a USD 21 million ruling - now again in the courts - against it (See RNW Mar 4, 2004).
Grupo Radio said that for the full year it had additionally been affected because of the boost in 2003 from political advertising for Mexico's congressional elections in July.
Grupo Radio also cut its broadcasting expenses because of the loss of the news programming - down 30.7% to MXN 90.8 million (USD 8.18 million) in the quarter and down 25.6% to MXN 387 million (USD 34.8 million for the year.
Overall it reported net income for the quarter of MXN 30.7 million (USD 2.76 million) compared to a loss for the final quarter of 2003 of MXN 309 million (USD 27.85 million): The 2003 figures included a provision of MXN 358 million (USD 32.3 million) for the cost of arbitration in the Infored dispute.
For the full year Grupo Radio cut its loss to MXN 38.3 million (USD 3.45 million) compared to a loss of MXN259 million (USD 23.3 million) in 2003.
The company also noted that during 2004 it cut its bank debt from MXN 238 million (USD 21.5 million) to MXN 170 million (USD 15.3 million) through scheduled payments and that in November a Mexican Federal Court set aside the award noted above that was made last year against it by an arbitration panel established under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce. This decision is now potentially subject to review in the Mexican courts.
Previous Grupo Radio:
2005-02-28: Sea Launch has now recommenced its preparations for the launch of XM Satellite Radio's XM3 from its equatorial platform on a Russian a Zenit-3SL vehicle.
It says the launch, originally due on February 17, is now scheduled within a window that opens at 03:51 GMT tomorrow.
2005-02-27: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators with no major decisions anywhere: There was nothing from Australia and in Canada it was a matter of routine licence decisions although two appointments were made to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC): Richard DeLand French from Montreal was designated Vice-Chairperson and Rita A. P. Cugini, of Toronto was appointed a full-time member and representative of the Ontario region of the CRTC.
Radio licence related decisions included (in order of province):
*Approval of conversion to a 400-watts FM of adult contemporary CKXR-AM, Salmon Arm, and simulcast of the programming of both stations for three months once the FM commences operations. The licence for the new station will include the transmitter CKXR-FM-1 Sorrento, presently authorized as a transmitter of CKXR-AM.
*Approval of addition of 10-watts FM transmitter at Enderby for CKIZ-FM Vernon: Licensee Rogers Broadcasting Limited noted that since the conversion of its Vernon AM station to FM, Enderby residents have been unable to receive CKIZ-FM's signal.
*Approval of extension until 17 June 2005 of deadline to commence operation of new French-language FM community radio station in Toronto authorized for La Coopérative radiophonique de Toronto inc.
Revocation of licence of CFVM-AM, Amqui, following successful commencement of operations of new replacement FM.
*Approval of new contemporary country music format low-power 50-watts English-language commercial FM radio Kindersley.
*Approval of CJNE FM Radio Inc. (CJNE) for authority to acquire from Nor-Com Electronics Ltd. (Nor-Com), as part of a corporate reorganization, the assets of the radio programming undertaking CJNE-FM Nipawin, Saskatchewan and of the low-power radio programming undertaking VF2212 Carrot River, Saskatchewan.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has decided to go ahead with plans to issue new licences that would provide at least one additional service for all in the country although it may opt to drop requirements that a fifth of programming be news and current affairs (See below).
The BCI also announced that in line with its existing policy it would not enforce a 24-hour moratorium on coverage of the by-elections on 11th March 2005 in Meath and Kildare North since these are not part of a national election poll.
In the UK there were no radio station decisions from Ofcom although it has published a consultation document on spectrum pricing and also proposed to ease the rules for maritime radio (See RNW Feb 23).
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 4,000 fine on Infinity's WBLK-FM, Buffalo, New York, for broadcasting a telephone conversation without first informing the party to the conversation of its intention to do so (See RNW Feb 25): It also decided to terminate an investigation by its Enforcement Bureau into the possible violation by Brevard Youth Education Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of non-commercial educational FM Station WCEE-LP, Melbourne, Florida, of rules relating to the broadcast of underwriting acknowledgments.
Brevard had acknowledged that its broadcasts violated the Underwriting Laws and committed itself to complete remedial measures and other undertakings negotiated under a consent decree.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-02-27: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to reconsider a staff decision that allowed Oklahoma Democrat Gene Stipe who had been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice to sell four radio stations he controlled according to the New York Times.
The FCC has normally considered forfeit the licences of individuals who fail to deal truthfully with the government but the paper says officials have never before considered a case involving a conviction of perjury before a federal agency although it has revoked licences in cases where the crimes varied from sexual abuse of a minor to drug dealing.
Stipe, now 78, stepped down in 2003 after 53 years in the state legislature at which time investigators were looking at his role in a scheme to launder money given to the congressional campaign of a friend: He subsequently pleaded guilty to three criminal counts, acknowledging his role in an illegal scheme to funnel more than USD 245,000 into the failed campaign of Walter Roberts for a seat in the House of Representatives and was sentenced to five years' probation and six months' house arrest.
When Stipe was sentenced court records showed him to be worth nearly USD 27 million: Federal prosecutors had asked for a prison sentence but U.S. District Judge James Robertson opted to instead increase the fine he had to pay from the USD 490,378 in his plea agreement to USD 735, 567 -- the maximum allowable for a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and triple the amount he admitted funneling illegally into the Roberts' campaign. He was also ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service.
The Times reports that the sale of the stations for USD 2.2 million by a company controlled by Stipe -- Stipe controls four of the five stations licensed in his hometown of McAlester and the only station in the nearby town of Wilburton - was given the go-ahead by the FCC in a in a Jan. 18 letter - issued before Stipe was sentenced - and that when Media Access Project lawyer Andrew Jay Schwartzman queried the decision with FCC chairman Michael Powell's office he was told by an aide that the FCC chairman would not seek a review of the decision by the full commission and was told when he tried to get the decision reviewed that there would not be the required three votes from the five commissioners for this.
"This involves somebody who has pleaded guilty to tampering with an election in the service area of these stations and is a clear demonstration of how the democratic process has been corrupted by this man," Schwartzman commented. "I cannot imagine a more powerful case for loss of license and a weaker case for enriching him."
The New York Times queried again last week with the FCC and says that on Friday it was told the full commission had agreed to order a review of the case.
The paper says that Republican Commissioner Kevin J. Martin, a leading contender to take over from Powell when he steps down next month, changed his mind about a review after Powell had said he had changed his and there had been prior sharp questions about the decision from Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, supported by his fellow Democrat Michael J. Copps.
"This deal demands a lot more scrutiny than it's gotten, and I now expect that it will get the review that it deserves," Adelstein said. "Lying to the government raises serious questions about a broadcaster's character under our longstanding policy. I've raised concerns with my colleagues that letting a convicted perjurer profit from the sale of these stations may be a dangerous departure from our past precedent."
Richard R. Zaragoza, a partner at the law firm of Shaw Pittman who represented Stipe and the buyers of the stations, said he was surprised by the reversal and argued in favour of the original staff decision that noted the "recent and very serious misconduct" but allowed an exception to standard policy because the misconduct did not involve other executives at the company which had "an unblemished record of compliance with the commission rules."
"The staff decision represents a well-articulated, well-reasoned decision that is fully compatible," with early cases," Zaragoza said.
He noted that the deal had already closed weeks ago, and that the new owners have already filed a request for the renewal of their licenses for the next eight years, adding that it would be "unprecedented" for the commission to order that the transaction be undone.
Previous Media Access Project:
New York Times report:
2005-02-27: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has agreed in principle to go ahead with licensing new radio stations that it says should allow everyone in the Republic to receive at least one extra service within three years.
It is to produce a revised Licensing Policy Statement will be produced by late April and is expecting those who want new stations, which can include existing licence holders, to approach it with their suggestions.
The Ox report on Irish broadcasting aid there was potential for additional services, particularly in areas served by one local station and the BCI says work undertaken by its Engineering Division, in conjunction with ComReg (Commission for Communications Regulations) will allow the it to offer additional radio services throughout the country on AM and FM.
The revised policy says the BCI will continue to reflect the principles of diversity (including quality), availability of spectrum and viability but in the context of a changed broadcasting environment, adding that the sector is now more robust and the issue of viability might now be more balanced with the need to ensure diversity.
It adds that it will develop guidelines for an enhanced Expressions of Interest phase during March and will formally seek expressions of interest nationally in early April.
It will ask for a greater level of detail will be required than previously and will consider new licensing models that could include quasi-national, regional, dual county, and second county coverage with transmission from single transmitters or a combination of transmitters and also networking and syndication arrangements.
A report on expressions of interest received will then be put to the BCI Board in June or July and the BCI expects to publish its licensing plan and timeframe for its rollout in October.
The BCI also considered a new Ownership and control policy review follows the October 2001 introduction of a new policy relating to private broadcasters in the country and will undertake a consultation on this from March to September of this year that will evaluate the current situation in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe in conjunction with a study of future developments in broadcasting, challenges facing the regulator and policy options for consideration.
Amongst the issues with will consider will be the plurality of ownership in diversity in broadcasting in the country and specifically whether it should retain its requirement news and current affairs have to comprise a minimum fifth of the service of all licensed stations.
2005-02-27: Ten days after it was due to have launched XM satellite radio's XM3 satellite (See RNW Feb 18) Sea Launch has still not posted a rescheduled launch date.
After the original delay, Sea Launch blamed sea currents at the equatorial launch site and then started the countdown but aborted the launch seven minutes before it was due because of what it termed an "out-of-specification condition on the launch vehicle (See RNW Feb 24).
It now says it is continuing a review of the launch vehicle readiness before initiating a countdown to another launch attempt. It adds that XM Satellite Radio's XM-3 spacecraft remains in excellent condition.
2005-02-27: The US lost two more rock stations last week, one in Albuquerque where Clear Channel flipped its "World Class Rock " KLSK-FM 104.1 to a Spanish Mega 104.1 format and the other in Philadelphia where Radio One Inc. dropped its modern rock format on WPLY-FM Y100 and moved its rhythmic charts WPHI -FM (The Beat) from 103.9 to the Y100 frequency.
The New Mexico Business Weekly quoted Clear Channel's Albuquerque and Santa Fe vice president and general manager Chuck Hammond as saying the station is targeting "The 18 to 34 Latino market " and adding that the DJ's at the station will broadcast predominantly in English, but the music will be primarily Spanish and advertising will be a mixture of both
"104.1 is the strongest FM signal in the state. But with World Class Rock, we weren't developing the ratings and the revenues we wanted," said Hammond ... "The station was profitable, but we expect a tremendous increase [in revenues]."
The station will the third in the US that Clear Channel has switched to "Reggtone", a blend of Spanish hip hop and contemporary pop: It has already hired a new Program Director, Omar Romero, who will join the station from the start of next month and will hire up to a dozen more.
In Philadelphia there is some confusion about the reason behind the switch since Y100 was not only profitable but ahead of WPHI in the ratings although suggestions are that the move is linked to the urban focus of Radio One.
Radio One is to use the weaker WPHI signal for a black-gospel format. Currently the Y-100 web site just has an "under construction" notice and WPHI has left its site unaltered.
A site Y100rocks.com set up by supporters of the former rock station has now garnered more than 15,000 signatures for an online petition to reverse the decision.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
New Mexico Business Weekly report:
Yy100rocks web site:
2005-02-26: Although overall Clear Channel reported 2004 increases in revenues on a year earlier - up 1% to USD 2.31 billion for the final quarter and up 5% to USD 9.42 billion for the year - like Viacom, whose figures reflected a charge of USD 18 billion (See RNW Feb 25) it has also had to take in a charge because of a change in accounting principles that took it into a loss of USD 4.7 billion for the year.
For the final quarter Clear Channel's net income was up 14.5% to USD 213.3 million (up 23.2% from 30 cents to 27 cents per diluted share) but for the year it was down 26.2% to USD 845.8 million (down 23.8% from USD 1.85 to USD 1.41 per share).
In 2003 Clear Channel had a net gain of around USD 727 million from the sale of its interest in Univision, the sale of an investment in American Tower Corporation and the early extinguishment of debt offset by around USD 15 million of impairments in various assets but for 2004 the net income only included USD 67 million of gains - from the sale of remaining Univision holdings and the sale of radio and outdoor assets- and thee were offset by a USD31.4 million pre-tax loss on the early extinguishment of debt.
Like Viacom's Infinity radio division, Clear Channel's radio revenues slipped back a little in the final quarter, from USD 561.6 million to USD 559.2 million, but for the year, where Infinity slipped back, they were up 2% to USD 2.162 billion.
In comparison outdoor was the best performing division with fourth quarter revenues up 13% to USD 479.9 million and up 10% to the year to USD 1.757 billion; Live entertainment revenues were up 9% in the quarter to USD 522.6 million and for the year were up 6% to USD 2.592 billion.
Clear Channel introduced a "Less is More" advertising initiative that emphasises fewer adverts and shorter advertising breaks in 2004 and it says this is "progressing positively and exceeding expectations"
Clear Channel said it believed that "reducing commercial clutter and providing higher quality and more effective commercials, the value of Clear Channel's radio advertising inventory will increase over the long-term."
It also noted the formation of its Creative Services Group to make commercials more compelling and entertaining
In market terms, the company said its growth was led by small to mid-size markets that relied more heavily on local advertising than stations in the top 25 markets.
President and CEO Mark Mays said of the results, "We delivered record financial results in 2004 by focusing on improving our existing operations and driving profitability in our businesses For the year, we repurchased nearly $2 billion in shares of common stock and declared $265.2 million in dividends to shareholders. Operationally, 2004 marked a year where we focused on leading change within the industries in which we compete. This proactive and forward-thinking approach is key to our long-term growth strategy and will drive our financial results for years to come."
Chief Financial Officer Randall Mays said the company, which earlier this month announced that it was to spend a further USD 1 billion on stock repurchases, will continue its focus on using free cash flow to buy back stock.
Clear Channel did not issue any 2005 guidance.
At Viacom-operated syndication company Westwood One, final quarter revenues were up 3.8% to USD 151.6 million and for the full year were up 4.3% to USD 562.2 million, primarily attributed to general higher demand plus income related to the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Westwood One said for the year local and regional advertising revenues were up 5.5% and national ones up 2.9% but in the final quarter national revenue declined, offsetting the gain in local and regional ones.
Amortization and depreciation expenses, up 86% in the quarter to 5.4 million and 60% for the year to USD 18.4 million, hit the bottom line and Westwood's net income in the final quarter was down 4.8% to USD 29.6 million (the same 31 cents per basic and diluted share) and for the year it was down 4.5% to USD 95.5 million (the same 97 cents per diluted share).
During 2004 the Company repurchased approximately 8.5 million shares for approximately USD 217 million.
President and CEO Shane Coppola commented, "We delivered solid financial results in a difficult operating environment in 2004. Moreover, we continued to make investments in our products and services that well position the Company for growth in 2005 and beyond. The initial return on these investments was evidenced by the strong fourth quarter growth delivered by our local/regional businesses, which account for approximately 55% of the Company's revenues. Furthermore, we continue to create compelling content for existing and emerging distribution channels expanding our audience reach for advertisers."
Chief Financial Officer Andrew Zaref added, "Our capital structure is well positioned for us to accomplish our business objectives. We continue to generate significant cash flow and have used our resources to repurchase common stock."
Looking ahead Westwood One says that for 2005 it expects to deliver revenue growth of low-to-mid single digits, resulting in mid single digit growth in operating income before depreciation and amortization and before considering the impact of the non cash compensation charges which will result from the required adoption of the new accounting standards surrounding equity based compensation.
Salem meanwhile has updated its 2005 guidance following the conclusion of its 2005 national block programming rate negotiations; it says it expects same station national block programming revenues to increase approximately 5% over 2004 and noted that, as in the past, more than 90-% of this business was successfully renewed.
CEO Edward G. Atsinger, III, commented, "The combination of our national platform of Christian Teaching and Talk stations and our focused programming strategy provide our block programming partners with national reach and a desirable audience. We believe our ability to renew over 90% of our contracts underscores the value we provide our block programming partners. Overall, our block programming business represents a reliable stream of revenues and cash flow, which grow steadily and consistently."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Randall Mays:
Previous Westwood One:
2005-02-26: Following hard on the heels of the apparent collapse of UK Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie's bid to buy out his company when the venture group backing it pulled out (See RNW Feb 24), the GBP 100 million bid for SMG-owned Virgin Radio by a venture-capital consortium led by Lord Alli also appears to have run into problems.
According to the UK Guardian, ITV, which holds a 17% stake in SMG, has ruled out taking part in a break-up of the company, a move the peer had hoped to set up as a fall back after the SMG board rejected his offer.
The bid would have involved ITV in taking control of the remainder of SMG - which holds the Scottish TV and Grampian TV franchises - after Alli's group had taken the radio arm but the paper says that sources close to the senior ITV executive team yesterday said the company was not interested in buying Scottish TV and Grampian TV as the management had extracted as much value as it could from its 17% stake.
ITV already sells Scottish and Grampian's national advertising slots, equivalent to 85% of SMG's TV advertising revenue and the paper says ITV believes it could spend the GBP 310 million estimated cost of buying SMG more effectively on developing its own business.
Lord Alli is due to meet various SMG shareholders including ITV chief executive Charles Allen and former DJ and Virgin owner Chris Evans, who still has a 3% stake in the SMG, which took over his Ginger Media Group including Virgin Radio for GBP 225 million in 2000:
UK Guardian report:
2005-02-26: In Toronto, the producer and host of controversial Ryerson University campus radio station CKLN-FM's "Bad Cop, No Donut!" programme has backed off a little after complaints from the city's police chief Julian Fantino.
The show airs on the Toronto station in 15- to 30-minute segments during Thursday morning shows - The Bitter End from 2 to 6 a.m. and Rude Awakening from 6 to 7 a.m. -
Volunteer Ron Anicich says he doesn't intend to change the content but has changed the e-mail address to which listeners can invite comments from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com after agreeing that the address might well be offensive.
"While I'm not offended by it personally, I can see why people would be," Anicich told the Toronto Star after the police chief had called for the University authorities to ban the show, which he accuses of hate mongering.
Anicich, who isn't a Ryerson student said he's been a programmer at the station for 15 years and gets his material, which is "a list of different stories about police abuse that happens through North America each week ... from mostly local newspapers", much of it from Internet searches using keywords such as "police misconduct, police corruption or Taser"
The university had distanced itself from the programme but a spokesman told the paper that it received no funding from the university itself and, although its students support CKLN financially through their levies, the 250-watts station is a separate organization with its own licence. CKLN, like most Canadian college stations is not affiliated to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) and if it were the CBSC would not be able to intervene because the police are not a protected group under its rules and the Star said no complaints had been made to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which sets licence conditions.
CKLN news director Kristin Schwartz defended the show, commenting, "I think what should really be disturbing to people is not an email address but the real impact on people's lives of police abuse. "I think it's important to tell those stories."
Anicich added that he wasn't sure "why Toronto police would have a problem" and commented, "If his (the chief's) problem is the content of the show then he should know I'm not telling anybody anything that hasn't been in the newspaper already. My intention is strictly to relate the facts, period."
Toronto Star report:
2005-02-26: The Los Angeles Times says Clear Channel is to end its joint sales agreement with Entravision over Modern Rocker KDLD/KDLE Indie 103.1 because of a change in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations that would count stations operated as part of a Joint Sales Agreement in a company's total for a market.
Clear Channel already owns the maximum eight stations in the Los Angeles market and the paper says it was told by Clear Channel's regional vice president in Los Angeles Roy Laughlin that his company would end the partnership on April 1.
"Our lawyers have told us that we have to do this," Laughlin said. "The audience and advertisers will see no disruption, that is my hope."
Such a move it says could put the future of the station, once "hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as 'America's coolest commercial station'," in jeopardy because without the benefit of Clear Channel's advertising sales clout Entravision could find other formats more profitable.
Clear Channel had sold advertising on Indie 103.1 in bundled deals with its own station and also solo at rates lower than those on Infinity's rock powerhouse KROQ-FM but, although it had not done well in the ratings.
The Times quoted radio consultant Jeff Pollack as saying industry rumours were that the station would probably be converted to a new format to appeal to an ethnic community but Indie 103 Program Director Michael Steele e-mailed record labels and clients to say that Entravision was "is moving forward to continue operating the station AS IT IS. That means no format change."
Previous Clear Channel:
Los Angeles Times report:
2005-02-26: India is not planning to allow private FM radio to air news according to the Indian Financial Express, which reports that a senior government official told it that the move was "not under consideration" for the second round of private FM licensing.
News was ruled out for private stations in the first round of private FM licences but the Amit Mitra Committee had recommended that the private companies be allowed to air news and had received backing from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which also suggested that news could be allowed.
All India Radio (AIR) currently has a monopoly of radio news but the private companies had argued that news, which is permitted on private TV, should also be allowed on radio.
The paper says there are also indications that the government will also reject a TRAI recommendation that future licence fees should be based on a share of revenue rather than the current fixed fee, which is taking major bites out of companies' revenues -and in some cases pushing them into loss.
The paper notes that the first year's licence fee - there is provision for a subsequent 15% annual increase - was INR 9.75 crore (USD 2.2 million- a crore is 10 million) for a Mumbai station, INR 7.12 crore (USD 1.6 million) for a Delhi station, INR 3.3 crore (USD 755,000) for one in Chennai and INR 1 crore (USD 229,000) for a Kolkata licence.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Financial Express report:
2005-02-26: Veteran BBC broadcaster and executive Leonard Miall has died aged 90. He joined the corporation in 1939 after reading German at Freiburg University and then at St John's College, Cambridge, where he was President of the Union.
He had applied for a post as a press officer, which he failed to get, but was recruited the to head the corporation's expanding European service.
He was seconded to the Political Warfare Executive between 1942 and 1945, serving in London, San Francisco, and New York, and then with SHAEF in Luxembourg and then was briefly a special correspondent in Czechoslovakia becoming the BBC's Washington Correspondent.
After a return to London he joined BBC-TV as head of television talks (documentaries and current affairs) from 1954 to 1961, ending his career in 1974 as the BBC New York representative.
UK Telegraph obituary:
2005-02-25: In latest US results, Citadel has reported record revenues and profits but Viacom went deep into loss because of a USD 18 billion write-down of the value of its radio and outdoor divisions, USD 10.9 million of it relating to Infinity radio.
Saga was in between with revenues up but profits dipping a little in the final quarter.
Citadel reported record revenues and net income for the quarter and year with third quarter net revenues up 7.4% to USD 109.8 million and full year ones up 10.8% to USD 411.5 million, producing net income of USD 13.76 million for the quarter - turning round a loss the year earlier of USD 13.62 million (from a loss of 11 cents per diluted share to a profit of ten cents) and USD 74.57 million for the full year, turning round a loss of USD 89.57 million (from a loss of 83 cents per diluted share to a profit of 54 cents).
Citadel noted that the rise in net income over the previous quarter was primarily due to the reduction in depreciation and amortization expense and interest expense with the same benefit for the full year boosted by income tax benefit for 2004 of USD 63.8 million compared to income tax expense of USD 28.0 million for 2003.
Station operating income in the quarter was up 5.9% to USD 48.2 million and up 10.5% for the full year to USD 176.3 million and operating income for the quarter increased from USD 4.9 million a year earlier to USD 27.1 million while for the year a 2003 loss of USD 4 million was turned into income of USD 41.7 million. The major factor in this turnaround was higher revenues and a decrease in depreciation and amortization expense of approximately USD 18.0 million in the final quarter plus a similar situation for the whole year although this was offset by higher station operating costs: In addition Citadel notes that the full year result was also affected by a USD 16.4 million charge mainly due to its settlement with Interep when it moved to Katz and without this operating income would have been around USD 58.1 million.
Same station revenues in the quarter were up 3.3% to USD 104,321 and for the full year up 4.4% to USD 364.8 million whilst same station was up 4.5% for the quarter to USD 46.5 million and for the full year was up 6.4% to USD 160.6 million.
Commenting on the results chairman and CEO Farid Suleman said the company had achieved record results "despite a difficult industry environment" and continued, "For the full year of 2004, the Company had same station revenue growth of 4% and same station operating income growth of 6%. These gains were achieved in spite of the programming investment in the second half of 2004 at two of our recent acquisitions, New Orleans and Memphis as well as certain of our existing markets including Harrisburg and Salt Lake City."
"We expect these changes to positively impact growth in 2005. We also continue to invest in our Company through our stock buy back program and have repurchased over 9.5 million shares since the inception of the program in July of 2004."
Looking ahead, Citadel says it expects revenue growth in 2005 of 3-5%.
Saga Communications reported net operating revenues up 9.6% in the final quarter to USD 36.2 million and for the full year up 11% to USD 134.6 million but its profits dipped 8.9% in the quarter to USD 4.1 million (From 21 cents to 20 cents per diluted share). For the full year net income was up 14.1% to USD 15.8 million (from 65 cents to 75 cents per diluted share).
Radio division net operating revenues in the quarter were up 9.2% to USD 32.2 million and for the year to with same station radio revenues up 3.8% to USD 30.6 million in the quarter and 10.2% in the year to USD 120.2 million.
Overall same station net operating revenues were up 5.5% for the year to USD 127.1 million and for the quarter up 4.5% to USD 34.5 million.
Viacom reported final quarter revenues up 5% to USD 6.3 billion led by double-digit increases in the Cable Networks segment but had a final quarter loss of USD from continuing operations of 16.7 billion (USD 10.21 per diluted share) compared to a profit of USD 586 million (33 cents per diluted share) a year earlier whilst full year revenues were up 8% at USD 22.5 billion with advertising revenues up 11% with a full year loss from continuing operations of USD 15.1 billion (USD 8.78 per diluted share) compared to net earnings in 2003 of USD 2.2 billion (USD 1.27 per diluted share).
The figures reflects a USD 18 billion write-down in accordance with accounting standard SFAS No. 142 of the value of its radio and outdoor businesses, leaving the company with a combined goodwill and intangible asset balance after the impairment charge of approximately USD49 billion.
Co-President Leslie Moonves told the company's conference call, "This year is a stepping stone to our ultimate growth path, and we are willing to make a sacrifice over a few quarters the long-term benefit of our core assets.''
Viacom noted that excluding the impairment charge for radio and outdoor plus a second quarter severance charge of USD 56 million because of management changes and a tax benefit of USD 205 million principally from the resolution of income tax audits, it would have increased 2004 operating income 14% to USD 5.1 billion and net earnings from continuing operations increased 19% to USD 2.7 billion for 2004 with diluted earnings per share up 21% to USD 1.54.
In divisional terms, radio revenues in the final quarter were down slightly, from USD 551.1 million to USD 550.4 million: The situation was similar for the full year with revenues dropping from USD 2.0976 billion to USD 2.0961 billion.
For the final quarter, radio had an operating loss of USD 10.7 billion compared to net revenues of USD 252 million a year earlier but this included USD 10.9 billion of non-cash impairment charge to reduce goodwill and intangibles: Excluding this charge radio operating income in the quarter was down 9%, reflection according to Viacom, "weakness in the local advertising market coupled with higher contractual talent and higher advertising and promotion expenditures."
For the full year radio had an operating loss of USD 10 billion, again affected by the impairment charge without which its operating income was down 6% on 2003 to USD 918 million.
Chairman and CEO Sumner M. Redstone commented, "Having adjusted the valuations of our radio and outdoor businesses to reflect emerging business trends and the competitive environment, we are now positioned to fully focus our efforts on the Company's fast growing assets. We are poised to move rapidly to increase our investment and re-evaluate our portfolio in Radio and to focus on the higher return areas within Outdoor. These businesses have terrific potential and continue to generate some of the highest margins and free cash flow in the industry."
"Overall, Viacom's underlying operational performance, including 11% advertising growth, reflects our ability to run our businesses to generate significant returns. Excluding the charges and the tax benefit, Viacom delivered 21% earnings per share growth and a 17% increase in free cash flow to $3.0 billion. In addition to reinvesting in our businesses for future growth, we were able to take advantage of this free cash flow growth to return capital to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases. In fact, as a result of the Blockbuster split-off and the use of $2 billion of our $8 billion share buyback authorization, we acquired 96.4 million outstanding shares in 2004."
Looking ahead, Viacom says it expects mid single-digit growth in revenues and operating income and high single-digit growth in earnings per share for 2005.
2005-02-25: Piquant's Air America Radio has named former record industry executive Danny Goldberg as CEO to replace Mark Walsh who left in April last year (See RNW Apr 28, 2004).
Goldberg takes over immediately from acting CEO Doug Kreeger.
Air America Radio Chairman Rob Glaser said of the appointment that Goldberg was the "best of three worlds - a successful media entrepreneur who has repeatedly made his mark on American culture, one of the smartest and most creative media executives of his generation, and a man who deeply believes in the mission of Air America."
Goldberg said he had admired Air America since it was formed and was impressed by its achievements over the past year.
Previous Piquant (Air America Owner):
2005-02-25: Australian radio and TV company Southern Cross Broadcasting has reported interim profits in the six months to the end of 2004, up 84.6% to AUD 48.25 million (USD 39.45 million) on revenues up 37% to AUD 272.6 million (USD 222.9 million) and is upbeat about its prospects for the second half of its 2004-5 financial year.
The figures included a net gain of AUD 14.99 million (USD 12.26 million) from an AUD 15.6 million (USD 12.76 million) on the sale of the company's 30.5% holding in the associated company, Digital Distribution Australia Pty. Limited (formerly ntl Telecommunications Pty. Limited) - effectively a reversal of a provision previously raised against this holding - and a loss of AUD 610,000 (USD 500,000) associated with the closure of its Tricom audiotext business.
Without this gain, Austereo's interim profits would have been up 27.3% to AUD 33.26 million (USD 27.2 million).
Reporting the results chairman John Dahlsen said that trading conditions had remained strong with revenues for metropolitan radio stations up 13.7% and that for metropolitan television up 10.5% whilst regional television was up 8.6%
He added that there had been substantial earnings increases in Southern Cross's radio division with solid performances from its Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane stations allied with an impressive performance from its regional TV operations assisted by improved ratings.
Managing director Tony Bell said conditions remained strong and the company anticipated revenue growth of around 6% in the second half of the financial year. He also noted that any change in Australia's cross media and foreign ownership laws this year might provide opportunities for the company.
Commenting on specific markets Bell said the "more competitive radio market in Sydney still presents challenges for radio" but noted "2UE's trading performance has improved since October 2004 and we expect this trend to continue".
In Melbourne he noted the strong ratings performance by 3AW (See RNW Feb 23) and said it and Magic 693 had benefited from strong market growth.
In Brisbane, he said the 4BC/4BH combination "achieved a strong earnings contribution" whilst in Perth the 96FM/6PR combination achieved revenue growth of 20%.
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-02-25: Clear Channel and Howard Stern have agreed to withdraw lawsuits made by each relating to the former's axing of Stern shows from its stations a year ago following "repeated federal indecency violations."
Announcing the agreement Clear Channel Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Andrew Levin commented, "We are pleased to resolve this contractual dispute with Howard Stern without further legal expense and delay. Today, Clear Channel stations are entertaining listeners without being indecent, and we intend to keep it that way."
He also noted continuing concern about disparities in the treatment of US media depending upon how it was delivered, commenting, "Congress and the FCC should be troubled that the current law unwittingly creates a safe haven for indecent programming on other media platforms, including satellite radio."
"Unfortunately these outlets are fast becoming the wild west for sexually explicit programming. The law needs to catch up to technology or our children will be the ultimate victims."
RNW comment: Considering some of the things Clear Channel continued to air until it ended up either being fined or meeting protests that led advertisers to drop their support we can only consider the latter half of Levin's statement as pompous special interest pleading since the evidence is that the company's ethical standards, and probably most of Levin's, are dictated mainly by its business interests.
Instead of defending the First Amendment Clear Channel seems to want to try and change the law so as to restrict individual choice to purchase services that people are legally entitled to take.
Of course Clear Channel's business may well be hard hit if the rules remain as they are.
We can only hope that if push comes to shove, the Supreme Court tells Levin and Clear Channel to shove off and defends freedom of speech and of the individual.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-02-25: Radio in India is likely to double its share of the country's advertising revenue over the next three years according to two Austereo executives currently in the country to conduct radio advertising workshops.
Kevin Best and John Dickson, joint executive creative directors of Austereo's "Heard" specialist creative shop have won more awards writing for radio than any other writers in Australasia.
