October 2005 Archive
-September 2005 -November 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 October comment - Wonders whether convergence is really here and what it means for radio if so..
RNW September comment - Looks at what was and - more importantly - didn't seem to be on the agenda at the 2005 NAB Radio Show.
RNW August comment - Could making choices too easy lead to narrower minds? We wonder what the effect of technology that makes it easy to listen to just what you "want" could have a wider effect in narowing minds and also affect broadcasters, who cannot narrow down to the same degree.
2005-10-31: This week we start our look at print comment on media with two comments on Infinity and its capabilities or rather deficiencies. The first was a comment from Rafer Guzman of Newsday (published in the Los Angeles Times) on its Jack-FM format as introduced in New York
Headed "'Jack' radio too white for New York?" Guzman's notes that though Jack may have failed for now in New York - the station was in 22nd place in the latest ratings compared to a top-ten spot for predecessor oldies WCBS-FM - the Jack FM reincarnation of KCBS -FM in Los Angeles did much better and was top rated in the 25-54 demographic.
The reason for the difference suggests Guzman may be in the mix of music: He postulates the theory: "In a city filled with racial diversity and music that crosses racial divides, Jack sounds pretty darn white" and says that what an audience elsewhere might want won't necessarily go down well in New York.
After commenting on the New York of the 80s and its musical tastes, Guzman says, "Even now, New York is largely defined by rhythm-based music" and ends by concluding, "Listening to Jack for an hour, it's clear that the station is positively afraid of rap. But maybe a little less Rick Springfield and a little more Slick Rick is all it needs."
Infinity also got it in the neck, and rather more bluntly, from Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times: Writing of the replacement for Howard Stern, he says "The geniuses at Infinity Broadcasting had more than a year to find a replacement for Howard Stern as morning personality at WCKG-FM. So what did they do in all that time? They bungled "Mancow" Muller, alienated Jonathon Brandmeier, overlooked Mike North, rejected Eddie & Jobo, disregarded Bob Sirott, stiffed Garry Meier, ignored Steve Cochran and lost Kevin Matthews."
"Instead of all those options -- or any others worthy of Chicago -- they decided to go with some dog from Cleveland named Rover."
After giving a little more detail of Rover - real name Shane French - and quoting clevescene.com as saying, "Let's get one thing out of the way: He's not Howard Stern " Feder sets Rover's success firmly as in Cleveland and goes on to quote Tom Taylor, editor of Inside Radio, on tough times ahead for the newcomer.
"Unlike David Lee Roth or Adam Carolla -- or the returning Johnny B. -- Rover comes into the ultra-competitive Chicago morning contest with no name recognition," said Taylor. "Cleveland's a long way from Chicago. Big challenge! They'll need to do some creative marketing, and Rover's got to bring his 'A' game."
The (Howard) Stern factor also featured in an article by Bill Swarts headed "Radio Daze" in Smartmoney. "His impending January switch to subscription satellite service Sirius Satellite Radio," writes Swarts, "leaves traditional, or terrestrial, radio executives on edge as they wait to see how many of his 12 million listeners make the switch."
Swarts then notes the other threats such as the Internet and iPods and quotes Frederick Moran, an analyst with Stanford Group in Houston, as saying, "A year ago, most any radio CEO would have told you [these things were] having almost no impact. But today, we don't believe they could make that claim. We think what has happened to terrestrial radio is completely analogous to what happened to terrestrial broadcast when cable burst on the scene a couple of decades ago. This is the first time radio is seeing competition other than themselves and other established media."
Swartz goes on to say that Stern's move is causing jitters with terrestrial ratings flat compared to an expected doubling of subscribers by Sirius and continue, "And because of the ratings troubles, stations are beginning to lose their pricing power for ads. The traditional powers are making adjustments - trying everything from reduced commercial loads to the new iPod-like "Jack" format, which plays songs from different musical eras and genres randomly."
And on the impact of trimming back on commercials "But while less may be more in the long run, Clear Channel's short-term profit outlook could be summed up as less is less We think Clear Channel stock is dead for now," says Moran. "In 2006, Clear Channel can have a good chance to grow as much as the whole radio industry, not underperform it. With these [ad] inventory cuts, I would hope they can outperform it and steal market share from the other [companies] that haven't cut their inventories."
In the UK, radio seems to have a better reputation, largely because of the BBC and its strengths and in his London Times "Radio head" column on Saturday Chris Campling notes a change in the pattern of television picking up ideas from radio and appropriating the credits.
"But times are changing, writes Campling. "Radio is becoming a fame magnet. 'Real' actors have long fallen over themselves to stand in front of a microphone and emote - try not to miss Troilus and Cressida (BBC Radio 3. And we have grown semi-accustomed to stars of the visual media popping up like zits on the body audio in a narrator capacity But who would have thought until recently that someone as synonymous with TV as Dawn French would be appearing in her own six-part radio comedy series? Because she is. Called Mastering the Universe, it begins on Wednesday on Radio 4.
Campling opines that the series could "just be a tryout, a six-week stab at seeing whether a skit about behavioural scientists is a boat that could float on television" " Or it could be that French really fancies doing some radio."
That thought leads him onto competition and he proffers praise to Sally Phillips who last year took the main role of Clare in the radio spin-off of the newspaper cartoon strip Clare in the Community.
" Not only did the programme achieve the near-impossible task of making social workers funny, " writes Campling, "but Phillips was fantastic as Clare, the sanctimonious hypocrite who gave every impression of caring without actually doing so... The good news is that she's back on Friday on Radio 4. French may just live to regret choosing this week to go radio. "
And finally before going on to suggested listening, a cue from- UK Times ; and the Roland White's UK Sunday Times Radio Waves column for one of them - the BBC Radio 4 comedy "The Bits In Between": The comedy concerns continuity announcers and Roland White in the UK Sunday Times includes an anecdote from BBC Radio 4 announcer Peter Jefferson.
"I was on duty when Princess Anne was shot at in the Mall," Jefferson recalls. "There was a play on at the time, and it was a bit tricky to find a good place to interrupt. But I managed to fade it out and make the announcement."
But unfortunately for Jefferson, he had not been able to find out what happened next in the play. "The very first words as we faded back were, 'Roll up, roll up, six shots a penny.'"
So for listening we start with drama and comedy: Troilus and Cressida as already noted was on BBC Radio 3 -in the Drama on Sunday slot; The Bits in Between is at 23:00 GMT tomorrow night on BBC Radio 4 and last week's episode will be available on the web site until then; and Clare in the Community starts its new series on Friday at 11:30 GMT.
To fill up the store a little more you could also consider the News Quiz (18:30 GMT on Friday on BBC Radio 4 and last week's episode will be on the site until then) and on Saturday on BBC Radio 2 the lunchtime comedy hour commences at 13:00 GMT with Clive Anderson's Comedy Revolutions, the first in a six-part series looking at the history of modern comedy. Included this week are examples of the work of Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd, Stan Freberg, Bob Monkhouse, Bob Hope, and Wayne and Schuster.
For documentary and reportage we'd suggest a trio from Radio 4 - last week's featured reporting from American journalist Tim Egan following up on stories of some of those evacuated from New Orleans to New Mexico - the immediate generosity they received didn't stop people from wanting to go back and, also from Radio 4 in last week's Archive Hour slot "The Sound of America, the Story of NPR" in which Joe Queenan took a look at the past 35 years of American history through the news reports and documentaries produced by US National Public Radio.
For musical documentary, we'd suggest from Radio 4 "The Sunday Best" slot last week that told the story of the song "I Will Survive" and Radio 2 on Wednesday when the latest Classic Single - the fifth in an eight part series airs at 22:00 GMT.
For Canadians or those interested in Canadian music, BBC Radio 2 in "The Maple Music Revolution" last Saturday began a two-part series that concludes this Saturday (20:30 to 21:30 GMT).
Then more disturbing documentary, courtesy of BBC World Service which last Wednesday aired the second of Alan Little's three-part Return to Sarajevo series and, disturbing in a different way (The final part airs from Wednesday), The Law Report on Australia's Radio National that last week featured a farmer whose canola crop was contaminated with genetically modified seeds but - unlike a Canadian case where Monsanto company won a case against a farmer who it claimed had pirated its genetically modified seed - has problems getting any compensation for his losses.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
Los Angeles Times - Guzman:
Smart Money - -Swarts:
UK Sunday Times - - White:
UK Times - Campling:
2005-10-31: Clear Channel, in an amended filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, says it is to offer 35 million class A shares in wholly-owned subsidiary Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.'s Initial Public Offering, at an anticipated price of USD 20-22 with underwriters Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank Securities, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch and UBS each being given the right to buy a further 5.25 million shares to cover over allotments.
Clear Channel says it expected to pay the net USD 700 million - up to around USD 885 million should all the additional options be taken up - to reduce debt: It is to retain ownership of all the Outdoor subsidiary's B shares that comprise around 90% of the company. The shares will be issued on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CCO
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-10-31: Former ABC Sydney radio host Sally Loane, who quitted the corporation when she found out that it was planning to replace her (See RNW Aug 8) has taken a public relations post with Coca Cola Amatil, the non-alcoholic beverages company that is the sole licensee of Coca-Cola products in Australia.
She will start as its director of media and public affairs in January and will report to group managing director Terry Davis.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2005-10-30: In volume of paperwork at least, last week was marked more by the issuing of reports and consultations by the regulators than by their making decisions.
In Australia the final reports of the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) and Australian Communications Authority (ACA), predecessor bodies to the current combined regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have been released: Tthat for the ABA notes that in its last year it issued one new commercial FM - the Melbourne licence that went to DMG for AUD 52 million (then USD 37 million) in August 2004 (See RNW Aug 13, 2004) 20 community radio services and thirty-eight open narrowcasting radio licences.
It also noted the decision to continue digital radio trials using the Eureka 147 DAB system in Sydney and Melbourne.
The full document is in three PDF files a 1.96 MB 84 page Introduction and main report plus two appendices totalling 4.12 MB - 137 pages.
More recently the ACMA has fined Melbourne narrowcaster Street Nations for operating a low power open narrowcasting service at above the permitted power (See RNW Oct 27) and has also opted not to issue a permanent community licence for Alice Springs for at least a year.
ACMA says it received two applications for the licence - from 8CCC Community Radio Inc and CRACA Community Radio Association of Central Australia Inc - but had decided, "neither applicant merits the licence." The situation is to be reviewed again in 12 months with a view to re-advertising the permanent licence and in the meantime the frequency will be made available for temporary community broadcasts.
In Canada in contrast the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was more busy with routine work including, in order of province:
*Revocation of licence for CJCI-AM, Prince George, at the licensee's request following successful conversion to FM.
Approval of power increase form 22,000 watts to 50,000 watts and antenna height increase for CBAF-FM, Moncton.
*Approval of transmitter relocation and decrease in antenna height for CHUR-FM, North Bay.
The Commission has also issued a pubic notice regarding a number of applications for which the deadline for comment is December 2 including the following radio applications:
*Application to increase the power of CFBR-FM, Edmonton, from 64,000 watts to an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts, by increasing the antenna height and by relocating the transmitter.
*Application to add a 1.4-watt FM transmitter at Edmunston for CIEL-FM, Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec.
*Application to renew the licence of tourist information station CJRN-FM, Niagara Falls.
*Application to renew the licence of commercial station CFLZ-FM, Niagara Falls.
*Application to use frequency 104.7 MHz for low-power English-language tourist information FM in Ottawa approved in June this year.
In Ireland there were no radio licence decisions from the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) but the Commission has published details of the first funding round of 'Sound & Vision', the country's Broadcasting Funding Scheme that has recently received European Commission approval regarding state aid and competition rules.
Applications are now being sought for the production of new radio and television programmes on Irish culture, heritage and experience, and adult literacy. The scheme is open to individuals, independent producers, production companies and broadcasters and is funded by 5% of Ireland's television licence fee fund. This equates to approximately Euros 8 million (USD 9.65 million) a year.
In the UK, Ofcom has been busy issuing various reports and consultations.
*Consultation document relating to determination who "controls" a newspaper or broadcaster (23 page 119KB PDF). The deadline for responses is January 5 next year.
*" Amateur Radio Licensing Consultation Research" report commissioned from MORI concerning licensing of amateur radio operators (64 Page 1.39 MB)
*"Technology Research Programme: Research and Development at Ofcom 2004/05" - (88page 1.81 MB PDF).
The research involved in the latter is divided into three areas:
*Understanding and furthering emerging technologies, such as Software Defined Radio and Smart Antennas. This will allow Ofcom to develop an appropriate regulatory environment to enable future developments.
* Understanding the state and use of the spectrum, by monitoring its quality and usage. This will allow Ofcom to look at ways of enhancing efficiency and ensure that spectrum is not becoming progressively polluted by interference.
* Enhancing spectrum efficiency, for example looking at options for improving the use of spectrum by existing radar systems. This will help to ensure there is sufficient spectrum to allow for the envisaged growth in usage.
Ofcom also issued its latest complaints bulletin, upholding no complaints against radio (See RNW Oct 29).
In the US the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 2,400 penalty on a Tennessee AM for failing to register its tower (See RNW Oct 27) and also discussed the issue of Emergency Alert Systems at its monthly Open Meeting (See RNW Oct 25).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-10-30: Toronto-headquartered CHUM Limited has announced in conjunction with the release of its fourth quarter and fiscal 2005 results that founder Allan Waters has stepped down from its board after more than 50 years with the company and has been named an honorary director.
He began his broadcasting career in 1954 with the purchase of 1050 CHUM in Toronto, which he turned into Canada's first top 40 radio station. Waters, who now spends most of his time in Florida, stepped down from his former roles of CHUM chairman and President in 2002 although he remained on the board.
His son Jim, CHUM's current chairman, said in a tribute, "This company has been my father's passion for over 50 years and it is his guiding hand that has made us what we are today. He laid the foundations for the principles in which this company is rooted and by which we continue to operate."
CHUM president and CEO Jay Switzer added, "It was a privilege to have worked with Allan Waters for many years and an honour to have succeeded him as President of CHUM Limited. His leadership, integrity and profound business judgment have set an example that we carry with us into the future."
Waters left the company on a mixed note as revenues rose 12% on a year earlier to CAD 638.4 million (USD 542.3 million) but overall figures were hit by a CAD 6 million (USD 5.1 million) loss in the third quarter in which CHUM entered a CAD 9.4 million (USD 7.9 million) write down of its assets and also cited an increase in royalties paid to artists.
Of the write down CAD 8.8 million (USD 7.5 million) represents related to advances and loans made to finance the production of Going The Distance and Charlie Jade and the rest related to a non-controlling interest in a corporate investment. The royalty increases imposed by Canada's Copyright Board - retroactive to January 1, 2003- amounted to CAD 2.6 million (USD 2.2 million) that was all entered into the final quarter figures.
For the final quarter CHUM revenues were up 15.4% to CAD 151 million (USD 128 million) but as noted it recorded a loss of CAD 6 million (USD 5.1 million -CAD 0.22 per share) compared to a CAD 8 million (USD 6.8 million- CAD 0.29 per share) profit a year earlier.
For the year, CHUM revenues as noted were up 12% earlier to CAD 638.4 million (USD 542.3 million) and profit was up 11.7% to CAD 41.4 million (USD 35.1 million - from CAD 1.35 to CAD 1.49 per share).
Within the figures TV revenues were up 13% for the year and 18.6% for the final quarter; radio revenues were up 9.5% for the year and 7.5% for the quarter; and other revenues were up 2.7% for the year and down 6% for quarter.
TV EBITDA was up 25.8% for the year but down 19.7% in the final quarter; radio EDITDA was up 17.3% for the year and down 20.7% for the quarter; and other EBITDA was a loss - 8% greater for the year and 126.4% greater for the quarter.