They are in India to conduct radio advertising workshops in various cities at the invitation of Kolkata-based radio broadcaster Amsi and told the Business Standard the current 2.5% share of the country's INR 9,900 crore (USD 2.27 billion) advertising market currently taken by radio is likely to reach 5% by 2008
Previous Indian Radio:
Business Standard report:
2005-02-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 4,000 fine on Infinity's WBLK-FM, Buffalo, New York, for broadcasting a telephone conversation without first informing the party to the conversation of its intention to do so.
Infinity had not denied that in June 2002 the station broadcast a telephone conversation a telephone customer service representative employed by Adelphia Communications, Inc. without informing her it intended to broadcast the conversation but had argued for reconsideration on the basis that the Commission had noted underlying facts from an unpaid, unadjudicated forfeiture order, issued in a previous proceeding, to rebut its claim in the present proceeding that it had no prior offences.
Infinity also argued that the penalty should have been reduced or cancelled based on its good faith efforts to comply as had been done for licensees in other proceedings that involve allegedly comparable circumstances.
The FCC dismissed the first argument on various grounds and also said that even if this had been an isolated incident, a forfeiture for the base amount of USD 4,000 was appropriate. Regarding the second argument it did no accept the comparison, noting that the other decisions cited "involved situations in which the licensee had undertaken substantial steps to comply with various technical broadcasting requirements before actually being notified of a possible violation."
In the Buffalo case it said, " The only thing Infinity had done prior to our investigation was to maintain a written policy, which evidently had not been adequately brought to the attention of all its employees."
It confirmed the full penalty:
2005-02-24: Two more US radio companies have reported a strong end to 2004 although both also had lower profits in the quarter.
Cox Radio reported revenues in the final quarter of 2004 up 4.2% to USD 111.3 million and for the year up 2.9% to USD 438.2 million but net income for the quarter was down 11.9% to USD 18.3 million (down 14.3% from 21 cents to 18 cents per diluted share) although for the year it was up 2% to USD 68 million (up 1.5% from 66cents to 67 cents a share).
President and CEO Robert F. Neil stressed the more recent figures, commenting, "We ended 2004 on a high note and began 2005 in a strong strategic position. Our fourth quarter revenue growth of 4.2% exceeded our guidance, the industry and the markets in which we operate. In addition, we grew fourth quarter station operating income by 5.1%."
"Our 2004 ratings were among the best in our history, which bodes well for continued growth in 2005. We remain focused on being the best radio broadcaster in our markets by serving our listeners with programming that is compelling and entertaining, while providing advertisers with the most effective platform to reach them."
He remained upbeat about the future, commenting, "As we look forward to the first quarter of 2005, I'm optimistic that we will deliver low-single digit revenue growth. We experienced a strong January, and while it is still early, February and March are looking good despite difficult revenue comparisons."
Entercom reported net revenues up 5% to a record USD 110.2 million for the final quarter of 2004 and up 6% to USD423.5 million for the full year but net income for the quarter was down 10.9% from USD 21.76 million to USD 19.38 million (from 42 cents to 40 cents per diluted share) although for the full year it was up 5.4% from USD 71.78 million to USD 75.63 million (USD 1.39 to USD 1.50 per diluted share).
Same station revenues in the final quarter were up 3% to USD110.1 million and for the year up 4% to USD415.1 million with same station operating income up 2% to USD 46 million and same station operating expenses up 3% to USD 64 million in the quarter and up 5% to USD177.2 million and 3% to USD238.0 million respectively for the full year.
Pro forma net income per share in the third quarter, excluding a net gain on the sale of assets in the prior year of USD0.03 per share, was up from 39 cents a year earlier to 40 cents in 2004.
Entercom was amongst the US radio companies buying back its shares during the year, reducing the total outstanding by 3 million.
Looking ahead Entercom says it expects net revenues to be up by around 5% for the first quarter of 2005.
Commenting on the results President and CEO David J. Field said he saluted "the Entercom team for their impressive performance during a period of sluggish industry growth," adding, " For the fourth quarter, Entercom achieved same-station revenue growth of 3%, significantly outpacing our markets by two hundred basis points. Similarly, for the year, Entercom's 4% same-station revenue growth doubled our markets' growth rate."
"Turning to 2005, we are encouraged by the improvement in business conditions that we are experiencing both nationally and locally. The industry initiatives launched in 2004 are gaining traction and beginning to impact performance. "
"Advertisers are responding positively to the compelling research generated by the Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab and we are experiencing acceleration in demand for: 30 and: 15 commercials which are a natural and inevitable evolution of our business model."
As well as increasing revenues but reporting lower profits, Cox has now joined Entercom in a potentially even more unwelcome situation: it has confirmed that it has also received, like Entercom, Clear Channel and Infinity, a subpoena by the New York State Attorney General's office inquiring into "promotional practices" - read payola - in the radio industry.
In other US radio business, Radio 1 Inc has announced that it has now completed the redemption of all its outstanding 6-1/2% Convertible Preferred Securities, Remarketable Term Income Deferred Equity Securities ("High Tides"), valued at a total of USD 310 million: It announced earlier this month that it had completed a USD 200 million bond sale that together with bank finance was used for the redemption (See RNW Feb 11).
Previous Radio 1 Inc.:
2005-02-24: Plans by UK Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie to take it private in a GBP 100 million nil-premium bid appear to have collapsed following a withdrawal by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the US-based private equity backers of the plan.
No formal statements have been issued by either party and suggestions of the reason varied: The UK Guardian, which frequently carries stories emanating from MacKenzie said it was "understood that Mr MacKenzie, who for 13 years edited the Sun, felt that the American investors 'did not know how to work with creative executives'" whilst the Times, owned by News International, one of the largest shareholders in the Wireless Group, put the reason as "a disagreement over financial incentives."
The group has confirmed that other potential bidders have now expressed interest in a bid and also that it was happy for MacKenzie to try and find other backers. In a statement it said, "The company today announces that discussions regarding this proposal have now ceased, solely as a result of the cessation of discussions between Kelvin MacKenzie and his potential private equity backer. The independent directors (Keith Sadler, Stephen Davidson, and Patrick Cox) have authorised Mr MacKenzie to continue discussions with other potential investors."
It continued, "In addition, since the announcement made on February 14 [about Mr MacKenzie's plans], the company has received expressions of interest from other parties who are considering a possible offer for the company, and the company is in ongoing discussions with such parties."
"No proposal has been submitted by any such parties and there is no certainty that any of the current discussions (including those involving Mr MacKenzie) will lead to an offer being made for the whole of the share capital of the Wireless Group."
Tipped as a possible opposition bidder to MacKenzie is the UK Chrysalis Group, which needs to grow to stave off a potential bid itself.
Wireless Group's shares, which had risen in expectation of a possible fight for the company, fell 3.74% on Wednesday to end at 90 pence - the price offered in the MacKenzie bid - and those of Chrysalis rose 0.71% to 176.50 pence.
The Guardian also reported that the consortium led by Labour peer Lord Alli that is bidding for SMG-owned Virgin Radio has been talking with The Wireless Group about merging their advertising sales operation if its takeover bid succeeds according to the UK Guardian.
The bid is currently being resisted by the SMG board, which considers its GBP 100 million (USD 190 million) offer too low, but Alli's consortium is now making direct approaches to shareholders in an attempt to by-pass them (See RNW Feb 17).
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian re collapse of bid:
UK Guardian re advertising deal:
UK Times re collapse of bid:
2005-02-24: Chicago now has six program director vacancies with the resignation of news-talk WLS-AM operations director Michael Packer.
Packer said he wanted to "take some time off with my family and explore future options" when he announced the decision but according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times, insiders say he jumped before he could be pushed following the appointment of John Gallagher as president and general manager of the Disney-ABC-owned station.
Feder says WLS ratings were fine during Packer's tenure but he was not popular with most of the station's hosts and was blamed for morale problems. Packer had moved the station to the right, losing most of its liberal voices, and Feder says Gallagher had a different vision for WLS's future direction.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-02-24: The already-delayed launch of XM satellite radio's XM3 satellite was halted around seven minutes before lift-off on Wednesday after Sea Launch identified what it termed an "out-of-specification condition on the launch vehicle.
It is now to be re-scheduled for some time from Friday onwards.
2005-02-24: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has now given a formal go-ahead to the Quebec station swap between Astral Media and Corus Entertainment that it approved last month subject to the acceptance by the two of conditions relating to local programming (See RNW Jan 22).
It says both companies have now filed their formal assent thus allowing the deal to be completed.
2005-02-24: Howard Stern's fans may be legion - well, an estimated 15 million a week - but when it comes to paying the Sirius satellite subscription rate to receive it, 44% said no and only 7% yes according to a survey just issued by Bridge Ratings that covered 1857 listeners in the Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego markets between the start of November last year and the end of January this year.
Bridge had been conducting a service in the markets to find the depth of interest in taking Sirius as a result of the jock's planned move and called back listeners who had voted him their favourite morning show personality during its normal weekly listener surveys.
Nearly three quarters of those called (74%) said they knew of the host's move to Sirius in January next year compared to 21% who did not know and 5% of don't knows.
When asked if they would be interested in subscribing to keep on listening after Stern moves, 22% initially said yes with 37% saying no and a further 41% undecided.
Once costs were explained to them, only 39% had said they were aware of the costs with 49% unaware and the remaining 12% unsure, the number expressing a firm interest plummeted as noted to 7%.
RNW comment: Doing some quick sums and assuming that the 7% of an actual Stern audience of 15 million did move, this would add 1.05 million subscribers for Sirius. That would add a potential USD 163 million in revenues if they all paid the full current subscription rate of USD 12.95 a month and total USD 815 million over five years if they all remained. Stern would of course, collect around USD 500 million of this, leaving USD 315 million to cover all other costs.
It thus seems that the figure Stern is getting is pretty good but not necessarily out of kilter with reality if Sirius can successfully market the service as Stern plus Sports plus
It still doesn't convince us that satellite radio is a good investment at current stock prices but it certainly makes a case that both companies could both survive and prosper.
We rather think that it would be a sensible move for each of them to co-operate in developing receivers that can receive both services and possible even offer a discount, as they already do in various family and other plans, for a subscriber with one service who wishes to add the other.
That way they develop the market overall, something that we think would probably be better in the long term for both the companies and potential listeners.
Bridge Ratings web site:
2005-02-23: In a further move to make itself a natural home for sports fans, Sirius Satellite Radio is to take over the satellite radio rights to NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.) races from XM starting in 2007 under a five-year USD 107.5 million deal that will see it create a special NASCAR channel.
The deal marks the first major switch of content from one US satellite radio company to another.
The channel will broadcast all NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races live and Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin commented, "We're thrilled that NASCAR has chosen to move to Sirius This decision places Sirius on track to become the content leader in all of radio, and we believe it will be an important driver of subscriber growth and advertising revenue. Our 24/7 NASCAR channel will super-serve NASCAR's 75 million fans nationwide in a way that's never been done before. In addition to the races, Sirius will take fans behind the scenes for inside news and bring them exclusive shows featuring their favourite drivers. It will be the ultimate NASCAR lifestyle experience."
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France responded, "Sirius is the sports leader on satellite radio, and sports programming is a leading reason subscribers choose Sirius. When you combine NASCAR's growing popularity with Sirius' commitment to bringing the best in sports to its subscribers, it's easy to understand why we made this move. We believe that our partnership with Sirius will offer the best possible experience to NASCAR fans nationwide."
2005-02-23: US broadcasters are likely to test Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadcast indecency regulations in the courts through a test case to be brought as early as next month according to the Los Angeles Times.
The paper notes complaints of inconsistency in enforcement of the rules and quoted Washington communications lawyer Kurt A. Wimmer as saying, "I think the government is more vulnerable to an indecency challenge than they've ever been before."
The case would be the first to be brought by a broadcaster since the 1978 case over Pacifica's broadcast in 1973 of comedian George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television."
The broadcasters argue that indecency laws are vague, and thus unconstitutionally restrict free speech and also claim the restrictions are unfair because similar rules do not apply to areas such as cable, satellite and the Internet.
The Times reports that industry lawyers who are spearheading the possible legal action say they are focusing on two promising cases, both TV ones - the reprimand to NBC over singer Bono's use of the description "fucking brilliant" of his 2003 Golden Globes Award win and a USD 1.8 million of fines levied against Fox TV and affiliates in relation to a "Married by America" episode that showed digitally obscured nudity, men in underwear being spanked by two strippers and whipped cream being licked off the chest of a woman.
In relation to the reprimand, which was issued by the Commissioners after its own staff had said there was no violation [RNW comment: As we have noted a number of times before, going by the published FCC guidance this broadcast certainly did not contravene the regulations] and the paper says the lawyers, who requested anonymity, said they were considering making an argument that the FCC was driven more by public outcry than by an application of federal rules.
The paper says the lawyers may try to appeal directly to federal courts to by pass the FCC's lengthy administrative procedures and would hope that this would lead to the speeding up of future hearings.
Andrew Schwartzman, president of Washington watchdog group the Media Access Project, told the paper, "Ordinarily it is very hard to get a court to agree to hear something if you haven't exhausted your administrative remedies. But here I think the argument can be made that [broadcasters] are being deprived of a fundamental constitutional right."
FCC officials said they expected an eventual legal challenge and John Cody, an aide to outgoing FCC chairman Michael K Powell said, "There's no question that the courts are going to bring clarity one way or the other."
RNW comment: As time as gone by, although we ourselves would have not have been greatly upset by many of the shows about which complaints have been raised or not have tuned to them in the first place, we have come to the conclusion that the puritans of the US Christian right will never be satisfied without major censorship of US broadcasting.
We thus rather hope that a test case will be brought, go the Supreme Court and end up with the FCC being forced to define any rules much more clearly so as to bring out their true nature. We still believe societies have a right to restrict material on public airwaves but would prefer any such restriction to be kept to an absolute minimum and spelled out so clearly that those making over-restrictive rulings can be duly mocked and hopefully over-ruled in due course by a public reaction against them.
Along with President Bush we think the use of the remote control or off switch is the answer in most cases.
Previous Media Access Project:
Los Angeles Times report:
2005-02-23: Aided by acquisitions, Cumulus has reported final quarter 2004 revenues up 12.7% on a year earlier to USD 84.4 million and those for the full year up 13.5% to USD 320.1 million.
Net earnings were more than doubled in the final quarter, up from USD 4.90 million to USD 9.85 million (from 7 to 14 cents a share) and for the year was up more than six-fold from USD 5.04 million to USD 30.37 million (5 cents to 43 cents a share).
Adjusted EDITDA was up 18% to USD 28.18 million for the quarter and up 14.6% to USD 102.06 million for the year with station operating income up 19% in the quarter to 32.45 million and 14.9% for the year to USD 102.44 million: Same station revenues were up 4.1% in the quarter to USD 71.87 million and 4.9% for the year to USD 275.33 million whilst pro-forma revenues were up 3.6% to USD 83.92 million for the quarter and up 4.2% to USD 322.83 million for the full year.
Chairman, President and CEO Lew Dickey commented, "Q4 was a solid quarter that capped a strong year marked by substantial EBITDA and free cash flow growth."
Looking ahead, Cumulus said it expected pro-forma net revenues for the first quarter of this year to by up 3-4% on a year ago.
2005-02-23: Latest Australian radio ratings, the first for the year, show Macquarie's Sydney talk station 2GB remaining top in Sydney and pulling ahead whilst its Southern Cross Broadcasting-owned rival 2UE remained fourth but lost a little ground.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC 702 pulled up from third to second despite losing share, swapping places with DMG's Nova, whose share fell even more. Austereo's 2-DAY FM pulled back some listeners and overtook its Triple M station.
In the Sydney breakfast race Alan Jones for 2GB took his top-rank share up from 14 to 16.2 whilst second-ranked Angela Catterns of ABC 702 fell back from 12.2 to 11.5: Mike Carlton for 2UE took his share up from 9.4 to 9.8.
In the following morning slot, where Jones is now competing against his former 2UE colleague John Laws for an hour before Ray Hadley takes over, 2GB took its share up from 12.2 to 13.3 and 2UE retained second rank but fell back from 11.0 to 10.8.
Below them Mix FM knocked Nova out of third rank, moving up from seventh as it share went up from 7.8 to 9.4 whilst that of Nova dropped from 10.5 to 9.3, putting it into fourth rank.
Afternoon drive saw Triple M move into top rank from a third-rank tie with its share up 10.2 to 10.6 whilst Richard Glover for ABC dropped from top rank to second although his share was up from 10.4 to 10.5: In third place was MIX, up from sixth as its share jumped from 8.7 to 9.8 taking it above Nova, which dropped from a third-rank tie with 10.2 to fourth with 8.9.
In Melbourne 3AW not only kept the lead but gained an additional 2.4% share helped along by major news stories such as the Asian tsunami with particular success for Ross Stevenson in the breakfast slot: Stevenson took his share up from 17.9% in the previous ratings to 21.4%, streets ahead of second ranked ABC 774 with 13.6%.
The Melbourne Age quotes an unnamed manager from a rival as saying, "It's quite an extraordinary result, it's phenomenal, it just doesn't happen. That's worth a lot of money to AW... the bulk of the revenue on a radio station is driven out of the breakfast shows."
Stevenson signed a new seven-year contract last year at a rumoured AUD 1 million (USD 795,000) a year.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
Adelaide: Mix 16.7 (18.5) - same rank; SAFM -15.3 (14.8) - same rank; 5AA 14.4 (11.5) moved up from fourth to third.
*Nova 11.1 (7.9) - was up from sixth to fourth in its second ratings and ABC 891 with 10.6 (13.2) fell back to fourth.
*Brisbane - Triple M with 16.5 (13.8) - same rank; B105FM 13.6 (13.5) - same rank; NEW 97.3 FM with 10.8 (12.2) - same rank.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.6 (13.2)- same rank; ABC 774 with 11.2 (12.1) - same rank; Triple M with 10.8 (8.8) - up from sixth
*Nova with 9.4 (10.5) fell back from third to sixth;.
*Perth - MIX 94.5FM 18.3 (20.0) - Same rank; 96FM with 13.2 (12.4) - up from third;) ABC 720 and Nova each with 11.5 - ABC was down from a third-ranked 12.9 and Nova up from a fourth-ranked 10.3.
* Sydney: 2GB 11.7 (10.8) - same rank; ABC 702 with 9.5 (9.9) - up from third; Nova with 9.2 (10.2) - down from second.
2UE with 9.1 (9.4) - remained fourth and Mix FM in fifth also increased its share, up from 8.4 to 9.0: Austereo's 2-DAY overtook its Triple M as it moved up from eighth to seventh with 7.8 (7.3) whilst Triple-M fell from sixth to eighth with 7.4 (8.0)
Commenting on the results, Austereo chief executive Michael Anderson expressed satisfaction with its re-launched Today and Triple-M networks, noting in particular a share increase of 1.1 for Today's new Sydney breakfast show with Jackie O and a 5.4 point increase for the Triple-M breakfast show in Brisbane where the station held on to the lead but took its share up by 2.7
"This is a solid result in a market dominated by unprecedented levels of radio marketing," he said. "Brisbane and Adelaide had textbook results - right where we wanted them to be The result for 2Day in Sydney is terrific. We changed announcers for breakfast, drive and the Hot 30 Countdown in the evening and it's paid off."
"Kyle and Jackie O are one of the best teams in Australian radio and their ratings will build from here. We've had great feedback already on the show from listeners and it's sounding good."
"Sydney's Triple M is behind where we'd like it but the format is doing well interstate - and topping the survey in Melbourne and Brisbane - and we expect Sydney will follow."
He added that 2005 would " be an incredibly competitive year, with several new licences entering the market, but we have started it in the best possible way."
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Southern Cross:
Melbourne Age report:
2005-02-23: UK media regulator Ofcom is proposing to ease licensing rules for maritime radio by planning to make ship's radio licences valid for the vessel's life and available free on a self-services basis when issued via a new web-service.
Currently the licences have to be renewed annually at a cost of GBP 20 (USD 38) and Ofcom says the proposed system would achieve the required objective that ships' radio equipment meets relevant standards and that users operate the equipment in a competent and appropriate manner but do so whilst also reducing the administrative burden for both licensee and regulator.
Users would still be required to keep their licence details up to date and would require an amended licence if any important details change, such as the name or ownership of the vessel.
In line with its usual practice Ofcom has issued a consultation document concerning the proposal with a deadline for responses of May 3; the consultation also lists some other possible options such as the transfer of the licensing function to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), keeping the existing system and making ships' radio WT Act licence exempt.
2005-02-23: Mix 102.9, the former Cumulus hot AC station in Shreveport that was taken off air last month in a frequency change when the signal from the company's more popular Magic 107.9 was found to be interfering with planes landing at Barksdale Air Force Base, is still off air and there's no word on when it may return according to the Shreveport Times.
Cumulus had hoped to be allocated a new frequency by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) within a short time but its market general manager C.J. Jones told the paper, "We're still waiting on word from the FCC, and we have not received that yet."
While the station has been off-air, Jason Taylor, half of the Jason and Melinda morning show, left for a non-Cumulus job, according to Jones, who noted that it is trying to find jobs elsewhere in the Shreveport market for Melinda Coyer, Gary Robinson and Hillary Edman.
The Mix web site currently has a notice saying there is "still no word on the new home on the dial for Mix", thanking people for their calls, messages, and kind words, and adding, "Please know we are doing everything in our power to return to the air with you real soon."
Clear Channel, which owns competing stations adult contemporary station KVKI-FM and Top 40 station KRUF-FM is benefiting from the Cumulus problems, and its director of sales in Shreveport Lisa Janes told the paper, "With Mix going off the air, neither of those have a competitor, so we have benefited from it with advertising dollars."
Previous Clear Channel:
Mix web site:
Shreveport Times report:
2005-02-22: Sea Launch has now begun to again prepare for the launch of XM satellite radio's XM3, delayed by strong ocean currents at the launch site that prevented a launch last week (See RNW Feb 18).
Sea Launch says the preparations should allow it to launch the satellite in a one-hour window that opens at 03:52 GMT on Wednesday.
2005-02-22: British DJ Tim Shaw, suspended "indefinitely" after he broke into programme director's Andrew Jeffries home and trashed it (See RNW Feb 15) will be back on air at Emap's Kerrang! 105.2 FM from next Sunday.
Jeffries denied that the whole affair had been a stunt to generate publicity and, following his suspension, Shaw had told the Birmingham Post that he carried out the action as a pay-back for his on-air joke dismissal by Jeffries but had warned the police in advance.
He told the paper, "Ever since I joined Kerrang, Andrew has been saying he'll get me one day.
"So on Tuesday last week, when he told me on-air my contract wasn't going to be renewed, I gave him a real mouthful because I love my job."
He said of the reaction to the break-in, "Since that night I've found out that he sees his family and his home as being sacred to him. If I'd known that beforehand I probably wouldn't have done it. I would like to formally apologise for any upset this has caused him and his family."
The West Midlands police said, "The DJ was warned that this behaviour could lead to criminal proceedings (including criminal damage, burglary or wasting police time) if this went ahead."
Before the re-instatement, a "Bringbacktim" web site (that now appears to have been closed down) had been set up purporting to give Shaw's version of what happened after starting with the lines: "Eeeasy now my little Chiiickaaans...
So the bell-ends at Kerrang! 105.2 have taken me off air, and in doing so are about to unleash a world of pain on themselves."
"So here's the deal
"The Boss tried to do a Sunday sacking on me, but botched up the recording ...nob head!
I do the crazy shit - not him! So I thought I'd get him back.
"On Wednesday night our 'textual intercourse' was about what I could do to punish him. Fair play Darren yours was best by far.
"Thursday night, The boss and his wife go out for a meal and a film - 'Meet the Fockers' (I had found this out from Lawrence the news guy).
"Unaware of what had been going on, he returned at 11:20pm to find the house in a complete state:
"Here is the crazy shit we did:
Obscenities on the wall - 'bellend' sprayed in brown paint - niiiice!
Broken TV - found in the cupboard under the stairs
Mashed up kitchen - all doors and drawers open. Cutlery all over the floor
Smashed side window to gain access to house
Kids toys and coats all over the sitting room floor
Scratched wooden floor
Toilet used unflushed!
We reckon £1500 worth of damage was caused."
" We were suspended immediately despite his wife trying to calm the situation. We were still trying to make light of the whole thing and didn't believe him until we saw just how angry he really was.
I need to get back on air !! for some more of that same old crazy sheeeit"
The site then went on to call for messages of support to be sent to various newspapers and magazines and then added, "And just to really fuck him off, email abuse to the boss at kerrang! 105.2 firstname.lastname@example.org."
The site was up at mid-afternoon on Monday but had disappeared by early evening and the station site had posted a notice saying, "Following successful meetings with the bosses at Kerrang! 105.2, Tim Shaw's Asylum will be back on air. Normal mayhem will be resumed on Sunday February 27th 2005."
RNW comment: Make up your own mind as to whether this was a stunt with station backing, a prank that wasn't approved in advance but from which the station is extracting the maximum publicity, or as one cynic suggested, a way for the PD to get the company to pay for his house re-decorated by the company without involvement from the tax authorities.
Nowhere for example is it mentioned whose children the "Kids toys and coats all over the sitting room floor" belonged to, thus dodging minor practical issues like the minding of children. And then there was the sceptical comment on the digitalspy forum , "I know nothing about this other than what I've read here and in another forum, but this does sound like it could well be a publicity stunt. If it wasn't, I don't think the management of the station would be wanting to draw so much attention to it by broadcasting a message every fifteen minutes." and a third who did a little digging and reported; "Dig around a little and you find that the site quoted was registered by a certain "Will Hardie" at a certain address in London. Nothing wrong there you might think?
Well..that very same address in London belongs to Pinnacle - a PR company! Excuse me whilst I disguise my surprise here!"
Digital spy forums:
Birmingham Post report:
Kerrang! web site re show return:
2005-02-22: US radio gets a thumbs-down for its current performance in a report in Media Week based on the annual perceptual study funded by Arbitron and conducted by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
The study found radio ranked below all other ad-supported media when it comes to schedule integrity (running commercial schedules as ordered), accountability systems and timely measurement and Richard Cotter, senior partner, director of local broadcast at MindShare, commented, "It's all the things we've been saying combined in one ugly report. We just want stations to take the order and run it correctly. We don't want to key in [data] 400 times; we want it electronically. [And] we want better audience research."
Media Week says broadcasters took the report in their stride and quoted Entercom president and CEO David Field as saying, "We've received a tremendous wake-up call in the past 12 months. We saw ourselves get repositioned by new technologies. Clients are being candid with us. This gives us a road map."
Peter Smyth, president and CEO of Greater Media, added, "We have to make sure we deliver what we promise. We've made some light-year progress. Are there issues? Absolutely. Are we going to do more? Absolutely."
The report is in line with comments made at by RAB president and CEO Gary Fries at the RAB 2005 meeting in Atlanta (See RNW Feb 13).
Media Week report:
2005-02-22: This week's meeting in Las Vegas of the Association of Music Personnel in Public Radio (AMPR) will look at how US public radio stations can constructively change their classical music output in the light of a study of the classical music of seven public stations that was backed by the US National Educational Association (NEA).
The study, headed by Bob Goldfarb, a consultant and classical music veteran, began in July last year and Goldfarb is to brief the meeting about the purposes of the project "It's and the initial phase of its work. Goldfarb says his study explores whether stations make choices "with full knowledge of the practical implications and a full knowledge of the potential of classical music."
The full study is due out in June and may provide useful pointers for US classical music stations which have been in decline over the past few years.
Reporting on the decline Current Magazine blamed a combination of low ratings and the ability of news programming to generate more income for changes that five years ago saw news eclipsing classical as the most prevalent format on public radio.
It notes a Minnesota Public Radio report in 2002 that said 340 stations were airing "a "very significant" amount of classical each week but that since then more and more station shave been trimming the music in favour of news.
Amongst the latest to make changes it says were WFDD-FM in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that moved to news last month because of "sagging ratings" and WETA-FM in Washington, D.C., which is to drop most of its classical output at the end of this month (See RNW Feb 12).
Some public station staff express regrets and worry that they may be seeing the end of programming of long-term value whilst others accept that needs are driving the change.
Among the latter is WFDD general manager Jay Banks, who found that classical listening hours had fallen by a quarter over two years and that listeners were switching to news outlets when the station started its classical broadcasts on weekday mornings. The station introduced a new schedule that keeps classical on weeknight evenings plus opera and local classical performances at weekends but replaces its locally produced weekday classical output with news programming. "My only regret is that we did not move sooner," he told the magazine.
In Michigan Hal Prentice, manager of music programming at WKAR-FM in East Lansing, commented, "Classical music on the radio is an endangered species to a certain degree How I feel about that personally is one thing. How I look at that in purely radio terms is another... You can still do quality programming and not do classical music."
More concerned was John Montanari, music director at WFCR-FM in Amherst, Massachusetts, who commented, "I'm very concerned that a generation moving into public radio management and staffing is tossing away something of durable value-I wouldn't say casually, but a little bit more cold-heartedly than I think is justified. I might in my darker moments even refer to it as baby-boomer triumphalism at work."
Before changing formats some stations are keeping classical but changing their approach following studies conducted by the Public Radio Program Directors Association that found classical listeners regarding non-musical material as clutter and saying they connected to classical music on an "emotional level."
The response in some cases has been to shorten breaks and be more careful about comments that might sound as if they were from a music-appreciation class.
AMPR president Karen Walker, who is music director at KBIA-FM in Columbia, Missouri, said announcers should refrain from comments such as, "'As you know, Mozart wrote 41 symphonies'-because they might not, and that's a real turnoff."
There's also the matter of the music itself and Montanari recommends that faltering classical stations review their musical selections and comments of some stations' playlists, "I'm sometimes puzzled as to why I see programming that's filled with sort of inconsequential and second-rank performances-not timely, not fresh, not focusing on . . . what's happening in their market. Before a station should depart from the format, it should consider improving what they do."
Current Magazine report:
AMPR meeting agenda:
2005-02-21: For this week's look at print comment on radio, we start with the issue of free speech from two different perspectives, one of what it has mean in the absence of the now-discarded Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "Fairness Doctrine" for much US talk radio and the issue as far as speech that is still regulated-broadcast indecency - is concerned.
Commenting on US talk radio was Luther Keith of the Detroit News, writing in the context of "the arrival of two networks with proselytizing intentions -- Christian conservative talk show oriented Salem Communications WDTK 1400-AM, formerly WQBH, and liberal-laced Air America Radio's WDTW 1310-AM, which bills itself as Detroit's Progressive Talk Radio, a "radio station with a different point of view."
Keith wrote of talk radio - well nationally syndicated talk as opposed to "most local radio talk shows, which tend to offer a more balanced mix of news and views" - in terms of listening to "America at War."
"It is a war," he wrote, "of 'lefties' against 'righties,' 'blue states' against 'red states,' conservatives against liberals -- or progressives as more of them are saying -- a war of ideas and words, a war of factions who rally to virtually every move and policy of President Bush and those who oppose them with equal fervor.
"It is a war of Republicans and Democrats and the minions who support them It is a war where the opposition is routinely branded as liars, godless or immoral, and yes -- even un-American."
"It is a war where almost every conspiracy theory is nourished, where no verbal barrage is too over the top, where parody, ridicule and self-serving statistics compete with truth and fact. It is meant to win your heart and your vote. It is not meant to be objective."
Compared to that reading it might seem that in a rational country - actually perhaps the above inherently indicated the US is being pushed towards being an irrational one -a brief glance of a covered nipple or the use of words with a sexual connotation in the wrong context would be brushed over without much outrage but that is not the case as Aaron Barnhart commented in the Kansas City Star in a column on outgoing FCC chairman Michael K. Powell.
The headline - "A legacy of chaos and silliness - Outgoing FCC chairman's reign will be defined by Nipplegate response" sets the tenor for the article, which begins by noting the different expectations of Powell when he took office -he "had won First Amendment awards for his outspoken defence of broadcasters' rights" - and now, as he prepares to leave -" Powell has sown nothing but chaos and silliness since last year's wardrobe incident at the Super Bowl, when he decided to become the 21st century's answer to Thomas Bowdler, the 18th-century English physician who published an edition of Shakespeare from which, he wrote, he had excised "every thing that could give just offence to the religious and virtuous mind."
"If there is one area of communications policy long overdue for review," comments Barnhart, "it's the broadcast indecency code, a bizarrely conflicting tangle of laws on media speech that have not changed significantly since the Carter administration But doing that would have landed Powell in the middle of a very public and contentious debate over what exactly constitutes indecency, a matter on which the FCC's rulings have been just slightly more predictable than coin flips."
"Powell, who ignored his critics when he wasn't belittling them, never had the stomach for that fight."
Barnhart notes that "no one in Congress" is going anywhere the definition either and comments of the existing statute - "language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities or organs" - that "language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory activities or organs."
He then goes on to give a number of examples, brings up the suggestion of extending the regulation to subscription services - noting that even if this were done streamed video would still escape regulation - and notes that other concerns felt by many to be more important than broadcast indecency.
He quotes former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson as citing the example of advertisement, at one time subject to regulation by the FCC, and saying of this, now a matter for the Federal Trade Commission, "So the FCC steps back, as though from a rattlesnake, and says, 'Oh, no, we have the FTC to regulate commercials.' "
"Well, we also have a Department of Justice that has indecency laws on the books. When I was a commissioner I always said to the others, 'Hey, if you have any problems with indecency, why don't you refer it to Justice and see what they think?' It's just rife with hypocrisy."
And from the libertarian point of view, Adam Thierer, a telecommunications analyst for the Cato Institute says of the inundation of news, information, and entertainment in today's America, " that is not a curse. It's a blessing. But it does have some side effects. Some mature and even disturbing material will be released in public and be overheard by children. But that is why parents need to sit down with children. That's a tough conversation I think most parents don't want to have. It's part of the maturing of a society. And we don't have any choice anymore but to do it."
Barnhart then ends by quoting Michael Powell of yore - a comment made in 2001 - "It is better to tolerate the abuses on the margins than to invite the government to interfere with the cherished First Amendment."
North of the border, where regulation is significantly stronger than in the US, one of the best known radio hosts in British Columbia is veteran Vancouver host Rafe Mair, ousted from CKNW -AM in 2003 (See RNW Jun 11, 2003) but now back on air - with CKBD -AM for whom he has helped give a 40% audience increase - and subject of comment by Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Connelly writes of Mair, "Radio talk-show hosts in the United States preen about how they are champions of 'the little guy.' The irascible 73-year-old Mair is the real thing. He has spent a quarter-century as a burr in the hide of the Great White North's establishment. He is a genuine Northwest character who takes on exploiters and all who look down their noses at our neck of the woods."
Mair, who just happens to have recently published a memoir, was a politician before he moved to radio, holding cabinet posts in the provincial legislature first as consumer affairs then as environment minister - and takes pride for his part in exposing a political fix that would halve allowed Alcan to divert up to four fifths of the flow of the Nechako River, a significant breeding ground for sockeye salmon.
He's still a fly fisherman and is still campaigning for the salmon, currently against fish farms because of the spread from the salmon pens to native fish of sea lice: He's also still maintaining his bite although so far with his new employer hasn't been as blunt about colleagues as he once was at CKNW when he signed off his show with the words, "Coming up on the Bill Good Show is Finance Minister Paul Martin, who hasn't the guts to come on this show but prefers nice easy questions."
We wonder how he'd have introduced almost anybody who's interviewed President Bush?
And finally before moving on to listening suggestions, a note of approval from Canada for satellite radio, courtesy of Peter Wilson of CanWest that we spotted in the Edmonton Journal.
He'd been trying out the service using equipment on loan from Canadian Satellite Radio, the consortium including XM, and said he intends to become a subscriber to satellite assuming regulatory authority is forthcoming.
Of wider interest than Canada were two sections of his report, once concerning the equipment used, and the other his reactions to what he heard.
For the first he used a somewhat jury-rig of a system and "plonked a heavily magnetized black satellite antenna -- about the size of chestnut -- on the top of my car, ran a wire from it through a window to the receiver. Then I plugged the receiver into my cigarette lighter for power Following that, I used the cassette deck of my radio to make the final connection -- not ideal for good sound, but it worked well enough for me."
Full installation and change of existing systems, it would seem, is not essential.
Then the listening and Wilson commented, "At first, mesmerized by the great sound, I didn't switch away from the satellite signal to other stations. The music was just that good and I'm just that lazy. After a few days, though, I found myself craving local news and current-affairs content and switched over. I did not -- likely because of my advanced age -- switch to local music stations This may or may not be a sign of things to come in the local radio market once satellite, admittedly a niche service to begin with, arrives "
Mair it would seem is safe but maybe music stations had better look out.
On to listening and our first suggestion, which is right up to date in a sense although it is about a trial from 25 years ago in the BBC Radio 4 Friday Play slot.
In the "The Third Soldier Holds His Thighs" Mark Lawson's drama-documentary examines the private prosecution brought against Michael Bogdanov, director of Howard Brenton's play "The Romans in Britain" that was staged at Britain's National Theatre in 1980.
Morality crusader Mrs Mary Whitehouse chose to bring a private prosecution under the 1956 Sexual Offences Act over a scene in the play that depicted anal rape of a young Celtic man by Roman soldiers (Shadows of Abu Ghraib?).
The prosecution was withdrawn in the end, costing Whitehouse some GBP 14,000
The production would seem to be extremely timely in view of the current climate regarding broadcast indecency in the US, violent demonstrations by Sikhs against a Birmingham theatre that in December last year led it to cancel its run of the play Behzti that included a rape in a Sikh temple, the campaign against the BBC by Christian groups over the TV broadcast of Jerry Springer: The Opera and controversy over this year's productions by the National Theatre that are to include a new piece by Brenton about the life of St Paul that is unlikely to please some Christians.
BBC Radio 3's Sunday Feature yesterday, with the second ot its "Europe of the Mind" series that provided a different perspective on the middle ages in Europe to the normal perception of interminable war and the Black Death: medieval historian Miri Rubin argues that this period saw the birth of modern Europe.
Also providing a different perspective on European history - or rather folklore - was Losing the Children on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday: The programme took a look at the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamlin (Hameln) and his legendary abductionof the town's children in 1284, its power and resonance over the centuries and the way in which it was embellished in the 16th century with the addition of the line that this was in revenge for not being paid to lead a plague of rats from the town.
Also from Radio 4 in the preceding Saturday Play slot was "Life Assurance", a look at an early case of serial murder - in this case in a poor area of Liverpool - and the sensational 1884 trial of Margaret Higgins and her sister Catherine Flanagan for the poisoning with arsenic of the former's husband Thomas to gain insurance money. Although charges were not brought in their cases, three more bodies that had been exhumed were found to contain arsenic and there were rumours of a number of other killings- a Home Office memorandum at the time said," It is certain that the prisoners had committed several other similar murders and there is reason to believe that crime of this kind is far from rare. " The sisters were hanged
Poetry now and the start of a new 12-part series on BBC Radio 4, a "Map of British Poetry" in which Britain's Poet Laureate Andrew Motion presents an exploration of the landscapes of British poetry from its earliest days to the present. The first programme, from last Sunday is on the web site and will be repeated next Saturday at 23:30 GMT.
Then music and from BBC Radio 2 at 21:30 GMTon Friday this week is the second semi-final of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist of 2005 competition: The first semi-final from last Friday is on the web site until then.
Also with young musicians, BBC Radio 3's Performance on 3 on Sunday was highlights of semi-finals of the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year.
Then documentary and BBC Radio 4 again at 11:00 GMT today for "PyongYang Express", the first of a two-part series on a "bizarre holiday" in North Korea.
Moving to politics and history but in area that has up to date connotations: The Long View at 09:00 GMT tomorrow on BBC Radio 4 looks back at the case that led to Winston Churchill's government dropping ID cards in 1950 and debates the necessity for them then and today.
Then politics, crime and sport in BBC World Service's "Sports International" slot on Thursday (First run 10:05 GMT) with "Boxing and the Mob", the content of which is fairly obvious in principle if not detail.
And finally a topic of interest and significance to anyone interested in broadcast media in last week's Media Watch on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National. It included features on the future of the BBC and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA, the new Australian super media regulator that will encompass broadcasting and take over the role of the Australian Broadcasting Authority later this year.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Media Report site:
Detroit News - Keith:
Edmonton Journal - Wilson:
Kansas City Star - Barnhart:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Connelly:
2005-02-21: Howard Stern could be in for an interesting week according to a report in the New York Post that quoted a regular guest on his show, New York gossip journalist Chaunce Hayden, as saying he had received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission to testify on Wednesday at a hearing into possible inside-trading in Sirius Satellite Radio stock ahead of Stern's announcement in October last year (See RNW Oct 7, 2004) that he had signed a five-year deal with Sirius.
Sirius stock had already risen by around 40% on rumours preceding the announcement and jumped a further 15% after it and the suggestion is that stock may have been purchased in advance of the announcement on the basis of an anticipated rise in its price.
Sirius has said that nobody from its organization has received a subpoena and in a statement said," We have no reason to believe this matter involves Sirius or any actions of its officers, directors or employees."
He commented that Hayden said that when he himself had interviewed for a job at Sirius, he had asked if the satellite radio system was going to hire Stern rivals Opie and Anthony and the interviewer had told him, "We're holding out for Howard Stern."
New York Post report:
2005-02-21: Further speculation has arisen in Scotland about the future of former BBC Scotland lunchtime host Lesley Riddoch who left the station just before Christmas last year after a row over her plans to produce the show through her own company.
The former Lesley Riddoch Show has been re-named Twelve to Two and is and hosted by Alex Bell and Dave Johnstone: It had been understood that this was a temporary measure until a deal had been agreed with Riddoch to produce a new show, which would probably only run for an hour, but doubt was thrown over the return last weekend in comments made by the new head of radio for BBC Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, in an interview with the Glasgow Sunday Herald (See RNW Feb 16).
Although Riddoch's company is still going ahead with the production of a one-hour pilot show, Zycinski is reported to have told BBC radio staff in Edinburgh that Riddoch would not be returning to the lunchtime slot in the near future.
He subsequently issued a statement saying, "I am still keen to have Lesley back on Radio Scotland and we are looking at all ways to achieve that quickly. "Meantime, I am looking at a new format for lunchtime involving our news teams in Glasgow and arts team in Edinburgh."
Riddoch told the Glasgow Herald she was not aware of any such plans, saying, "If the BBC has an idea about a lunchtime slot which doesn't include me that is news to me" but later confirmed Zycinski had sent her an e-mail, part of which read: "...we are still discussing programme options. You may return to the lunchtime slot in the autumn or come back sooner in an alternative slot."
Riddoch said: "What he wants to discuss about other slots we hadn't known about. It has changed from June to the autumn and he is wanting to talk about other slots too."
Glasgow Herald report:
2005-02-21: A Melbourne agency has won the second round of the Australian radio advertising "Siren Awards" introduced last year: The inaugural award was also won by a Melbourne team.
This round's winners, adjudged by the previous winners Ben Coulson and Josh Stephens from the George Patterson Bates agency, were writer Christine Isaac and art director Tony Leishman from The Campaign Palace for their commercial "Harry" for Jeans West.
Coulson said the advert, which won the Single Category, was "simple and engaging, came from the product and stayed funny until the end It's up there with the best."
"High panting is a real problem in the fashion world. Harry High Pants isn't just funny and engaging - it's relevant to the brand's positioning. It fits best," added Stephens.
The round two Campaign Category was won by Rob Sharples from Sydney's Austereo Creative Team for his three 30-second commercials for City Gym, called "LipSync".
The Sirens are being awarded every two months and the annual winner will be automatically entered in the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival that this year, its 52nd, is offering a radio award for the first time.
Previous Siren Awards:
2005-02-20: The main regulator-related news last week was the vote in the US House of Representatives to raise penalties for indecent broadcasts from their current maximum of USD 32.500 to USD 500,00 (See RNW Feb 17): Elsewhere it was a matter of more routine work.
There was nothing from Australia but in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was fairly busy with radio work and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) ruled against a Toronto station over what it called the "gratuitous use" of an F-word (See RNW Feb 18).
CRTC radio decisions included (In order of province):
*Approval for the fifth time, this time until October 25, this year of extension of the time limit for commencement of operations of low-power Type B FM native radio programming undertaking to serve Opaskwayak Cree Nation near The Pas.
*Denial of addition of 50 watts FM transmitter at Kingston for CFFX-AM, Kingston, to rectify reception problems in the downtown core. The application was opposed by CIKR-FM Kingston, which said its tests failed to show any signal problems other than those experienced by all broadcasters in such an environment. The Commission in denying the application noted that CFFX licensee Corus had not produced professional engineering test results to validate its position, that two of the areas of concern identified by Corus are located outside of the primary contour of the proposed transmitter, and that there were only three available LPFM frequencies for the area not around ten as had been suggested.
*Approval of new adult contemporary 3,800 watts commercial English-language FM in Port Elgin for Bayshore Broadcasting. Among Bayshore's other stations are CFOS-AM, Owen Sound, and its transmitter CFPS-AM, Port Elgin. Bayshore indicated that, if its FM application for Port Elgin were approved, it would cease the operation of CFPS.
*Approval in part of application for new 5,660 watts English-language adult classic hits FM in Kincardine with a 1,670 watts transmitter in Goderich and 1,620 watts transmitter in Port Elgin.
The frequency proposed for the Port Elgin transmitter was the same as that approved for Bayshore so a new suitable alternative has to proposed for this element of the application.
*Approval of extension until August 31 this year of deadline for commencement of operation of transitional digital radio undertaking associated with CIWW-AM, Ottawa.
*Approval of extension until August 31 this year of deadline for commencement of operation of transitional digital radio undertaking associated with CISS-FM (formerly CKBY-FM), Ottawa.
*Approval of extension until August 31 this year of deadline for commencement of operation of transitional digital radio undertaking associated with CHEZ-FM, Ottawa.
*Administrative short-term renewal until 30 June 2005 of the licences of CJGO-FM, La Sarre; CHGO-FM, Val-d'Or and its transmitter CHGO-FM-1, Rouyn-Noranda; and CHOA-FM, Rouyn-Noranda and its transmitters CHOA-FM-1, Val-d'Or and CHOA-FM-2, La Sarre. The CRTC noted that it will not be able to rule on these applications before the current licences expire at the end of this month.
*Approval of application to change the contours of CJLR-FM, La Ronge, by increasing the power from 50 watts to 216 watts and the antenna height from 21 metres to 46 metres. This will change the service from a low-power unprotected one to a regular class A1 FM station.
*Approval of application to change the contours of CJLR-FM's transmitter CJLR-FM-3, Prince Albert, by increasing the effective radiated power from 50 watts to 249 watts, and by decreasing the antenna height from 40 metres to 21 metres. This will again change the station status from a low-power unprotected service to a regular class A1 FM station.
The commission also issued a number of public notices including:
*Application to broadcast predominantly Vietnamese-language programming by CFIE-FM, Toronto, using a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel. Deadline for inventions is March 22.
Application to convert CHAT -AM, Medicine Hat from the AM band to FM and to simulcast the signals of the two stations for three months: The new station would retain CHAT's country format and have a power of 100,000 watts. The deadline for interventions is March 24.
Application to convert CHOR -AM, Summerland from the AM band to FM and to simulcast the signals of the two stations for three months: The new station would retain CHAT's country format and have a power of 250 watts. The deadline for interventions is March 24.
RNW note: An application in April last year to convert the station to a 5,000 watts adult contemporary station with its antenna on placed on the same tower as that of CJMG-FM, Penticton, was refused because of the impact on other stations from its greater coverage area. The commission said at the time it considered that an FM station designed to replace CHOR should have a coverage area that more closely duplicates that of CHOR's current signal.
The CRTC also noted the withdrawals of applications, to be considered at a public meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, on February 28, for a new English-language commercial FM in Kamloops, British Columbia, and for an English-language commercial GM at Perth, Ontario.
The latter is to be re-scheduled for a later date.
In Ireland there were no licence decisions but the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) is involved in the release of Irish ratings which last week showed an increased reach for radio in 2004 (See RNW Feb 18).
In the UK, Ofcom has announced the award of the Kidderminster to ACE-FM (See RNW Feb 18) and also announced that it had received 192 applications for community licences (See RNW Feb 19).
It has also posted details of the applications for the Banbury and Manchester licences (See RNW Feb 11) and published the basis on which last month it awarded the Ashford licence to KM-FM (See RNW Jan 21).
It said that it believed the winning bid "offered the best chance of providing Ashford with a financially secure and well-resourced local radio service" and cited the benefits of the majority stake held by the Kent Messenger Group, and the relatively low cost base for the service "through utilising a considerable amount of resource sharing with neighbouring KM-FM stations and the Ashford offices of the Kentish Express newspaper."
In the US the main regulatory-related news was the 389 to 38 vote in favour of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 that would increase Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadcast indecency penalties from their current maximum of USD 32,500 per violation to USD 500,000, a sum that would apply to broadcasters and performers.
The FCC also announced that it was prepared to grant 33 more construction permits related to a further 15 winning bids in its FM Auction 37 following receipt of final payments, which are due by March 7.
The stations involved are in Alaska, American Samoa, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington State, Wisconsin, Wyoming and follow earlier announcements about CPs for 15 stations (See RNW Licence News Feb 13) and 18 stations (See RNW Licence News Feb 6).
In Florida, the FCC reduced the penalty for using an unauthorized citizens band radio imposed on Tommy Salter of Jacksonville from USD 10,000 to USD 500 based on his inability to pay. Salter, who asserts he is retired and living on Social Security and fixed retirement benefits, provided copies of his tax returns to support his claim. The Commission did not accept his contention that his violations were not wilful, because he did not intend to violate the Rules.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-02-20: Friction is continuing at Emmis's Hot-97 (WQHT-FM) in New York where Minya Oh (Miss Info), the only member of the "Miss Jones in the Morning " show who was not suspended or fired following the row over the tsunami song parody of "We Are the World" that led to widespread protests, had still not returned to the show at the end of the week.
She says the station is now threatening to fire her according to the New York Daily News.
During an on-air exchange before the song was aired Miss Info disassociated herself from the song and was abused for her action by Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones), who commented "You think you're superior because you're Asian" and by co-host Todd Lynn who later spoke of "shooting some Asians."
Lynn and producer Rick Delgado were fired after an initial suspension of the team except for Miss Info failed to quell protests and it was announced that the others would be suspended for two weeks with their salaries going to tsunami relief: Emmis also announced a corporate USD 1 million donation (See RNW Feb 3).
Miss Info, however, did not return when the others went back on air (See RNW Feb 13) and her attorney Ken Thompson told the Daily News she felt she could no longer work there comfortably.
He added that she "wants very much to go back," but can't work with show host Miss Jones" because of the way Miss Jones has treated her" and said WQHT had offered his several alternative slots, including a weekend entertainment segment, but they were "unacceptable demotions."
Miss Info said the station had also forbidden her to talk about the matter if she returned to the show.
"I feel I owe that to the listeners," said Miss Info, who did the "Celebrity Drama" gossip segment on the morning show. "This is a huge thing. The world is watching. I can't go back on if I can't address what happened."
Emmis said it would "love to have [Miss Info] back. ... But we haven't been able to get an answer on whether she's coming back."
RNW comment: We rather think here that Miss Info may overplay her hand: Emmis obviously thinks its show would suffer in the ratings if it were to dump Miss Jones and equally obviously it would seem that Miss Info's departure wouldn't have much effect in audience terms although it might spur a new round of protests.
The real question therefore is at what stage Miss Info folds her hand having got the maximum she can - and that's what we assume she wants since if it's just to put her viewpoint we're sure there area large number of stations in New York that would air an interview and newspapers that would equally print a letter or an interview.
There's no perfect way out of a mess like this but we can't see any way Miss Info or anyone at WQHT will gain from this matter being spun out much longer.
New York Daily News report:
2005-02-20: Following an announcement of a 24-hour delay (See RNW Feb 18) the launch of the XM-3 satellite that was due to have taken place on February 17 has been postponed further because of what sea launch term "strong sea currents at the launch site."
Launch company Sea Launch says the "satellite and the launch vehicle are healthy and have been moved back into the hangar until these conditions improve" and it will advise a new launch date after additional daily monitoring of conditions.
2005-02-19: Chicago gospel radio WGRB-AM ("Gospel Radio 1390") PD and afternoon host Sandra Robinson has been fired by Clear Channel following suggestions of payola that came as the New York State Attorney General's office served subpoenas on Clear Channel, Entercom and Infinity in connection with its investigation into music industry promotion practices.
Clear Channel in a statement in relation to the subpoena said it was "cooperating fully with the investigation into the industry's use of independent promoters and associated allegations of pay for play" and noted that in April 2003 it "voluntarily severed all ties with independent promoters to avoid even the appearance of impropriety." (See RNW April 10, 2004).
It added that it was confident "the investigation will show the company is in full compliance with the law."
So far we have not seen any statements or reactions by Entercom of Infinity.
Clear Channel is also said to have reminded all of its programming staff in an internal e-mail that it will not tolerate practices that could be considered payola and also that they have been required to "swear in writing" both that they have not been engaged in payola and that they understand the company's prohibition of it.
According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times, the suggestions of Robinson's involvement are said to have come to light whilst she was off for medical reasons. Robinson also hosted a weekly gospel music show for the station.
Feder reported that insiders say a call to the station asking why a song hadn't been played prompted an investigation and allegations that payments had been made to guarantee airplay. Robinson's husband, Nelson, reports Feder, is an independent record promoter associated with Connected Productions, which represents gospel music labels and he quoted John Gehron, regional vice president of Clear Channel Radio, as saying, "Payola is absolutely prohibited, and we have strict enforcement policies to prevent it. We take these matters very seriously and have terminated the employee in question."
Robinson began her Chicago radio career in the early 1980s and hosted a weekly gospel music show at WVAZ-FM before joining WRGB as program director in 1999. Feder says a leading candidate to replace her is an unrelated Robinson, Mike Robinson, the current assistant program director and music director of WEGB who has been named acting program director.
Feder also reported earlier that Chicago radio veteran John Monds, who resigned earlier in the week from Crawford Broadcasting's WSRB-FM where he was morning host, is to join Bonneville International's adult-contemporary and rhythm-and-blues hybrid WILV-FM ("Love FM") as morning host.
Monds, best known as afternoon host of "The Monds Squad" at adult urban WVAZ-FM, is to move to his new role on March 1 but will continue with WRSB until then.
Previous Clear Channel:
Feder re Monds move:
Feder re WRGB:
2005-02-19: US radio revenues in January were up 3% on a year ago according to latest figures from the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB): it says the increase came from a 2% rise in local revenues and non-spot revenues plus a 6% one in national revenues.
RAB's Radio Revenue Index that equates the pre-dot com base year 1998 to 100 was a combined 145.6 in January with the local sales index 142.8 and the national one 161.5.
Commenting on the results RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said, "Radio spearheaded several significant initiatives in 2004 that have propelled the industry to the forefront for many advertisers. This is evident in the emergence of several significant new categories for the medium. As we move through 2005, driving these programs to the next level, Radio will continue to catch the attention of new advertisers and capture a larger share of existing budgets."
Previous RAB figures (for 2004):
2005-02-19: Getting on for two-thirds of British adults are now aware of digital radio according to research conducted for the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB).
It shows that in January this year 59% of those polled, which would amount to 29 million people, said they had heard of Digital Audio Broadcasting, up from 43% a year earlier.
In France, the first hand-held DAB receiver with the facility to pause, rewind and record signals to MP3 format was displayed by Imagination Technologies at the 3GSM conference in Cannes. A number of digital audio companies attended the conference to demonstrate the growing synergy between DAB and mobile technologies.
DAB allows with only minor modification the delivery of DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) services, potentially enabling mobile devices to receive audio, data, and video services using MPEG2 and IP.
DMB services have already been launched in Korea (See RNW Dec 20, 2004) and devices are expected to be commercially available in Korea this Spring together with DMB devices from leading manufacturers such as LG, which has introduced a DMB mobile phone, and Samsung. A number of European countries are expected to start DMB trials from the second quarter of this year.
Also on show in Cannes were Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) for DAB services.
In India, WorldSpace has introduced a new satellite radio receiver, "The Diva" that can be used with existing audio systems and includes a remote control with a provision for pre-sets for up to 10 channels. WorldSpace supplies around 35 audio channels for various genres of music and also offers two Indian classic channels and five regional Indian channels.
Expatriate Indians may also soon be able to get Indian state TV, Doordishan, and All India Radio (AIR) services in much of the world if plans by their overseer, the Prasar Bharati Corporation, come to fruition. Prasar Bharati's CEO K.S. Karma was in London this month to publicise requests for a tender to deliver a bouquet of 13 TV and 12 radio channels in various languages through local carriers.
Bids will have to be in by the start of March and the Karma says the plan aims to meet a long-standing demand for the services from some 20 million Indians worldwide. The tender covers 49 countries in North America, Asia (including the Middle East and central Asia), Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Africa.
Previous All India Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2005-02-19: Austereo has reported first half year profits from July to December last year up 10.2% to AUD 39.8 million (USD 32.5 million) on sales revenues up 10.4% to AUD 133.9 million (USD 109.5 million).
EBIT was up 7% to AUD 44.6 million (USD 36.5 million) but Austereo issued a warning about competition from new stations to be launched and said that it anticipated whole-year EBIT in the range AUD 64-8 million (USD 52-6 million) compared to AUD 71.2 million (USD 58.2 million) of a year earlier.
Austereo pointed particularly to the "success of programming changes on Triple M - it re-launched its Triple M stations in Brisbane and Adelaide with a focus on a slightly older demographic to counter the threat from DMG's Nova stations - "that increased its revenues 26% and commenting on the overall ratings of the group chairman Peter Harvie said, "Audience shares came under pressure in the period, but remained clearly ahead of competitors. As at the final survey for the period*, Austereo held 23.2% of the mainland capital city 10+ market and 34.6% of the 18-39 demographic The Canberra and Newcastle joint venture stations set new record sales levels, from strong audience results."
Regarding the company's overseas operation he added, "Austereo's Malaysian venture also posted record sales and a new long term agreement was signed in December 2004. The Athens operation also returned a satisfactory result "
He concluded, "The current focus is now on accelerating the Triple M growth momentum and boosting the Today Network. Radio continues to grow as a medium of choice, for audiences and advertisers alike."
CEO Michael Anderson said that increased competition called for a strong programming and marketing response and added, "It is essential that our brand and creative leadership is sustained, through continuing investment. "
Austereo has also shifted its Today network towards hit music and Anderson said he hoped the results of this would show up in the first ratings of the year, due next week.
2005-02-19: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced that it has received 192 licences for its planned community stations, 161 of them in England, 17 in Scotland and seven each in Wales and Northern Ireland.
As well as various local community, age-grouped, ethnic and religious groups and a Glasgow application from VIP ON AIR, Europe's only radio station for blind and partially sighted people (www.viponair.com) there are a number of applications for stations at British bases such as Aldershot, Catterick, which has the largest army garrison in Europe, Colchester, and Salisbury Plain in England plus Edinburgh in Scotland and for the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), part of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC) charity, at Lisburn, Northern Ireland.
SSVC already provides services through low power AM licences at ten locations in Northern Ireland and says it would relinquish the LPAM licence for Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, should it be granted a community licence for Lisburn.
It says there is a problem of interference to the existing service from BBC medium wave services and FM trials under Restricted Service Licences (RSLs) have shown that FM produced a significant improvement, not only in listenership, but also in the desire of the audience to interact with the station.
It also says the Forces community in Lisburn is politically isolated, in circumstances which mean that no other broadcaster is able to provide the sort of 'welfare support' we will offer and that this community is unable to participate in the activities of other radio stations in the same way as they can elsewhere in the UK. The army applications also relate to improvements to existing LP-AM services.
Ofcom has also now posted the details of the 19 applications it received for the new Manchester commercial FM licence it has advertised and the three it received for the Banbury licence (See RNW Feb 11).
RNW note: As well as the range of applications there were within the community applications, all available from the Ofcom site in PDF format, we noted that in terms of file size, there was a massive variation from under 100Kb to a massive 22.8 Mb for that from Wrexham in Wales.
Ofcom web site:
Ofcom web site - commercial FM licence applications:
Ofcom web site - community licence applications:
2005-02-18: Both Entravision and Radio One Inc. have reported strong endings to 2004 in results just released.
Entravision reported final quarter revenues up 11% on a year earlier to USD 68 million with full-year revenues up 9% to USD 259 million with pro-forma net revenues, reflecting the sale of its radio assets in Fresno, California and Chicago, Illinois, during 2004, up 13% and 34%.
Net income was turned round from a loss of USD 1.27 million in the final quarter of 2003 to a positive USD 2.6 million in 2004 while for the full year profit nearly doubled from USD 2.27 million (8 cents a share) to USD 6.2 million: The net income (loss) per basic and diluted share applicable to common stockholders went from a 5 cents loss in the final quarter of 2003 to a two cents profit in 2004 and from 8 cents for full year 2003 to 9 cents for full year 2004.
Commenting on the results chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said, "We recorded strong revenue growth across our divisions during the fourth quarter and full year, with our television and radio operations continuing to outperform their respective industries. This solid top-line performance coupled with prudent cost controls translated into expanded margins and double-digit operating cash flow growth as operating leverage continues to improve. We are effectively implementing our growth strategy and building on the value of our asset base. Given our diversified footprint in the most populated and highest density Hispanic markets, we are well-positioned to further capitalize on the tremendous growth of the Hispanic population."
Radio One Inc has reported record fourth quarter 2004 results with net broadcast revenue up 3% on a year earlier to USD 79.5 million, operating income up 14% to USD 38.1 million, station operating income up 11% to USD 46.3 million and net income up 28.3% to USD 18.6 million, from USD 0.9 per diluted share to USD 0.13 per diluted share.
For the full year net broadcast revenues were up 5.5% to USD 319.8 million, operating income was up 11.2% to USD 141.3 million, and net income was up 14.5% to USD 61.6 million -USD 0.32 to USD 0.39.
Looking ahead Radio One says it expects net broadcast revenues and station operating income in the first quarter of this year to be up in low single-digits on that a year earlier: It also expects to finalize its previously announced USD 56 million cash and shares acquisition of Reach Media, the business founded by Tom Joyner and its CEO David Kantor to operate the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show and related businesses (See RNW Nov 23, 2004).
Commenting on the results, President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III said, "Radio One performed admirably in spite of the difficult radio industry environment during the fourth quarter. We grew our revenue roughly 300 basis points faster than our markets as a whole, continued to expand our margins and announced transactions that are consistent with our strategy of prudent growth in radio and diversification into complementary media.
He also noted the Reach deal and the start of broadcasts on Philadelphia stations WPZS-FM and WRNB-FM (formerly WSNJ-FM) and Houston KROI-FM (formerly KRTS-FM) and said this gave the company "a number of new stick stations that should be growth drivers for 2005."
"We continue to be excited by our business model and we think this will be a year full of opportunities to drive our near and long-term growth prospects," he concluded.
At the company's conference call, Liggins expresses some concerns over its tactic of keeping two rep firms - Interep and Katz - and said it would be taking a hard look at its set up. He commented that the company had thought it would gain by having two firms competing with each other but had found disadvantages from not having all its stations under one banner. He also expressed concern that the rep businesses weren't "great at creating new business" and suggested that in a changing world they needed to do more on this front and on pulling advertising to radio from other media.
In the rep companies' battle, Katz, which earlier this month resurrected the Eastman Radio business (See RNW Feb 8) has announced the first clients for the company. It is to handle national business for Marlin Broadcasting's WCCC- FM and sister station WTMI-AM in Hartford, Connecticut.
At its other arm, Christal Radio, it has named Brian Benedik as the new president from the end of this month to replace Tucker Flood who moved over to become president of Eastman.
In other US results, Tribune Co has reported a flat January with consolidated revenues up 0.2% on a year ago to USD 477 million but radio was a bright spot within its broadcasting and entertainments group where overall revenues were down 5.6% to USD 106 million, TV was down 5.3%, and radio/entertainments down 12% but radio within that was up 5%
And in other US broadcast business, Univision's Board has approved a USD 500 million share repurchase programme for its outstanding class A common stock. Purchases will be made as conditions warrant during the rest of this year.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2005-02-18: Southern Cross Broadcasting's Sydney 2UE hosts John Laws and Steve Price have been ordered by the New South Wales Administration Decisions Tribunal (ADT) to make on-air apologies for comments they made that were held to have vilified homosexuals and to have been "capable of inciting severe ridicule". 2UE has also been ordered to pay the complainant's legal costs.