Commenting on the radio results, CHUM said," The radio segment recorded excellent performance in the fourth quarter and year ended August 31, 2005. The growth rate in revenue was lower in the fourth quarter than in the first three quarters of this year owing to an anomalous dip in the ratings position for CHUM-FM in the spring ratings book. CHUM-FM regained its number one position in the Toronto market in the summer ratings book. For the fiscal year, the radio segment recorded outstanding growth in EBITDA of 28.0% as a result of strong revenue growth and expense management. The Company's FM stations recorded an increase in EBITDA and losses were reduced on the Company's AM stations. EBITDA margin in fiscal 2005 increased to 37% from 31% in 2004."
Previous Allan Waters:
Previous Jim Waters:
2005-10-30: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) president Robert Rabinovitch has defended his eight-week lockout of 5,500 employees to Members of Parliament, re-iterating earlier comments he made in a CBC interview (See RNW Oct 19) that it was the only way to avoid a strike later when it would have been more serious for the corporation.
"Our evaluation was that the union would wait until early October, once the corporation had spent its main promotional budget launching its seasons," he told MPs on Parliament's Canadian Heritage Committee, adding, "With pent-up demand for hockey and the possibility of a fall election adding pressure, it would strike at the moment when the damage to our audience would be greatest."
Although he said the action was regrettable he insisted it was worth it although it had "has left damage to employee relations that will take time to heal."
Rabinovitch's contentions about the union's presumed timetable to action was deprecated by Arnold Amber, CBC branch president of the Canadian Media Guild who told reporters, "The fact is that by Canadian labour law, you have two months from the date of your strike mandate or you lose it
"Our deadline on that was Sept. 6 - exactly three weeks after we were locked out - all we're getting at this meeting was spin, and probably some mistruths," he added, also rejecting the argument that the union was partially responsible for the lockout.
2005-10-29: Privately held Charles River Broadcasting Co., which owns Boston classical station WRCB-FM and four other stations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island including WFCCFM on Cape Cod and WCRI-FM in Rhode Island has hired Media Services Group to explore a sale that could see the classical format relegated to a digital channel according to the Boston Globe.
The paper quotes company chairman Mary L. Marshall as saying, "It has become increasingly difficult to operate a small group of radio stations in light of general industry consolidation" and adding that WRCB has been attracting less national advertising because the advertisers prefer to deal with the radio giants.
The paper notes that in a trust document (the trust owns the majority of the company's voting stock) he drew up before his death in 1991, Theodore Jones, who started WCRB's classical format, expressed hope that the station would continue to air classical music but Marshall said it was a wish not an instruction although she added that Charles River Broadcasting would make operating a classical format on at least one of WCRB's future digital channels a ''condition of the sale out of respect for Ted."
Boston Globe report:
2005-10-29: UK media regulator Ofcom again upheld no radio complaints in its latest bulletin although it did consider three radio complaints resolved: In contrast it upheld eight TV standards complaints, upheld in part a TV fairness and privacy complaint, and considered four other TV complaints resolved.
This compares with no radio complaints upheld or resolved in its previous bulletin in which it upheld two TV complaints.
The radio cases considered resolved related to premium rate phone lines, a complaint alleging racism, and another of strong language.
The premium rate complaint involved talkSport and its omission of pricing information relating to invitation to call the station by using a 0870 number translation service (NTS), terming it a "national rate" number. Ofcom noted that while 0870 telephone numbers are not regulated as premium rate services, they can cost considerably more to call than geographic numbers but considered the matter resolved as talkSPORT had told it that it had had contacted all production staff reminding them of the information that needed to be stated on air, including relevant text charges, when inviting listeners to contact the station using PRTS.
The alleged racism complaint referred to comments made on GCap's Gemini FM, Torbay, when the presenter of a morning slot challenged a colleague on air to drive to a proposed 'Park and Ride' site where fifty travellers had recently arrived, shout "get a job" at them and then drive off. In clarifying the challenge, the presenter suggested that his colleague should first offer to sell some pegs.
The presenter had said he had intended to "be a bit cheeky and have some harmless fun".
However he had subsequently realised why his comments might be offensive and had assured the station that there would be no recurrence. He had subsequently apologised on-air for the comment and any offence it may have caused and the station acknowledged that such comments, even in jest, were not acceptable and said that it would work to avoid any recurrence.
The language complaint involved the Jo Whiley Show on BBC Radio 1 and a live interview and performance when the artist 50 Cent was questioned about an incident at a UK Festival where the crowd had thrown missiles at the stage, including bottles of urine. In his description of what happened,
50 Cent twice referred to "piss" in the bottles, and once to people "pissing" into bottles. Later during a live performance of his track 'In Da Club' the word "fuck" was used.
The BBC said 50-cents was advised by his record company and the production team to cut all strong language when performing his track 'In Da Club' and it felt the occurrence was no more than an unfortunate error on the singer's part.
It said it felt that the language used in the preceding interview was milder but nevertheless accepted that an apology should have been offered for both incidents and said Radio 1 management had made clear to the production team that should something similar happen in the future, they must respond with an apology at the first opportunity.
In addition to these complaints Ofcom listed with no details a further 136 complaints against 117 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 130 complaints against 114 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 12 radio complaints relating to 12 items compared to 13 radio complaints relating to 13 items in the previous bulletin - and 124 TV complaints relating to 105items compared to 117 TV complaints relating to 101 items in the previous bulletin:
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-10-29: The Japanese Diet (Parliament) has now passed a law that will limit the combined holdings - direct or indirect - in a domestic broadcaster by non-Japanese companies to a maximum 20% stake, extending former legislation that only limited direct holdings.
The move was made following the battle earlier this year after Internet company Livedoor Co. launched a takeover for radio operator Nippon Broadcasting System Inc (NBS) that put it into conflict with Fuji TV and the Fuji Sankei media group.
Livedoor had raised finance bonds in a JPY 80 billion (USD 765 million) agreement by issuing convertible to U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., leading to concern that the bank could have ended up with indirect control over NBS.
The fight ended with Fuji TV Network agreeing to buy all the shares in NBS that Livedoor had acquired (See RNW Apr 19) and lawmakers followed up by starting discussions on revising the country's Radio Law and Broadcast Law to prevent such foreign control (See RNW May 5).
2005-10-29: Mexican radio operator Grupo Radio Centro has reported revenues for its third quarter to the end of September of MXN 161.15 million (USD 14.89 million), up 18.1% on a year earlier and trimmed expenses by 1% helping it to convert a MXN 5.337 million (USD 493,000) net loss in the third quarter of 2004 to net income of MXN 26.748 million (USD 2.47 million).
It put the revenue improvement down mainly to increased advertising expenditure by its major clients.
For the first nine moths Grupo Radio's income is now up 7.3% on a year earlier to MXN408 million (USD 37.7 million) with net income of MXN 29.93 million (USD 2.77 million) compared to a 2004 loss for the period of MXN 71.56 million (USD 6.61 million).
Previous Grupo Radio Centro:
2005-10-29: Northern Marianas public non-commercial station KRNM-FM, based at the Northern Marianas College, has launched an appeal for listeners support to allow it to keep its schedule; it says that it raised around USD 2,600 during its Fall Pledge Drive but needs at least USD 2,000 more to keep its schedule intact.
Currently KRNM airs mainly US National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Radio International (PRI) shows received by satellite plus a mix of other syndicated shows that it is supplied without charge and ten weekly shows that are locally produced.
The NPR and PRI shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Car Talk, Fresh Air, World Café, cost the station between USD 40,000 and USD 45,000 each year in programming fees and satellite dues according to station manager Carl Pogue.
He said that if they did not receive funding they might have to switch to an all-news format using feeds from the British Broadcasting Corporation or Radio Australia.
The station also needs funds to repair a translator and for equipment to handle NPR's new satellite feed, which is to be switched to a digital signal next year and has already spent round USD 3,000 on renewal of its licence.
Saipan Tribune report:
2005-10-28: Latest UK radio ratings for the quarter to the end of September just released by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show digital listening through DAB receivers, mobile phones, the Internet, and TV platforms on the increase.
In all more than four million people a week now listen to digital-only services, up 500,000 on the previous quarter, and more than a tenth of adults own a digital receiver: In addition RAJAR says 35% of adults say they have now listened to radio on digital TV and nearly a fifth tune into radio on a digital TV platform at least once a week, up 15% on a year ago and 28.3% say they have listened to a station via the Internet with 13.5% saying they have listened to a UK national station, and 6.1% say they have listened via their cell phones.
The overall picture was of good news for the BBC, which took its share to a record 54.6% of listening, 11.1% over commercial rivals, and bad news for GCap in the London market where its flagship 95.8 Capital FM was completely toppled from top rank for the first time in its 32 year history; Chrysalis's Heart FM, which had in the past toppled Capital in listening but not reach has now taken the double crown with Capital in second place ahead of Emap's Magic FM in reach but third in listening share.
GCap's shares which closed at 328 pence on Wednesday, fell to 311 at one point on the news before recovering a little to end the day 3.96% down at 315 pence.
Overall the BBC recorded 32.8 million people listening to it weekly, a little below its record 33,2 million in 2003, whilst commercial stations lost 500,000 listeners a week to end up with 30.7 million.
One bright spot for commercial radio came from Scotland where Guardian Media Group's Real Radio overtook BBC Radio Scotland to take the most-listened to crown with 9.1 million hours week compared to 8.3 million hours for the BBC station, despite the fact that the latter covers the whole country and Real only central Scotland. In reach the BBC retained the lead with a weekly audience of 966,000 whilst GMG's Real only has 733,000.
Commenting on the BBC performance, Director BBC Radio & Music Jenny Abramsky highlighted Radio 1's performance and that of digital stations, saying, "I'm very pleased to see Chris Moyles continuing to contribute to Radio 1's success. I'm also delighted to see the growth of digital radio across the industry, which proves that radio remains relevant and appealing to young and old listeners in the digital age."
Moyles breakfast show has added 360,000 listeners a week over a year ago to reach a total of 6.5 million and in London he has overtaken Johnny Vaughan's total for Capital Radio, giving the BBC a One (BBC Radio 4 Today), Two (Terry Wogan on Radio 2), Three (Moyles on Radio 1) ranking.
GCap on the company web site played down the bad news and highlighted its leading roles as a group and in London, where its stations together have a 35% reach, and operator of the Classic FM national franchise, but Chief Executive Ralph Bernard said in a terse note, "These are disappointing but not unanticipated results. Addressing audience issues is a key focus for GCap. This was the rationale behind our recent cost restructure, which will enable us to target reinvestment in our priority areas."
Chrysalis commented, "This has been a strong survey for Chrysalis overall, with total weekly hours for Chrysalis Radio now at 53.6m, up 7% year on year" and Radio chief executive Phil Riley highlighted the Heart breakfast show, saying, "This is an excellent set of results demonstrating not only the great appeal of the new Jamie Theakston breakfast show, but also the strength and depth across the Heart schedule."
Emap emphasised the performance of its Magic station in London, which it notes is the only commercial station in London's top three to show growth across reach, share and hours over the last year and that has become the Capital's second most listened to commercial radio station - it had a 5.3 share compared to 6.4 for Heart and 5.1 for Capital but was third in reach with 1.71 million listeners a week compared to 1.91 million for Heart and 1.8 million for Capital.
UK commercial radio industry body, the Commercial Radio Companies Association (CRCA) brushed over the BBC results in its reaction in which highlighted national commercial radio as achieving a "record market share and adding that the commercial radio audience of 30.7 million a week "rises to over 37 million when you take 4 to 14 year olds into account."
It noted that commercial radio takes a "72% share of listening among 4-14 year olds and 60% among 15-24s", that national commercial radio "buoyed by new digital services" had achieved "an all-time high 10.5% share of all listening this quarter" and that "62% of the adult population listen to Commercial Radio every week with average hours listened up by 1% to 15.2 hours every week."
CRCA Research and Communications Manager Alison Winter noted the boost from digital and added, "Advertisers, too, will be happy to see our Housewife audience spending record hours with Commercial Radio while the time-pressed younger generation (15-24) have listened both in greater numbers and for longer to Commercial Radio this quarter."
Within the figures, compared to the previous quarter (and year):
*BBC Radio 1 gained 87,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 10.329 million and a listening share of 9.4%, up from 9.2% (8.6% a year ago when it had 287,000 fewer listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 412,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 12.859 million and a listening share of 15.6%, down from 16.0% (16.1% a year ago, when it had an audience of 13.060 million)
*BBC Radio 3, helped by the Proms, gained 154,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 2.067 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.2%, up from 1.1% (1.1% a year ago, when it had an audience of 2.072 million).
*BBC Radio 4 gained 29,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.621 million and a listening share of 11.5%, up from 11.4% (11.3% a year ago when it had an audience of 9.422 million).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, gained 375,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 6.052 million, and a listening share of 4.6%, up from 4.6% (4.9% a year ago when it had a weekly audience of 6.398 million).
(Including Sports Extra it gained 422,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 6.170 million and a listening share of 4.7%, up from 4.6% (5.0% a year ago when it a weekly audience of 6.472 million).
*BBC World Service gained 277,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.421 million and an listening share of 0.70%, up from 0.6% (0.6% a year ago when it had a weekly audience of 1.365 million).
*BBC Asian Network gained 84,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 524,000 and a listening share of 0.3%, up from 0.2% (0.4% a year ago when it had a weekly audience of 473,000).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM lost 468,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.842 million and a listening share of 4.1% down from 4.3% (4.2% a year ago when it had a weekly audience of 6.145 million).
* talkSPORT, now owned by UTV, lost 212,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.090 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.8% (1.7% a year ago when it had a weekly audience of 2.182 million)
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM but not its digital only new stations Virgin Radio Classic Rock and Virgin Radio Groove) gained 101,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.511 million and an unchanged listening share of 1.5% (1.5% a year ago when it had a weekly audience of 2.598 million).
Digital national commercial networks:
*Core gained 24,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 113,000, too small for share to be rated- a year ago it had 142,000, still to small for share to be rated.
*Kerrang! gained 219,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.214 million and a listening share up from 0.4% to 0.5%. (0.5% a year ago when its weekly audience was 1.017 million)
*Oneword lost 11,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 129,000, too small for share to be listed. A year ago it's audience was 115,000
*Planet Rock lost 41,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 341,000, with an unchanged share of 0.2% (0.1% a year ago, when it had a weekly audience of 231,000)
*Q gained 87,000listeners to end with a weekly audience of 448,000 and a share of 0.2%, up from 0.1% (0.1% a year ago when its audience was 321,000).
*Smash Hits gained 148,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 788,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.2% (0.2% a year ago, when its weekly audience was 724,000).
*The Hits gained 187,000 to end up with a weekly audience of 971,000 and an unchanged listening share of 0.3% (0.2% a year ago when its weekly audience was 880,000).
*The Storm gained 10,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 76,000, to small for share to be rate, as was the case a year ago when its audience was 80,000.
*Sunrise gained 18,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 485,000 and share up from 0.3% to 0.4% (0.4% a year ago when its weekly audience was 512,000)
Previous G-CAP (Capital FM and Classic FM owner):
Previous RAJAR ratings:
Previous SMG (Owns Virgin):
Previous UTV (talkSPORT owner):
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2005-10-28: XM Satellite Radio has posted third quarter results showing revenue up significantly and reconfirmed its guidance of six million subscribers by the end of the year but its loss was also up.
XM revenue more than doubled - up 134% from USD 65.4 million last year to USD 153.1 million, of which USD 140 million came from subscription revenue and USD 5.3 million from net advertising sales.
Its operating costs also more than doubled - from USD 48 million to USD105 million - and the third quarter net loss was up from USD 118 million a year earlier to USD 131.9 million with EBITDA loss up from of USD 62.9 million to USD 73.8 million.
XM added 617,152 subscribers, a 48 percent increase over the 415,671 net subscribers added in the third quarter 2004, to end with 5,034,642 subscribers, just more than double the 2,516,023 subscribers a year earlier.
XM has again cuts its subscriber acquisition costs - down from USD 57 a year ago to USD 53 but said the Cost Per Gross Addition (CPGA) remained stable at USD 89: Chairman Gary Parsons said that nearly six in ten of those who received an XM trial subscription signed up at the end of the period and XM says that between them GM and Honda will produce more than 2 million 2006 XM-equipped vehicles.
2005-10-28: Standard Broadcasting, which is a partner in Sirius Canada, and Score Media, owner of The Score Television Network, a national sports news specialty TV service for Canada, have announced a partnership to launch a Canadian all-sports channel, The Score, that will be part of the Sirius Canada package.
The schedule is yet to be announced but the channel is to include The Score's TV personalities, and
Standard Broadcasting President and CEO Gary Slaight said the relationship "demonstrates the leadership of both organizations in the ever-changing broadcast environment," and added, "We wanted to provide Canadian sports fans with the leading all sports channel and with the success of The Score on television it was a natural evolution."
Previous Sirius Canada:
2005-10-28: According to the Savannah Morning News Cumulus-owned Savannah News-Talk WBMQ-AM has suspended morning host Ben Bennett although General Manager Dale Powers refused to confirm the suspension and said the host would be back on Monday next week.
The paper says sources say the suspension followed on-air comments critical of CBS news and noted that the station is a CBS affiliate.
Bennett, real name Anthony Crystal, is also involved in a lawsuit in which a Chatham County Commissioner Harris Odell Jr. is suing him, Cumulus and the station; Odell alleges Crystal called him a "thief" for failing to file and pay his property taxes.
Savannah Morning News report:
2005-10-27: According to Reuters, Disney is holding off the sale of its ABC radio division because it hasn't yet settled on what parts it wants to sell and also because it is waiting for the sale of Susquehanna Media's 33 stations to be wrapped up.
The agency says sources say Disney is aiming to make its decisions by Thanksgiving but the process has been held back because several potential bidders, including Cumulus, are also involved in bids for Susquehanna and adds that the sources say that Cumulus, with backing from private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, is in the final stages of a deal to buy Susquehanna's radio stations for around USD 1.2 billion.
It adds that Cumulus is also mulling a private equity-backed investment in ABC Radio, which could set it in competition for the assets with other bidders thought to include Citadel, Emmis and Entercom. The biggest point of contention, adds Reuters, is the price to be set on ABC Radio, which Disney wants for tax reasons to structure as a spin-off to be followed by a merger with the winning bidder that would give Disney shareholders at least half of the merged company.
The sources said the price for ABC Radio could range from USD 2.5 billion to more than USD 3 billion, depending on whether divisions such as ESPN Radio are included.
2005-10-27: According to the UK Guardian, Macquarie Bank, which is building up a media portfolio, is thought to be considering a bid for G-Cap Media, the UK's largest radio group, which is already reported to be in the sights of private equity firms Cinven and Permira (See RNW Oct 18).
Macquarie which has already built up a regional radio business in its native Australia (See RNW Oct 5) has been involved in a number of bids for UK FM licences as well as buying NTL's UK transmission business last year for GBP 1.3 billion (USD 2.3 billion) and BBC Broadcast for GBP 166 million (then USD 303 million in June - See RNW Jun 26).
The paper quoted Paul Richards, a media analyst at Numis as saying, "Macquarie have been very aggressive. If venture capitalists are getting involved in GCap then Macquarie is the type of firm we'd expect to be interested. And Tim Schoonmaker [former EMAP Performance Chief Executive who has headed the UK licence bids] is the obvious candidate to run a radio company ... he really knows the radio industry."
Schoonmaker told the paper he had nothing to do with any such bid and added that he was "heading up the bids for new licences from Ofcom and that's all."
Previous GCap Media:
UK Guardian report:
2005-10-27: Latest online listening figures from the BBC show on demand listening to BBC radio in September of 5.16 million hours, up 7.24% on August and 51% on a year earlier but live listening at 10.78 million hours was down 1.46% month-on-month although on a year earlier it was up by 72%.
Total listening was up 1.33% month-on-month and 64.25% on a year earlier and of the BBC radio networks the largest month-on-month gain was by Radio Five Live with 40% whilst Five Live Sports Extra was at the other end of the range with a fall of 47%.
Radio 2, which overall is the most listened to UK radio station increased its month-on-month listening by 11.6% whilst BBC Radio 4 took its online listening up by 11.6%.
The BBC noted that Chris Evans, in his first two weeks on air at Radio 2, generated 40,000 on- demand stream requests and 28,000 downloads of the programme highlights (speech only) in MP3 format. It also notes that a world-exclusive first play of Kate Bush's new single, King of the Mountain, contributed to a record 80,000 on-demand listens to Radio 2's Ken Bruce show.
In terms of network listening in September this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours-live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to August then to September 2004:
Radio 1 - 4,228,673 + 2.9%; + 50.7%
Radio 2 - 2,961,387 + 11.6%; +52.4%.
Radio 4 - 2,623,027 +22.1%; +56.7%.
Radio 5 Live - 1,408,562 + 40.2%% +98.3%.
*Radio Five Live was sixth in August
BBC 7 - 1,343,355 + 0.8%; +96%
5 Live Sports Xtra - 1,062,724 + -47.2%; + 377.5%.
*5 Live Sports Extra was fourth in August.
Radio 3 - 735,632 + 3.0%; + 54.6%
6 Music - 640,483 + 5.7%; 23.4%.
1Xtra - 510,620 -2.3%; +2.1%.
Asian Network 214,890 + 3.7%; + 38.8%.
The top five on-demand programmes in September were:
1- The BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers with 572,737 listens in September, up 47.8% on August, aided by strong storylines.
2 - Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1 with 448,374listens in September, up 14.6 % on August.
3 - Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 with 196,290 listens in September, down 24.5% on August but up a rank.
4 The Afternoon Play on BBC Radio 4 with 169,418 listens in September, up 14.5% and from sixth.
5 - The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1 with 148,948 listens in September, down 51.6 % on August and down from third.
* Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 1, who was fifth in August with 156,886 listens, dropped to 14th in September with 94,946.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2005-10-27: XM Satellite Radio says General Motors is to build 1.55 Million Vehicles with Factory-Installed XM Satellite Radio in 2006, up from 1.4 million vehicles in 2005 and 1.17 million in 2004.
In all around 90% of GM's U.S. retail models are to offer factory-installed XM as standard or as an option.
2005-10-27: Melbourne company Street Nation Pty Ltd has been fined AUD 12,000 plus AUD 4,400 in costs (USD 12,400 in total) for exceeding the allowed power for its low power open narrowcasting (LPON) service in a case brought by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Other LPON operators had complained of interference during 2003 and ACMA issued several warnings and a penalty but the offences continued to the Authority took the matter to court where it was found guilty of three offences and fined AUD 4,000 (USD 3,000) for each offence.
LPON services in Australia provide niche FM radio broadcasting services to a limited reception area of programming such as racing and tourist information, ethnic broadcasting, information services, musical and religious programming.
2005-10-27: The US Federal Communications Comission (FCC) has confirmed a USD 2,400 penalty on a Tennessee AM for failing to register its tower.
CB Radio Inc, licensee of WBEJ-AM, Elizabethton, had sought cancellation of the penalty - already reduced from USD 3,000 - on the basis that it had sought to register the tower but could not because the Commission did not respond to its inquiries and the registration process was within the control of the Commission, and not with the company.
The FCC noted that it had made the reduction because of efforts made to register but refused further reduction.
On a more positive note, the FCC has now extended the same concessions that it granted to broadcasters after Hurricane Katrina relating to erection of temporary antennas, allowing AM station to broadcast at daytime power at nighttime with non-commercial emergency messages, and extension of riling and regulatory deadlines to licensees affected by Hurricane Wilma
2005-10-27: BBC Radio 1 has appointed George Ergatoudis, currently Music Manager at Radio 1's digital sister station 1Xtra, as its Head Of Music in succession to Alex Jones-Donelly, who left the station in August to join EMI.
In his new role he will be responsible for the station's play list and music policy, giving him great power over the future of bands. He began his career as a trainee producer at Radio 1 some 16 years ago and has been at the BBC since apart from a six-year break from 1991 to 1997 when he worked at Emap's Kiss FM, amongst other things producing Steve Jackson's breakfast show that took the 1998 Sony Breakfast DJ Gold Award.
He then returned to Radio 1 as a producer before taking his current role.
Radio 1 Controller Andy Parfitt said of the appointment, "George has all the right skills, great experience and a strong reputation in radio and music. I am convinced that he will be able to lead Radio 1's music team and build on the station's world-class reputation for discovering and supporting new UK music."
Ergatoudis commented, "This is an amazing opportunity for me. It's a very exciting time in music and a commitment to breaking new music will be at the heart of my remit."
2005-10-26: Infinity has put an end to the rumours surrounding its plans after Howard Stern leaves - his last live show will be on December 16 - with the announcement that it is launching what it terms the "Free FM" format on nine stations and has named David Lee Roth and Adam Carolla as morning drive hosts on various other stations that currently air Stern. Shane "Rover" French will take over in Chicago and the Mid-west.
The Free FM format has already been launched on KIFR-FM, San Francisco (formerly KEAR-FM), WYSP-FM Philadelphia, and KPLN-FM, San Diego.
The WYSP web site introduced the new format to its listeners, using the words of Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander in a news release, as "a new format created by Infinity that features an eclectic mix of personalities whose distinct creativity, perspective, sense of humour, intellect and unpredictability do not fall under the guiding principles of any particular narrowcast theme or ideology" and continues, " An entertaining hybrid of provocative, political, pop culture, news, music and lifestyle formats, Infinity's next generation of FM stations are personified by their conviction, passion, originality, fearlessness and innovation, which are not heard anywhere else on the radio."
Infinity has also re-branded WHFS-FM, Baltimore; WCKG-FM, Chicago; KLLI-FM, Dallas; WKRK-FM, Detroit; KLSX-FM, Los Angeles; and WJFK-FM, Washington, D.C., as Free FM outlets.
The two replacement shows will take to the air from January 3, 2006, with Carolla airing on home station KLSX-FM; KIFR-FM; KPLN-FM; KXTE-FM, Las Vegas; KZON-FM, Phoenix; and KUFO-FM, Portland; and Roth on home station WXRK-FM, New York; WBCN-FM Boston, WNCX-FM. Cleveland; KLLI-FM; WYSP-FM; WRKZ-FM Pittsburgh; and WPBZ-FM, West Palm Beach.
In addition to the morning host appointments, Infinity says it has signed late night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel as an advisor for Infinity to assist in the development of new talent and show ideas and as creative consultant for The Adam Carolla Show and that Penn Jillette is to host a one-hour daily talk show in various cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Other hosts who gain from the change include Rover, currently heard on WXTM-FM, Cleveland, and WAZU-FM, Columbus; he adds WCKG-FM, Chicago; WKRK-FM, Detroit; WAQZ-FM, Cincinnati; WMFS-FM, Memphis; and WZNE-FM Rochester and WJFK-FM's The Junkies who add WHFS.
Hollander added of the overall changes, "When we set out to find a replacement for Howard Stern we took the opportunity to cultivate a wide array of talent, from both in and out of the radio industry. With Roth, we've found someone who continues to evolve his career and deliver for his legion of fans. Adam's depth of entertainment experience is unmatched in radio. And Jimmy has a proven track record of creating winning shows for both radio and television. Couple that with an impressive roster of emerging talent and formats and we have all the necessary elements for Infinity to continue as the major player in morning drive."
Infinity's complete list of Stern outlets together with planned formats (an asterisk indicates a format change) is:
Austin - KXBT-FM Star & Buc Wild/Rhythmic CHR
Baltimore - WHFS-FM The Junkies/ Free FM/Alternative Rock
Boston - WBCN-FM, David Lee Roth/Active Rock
Buffalo - WBUF-FM Jack-FM
Chicago - WCKG-FM Rover/ Free FM
Cincinnati - WAQZ-FM Rover/Alternative Rock
Cleveland - WNCX-FM David Lee Roth/Classic Rock
Dallas - KLLI-FM David Lee Roth/ Free FM
Detroit - WKRK-FM Rover/ Free FM
Fresno - KKDG-FM Jack-FM
Houston - KIKK-AM CNN Radio News
Las Vegas - KXTE-FM Adam Carolla/Alternative Rock
Los Angeles - KLSX-FM Adam Carolla/ Free FM
Memphis - WMFS-FM Rover/Alternative Rock
New York - WXRK-FM David Lee Roth/ Free FM (*)
Orland - WOCL - Drew and Mel - Alternative Rock
Philadelphia - WYSP-FM David Lee Roth/ Free FM (*)
Phoenix - KZON-FM Adam Carolla/Alternative Rock
Pittsburgh - WRKZ-FM David Lee Roth/Active Rock
Portland - KUFO-FM Adam Carolla/Active Rock
Rochester - WZNE-FM Rover/Alternative Rock
Sacramento - KHWD-FM Jack-FM (*)
San Diego - KPLN-FM Adam Carolla/ Free FM (*)
San Francisco - KITS-FM Morning Music Co-Op/Alternative Rock
Tampa - WBZZ-AM Talk (*)
Washington, D.C. - WJFK-FM The Junkies/ Free FM
West Palm Beach- WPBZ-FM David Lee Roth/Alternative Rock
2005-10-26: BBC World Service has confirmed that it is to drop ten of its language services - Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai - under wide ranging changes just announced that include the launch of an Arabic TV channel, the first publicly funded international television service to be launched by the World Service: The move had been reported already (See RNW Oct 17) and has attracted protests by the unions BECTU (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union ) and NUJ (National Union of Journalists) , which are concerned at the loss of some 200 jobs.
In its news release the BBC does not address the potential problems it will face in gaining audience from rival Arabic news channels, led by Al Jazeera, commenting on the plan as "part of a wide-ranging package of proposals aimed at maintaining and enhancing BBC World Service's pre-eminent position and impact in an emerging multi-media age."
It says its plans, which will involve investment of some GBP 30 million (USD 54 million) - to come from the language service and other changes - by 2008 will also include increased investment in developing New Media- initially concentrating in markets such as South America, Russia, South Asia and the Middle East; increased funding for more FM radio distribution; extra marketing; plans to modernise overseas bureaux; and exploring further television services on a partnership basis.
BBC World Service Director Nigel Chapman said, "BBC World Service is already the most successful, trusted and respected voice in the Middle East with more than 60 years experience of broadcasting in the Arabic language on radio, and more recently and successfully, online. The BBC Arabic Television Service will build on this legacy by offering trusted and accurate news with an international agenda "Our research suggests there is strong demand for an Arabic Television service from the BBC in the Middle East."
Of the language service closures he said, "The services closing cover either European countries that are current EU members or are actively in discussions about membership; or services with little local impact. All the countries will continue to be served by other BBC Global News division services such as BBC World Service radio in English, BBC World television, and BBC News Online."
"We believe the proposed changes will enable BBC World Service to maintain and build on its pre-eminent position as the world's leading international broadcaster in the multi-media age for years to come," he added.
On its web site BECTU condemned the closure of the language channels, saying it was a "a devastating blow to the BBC's ability to speak to all nations in all tongues" and adding, "While we would normally welcome the BBC's expansion into Arabic TV without hesitation, we cannot ignore the potential threat of hundreds of compulsory redundancies It is clear that the transfer of cash from European language services into Arabic TV is driven by political objectives, and the decision will create a perception abroad that the BBC World Service is working to a government agenda."
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said the move was "a bitter blow to BBC World Service staff and a step which has the potential to cause massive damage to Britain's influence in a significant part of New Europe."
"How can the BBC call itself a genuinely world service when significant language sections are to be closed?" he asked. "We are told the BBC services are no longer relevant because of the emergence of new democracies in many countries. Does Jack Straw [the British Foreign Secretary, who has approved the changes] really believe that countries like Kazakhstan, where intimidation of political opponents remains common and there is significant international concern that recent elections were rigged, no longer need the type of public service broadcasting offered by the World Service?"
NUJ Deputy General Secretary John Fray added, "While we welcome new services in the Arab world it should not be at the expense of high-quality services across Eastern Europe. At a time when British business, the Government and civil society talk about the need to engage with the rest of Europe, the Foreign Office should not be allowing Britain's voice to be silenced in significant parts of the continent."