The remarks described the male couple Gav and Wazza (Warren Sonin and Gavin Atkins) from the reality renovation program The Block as "young poofs" leading gay activist Gary Burns to complain and last year the tribunal ruled against the hosts (See RNW Nov 23, 2004).
They said at the time they would not apologise until an appeal process had concluded but now the Tribunal has ordered them to apologise on air and through advertisements in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph.
Laws reacted with defiance, telling Channel 10 TV that he was sorry if he offended anyone but "not sorry that I made the comments because they were made in good fun and in jest."
The hosts and the station are to appeal against the latest ruling and again say no apology will be made until the appeal has been concluded.
Another complaint to the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) over the matter was rejected on the grounds that comments did not breach Australia's commercial radio code of conduct.
RNW comment: As we noted in November, our view is that were an apology to be made it would simply be hypocritical and not meant. We suggested then, and still feel, a far better way of dealing with such matters would be power to order that a segment or segments of the show be handed over to complainants to make their case with rights of reply for the hosts and if need be then for the complainants again. We would much prefer to expand free speech than curtail it.
Previous Southern Cross:
2005-02-18: The president of General Motors of Canada, Michael Grimaldi, has called upon the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to approve the satellite radio plans for the country backed by Sirius and XM, a move that CHUM and Astral say would render their plan for a digital terrestrial service unviable.
Grimaldi said the satellite bids - from Canadian Satellite Radio Inc., a joint venture between entrepreneur John Bitove Jr. and XM, the partner of GM Canada's U.S. parent and Sirius Canada Inc., a partnership between the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Standard Broadcasting Inc., and Sirius - would not only allow drivers to receive radio channels but would also lead to other potential automotive advances such as the integration of on-board technologies that will eventually bring Internet and video into vehicles.
In an interview at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto Grimaldi said both satellite systems should be licensed to level the playing field between the various car companies but none of them would like to see the CHUM-Astral bid being the only one approved and added that this would put Canadian drivers at a disadvantage.
He said that for GM the option was XM or nothing but Peter Miller, senior vice-president for regulatory affairs at CHUM Ltd., told the Toronto Globe and Mail that it was not impossible that GM could eventually install receivers compatible to the CHUM technology although he wasn't surprised GM would prefer to have its partner CSR get the subscription radio licence.
RNW comment: We also think that were the demand there, the auto makers would find a way to put in receivers for whatever services are approved but suspect that in this case the market for "grey" receivers to allow Canadians to receive the US services would remove pressure on them to do this.
XM was due to have launched its XM3 satellite on a Russian Zenith-3SL rocket from the Odysseus platform in the Pacific Ocean at 03:53 GMT yesterday but the launch was put back and should be happening shortly as we write.
XM's launches have been carried out by Boeing Launch Services, which operates the Sea Launch company comprised of Ukrainian, US, Russian, Norwegian and other national enterprises.
XM's existing satellite have solar array problems that will reduce their life and last month it was given permission to launch XM-3 and XM-4 replacement satellites and move the existing ones into new orbits to act as spares (See RNW Jan 28).
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-02-18: Irish ratings figures for 2004 show an increase in the reach of radio in the country over 2003, up 1% to 87%.
The JNLR/TNS MRBI survey showed the reach for local/national stations up 1% to 55%: Leader RTÉ Radio One had a 27% listened yesterday figure, down 1; 2FM was also down 1 to 24% but Lyric FM retained 3% and Today FM added 1% to reach 15%.
In market share terms from 7a.m.-7p.m there was an overall 1% increase to 47% within which RTE Radio One's was down 1% to 24%. 2FM retained 17 Today FM was up 1% to 10% (+1) and Lyric FM was up 1% to 2%.
Amongst local stations Highland Radio was the top performer with a 69% listenership, down 1, and 61% local share, up six. It was followed by Mid West radio with 66% and 50% respectively, each down 2 point after which the listenership and share rankings diverged.
Shannonside/Northern Sound was third in listenership with 60%, up 8, followed by Limerick's Live 95FM with 56%, down 4 and WLR FM with 51%, down 3.
In market share rankings, WLR-FM was third with an unchanged 48% followed by Shannonside / Northern Sound with 46%, up 1, and Radio Kerry with an unchanged 45%.
Among Dublin's local stations the top five ranked by listened yesterday figures were FM104 with an unchanged 20%; 98 FM with 19%, down 5; Spin 1038 with 9%, plus 4; NewsTalk 106FM with 5%, up 1; and Dublin's Country 106.8FM with an unchanged 3%.
In Cork, 96 FM County Sound had 45%, down 4, and Red 104-106 FM had 14%, down 2.
Previous Irish Ratings:
2005-02-18: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that what it termed the "gratuitous" use of the word "fuck" by actor David Carradine on "The Show with Dean Blundell" on CFNY-FM in Toronto and the station's response had each breached CBSC standards.
On the show Carradine had commented after his introduction," As long as I don't say, "fuck", right?" and Blundell replied, "Oh, oh, oh, you didn't just do that, no! [Laughing]"
This led to a complaint from a listener to which CFNY's program director had initially responded by saying he had reviewed the tape of the show and had provided a transcript that did not include this part of the exchange and that concluded, "As you can see from the foregoing, at no time was foul language used in that Program."
The complainant was not satisfied and contacted the CBSC who then contacted the station and received a further reply from the program director saying that they had learned that the use of the F-word was "prior to the segment to which I thought you were originally referring You are, in fact, quite correct. It turns out that David Carradine did use the f-word. We apologize for not catching the use of the offending word. I thought you were referring to a different part of the interview and as a result completely missed the infraction. This was my error. Since we had no reason to believe that our guest-a well-known professional with a sterling reputation when it comes to dealing with the media-would use profanity, we were caught completely by surprise and had no time to react in a way that would have prevented the comment from being aired."
The CBSC panel not only found the use of "fuck" breached its rules in this case but also commented, "In this case, the broadcaster's response was a totally unjustified denial. Although the complainant pointed to the very moment in the interview when the f-word had been used, the Program Director quoted selectively from the interview and then stated, "As you can see from the foregoing, at no time was foul language used in that Program." It was only the result of the persistence of the complainant, who reaffirmed what he had heard and pointed out how even the selectively expurgated transcript bore him out, that the Program Director was forced to admit what was plainly there for anyone to hear." It ruled that the "the initial evasive response constituted a breach of the standard of responsiveness which all broadcasters are obliged, by their membership in the CBSC, to respect."
2005-02-18: Although most of the recent attention has been on the tsunami parody song aired on Emmis's Hot 97 (WQHT-FM) in New York and led to the firing of two people and suspension of three others (See RNW Feb 3), rival host Star (Troi Torain) of the Star and Buc Wild show is still not in the clear over his the abuse of a woman at an Indian call centre aired on Clear Channel's WUSL-FM (Power 99) in Philadelphia (See RNW Jan 12).
Torain, formerly with Hot 97 until fired in 2003 after allegedly disparaging advertisers on air (See RNW May 22, 2003), is now on Clear Channel's WWPR-FM (Power FM) in New York and had been gloating over the problems of his rivals.
Now New Jersey Democrat Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., founder of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, has written to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell calling for an investigation into the comments.
I am appalled by this confrontation that took place on the radio and moreover, I am particularly disturbed that a woman from India was the unfortunate victim," Pallone wrote. "Examples of the incident that took place only serve to undermine efforts to maintain strong relations between the United States and India and to perpetuate racism and hate against a community that has only strengthened the backbone of and added to the success of our nation."
He expressed support for a complaint already made, writing, "The Indian-American community in the United States is outraged by this incident and has filed a legal complaint with your agency."
"I support this complaint and respectfully urge you to review the situation immediately and enact appropriate penalties and related punitive measures against WUSL-FM."
RNW comment: We have already noted that if nothing else we doubt that Torain obtained prior permission to air the call and that this would appear to be against FCC rules. The question of course is whether the complaint brings this up since we rather doubt whether other action can be taken, as bullying bigoted misogynist racist and sexist abuse is of itself not a breach of US broadcast regulations. Now if Torain had just called himself a wanker
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Star (Troi Torain):
2005-02-18: British media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new Kidderminster commercial FM licence to ACE- FM, which is owned by MNA Broadcasting Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Midlands News Association Limited.
It won the bid against two other bids (See RNW Licence News Nov 21, 2004) and is offering a locally focused music, news and information service targeted at 25-54 year olds.
2005-02-17: The US House of Representatives has voted by 389 to 38 in favour of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 that increases broadcast indecency penalties from their current maximum of USD 32,500 per violation to USD 500,000, a sum that would apply to broadcasters and performers.
To deflate concerns about the effect on individual broadcasters an amendment was added to the bill that directs the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that a non-licensee's violation was "wilful and intentional", a clause that would act as a get out when a station airs recorded material or expletives are uttered during live events by those who do not know a microphone or camera is nearby.
The amendment directs the FCC to and is designed to protect artists whose recorded programming is aired by a station, or athletes who utter expletives during the course of live sporting events without knowing if a microphone or camera is nearby.
The legislation would also require the FCC, which in the past has had to drop some enforcement actions because of the time taken to deal with them, to act on complaints within six months, to consider breaches when stations apply to renew or modify their licences and to consider licence revocation when there have been three indecency violations.
It would also give the agency the power to require the broadcast of public service announcements but includes exemptions for network affiliates who do not know in advance what is to be broadcast.
The legislation differs from similar legislation in the Senate that would only increase maximum fines tenfold to USD 325,000, would cap a continuing violation penalty at USD 3 million, and does not include the licence revocations clause: In each house similar legislation was approved before the US elections in November last year but the two houses were unable to agree a compromise before the election and the measures fell. In the vote last year the House passed the measure by 391 to 22.
Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton, who introduced the measure, commented in a statement, "Today, we are delivering something of real value to American families," said Upton. "There must be a level of expectation when a parent turns on the TV or radio between the family hours that the content will be suitable for children. A parent should not have to think twice about the content on the public airwaves. Unfortunately, that situation is far from reality. With passage of this legislation, I am confident that broadcasters will think twice about pushing the envelope. And our kids will be better off for it. I am pleased with the passage of this bill in the House today, not only as the bill's author, but more importantly as a parent."
Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, added, "For the second time in the span of a few months, the House has passed a strong, fair bill to reclaim the broadcast airwaves for American families," and commended Upton for his work on the legislation.
The White House gave qualified support saying the move would "make broadcast television and radio more suitable for family viewing'' but adding that it looked "forward to continuing to work with the Congress to make appropriate adjustments to the language of the bill as it moves through the legislative process.''
Illinois Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky said the US should "not embrace a solution that could cause more harm than good" and added that she considered "threats to our Constitution and to artistic expression are all too real" in the Bill.
"With this bill, Congress is putting Big Brother in charge of deciding what is art and what is free speech. If enacted, especially with the increased fines against individual artists, we will see self- and actual censorship reach new, undesirable heights," added Schakowsky.
She pointed to the example of TV stations that refused to air the movie "Saving Private Ryan" in case it was deemed indecent as supporting her arguments and also complained that the bill failed to address issues of media concentration.
"I am concerned about the continuing refusal to address what is behind the decline in broadcasting - the over-concentration of media ownership," she said. "Broadcast content has been getting worse, not because of low fines and out-of-control talent, but because of the shift away from local control to ownership."
New York Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler took part of a leaf out of President Bush's book with the suggestion, also made by the President who last month in a C-Span interview commented, "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. (See RNW Jan 30)."
Nadler went much further though, saying that "like many Americans, I exercise my right not to view programming I find offensive by using that miracle of modern technology: the remote control" and suggesting that "if my colleagues are looking for obscene and indecent material, they turn off their televisions and log on to www.congress.gov."
"But the prurient puritans of this House," he added, " are not satisfied with free choice and the free market. Instead, they want the government to decide what is or is not appropriate for the public to watch or listen to.
As an example of the attitudes of some US lawmakers he noted that former member of the House had condemned NBC for airing 'Schlindler's List,' saying the Holocaust film took network television "to an all-time low, with full-frontal nudity, violence and profanity" shown during a family viewing time and noted the response of his New York Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato who commented, "To equate the nudity of Holocaust victims in the concentration camps with any sexual connotation is outrageous and offensive."
Congress," said Nadler, "has no business telling people what they can or cannot watch, what sorts of tolerance it will or it will not tolerate, or what values parents may or may not instil in their children You don't have to love indecency to oppose this bill. You only have to have faith in, and respect for, the judgment of the American people."
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) president and CEO Edward Fritts, who has set in train a search for his successor when he steps down in 2006 (see below), issued a guarded response, saying, "We understand the rationale for increasing the fines but we want to make sure that it's done in a manner that doesn't automatically jeopardize licenses arbitrarily."
2005-02-17: Chart formats, which moved from fourth to third rank, were the biggest gainers and Urban formats the biggest losers over the past year in terms of US radio station audience share by format according to the Spring 2004 report just released by Interep.
Chart formats took their share up from 9.2 to 11.2 although News/Talk/Sports formats still top the rankings with a 17% share, up from 16.9 a year earlier, followed by Spanish formats, up from third to second rank with share up from 11.0 to 11.6 according to Interep's Spring 2004 report on audience share by formats in the US.
Urban formats, second placed in Spring 2003 with a 12.8 share, dropped to fourth with 11.0 and in fifth place was adult contemporary, dropping a rank as its share fell from 9.7 to 9.2.
Filling in the top ten, country was in sixth rank, up from 8.2 to 8.5; classic rock was seventh and down from 6.2 to 5.8; New Rock remained eighth with an unchanged 4.9; Oldies remained ninth with an unchanged 4.8; and AOR was tenth with an unchanged 3.6.
Lower down Hot AC remained number 11 but took its share up from 3.0 to 3.3; Smooth Jazz remained 12th but fell back from 3.0 to 2.8; Classical remained 14th but dropped back from 1.4 to 13; contemporary Christian remained 16th but increased share from 0.8 to 0.9 and Religious remained 17th but fell back from 0.7 to 0.6.
2005-02-17: The UK Guardian, which seems to have a good line of contact with him, reports that Wireless Group Chief Executive Kelvin MacKenzie is refusing to increase his "nil-premium takeover bid" for the company and suggests it could unwind because he misread the commitment to a deal of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, a major shareholder.
Word of the offer was first reported in the UK Sunday Times, owned by News Corporation (See RNW Feb 14), saying that it had been approved by the company's board and implying that it was also supported by News Corporation and Liberty Media, which holds around 28% of the group.
Subsequently the group's non-executive independent directors, directors, Keith Sadler, Stephen Davidson and Patrick Cox, issued a statement making it clear that no agreement had been reached (See RNW Feb 15): The News Corporation and Liberty Media representatives on the board, Richard Linford and Graham Hollis have excluded themselves from discussions of any bids.
MacKenzie, a former editor of the Sun newspaper, met Murdoch and investment bankers in New York last week to sew up the buy-out deal but the Guardian says he failed to win firm agreement and quoted an unnamed source as saying, "Kelvin hasn't quite managed to square the circle and it's left him exposed. He's sweating a bit now Rupert does seem very fond of him, but 'business is business' is Rupert's maxim."
The paper quoted a News Corporation spokeswoman as saying, "We are interested in selling and we will consider the offer" but adding that it had "not signed any irrevocable undertaking."
The Wireless Group board has granted a period of exclusivity to MacKenzie until March 21 and has signed a legal undertaking that it will not solicit bids from other companies but is under no obligation to turn down unsolicited offers.
The Guardian speculates that News Corporation may be trying to increase MacKenzie's bid or flush out another bidder - shares in the group rose from 90 pence at the end of last week, the level at which the bid was set, to 94 pence on Tuesday but then fell back on Wednesday to end the day at 93.5 pence.
Tipped by the Guardian as a bidder is UK Chrysalis Group, which owns the Heart and Galaxy networks plus the LBC stations in London.
RNW comment: This story, like so many involving MacKenzie, seems to potentially involve a significant amount of bluff and bluster. It may be that he was trying to keep out other bidders by giving the impression he had things sewn up or to force the hands of the major shareholders - a dangerous game to play with the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Liberty's principal John Malone.
It may be that he thought he did have a firm deal but if so, obviously didn't get things in writing.
We can't see a nil-premium - in fact now below-par - bid getting through but will be interested to see how things progress.
Whatever happens MacKenzie, who owns around 7% of the company, stands to end up with around GBP 7 million (USD 13 million) on paper should his bid go through, in which case he presumably keeps his job, or possibly with rather more but no job should someone else take the company from under him.
In other UK radio business SMG will be treading water for a while as Lord Alli, backed by venture capitalists 3i, talks to major shareholders about his GBP 100 million (USD 188 million) bid for Virgin Radio (See RNW Feb 12).
Crucial to the outcome is likely to be the Fidelity Fund, which owns around 10% of SMG and also 11.5% of ITV, which in turn owns 17% of SMG.
Fidelity fund manager Anthony Bolton is credited with ousting Michael Green as chairman-designate of ITV plc in 2003 and his group's funds have a potential conflict of interest in that the interests of SMG and ITV may come to diverge significantly.
ITV would be a potential buyer of SMG's Scottish TV and Grampian TV franchises and would obviously benefit from a low price for these whilst SMG's interests would dictate a high one.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2005-02-17: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is to hire an executive search firm to identify potential candidates to head the organization following an announcement by outgoing President and C.E.O. Edward Fritts, who has been in the post since 1982, that he thought it should start on the process of finding his successor.
Fritts, who is 64, has a contract until April next year and will continue with NAB as a consultant after then.
The search committee to identify his successor is to be chaired by NAB Joint Board Chairman Philip Lombardo, CEO of Citadel and Immediate Past Joint Board Chair David Kennedy, president and CEO of Susquehanna.
Lombardo said of Fritts that he "has had a remarkably effective career in Washington" and Kennedy said he would be "a tough act to follow."
Amongst the successes touted in the NAB news release were the passage of the 1992 Cable Act, in which broadcasters successfully won must-carry/retransmission consent rights, of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and of legislation that rolled back the low-power FM initiative by retaining third adjacent-channel protection, elimination of the FCC Fairness Doctrine that required broadcasters to air both side of a controversial issue and blocking government-mandated free airtime for politicians.
Fritts told the Board that NAB's most important accomplishments have been the result of an industry that speaks with a single, unified voice and also said broadcasting's success was tied to its commitment to localism, adding, "I am confident that as long as localism remains our unique franchise, our industry will be well-positioned as we look to the future."
The NAB has also attacked the study led by the Norman Lear Center at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California that was cited by Arizona Sen. John McCain in his introduction of the "Localism in Broadcasting Reform Act of 2005" that would reduce the license term for broadcasters from eight years to three years and also require the full Commission to review five percent of all license and renewal applications, and would command broadcasters to post on their Internet sites information detailing their commitment to local public affairs programming.
McCain had said of his proposal that he felt it was "a step in the right direction", adding, "It will have a small impact on those stations that are currently meeting their public interest obligations, but it should have a large impact on those citizens whose local broadcaster is not meeting its obligation to serve the local community."
Describing the Lear Center report as "disappointing because its findings are clearly slanted to fall in line with the authors' predetermined conclusions" the NAB said that researchers had only looked at the election coverage of 11 from 210 local TV markets, terming this "hardly a representative sampling" and also slamming the report for restricting itself to political coverage carried in the evening and excluding Sunday morning talk show coverage.
It also commented that the report lamented lack of cover of many local elections for the House when many of these are not even "remotely competitive" and noted that the most recent poll, carried out in October last year by Wirthlin Worldwide with a sample of 1,001 citizens found that 89% of Americans believe local broadcasters provide "about the right amount" or "too much time" covering elections.
RNW comment: Here goes NAB again proving its double standards: Surveying 11 of 210 markets - little above 5% - is termed "hardly representative", something that may or may not be so depending upon the methods used to make the sample representative. On the other hand a survey of 1001 citizens - from just fewer than 300 million ( 3/10,00 of a %) - is worth citing because it fits with NAB's line. We wonder how anyone with an IQ that can be measured can take this organization, as opposed to the clout of its members, at all seriously.
As for the success of the Fritt years, from the broadcasting bean-counters points of view we can see most of the above as unalloyed successes but from the perspective of a truly democratic America many of them could probably be gainfully revoked.
Certainly many thoughtful Americans remain concerned about the media concentration that followed the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the elimination of hundreds if not thousands of LPFM stations on the basis of complaints of potential interference that have been rejected by studies carried out for the FCC, and the changes to the nature of US politics that followed the growth of ranting talk hosts preaching to the converted and the need for a massive bankroll to run for election. Only a snake-oil salesman we suggest should really be that proud of these achievements and we rather hope that the tide turns against such people some time soon.
2005-02-17: Highlighting top ten market response rates, Arbitron has said that response rates for its Fall 2004 survey have shown its best performance since 2000 although overall the average response rate - the percentage of those eligible who returned a usable diary -dropped 0.2% from a year earlier to 32.9%: The overall return rate -those who returned a usable diary - was up 0.5 to 56.6% but the consent rate - those who agreed to take part - was down 0.6 to 57.6%.
In the top ten markets results were better with the response rate up 1.6 to 29.5%, the consent rate up 1.2 to 52.9% and the return rate up 1.3 to 55.2%.
In the top 25 markets there were also increases all round - of 1.0 to 29.7, 0.9 to 52.3 and 1.2 to 55.4%- with a lower all-round increase in markets 26-50 - of 0.8 to 29.6, 0.3 to 53.4 and 1.2 to 53.6.
Below that there was a slide with an 0.3 drop in consent rates in markets 51-100 more than countered by an 0.8 increase in return rate to take the response rate up 0.2 to 39 and then a further slide in markets 101 to 293 where a 1.1 fall in consent rate outweighed an 0.2 increase in return rate to put response rate down 0.7 to 54.2%.
Part of the improvement was put down to continuing pre-placement and follow-up efforts that were introduced in 20 targeted low-response metros in Spring 2004: In these markets response rates were up 2.7 on Fall 2003 to 29.1%.
Arbitron is continuing the effort for the Winter 2005 survey for which it plans to send a letter and a two-dollar premium to New York and Los Angeles households that initially refuse to participate while in the early stages of the survey recruitment process. It is also to expand the 20 "low response" markets used for its five-dollar "Thank You" premium to an additional 10 markets.
2005-02-16: In more US radio results, Regent has reported a record 2004 with net income more than doubling for the full year - up from USD 5.7 million (12 cents a chare) in 2003 to USD 13.2 million (29 cents a share) and increasing by two-thirds in the final quarter of 2004 to USD 2.5 million (6 cents a share) from USD 1.5 million (3 cents a share) in the final quarter of 2003.
Regent notes that the figures for the quarter would have been USD 1.7 million excluding an amortization charge related to the acquisition of five Bloomington, Illinois, stations from Citadel in a cash and swap deal: Regent got Citadel's five Bloomington stations in exchange for around USD 37 million in cash plus six of its Pennsylvania stations, four in Erie and two in the Lancaster-Reading market.
Net broadcast revenues were up 15.1% to USD 84.2 million for the full year and up 14.9% to USD 22.1 million with station operating income but station operating expenses increases were held down to lower levels of 8.4% for the year and 6% for the final quarter.
Same station revenues for the quarter excluding barter revenues were up 5.4% to USD 19.2 million and pro-forma revenues, which include stations operated under a time brokerage agreement, were up 3.9% to USD 22.1 million for the quarter and up 4.8% for the year to USD 84.7 million.
Commenting on the performance Regent chairman and CEO Terry Jacobs said, "We ended 2004 with a strong fourth quarter. We delivered same-station revenue and same-station operating income growth of 5.4% and 14.7%, respectively... Middle and small-market radio is alive and well, and our results underscore the growth of these attractive markets."
"2004 was a success strategically, operationally and financially. We upgraded our station group and improved our presence in key middle-markets. We experienced growth and progress in our developing stations, launched new local radio brands and began the process of converting our stations to the new digital technology, all of which improve our competitive position in the market place Our 2004 financial results were the best in the company's history, significantly outperforming the industry. We look forward to an even better year in 2005."
2005-02-16: According to the UK Guardian, BBC Radio Five Live late-night host and former BBC Radio 1 controller Matthew Bannister has told the Radio Five controller Bob Shennan that he will be unable to continue with the show following the death from cancer of his wife Shelagh Macleod, the former Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for EMI records.
Bannister, says the paper, has told Shennan that, although he is keen to remain with the station, he needs to be free in the evenings to look after their youngest child, Joseph, who is 14: The couple also have a daughter, Jessica.
So far there has been no announcement on the Five Live web site, which currently notes that Bannister is on compassionate leave: Anita Anand is filling in for him in the 22:00 to 01:00 slot.
Bannister began his radio career with the BBC as a trainee reporter at BBC Radio Nottingham.
As well as his BBC career, Bannister worked for Capital Radio for two spells, first as a reporter, then as Head of News and Talks. At the BBC as well as his spell he ran the former GLR from 1988 to 1991 and was Radio 1 controller from 1993 to 1998: He was also Chief Executive of Production, Director of Radio and Director of Marketing and Communication.
Separately, Radio Five Live has announced that Olympic silver medallist and former javelin world record holder Steve Backley is to join it as an athletics commentator from Friday this week. His first commentary will be from the first major event of the season, the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham.
UK Guardian report:
2005-02-16: Miami's rock radio shortfall left when Clear Channel last week's switched active rock WZTA-FM (Zeta) to Spanish language Mega (See RNW Feb 12) didn't last long: Cox has jumped in to fill the gap by switching to active rock its Dance WPYM-FM (Party 93.1), the former classical WTMI-FM that it bought in 2001 and changed to dance a year later (See RNW Jan 4, 2002). It's promoting itself as 93-Rock and is applying to change its call letters.
Station general manager Michael Disney told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "When Zeta dropped out, that hole was too big to ignore"
He said of the former format the problem wasn't so much that people didn't want to listen but "they didn't listen as long as we liked."
Of music events and concerts that Party 93.1 had promoted for the next few months he said no decisions had yet been made although there were obvious difficulties.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel report:
2005-02-16: According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times, Crawford Broadcasting's urban-contemporary WPWX-FM (Power 92) is planning to drop morning hosts DaVante Stone and Courtney Hicks and replace them with Sam Sylk, currently afternoon host on Clear Channel's WGCI-FM.
Feder says the plan is outlined in a confidential memo from program director Jay Alan to Donald Crawford, owner of Crawford Broadcasting that says of the current morning show, "I just don't see any light at the end of the tunnel for them" and adding that that Stone and Hicks cannot "lead us into the future."
"If all goes according to our plan, the new Power 92 morning team will consist of Sam Sylk as the main host, Leon Rogers as the co-host, Lisa E. as the executive producer and Osman Abdullah as the technical producer," he wrote. "We all believe this cast of characters will raise our morning ratings to a quality level and help grow the overall ranking of Power 92."
Feder notes a significant obstacle to the plan - Sylk is under contract to WGCI through September, and bosses of the Clear Channel Radio station have no intention of letting him jump to a competitor.
He also notes the large number of personnel changes at Crawford's stations over the last year.
2005-02-16: In Scotland, the BBC's newly installed head of Radio Jeff Zycinski is poised to make some significant changes according to an interview he gave to the Glasgow Sunday Herald. Contrary to advice from some that Radio Scotland should go more specialist, he intends in fact to "expand the range of choice" he told the paper.
So far he has changed the system by splitting planning into separate meetings for finance and "creative" staff, commenting, "We were being second-guessed all the time by business consequences. Now we can talk about what the audience wants to hear and then work out how to make it happen."
Plans to introduce more human-interest journalism and public participation in flagship Good Morning Scotland are well under way and a new 06:-00 to 14:00 schedule for Radio Scotland will be finalised within a few weeks although its introduction is to be held back until June to avoid disruption from an anticipated May general election.
. "Whenever you hear real people talking about the impact of political decisions, it just makes better radio. It brings the story to life," he says.
Regarding Lesley Riddoch, involved in a row over her plans to produce her lunchtime show using her own company and now off the air (See RNW Dec 25, 2004), Zycinski, who commissioned her lunch time show in the first place, says there is still no deal for a new show in place, although he now refuses to guarantee her return.
"I would love to have her back. The audience want her back as well, but there are some problems with her business plan and we are still talking about ideas. I had hoped she'd be back by April, then it looked like June. Now I'm not sure about the timeframe," he commented.
Zycinski also has plans to change Radio Scotland's drama output with a "showcase" for dramas commissioned from his producers by BBC national stations like Radios 3 and 4 and commissioning of more exclusive work if he can get funding and he is also proposing to take more risks with comedy output.
His first comedy commission is a sketch show from Glasgow's Demus Productions, which will be "quite surreal with a real Tayside feel" and he is also planning a monthly investigative journalism show, probably broadcasting for half an hour or an hour during Monday daytime.
Sunday Herald report:
2005-02-16: Prosecutors in Florida have been arguing this week that they should be allowed to review conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh's medical records which have currently been sealed.
In a brief filed with the Florida Supreme Court Assistant State Attorney James Martz said of Limbaugh's arguments that he should have been notified before the records were taken using a search warrant would "eviscerate" law enforcement.
The Supreme Court is hearing Limbaugh's appeal into an appeals court majority ruling that upheld the seizures.
Arguing that the Limbaugh case was equivalent to saying law enforcement could not be trusted, Martz wrote, "Then search warrants should never be issued and law enforcement should never be permitted to investigate criminal activity for fear that they will abuse the power granted. Such reasoning would eviscerate law enforcement's ability to protect the public and enforce the law.'
Privacy rights cannot operate as an impenetrable shield to conceal, camouflage, or secrete evidence of criminal wrongdoing."
Neither Limbaugh nor his attorney have commented on the filing and Limbaugh's web site, which amidst all its other "Rushbo" promotional material carries a feature, "Rush's Media Battle with the Palm Beach State Attorney * Continually updated with the latest developments" has no mention of the brief although it normally carries anything favourable to the host very speedily.
Limbaugh web site:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel report:
2005-02-15: Emap has indefinitely suspended host Tim Shaw and producer Greg Pebble of the late-night "Asylum Show" on its West Midlands Kerrang! station following a " mock burglary" of programme director Andrew Jeffries' home in Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham on Thursday night.
The show is promoted on the station's web site for its stunts and the page for the show - still there when we last checked - sums it up quite well with the description "Welcome to The Asylum where a lot of f*cked up S*t goes on.....check out stuff about us, people who've been on or what we're up to. Or just perv and some of the rude stuff we got here."
It also comments of Shaw, "Fired from pretty much every job he's ever had, Tim Shaw surprised everyone in the industry when he got the job of Asylum host "
The latest stunt however went beyond the limits for the station whose statement confirming the suspension said it followed "an attempted on-air prank that went way far beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour" and continued of the mock burglary "They broke in and caused substantial damage to property including spray painting obscenities on a wall."
"Kerrang! 105.2 does not condone criminal behaviour of any kind from staff or listeners, and has accordingly suspended the pair indefinitely pending the outcome of investigations and discussions with our legal team."
Jeffries and his wife had been out for the evening and found the damage when they returned home to find their house had been burgled as they thought until unsurprisingly thought they had been the victims of a robbery, until Shaw and Pebble jumped out of a cupboard and announced it was all a joke that was being broadcast as part of The Asylum Show. The couple did not see the joke and Jeffries threw Shaw and Prebble out of the house
RNW comment: Other stunts that the station saw fit to publicize from the team on the web site - it comments "The show, described by Tim himself, is like having 'sick coming out of your eye'.
So far he's forced pepper into his eyes, electrocuted his 'Captain Winky' and slammed himself against a brick wall. Hhhhm, the term 'freak' springs to mind..." indicate a willingness to go a fair way to get publicity. Trashing the boss's house, however, does seem to indicate a somewhat serious lack of judgment and we suspect that Jeffries has had a fair amount of stick from his wife since the incident. And we doubt telling her it was still stunts that in part pay for the house wouldn't have got him far!
Kerrang! -Asylum show section (assuming it stays there!):
2005-02-15: London is to lose its Jazz station after 15 years as owner Guardian Media Group (GMG) changes Jazz FM to Smooth FM in line with a change in Manchester (See RNW Dec 9, 2003) that has seen its latest ratings up 43% on a year earlier.
It was given the regulatory go-ahead for the London change in November last year (See RNW Nov 16, 2004) and GMG Radio chief executive, John Myers told the UK Guardian, owned by the same parent, that the new format had "great potential."
Jazz FM lost nearly a quarter of its audience compared to the previous period in the latest ratings and Myers commented, "As sorry as we are to say goodbye to Jazz FM, it's a sad fact of life that it has never made a profit in its 15 years of existence," and added of the name change "We are caught between not playing enough jazz to please the purist and having the name Jazz fm which inhibits trial from other listeners."