"This is robbing Peter to pay Paul," he said, "and there is deep concern that they are making a big mistake in losing valuable expertise in these countries."
RNW comment: We have seen nothing to change our view, expressed with our October 17 report, that this move could be a blunder: If anything some of the comments made subsequently strengthen our opinion. Amongst them was a comment by Hugh Miles, author of history of Al Jazeera, who told BBC Radio 4 that he did not think that the BBC had identified its audience or that other Arabic TV channels would be concerned. He said the move "runs the risk of being expensive waste of time that could possible damage the BBC's reputation in the Arab World."
He noted that Al Jazeera, as we commented, had many staff who were BBC-trained and had the benefit of being generously financed by someone else (The Emir of Qatar where Al Jazeera is based).
Chapman has claimed that the BBC faces a real risk of becoming a "sidebar" in the Middle East unless it moves into TV, which may well be true but in that case was an argument to have continued funding its previous Arabic venture financed by Saudi money was closed, and also that the BBC has a strength in depth that Al-Jazeera cannot match.
We think the value of the latter can easily be over-estimated as far as the potential Middle East audience is concerned and continue to believe that to succeed the BBC offering will have to be funded for a long haul and also, if it is to have credibility in the area, will have to be prepared to risk upsetting both the British and American governments. If the commitment is to both, we wish the venture all the best but still have concerns about dropping the language services: If the commitment is half-hearted the venture should have been strangled at birth.
2005-10-26: Toronto-based Corus Entertainment has reported fourth quarter revenues to the end of August up
8% to CAD 175.3 million (USD 148.9 million) led by radio with revenues up 12% to CAD 65.3 million (USD 55.5 million) compared to a 7% increase in TV revenues to CAD 83.4 million (USD 70.9 million) and 1% for content division to CAD 27.7 million (USD 23.5 million).
Profit however was flat at CAD 42.6 million (USD 36.2 million) because of increased costs including the integration of several new radio stations in Quebec and incremental costs associated with increased performing rights tariffs imposed by the Copyright Board of Canada and Corus says that "largely as a result of the unusual costs affecting the Radio division" net income for the quarter was down from CAD 14.0 million (USD 11.9 million CAD 0.33 basic and diluted per share) to CAD 9.7 million (USD 8.2 million CAD 0.23 basic earnings per share and 0.22 diluted earnings per share).
Executive Chair Heather Shaw said of the results that Corus had "shown impressive growth in all areas as we executed our operating strategies" and added, " We are pleased to report that we exceeded all of our financial targets for the year." Said.
Regarding the Copyright Board of Canada decision to increase tariffs for music - the basic tariff for large radio stations increased from 3.2% to 4.4% of revenue for the period from 2003 to 2007 - Corus notes that the current cost of the increase of $2.6 million has been reflected in the 2005 segment profit for radio while the retroactive portion of the new tariff, $3.8 million, has been reflected in the 2005 financial statements as other expense and says the Canadian industry is "currently exploring avenues of appeal."
In other North American radio business, NextMedia has announced completion of its previously announced sale of eight stations, for in Reno, Nevada, and four in Lubbock, Texas, to Wilks Broadcast Group LLC for USD 34 million (See RNW Jun 1).
2005-10-26: Emmis has now officially confirmed that Jonathon Brandmeier is rejoining WLUP-FM (The Loop) in Chicago in the morning slot he left in 1997.
The host, who was released early from his current contract by Infinity, which switched his station, KCBS-FM, to the Jack format thus leaving Brandmeier without a slot, has agreed a contract running to Spring 2009 but no details were given.
Announcing the acquisition on its web site WLUP carried a note "Johnny He's soo not LA above a photograph of Brandmeier in shorts (no shirt) with below it "Jonathan Brandmeier back where he belongs. On the Loop and in Chicago Mornings.
It does not give a start date - the Morning Show link still goes to "The Loop's All Request Rock & Roll Morning Show with Byrd" - although Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times says Brandmeier is aiming "for a Halloween debut this Monday."
"Byrd" (John Kempf) is to move back to evenings to make way for Brandmeier and evening host Steve Seaver will get to part-time and weekend duties.
Feder quotes Brandmeier as saying he feels "more excited" about returning to the Loop than when he joined the station to host mornings the first time in 1983 and adding, "I've come full circle. This is where I belong. The station is rocking, everyone sounds great, and management is 100 percent supportive."
Feder says the host is bringing with him three of his former contributors from Infinity's KCBS in Los Angeles - news anchor Kent Voss, executive producer Guy Bauer and technical board operator Hector Soriano - and is also taking on Vince Argento, who most recently produced morning shows at Infinity's ex-oldies WJMK-FM, and Ed Williams, the comic "Edwardo," who has produced bits for Brandmeier, Mike North, Steve Dahl and others.
In an Interview with Feder, Brandmeier spoke of what he missed about Chicago and commented, "But remember, had it not been for the Loop being sold [in 1997], I would never have left in the first place. I was going to L.A. because that's where the owners wanted me to fulfil my deal. Once I got the kids in school, I was locked. It turned out to be a great visit. My family and I loved Malibu We spent great quality time with my daughters there, so personally, it ended up being an invaluable time for us as a family. Now we're all ready for a change."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-10-26: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced that the Rolling Stones have recorded "Radio. You Hear It Here First" adverts for its campaign promoting the strengths of advertising-funded terrestrial radio.
The campaign was launched in January this year and the NAB says so far Hear It Here First ads have aired over 108,000 times on local radio station; it notes that "nearly" all the major US radio companies including ABC, Beasley, Bonneville, Buckley, Citadel, Clear Channel, Cox, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Greater Media, Infinity, Jefferson Pilot, Journal, Radio One, Regent, and Susquehanna have participated in the campaign and values the airtime taken up at more than USD 40 million.
The NAB has posted 15 and 30 second versions 9128 KBPS MP3s) of Rolling Stones spots "Rough Justice" and "Streets of Love" on its web site along with the other spots in the campaign
NAB Radio Board chairman and Entercom president and CEO David J. Field said of the spots in a news release, "The Rolling Stones' participation says great things about the campaign's momentum and about radio's importance and credibility in the artist community."
Emmis Radio president Rick Cummings added, "The timing couldn't be better. With the Stones promoting their first studio recorded album since 1997, they are ideal messengers to remind the public of radio's importance."
RNW comment: Although to our eyes the Stones certainly lift the list of names on the NAB site and we can well see mutual back-scratching value for the Stones, with a new record out, and NAB with a big name, why does a release have to put a spurious value on the spots. They are promoting the stations themselves and only if other adverts have had to be dropped to air them do they have a real airtime cost to the stations. In other words, ad value close to nil, NAB veracity similar.
2005-10-25: Clear Channel has reported third quarter revenues up 1.1% on a year ago to USD 2.7 billion but net income was down 23.1% to USD 205.5 million (from 44cents to 38 cents per diluted share - Clear Channel has so far spent only USD 57 million of the USD 1 billion authorized in its share repurchase scheme ).
In divisional terms, Outdoor outperformed with revenues up 11.3% to USD 668 million followed by Live Entertainment with revenues up 0.9% to USD 983.5 million.
"Other" revenues however were down 1.1% to USD 145.1 million and radio lagged the lot with revenues down 4.3% to USD 919.3 million.
Commenting on the results President and CEO Mark Mays put a gloss on the performance, saying in the company's news release, "We continued to make progress in each of our businesses in the third quarter. For the second consecutive quarter Clear Channel Radio experienced sequential financial improvement over the previous quarter. This performance is a direct result of our recent ratings successes combined with our progress in developing a market for shorter-length spots."
"Meanwhile," he continued, "we delivered double-digit revenue growth in our outdoor business, both domestically and internationally. We also grew revenues at Clear Channel Entertainment. Our results this quarter highlight that Clear Channel is executing its strategy and building a strong foundation for each of our businesses to prosper in the years to come."
Lower down the company's report appeared to contradict him in the short-term at least, noting a reduction of around USD 4.3 million in "non-cash trade revenues "[RNW note -about 0. 5% of the total so we can't quite see why this was remarked upon!] and continuing, "Both local and national revenues were down for the quarter as well, primarily from the reduction in commercial minutes made available for sale on the Company's radio stations. As a result, some of the Company's larger advertising categories declined during the quarter, including automotive and retail. Yield, or revenue divided by total minutes of available inventory, experienced an increase each month of the third quarter. The Company's 30 and 15 second commercials as a percent of total commercial minutes available was higher in the third quarter than in the first six months of the year. Average unit rates were also higher during the third quarter than during the first six months of the year.
Divisional operating expenses were up $8.4 million during the third quarter of 2005 compared to the same period of 2004. Driving the increase were promotion and advertising as well as programming and content expenses."
RNW comment: In other words, the "less is more" policy is still costing Clear Channel but its is managing to sell more shorter spots than it did before it pushed them and , with ratings up, the revenue decline is falling compared to previous quarters.
Clear Channel has also updated its guidance on its plans to offer around 10% of the stock in its outdoor division in an Initial Public Offering and to spin off its entertainment division into a separate Clear Channel Entertainment company.
Both transactions , it says , continue to progress and are expected to close by the end of this year; it adds that the company currently intends to return approximately USD 1.6 billion of capital to shareholders through either share repurchases, a special dividend or a combination of both with funding for this to come from funds generated from the repayment of inter-company debt, the proceeds of any new debt offerings, available cash balances and cash flow from operations..
The markets seemed to have anticipated most of the figures and Clear Channel shares ended the day down 0.06% at 30.93 but then recovered a little in after hours trading and went up 0.06% when we last checked to USD 31.10, albeit US stocks in general rose on Monday.
In Chicago, Clear Channel's , Regional Vice-President and Market Manager John Gehron has resigned to "to pursue new goals" although he is to remain a consultant. Before joining the company four years ago Gehron was an SVP and COO at Infinity prior to which he had been COO at American Radio Systems as well as holding executive posts at various stations including a spell as program director at then top 40 WLS-AM in Chicago in the mid-1970's.
In other US radio business, Radio One Inc. has extended for a week to October 28 the deadline for its exchange offer relating to USD 200 million of its 6 3/8% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2005-10-25: Sports host Larry Kreuger and morning show producer Tony Rhein, fired by Susquehanna's KNBR-AM after comments by Kreuger referring to "brain-dead Caribbean hitters" for which Kreuger was suspended (See RNW Aug 8) and a subsequent show in which fun was poked at Giants manager Felipe Alou (See RNW Aug 11) leading to the firings have now launched lawsuits against the station.
A report in the San Francisco Chronicle says the lawsuits allege that the two were fired so that the station could keep its deal to broadcast the Giant's Games without which the station's value would have fallen with a consequent effect on the sale of Susquehanna Media by parent Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co that was announced in April (See RNW Apr 21).
In the lawsuits, which seek unspecified damages for defamation and breach of contract , attorneys for Kreuger and Rhein say, "After discussion with executives at Susquehanna, KNBR realized it would need to appease the Giants to sell the San Francisco radio station.''
The paper says the suits allege that station vice president and general manager Tony Salvadore prodded Krueger to go after the Giants on air, telling him in the parking garage just hours before the famous "Caribbean" broadcast Aug. 3, "Do me a favour, pal, rip the s -- out of the Giants'' and also that that Krueger had received "confidential telephone calls'' from members of the Giants management team, saying Baer [Giants executive vice president Larry Baer] had called Salvadore to demand that Krueger be fired but "that Salvadore had replied that KNBR would decide what, if any, discipline Krueger would receive.''
This, they say, infuriated Baer who had put a transcript of the show on Alou's desk to infuriate him and subsequently arranged to have Krueger go to the ballpark to meet Alou for what was supposed to be a face-to-face apology but in fact was intended to have Krueger approach Alou unannounced, and watch Alou explode.''
Baer told the paper, "That's all wrong and not truthful. Nobody at the Giants ever asked for Krueger to be fired.''
RNW comment: Even if we accept that Kreuger and Rhein were fired because of pressure from the Giants - and it would seem to be a brain-damaged action to poke fun at the Giants manager only three days after the row blew up and whilst the temperature was still high - our initial reaction would be that it would be very generous to award the pair involved a dime in damages with no costs. If Bauer is telling the truth their action would seem to be a greed-driven but particularly stupid way of committing professional suicide since the argument then boils down to do something that is unjustifiable and could severely affect their employer's finances and after being fired try and throw mud. A job cleaning toilets would seem about the right level for their future in that case.
San Francisco Chronicle report:
2005-10-25: Nigerian newspaper This Day says that the country's Information Minister Frank Nweke has told Nigeria's National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to rescind its order closing down Daar Communications' broadcast stations - Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower 100.5 FM -for what it said was the station's unprofessional coverage of a Bellview Airlines Boeing 737-200 killing all 117 people on board.
"This would not happen while I am the Minster of Information. I told the NBC that they should have cleared it with me before taking the decision though they explained what happened," he said.
Daar Communications obeyed the order to close down but the stations arte now back on air: Their stations were apparently the first to correctly report the location of the crash
In a statement, the NBC said the TV station showed "gross unprofessional conduct" in broadcasting "close-up shots of decapitated body parts" and that both broadcasters ignored official requests "to handle the sad development with restraint" ; it added that the "most offensive" violation came when the stations broadcast reports saying there were no survivors "when the competent authorities had not fully assessed the situation" and before victims' families had been notified.
Gbenga Mike Aruleba, Daar Communications deputy general manager (news) said the stations were being punished for challenging the official line put out by the state-owned Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and because it criticised aviation authorities for negligence in failing to properly monitor the aircraft before it crashed.
The action had led to condemnation of the regulator's action by news organizations and Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists commented, "The heavy-handed censorship of RayPower FM and AIT in the wake of this tragedy is disturbing. The news media must be free to report on such matters of public concern without government restrictions or reprisal."
Committee to Protect Journalists' web site:
2005-10-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put the issue of Emergency Alert Systems on its agenda for its monthly Open Meeting to be held on Friday in Washington, D.C.
The agenda lists consideration of the agency's "First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the Emergency Alert System rules" and could foreshadow major changes to the EAS system.
Amongst suggestions made by the FCC have been that state and local emergency managers should have authority to order EAS alerts that would override programming on all stations and also consider extending the system to digital broadcasts and wireless communications services.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent emergencies, the US Senate Commerce Committee last week passed the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act of 2005, which would create a network to transmit disaster alerts across a wide range of communications systems including cell phone networks, the Internet, broadcast, cable, and satellite TV and radio and the Internet.
2005-10-25: Westwood One has announced that it has appointed Max Krasny to the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Westwood One Entertainment.
In his new role Krasny, who will relocate to Los Angeles, will be responsible for the management of all entertainment programming, including all production from the Culver City and Valencia studios, as well as Entertainment Sponsorship Sales, and Entertainment Affiliate Sales.
The appointment follows various entertainment investments by Westwood One including the company's launch of Randy Jackson's Hits List and the new SAM (Simply About Music ) format.
Previous Westwood One:
2005-10-24: This week for our look at print comment on radio we concentrate on three "Radio Waves" columns, one American and two from the London Sunday Times: The titles may be the same but the styles of the columns, even the sister ones in the one paper, are very different.
Beginning in Britain, Paul Donovan's column in the Sunday Times took as its theme contributions from listeners, commencing, "Where would they be without us? Shows need listeners, just as newspapers need readers. Recently, however, listeners have begun to play a new and more vital role - educating radio stations, and one another, through request programme."
He then goes on to note the "most remarkable example of this", the first-ever broadcast of Benjamin Britten's 27-minute ballet Plymouth Town: Apparently not only had this work by the then 17-years-old composer never been broadcast, it had not been recorded until a listener read about it and asked for it on the weekly request show "Brian Kay's 3 for All" with the result that it was finally aired ten months after the request was made [RNW note: Unfortunately, the programme is not available on demand on the station web site].