The format change with an increase in rhythm and blues and soul in the station's musical mix will be linked with a multi-million pound marketing campaign for the re-branded station.
The new station, reports the paper, will still air around 45 hours of specialist jazz programming each week and will retain presenters such as Sarah Ward, Ramsey Lewis and Campbell Burnap. In addition GMG radio will put additional funding into the station's web site and upgrade it to include its own 24-hours-a-day jazz output.
Jazz FM web site:
UK Guardian report:
2005-02-15: Rob Barnett is to take over as President, Programming, at Infinity Broadcasting from Steve Rivers, who is to focus on consulting according to MusicBiz, in which he is a partner.
Barnett, a 25-year music, radio and TV industry veteran who began his career at WAAF-FM in Boston, was appointed senior VP of original programming at Infinity in July last year after joining the company in May and serving as executive producer of the group's one-hour live Bill Clinton Connects with America special.
Rivers, a former Chief Programming Officer for AMFM Inc who will continue to work as a consultant for Infinity, was quoted by MusicBiz as saying, "I'm excited about this move. It will allow to me focus on my true love, which is programming. I have deep roots within Infinity and am looking forward to having a dramatic impact in the programming position of the stations I work with."
Rivers took over as programming president for Infinity after Andy Schuon resigned at the end of January last year after 15 months in the post.
MusicBiz web site:
2005-02-15: UK Radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) has announced that it is to carry our further tests on two of the three audio meters it evaluated in November last year.
They are Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) and the Eurisko Media Monitor, whose results were significantly better than those of the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch, which was used by The Wireless Group in its alternative ratings service and has now been eliminated from the testing programme for the moment.
During the tests all three had been used to determine how well they could identify up to 33 different radio services (both music and speech-based) under as wide a variety of real life situations as possible: Signals from the stations were broadcast in 20 rooms in a London hotel and respondents carrying or wearing all three audiometers were asked to visit a random series of rooms.
RAJAR specified several criteria, which the audiometers should fulfil including the ability to identify all formats equally against a variety of extraneous background noises, when played at differing volume levels and regardless of whether the wearers were stationary or in motion.
In all RAJAR says it conducted a total of 1389 sessions and found correct identification of 825 (59%) of them by the Arbitron PPM, which works by inserting an inaudible code into a broadcast transmission, of 977 (70%) of them by the Eurisko Media Monitor, an audio-matching pager-type device, and 440 (30%) by the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch, a wristwatch audio-matching device.
RAJAR managing director Sally de la Bedoyere said the decision on which meters should go on to the next step of field testing was "based solely on the needs of the UK market, where monitoring AM, FM and digital broadcasting is highly complex."
Regarding the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch, she said its maker, which is making adjustments to its editing software and increasing the frequency of data collection from three to six times per minute, has withdrawn from the RAJAR test programme but RAJAR "would be happy to review the situation, if appropriate, in the future."
RNW comment: We were certainly surprised by these results since we would have expected the PPM to get the highest score because of its additional identification encoding, although this obviously means it has the disadvantage that all stations in a market have to participate to get valid results.
If Eurisko, or for that matter the GfK/Telecontrol MediaWatch when developed, can continue to outperform the PPM, there would seem to be a good business case for US stations to tell Arbitron to get back to the drawing board - or licence one of the other devices - as far as meter monitoring in the US is concerned.
The results also have to be good news for RAJAR in relation to the performance of the GfK/Telecontrol device in view of the legal action taken by the Wireless Group against RAJAR claiming that the failure to move to a metering system had cost it business, a case that was thrown out in December last year (See RNW Dec 17, 2004)
Previous de la Bedoyere:
RAJAR news release re test (Word document):
2005-02-15: Seattle-headquartered Fisher Communications has reported a net income from continuing operations of USD 4.5 million in the final quarter of 2004, turning round a USD 6 million loss a year earlier: For the full year it reduced a loss from continuing operations of USD 14.8 million in 2003 to one of USD 11.8 million.
Net loss for the full year was USD 11.95 million (USD 1.39 per share) compared to a 2003 net income, boosted by asset sales of USD 23 million classified within its discontinued operations, of USD 8.2 million (USD 0.96 per share).
For the final quarter of each year net income was USD 4.5 million (USD 0.53 per share) - the same as for its continuing operations - for 2004 compared to USD 19.8 million (USD 2.30 per share) in 2003 when its loss from continuing operations of USD 6 million was boosted by USD 25.8 million from asset sales classified within its discontinued operations.
Final quarter revenues in 2004, boosted by political advertising revenues, were up 22.6% from USD 34.5 million a year earlier to USD 42.4 million and for the full year revenues were up 11.2% from USD 138.4 million to USD 153.9 million.
Previous Fisher Communications:
2005-02-15: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld one complaint against radio and partly upheld one standards complaint against TV in its latest bulletin just published.
This compared to no radio complaints upheld and a TV complaint partly upheld in its previous bulletin: In addition two radio complaints and one TV one were considered resolved because of action already taken by the broadcaster.
In addition two TV complaints were not upheld and a further 180 TV complaints relating to 143 items and 18 radio complaints relating to 16 items were either not upheld or ruled out of remit without further comment: This compared to complaints against four TV and one radio item not upheld in the previous bulletin and a further 65 complaints concerning 52 TV items and 17 complaints involving 16 radio items that were not upheld or were held to be outside remit in the previous bulletin.
The radio complaint upheld involved a cover presenter on Capital Radio's BRMB Interactive Lunch show who read out a racist joke that involved use of the term "spade."
BRMB said the presenter had made a bad misjudgement in relaying the joke and it had immediately instructed him to air an apology, which had been repeated several times. The presenter himself said he had not understood the joke and had been removed from his regular daytime cover duties and everything possible would be done to ensure that such inappropriate content did not feature again.
Ofcom's panel said the action taken went some way to lessening the offence but its codes had still been breached.
The resolved cases involved Capital's Fox FM in Oxford and the Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1 that each featured use of an "F" word.
In the Fox FM case, which attracted three complaints, Debbie Ryan, in a discussion of the engagement of "model" Jordan and Peter Andre, commented "Those two are fucking oh excuse me..." and then started laughing whilst trying to apologise. Fox said it believed the presenter had forgotten where she was and the laughter was a result of nervous shock: It noted that she managed to air a brief but sincere apology, without nervous laughter, prior to the subsequent commercial break and this was reinforced by a formal apology from the station in the following week's programme.
In the case of Moyles Show, Ofcom says Sir Elton John, believing he was off-air had used the word "fucking" in relation to difficulty in getting out of bed unusually early to appear on the programme. Apologies were made for this comment but later he said he had this urge that made him want to say "bollocks" and "bugger" and also asked whether it was acceptable to use the word "wank".
Moyles had apologised for these remarks.
The BBC said it had received only two complaints from an audience of some six million and noted that the comments attracted much tabloid newspaper cover in reports that were either inaccurate, incomplete or both. It also noted the apologies given and said Moyles had been reminded of the need for caution in live interviews.
In each case the panel felt the action taken by the broadcasters was sufficient.
RNW comment: The interpretation given by the BBC to the Moyles Show differ in emphasis not only to reports at the time (See RNW Nov 9, 2004) but to the general style of the show.
We have no recording so cannot go back in our records to double check, so feel we have to accept this ruling as a correction to our original report).
Previous Ofcom complaints bulletin:
2005-02-15: The UK Wireless Group has confirmed that it has now received a takeover proposal from a group involving its chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie and other "senior management" although it gave no details of the proposal about which it said in a statement that it "remains subject to a number of conditions and there can be no certainty that any offer for the company will be made."
The statement was made to the London stock exchange following a report in the UK Sunday Times that the company's non-executive directors had approved a plan to take the company private with an offer of 90 pence a share (See RNW Feb 14). Major shareholders News Corporation and Liberty Media, which together own 58% of the group, have been reported to be in favour of the deal. US private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson is said to be the main backer of the proposal.
Independent directors, Keith Sadler, Stephen Davidson and Patrick Cox added in their statement, "We will consider any offer on its merits if and when any such offer is made."
Wireless Group shares ended Monday up 2.78% at 92.5 pence.
Previous Wireless Group:
2005-02-14: Whilst most news of US radio recently has been of woes caused by hosts remarks it isn't all like that as the first report in this week's look at print comment on radio shows.
From the Stockton Record in California came a report by the paper's Entertainment Editor Brian McCoy of a number of local stations where the passion seems more about the medium than just the bottom line or maximum audience.
For independent station operators Robert La Rue of Stockton's KSTN-FM and Jim Bryan and Doug Wulff of Modesto's KRVR-FM, the River, he wrote, "Radio -- with an emphasis on public service and the personal -- is their passion" and continued " For Bryan and Wulff, the medium has been their life, the glue of their personal and professional relationship, since meeting as teenagers at an East Bay broadcast school. It led to a partnership that has taken them from running their own school to broadcasting on cable to operating their own station, KRVR 105.5 FM."
The Modesto smooth jazz outlet marked its tenth anniversary in January: It took a 3.4 audience share in the latest ratings, under half the top ranking 8.7 of Citadel's country KATM-FM, and its easy listening sister station KVIN-AM, took 2.4.
Bryan, who is general manager of both stations described their operation as "sort of lean and mean" and Wulff, whose duties include operations manager and afternoon-drive host at KRVR, commented of the station, whose format has remained unchanged since they launched it, "We didn't know how smooth jazz would do. But it's done really well. The feedback is positive."
KSTN-FM was founded in the 40's by Robert La Rue's father Knox, who died aged 82 just before Christmas last year, and the intention is to keep operating the stations.
"It just doesn't seem right to sell out," said. Robert La Rue "He [Knox] indicated that he would like all of us to stay with it and operate it and have fun."
" I think the independent station is more dynamic that the large group-owned stations. Their point is to have large ratings and they do a very good job. But they're not as local as the small independent stations like KSTN or The River, where somebody can just walk in the door and, if they have something to say, they can just talk to whoever is in charge there. There's no corporate ladder involved."
Knox La Rue regularly received offers for his stations, his son said but resisted because he enjoyed broadcasting so much. "Some people do retire out of radio, but a lot of them just get right back into it somewhere else," Robert La Rue said.
That view was echoed by Bryan and Wulff: "Oh, there are days when it's tempting," Bryan said. "But we enjoy what we're doing and we would probably just do it again. It's in our blood."
With the corporate view, Max Miller, director of programming for Clear Channel Modesto-Stockton, denied interference in programming from the centre, commenting, "From our respect, it's really not a lot different. We still do radio the way we've always done it. Last time I checked, nobody was telling us what to play." But then went on to add, "I suppose really the biggest difference in working for corporate radio today as opposed to when we were working for small companies is that there is good deal of emphasis on cash flow and stock prices and return for investors.
"If your station is doing badly, they're going to get some people to help you," Miller added. "If you're doing well, they just say, 'Send the money.' "
The large companies, of course, face more threats than the small ones from newer technologies and in the Los Angeles Times David Colker under the headline "Internet Radio Poised for a Tune-Around" dealt with one of them.
Having noted the optimism of the 1990s that led to over-optimistic assessments but the absence of a "workable business model" Colker says that there are now sings of a turnaround.
"Ratings services," he writes, " are beginning to take Internet radio seriously as an advertising medium, entertainment companies are investing in it again, and new technologies are promising to let it reach people whether they are in the car or on the jogging trail."
He notes that Arbitron in conjunction with ComScore Networks Inc. has just begun producing online ratings [RNW note - they cover only three services and in March last year Arbitron dropped its previous ratings service using technology that relied on totals for all programme streams it acquired when it bought MeasureCast in 2002], that Clear Channel, which dropped its Internet operations in 2001 has now come back into the business, and that Los Angeles based Virgin Digital has begun to turn a profit with a subscription service.
"A number of factors are coming together right now for Internet radio," Fritz Messere, chairman of communications studies at the State University of New York at Oswego and co-author of the book "Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond" commented.
"No one is absolutely sure it will work out this time around - but a major player like Clear Channel doesn't want to get left out if it does."
The business models, however, seem to have changed significantly since the early days when the Virgin service was launched as Radio Free Virgin in 1999.
Three years later its audience was around 30,000 but adverts didn't follow: "We thought that if we could get as many listeners as a traditional station in L.A., it would be enough of a critical mass to attract advertising," said Virgin Digital President Zack Zalon. But "advertising on the Web had a terrible reputation after the bubble burst," and the company couldn't draw enough business.
As a result Virgin moved to a subscription model and in September last year was merged into Virgin's music downloading site with a plan that encompasses eventually selling listeners songs heard on the channels.
Not everyone, however, says the report has given up on Internet advertising and it cites the example of Ronning Lipset Radio, which contends that this can work if advertising is packaged properly and backed up by persuasive demographic data.
"The unique advantage of online radio is that it gives people clear-cut choices," said co-founder Eric Ronning. "But we can sell whole groups of those choices as a package."
The next step suggests the report will be when Internet radio can reach people wherever they are and it says this could become possible through cellular communications networks or through the development of WiFi networks, which provide wireless Internet access over a limited area, and potentially of WiMax that may someday provide similar access over a broader area in many parts of the country.
"That's the holy grail," said Raghav Gupta, chief operating officer of Live365, which provided a hosting service for audio streaming. "When you can get Internet radio everywhere, we can start getting the kind of penetration of FM. It will bring it a lot closer to being a mass medium."
Another potential development is the spread of technologies that allow downloading to devices such as MP3 players for later listening. In particular developments of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology that automates the process of downloading pre-determined content - the most widely-known is the podcast - have made it fairly simple for people to decide what they want and allow it to be downloaded without having to be around when material is streamed or made up from a number of different sources.
After the positive start, though, we could not but come back to the issue of insensitive or worse comments from some US hosts. In New Jersey, the latest example came from New Jersey 101.5 radio host Craig Carton about Mary Jo Codey, wife of acting New Jersey governor Richard J. Codey and which we noted at the end of last month.
That outburst, like the tsunami song parody aired on Emmis's Hot 97 in New York, led some advertisers to withdraw their support and to New Jersey lawmakers voting to condemn the remarks.
In a commentary "The decline of talk radio" in North Jersey, Gene Dillard referred to the comments as "just the latest example of a disturbing trend."
"When I began my career in broadcasting 35 years ago, " he wrote, "radio was revered as a medium to educate and inform listeners and entertain them on a high professional level. Not anymore! Now talk show hosts use their programs to denigrate people with differing political views, to shock listeners with outrageous and often offensive harangues and titillate them with constant sex talk."
"So far," he continues, "Carton and his on-air partner, Ray Rossi, have avoided FCC sanction. They are not the first shock jocks on 101.5 but they are the most offensive, apparently by design. The New Jersey radio station gained its reputation by bashing politicians However, under Carton and [Ray] Rossi, the so-called Jersey Guys, public figures are not the only targets. African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, gays and lesbians and just about any other ethnic, racial and religious minority group you can name have been subjected to on-air ridicule by the afternoon hosts. Carton has even ranted against recovering drug addicts, declaring that if a halfway house for them were located next door to him, he would burn it down with all the addicts in it."
Dillard notes that there has been a degree of retreat after the latest outburst-prompted in part by the threats to withdraw advertising, but ends by drawing the obvious but often ignored conclusion about such comments: "In the end, it must also be said that the current crop of shock jocks would not flourish if there were not people who listen. If more of us tuned them out, these obnoxious tirades might end and the hosts responsible might find themselves where they belong - in the unemployment lines."
Back to the positive however with suggested listening that has to start this week with Arthur Miller. Following the announcement of the playwright's death, the BBC dropped its schedule Archive Hour on Radio 4 for "Miller on Mic" presented by Christopher Bigsby, professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia.
It began with Miller singing "Ole Man River" in a recording made before Pearl Harbour and included discussions with Miller about his singing on radio, and listening and reacting to recordings of radio dramas written by Miller after he had returned to New York in 1938 following his time at the University of Michigan.
Miller began writing for du Pont's historical series Cavalcade of America and the programme included a recording of part an episode about John Paul Jones: A fascinating insight into radio of the time as well as of Miller's comments about radio and radio drama in particular, and other related matters such as the writing of Brer Rabbit author George Chandler Harris.
After Miller a complete change for our next two suggestions from Radio 4, both from the Friday 11:00 GMT slot: Last week's, available on the Listen Again Page, was From Arial to Wide Latin, a half-hour in which Ian Peacock suggested that the fonts we choose to use in the computer age "are as much of a fashion statement as the clothes we wear.
Coming up on Friday this week is Arch Rivals in which Felicity Finch balances the claims of rival ballet shoe makers.
Still with the factual, we'd suggest the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Media Report from last week that in Hostage to Fear looked at how British TV covered the murders in Iraq last year of two hostages, Kenneth Bigley and Margaret Hassan and the dilemmas involved for broadcasters in deciding how to present such horrors.
The previous week's report, still on the web site, included "American Cash for Comment", the title partly a play on the Australian cash-for-comment scandal that led to new regulation of talk radio but whose content was about recent US cases of media figures accepting payment in relation to their comments.
In musical mood, BBC Radio 3 last week in its Performance on Three slot on Wednesday (available until then on the site) featured the Royal Northern College of Music Festival of Brass, which celebrated the Tippett Centenary and the forthcoming birthdays of two leading figures in the genre, Edward Gregson and Elgar Howarth.
The two-and-a-half hours broadcast included the premieres of a suite of Birthday Variations composed to mark the Tippett Centenary by Tovey, Gregson, Howarth, Michael Ball and Philip Wilby; and of Howarth's new Tenor Horn Concerto.
Also with Brass, on Friday this week at 21:30 BBC Radio 2 airs the semi-finals of its Young Brass Soloist 2005 competition.
Before that on Wednesday at 19:00GMT the station specially extended highlights of Radio 2's Sixth Folk Awards show.
Changing tack again the BBC on Sunday began two series of historical and religious interest: Sacred Nation on BBC Radio 2 was the first of a six part series tracing the story of religious belief in the British Isles and Europe of the Mind in the Sunday Feature slot on BBC Radio 3 began with Founded on Faith in which historian Mia Rodriguez-Salgado looked at how religion moulded the way Europeans thought about their continent (although there were some technical problems with the replay of this when we checked the site shortly after the broadcast and the sophistication of the BBC system seems to end at saying they cannot bring the programme requested but does not say whether they may be able to later).
Then for documentary and in the Masterpiece slot on BBC World Service on Tuesday (available until this week's update tomorrow just after 09:00 GMT) was a personal programme End of Home from BBC correspondent Rahul Sarnaik on how the waters of the Almati Dam in Karnataka will soon destroy his family's home for 19 generations in the village of Yadalli.
And finally for Valentines Day there's Roses Are Red on BBC Radio 4 this morning at 11:00 GMT in which Euan McIlwraith travels to Ecuador to look into the complexities of this simple symbol of love.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Media Report site:
BBC - Archive Hour web site:
BBC World Service - Maserpiece web site:
Los Angeles Times - Colker:
New Jersey - Dillard:
Stockton Record - McCoy:
2005-02-14: According to the UK Sunday Times, Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie is set to take the company private in a GBP100 million (USD 187 million) deal that could be announced as early as today. It also suggests SMG could be broken up because of another bid.
The paper said the deal would see MacKenzie, who has a 7% holding, buying out other shareholders including News Corporation, owner of the paper and of 30% of the Wireless Group, US group Liberty Media, which owns 28%.
The Wireless Group was floated in 1999 and the paper says the company's non-executive directors are said to have approved the 90 pence a share offer on Friday: The group's stock closed at this level that day, valuing it at around the GBP 100 million mark, including GBP 20 million of B-shares held by News Corporation.
The paper, following up on the public approach to SMG by a group led by Lord Waheed Alli to buy Virgin Radio, also for GBP 100 million (See RNW Feb 12), says Alli has not ruled out a full break-up bid for SMG if it rebuffs his offer.
Alli told the paper of the Virgin bid, "I want this asset. I think we can turn it round, and I think they can't" and added of the suggestion of a break-up bid, "We would never say never. There's always more than one way to skin a cat."
Alli said he had an experienced alternative management team ready to run Virgin and intended to take his proposals to SMG's top 10 shareholders in the next two weeks.
He attacked the current SMG management as having no clear strategy, saying, "They say, 'We don't want to sell it', but they don't know why they don't want to sell it [Virgin Radio]. That can't be good for the shareholders, just to say no, no, no - over the last year they've lost more than 50% of value
"They haven't got a radio strategy - they sold Scottish Radio Holdings - it just doesn't make sense, does it? Either they are continuing to build up radio, or they're divesting. It's fine if it's an appreciating asset; it's not if it is depreciating at a rate of knots and the audiences are walking out the door."
The paper also comments in a second report that Alli's backer 3i is "a group that is awash with venture capital" and that he would have no problem in increasing his offer and adds that were one key SMG shareholder to crack, "and the market could put the entire group in play."
"Friday's 5% rise in SMG's share price, on fairly heavy volume for what can be a sleepy stock, " it says, "suggests the market believes that Alli has the cash, but is trying to get Virgin on the cheap."
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Sunday Times report re SMG and Wireless Group:
UK Sunday Times report re backing for SMG bid:
2005-02-14: US Harris Corporation, which last month announced that it had completed nearly two years ahead of schedule a USD 85 million first phase of Romania's broadcast communications system, is to run a two-day Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) symposium in Bucharest at the start of March.
The symposium is designed to educate broadcaster from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East on how they can prepare for a digital future with DRM technology, and will focus on Romania's countrywide upgrade and expansion of its national broadcast infrastructure.
At the symposium Harris representatives in conjunction with colleagues from Romania's state-owned broadcast organization S.N. Radiocomunicatii S.A. will focus on the strategy behind the Romanian modernization.
For the first phase of that modernization, Harris supplied 28 low-power (10kW to 50kW) medium wave transmitters, eight high-power (200KW and 400KW) medium wave transmitters, and 106 FM radio transmitters for local coverage as well as longer distances of difficult terrain at sites throughout Romania.
Romania has a regional network and two national networks that cover urban areas and rural communities often divided by the Carpathian Mountains.
At the time of its completion, Gabriel Grecu, president of S.N. Radiocomunicatii, said that whilst its former system based on Eastern-bloc technology reached only around 60% of the population signals now covered all the country and "represents a huge improvement that benefits not just our broadcast capabilities, but Romanian society as a whole": He added that they were "looking into digital audio broadcasting (DAB) for the Bucharest area."
Previous Digital Radio Mondiale:
2005-02-14: A new children's radio station that also forms the basis for a bid for the new Manchester FM licence announced last week (See RNW Feb 11) is to go on air on digital radio in the UK in April. Should it win the Manchester licence it would be the first children's station on analogue in the UK.
Children's Radio UK Ltd. is being founded in an alliance between GWR, HIT Entertainment, the UK's leading independent producer of pre-school programming, and Susan Stranks, the former TV presenter who founded the abracaDABra! pre-school children's radio station that is currently on the DRg digital multiplex in the London area.
It will initially air on digital multiplexes that cover Avon and Dorset, Berkshire, Bristol, Essex, London, and Wiltshire and GWR and HIT will each hold 47.5% of the shares with Stranks holding 4%.
The service will make a first move into radio for HIT, which holds rights to such "brands" as Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Thomas & Friends and Barney, which will feature in programming that Hit says will be "contemporary in sound and cater for the needs and interests of parents with children aged under 10, encouraging children to learn through the radio, in particular through music and song, as well as through reading and playtime."
Stranks said of the venture, "abracaDABra! has proven that London's children enjoy and benefit from radio. It's really exciting to be working with HIT Entertainment and GWR Group to move children's radio forward and provide a dedicated service for them and their families across the UK" and GWR chairman Ralph Bernard commented, "'This is an exciting opportunity to work with one of the world's leading independent producers of children's entertainment, and we're confident that CRUK will provide a widening of choice for this age group which is currently under-served in the UK radio market."
2005-02-13: Last week was fairly quiet for the regulators with the main licence news from the UK where the new Manchester FM licence attracted 19 bids.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has rapped the knuckles of a Canberra station for broadcasting a political advert during the country's "blackout period" but took no further action on the matter (See RNW Feb 11). It has also invited applications, to be submitted by February 24, for a new community FM to serve the Eden area of New South Wales.
Canada also had a fairly quiet week with only a few radio decisions from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that included:
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approval of new 8,925 watts transmitter in Stephenville to rebroadcast the programming of its national English-language network service Radio Two from CBN-FM, St. John's.
*Short-term licence renewal until August 31, 2006 of the licence of CKOD-FM, Valleyfield, in conjunction with a mandatory order on the submission of annual reports. This renewal follows a number of regulation breaches by the station in the past and an earlier short-term renewal after the station had been unable to provide logger tapes, requested in connection with the assessment of its compliance with requirements relating to Canadian content and French-language vocal music aired, and an annual report to the Commission for the licence period as it is required to do.
The CRTC said it accepted that the licensee was to purchase back-up logger equipment and thus did not make a mandatory order relating to this but did make it a mandatory condition that the annual report be supplied and also that the licensee pay the unpaid balance of its required contributions to Canadian talent development.
The CRTC also issued a public notice, with a deadline for comment of March 14, concerning an Ontario application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to change the frequency of its transmitter CBL-FM-1 Huntsville, which broadcasts the CBC Radio 2 service and a Quebec application to add an 18.5 watts FM transmitter at Percé to broadcast the programming of CFMV-FM Chandler.
The former follows an interference problem between this transmitter and that of CFBK-FM, Huntsville.
It also issued its regular report on transfers of ownership or changes of effective control of broadcast undertakings, this time for the period from November 1 to December 31 last year.
They included an extension of the authorities related to the trust arrangements for the shares of Entreprises Radio Etchemin Inc. and certain AM stations of Astral Media Inc.
Also in Canada, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a parody, inspired by the discovery of a young man's body, and aired on the Wheeler and Hal morning program on CJKR-FM, Winnipeg, did not breach its codes although it was "was tasteless and insensitive." (See RNW Feb 12).
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but in the UK, Ofcom announced that the new Manchester and Banbury FM licences it advertised in November 2004 had attracted 19 and three applications respectively (See RNW Feb 11).
Ofcom was also busy with various publications including one related to public service broadcasting and another on the switch-off of analogue TV and issued reports on media literacy in the UK that were mainly concerned with TV and the Internet but did also deal with radio (See below).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its proposed fiscal year 2005 budget, which tops USD 300 million (See RNW Feb 8).
It also published its latest station numbers list that showed a decline in licensed US broadcasting stations, with the greatest decline in TV stations and also its latest details of complaints received, relating to the first half of 2004 (See RNW Feb 12).
The Commission has also been involved in a number of enforcement actions including the reduction from USD 21,000 to USD 10,000 the penalty on a Florida low-power FM and the proposal of a USD 10,000 fine on a Florida non-commercial educational station for broadcasting adverts (See RNW Feb 11).
In Pennsylvania, it reduced from USD 6,000 to USD 4,800 a penalty on Kimtron, Inc., licensee of WPTR-AM and WDCD-FM, Blue Bell, for failure to conduct required monthly and weekly tests of the Emergency Alert System ("EAS") and failure to maintain station records of required monthly and weekly EAS test messages.
Kimtron said it determined, based on its own investigation, that its EAS equipment was fully functional and programmed to receive all monthly and weekly EAS tests supplied by the Local Primary Station, WMHT-FM and alleged that Station WMHT-FM did not deliver its EAS obligation for RMTs during the months of December 2002, January 2003 and March 2003.
It also said it had fired the operator charged with maintaining EAS logs and replaced him with a qualified individual and also asked for a reduction on the basis of a history of compliance.
The FCC checked and found that WMHT-FM's records showed it did transmit an EAS monthly test in December 2002 and January 2003, but not in March 2003 and held that the Kimtron had breached EAS regulations but reduced the penalty on the basis of a history of compliance.
The (FCC) also announced that it is prepared to grant construction permits related to a further 15 winning bids in its FM Auction 37 following receipt of final payments, which are due by February 28. They are for stations in Colorado, Hawaii, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wyoming: The FCC had already made a similar announcement relating to 18 bids where final payment was due by February 18 (See Licence News Feb 6)
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-02-13: UK Labour peer Lord Waheed Alli's action in going public over a bid he made last year to SMG for its Virgin Radio (See RNW Feb 12) appears to have had some speedy results.
British TV group ITV, which with a 17% share of SMG is the latter's largest shareholder, has agreed to meet Alli and his consortium and the UK Independent quotes another significant shareholder as saying it would also welcome discussions about Virgin with MG.
It quotes Hilary Aldridge, a fund manger at F&C Asset Management, which with a 4.5% holding is the third largest shareholder in SMG, as saying, "Virgin Radio is a great asset but one that would benefit from more dynamic management. We would welcome discussions on its value."
She added, "We were surprised by reported comments that suggested that SMG was not interested in selling at any price."
So far there has been no comment from second-largest shareholder, the investment group Fidelity, which has a 10% stake or from former Virgin owner Chris Evans, who was fired by SMG but still has 3% of the company.
The paper says that other radio groups including Guardian Media Group, Emap, Capital Radio and Chrysalis, are reported to be potentially interested in Virgin and would be likely to bid more than a financial group such as Alli's consortium.
It quoted an unnamed "industry insider" as saying, "Radio assets are not sold on the basis of financial numbers alone but of strategic fit and the cost savings available. That is why a trade buyer will also be able to pay more. Virgin could be the final piece in the strategic jigsaw for some radio groups. It could decide the winner in UK radio."
UK Independent report:
2005-02-13: Salem Communications has cancelled advertising placed with its Tampa Christian talk station WTNB-AM by the Central Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations according to a report in the Tampa Tribune that says the station gave as a reason that it "did not serve our Christian constituency.''
The 30-second spot promoted a Christian-Moslem dialogue event at the University of South Florida and Ahmed Bedier, director of the Central Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the paper in response to the reaction, "This is exactly why we need to be doing programs like this. There's a lot of misinformation about Islam, and relations are strained. Not only here, but all around the world.''
WTBN general manager Christopher Gould Sr. told the paper, We run advertising that is aimed at our audience'' and added that the station will refund the Islamic council's USD 300
"This isn't the first time we've had to reject something. It could be another religion trying to promote people to its faith, or for an alcoholic beverage or a gentleman's club. We have to draw the line as to what is acceptable" and added that when he checked CAIR's web site, "The language was very gentle, and it's under the guise of tolerance and discussion,'' he said. ``But the fact is, they want to grow their organization.''
"It's nothing against this particular religion," he added. "If the Church [of Jesus Christ] of Latter-day Saints or [Jehovah's] Witnesses wanted to run a spot promoting their religion, we'd do the same thing. We're here to serve evangelical Christians."
CAIR, which carries information from the Tribune story on its web site, also links to the advert, in which a narrator says, "Our world today is torn apart by mistrust and misunderstanding. We have a choice: live in ignorance of each other or work to create harmony and tolerance. The Council on American-Islamic Relations invites you to a historic dialogue' between Christians and Muslims. Join us this Saturday, Feb 12, at USF where renowned Christian and Islamic scholars will share their perspective about Jesus" and then goes on to note that seating is limited and give a phone number.
RNW comment: Apart from the fact that the station feels it needs to say it will refund the money - it would presumably be theft not to and presumably that is against even the "Christian" values of Salem - this strikes us as a case of contemptible Christians either in Tampa or Salem's organization.
Yes the event is sponsored by Islamic organizations - CAIR and the Muslim Student Association at USF- but what weak faith it shows if evangelical Christians are worried about giving publicity to a meeting of this nature.
We doubt the reaction of many US conservatives would be favourable were the mullahs of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, or Pakistan to take similar action and would hope some would feel the reaction should also apply to Salem.
Far better, surely, would have been to take the advert and then, for example, to have put CAIR on the spot by asking for its views on such actions as the Fatwa declared on author Salman Rushdie by the late Ayatollah Khomeini and indeed on the whole issue of apostasy - we can't see how any religion claiming tolerance can feel that there is the right to sentence to death someone who converts to another religion.
Salem's reaction to us is yet another religious paean of ignorance and bigotry.
CAIR web site:
Tampa Tribune report:
2005-02-13: US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) President and CEO Gary Fries has told the Bureau's RAB 2005 meeting in Atlanta that radio has to be more sophisticated in the way it presents itself.