"This episode may be unique (there are now no more published Britten works yet to be recorded), " writes Donovan, "but listeners' desire to share their knowledge is not. Classic FM often plays a haunting lament called The Ashokan Farewell, composed and played by the violinist Jay Ungar. 'We didn't know about it until it was suggested by a listener in 1999,' says Classic, 'but it has struck such a chord with our audience that we have played it ever since.'"
Donovan gives other examples from sixties pop to Jazz to poetry -"One of the most surprising requests we have had was for a long poem by Edith Nesbit, the author of The Railway Children, about a monk who couldn't sing," recalls Christine Hall, producer of Poetry Please [BBC Radio 4]. "None of us knew it, and we had to ask the library to trace it. That poem, The Singing of the Magnificat, turned out to be hugely popular. Fortunately, it was out of copyright, because we were sending it out for years afterwards, and we still do."
In the same edition of the paper, Gerry McCarthy looking at Irish radio in his column had a totally different theme, the way two shows on state broadcaster RTÉ's Radio 1 have fared following shortening to an hour in duration.
Ryan Tubridy's "The Tubridy Show" writes McCarthy, "though previously awkward, fits neatly into its new slot" but Vincent Browne's Tonight show "has grown weaker."
McCarthy suggests the reasons for this: "Browne's command of political minutiae is ideally suited for long, detailed discussion, with room to cover the core issue and sundry tangential questions. But now his digressions tend to undermine the topic: subjects are introduced and summarily abandoned The core problem is not Browne's style. Rather it is that the programme has lazily retained its old structure, including panel discussions and newspaper previews. Neither Browne nor his producers have bothered to rethink the old assumptions."
In completely different style in his column in the San Francisco Chronicle, Ben Fong-Torres went more for storytelling, in his case of the impact consolidation has had on the life and styles of hosts, choosing to drop in on four morning radio shows - all four on Clear Channel stations and housed in the same building.
"It used to be that," writes Fong-Torres, "you'd show up for work and be the only show in town -- or at least in the building. You worked with only an engineer and a newscaster, and you sent out your broadcast into the ozone, all competitors be damned. Now, those competitors are in the same corporate family, and they're just down the hall from you. What's that like?"
He began with KISS-FM morning host Renel (Renel Brooks-Moon) who described herself as "the queen of multitasking" and said that there was initial shock in working next door to corporate competitors, adding, "The building is so big, you don't meet everybody. We were a mom-and-pop operation at KMEL [KMEL-FM, also now owned by Clear Channel and in the same building]; we enjoyed hanging out when we weren't working. That don't happen no more! But I'm happy to be a survivor."
On the same floor the next call was to Star 101.3 (KIOI-FM) where Don Bleu, the dean of Bay Area morning radio, commented of the effects of consolidation, "I don't think it's been much of a change for on-air people, but it is for everybody else. They have multiple duties. My job doesn't include working for any other station, but our promotion, sales, marketing and management people have these multiple roles that intertwine. You're not selling a station; you're selling Clear Channel."
At KMEL-FM, host Chuy Gomez, who began in radio at KSOL-FM - to evolve into KYLD - Wild 94.9 now a sister station and (less furious) competitor also owned by Clear Channel, commented of his time at KSOL, then in San Mateo, "You'd see the general manager in the hallway, and the owner was in his office. Now, you don't know who the boss is -- somewhere in some other state. It was more family-oriented back then. But I made adjustments, because things just evolve."
From Wild and host Strawberry came the most positive comment about the changes, saying, "We're all in the same industry; everybody knows what we're going through, so it's a good think tank. You can bounce ideas off other people" and then somewhat spoiling the positive by adding, "I'm not going to talk to other morning shows."
On then to some suggested listening, starting with BBC World Service and the three-part "Return to Sarajevo" Series that began on Wednesday (On the web site as a 40KBPS MP3 or streaming audio): In it Allan Little, who in November 1995 with producer Peter Burdin was in Sarajevo at the height of conflict there, returns to the city and tracks down some of the people whom he featured then in a Sony-award winning series about survivors of that conflict.
Then history of a rather older - and more consequential conflict - the Battle of Trafalgar in which Lord Nelson was killed on 21 October 1805. The BBC has carried a number of programmes relating to the celebrations of the bicentennial of the Battle but our first suggested listening if to Ockham's Razor on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Over the past two week Medical Historian Dr Jim Leavesley has been paying tribute to Nelson, with the October 16 programme centring on Nelson's military history and the second on his affair with Lady Hamilton.
We'd also suggest for those interested the Afternoon Play on BBC Radio 4 last Tuesday -- Clinging to Lord Nelson by Emma Reeves, which will be on the site until tomorrow - a later Afternoon Play - Trafalgar - a docudrama written and directed by Lisa Osborne that aired on Friday - and the more historical Nelson the Latest, also from Radio 4 but last Monday which means it will only be available until this evening.
And for a final bite of conflict, we note that BBC Radio 4's MidWeek programme on Wednesday last week garnered much publicity, as can be found easily by an online search, because of a lively spat - between American comedian Joan Rivers and Trinidad-born writer and black activist Darcus Howe. For once Howe, normally the hectoring, became the hectored.
Then music and the Composer of the Week on BBC Radio 3 this week (1100 to noon GMT) is Duke Ellington and from BBC Radio 4 tomorrow the third of the Real History of Opera series features Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera (Last week's programme The Threepennny Opera is available until then).
And finally some strange sounds to end the list, from The Night Air on ABC Radio National and the October 16 version "Body Music" comprised of sounds from...the body, with a little accompaniment (Available as a stream or MP3).
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
UK Sunday Times McCarthy:
2005-10-24: Former Melbourne radio host Virginia Trioli today moves into the Sydney morning slot on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC 702 where she is succeeding Sally Loane, who quit the station when she learned it was seeking a replacement (See RNW Aug 8).
Her debut will not be helped by the way in which the station managed Loane's departure nor by Julie McCrossin's short-lived spell in the 702 breakfast slot- she quit earlier this month after less than a month in the slot (See RNW Oct 6), a departure that means even more is riding on Trioli's success.
Trioli speaks of drawing people into a "lively conversation" on the programme about various aspects of Sydney life and decision making but may have an uphill task amongst certain segments of her potential audience - she had already come under fire as a left-wing feminist.
Previous ABC, Australia:
2005-10-24: WorldSpace, which has been concentrating its marketing efforts in India, is stepping a little further afield with the announcement that it has now received approval for terrestrial repeater networks from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It plans to use the licences for mobile satellite radio services to be launched in the first half of next year and targeted at expatriates living in the two countries.
WorldSpace chairman and CEO Noah Samara said the rollout would be part of "WorldSpace's overall strategy to opportunistically target additional markets within our coverage area at a minimal incremental cost" adding, "WorldSpace's overall strategy to opportunistically target additional markets within our coverage area at a minimal incremental cost."
Bahrain and the UAE have a population of approaching five million between them of which some three quarters are expatriates, regarded as particularly attractive markets for WorldSpace.
2005-10-23: Although there was a reasonable amount of routine work, the most important document in our view to come from a regulator last week was from the UK where Ofcom published its plans for the future or radio in the UK, 200 pages that contain significant research and thought (For links see RNW Oct 20). Elsewhere it was more a matter of routines.
In Australia, there were no announcements from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) regarding broadcast radio but has brought into effect a new structure for licensing and certification of amateur radio operators.
It also introduced new guidelines for international broadcasts that gives general guidance for broadcasts originating I all or part from Australia with specific radio sections concerning avoiding offence to an international audience and sexual content.
In Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was reasonably busy with routine work including, in order of province:
*Approval of corporate reorganization of New Song Communications Ministries Ltd. that will result in the applicant acquiring the assets of the Christian music radio programming undertaking CINB-FM, Saint John, from New Song Communications Ltd.
*Approval of decrease of antenna height and power decrease from 42,000 watts to of 36,400 watts CKUE-FM, Chatham, and increase in antenna height and power increase from 400 watts to 1,950 watts of its transmitter CKUE-FM-1, Windsor.
Licensee BEA-VER Communications Inc. had requested a power increase to 2870 watts in Windsor because of interference from its Chatham signal and also from U.S. radio stations operating in the adjacent city of Detroit, Michigan. Its application was opposed by CHUM Ltd, which operates all four commercial radio stations that currently serve Windsor.
*Approval of power decrease from 46,000 watts to 41,000 watts, antenna height increase, and transmitter relocation for CFJB-FM, Barrie.
*Denial of application for a 3000 watts easy listening music English-language commercial FM radio station in the City of Kawartha Lakes. The application had been opposed by Durham Radio Inc., CHUM Limited, which operates CKLY-FM, Lindsay, Ontario, the only radio station currently licensed to serve the City of Kawartha Lakes, and Mr. Andy McNabb, who had been refused a licence for a Christian music FM radio station to serve the City of Kawartha Lakes "in light of the possible negative impact that the proposed new station could have on CKLY-FM".
CHUM had said that CKLY, which it purchased in 2000, after it had been operating at a loss for many years, was now in profit but at a lower rate than the industry average and the CRTC decided that due to CKLY-FM's financial situation, a call for competing applications for a broadcasting licence to serve the City of Kawartha Lakes is not appropriate at this time.
*Approval of new 250 watts French-language Type B community FM in Shawinigan.
*Approval of English-language low-power tourist FM radio station in Wolseley.
The Commission also published a list of transfers of ownership or control of broadcast undertakings approved during the period from May 1 to August 31.
Radio-related approvals were:
*Approval of a corporate reorganization that transfers ownership and control of Acadia, licensee of CHSJ-FM and CHWV-FM Saint John, New Brunswick, CHTD-FM, St. Stephen, New Brunswick and CKBW-FM, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, from Brunswick News Inc., to a corporation indirectly owned and controlled by John E. Irving. Brunswick News Inc. is indirectly owned and controlled by the Irving brothers, J.K. Irving, A.L. Irving and John E. Irving.
* Change to the ownership of Coast, licensee of CKSJ-FM, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, resulting in its effective control of Coast changes from Andrew Bell to being jointly controlled by Andrew Bell and Andrew Newman.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom published a thorough report on its plans for radio (See RNW Oct 20) that included a major commitment to further DAB frequencies.
It also published proposals for applying Recognised Spectrum Access (RSA) to radio astronomy and also gave its reasons behind the award announced earlier this month of 18 community licences and rejection of eleven other applications (See Licence News Oct 9). The main reasons given for most of the awards were relevant broadcasting experience and community ties.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reinstated seven Alaskan translator licences that were at the centre of a long-running saga of defiance of the Commission by Peninsula Communications that had led to the FCC not only revoking them but also the licences of two full-power stations associated with them until a change in the law forced the Commission to restore them (See RNW Oct 21).
The FCC also stopped pursuing Peninsula for USD 140,000 of penalties but it made up for that a little by levying others totalling USD 34,000 on other individuals and licensees (Also Oct 21).
The FCC also announced that it was ready to grant construction permits for a further six FM licences won in its Auction 37 (See RNW Oct 18).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-10-23: According to The Australian newspaper, the country's ratings tender this year, currently valued at AUD 4 million (USD 3 million) but likely to increase by around 25% is not to include electronic metering because of fears that it would show less listening to breakfast shows and thus put around AUD 100 million (USD 97.5 million) of advertising at risk.
The breakfast slot is estimated to generate more than half of radio's annual AUD 840 million (USD 630 million) advertising revenue, meaning a fall in breakfast ratings of 15% could cost the industry some AUD 95 million (USD 71 million).
Australia's commercial radio industry will decide by the end of this year whether to put its next contract out to tender - the current one runs to December 2006 - and the paper says the broadcasters, represented by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), are tossing up between calling for proposals to measure radio audiences based on the diary system, as they did three years ago, or extending incumbent Nielsen Media Research's contract for up to two years.
Delay would allow time for information to become public from tests currently being conducted in Britain by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) on various electronic measuring systems but the paper says that one suggestion is a hybrid contract.
The idea, which it says was mooted at the National Radio Conference in Sydney earlier this month by Richard Windle, managing director of research firm IPSOS Media in the UK, would combine diaries and electronic measurement.
"Perhaps diaries can produce a better record for listening in the morning," Windle told a session exploring the pros and cons of various electronic measurement systems- the conference discussed systems from companies such as Arbitron, Eurisko, Gfk/Telecontrol, IPSOS Media and Navigauge.
RNW comment: Early US trials of Arbitron's PPM (Portable People Meter) have indeed shown less listening at breakfast time and one can well understand the commercial imperatives, if the slot is garnering more than half of all revenues, in ducking systems that would reduce breakfast figure.
However it would seem to us that unless Australian advertisers are particularly stupid they will be watching the results of trials and results round the world and won't wait for an Australian change of measurement to demand reduced fees if they think they have strong evidence of lower listening from elsewhere.
At the same time we feel, as we have argued before in the context of the RAJAR tests, that it will be more sensible for the industry to get the system right rather than rush into new electronic systems that are then found to need significant changes, thus putting the whole system into doubt.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
The Australian report:
2005-10-23: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio 3 host Alexis Mazurin has died aged 27 after suffering a heart attack in September whilst attending the annual Burning Man art festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.
He subsequently fell into a coma and after time in hospital in Reno, Nevada, was transferred to St Paul's Hospital in Vancouver in mid-September and died there "peacefully and swiftly" according to posting on a blog launched by his family and girlfriend, Lindsay Wood, to give details of his progress.
In her post she comments, "I thought watching him go would be the most awful moment of my life and instead it was one of the most beautiful, peaceful moments. Those of us that were there felt truly honoured to be in his presence at that time. Many friends arrived and he had a whole party to see him on his way."
Mazurin, who was born in Penticton, studied journalism at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and his first job was as host of Pass The Mic on CBC Radio One in 2001. The next year he created the travelling radio show Out There and a year later he joined CBC Radio 3.
As well as hosting, Mazurin also worked for the CBC helping to produce programmes; he was also a comedy writer and a member of the Vancouver comedy troupe Hot Sauce Posse.
Mazurin family blog site:
2005-10-22: Salem has announced a USD 10 million cash purchase of WTLN-AM and WHIM-AM serving the greater Orlando, Florida, market, from Alton Rainbow Corporation and TM2, Inc., in a deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
The deal follows last month's announcement by Salem of the acquisition of WORL-AM in Orlando through a station swap with James Crystal Broadcasting (See RNW Sep 8); It is to re-programme business talk WORL in its News Talk format.
Salem has not said which of its formats it will put on the two latest acquisitions, which currently broadcast Christian teaching and talk format, but President and CEO Edward G. Atsinger III commented, "The Moffits [owners of the stations] are respected broadcasters who have provided a platform in Orlando to some of the best national ministries and speakers, a tradition we plan to continue. This transaction strengthens Salem's position in one of the nation's top markets allowing us to broadcast two of our three strategic formats in Orlando."
2005-10-22: Research carried out for British media regulator Ofcom in preparation of its radio review shows 56% of respondents expressing some interest in the idea of pay radio although Ofcom cautions that the interest would not necessarily equate to actual take-up of services. The questions were based on a GBP3 (USD 5) a month charge.
Of those asked 21% expressed interest in services linked to music, 14% in sports commentary, 9% in 2-hour news, 8% in dedicated comedy and 4% in dedicated drama.
Between the sexes, men were more interest in sport - 23% to 6% - and news - 11% to 6% while women were more interested in music - 25% to 17%. For comedy, 9% of women and 7% of men expressed interest and for drama 5% of women and 3% of men.
The survey also looked at interest in terms of specific groups, finding what it termed Radio Evangelists the most enthusiastic with 67% of expressing interest in pay services. Least interested overall were those it termed Entertainment Seekers, with only 58% expressing any interest in pay radio.
It also notes that 26% of what it termed Mobile Music Specialists said they were interested in stations dedicated to particular music types; 13% of those it termed Speech Hungry said they were interested in 24-hour news and 10% of them interested in drama; and 18% of those it termed Local Music Radio Enthusiasts expressed interest in sports.
2005-10-22: Two ruling Liberal Party lobbyists in Canada have come under criticism followings filings that revealed that they were paid "success fees" that depended on Canadian Satellite Radio's broadcasting licence being approved according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.