"We have been presenting ourselves as a commodity with just numbers of listeners. We cannot do that anymore. We need to present our value," he commented, adding that it was not a matter of pricing as some had suggested.
"I don't agree," Fries said. "We need to drive our value. If we drive our value, pricing will follow. We have so many values that are on the table and not taken to the marketer or the advertiser."
Fries said radio had great opportunities this year but would have to work hard to benefit and also drew attention to studies in the US that, like similar ones in the UK, had shown a strong multiplier effect when radio was used in a campaign in conjunction with other media.
He also played down the potential impact of satellite noting that RADAR surveys in 2003 and 2004 had shown US radio listening up by 3.5 million - the rough total of satellite subscribers in the US - in a year "without any great promotion"
2005-02-13: There was some fairly good news for UK radio in reviews of research literacy on media literacy of children (a 266Kb 74 page PDF) and adults (340 KB 87 page PDF) just published by UK media regulator Ofcom.
Although mainly devoted to the impact of TV and to a degree, with that of the Internet, it also noted that in the UK "radio is a pervasive aspect of young people's lives, particularly for teenagers."
Ratings and research showed, it said, that UK young people were regular listeners and that 74% of their listening was to commercial stations: In addition, some 41% of parents listened with their children.
Listening was slowest for very young listeners with the 4-14 demographic listening less than 12 hours a week, less than half that of adults, and this was put down in part to "the lack of specialist provision for children."
Listening for those 15-25 it said was "significantly higher, although still below the adult average: this partly reflects the fact that this age group is well served by specialist music stations (which are also popular with children)."
"Young adults," it added, "are also increasingly likely to be accessing radio via new media, for example digital radio, the Internet and particularly mobile phones."
It commented that there was comparatively little literature on radio as opposed to TV and the academic research on media literacy there was in connection with radio has focused primarily on radio production and participation, rather than functional aspects of radio consumption although it noted that in France, "where 'youth talk radio' is a more common phenomenon" there had been some research into radio."
Youth programming in France it said typically contains "expressive but also controversial content, such as sexually explicit talk."
The report concluded that in the UK: "Given the potential changes afoot in radio broadcasting in the UK, this [radio listening] would seem to be an important area for future research."
Report on Adult Media Literacy (87 page 340Kb PDF):
Report on Media Literacy of Children and Young People (266Kb 74 page PDF):
2005-02-13: Emmis's Hot 97 (WQHT-FM) "Miss Jones in the Morning" show was back on the air in New York on Friday with a reduced crew - as well as the absence of co-host Todd Lynn and producer Rick Delgado who were fired after protests at the station's tsunami song parody.
Korean-American staff member Miss Info (Minya Oh), who protested at the song and had been excluded from disciplinary action, also failed to turn up as did DJ Envy, who was amongst those suspended without pay for two weeks and who is due back next week when he is expected to apologize.
Back were Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones) together with Sunshine (Tasha Hightower) and assistant music director E-bro, who had been suspended: Jones apologized, saying, "I'm grateful for the chance to be back and I want to once again apologize from the bottom of my heart for offending y'all and, especially, the families and the friends of the victims of the tsunami We are so sorry," she said, "... although I didn't write the [tsunami song], and I didn't sing on it, some people thought that it was amusing - and it wasn't."
In another station incident in New York, Infinity WFAN-AM host Don Imus, who apparently through he was just speaking on an intercom, was put on air saying, in relation to a missed cue, "Come on guys, goddamn it. You're fucking killing me here."
Imus had been complaining about his show being moved from WFAN's studios to a studio at MSNBC's headquarters at Secaucus in New Jersey.
RNW comment: Knowing what would have happened had the slip come from Howard Stern, we wonder whether the Federal Communications Commission will slap a very heavy fine on Viacom-Infinity and MSNBC over this issue: And will Imus be given proper sensitivity and other training?
2005-02-12: The US lost 359 licensed broadcast stations during 2004 according to latest figures from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which showed the total on December 31, 2004 as 26,254 compared to 26,613 a year earlier (See RNW Feb 25, 2004)
Within the figures, the number of licensed radio stations was down 38 from 13,563 to 13,525 with AM station numbers down 20 to 4,774, commercial FMs up one to 6218, and educational FMs down 19 to 2,533. The number of FM translators & boosters was up however by 56 to 3890.
Compared to figures to the end of September 2004, there were 50 fewer stations but 26 more radio stations in total with four more AMs, one more commercial FM, and 21 more educational FMs.
FM booster numbers were unchanged at 3890.
The FCC has also released its quarterly report on consumer inquiries and complaints that shows a large increase in broadcasting complaints in the first half of last year.
In the first quarter they were up from 146,403 a year earlier to 693,190 of which 693,080 were indecency complaints: in second quarter the agency received 272,818 indecency complaints inside a total of 272,958.
Of the totals in the first quarter 543,255 came in February, mostly as a result of the campaign launched over the Super Bowl half time show: other complaints listed for the quarter were 34 about disability issues, 65 of general criticism and 11 on other programming issues.
In the second quarter, Howard Stern got his own special mention with 20 complaints being laid against Stern commentary compared to 16 over disability issues, 94 of general criticism and ten of other criticism. Nearly all of the 272,818 indecency complaints -- 270,287 - were made in April and the total then dropped to 1,696 in May and then further to 835 in June.
RNW comment: As we have noted before the FCC figures are presented fail to give much useful information since, unlike those of most other regulators, they do not break the figures up to show what the complaints were about.
Additionally the FCC like other regulators who have allowed e-mail complaints, fails to indicate the degree to which it can compute that complaints are essentially identical and thus most likely to be the result of a specific campaign by a particular organization.
In view of the ease with which e-mail can be sent and manipulated, we would regard installation of some software to do this as essential to give meaning to the figures- after all academic institutions can manage it to a degree to prevent cheating through entering the work of others.
If it's not done, we think that going back a snail-mail might be a valuable step for once: At least it would mean complainants had to make a small extra effort and if that cut the figures dramatically it would show that the concern wasn't very great.
Previous FCC station numbers:
2005-02-12: UK Labour Peer Lord Waheed Alli has made a bid of around GBP 100 million (USD 187 million) for SMG-owned Virgin Radio through a management team backed by private equity group 3i according to the London Financial Times.
Alli, a founder of the founder of TV production company Planet 24 and also a former chief executive of Carlton TV Productions, was quoted by the paper as saying, "I have been looking at Virgin for some time. [SMG] are just not focused on it."
He added that after a meeting he and 3i held with SMG chairman Chris Masters at the end of last year he was told that "no matter how much the price was, he wouldn't sell" and said that he would appeal directly to the SMG shareholders if rejected this time and has indicated that the previous offer had not been put to them.
SMG acquired Virgin as part of its GBP 225 million purchase of Chris Evans' Ginger Media Group (See RNW Jan 13, 2000), and one media consultant was quoted by the paper as saying the Alli approach was "a bit cheeky."
Financial Times report:
2005-02-12: In yet more US format changes, Clear Channel has switched another station to Spanish-language programming and a Washington DC public station has confirmed a switch from classical musc to news and current affairs is to go ahead.
The Clear Channel switch was of former progressive rock WZTA-FM (Zeta 94.9), Miami, which had been slipping in the ratings.
The move is part of an initiative announced in September last year to move into the Hispanic market by switching around two dozen stations.
WZTA, which had stunted briefly by broadcasting Air America programming from sister station WINZ-AM before becoming Mega 94.9, flipped at 16:00 local on Friday.
The station web site, which had briefly displayed an "experiencing technical difficulties" notice is now up again with "Welcome to Mega 94.9!: ¡Recepción al fm Mega 94.9!" and the first song played under the new regime was "Gasolina" by Daddy Yankee.
Zeta's former air staff are reported to have been laid off and the station is being programmed by Juan Arroyo who oversaw Clear Channel's Houston switch of KLOL-FM to the Mega format in November last year (See RNW Nov 16, 2004).
In Washington D.C. the board of WETA-FM has overwhelmingly approved a change from classical music programming to focus on news and current affairs according to the Washington Post.
The station currently broadcasts classical music from 09:00 to 14:00 and from 20:00 to 04:00 but from the end of the month it will switch to a news line-up on weekdays although it will retain the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera broadcasts and Saturday evening folk music show, "Traditions With Mary Cliff."
The Washington Post quoted WETA president and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller as saying after the vote, "We're in the business of trying to create a larger audience and have more people join our station."
She and other station leaders said they had anticipated disappointment from music lovers but that a single-format approach without music made sense for the radio station and would help it to better serve its mission and its audience.
Previous Clear Channel:
Washington Post report:
WETA web site:
WZTA web site:
2005-02-12: The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has ruled that a parody, inspired by the discovery of a young man's body, and aired on the Wheeler and Hal morning program on CJKR-FM, Winnipeg, did not breach its codes although it was "was tasteless and insensitive."
By a majority vote with two panel members dissenting, the CBSC Prairie Regional Panel held that codes were not breached.
It said that the spoof, which simulated a young man trapped behind a wall appealing for help - the body had been found behind the wall of a bar at which the man worked but there was no suggestion of foul play - did not use the event itself as part of the humour although it did identify the neighbourhood as part of the spoof, based on the TV Series "24".
The station had responded to the complaint by saying the parody "may have been in poor taste" but it did not think Codes were breached.
The CBSC panel said that in this case it considered "that the humour the on-air host found in the story was strictly associated with the undeniably bizarre circumstances associated with the disappearance and death of the individual. They also consider that, because he was not well-known to the public, the humour was impersonal and detached."
The dissenting panel members said they did not differ from the majority with respect to their understanding of the principles established in CBSC precedents but in this case differed about the balance truck noting in particular that the "the joke was local (and therefore likelier to affect individuals in the area of the broadcast), modern and fresh" and that the "mocking of the undoubtedly lengthy, frustrating and painful demise of the young man would constitute a breach of the broadcaster obligation of "fair and proper presentation of [ ] comment."
2005-02-11: Beasley Broadcast Group and XM satellite radiohave both reported strong revenues for 2004 compared to a year earlier but the former had a lower net income because of one-off gains in 2003 and the latter increased its loss.
XM reported what President and CEO Hugh Panero termed "an outstanding 2004" in which it added 1.8 million subscribers to end the year 137% up on 2003 with a total of 3,229,124 subscribers and full year 2004 revenues up 166% at USD 244.4 million.
Its net loss was also up however, reaching USD 642.4 million compared to USD 584.5 million in 2003. It says the increase was primarily due to de-leveraging expenses and the Basic and diluted net loss per share was down from USD 4.83 in 2003 to USD 3.30 in 2004.
For the full year 2004, XM reported an EBITDA loss of USD 388.4 million, including USD 76.6 million in de-leveraging charges, compared to (USD 318.9) million for the full year of 2003, which included USD 24.7 million in de-leveraging charges and reduced the cost of acquiring a new subscriber to USD 100 from USD 137.
XM CFO Joe Euteneuer said during the company's conference call that six of 10 new car buyers whose vehicles come equipped with free trial XM subscriptions became paying subscribers when their trials expired.
In the final quarter of 2004, XM added 713,101 subscribers and took its revenue up 48% on a year earlier to USD 83.1 million but again its net loss was up, from USD 162.9 million to USD 188.2 million. In the quarter its EBITDA loss was USD 139.7 million, including USD 41.6 million in de-leveraging charges, compared to (USD 95.5) million for the fourth quarter 2003, which included USD4.6 million in de-leveraging charges. The Basic and diluted net loss per share in the quarter was trimmed from UD 1.12 in the final quarter of 2003 to USD 0.93.
XM said that at the end of the year its total liquidity position was USD 853 million including cash, cash equivalents and capacity under the Revolving Credit and Equity Facilities with GM and noted that in January it added USD100 million in gross proceeds through an over-allotment option on the sale of 1.75% cent Convertible Notes.
During 2004, it said, XM was able to opportunistically de-lever its balance sheet and eliminate over USD 900 million in future interest, dividends, accretion and principal payments.
Looking ahead to this year, Panero said XM planned to "build on this momentum and execution in 2005 and end the year with 5.5 million subscribers, furthering our market leadership position."
XM shares, which topped USD 40 in December last year, ended the day up 1.59% at USD 31.90.
Beasley Broadcast Group reported revenues in the final quarter of 2004 up 4% on a year earlier to USD 33.4 million and for the full year up 7% to USD 114.5 million.
Operating income from continuing operations during the final quarter was up 15% to USD 8.5 million and for the year up 11% to USD 29.4 million.
Net income was up 19% to USD 3.19 million (USD 0.16 per diluted share) in the third quarter but net income for 2004 at USD 12 million was down USD 800,000 on 2003 when Beasley reported an additional USD 6.1 million of net income from a USD 4.5 million pre-tax gain on the sale of investment securities and a USD 1.6 million pre-tax gain on the increase in fair value of the Company's derivative financial instruments.
Commenting on the results chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said the final quarter revenues reflected USD 1.1 million of political advertising revenues and "better-than-anticipated performances at our Miami, Ft. Myers, Las Vegas and Augusta clusters, which is partially a result of political advertising."
He added, "A number of programming and personnel changes made several of our clusters more competitive last year, positioning the Company to capture a greater share of revenue available in our markets. Additionally, we realized solid increases in operating income and SOI during the year. Cash flow generated through these improvements continues to strengthen our balance sheet and position the Company to pursue value enhancing strategies for our shareholders, such as the $25 million share repurchase program we initiated last summer."
This year, Beasley says it anticipates revenues to be up 3% on a year ago in the first quarter, "reflecting a continuation of business trends from the fourth quarter and favourable comparisons against year-ago results. "
In other US radio business, Radio One Inc. has announced that it has completed the sale of USD 200 Million 6-3/8% Senior Subordinated Notes Due 2013. The notes were priced at par and raised around USD 196 million that the company says it will use, as already announced (See RNW Feb 6) together with funds available from its banking facility to redeem all its outstanding 6-1/2% Convertible Preferred Securities, Remarketable Term Income Deferred Equity Securities ("High Tides").
Previous Beasley Broadcast:
Previous George Beasley:
Previous Radio One:
2005-02-11: A total of 19 applicants have entered the race for the new Manchester FM licence and three for the Banbury licence that were each advertised by UK media regulator Ofcom in November last year (See RNW Nov 11, 2004).
The Manchester licence applicants were:
*The Arrow (Manchester) Limited - the Chrysalis bid offering an adult rock format.
*Virgin Classic Rock Limited - SMG-OWNED Virgin's bid with a classic rock format.
*Manchester City beat 97.7 - A Manchester-focused lifestyle speech, music and information station targeting listeners aged 45 and over.
*Masti Radio Ltd Sunrise Radio (Yorkshire) - an offering of contemporary Asian/Urban/Popular music-led service primarily for Asians aged under 35 and also featuring programming for Manchester's Black and Chinese Communities
*Alice 97.7 FM - a classic and contemporary rock music and information bid from Emmis Atlantic Radio Manchester Ltd.
*Time FM (Manchester) Ltd - a full service bid of classic and contemporary music plus news and information aimed at an over-45 demographic.
*98 FM Ltd - an adult alternative bid.
*Young Asian Sound FM Radio Ltd - a bid with a service of Asian and British Asian music aimed at a 15-30 audience from the Asian community.
*97.7 The City - Celador's bid of easy listening music that is backed by Jim Moir, the former controller of BBC Radio 2, and former Capital FM breakfast host Chris Tarrant.
*Unity Radio - a youth-focussed offering of a broad range of modern underground music.
*The Storm (Manchester) Ltd - GWR's classic and contemporary rock based on its eponymous digital and Internet station.
*Manchester's Kerrang 97.7 - Emap's offering based on its Kerrang! rock format that is backed by The Beastie Boys, Blink 182, Feeder, The Killers and Velvet Revolver. Kerrang! added an analogue output to its digital transmissions when launched in the West Midlands in June last year (See RNW Jun 10, 2004).
*Saga Radio ( Manchester ) Limited - Saga's offering for the over-50's with pop music from the past 60 years and lifestyle orientated speech.
*Go-FM - A classic rock offering targeted at a 40 plus audience.
*Manchester 97.7 FM - Scottish Radio Holdings' bid of music, entertainment and comedy.
*XFM Manchester - Capital's bid with its Xfm alternative music format.
*Kismat Radio ( Sunrise Radio) - a speech-based station with an emphasis on locally-produced news and information targeted at over 35s in the Asian communities in the Manchester area, accompanied by a variety of Asian Gold and other popular forms of music.
*97.7 Fun FM from Children's Radio UK ( Manchester ) Ltd - an offering of contemporary and classic children's music plus speech aimed at the under-10s and their parents.
*allTalk FM Limited - a 24-hour speech bid backed by The Wireless Group and led by former Manchester deputy chief constable John Stalker.
The Guardian Media Group (GMG) has also been planning a speech station bid but pulled out saying the coverage area was too small to make its bed viable (See RNW Feb 5).
The Banbury licence attracted three bids, which came from:
*Banbury 107.6 (Banbury Local Radio) - an offering of local news and information plus music of the past four decades targeted at a 30-54 demographic.
*The Bear (The New 102 Limited) - a locally-focussed adult contemporary offering.
*Banbury FM Limited - a full service offering of music of the past four decades plus locally focussed news and information.
2005-02-11: The Miss Jones in the Morning Show is due to return to the airwaves in New York today following the row over a tsunami song parody that led to Emmis firing producer Rick Delgado and morning show member Todd Lynn and a two week-suspension for others apart from Korean-American team member Minya Oh - Miss Info- who had protested on air about the song.
Miss Info may however not be back with the team on Emmis's Hot 97 (WQHT-FM) according to her attorney, Kenneth Thompson: The New York Daily News says he told it he did not know if she would be back with eponymous host Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones) and DJ Envy for the show.
The show had been due back on air on Wednesday, the day of the Lunar New Year, but the News says the station said they wanted a "couple more days" and notes that critics, who have called for the dismissal of the whole team, said a return on the Lunar New Year would have been insensitive.
Thompson told the paper on Wednesday he was still considering legal action over "workplace concerns" faced by Miss Info at Hot-97, some of them predating the row over the song and the criticism Miss Info received from Miss Jones and others after she called the parody "offensive."
"If her concerns are not addressed," he said, "she would have a very hard time returning to that show."
Previous Miss Jones:
New York Daily News report:
2005-02-11: In more US radio deals this week, Citadel is spending USD 29 million to expand in Alabama. It has agreed a seven-station deal with Apex Broadcasting that should give it WANZ-FM, Birmingham, plus Tuscaloosa stations WBEI-FM, WDGM-FM, WJRD-AM, WTSK-AM, WTUG-FM, and WFFN-FM, which is currently dark.
The WDGM part of the deal depends upon completion of Apex's purchase of the station from Warrior Broadcasting and a price of USD 925,000 has been put on the station, should that deal fall through.
Citadel is to start operating the stations through an LMA at the start of March.
In Massachusetts Davidson Media Group LLC is entering the Springfield market through a USD 6.8 million cash purchase of WSPR-AM., Springfield and WACM-AM, West Springfield from Antonio F. Gois.
In Arkansas, ArkLaTex LLC. is paying USD 1.5 million to Jo-Al Broadcasting Inc. for KTOY-FM, Texarkana, and in a much smaller deal, Clear Channel is entering the Mount Carmel Market in Pennsylvania through a USD 460,000 purchase of WSPI-FM from H&P Communications Ltd.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-02-11: The Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has ruled that Canberra station MIX103 breached the conditions of its licence by broadcasting an advert during Australia's "blackout period" during which elections advertisements are barred.
The advert concerned commented on the issue of funding for non-government schools and came from the Association of Parents and Friends of ACT [Australian Capital Territory] Schools Inc.
It was broadcast by Mix just before elections for the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory and the issue was an important one in the election.
Licensee Canberra FM Radio Pty Ltd has told the ABA it will provide additional training to all staff with decision-making roles in relation to all requirements relating to political advertising and the ABA commented that because of this and because it was apparent that the broadcast was made through a genuine misunderstanding, no further action needed to be taken.
2005-02-10: Tougher US legislation on broadcast indecency has moved a stage closer following a 46-2 vote by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in favour of a bill introduced by Michigan Republican Congressman Fred Upton that would increase from USD 32,500 to USD 500,000 the maximum penalty for broadcast indecency.
The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 allows the penalty to be levied on an individual performer as well as a broadcaster, prompting Illinois Democrat Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to put forward an amendment, which was defeated, to remove the clause increasing this amount.
Schakowsky commented that as a grandmother "while I do not support the race to the bottom on the airwaves, I am more concerned about infringing on free speech than I am or my grandchildren seeing Janet Jackson's nipple. That, I believe, is more offensive than anything else."
She noted that the bill already contained a separability clause that allows any part of it that is found to be unconstitutional to be taken out so that the rest of the bill can become law and said, "Because I am a strong proponent of the First Amendment, I am concerned that raising fines against individuals would only amount to another form of censorship My fear is that artists would also become so obsessed with not being "objectionable," so afraid of the financial devastation the indecency fines could cause for them, that they could self-censor away their creativity and truly sensational (in the good sense) performances."
"We run a great risk when our legislation threatens to undermine both our Constitution and our creativity. The stakes are high and the threat to free speech is all too real."
California Democrat Congressman Henry Waxman also expressed concern about self-censorship, commenting , "Things that are happening as a result of this fear of being singled out for indecency makes people act in ways that defy common sense" and adding that he didn't think the government should be a potential censor.
As well as the fines, the bill says that indecency rulings against a broadcaster should be taken into consideration when licences are being renewed and that licence revocation should be considered when three penalties have been levied.
The bill not goes forward for consideration before the full House but as was the case before last year's US elections, it still conflicts with measures put forward in the US Senate that would only increase penalties to USD 325,000 with a USD 3 million maximum and does not contain a licence revocation provision. The two houses were unable to agree a compromise then but will need to do so before legislation can proceed further.
RNW comment: This proposal was almost certain to pass the committee with a significant majority but what, we would ask, happened to the libertarian wing of the Republican Party? At one time we'd certainly have expected some Republican opposition to proposals that could be as chilling to free speech as these proposals are likely to be.
Broadcast Decency Enforcement Bill:
2005-02-10: London Heart FM breakfast present Jonathan "Jono" Coleman, who is being replaced by Jamie Theakston at Easter (See RNW Feb 1) has been signed up by LBC 97.3 FM to host two new weekend entertainment shows from mid-April.
Both stations are owned by Chrysalis, which opted not to renew Coleman's contract following falling ratings and the company worked with him to find a new role.
The company says under the new arrangement Coleman will gain the opportunity to involve himself in new projects in radio and TV including an independent syndicated My Generation radio show in Australia which broadcasts to over 90 stations.
Coleman, who had been Heart breakfast co-host for six years will end his stint on the show on March 24. He commented that the move was the "next step in the evolution of my career and added that he was looking forward to "growing up a bit" as a broadcaster through some of the exciting projects on the cards.
2005-02-10: Jurors in Chicago have head opening arguments in the lawsuit being brought against Clear Channel by JamSports, which alleged that it illegally used its market clout to keep JamSports out of the supercross business.
Jam's attorneys said JamSports had negotiated a deal with the American Motorcyclist Association that would have seen it replace Clear Channel as the official supercross promoter but the deal fell through because Clear Channel threatened station owners that it would no longer put on concerts or "monster truck" meets at their venues if they hosted JamSports events.
JamSports suit says Clear Channel abused its dominant market power to induce stadium owners to refuse to deal with it but Clear Channel's attorney Chris Gair said his client's practices were just typical aggressive business behaviour.
"Clear Channel was an aggressive competitor, and that is a fundamental part of our system," Gair said "... that's competition. They were aggressive. We were aggressive."
"Nobody at Clear Channel said, 'We won't bring our concerts' " he added, ... "The only threats that were made in this case were made by JamSports -- were made by Mr. Mickelson [Jam founder and Chicago impresario Jerry Mickelson]."
Chicago is one of the few major markets where Clear Channel has significant competition in promoting concerts but Jam's venues there are smaller than those of Clear Channel.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times report:
2005-02-10: Long-time CBS correspondent George Herman has died aged 85 of heart failure. Herman, who was born in New York and gained a mathematics degree in1941 and a masters degree in journalism the following year, was rejected by his US draft board for a multiplicity of failings including poor eyesight, ulcers and flat feet.
He first worked in radio for WXQR in New York then joined CBS News as a radio news writer in1944 , making his air radio debut in 1945 when news of the Japanese offer to surrender came though while he was night editor and he went on air until correspondent Robert Trout took over.
He subsequently worked for CBS radio and TV as a political reporter, war correspondent in Korea, and as moderator of CBS TV's "Face the Nation" Sunday show for 14 years.
Bob Schieffer, the current moderator of "Face the Nation," said of Herman in a statement released by CBS that he was "a terrific reporter and an even better person. He was the epitome of what a CBS News correspondent should be -- smart, thoughtful, fair and courageous."
After Herman's stint on Face the Nation ended in 1983, he continued with CBS until 1987, appearing on CBS TV's "Sunday Morning, "Newsbreak," the network's one-minute news segments, and on CBS Radio.
In its obituary the Washington Post reprints in full a 1974 CBS radio reporting which he mused about the introduction of the word "disinformation" into the language.
"In time, not knowing about disinformation will surely be a grammatical disdemeanor. And woe to the discreant who has the disfortune to labor under the disapprehension that there is no such word," he wrote. "It may not exist in the English language, but in Washington-ese, I predict a mistinctly brilliant future for it. There is no end to the malicious dischief and endless disconduct that may not spring up as a result of this marvellous distake. . . . It's a new world where disinformation is officially mispensed and the gullible are disled."
Washington Post obituary:
2005-02-10: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reduced from USD 21,000 to USD 10,000 the penalty on a Florida low-power FM and also proposed a USD 10,000 fine on a Florida non-commercial educational station for broadcasting adverts.
Hispanic Broadcast System Inc.'s WQQZ-FM, Clermont, has acknowledged receiving remuneration for messages broadcast on behalf of the station's underwriters, "Old Town" and "Multi-Channel Marketing" that were repeated a total of 288 times between May 31 and June 27, 2004.
The FCC said the messages exceeded permissible bounds because the Old Town announcement "invites or urges business patronage" and the Multi-Channel Marketing announcement "seeks impermissibly to distinguish favourably the underwriter from its competitors by implying that it offers superior service, and by listing its products in such a manner that suggests an overall promotional intent."
It noted that the base penalty for such offences was USD 2,000 but said that to apply it to each of the violations would lead to an excessive penalty and went for a total of USD 10,000.
The FCC has also reduced from USD 21,000 to USD 10,000 the penalty on Halifax Christian Community Church, Inc. licensee of WFBO-LP, Flagler Beach, Florida, for failure to install and maintain operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment and overpower operation with a non-certified transmitter from an unauthorized location.
The FCC said that in February 2004, before inspecting the main studio, agents observed the station's transmitter operating at 450 watts, well above its authorized power of 27 watts using a transmitter comprised of a non-certified exciter attached to a non-certified 500-watt amplifier and located approximately 1½ miles from its licensed geographic coordinates.
During the inspection it was noted that the station had EAS equipment but it was not installed and the station owner admitted that the transmitter was not located at its licensed coordinates, had always been located in its current location, and had been operating overpower to increase its coverage.
The FCC had initially proposed a USD 21,000 penalty but Halifax had appealed for a reduction on the basis that it installed its EAS equipment on October 21, 2003, but the EAS decoder never communicated properly with the printer and it had removed the decoder for repair, that it had a clean prior record and on grounds of inability to pay. The FCC dismissed all but the last argument and reduced the penalty on this basis.
2005-02-09: U.S. Senators John McCain (Republican, Arizona), Maria Cantwell (Democrat, Washington), and Patrick Leahy (Democrat, Vermont) have introduced on the fifth anniversary of the first authorization of low-power FM services in a the US a bill that would allow hundred more such stations by eliminating third-adjacent-channel interference requirements that were subsequently included in legislation following heavy lobbying by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
In their news release the Senators say the "Local Community Radio Act of 2005," is a "bill that would allow additional low power FM radio stations to begin broadcasting, eliminate costly and redundant studies on possible interference from low power FM radio stations to other FM stations, and ensure the availability of radio spectrum for low power FM radio stations."
McCain, who in 2001 introduced but failed to get passed the Low-Power Radio Act of 2001 that would have allowed more low power stations but required the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action when interference was caused commented, "While Low Power FM radio stations were authorized five years ago, implementation has been severely hampered by commercial broadcasters' flagrantly exaggerated claims of interference. The most recent obstruction, a two year study conducted at the behest of broadcasters, cost taxpayers over two million dollars and proved what the FCC and community groups have known for years: Low Power FM stations will not cause significant interference to other broadcasters' signals. It is time for broadcasters to stop hiding behind false claims of interference when they are really afraid of the competition from truly local broadcasters."
Backing him up Cantwell said, "For five years, large broadcasters have tried to block access for low power FM stations using tired arguments that don't hold up to reality. This is an important fight to ensure that these affordable, community-oriented radio stations are allowed access to our nation's airwaves" and Leahy added, "For too long now the number of low power FM stations the FCC could license has been limited by unrealistic and unnecessary rules requiring these smaller stations to search for available frequencies far from any full-power broadcaster. This bill will open up the airwaves to truly local broadcasting while protecting full-power broadcasters from unreasonable interference and preserving important services such as reading services for the blind."
Prior to the introduction of the bill, the NAB had written to all members of Congress saying that third-adjacent channel protection should be retained although it added that it "recognized that "properly licensed LPFM stations can offer valuable services" and continued, "These 10 and 100 watt, non-commercial, micro-radio stations often provide niche programming that appeals to a very limited audience and would therefore be unsustainable on full power FM stations."
It continued, "In 2000, Congress wisely passed legislation that permitted the FCC to continue licensing Low Power FM stations, but required the new micro-radio stations to adhere to 3rd adjacent channel interference protections. This compromise legislation, supported by NAB, National Public Radio and the Radio Reading Services for the Blind, ensured that the signals of low power FM stations and full power FM broadcasters would not interfere with each other. We would caution Congress against modifying 3rd adjacent channel protections."
RNW comment: We found, as we have on previous occasions the NAB response on LPFM to be self-serving, misleading and rather unctuous. The letter to members of Congress referred to full power FM stations that "are 'short spaced' and operate on channels that are 3rd adjacent" and went on to note that these stations were "grandfathered" before the "the FCC instituted its 3rd adjacent channel policy" and then directs them to an audio clip recorded in Maryland that is says "demonstrates the real world effects of such interference."
The clips concerned involve a pop station drowning out a classical one when listened to on two Sony walkman receivers, but no information at all is given about the signal strengths of either station - to put it plainly, this is propaganda not realistic information on what interference an LPFM signal might cause.
Were interference in any significant part of the station's area as bad as on the demonstration, we would have expected one station to buy out the other to get a decent signal since it completely drowns out the signal.
In this case we're with McCain not the NAB and can only hope pressures are brought on the legislators to give the latter a hard kick up the rump: In a just world, NAB would already be having to worry about being billed on the costs of tests carried out so far with, for fairness, a refund of say a twentieth for each of the first 20 complaints where interference of the level equal to that in NAB's example is shown to be caused by an LPFM station commissioned without third adjacent channel protection.
We'd expect NAB to be a poorer organization as a result rather than getting any money back!:
McCain news release:
2005-02-09: In Canada, Corus Entertainment seems set to launch the largest-ever news talk network in Québec following its acceptance of conditions set by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to approve its planned station exchange with Astral Media (See RNW Jan 22).
The deal would also see Corus entering the Quebec City market, with the addition of two radio stations and allow it to complete the reformatting of CHMP-FM, Montreal.
Corus Québec President Pierre Arcand said that the new network would be launched on closure of the deal and added, "The production and broadcasting of high quality news will be the main focus of this new network. While reviving the network is a sizeable challenge, we are confident that with the implementation of our action plan and, above all, the co-operation of radio artists, listeners, and advertisers, we will be able to make the network profitable and revitalize each station."
"We place great importance on the relationship of our stations with their home regions, and we will do all we can to help them maintain and strengthen their ties with local communities to reflect their hopes and concerns."
Corus already operates 12 stations in the Québec radio market and the deal will add seven AM stations and an FM to its holdings.
In other North American radio business, Radio One Inc has announced that loans made to two of its executive officers prior to the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, have been repaid by those individuals, one fully and one partially.
Executive Vice President and CFO Scott R. Royster has fully repaid a loan of USD 750,000 made to him in January 2002 using a combination of cash and 20,000 shares of the Company's Class D common stock.
Partially repaid is a loan of USD 21.1 million made to President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins to enable him to buy 1,500,000 shares of the Company's Class D common stock: he has paid off USD 19.8 million, USD 2 million in cash in December last year and the remained this month using 1,125,000 shares of the Company's Class D common stock and now has a loan balance of around USD 5.9 million due to be paid in full in April this year.
The transactions have reduced the number of issued and outstanding shares of Radio One's Class D common stock by 1,145,000.
On the results front, Jefferson-Pilot Communications reported a strong 2004 with earnings up 8% on 2003 to USD 16.6 million in the final quarter taking full year earnings up a fifth on 2003 to USD 54.4 million. Broadcast cash flow was up 9% in the quarter to USD31.8 million and for the year was up 18% increased 18 percent to USD 108.1 million.
Previous Radio One:
2005-02-09: The latest report of the BBC Programme Complaints Unit, covering the final quarter of 2004, shows 122 complaints against 31 items upheld, 13 of them partly, out of 498 complaints concerning 243 items: This compares with of 21 TV and 13 radio complaints upheld out of a total of 284 dealt with concerning 191 items in the previous bulletin.
Of the complaints upheld, 16 concerned matters of fairness and accuracy with half involving radio and the others relating to TV and online services: In the previous bulletin nine of the TV complaints upheld and seven of the radio ones related to matters of fairness and accuracy.
Of the remaining complaints, six items involved radio, the same number as in the previous bulletin.
Radio complaints upheld were:
Matters of fairness and accuracy:
* A complaint of unfair treatment from a woman who said there had been disparaging remarks made by Rony Robinson of BBC Radio Sheffield about her husband and herself. The unit held that a disparaging remark about the complainant's husband and the tone in which the complainant had been questioned about having a child out of wedlock had been inappropriate.
*A complaint by the Daily Mail newspaper about a misquotation on BBC Radio 4's breakfast Today programme of a headline related to a story of a man who made posthumous provision for window-cleaning at the hospital where he died. The programme had apologized to the paper but had refused to broadcast a correction and the unit, although finding that the headline had been misquoted, said the tenor of the paper's report was such that this was not "so different from the reality as to warrant a broadcast correction."
* A complaint of party political bias against the same programme in a discussion about the withdrawal of Robert Kilroy-Silk from the UKIP group of Euro MPs. The unit ruled that the participants had been invited in the expectation that one of them would be broadly supportive of UKIP but the expectation was misplaced, and the resulting discussion was seriously lacking in balance.
*An other bias complaint that undue attention had been given by BBC Radio Lancashire to the Countryside Alliance stand at the Royal Lancashire Show in July last year and that a guest on the programme had been allowed to express a pro-hunting viewpoint without any balancing contributions.
The unit upheld the second part of the complaint, noting that the invitation to the guest to put the case for hunting had been intended to stimulate listeners to phone in but nobody had done so, thus making the report unbalanced.
*A complaint about a BBC Radio 4 news bulletin in which the reporter had spoken of "illegal asylum seekers" who by definition were not illegal, thus stigmatising them. The unit noted that the reporter had intended to refer to illegal immigrants but upheld the complaint.
*A complaint in the same category of bias against fox hunting on the Jonathan Ross Show on BBC Radio 2. The unit found that at certain points in this case Ross and his co-presenter appeared to be expressing a definite view on one side of the controversy.
*A factual inaccuracy complaint that described soundtrack from the film The Battle for Warsaw by Peter Batty Productions Limited as being commissioned by "a group of Polish political lobbyists."
The programme makers had arranged to broadcast a correction agreed with Peter Batty but broadcast instead a correction that he took exception to. A second correction was subsequently broadcast and the unit said no further action was needed.
Matters of taste and standards:
*A large number of complaint of poor taste about a comment made in Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation on BBC Radio 4 in which the comic suggested shooting British National Party voters in the back of the head. The unit found that, although the intent was satirical, the comment was inappropriate.
*A complaint about a listener than an interview on BBC Radio 2 by Jeremy Vine with a guest who had no qualms about paying for sex and a comment on the same station by Jonathan Ross's co-presenter about a tattooed penis were inappropriate for broadcast when children might be listening. Both complaints were upheld.
*A sensitivity and portrayal complaint against the Jon Gaunt Show on BBC Radio WM in relation to disparaging comments made about unemployed people. The unit found that on the occasions identified by the listener, however, the comments on unemployed people did not serve to stimulate debate and there was an element of disparagement, which, in the absence of contrary views, went beyond acceptable limits.
*Another sensitivity and portrayal complaint by two listeners about the use of the word "Pikey", a derogatory term for a Gypsy, on the 99P Challenge on BBC Radio 4. The word had been used to describe a follower of a certain kind of urban youth style but the unit fount that "the offensiveness attaching to the longer-established meaning is still such that even innocently intended uses of the term are likely to be out of place, as in this instance."
*An offence to religious feeling complaint by two listeners on the Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1 in relation "to the use of the name of Christ in a remark, which made a sexual suggestion to a female member of the breakfast crew." The use was ruled to be unacceptable.
Previous BBC Complaints Bulletin:
2005-02-09: US classical radio host Karl Haas whose syndicated program, "Adventures in Good Music," for many years attracted the largest audience of any classical music radio program in the world has died aged 91 in Detroit.
The programme was launched in 1959 and since 1970 had been produced and distributed by WCLV-FM, Cleveland: It was carried by hundreds of stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Panama and on US Armed Forces Radio.
WCLV president Robert Conrad said in a tribute on the station web site, "Throughout his broadcasting career, Karl Haas had the knack of informing and delighting his listeners with his vast knowledge of music."
"And who can forget his penchant for punning the titles of his programs - The Joy of Sax, Baroque and in Debt, May the Source be with You, and No Stern Untoned. Karl leaves a valuable legacy of music appreciation that is unparalleled. And because his programs are timeless, WCLV will continue to make these priceless musical treasures available to the WCLV audience and to other radio stations."
Haas, who was Jewish, was born in Speyer-on-the-Rhine, Germany, and fled the Nazis in 1936 and settled with his family in Detroit. He founded the Chamber Music Society of Detroit in 1944 and began his broadcasting career in 1950 hosting a weekly preview of Detroit Symphony Orchestra concerts on WWJ, Detroit.
Adventures in Good Music was launched in 1959 when WJR, Detroit, offered him a 10:00 to create a one-hour program of classical music and commentary. The programme was Detroit's number one programme in its time period for two decades and, although he stopped doing new programmes two years ago is still in syndication.
Haas received many awards during his career including two George Foster Peabody Awards and the National Endowment for the Humanities Charles Frankel Award and in 1997 became the first classical personality to be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. In 2002, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fine Arts Radio International Awards presented by Missouri Southern State University.
WCLV web site:
2005-02-09: Tribune Co is expecting to go outside the company to find a replacement for Mark Krieschen who resigned as vice president and general manager of WGN-AM according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Kreischen, a 20-year veteran of WGN, resigned voluntarily according to Steve Carver, vice president and general manager of Tribune's WATL-TV in Atlanta and Krieschen's predecessor at WGN.
Feder says Carver, who is heading the search for a replacement and overseeing the station in the meantime, declined to comment on his report last week that Krieschen was under pressure to resign following the departure of program director Mary June Rose (See RNW Feb 2): Carver said of the resignation, "The man needs to work some things out with his family, and I respect that" and added that the timing of the two resignations was "a coincidence to some degree."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-02-08: The anti-Trust case being brought against Clear Channel by Jam Productions, the largest independent concert and special-events promoter in the US, is getting under way in Chicago and is expected to last several weeks according to the Chicago Tribune.
Jam is contending that in 2002 Clear Channel tried to block its newly formed sports group from promoting AMA Supercross motorcycle races through threats to stadiums to cancel other events, thus keeping Jam from competing with it for Supercross and other deals that it could then have leveraged.
In all 12 anti trust suits were launched against Clear Channel but only one was allowed to go to trial: In this case U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ruled that there was enough evidence to proceed with the claim that Clear Channel used its market power to pressure stadiums not to host competing events, "with the sole intent of restraining the competitive process (See RNW Aug 29, 2004."
The trial was due to have begun in November last year but was then set back to this month (See RNW Nov 15, 2004): According to court documents JamSports says it lost a deal that would have allowed it to promote 15 races between January and May sanctioned by the American Motorcycle Association, selling as many as 800,000 tickets priced from USD 10 to USD 40 each, according to court files.
Other documents filed say Clear Channel executives wrote e-mails and letters directing subordinates to "lock up" key stadiums through at least 2005 "to protect the company if the AMA strikes out on its own."
The trial could last as long as eight weeks and as many as eight Clear Channel executives are expected to testify according to the Tribune.
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Tribune report:
2005-02-08: Entravision has gone national with Renan Almendarez Coello's "El Cucuy de la Manana", which is the top rated morning show in the 18-34 demographic in Los Angeles, the largest Hispanic radio market in the US, on stations. It is now airing in 13 markets as affiliates of ABC Radio Networks.
Entravision also announced that Carlos "Napoleon" Sanchez has been appointed format director of its Radio Tricolor network.
Entravision Radio President Jeffery A. Liberman commented, "'El Cucuy de la Manana' is the premiere Spanish-language radio talk show in the country and we are excited to bring it to our listeners. The show is a great fit for Radio Tricolor's target audience, adults 18-34, and a great complement to our existing program line-up."
"We are also thrilled to welcome Carlos Sanchez as the new head of our Radio Tricolor network. Carlos has an impressive radio programming track record and we are confident in his ability to carry-out Entravision Radio's mission of providing the best entertainment and information for our listeners."
2005-02-08: The British Museum has launched an appeal for machines on which to play recordings in its archives, some of which may become unplayable according to archivists.
The archive has plenty of old-fashioned home tape players, gramophones and wax cylinder phonographs but is keen to get hold of some of the rarer formats and Noel Sidebottom from the archive told the UK Telegraph they were " particularly keen to get hold of dictating machines for the extinct tape formats."
The paper notes that before standardisation on audio cassettes, dictating machines used many ways of recording audio including magnetic tapes in cartridges, others flat magnetic discs or flexible sheets of plastic.
The archive is also keen to get machines using a number of formats such as Betamax video players and eight-track cartridge machines that were abandoned soon after their introduction and also other older players such as wire recorders - used in the 1930s, 40s and 50s for speech recording, Digital Audio Tape (DAT) players and machines for playing Video 2000 and double sized El-Cassettes from the 1970s.
It is also hoping that people may find valuable radio recordings from the 1940s, 50s or 60s a time when many programmes were not kept.
The museum archive has more than 2.5 million recordings, from 1880s wax cylinder recording by Thomas Edison to the latest pop CDs.
UK Telegraph report:
2005-02-08: The US Federal Communications Commission's proposed fiscal 2006 budget has gone above USD 300 million to USD 304,057,000, up 3.8% (USD 11.099 million) on the budget it proposed for fiscal year 2004 and 5% on the USD 281,098,000 passed in 2005.
It says the requested level will cover USD 8.69 million of mandatory increases for salaries and benefits and inflationary increases for office space rental, supplies, printing, postage and contractual services and also includes funds to allow the FCC to consolidate and upgrade commission-owned facilities at Columbia, Maryland; to provide for critical enhancements to the FCC's major electronic filing systems; to implement a government-wide automated human resources system; and to fund additional staff to assist with program oversight associated with Universal Service Fund (USF) audit activities.
It also comments that the cost of USD 9.3 million for the consolidations and upgrade of its facilities will enable the Commission to maintain adequate response to Homeland Security issues as well as provide an environment which will promote staff productivity for a variety of spectrum management activities.
The FCC says that what it terms "uncontrollable increases" when added to the FY 2005 base, total a "current services" level of USD 289,784,000 and that this level of funding is critical if the agency is "to continue to respond to the universe of communications issues and challenges facing the FCC to provide the industry and the consumer with well-defined communications policy and oversight." Additional funding requested it says is to support critical programmatic initiatives.
RNW FCC 2005 Financial Year budget proposal:
FCC FY 2005 budget proposal report (993 Kb , 86 page PDF):
2005-02-08: The Katz Radio Group is resurrecting the Eastman Radio rep firm, which it acquired in 1990, in order it says to "meet the demand of current clients seeking additional representation opportunities within the Katz Radio Group as well as to serve the needs of new clients who will be joining the Katz Radio Group in the future."
The new Eastman Radio unit will become a third company - with Katz Radio and Christal - in the Katz Radio Group and will formally launch on February 14.
Tucker Flood, who will become President of Eastman Radio, commented, "I have run Christal Radio, been a part of Katz Radio, and worked closely with the old Eastman Radio. Having led and worked with the very best in the business I know the key elements that create excellence in national representation. We will make history again."
Katz Radio Group President Steve Shaw said the move was a "natural evolution of our expansion plans that began four years ago."
"Our strategy," he added, "has been to structure growth in order to best serve the needs of our clients. Our growth in the past two years has included the addition of USD150 million in new billing with industry partners such as Greater Media and Citadel. Success like this doesn't happen by accident. It happens because we have the people, structure and financial resources to operate great rep firms."
2005-02-07: With another Super Bowl upon us, this week we are concentrating our look at print comment on radio on the topic of, as the Lexington Herald-Leader put it " NIPPLEGATE: ONE YEAR LATER American media still reeling, but 'Desperate' to provide smut."
The Desperate referred to were of course housewives in the eponymous TV series and the article by Jamie Gumbrecht dealt mainly with TV although its chronology of the subsequent year's events listed last February's zero-tolerance policy announcement by Clear Channel, the April Federal Communications Commission's proposed USD 495,000 fine on the company over Howard Stern shows - and subsequent ratings increases for Stern in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the subsequent USD 1.75 million deal with Clear Channel to clean its slate, the August USD 300,000 settlement with Emmis to resolve complaints against Erich "Mancow" Muller, and last month's introduction of bills that could increase penalties more than ten-fold.
Other reactions pegged to the events of a year ago varied, with Randy Dotinga in the North County Times suggesting that maybe the restrictions weren't as harshly enforced as is widely thought.
His column begins, "Not too long ago, the crew at KGB's "Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw" show turned to breasts, a topic dear to many radio morning-show hosts. They discussed women who named theirs ---- one listener said she calls hers "License & Registration," because she points to them whenever she gets pulled over; another dubbed hers "Thelma & Louise."
"A few days later, Star 100.7's "Jeff & Jer" spent time debating the visual appeal (or lack thereof) of a certain part of the male anatomy. Meanwhile, KPRI has been airing an Alanis Morissette song with a seven-letter bad word (she uses it to describe herself) while also allowing pop-rocker Jason Mraz to make this comment about why he likes to put roosters on his album covers: "Well, I guess literally I've been told I like to rock out with my c--- out."
"Wow Considering what's allowed on the air these days, it might be hard to believe that the Federal Communications Commission has spent the last year cracking down on radio indecency. Indeed, several local radio station bosses said they haven't had to change much in the 12 months since the FCC's morality police got energized by Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl."
Dotinga allows however that some things have changed ." Some rock songs have gotten a nip and tuck to remove offensive language, while seven-second tape delays have become more common during live broadcasts" " Meanwhile, the weird pre-Janet rules still apply too. During KGB's breast-acious discussion, the hosts listed several slang terms for those body parts. But while they danced around it, they didn't use a popular slang word that rhymes with "mitts." (The one that rhymes with, um, "oobs" was OK.)"
After further comment about how rules could be set down, Dotinga concludes his comments on the matter by writing, "Since no self-respecting politician is going to stand up for dirty talk, the FCC's crusade isn't going to stop anytime soon. But there's an opportunity for change: FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell is quitting, and President Bush will suggest a replacement Perhaps the president could remember the words he told C-SPAN in a recent interview: '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 (on) the TV for a reason. Turn it off.'"
In the Washington Times, Chris Baker opined that the matter of indecency on air is not going to go quietly away and said backers of legislation to massively increase fines for broadcast indecency think they have a better chance of passing legislation this year than last, when wrangling killed the proposals.
He adds that the key to future policy lies with the choice of FCC chairman to follow Michael K. Powell, who is stepping down next month, and in particular suggests that an appointment of Commissioner Kevin J. Martin could well lead to a yet tougher line.
Baker adds, however, that the matter could well end up in the US Supreme Court and also quotes Washington communications lawyer Bruce W. Sanford as commenting on the attention indecency has got, "It sucks too much energy and oxygen out of the room. There are so many difficult and complex regulatory issues that the FCC faces, and they take time to figure out. This indecency stuff is a colossal waste of time,"
That view is not shared by one of the leading anti-indecency lobby groups, the Parents Television Council (PTC) whose spokeswoman Lara Mahaney commented, "We don't think [indecency is] more important than cable. We don't think it's more important than telecom issues. We think it's as important."
And a final note courtesy of Frank Rich in the New York Times whose comments included "This might all be laughable were the government not expanding its role as cultural cop. But it is. The departures of Michael Powell, the Savonarola of the Federal Communications Commission, and John Ashcroft, whose parallel right-breast fixation was stimulated by a statue in the Justice Department, are red herrings. "Thank God he's gone, but God help us with what's next," said Howard Stern upon learning of Mr. Powell's imminent exit. He's right. After all, L. Brent Bozell of the Parents Television Council condemned Mr. Powell for "four years of failed leadership" in fighting indecency."
" The second Bush term began with the installation of a powerful new government censor in another big job, Secretary of Education. Margaret Spellings hadn't even been officially sworn into the cabinet when she took on "Postcards From Buster," threatening PBS with decreased financing because one episode had the show's eponymous animated rabbit hobnobbing with actual lesbian moms while visiting Vermont to learn how maple syrup is made."
" That Ms. Spellings would gratuitously go after this specific "lifestyle" right after taking office is so provocative it smells like payback specifically pitched at those "pro-family" watchdogs who snarled at the mention of Ms. Cheney's sexual orientation during the campaign whether it was by John Kerry or anyone else. Surely Ms. Spellings doesn't believe in discrimination against nontraditional families: by her own account, she was a single mother who had to park her 13-year-old and 8-year-old children in Austin when she first went to work at the White House."
After which, before moving on to suggested listening, we'll mention but skip over a couple of items - by Betsy Streisand in US News US News & World Report and David Pogue in the New York Times - links below - that further indicate that the anti-indecency lobby could yet hobble terrestrial broadcasters to the benefit of uncensored cable and satellite apart from noting a David Pogue comment on pocket-size satellite radio - so far only one XM model available but others for XCM and Sirius are due out shortly- "At one point, I actually walked twice around the block in the freezing cold just so I could hear the end of a radio drama."
We note the drama comment because radio drama is a rare beast in North America at the moment, albeit still going strong on the BBC - but a beast that may yet be about to get a new lease of life in Canada according to Murray Whyte writing in the Toronto Star.
He notes the airing last Saturday on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) of the first part of a four part radio drama set in a post-apocalyptic world written by Toronto comedy writer Matt Watts.
Watts pitched the idea for TV but was unable to get financing and the idea ended up on the radio.
The CBC writes Whyte currently has 33 radio scripts in production and he quotes Gregory J. Sinclair, the director of Radio Arts and Entertainment for CBC Radio as saying of radio drama in the country, "It never really went away, but it was eclipsed for a long while But it survived the multi-channel universe, and suddenly it seems like a hot new medium again."
"Something that's expensive by radio standards is insanely inexpensive by TV standards," he added. "There are so many more opportunities to create a vast array of incredibly diverse work, from comedy to drama to noir to sci fi. There's really no limit."
Whyte notes that in June the CBC put out an open call for proposals went out for a new generation of radio plays, spanning all genres and sensibilities and received more than 400 submissions that were pared down to fewer than 40, some of which have already aired.
Watts noted that in the U.K. radio is part of a comedian's natural career progression, saying. "It's their training ground. They all start there, do small sketch shows, and move up to BBC TV. Hopefully, at some point, radio can be another way in here, too."
And of his work, "I just wanted to get it done somehow, but I came to really enjoy it, enjoy the radio process."
Watts we feel would have got on well with one of the great BBC radio Producers, Charles Chilton, best remembered for his "Journey into Space" drama. Chilton, a working class orphan - his father was killed in the First World War - from King's Cross who got as job at a youthful BBC in part because of a policy to favour servicemen and their dependants and went on to produce a wide variety of BBC output, starting off with jazz programmes. His story was the subject of the latest Archive Hour on BBC Radio 4, broadcast on Saturday but still on the web site for a week.
In other drama from Radio 4 we'd suggest two afternoon plays from last week - last Tuesday and The Truelove File by Kate Clanchy in which a successful thirty-something lawyer who has been dumped is persuaded by her best fried to try speed dating - and last Thursday and Press the Hash Key Now by Peter G Morgan, which deals with the drama that ensues when his fiancée finds messages from another woman on her boy friend's phone. Both did a good job in looking at the interface between human values and more modern practices and technology.
Also on Radio 4 in Sunday's Classic Serial slot was the first of six installments of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time (A La Recherché du Temps Perdue).
For classical music, we'd suggest last week's Composer of the Week from BBC Radio 3 - the Monday programme will be available until midday today when this week's composer is Puccini. Last week looked at The Minimalists, with work from composers such as John Adams, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and La Monte Young and also at how their work influenced others and each day's programme is available for the following seven days.
Combining music and drama, BBC Radio 3's Drama on 3 on Sunday was Red Razzmatazz by David Zane Mairowitz and Dominic Muldowney: It's a new radio opera set in Moscow, in 1949 where, with jazz more or less forbidden, a young and crazy unemployed musician - reputed to be the best saxophonist in Russia - imports an illegal saxophone into the Soviet Union.
The for documentary Sunday's Background Briefing on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National was Politics v Supreme Court, a 50 minute look at the potential ramifications of a run of new Republican appointments to the US Supreme Court.
Then for drama and documentary, we'd suggest Reel Histories from BBC Radio 4 on Saturday. The series looks at the truth behind classic film versions of history and this programme was about 10 Rillington Place, the house where serial killer John Reginald Christie killed a number of women and also the location of a case that was partly instrumental in the abolition of the death penalty in the UK. This was the case of Timothy Evans, who had a mental age of around 10 and was convicted on Christie's evidence for the murder of his baby daughter and hanged in March 1950 but given a posthumous pardon in 1966 on the basis that the jury would probably not have convicted him on the evidence of a mass murderer. Evans wife was also murdered, a murder to which Christie subsequently confessed.
After that for some relief we'd suggest comedy and Punt and Dennis from BBC Radio2 (22:00 Thursday with a 13:30 Saturday repeat-last week's show is still on the site) and The News Quiz from BBC Radio 4 (18:30 Friday and a 12:30 Saturday repeat but also on the web site).
ABC , Australia - Background Briefing site:
Lexington Herald-Leader - Gumbrecht:
North County Times - Dotinga:
New York Times - Pogue:
New York Times - Rich:
Toronto Star - Whyte:
US News & World Report - Streisand:
Washington Times- Baker:
2005-02-07: San Francisco is still waiting to see which station will be the flagship for the 49ers following reports last month that the NFL team was to part company with ABC Radio's KGO-AM after 18 years.
The San Francisco Chronicle, says that a firm decision is likely within around a week according to Tony Salvadore, the senior vice president for Susquehanna's KNBR - AM and KTCT-AM, who said he'd made "a fairly smart offer" for the rights to carry 49ers' broadcasts, but added that he was not "outbidding anybody."
KGO general manager Mickey Luckoff told the paper that contrary to initial reports KGO was not necessarily ending its relationship with the 49ers but had only exercised an option to drop the final two years of its five-year contract and was talking to the team about a new deal.
The paper says that other stations have also expressed interest and notes that one factor that affected the deal with KGO was the team's plan to sell advertising next season and added that the team's performance in 2004 could not have helped KGO's ratings.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2005-02-06: The past week was mainly a matter of routine announcements for the regulators with no major developments.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has invited applications for a new community licence for Geelong in Victoria: The process of allocating a permanent licence follows the surrender of the licence in June last year by Geelong Community Radio Co-operative Ltd and subsequent issue of a temporary licence to Geelong Ethnic Communities Council Inc.
Also in Victoria, ABA has also announced that it is to make FM channel capacity available for the 3SEA-FM, Warragul, commercial service to rectify reception deficiencies in the Traralgon and Morwell areas.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has said, in connection with 15 licence renewals, that Local Management and Service Agreements (LMAs and LSAs) must be wound up by the end of May (See RNW Feb 2).
The stations involved, whose licences have been renewed until 2011 subject to ending the agreements, are:
In Thunder Bay, Ontario -- CKPR-AM, CJSD-FM, and CJLB-FM.
In Sudbury, Ontario -- CIGM-AM, CHNO-FM, CJMX-FM and CJRQ-FM.
In Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island -- CHTN-AM, CFCY-FM and CHLQ-FM.
In Nova Scotia (Dartmouth/Halifax market) - CFDR-AM and CFRQ-FM Dartmouth plus CJCH-AM. CIOO-FM, and CKUL-FM, Halifax.
Other licensing decisions from the commission included, in order of province,
*Approval of application for an English-language 42,300 watts rock FM in Whitecourt: The application had been opposed by Newcap, whose CJYR-AM, Edson, serves the area through CFYR-FM Whitecourt and which had applied for an amendment to the licence so as to upgrade CFYR-FM Whitecourt from a transmitter to an originating station.
*Approval of 20-watts community FM in Creston.
*Approval of new 104 watts commercial FM in Nelson, together with a 40 watts transmitter in Crawford Bay, to replace CHNV-FM, a transmitter of CKQR-FM, Castlegar. The new station will continue to broadcast programming of CKQR except when it is broadcasting local programming and a licence condition prohibits local advertising unless at least one-third of all programming broadcast is locally-originated.
*Approval of new 920 watts English-language adult contemporary FM at Nelson to replace CKKC-AM, which has the same format. This had been opposed by an applicant for a new English-language low-power FM radio station in Nelson but the commission approved the conversion of CKKC and said the re was not room in the market for a new station.
Denial of application for new low-power FM as noted above.
*Approval of new 100,000 watts English-language Contemporary Rock FM in Swift Current.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
*Approval of 1,763 watts FM transmitter in Placentia for CBN St. John's. This will broadcast the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio One service.
* Renewal until August 31, 2006 of the licence of CKEY-FM Fort Erie and its transmitter CKEY-FM-1 St. Catharines.
There were objections to this renewal, linked to a tie-up between the licensee, CJRN 710 Inc., and Citadel - it has a joint sales agreement that generates a significant amount of the station's income comes from the Buffalo market through the JSA. The station is also listed on the Citadel web site as of its stations that is based in Buffalo.
In connection with this, the CRTC noted that the licensee had given firm assurances that Citadel never controlled CJRN or made decisions on day-to-day operations or programming and that, although programming was produced in Citadel's Buffalo studios involving some Citadel personnel, a member of CJRN's staff supervised and controlled all activities.
The CRTC also noted that the licensee had breach various licence conditions and said it was especially concerned by the absence of news programming of particular relevance to listeners in Niagara Falls/St. Catharines and was not satisfied with the level of local service provided by CJRN to the Fort Erie/Niagara market and requires the licensee to take immediate steps to enhance the news component of the station's programming. It also found regulation breaches in connection with the station's program logs and music lists and said the licence period granted would allow it to assess, at an early date compliance with licence conditions.
The CRTC also issued a public notice concerning a number of applications with a deadline of March 10 for interventions or comments. Radio items included:
Newfoundland and Labrador
* Nain and Happy Valley/Goose Bay - Application by Okalakatiget Society to renew the broadcasting licence of the radiocommunication distribution undertaking serving Nain (CKOK) and Happy Valley/Goose Bay (CKHV) expiring 31 August 2005.
*Application to renew the licence of oldies CKLC-AM, Kingston, expiring 31 August 2005. The Commission noted the apparent failure to comply with regulations relating to Canadian music content by the licensee.
Ontario and Quebec:
* Fifth application by Aboriginal Voices Radio Inc. (AVR) for an extension of the time limit to commence the operation of a new Type B Native FM radio programming undertaking approved for the Ottawa-Gatineau area.
*Application to amend the licence of CKBI-AM, Prince Albert, to add a 53 watts FM transmitter at La Ronge to broadcast CKBI programming.
*Application to amend the licence of CHQX-FM Prince Albert, to add a 31 watts FM transmitter at La Ronge to broadcast CHQX programming.
*Application to amend the licence of CBK-FM Regina, to add a 4,710 watts FM transmitter at Swift Current to broadcast the programming of CBK-FM Radio Two.
The Commission notes that the transmitter is currently licensed as a radiocommunication distribution undertaking (RDU) to C.O.R.B. Swift Current & District Inc., which is no longer able to operate the RDU. If this application is accepted, it wants the RDU licence, which is due to expire at the end of August, to be revoked.
*Application to amend the licence of CBK-FM Regina, to add a 57,000 watts FM transmitter at Yorkton to broadcast the programming of CBK-FM.
From Ireland there were no licence decisions but the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) released its latest complaints bulletin, upholding complaints from four listeners against radio (see below).
In the UK Ofcom also released its latest complaints bulletin but it upheld no radio complaints (See RNW Feb 1).
Ofcom also advertised new licences for the Solent area and for Torbay (See RNW Feb 5).
It also issued yet more consultation documents - on Procedures for Authorisation of Satellite Networks and Better Policy Making: Ofcom's approach to Impact Assessments Guidelines, announced that it had appointed external consultants, Analysys and DotEcon, to carry out an economic study of the possible extension of trading and liberalisation to spectrum used for mobile services, and published its Communications Market Quarterly Update running to the end of 2004.
The radio section of the latter (a 1Mb 69 page PDF) included details on radio listening that noted constant UK listening yea on year in the quarter but the lowest share of listening since 1999 to commercial listening - and the highest to BBC network radio.
Regionally in the UK, listening is highest in the South-West of England at 24.9 hours and lowest in Scotland at 21.3 hours. BBC network stations fare least well in Northern Ireland where the share of listening to BBC Radios 2,3,and 4 is less than a third of their UK average.
In demographic terms it notes that over the UK men tend to listen to more radio than women and women more than children with the most striking variation in Wales where there appears to be significantly higher than average listening amongst children. It also notes that Scottish women listen to radio for three hours less than the UK average.
Regarding digital radio, the report says take-up of DAB digital radio continued to rise while prices continued and adds that for the third quarter of 2004 date from GfK suggest that the sets sold in that quarter were largely to homes that did not previously own DAB sets (rather than to existing DAB households purchasing additional sets).
In licence terms, Ofcom has now issued its first FM licences - for Edinburgh and Blackburn last year and for Ashford in Kent in January - and has received 192 applications for its planned community stations. It says it will give first priority for applications from 14 pilot services and competing applications in their areas, then second priority to non-contested applications and will deal then with other areas where there are competing applications.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is prepared to grant construction permits related to 18 winning bids in its FM Auction 37 following receipt of final payments, which are due by February 18.
The winning bids involved were from LKCM Radio Group LP (Munds Park, Arizona); Airen Broadcasting Company (McCloud, California); Marcos Rodriguez (Carbondale, Colorado); Wildcat Communications LLC (New Castle, Colorado); Massmedia, Inc. (Ebro, Florida); Guam Broadcast Services, Inc. (Tumon, Guam); Big Island Broadcasting, Inc. (Captain Cook, Hawaii); Big Island Broadcasting, Inc. (Haiku, Hawaii); Henson Media, Inc. (Sturgis, Kentucky); Community Radio, Inc. (Ravenna, Nevada); Horizon Broadcasting Group LLC (Bay City, Oregon); Alexandra Communications, Inc. (Stanfield, Oregon); Christyahna Broadcasting, Inc. (Mission, South Dakota); Susan Clinton (Byrdstown, Tennessee);Sanpete County Broadcasting Co. (Monroe, Utah); Advance Acquisition, Inc. (Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin); United States CP, LLC (Saratoga, Wyoming);
It also released the agenda for its low-power FM Forum to be held on February 8 (See RNW Feb 5).
Previous Licence News:
ABA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
Communications Market Quarterly Update (1 Mb PDF):
2005-02-06: Radio One Inc, which last month announced that it was to redeem USD110.0 million of its outstanding 6 1/2% Convertible Preferred Securities, Remarketable Term Income Deferred Equity Securities ("HIGH TIDES") has now said it intends to redeem the remaining USD 200 million of them.
This will totally redeem the entire USD 310 million of High Tides outstanding.
Funding for the redemption will come from funds from the company's bank facility and the sale of USD 200 million worth of 6-3/8% senior subordinated notes due February 2013, which were priced at par.