They are John Duffy, a long-time supporter of Prime Minister Paul Martin and member of his inner circle of informal advisers, and David MacNaughton who until June was the top aide to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Although the fees are legal in Canada, opposition politicians say they are inappropriate and some argue that they should be banned as they are in many US states because of fears that they may increase the chances of payment of kickbacks or making of campaign contributions to ensure that legislation goes through.
New Democrat MP Ed Broadbent told the paper, "It's totally inappropriate. It should not be permitted under the law. There should be no percentage advantage, one way or another, whether you're successful getting a change in policy one way or another."
He was backed by Bloc Québécois MP Maka Kotto who said "When the individuals are so close to power, that's where it becomes questionable. That's where you have to ask if this government is free to make its own decisions."
Duffy defended success fees as a type of "risk-sharing" arrangement where little is paid up front, but more is paid if lobbying succeeds and commented, "There's nothing wrong with them. They're perfectly normal."
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-10-22: Satellite radio operator WorldSpace has announced plans to launch a new channel of the latest hip-hop and urban music from around the world.
Flava is to launch on November 15 and broadcast a mix of hip-hop and urban genres including Bhangra, Reggaeton, Kwaito, and Dancehall.
WorldSpace vice president of global content Billy Sabatini said in a news release, "Not only is Flava the first channel devoted to the emergence of international hip hop and urban music but it also advances WorldSpace's mission -- delivering the greatest variety of unique programming to our subscribers We saw a real need for a 24-hour channel devoted exclusively to global hip hop's music and culture."
In India, where WorldSpace is currently concentrating its expansion, WorldSpace has announced a special package timed to coincide with Dhiwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, of its Diva receiver and three months subscription for INR 1,999 (USD 45). The offer is limited to available receiver stocks.
2005-10-22: The BBC has given a tentative go-ahead for a movement in 2010 to Manchester of around 1800 staff in various departments including CBBC, BBC Sport, BBC Radio Five Live and Five Live Sports Extra; and BBC New Media and R&D. The Corporation already employs around 700 staff in the city.
It has short listed but not given details of four sites - two in Manchester and two in Salford that were selected by a project team and says that its preferred option is to create a Media Zone for the BBC, independent producers, facilities suppliers and, potentially, other broadcasters - while retaining the option of creating a new 'stand-alone' BBC operation.
The BBC ruled out the option of expanding its current Manchester Headquarters, New Broadcasting House, which opened in 1975, as too expensive and impractical: The BBC notes that it would not be practicable for the development of a media zone and that a redevelopment there would mean temporary housing of staff whilst work was done, making it more expensive than other options.
The BBC Governors have now authorised the project team to begin negotiations with potential partners and site providers in order to identify a single site offering the best value and will consider management's recommendations by Spring 2006 but note that a final decision is subject to a satisfactory Licence Fee settlement.
2005-10-21: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has formally announced the appointment of National Beer Wholesalers Association President David K. Rehr as its new president and CEO to replace Eddie Fritts who in February announced his intention to step down (See RNW Feb 17).
Rehr, who has signed an agreement running for an unspecified number of years, takes office on December 5: Fritts is to remain a consultant to NAB until April 2008.
The NAB says a committee chaired by Philip Lombardo, CEO of Citadel Communications, and David Kennedy, president and CEO, Susquehanna Media Co. considered some 80 potential candidates in the search for Fritts' successor and Lombardi said Rehr fitted the description of the "absolute best person we could find to retain NAB's leadership as one of the pre-eminent trade associations in Washington" in every way.
Kennedy added, "David's track record of success is well-documented, and we are confident that he has the talent to represent over-the-air broadcasting inside the Beltway and around the world with distinction."
2005-10-21: Following suggestions by "progressive" talk host Ed Schultz that his critical comments about Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Allison Barber's briefing of soldiers in Iraq before they talked to talk President Bush during a nationally televised event led to the Pentagon shelving plans to air his show on Armed Forces Radio, a group of Democrat senators has written to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to express "concern about the lack of political balance in talk radio programming on the Department of Defense's (DoD) American Forces Network and to request a definitive timeline by which we can expect DoD to correct this imbalance." They are asking for a response by November 1 in the letter, which Shultz has posted on his web site.
The senators note that more than a year ago the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the Secretary of Defense to "ensure full implementation of the American Forces Radio and Television Service goal of maintaining equal opportunity balance with respect to political programming" and add "AFN Radio carries the shows of a wide range of conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlesinger, and James Dobson, to the near total exclusion of progressive talk radio hosts. This is in violation of DoD's own guidelines on political programming on the American Forces Network "
They go on to not that at the end of September "Manny Levy, Chief of the Radio Division of the American Forces Network Broadcast Center, formally advised the syndicate that distributes "The Ed Schultz Show" that AFN Radio would "begin carrying the first hour of 'The Ed Schultz Show' each day, beginning Monday, October 17" but " higher-level DoD officials subsequently backtracked on this commitment" and a Pentagon spokesman said that Levy "got ahead of the process," and that no decision had been made in a review of which programming to add to the network.
They then say," Inclusion of "The Ed Schultz Show" would have been a first, partial step toward achieving balance in political programming on AFN Radio. Even that first step has been abruptly cancelled Given the time that has passed since this issue was brought to the attention of DoD by the Senate, the problem is not that Mr. Levy was 'ahead of the process.' The problem is that DoD is woefully behind in addressing this imbalance and coming into full compliance with its own guidelines and procedures."
A report on the matter in the Stars and Stripes quotes Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman as saying Schultz's views and recent comments played no factor in the decision and adding, "What we have here is a staff member who got ahead of the decision-making process. We're in the process of looking at additional programming, but there have been no decisions yet."
Whitman said AFN is in the process of reviewing its slate of radio shows, and he expected officials would announce several changes in the near future but he said the confirmation given to the Schultz show producers was premature as no decisions about adding shows have been finalized.
RNW: Irrespective of whether there was indeed any misunderstanding by Shulz's team about how firm an agreement had been made, there seem to use two important issues here. One is the competence of the Pentagon - it's now well known problems about armour on vehicles in Iraq were, as it happens, initially raised in questions to Rumsfeld by a soldier - that could well mean that the idea of obeying guidelines is as much a victim of incompetence or sloth as of actual decision.
The other, irrespective of this, is why a letter has been sent only by Democrat senators. The matter, since the Senate passed the relevant resolution unanimously is surely not a partisan affair so either the Democrats involved were unable to get Republican support - a matter they should then have raised publicly - or they have made it a partisan matter by their own actions. Either way nobody comes out of this affair well and yet another blow is struck to perceptions of US political standards.
Shultz site - has link to Senators' letter:
Stars and Stripes report:
2005-10-21: Arbitron has announced third quarter revenues to the end of September up 4.5% on a year earlier to USD 85.6 million but costs and expenses were up 11.8% to USD 52.7 million, largely because of a planned increase in expenses for the Houston Portable People Meter market demonstration and for the rollout of the Project Apollo pilot.
As a result net income was down 13.7% to USD 20.9 million (From USD 0.77 to USD 0.66 per diluted share).
President and CEO Stephen Morris said of the results, "We achieved our third quarter goals for revenue and for profitability. Our core business remains strong, and we continue to invest in new services that have growth potential for our company and for our customers."
"Two projects which are key to our growth initiatives-the Houston market demonstration of the Portable People Meter ratings system and the pilot panel for Project Apollo, the national marketing research service which would collect multi-media and purchase information from a common sample of consumers- both achieved important milestones in the third quarter," he added saying Houston PPM results confirmed the basic outcomes form its earlier trial in Philadelphia and that consumers to take part in the Project Apollo pilot panel had been successfully recruited.
Looking ahead Arbitron says it expects it expects fourth quarter revenue to be between USD75 million and USD77 million, up between 2.9 % and 5.6 % on a year earlier with earnings per Share between 29 and 33 cents compared to 31 cents in 2004.
For the full year the company expects revenue up between 4.2 % and 4.9 % on a year ago to between USD309 million and USD311 million. Previous guidance was for an increase between 5% and 7%.
2005-10-21: XM Satellite Radio and Major League Baseball have announced that every fan who attends Game One of the 2005 World Series to be held at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on Saturday is to receive a coupon for a RoadyXT Satellite Radio, normally priced at just under USD 80.
The give away promotion will be the largest in the 102-year history of the World Series and XM says that if the 2005 World Series goes to a fifth game it will extend this offer to fans at the Minute Maid Park in Houston for Game Five.
2005-10-21: Just above a quarter of GCap Media's investors, led by Investor group RREV- jointly controlled by the National Association of Pension Funds and ISS, the leading governance organisation in the US- voted against the company's remuneration report at its Annual General Meeting on Thursday
The report, contained in the company's half-year report showed a GBP 285,000 (USD 505,000) pay-off to Nathalie Schwarz, who left her job as Capital's strategy and development director in January, and pay of GBP 268,000 (USD 507,000) for the six months to the end of March for former Capital and subsequently GCap chief executive David Mansfield, who stepped down from his post last month (See RNW Sep 20).
Since the merger of Capital Radio and GWR to form GCap the company has lost around a fifth of the market valuation of the two companies prior to the merger being announced.
Previous G-Cap Media:
2005-10-21: Entravision has launched "Jose", its Spanish-language 'Play What We Want' format - the equivalent of the English-language "Jack" format, on stations in Modesto, Sacramento and Stockton in California, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Denver, Colorado.
The 'Jose: Toca lo que Quiere' (he plays what he wants) targets Hispanic adults 25-54 and features a mix of Spanish-language adult contemporary hits from the late 1970's to today from artists such as Los Bukis, Juan Gabriel, Los Yonics, Rocio Durcal, Los Tigres del Norte, Vicente Fernandez, Los Angeles Negros, Mijares, and Alejandro Fernandez.
Entravision Radio Jeffery Liberman said that the Spanish-language radio marketplace in the US had changed dramatically over the past years and added, "U.S. Spanish-language radio once consisted of formats that only targeted first generation Hispanics. Our programming team has done an excellent job of creating new formats that also appeal to the diverse tastes of second and third generation Hispanics."
Its Vice President of Programming Nestor Rocha added, "Entravision Radio leads the industry by innovating and creating new Spanish-language radio formats that are just as diverse as the U.S. Hispanic market itself. We are very excited about the launch of 'Jose' and will continue to create Spanish-language radio formats that accommodate the different tastes of groups within the U.S. Hispanic marketplace."
2005-10-21: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now reinstated seven Alaskan FM translator licences of Peninsula Communications Inc. following a change in the Communications Act that was included specifically in relation to the case.
Peninsula had continued to operate the translators in defiance of the FCC, leading the Commission to order revocation of the licences of authorized full-power stations -- KWVV-FM, Homer and KPEN-FM, Soldotna because of their operation in conjunction with the seven unauthorized translators (See RNW June 20, 2003) but the change in the law prohibited any action against the company for its continued unauthorized operations and the full power licences were reinstated (See RNW Jun 21).
The translators involved were at Anchor Point, Kachemak City, Homer, Kenai, Kenai/Soldotna, and Kodiak; they had been established by the mid-1980s, to transmit the programming of KWVV-FM, and KPEN-FM to Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.
After the Commission amended its FM translator rules in 1990, the Commission concluded that operation of the translators violated the new rules and renewed the translators' licenses on condition that Peninsula divested them conditioned and subsequently when this was not done cancelled them and ordered that their operation be ended.
It subsequently then ordered the cancellation of the full power licences because of Peninsula's continued defiance but the new law, signed into effect last December, specifically contained the order: " Any broadcast license revoked or terminated in Alaska in a proceeding related to broadcasting via translator, microwave, or other alternative signal delivery is reinstated."
As well as reinstating the licences the FCC has also ceased to pursue USD 140,000 in penalties ordered because of the continued operation.
Kodiak Island Broadcasting Company, Inc. had objected to the reinstatement but the FCC found against its objections.
On the reverse side of the coin, the FCC enforcement bureau has issued penalties totalling USD 34,000 for more recent breaches of its regulations.
One penalty of USD 17,000 goes to Florida man Russell A. Sims Jr. of Brooksville for operation of a citizens band ("CB") radio station without Commission authorization and refusal to make his CB radio station available for inspection. He had not responded to a Notice of Apparent Violation (NAL) issued in July.
In Kansas it has issued a penalty of USD 10,000 to Maria L. Salazar, licensee of station KTCM-FM, in Kingman, for failure to maintain operational emergency alert system ("EAS") equipment and failure to maintain a complete public inspection file. Again no response had been filed to an NAL.
In Puerto Rico, a penalty of USD 7,000 was imposed on Clamor Broadcasting Network Inc., licensee of non-commercial educational station WJVP-FM, Culebra, for failure to maintain the station's main studio within the community of license.
Initially the FCC had imposed penalties totalling USD 15,000 for the above and failure to maintain operational EAS equipment: Clamor had pointed out that WJVP-FM had operational EAS equipment installed at its auxiliary studio in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, but noted that the engineer who was aware of this was sick at the time of the 2004 FCC inspection.
It had also requested cancellation of the USD 7,000 penalty on the grounds of inability to pay and also argued on the basis of a waiver granted in 2000 to operate as a satellite of its commonly owned non-commercial educational station WKVN-FM, Levittown, a station that it admitted it sold before the inspection. The FCC said documentation provided did not justify a reduction on grounds of inability to pay and confirmed the USD 7,000 penalty.
2005-10-20: UK media regulator Ofcom is planning to release further spectrum for Digital Audio Broadcasting so that nearly all UK radio stations will be able to broadcast digitally and all parts of the country will have access to a digital signal under its Radio Review document, 'Preparing for the Future' just released for consultation.
The plans include a release of three blocks of spectrum for new local DAB multiplexes and a further block for an additional national commercial multiplex - a move that has already drawn the ire of GCap Media, which is the majority shareholder in the current Digital One national commercial multiplex.
GCap says it invested heavily in Digital One on the basis that it would remain the only national multiplex and has threatened to go to court over any authorization of an additional multiplex (See RNW Jul 6): it is now considering taking action although Ofcom has offered a partial concession by saying that any new national multiplex must "appeal to tastes and interests " that are "distinct" from those of Digital One.
Following release of Ofcom's proposals (some 200 pages in 7 PDF files totalling 2.54 Mb) GCap chief executive Ralph Bernard told the UK Guardian, "As the commercial radio catalysts for DAB digital radio, we have made considerable investment in its growth in the UK. We are reviewing the contents of today's consultation documents from Ofcom and are carefully considering our position."
"While we note Ofcom's commitment to ensuring a broad range of services which will be separate and distinct from those on Digital One, we are not at this stage, ruling out the possibility of a judicial review," he added.
GCap competitors generally welcomed the proposal and Emap said it was "delighted" at the chance to bid for new national digital licences: Emap Radio managing director Dee Ford told the paper, "Emap has been consistent from the start in saying that it wants a national multiplex to sit under the Broadcasting Act "Ofcom has offered GCap the differentiation [from Digital One's services]; of course it should be different - we're about pleasing audiences."
"An extension of consumer choice is great," she added, "with the multiplex under the Broadcasting Act is superb. Big swaths of white space will be filled up and digital radio will finally be considered a viable option."
Chrysalis also welcomed the proposals and its director of regulatory affairs Daniel Owen, saying it was "positive from our point of view" commented, "We are very pleased Ofcom is keen to create more national digital radio choice. It is absolutely the best outcome for the listeners and the industry.[A new national multiplex] is a big opportunity for all kinds of people to offer something new and different. There will be a lot of conversations over the next few weeks about how to approach that."
Ofcom is concentrating on the Eureka DAB system in its proposals but it also notes the potential for digital broadcasting on AM bands using the Digital Radio Mondiale( DRM) system and says, "Because we want to investigate the options for DRM on Medium Wave, we do not plan to license further commercial AM stations for the time being."
It is not planning any analogue switch-off, however and says it will "continue to license FM commercial stations and community stations for as long as there is spectrum available, but we note that in order to provide for more stations and to provide the potential for a digital migration path for all stations, the current practice of simulcasting services on analogue and digital may need to end once the vast majority of listeners are equipped to receive DAB services."
It is also planning to ease regulation of digital spectrum by moving "from imposing a minimum bit-rate on DAB services to a co-regulatory system based on sound quality" and also recommending
that the current limit of 20% of capacity on DAB digital radio multiplexes which can be used for non-programme related services be changed to a with a requirement to reserve capacity for a number of sound radio services on each multiplex, equivalent to the spectrum required for at least eight full-time stereo services, a move it says that "with improvements in coding and the new co-regulatory sound quality regulations" " should free-up capacity for additional multimedia and data services."
Previous GCap Media:
Ofcom review (Links to PDFs of full documents. 2.54 MB of PDF files):
UK Guardian report:
2005-10-20: Sirius Satellite Radio says it took 56% of US satellite radio retail sales in September, its highest total so far, according to figures from The NPD Group and has re-iterated its guidance that it will have three million subscribers by the end of the year.
It has also announced the debut of two new Plug & Play Units, each at less than USD 50: they are the SIRIUS One and XACT Visor: the former has been specially developed for quick and easy vehicle installation and comes complete with four mounting options: sun visor, windshield, dash board or instrument panel and has 30 channel presets, a remote control and low profile antenna.
The latter is designed to be easily installed in the car by using one of the four mounting options and has 36 channel presets, a remote control and low profile antenna.
2005-10-20: Describing as "Aberrant and Unreasonable" a decision earlier in the month by the Canadian Copyright Board that would among other things increase rates paid to artists by nearly a third, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) says it will review "all courses of action to aggressively challenge this decision."
In a news release the CAB says the Copyright Board, "Rather than just approving rates based on the value of music, this panel's decision seeks to appropriate a cultural policy making role, and establish its own economic order for the distribution of cultural subsidies" and adds, "It is remarkable that this panel took the liberty of criticizing Parliament itself by gratuitously condemning the legislated tariff rate that Parliament granted small broadcasters. Unlike the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission), which has a legislative mandate to regulate and supervise all aspects of the Canadian broadcasting system, the Copyright Board is a rate-setting body that does not have a policy-making function."
The payments are made to the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), and to the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada (NRCC) for the use of their music and the CAB comments, "By the Copyright Board's own accounting, this will represent a 30% increase in the amount of fees that private radio stations will have to pay. Some increases are as high as 46%."
CAB President and CEO Glenn O'Farrell commented, "These massive and historic rate increases are entirely unjustified, and are nothing more than a tax on efficiency, innovation and good programming. We are at a loss to understand how this panel - which did not include the newly-appointed Chairman of the Copyright Board - could be so certain that all previous Boards got it wrong for the past 50 years."
"Because this panel of the Copyright Board acted in such an undisciplined manner, there is now a clear and immediate need for the Government of Canada to rein in this renegade to ensure it complies with its legislated mandate," he concluded.
2005-10-20: The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert featuring Chrysalis-owned LBC breakfast host Nick Ferrari from airing on the station although it can air on other stations.
The ASA said the advert fell foul of its rules because listeners to LBC might think the comments being made as a personal testimonial since Ferrari's voice, although not identified, was "recognisable" and it considered listeners "were likely to have taken it to be a personal testimonial by a station presenter."
The action followed complaints by two listeners who felt that hosts should not endorse products in adverts broadcast by their own stations: In the advert concerned, Ferrari says, "I'm not exactly a shy person but I was self-conscious of my smile until I had an amazing makeover at Smile Studios by Dr Wyman Chan and his team. I now smile with confidence and show off my teeth."
LBC said the advert was broadcast with other adverts in a break and they felt this clearly distinguished it from programme material.
RNW comment: Our view is quite straightforward. Any person in the news or comment business who does adverts is ipso facto capable of being bought and anything they say subsequently should be considered in light of this. This case is miles away from the comments that led to the Australian cash-for-comment scandal but we think the ruling is sensible.
2005-10-20: Susquehanna's KNBR-AM, San Francisco, has hired Damon Bruce, a former producer at KNBR's sister station, KTCT-AM, to replace Larry Kreuger as host of its "Sportsphone AM" show according to the San Francisco Chronicle: Kreuger, program director Bob Agnew and Tony Rhein, the producer of KNBR's morning show, were fired in August following comments made by the host deriding Giants' Caribbean players whom he termed "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly." (See RNW Aug 11 and Aug 8).
The paper says Bruce, who will start his new role on Monday, had impressed station management during a one-hour audition last month and quoted KNBR senior vice president Tony Salvadore as saying of his new hire, "He's enthusiastic, he's knowledgeable and he's not afraid to take a stance." Bruce told the paper that although he knows Kreuger he won't feel awkward about taking over the slot, saying, "As far as I'm concerned, there were three hours of air time to be had," said Bruce, 30, "and I was fortunate enough to grab it."
Also in the Bay Area, long-time Oakland Athletics radio voice Bill King, known throughout the area for his "Holy Toledo" catch phrase, has died following complications from surgery.
King moved to the Bay Area in 1958 and among other things was the voice of the NBA's Golden State Warriors from the time they moved to San Francisco in 1962 until 1983, broadcast NFL's Oakland Raiders games from 1966 until 1992 - sticking with them for a decade after their move to Los Angeles in 1982, and was the radio voice of the Oakland A's since 1981
San Francisco Chronicle report on Bruce:
San Francisco Chronicle report on King:
2005-10-20: Emmis has announced that it is to expand its European holdings through acquisition for USD 3 million of a 66.5% holding in Bulgarian broadcaster Radio FM Plus AD from local shareholders and indirectly from GCap Media. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year subject to regulatory approval.
Radio FM Plus, the first licensed commercial radio station in Bulgaria, is a national network of stations programming a format of adult contemporary music and news and also holds a 40% shareholding in Fresh! FM, which is a national network programming a CHR format.
2005-10-19: Denver-headquartered NextMedia has reported third quarter net revenues of USD 33.1 million, up 14.5% on a year earlier but operating expenses were up 16.1% to USD 19.5 million: Overall it reported net income of USD 800,000 compared to USD 19.5 million a year earlier when the figures included a USD 17 million impairment loss and a net loss from continuing operations of USD 1.1 million ( 8 cents a share ) compared to USD 19.9 million ( USD 19.5 a share) a year earlier.
On a pro forma basis, net revenue for the quarter was up 9.7% to USD33.9 million and pro forma BCF was up 6.1% to USD13.9 million with outdoor outperforming radio- radio division pro forma net revenue increased 4.9% to USD21.6 million and pro forma BCF was unchanged at USD 8.8 million while pro forma outdoor division net revenue increased 19.4% to USD12.3 million and pro forma BCF increased 18.6% to USD5.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2005 from USD4.3 million for the three months ended September 30, 2004.
At Journal Communications, third quarter radio revenues were the brightest spot in a weak period compared to a year earlier. They were up 0.8% compared to USD21.8 million with radio operating earnings from radio stations increased 4.9% to USD6.2 million whilst TV revenues were down 16.3% to USD18.5 million with operating earnings down 83.1% to USD1.0 million
Overall broadcasting division revenue was down 7.8% to USD40.5 million with operating earnings down 39.0% to USD7.2 million.
Of the other divisions, Publishing revenue of USD81.9 million was essentially flat compared to USD81.5 million and operating earnings from publishing were down 5.3% to USD10.4 million, a decline the company said reflects pre-tax hurricane-related costs of USD1.6 million at its Louisiana-based businesses.
Telecommunications revenues were down 5.4% to USD33.8 million with operating earnings down 43.3% to USD4.9 million and printing services revenues were down 3.9% to USD17.3 million but operating earnings were USD 600,000 compared to a loss of USD 700,00 a year earlier, an improvement put down to an ongoing successful strategic transition back to the core printing business and a continued emphasis on strict cost control.
For the fourth quarter of 2005, Journal Communications says it expects revenue to be between USD186 million and USD191 million and net earnings to be between USD14 million and USD17 million, including an estimated after-tax charge for facility shut-down-related costs due to Hurricane Katrina of between USD1.7 million - USD2.0 million.
In other US radio related business, Viacom Inc. has brought forward the date it expects to complete its split into two separate companies - a new Viacom plus CBS Corporation - to the end of this year rather than the first quarter of 2006, and on the deals front Davidson Media is spending USD 8.75 million to acquire WEMG-FM, Philadelphia, from Mega Communications. The deal will take Davidson up to the 22 stations whilst Mega will be down to six.
On the people front, Access 1 Communications, which will operate 28 stations when a current seven-station purchase from Nassau Broadcasting is completed (See RNW Oct 13) has named former Nassau Media Partners founder and President Joan Gerberding as Director Of Radio Operations.She was most recently VP of Arbitron Outdoor.
Previous Access 1:
Previous Journal Communications:
Previous Mega Communications:
2005-10-19: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) President Robert Rabinovitch in an interview on CBC radio's "The Current" has said that despite criticisms he had not considered resignation, said the
Blame for the eight-week lockout of staff belonging to the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) had to be shared by the Guild, and that he would still have taken the same decision today in light of the circumstances.
Rabinovitch told interview Anna Maria Tremonti, a CMG member, that negotiations had been going on for 16 months after three unions merged into the GMG and staff had voted 87% in favour of a strike so the CBC agreed that it there was to be a stoppage it was better to go for a slack period in August to September rather than wait and perhaps face a stoppage at a critical time like a Canadian general election or the Olympics.
"Knowing what I know now, nothing has changed" he said, adding, " I regret deeply loss of service, especially to rural Canada.., but it had to come to a head at some point."
Rabinovitch compared the heavily unionised CBC - 90% of staff in a union and a management wanting to have 5-10% of its workers on contracts to give flexibility - with the BBC - 44% unionised and 52% non permanent contract freelance workforce - and said that although the agreement had not gone as far as he would have liked it had gone a long way and at the end of the day hoped for "labour peace at CBC for many years to come" as a result.
Asked about criticism of him and suggestions of resignation, Rabinovitch said ," No . I have not considered at all resigning. ..You haven't seen positive letters I have received I have received a tremendous amount of support as well as vocal criticism.".
He said that government involvement had not been a blow to his authority and said the government team had been facilitators and negotiators but there was never any suggestion of replacing the CBC negotiations but on the contrary an insistence on both negotiating teams remaining at the table.
Regarding the future, Rabinovitch said the CBC would strongly promote itself and added that he was gratified that people had missed the CBC and that the action had started a debate that "is really important."
CBC Current programme (Links to Real audio of interview):
2005-10-19: Equity groups Permira and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) have announced completion of their takeover of European broadcaster SBS Broadcasting S.A. and the appointment of a board for the new company, to be called SBS Broadcasting S.a.r.l.
SBS Broadcasting S.A., the former holding company, is being renamed "TVSL, societe anonyme" and is now entering into a liquidation process under which it will distribute the proceeds of the asset sale and certain other amounts to SBS shareholders and holders of SBS stock options.
Current CEO Markus Tellenbach remains in the same role with the new company and joins the board of the new holding company for the group along with SBS S.A. founder and former executive chairman Harry Evans Sloan and CFO Juergen von Schwerin who retains this role with the new company.
Other members of the board will be KKR executive Lord Hollick, who becomes chairman; Permira partner Gotz Mauser, who becomes vice chairman; Arnold Bahlmann, a former member of Bertelsmann's executive board and an advisor to Permira; Katrin Wehr-Seiter of Permira; and Johannes Huth and Dominic Murphy of KKR.
Sloan, who stands to make Euros 178 million (USD 220 million) from his 11% shareholding in the group, commented, "The acquisition of SBS by funds advised by Permira and KKR represents a very attractive transaction for our shareholders. It has been my pleasure to have led SBS since I founded the company in 1990, and I look forward to working with Permira, KKR and my colleague and friend Markus Tellenbach, one of the finest executives I have had the pleasure of working with. I would like to thank the employees of SBS, who have contributed so much to the success of the Company."
Previous SBS S.A.:
2005-10-18: Shares in GCap Media, the UK's largest radio group ended Monday up 7.5% at 331.35 pence, valuing the company at GBP 545 million (USD 955 million) having reached 345 pence at one stage on Monday following rumours that private equity companies Cinven and Permira (which is one of the private equity firms buying European broadcasting group SBS Broadcasting SA - See RNW Oct 13) could be considering a takeover of around GBP 700 million (USD 1.23 billion).
The amount is a little less than the market valuation of predecessor companies Capital Radio and GWR when they announced plans to merge in September last year.
When the merger was completed in May, the value was down to around GBP 527 million (then USD 970 million - See RNW May 10); it has subseuently had fallen as low as GBP 420 million (USD 736 million) although it had recovered somewhat and stood at around GBP 505 million (USD 885 million) at the end of last week.
Analyst Paul Richards of Numis commented to the UK Guardian that "lot of private equity firms are running the slide rule over GCap at the moment" but said that a bid would have had a better chance a month ago before the departure of chief executive David Mansfield (See RNW Sep 20), a move that was received positively as clarifying the company's management structure.
"GCap has made a lot of progress over the last month in putting its house in order," commented Richards. "And they have a long-standing shareholder base - Daily Mail has 15%, Fidelity, and Wellington - who would want to see GCap fixed rather than sold on before the benefits of the merger are seen."
He added that it was unclear whether Cinven's rumoured bid represented the market capitalisation or enterprise value of the potential bid: GCap has around GBP 80 million (USD 140 million of debt) thus making the per share price range from 378 pence to 427 pence depending whether debt is included or not.
UK Guardian report:
2005-10-18: Australia has unveiled the "DAB Picture Radio", which it is terming the world's first "picture digital radio", and that features a 320 by 240 pixel backlit colour LCD screen to display pictures or text.
Developed by industry body Commercial Radio Australia in partnership with Inventec Electronics, the receiver would retail at around AUD 400 (USD 300) and Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner commented, "Our vision for the future of radio is one where listeners will have an enriched, interactive and multimedia experience with more choice in programs and more control over when they listen. For example, if they are interested in a song, listeners could download more information about the artist, browse a station's broadcast website or hit rewind and listen to it again."
The receiver went on display at the Commercial Radio National Conference in Sydney, which also saw Figgkidd, a 21-year old hip-hop artist from the Bankstown area in Sydney; win the commercial radio industry's New Artists to Radio (NA2R) showcase award.
Also announced were the winners of the 17th annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs) including two awards to Sydney breakfast host Alan Jones of 2GB who took both the Best Talk Presenter and Best Current Affairs Commentator categories for the third year in a row. Jones has now 15 of the awards over the past decade.
Other winners in the 28 categories this year included:
Best On-Air Team - Nova 96.9's Merrick and Rosso (the third year running):
Best AM News Presenter - Steve Bland of 2UE (second year running):
Best Metropolitan Music Presenter - Bianca Dye from Nova 96.9:
Best Sports Presenter - Ray Hadley of 2GB (Second year running):
Best Newcomer On Air - Brisbane's B105 FM's Michael "Guitar Boy"O' Brien :
Best New Australian Artist on Commercial Radio - Missy Higgins:
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Merrick and Rosso (Tim Ross and Merrick Watts):
2005-10-18: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is now ready to grant a further six construction permits relating to winning bids in its FM Auction 37 of 288 permits that raised a total of USD 147.5 million (See RNW Nov 24, 2004).
Five of the permits now ready were won by College Creek Broadcasting, which in all won 38 bids, the highest number for an organisation; they cover stations in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, and Nevada.
The other permit ready was for a South Dakota station won by Owensville Communications, LLC.
2005-10-17: This week our look at print comment on radio contains a mixture of poison letters, alleged liars, and, to start of with, decision makers who we think could justifiably be termed vandals: For the last we refer to Paul Donovan's Radio Waves column in the UK Sunday Times.