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2005-02-06: Ireland's Broadcasting Complaints Commission has upheld complaints from four complainants about radio broadcasts in the latest bulletin released by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI): Two of them were against the Dublin station Spin 1038, another against RTÉ 2FM's 'Full Irish' and the final one against an advert that ran on RTÉ 2FM.
It also upheld complaints of offensive content from eight viewers about RTÉ TV1's 'Late Late Show', a similar complaint from a viewer about TG4's 'Pop4' and a complaint about sponsorship of weather forecasts on various TV stations.
A further 14 radio complaints, 12 TV complaints and one TV advert complaint were rejected.
The Spin complaints upheld involved "Gender Agenda" broadcasts in the station's regular Friday 'Spin Talk' programme on the station: One complainant had objected to discussions on broadcasts in August and October 2004 of the use of pornography or video equipment as sex aids and another to a discussion in November 2004 that included talking about a diamond studded vibrator for Victoria Beckham and various aspects of 'threesomes'.
The station said that the relevant section of programming was heavily promoted as a sex and relationship feature with warning messages broadcast around it.
The BCC held that the first broadcasts were "totally unsuitable for broadcast at that time" and added, " Also, the manner in which the content was dealt with was considered to be gratuitous and puerile. The broadcasting of warnings about the adult content of the programme does not circumvent the station's editorial responsibility. The nature and tone of the programme were offensive, particularly given the inappropriate time of broadcast."
It delivered a similar ruling on the second complaint.
The RTÉ programme complaint related to comments made by Ryan Tubridy during his RTÉ 2FM programme 'The Full Irish'.
They followed a news story about the skinning of a cat by art students in Canada and Trubidy intermittently imitated the cat by saying 'meow, please don't skin me' and 'it hurts so much when you skin me'.
The Commission said that in this case the topic, the live skinning of a cat, was unsuitable for broadcast at the time and added that if considered humour based on cruelty to animals to be inappropriate and offensive.
The advert complaint related to a broadcast of an advert for a Playstation game that involved two actors speaking in cockney accents about what they have found in a car boot - clothes, hair, blood and a baseball bat. It had been followed by a news item relating to the death of a teenage girl from head injuries.
RTÉ had responded that the TV advert for the game had been restricted to after 19:00 but when it came to consider the radio advert, it was decided not to impose a restriction on the broadcast time and noted that unlike television, the age profile on 2FM actually gets younger as the evening progresses.
The BCC held that the "description of the aftermath of a violent event is not appropriate content for an advertisement" and also said its broadcast was inappropriate for a time when children were likely to be in the audience.
2005-02-05: Consolidation in the Hispanic radio sector in the US is beginning to give it traction according to Ad Age, which notes that Hispanic media in the US is expected to grown by some 11% in 2005, nearly triple the 4% expected from mainstream media.
Ad Age says that although Spanish-language media is still dominated by local media buys in a fragmented market, Hispanic media experts say national advertisers are increasing budgets in Spanish-language radio by double digits, largely as a result of recent moves by three major Hispanic radio operations.
It quotes Rosa Serrano, senior vice president and group account director of multicultural media for Los Angeles-based Initiative as saying, "National advertisers are still not spending as much on Hispanic marketing as they should based on population figures. But several of the recent mergers and consolidations have had a positive impact on the medium, and more major brand advertisers are taking Hispanic radio seriously."
It notes that Univision recently signed a USD 100 million 3-year-deal with Miller Brewing that Univision radio COO Gary Stone says translates into double-digit increases for Univision Radio. Stone adds that Univision is working on other such deals with advertisers.
The other major players cited by AdAge are Clear Channel, which in September said it would convert at least two dozen of its general-market radio stations to Hispanic formats in 2005, and Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS), which has signed a strategic alliance with Viacom.
Previous Clear Channel:
Ad Age report:
2005-02-05: The UK Guardian Media Group (GMG) has pulled out of the bidding for a new Manchester FM licence advertised in November last year (See RNW Nov 11, 2004) with an application deadline of next Wednesday: The UK Guardian, owned by the same parent, reports that after researching its planned 24-hour speech station Channel M Radio it decided that the station would not be commercially viable.
The paper says GMG chief executive John Myers had said that initially it hoped the station would be able to reach around 2 million people but further research showed it to be 1.3 million.
"We've done all the numbers and do not believe it is possible to provide a quality talk station for Manchester whilst still making a commercial return when the potential audience is smaller than we had hoped for," Myers who added, "We would not want to submit a proposal that cut corners in order to make money and thus did a disservice to the people of Manchester."
GMG says it will now turn its full attention to a bid for the Solent licence that has just been advertised (See below) and for which the paper reports the Wireless Group has already said it is going enter a speech radio bid, "allTALK FM", led by the ITV South broadcaster, Fred Dinenage.
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2005-02-05: The University of Washington, which already holds licences for news/talk/National Public Radio KUOW-FM and KEXP-FM, could be asked to add a third according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
It says that the organizers of RainyDawg Radio, is a 2-year-old student-run station owned and funded by Associated Students of the University of Washington and that currently streams its signal, has set up a task force to look into the implications of adding a broadcast signal.
A report is to be made to the University's board in May and low-power FM is one possibility being studied.
"The big thing right now is to get a grip on the cost," said RainyDawg Radio's general manager Scott Somers, a finance major from Billings, Montana, who said that although there is currently no filing window open for new stations in Seattle it is important to be prepared should one open. Experience showed, he said, that that once the filing period begins not enough time is left to file an application.
In Washington, D.C., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued details of the agenda for its Low Power FM Forum to be held in its HQ on February 8.
The first session will be "LPFM -- Meeting Local Needs" and the second "Issues Affecting LPFM" to be followed by comments from LPFM providers in the audience.
Coverage of the meeting will be streamed by the F.C.C.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2005-02-05: UK media regulator Ofcom has advertised two new commercial FM licences, one a regional licence for the Solent area to cover most parts of south Hampshire, east Dorset and the Isle of Wight, and the south-western corner of West Sussex with a population of around 1.25 million and the other for Torbay and the surrounding area, which may include Dartmouth, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth and Totnes with a population of around 200,000.
Applications for each licence, complete with a non-refundable fee of GBP 1,500 (USD 2,800), have to be submitted by May 5.
2005-02-05: Pacifica Radio has reported a surplus in the year to the end of last September and appears to be on the way out of its financial crisis that followed a factional split that ended at the end of 2001 when the Pacifica Foundation, the parent company of the five stations comprising Pacifica Radio settled four lawsuits against its board of directors (See RNW Dec 14, 2001).
The non-profit had revenues of USD 16.04 million and operating expenses of USD 15.38 million according to Chief Financial Officer Lonnie Hicks. He added that a series of internal cost controls and one-month reserve requirements were critical to ensuring the network's financial health in recent years.
Pacifica notes that its surpluses over the past three years now exceed those in the 11 years from 1990 to 2001.
Executive Director Dan Coughlin commented of the surplus, "This is another important milestone for the network and it will allow us to focus our energies on expanding our affiliate network, promoting our diverse peace and justice programming nationally, and digitising and upgrading our broadcast facilities."
2005-02-04: US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Joint Board Chairman and Citadel CEO Philip Lombardo has attacked the current indecency crackdown in the US, speaking in an address to the Media Institute in the US capital of an "indecency disconnect" in Washington.
Lombardo told the Institute broadcasters were living in a state of "tremendous uncertainty" and said, "The FCC's inconsistent application of indecency rules - coupled with concern over a small number of what some would call 'tasteless' programs - has prompted unprecedented anxiety at every level of our business."
Lombardo drew comparisons with cable and satellite subscription services, no available to the vast majority of Americans and not hampered by the restrictions and said the FCC barely recognised the goodwill and public service value of terrestrial broadcasters when it came to levying massive fines.
Proposals are currently before US legislators to massively increase broadcast indecency penalties, currently a maximum USD 32,500 per incident, to ten times that amount or more.
Similar moves died last year when the House and Senate failed to agree a compromise between their different proposals.
2005-02-04: Digital radio is poised to take off in Europe according to the UK Digital Radio Development Bureau (DRDB), which notes similar trends there to those of the UK where sales of digital radios rose from just 35,000 four years ago to 1.27 million now.
In percentage terms it notes that UK digital receiver sales went up 122% in 2002/3 and 178% in 2003/4 and adds that in Denmark sales were up 535% in 2003/5 and in Belgium up 400%.
The DRDB says the increase is fuelled by promotion and availability of receivers on the high street and Kevin Dale, president of manufacturer PURE digital, added of the trend in Europe, "Sales of PURE DAB radios in Europe have started to show significant progress with key territories including Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland and Norway."
He continued, "We are also seeing DAB gaining in popularity in countries outside Europe, such as Singapore and Australia. As the right products are becoming available in these countries we have begun to see the same pick up in public interest in DAB that we saw in the UK 18 months ago. We expect that in 2005 Germany, Sweden, Holland, Italy and other European countries will also begin to take DAB to heart."
In Denmark, where digital signals can reach around four-fifths of the population, broadcaster Danmarks Radio launched a vigorous marketing campaign that combined with receiver availability in stores took sales in 2004 up from just above 6000 at the start of 2004 to 40,000 at year-end.
Thomas Schwartz, director of Gizmolink, a distributor of technology products in Denmark, said, "In November and December, DAB really took off. Sales in the New Year are continuing and Gizmolink are expecting to sell another 20,000 in 2005. Already in January we have sold 2,500 units."
In Norway, where around 70% of the population can receive DAB, some 4,000 receivers were sold in December and some shops sold out over the Christmas period, and in Belgium around 30,000 receivers have now been sold, up from around 6,000 at the end of 2003.
The growth in Eureka DAB sales is also boosting Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) - which offers a universal, non-proprietary digital AM radio system for short-wave, medium-wave and long-wave - with an announcement from Texas Instruments that it is working with RadioScape to build on its digital audio experience with the Eureka DAB system to develop hardware and software to support DRM.
TI is to supply a digital signal processor that will be used in conjunction with RadioScape's software radio technology.
Peter Senger, director of distribution at Deutsche Welle and chairman of the DRM Consortium, commented that the announcement from TI and RadioScape was "a major milestone for the DRM consortium" and added, "We believe their commitment to DRM will help drive its commercial success in the coming years - repeating their success at driving the DAB market by enabling a wide variety of receivers to be made at easily affordable prices."
2005-02-04: Indian FM broadcasters whose petition concerning licence fees was dismissed by the Delhi High Court (See RNW Feb 3) have had no relief from the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which declined to push for an early settlement of their claims relating to licence fees.
The tribunal bench fixed March 16 for the next date for hearing but it did ask the government to submit an early final view on recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Association of India (TRAI) that India switch from a licence fee system, which the companies say are pushing them into losses, to a percentage of revenues basis for charges.
The government said any final view on the matter would take time as some five ministries, including Finance, Law and Information & Broadcasting, are involved.
Previous Indian Radio:
New Kerala.com report:
2005-02-04: The Australian commercial radio industry has kicked off the latest stage of its brand campaign to try and attract advertisers in the consumer goods and finance sectors to the medium.
All commercial networks will air 45-second adverts that are the latest in the industry's AUD 40 million (USD 31 million) two-year campaign.
Joan Warner, Chief Executive of the industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) said the industry had identified fast moving consumer goods and financial products as sectors where radio could be used to greater advantage as an advertising medium.
"The first new ad for 2005 focuses on radio's ability to reach busy consumers, particularly women with young children, and the fact that radio can also be very effectively used to differentiate brands," she added.
"Radio is a flexible way to reach a mass audience given that Australians spend seven times longer in an average week listening to radio than reading newspapers."
Ralph van Djik, director of advertising agency Eardrum, who created the campaign, said the first commercial demonstrated how radio was one of the few ways advertisers can effectively reach busy home makers throughout the day.
"With no time to watch TV or read a paper, radio is a regular and constant part of many women's lives, providing information, entertainment and companionship without interrupting their routine," he said. "With three small kids, I found this commercial particularly easy to write, and I'm sure many listeners will relate to the mayhem in the scene."
2005-02-04: According to latest comScore/Arbitron online ratings the three networks it measures -- to America Online's Radio Network, Yahoo!'s LAUNCHcast, and Microsoft's MSN Radio and WindowsMedia.com -now attract around five million listeners a week.
In December 2004 it says the total for listeners Monday - Sunday 6AM-Midnight was 4,885,900, up 16% on December 2003.
It adds that Average-Quarter-Hour (AQH) listening to the networks during the peak weekday 10:00-15:00 window was 655,000: For 06:00 to 19:00 weekdays it was 467,500 and for 06:00 to midnight Monday to Sunday it was 311,500.
Yahoo led the totals with a cumulative audience of 1,351,300 and AQH of 246,300 for weekdays 06:00 to 19:00 and 2,255,400 and 167,200 respectively for Monday to Sunday 06:00 to midnight.
The figures for second-ranked AOL were 1,223,600 cume/ 149,000 AQH and 2,119,500 cume/ 103,300 AQH respectively whilst the Microsoft totals were 481,200 cume/ 72,200 AQH and 622,700 cume/ 41,000 AQH:
2005-02-03: Clear Channel has switched yet another station to a Spanish language format: Oldies WEBG-FM in Orlando has now become the first only full-market Spanish language station with the launch of "Caliente 100.3 FM", which began by airing 5000 songs in a row.
Clear Channel says the station will feature music from core artists including Marc Anthony, Gilberto Santa Rosa, El Gran Combo, Tego Calderon, Olga Tanon and Victor Manuelle.
The company's Regional Vice President for Central and North Florida Linda Byrd said in a news release, "We are thrilled to bring Hispanic listeners throughout Orlando a station they can call their own. Orlando is one of the fastest growing Hispanic markets in the nation and is also one of the largest with approximately 20% of listeners being Hispanic."
The switch is the latest in Clear Channel's Spanish-language initiative that was announced in September last year.
Clear Channel has also announced that its Board of Directors authorized an additional USD 1 billion share repurchase program over the next year: Its previously authorized two repurchase programs of USD 1 billion each have been completed.
Mark Mays, President and Chief Operating Officer, commented, "We are pleased to announce that our Board has authorized an additional share repurchase program. It is a reflection of our Board's confidence in the Company's financial strength and our overall commitment to our shareholders."
"In total, we have repurchased $2 billion of common stock over the past ten months. We continue to believe that the purchase of our common stock at the current stock price represents an attractive opportunity to benefit the long-term interests of the Company and its shareholders."
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
2005-02-03: Protests are still continuing over the airing of a tsunami song parody on Emmis's Hot-97 (WQHT-FM) in New York although the station has now fired two employees as well as suspending three others for a fortnight and donating their salaries for the suspension period to Give2Asia: Emmis also announced a corporate lump-sum donation of USD 1 million to Give2Asia to help in its Tsunami relief and recovery work.
A notice posted on the station web site said that, effective immediately, it had "terminated the employment of morning show producer Rick Delgado for his role in writing, producing and airing "The Tsunami Song," a highly insensitive parody of the 1985 single 'We Are the World'" And added, " Hot 97 and Emmis also terminated morning show personality Todd Lynn for making offensive, racially insensitive comments while on the air."
Suspended for two weeks - and due back on air on Wednesday, February 9, are Tarsha Nicole Jones, the eponymous main host of the "Miss Jones in the Morning " show, DJ Envy and Tasha Hightower: Another member of the team,Korean-American Minya Oh - Miss Info, who protested about the airing of the song and was ridiculed on air as a result, was not suspended. Comments made had included Lynn saying, "I'm gonna start shooting some Asians."
The notice went on to quote Emmis radio president Rick Cummings as saying, "The actions of the morning show crew were socially and morally indefensible and the entire Emmis family is ashamed by this."
"Emmis and Hot 97 have investigated this matter thoroughly over the course of the last week. Our decision to terminate Mr. Del Gado and Mr. Lynn while suspending the other members of the morning crew sends a message that this type of insensitivity is utterly unacceptable."
Reaction to the dismissals from some quarters was that it was insufficient:
Asian Media Watch on its web site commented," Asian Media Watch recognizes that Emmis Communications has today taken additional important steps towards remedying the hatred and intolerance promoted by Hot 97 and the 'Tsunami Song.' However, much more must be done. We continue to call for full accountability by those responsible for the Hot 97 'Tsunami Song,' for Hot 97 staff and management to undergo sensitivity and diversity training, and for the permanent elimination of the "Miss Jones in the Morning" radio program and Miss Jones from future broadcast. AMW aligns itself with all individuals and groups, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability, who are working towards these goals."
"With the termination of morning show producer Rick Delgado and host Todd Lynn, Emmis Communications has begun to hold accountable just some of those responsible for the Hot 97 'Tsunami Song.' The two-week suspensions of Miss Jones (Tarsha Nicole Jones), DJ Envy, and Tasha Hightower, are inadequate. The company's donation of one million dollars towards tsunami relief efforts, while significant, does not alter the company's underlying culture, one which condoned, produced, and broadcast the hateful song."
"The Hot 97 radio hosts demeaned and dehumanized millions of victims of the South Asian tsunami to the horror of appalled listeners. To the tunes of "We Are the World," they sang lyrics containing racial epithets, profanity, and denigrated the victims in the name of God."
." The production and broadcast of the Hot 97 'Tsunami Song' is evidence of a company culture that condones racist and hateful attitudes towards people of Asian descent, and one that encourages intolerance and divisiveness in our communities. Asian Media Watch continues to call for full accountability by those individuals who condoned the song's production and broadcast, accountability for those who produced, wrote, and sung the Hot 97 'Tsunami Song,' and that Hot 97 employees and management undergo sensitivity and diversity training. We look forward to Emmis Communications implementing these actions."
Democrat New York City Councilman John Liu, whose constituency is significantly Asian, told the New York Daily News, "Their statement is a joke. They need to fire Miss Jones, but even more important, they need to accept corporate responsibility."
Regarding the pledge to tsunami relief, Liu added, "That's a joke, too. It should be USD10 million. They said employees will donate a week's pay to relief funds. Fine. So they should donate a week of corporate profits."
Jay Smooth, whose HipHopMusic.com has been bulldogging the case and has recorded a half-million hits, told the News he had a sharp E-mail exchange with Lynn [RNW note - This was posted from "princess rock" on HipHop.dxp], who told Smooth that his on-air remarks were "taken out of context" and added that the episode was "one of the biggest mistakes of my life," described the song as "very poor taste and bad judgment" but said, "None of us are bigots."
The Hip-Hop site also refers to an e-mail sent around "from a supposed 'informed insider'" at Hot 97. that it says " appears to have come from someone in Miss Jones and Todd Lynn's camp, twisting the facts around hoping to deflect responsibility from them."
It goes on to note, "It seems to be true, as claimed in the email, that producer Rick Delgado wrote the song and that Miss Jones did not sing on it. But the email falsely implies that Todd Lynn did not sing on the "tsunami song," which he did. Even Todd himself did not deny his presence on the song, when he spoke publicly to this site and trickology.com."
"It also states that Miss Jones has no control over the programming of the morning show, which is false. It is clear from what was heard on air that Miss Jones eagerly approved the airing of the song, and specifically ordered it to be played again one morning that week, after a caller complained.
"The e-mail claims that the staff was somehow forced 'under duress' to record the song, which is laughable. What sort of 'duress' was it exactly, did management put a gun to their heads? Clearly they were not threatened with losing their jobs, because Miss Info refused to participate and faced no such consequences."
RNW comment: Without going into arguments over firings and amounts paid, it seems fairly clear that there are groups or individuals towards whom racist remarks can be directed in the US and those where the response is likely to be strong, organized and effective.
It was no coincidence to us that the Hot 97 incident following a case of racist abuse of an Indian call center operator by former Hot 97 Host Star Troi Torain- now with Clear Channel whose initial comments seem to have aroused no comments from his listeners. Clearly some Hip hop stations have a fair number of racists and bigots in their audiences and we'd regard Torain's attack as worse in many ways than the song parody: The parody of course aroused wider revulsion because of the death toll and multi-national and multi-racial nature of the tsunami victims.
The parody also does not seem to justify the level of opprobrium leveled at it when misleading, racist and abusive material is aired regularly on talk shows - mainly from conservative bigots but probably only because there are far more conservative talk hosts in the US - without even a slight stirring from the US public about these utterances. If nothing else, it's worth noting that there's no suggestion of Hip-Hop hosts ever likely to be invited to meet the current US President.
Asian Media Watch web site:
HipHop DX - Email from princess rock:
HipHopMusic web site:
New York Daily News report:
2005-02-03: The Delhi High Court has ruled against a petition by private FM operators that was calling for it 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 to require the government to decide on recommendations that it change from a fee system to a revenue sharing on for FM licences (See RNW Jan 30).
The court said that its interference at this stage was unwarranted and also, according to Indian Television said that the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) appears to be the right forum to take up the matter.
Justice Ravinder Bhatt commented, "I cannot consider that the view taken by TDSAT will lead to injustice and cause irrevocable prejudice requiring interference of this court at this stage."
Last week the court asked the government to clarify the timeframe within which it would make a decision and the government had responded but details of the reply were not immediately released.
The private operators argued that they were losing heavily under the current situation and recently Radio Mirchi and Radio City gave notices of closure of stations at Pune and Lucknow, respectively.
Previous Indian Radio:
Indian Television report:
2005-02-03: Qantum Communications is spending USD 21.3 million to add four more stations to the three it already has on the Cape. It is buying all four Boch Broadcasting stations- WXTK-FM, WCOD-FM, as well as WTWV-FM and WDVT-FM, which jointly broadcast as "The Wave," in an all-cash deal.
It already operates WRZE-FM "the Rose," WPXC-FM "Pixy 103," and WCIB-FM "Cool 102."
Under current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations Quantum will have to dispose of three stations and the Cape Cod Times quoted Qantum President and CEO Frank Osborn as saying, if approval is gained it plans to manage directly WXTK, WCOD, WRZE, and WCIB, all 50,000-watt stations.
He added that the three less powerful stations -WDVT, WTWV, and WPXC - would be placed in a trust until sold to a third party.
"We'll have four very attractive formats with signals that can't be duplicated," he said. "If I can create a unique structure then I'm excited," said Osborn, adding in regard to the other stations, "The trust is completely independent. We can't coordinate rates, we can't coordinate programming."
Qantum bought its current three stations for USD32 million from Makkay Group Broadcasting (See RNW Jul 4, 2003)and Osborn said he considered the marker was undervalued, adding, "I'm a believer in the economy of Cape Cod and South-eastern Massachusetts."
Also in New Hampshire, Nashua WSMN-AM has now gone off the air after broadcasting for nearly 47 years.
The station owners, WSMN Broadcasting LLC, sold its site for housing and Paul Houde, a partner in the company, told the Union Leader that the site had become more valuable than the business.
The company was involved in a dispute with programming operator, Red Rock Publishing, which was given the option of buying the station or leaving the property and opted not to go ahead with the purchase, claiming the station owners failed to maintain the station's infrastructure.
Red Rock owner Tom O'Brien, whose company is based in Largo, Florida, told the paper, "The station's dead because they bled the thing to death over the last so-many years."
Cape Cod Times report:
Union Leader report:
2005-02-03: BBC Radio Five Live is to carry the US Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles on its Up All Night show, which usually runs from 01:00 GMT but which on Sunday will start three hours earlier for Up All Night at the Super Bowl.
Dotun Adebayo will anchor the seven-hour show with commentary from Sean Wheelock and self-confessed NFL nut and Five Live Breakfast presenter Arlo White.
So far the corporation has not indicated any geographical restrictions for the online stream of the show: For some events such as the Olympics rights had meant it could only provide the stream to British residents.
2005-02-02: US radio revenues in 2004 were up 2% on 2003 and reached an estimated USD 21.4 billion compared to USD 20.9 billion in 2003 - USD 20 billion and USD 19.6 billion without non-spot revenues - but December itself was down according to figures released by the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
Within the full year total local revenues were up 3%, national ones were flat, network revenues were up 5% and non-spot revenues were up 11%.
For December, compared to a year earlier, the total spot and non-spot revenues fell 1%, the total local and national revenues dipped 2%, local sales were down 1%, national sales were down 5% and non-spot revenues were up 12%.
For the final quarter of 2004, the grand total for spot and non-spot revenues was up1% as was the total for combined local and national revenues with local sales flat but national revenues up3% and non-spot revenues up 10%.
For the full year RAB's Sales Index, which equates pre-dot com base year 1998 to 100, was a combined 139.6, with a local index of 138.9 and a national index of 142.8: For December the comparable indices were 120.1, 120.3 and 119.4.
Commenting on the figures RAB President and CEO Gary Fries said, "Radio continues to be attractive to advertisers because it continues to grow its audience and deliver consumers. In the past year alone, the number of listeners to terrestrial Radio has grown by over 3.5 million consumers nationwide (RADAR 83, fall 2004 vs. RADAR 79, fall 2003). Moreover, terrestrial Radio's audience has grown an astounding 10.7 million listeners in just the past four years (RADAR 67, fall 2000)."
Previous RAB (November 2004 figures):
2005-02-02: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has decided that Local Sales Agreements in the country fall under the same regulations as Local Management Agreements and is requiring that LSA and LMA agreements related to 15 commercial stations be wound up.
LMAs require approval by the commission in advance of any such agreement, formal or informal, being entered into and it says any agreement would become part of the conditions of licence and approval would not be automatic.
The CRTC says relating to approvals that it is concerned about the "possible negative consequences of LMAs, including LSAs, over time, such as the potential disadvantage to which they subject competitors who are not party to them, the chill effect such agreements may have on the decisions of potential new entrants, and the extent to which they may reduce, ultimately to the detriment of the service provided to the public, the incentive for some or all parties to an LMA to manage their stations efficiently, compete effectively and improve their programming performance."
In concordance with this view it has decided that existing LMAs or LSAs relating to 15 licence renewal applications, should not be continued. They are applications for four stations serving Sudbury and three serving Thunder Bay, Ontario; three serving Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and five serving Halifax/Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
In all cases the CRTC says it will allow a reasonable period for the parties to wind them up in an orderly fashion and has allowed the licensees to continue to operate their stations under the terms of their current agreements until 31 May 2005, at which time they must be terminated.
2005-02-02: Chicago WGN-AM vice president and general manager Mark Krieschen is under pressure to leave the station according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Tribune Co.-owned station has performed well and currently heads Chicago's advertising revenue and ratings ranks and Feder says Krieschen, currently on leave and officially said to be dealing with a family matter, is believed to be under the gun, according to insiders, because of allegations made against him by Mary June Rose, whose last day as program director was Friday (See RNW Jan 13).
The station is currently being overseen by Steve Carver, vice president and general manager of Tribune Co.-owned WATL-TV in Atlanta and Krieschen's immediate predecessor at WGN.
Chicago-Sun Times - Feder column:
2005-02-02: The BBC has now launched its new system for handling complaints that includes a dedicated web site, which gives details of the corporation's Code of Practice and also highlights current issues.
The new procedures were announced in July last year and the BBC says they are underpinned by an "emphasis on greater transparency, objectivity and accountability."
The site currently carries BBC responses relating to three topics, the airing of Jerry Springer the Opera on BBC TV, the use of the term "insurgents" in news bulletins about the current situation in Iraq, and documentary programmes that have shown people using mobile phones whilst driving, a practice the BBC says it does not condone but adds that it feels "we are to successfully present real life and real people we have to occasionally acknowledge the existence of the careless or rash side of human nature."
BBC Complaints site:
2005-02-02: Bill Shadel, who covered D-Day for CBS radio and later became a TV anchor for ABC and a communications professor at the University of Washington, has died aged 96.
Shadel worked with CBS greats Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid and Howard K. Smith and tapes of his wartime reports have been widely used in US journalism schools.
He was born in Wisconsin and began in journalism working for the National Rifle Association: He was among 28 US reporters present to report the D-Day landings and he and Murrow were the first reporters to see the concentration camp at Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt died.
Shadel's reporting on Buchenwald earned him a "Witness to the Truth" award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 1990.
After the war he worked in radio for WTOP for around a decade before moving to ABC in 1958, initially working in radio and TV.
Washington Post obituary:
2005-02-01: Along with the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which has said it will go to the US Supreme Court (See RNW Jan 30) a number of US media giants are now asking the Court to overturn the Philadelphia Third Circuit Court of Appeals' remand of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) media-ownership rules issued in June 2003.
The FCC had said it would not appeal but large media companies, who want the proposed new rules allowing media cross ownership to be brought into effect, have opted to pursue the matter. Those involved include Fox, NBC, Tribune Co, and Viacom.
Their chances of the Supreme Court opting to hear the case are said to have been weakened by the decision of the White House and FCC not to take the matter further (See RNW Jan 28).
2005-02-01: UK Chrysalis, whose Heart FM in London was overtaken by Emap's Magic in the latest UK ratings (See RNW Jan 28) is to replace Jonathan Coleman on its flagship breakfast show with TV and radio presenter Jamie Theakston from Easter.
In the ratings, Heart's breakfast show, retained second rank but its audience fell from 797,000 a week to 748,00: Capital FM was in the lead with a weekly audience of 1.13 million for Johnny Vaughan's breakfast show, up from 1.05 million in the previous ratings.
Coleman had been with the show for six years and it is unclear if he has any other post lined up. He co-hosts with Harriet Scott, who joined it in 2003, replacing previous co-host Emma Forbes who was hired by Capital Radio (See RNW Apr 16, 2003).
Theakston had been involved in a number of pilot shows that Heart said showed he had a particular affinity with the core 25-44 demographic: He is best known for his TV work but has radio experience with the BBC where he had a show on BBC Radio 1 between 1999 and 2002. He also worked for the corporation on the then GLR, now part of BBC London, and Radio Five Live.
Heart managing director Steve Parkinson said in a statement, "Jamie is an established personality who has been part of our listeners' lives for a long time" and added that the move hailed "the beginning of an exciting new chapter."
2005-02-01: Prasar Bharati, the body that oversees India's state broadcasting services and is already facing a shortage of funds, is likely to face a sharp cut in government funding according to the Indian Financial Express.
The paper says the reduction may be around INR 350 crore (USD 80 million) from funding that in 2004-05 totalled INR 1,144 crore (USD 261 million) including grants-in-aid and loans.[RNW note: 1 crore is 10 million].
It adds that employees fear that All India Radio (AIR) will be the worst affected: AIR has already stopped expansion projects and several AIR stations are off the air because of funding shortfalls.
The paper says Prasar Bharati spends around INR 2,000 crore (USD 458 million) but is only able to raise around half of that itself.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
Indian Financial Express report:
2005-02-01: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no complaints against radio and only partly upheld one standards complaint against TV in its latest bulletin just published.
In addition it listed two radio standards complaints that were considered resolved: One involved talkSPORT and an e-mail sent to Mike Mendoza from a listener telling him " life will leave you unless you repent and call the name of Jesus" to which he responded, "Jesus Christ. Do me a favour. The Bible's written by a man. It's time you got that through your thick skull".
The listener thencomplained that Mendoza had been objectionable to Christians. talkSPORT said Mendoza in the same programme had said Britain remained a Christian country and defended Christian traditions and beliefs but it had spoken to him and e-mailed all station presenters and producers concerning violations of broadcasting codes.
Ofcom said usually similar remarks would not have gone beyond the expectations of the likely audience. But to respond in such a way, when it was clear it would be particularly offensive to the religious sensitivities of the person it was directed at, was unnecessary but it felt appropriate steps had already been taken.
[RNW comment: For once we are with a talkSPORT presenter. Our feeling is that the issue on which this kind of decision should be considered is the reaction of the audience as a whole not the fact that it may upset someone whose own faith is such that it would clearly upset many of other faces. Mendoza's language may have been a little blunt but beyond that the caller deserved all he got in our view].
The other radio complaint considered resolved involved Galaxy in Manchester and the airing of a track that included the word "nigga": The station, whose output includes a large amount of r 'n' b music, said the term was not one its presenters used but that was used by some black musicians and it treated this use with serious thought allied with listener feedback. It had now reviewed the song in question and decided to remove the word.
In addition to the above Ofcom listed details of one fairness and privacy complaint against TV, involving four programmes in a soap opera series, that was not upheld and without details three other TV complaints and one radio complaint in the same category that were not upheld.
It also listed a total of 65 TV complaints concerning 52 TV items and 17 complaints involving 16 radio items that were not upheld or were held to be outside its remit.
This compared to no complaints upheld in its previous bulletin, which listed 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:
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