Donovan devotes his column this week to changes at the BBC World Service, particularly the decision to drop a number of programmes including Outlook, its daily 45- minute programme: "Outlook," he begins, "which helped to keep Terry Waite sane during his captivity in Beirut, is 40 years old next year, and the BBC is celebrating this by getting rid of it. The World Service is also dropping its one and only show aimed at a female audience, Everywoman, as well as Pick of the World, White Label, In Concert, Top of the Pops and Music Review. Its one and only serial, Westway, ends next week Lastly, it is about to announce a cut in the number of its foreign-language services from the present 43."
Of the planned changed, Donovan comments, "Some producers fear that the man responsible for them, Phil Harding, boss of all the English output, wants to turn the World Service into a rolling-news channel. This is denied, but the thrust is clear. 'Our research indicates that 8 out of 10 listeners to our English schedule are exclusively or primarily interested in news and information,' said Bush House. "So, we are aiming to give the World Service a clearer role as a news and information provider. This will not be a rolling-news service, a sort of 'CNN on radio'. It involves a broad range of news, documentaries and analysis, with weekdays concentrating on information and the weekend a more diverse mix, including drama. It's a change of direction with new priorities.'"
And of Outlook Donovan comments that it is "being replaced - with no explanation - by a show with a title and presenters yet to be chosen", comments on its help to Terry Waite - "Terry Waite, chained to a radiator in Beirut for the best part of five years, between 1986 and 1991, one day heard his cousin John Waite presenting an edition: when this was revealed (by John McCarthy, on his release), it was the first evidence that Terry had access to a radio. Outlook responded by putting out a special edition with Terry's favourite music, Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Terry heard that edition, too, and remembered it: he thanked the World Service from the bottom of his heart for keeping him alive, spiritually and mentally, and made mention again of Bach's beauty and precision only last month at the Gramophone awards."
He concludes, "The decision to scrap Outlook is incomprehensible" although regarding language services to be dropped - likely to be the services to countries now in the EU or about to join it - Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and Slovene plus Romanian and Bulgarian - Donovan notes that foreign language services have been dropped before to adapt to "world politics" although he adds, "Again, however, it is curious that there is no debate."
And of the Outlook replacement, he concludes: "Bush House said: 'We don't have a name for the replacement yet. It is still in development, a weekday, one-hour programme with a new brief.
It will include human-interest stories, personal testimony and listener-generated content.' Sounds a bit like OK! magazine."
From vandalism to the poisoned pen and in the Sun-Herald Miranda Devine implies that part of the reason Julie McCrossin decided to quit her new role as breakfast host on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's ABC 702 station could have been comments posted on the ABC's online guest book that Devine describes as "a toxic well of malice from listeners that few people with any feelings could tolerate for long."
"It was there," writes Devine, "that listeners posted a running criticism of every aspect of her on-air person; complaining about her 'ocker' voice, 'nasal twang', 'stiff, unfunny' style and use of the word 'bye-bye' They went on and on about how 'annoying' she was, perhaps emboldened by ABC policy that they post under false names."
Devine gives various other details and comments, "Why any organisation would provide a forum for its frontline employees to be publicly lynched is a mystery The guest book appears to be primarily a forum for bagging presenters and, as usual, it is women who cop the brunt of the criticism The ABC guest book is symptomatic of a growing vicious streak in our public culture. Where once debate was fair criticism, now it aims below the belt."
Over at the Australian, McCrossin's decision to quit was presumably behind the paper's decision to run an article "Breakfast radio can make or break" by Sheena MacLean that looked at some of the pressures on a breakfast host in the context of those of the Sydney variety.
"Ian Skippen," she writes, " is the first to admit he is pedantically disciplined"; "Then there's Alan Jones who thrives on just three hours sleep a night. And it's not an urban myth. It's what he has been doing day in, day out, since 1984. He arrives at 2GB in Sydney every morning at 2.30am and never leaves the office before 3.30pm."
"Kyle Sandilands has three alarm clocks set at 15-minute intervals, all strategically placed so he has to get out of bed, including one in the shower where he has been known to fall asleep."
"Wendy Harmer did breakfast radio for 11 years. After one shift she was woken from a deep sleep by the phone, did an interview on air, and then went straight back to sleep only to be told by friends they'd heard her on the radio talking to Clive Robertson. She has no memory of it. Zilch. She was, they assured her, perfectly lucid."
MacLean then continues "Julie McCrossin's sudden resignation last week from one of the plum jobs in Australian radio - the high-profile breakfast slot on ABC 702 in Sydney - after just one month because the early starts played havoc with her health astonished many but not others."
She then cites comments from various hosts but also notes that the word McCrossin has for the moment entered the Australian language albeit at least one of the comment given seems rather patronising when read: "2UE's breakfast veteran Mike Carlton told listeners the day after her resignation was announced: 'I'm a bit McCrossin myself, this morning, you know, just a bit - four weeks of these breakfast shifts, and honestly ... Such a strain, isn't it? The first 20 years are the toughest, Julie, it gets better after that.'"
Tim Latham, the executive producer of Fran Kelly's breakfast program on Radio National, was a little more understanding, commenting of McCrossin's departure, "I don't know what happened ... maybe on one level she couldn't hack it but getting up in the morning and performing doesn't suit everyone. You've got to be on top of it, you've got to sound cheery. Ultimately you're working constantly with the kind of tiredness that other people in the media don't have to have."
On then to the US, and the liars - that is the description former US National Public Radio (NPR) host Bob Edwards uses of some of those at NPR in a feature by Lynn Smith of the Los Angeles Times that centred on him
"In his old job," writes Smith, " management told him what to do and then demoted him after 30 years of service. But he did have 13 million loyal listeners and a pension plan In his new job, he is with a station that has maybe 5 million listeners and he has no pension. But he has his own show, with his name on it, and management treats him like a star."
Of differences between his old and new employer, Edwards says XM management has "trusted me to do this program the way I want to do it. I have complete freedom. I'm treated like a grown-up, and it's nice. I have the total support of the CEO, Hugh Panero I was micromanaged at NPR."
The article quotes Edwards as saying at first he accepted his new position of senior correspondent - until an estimated 50,000 listeners protested to NPR, and "they lost their composure and started lying about me. [They said] that I had objected to having a co-host.... Then they said, 'We wanted someone with great reporting skills.' I took that as a smear. At that point I couldn't work there anymore."
It also quotes Edwards as describing as "not true" remarks posted online by NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin who has said the host was "exhausted."
NPR itself wasn't going so far as to make admissions of telling untruths although Andi Sporkin, named vice president for communications at NPR in April, said, "I think there's remorse about how it was handled in terms of the PR. It could be the reason I'm here. There were changes on the show they wanted to make. Obviously, they made them."
The organization justified itself by citing an increase in listening since Edwards left and it started a two-host format with Steve Inskeep on the East Coast and Renée Montagne on the West. Sporkin said that despite the protests over Edwards' departure, "Morning Edition" added 800,000 early-morning listeners to the 13 million who tuned in when Edwards was there.
"That's great," Edwards responded. "In the meantime, I'm at XM, and we've gone from 2 million [subscribers] to 5.3 million. We've both gained listeners."
He also paid a compliment to his new employers together with a backhanded slap to his former ones, saying, "I'm with people who love radio. NPR is run by newspaper people. Sometimes I think they don't even like radio."
On then to suggested listening and for those who hadn't got six hours to spare last Thursday, BBC Radio 1 has broken its inaugural John Peel Day marathon broadcast into three two-hour segments on the web site: For those interested in such things, the last two hours, which aired from 2300- to 01:00 carries a warning about strong language.
* Incidentally for those who are Peel fans, BBC 6 Music next week in its "Plays it Again " strand that runs from 20:00 GMT will be remembering Peel, starting with a repeat of his debut BBC radio broadcast, as Pete Drummond's co-presenter on Radio 1's Top Gear programme, back in October 1967.
And whilst thinking of upsets to those of a delicate constitution, we'd suggest BBC Radio 4's afternoon play this Thursday (13:15 GMT), which is "Getting the Joke" by Neil Brand.
It's based on the arrest in 1954 on obscene publication charges - under a Conservative government, which had been increasing censorship - of artist Donald McGill, creator of some of the most popular seaside postcards in Britain for some 60 years.
Back to music and BBC Radio 2's "Classic Single" (21:00 GMT) is the Jimi Hendrix version of Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower: Last week's single, the second in this eight-part series was on the Beach Boys hit "Good Vibrations" and will be on the web site until then.
Another series that is proving to be strong is BBC Radio 4's four-part The Real History of Opera.
That began last Tuesday with the Puccini's Madame Butterfly and continues tomorrow (12:30 GMT, until when last week's programme is on the site) with Kurt Weill's "The Threepenny Opera", which was based on Handel's "The Beggar's Opera"
Then a little media watching first from New York public radio station WNYC and its "On the Media" programme, which last week included items on the planned launch of an English version of al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite TV network, on the staged chat between US President Bush and various pre-prepared US troops in Tikrit, Iraq, that led to some embarrassment when tape of the "rehearsal" and preparation of the soldiers made it to air (the coaching had been transmitted in error to satellite by the government) - nice to see and hear some well-justified mockery at this particular President and questioning of his mouthpieces over such things after years of his being let off the hook.
Also good to hear some debunking of propaganda in the US about drug taking - with appropriate destruction of media gullibility abut figures that come from the authorities and a little calculation of patently ludicrous figures put up on a "Meth is Death" site of the Tennessee District Attorney's Association (elementary calculation shows that, according to the DA's site some 2.5 million US high school students will become addicted and die within five years.).
It also considered the future for the US Network news, something former UK Sunday Times editor Harold Evans would presumably have pessimistic thought about judging by his comments in his "Points of View" programme last week on BBC Radio 4: That compared the emphasis on information of the CBS of Ed Murrow with the current emphasis of the US networks on enter/infotainment and argued that maybe America might not have been taken quite so much by surprise by September 11 had it not been so ignorant of the world, largely because of the withdrawal of US TV from covering much of the world.
That suggested Evans, with a quote from CBS founder William Paley, was inevitable when news divisions became a profit centre - he didn't, but perhaps should have, draw the connection with the deregulation introduced by President Reagan that led to consolidation and a very different attitude to news cover, which had previously been considered in terms of a public service rather than a money spinner.
Evans a week earlier had focussed his talk on global warming (Regrettably no longer available on the BBC web site) a subject that was the topic for Background Briefing on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National on Sunday.
In this case the emphasis was on the ways in which global big business and insurance companies are taking global warming seriously both from the point of view of potential profits be made and the costing of various risks: It had some good words for US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its acid rain market-based regulatory programme to improve air quality.
Last week's Science Show on the ABC had also considered the environment but made it more personal in one of its reports, which dealt with personal effects on the environment and how individuals can audit their own use of resources. The site, by the way, carries a link to Prof Schpinkee's Greenhouse Calculator, an online site that poses a series of questions (Designed for Australians) about things like transport used, size of house and energy bills, how much meat you eat and so on to end up with an age at which you have used up your share of the planet's resources.
After the serious, the less so, and we'd suggest ending the week with Dead Ringers (BBC Radio 4 at 17:00GMT Friday, with an 11:30 GMT repeat on Saturday) and the BBC Radio 2 Saturday noon to 13:00 GMT slot of It's Been a Bad Week followed by a repeat of Thursday night's Radio Rivron.
The Australian - MacLean:
Los Angeles Times - Smith:
Sun-Herald - Devine:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2005-10-17: BBC World Service, which is run by the BBC but funded by the British Foreign Office, is planning cuts of GBP 25 million (USD 44 million) to its existing services in order to set up an Arabic TV new channel to compete with al-Jazeera according to the UK Sunday Telegraph.
The report says observers fear the review to find cost savings could lead to the closure of up to 13 foreign language services, mainly those covering Eastern Europe and adds that the Foreign Office has approved the idea of an Arabic TV news channel but that the corporation must meet the costs out of its existing resources.
It quotes a BBC spokeswoman as saying it was vital it responded to the needs of an ever-changing audience although the Corporation regretted that the government would not provide additional funding, leaving it with no but to review existing provision.
"The World Service is currently debating these issues, both internally and with external stakeholders, and is expecting a conclusion in the autumn," she said. "We expect to make an announcement when that debate has concluded and any decisions are ratified by the BBC, the BBC Governors and the Foreign Office."
RNW comment: There is an irony here in that the formation of al Jazeera in late 1996 was the direct result of the closure in April that year of a previous BBC World Service Arabic language TV station that had been funded by the Saudis but was being faced with censorship demands by the Saudi Government. Many of the staff members joined al Jazeera, which is now moving to operate an English language service.
At the time, had the Foreign Office opted to fund the service it would have had to face down hostility from the Saudis but would have boosted the BBC's reputation in the region: As it is, it seems likely to us that any move to an Arabic TV service will now be up against an established service that provides a service that is well regarded in the Middle East and that will itself be likely to be seen as a propaganda tool unless it is prepared to genuinely reflect much opinion in the area, which means severely criticising the US and British governments at times.
That being so, we think the idea is misbegotten even if it were to be funded with extra cash: To launch it at the cost of existing radio services will we fear be a bit like shooting both feet off. We can only hope there is enough protest at the idea of cuts to kill the idea.
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
2005-10-17: WorldSpace has continued its expansion in India with a launch in Pune- with a population of some 3.5 million - where it now offers its subscription service of some 40 channels of music, information and education.
Pune is the seventh of eight major Indian cities where the company is planning to launch its service this year.
WorldSpace remains headquartered in the US, where it recently moved out of Washington D.C. to Silver Spring, Maryland (See RNW Oct 4), following its IPO in August (See RNW Aug 7) since when its stock has hit a high of USD 26 but closed last week only a little above half that.
At the opening of the HQ, chairman, president and CEO Noah A. Samara, said the company was where it "expected to be "in the market, having just reported second quarter figures in which it cut its net loss to less than half that of a year earlier at USD 22.0 million (USD 0.95 per share) compared to USD 52.3 million (USD 9.04 per share) a year earlier and had had revenues of USD 2.3 million, up 21% on a year earlier (See RNW Sep 9).
2005-10-16: The main regulatory decision over the past week came not from the regulator but from the government of Australia, which announced its framework for the rollout of digital audio broadcasting (DAB) in the country (See below): elsewhere it was a matter of more routine activity but generally at a low to steady level.
From Australia there were no radio decisions from the Australian Radio and Communications Authority (ACMA), although its October edition of its ACMAsphere magazine sums up its work including radio-related decisions for the month.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has awarded one new commercial FM licence application and denied another (See RNW Oct 14).
It was also involved in a few more radio decisions including approval of transmitter relocation and decrease in antenna height for CKUL-FM Halifax, Nova Scotia and change of day time to night time the parameters of CJSL-AM, Estevan, Saskatchewan.
The Commission also issued two public notices, the first with a deadline for comment or intervention of November 17 that included an application to add a 1,300 watts FM transmitter at Little Current to broadcast the English-language Christian music programming of Eternacom's CJTK-FM, Sudbury, Ontario.
The second, with a deadline for comment or interventions of November 18, includes applications for licences for French-language FM Type A community FMs - one a 6,000 watts FM in Petit-de-Grat, Nova Scotia; another a 37 watts FM in Lebel-sur-Quévillon, Quebec; and the third for 2,724 watts FM in Chibougamau, also in Quebec.
The notice also included applications for a 300 watts English-language FM community-based campus FM in Abbotsford and a 180 watts English-language pop, rock and country music commercial FM in Ucluelet, both in British Columbia; an application for a 32,360 watts French-language commercial FM in Rimouski, Quebec; and an application for a new 300 watts English-language commercial FM in Tisdale, Saskatchewan plus applications to convert Adult Contemporary CKDR-5, Red Lake, Ontario, from AM to a 40 watts AM and convert CKDR-2, Sioux, Ontario to a 560 watts FM
There were no radio announcements from Ireland and in the UK Ofcom, apart from releasing its latest Broadcasting Bulletin that upheld no complaints against radio (See RNW Oct 11) only published one other radio-related announcement, its reasons for awarding the new licence for Barrow in Furness to Abbey FM (See RNW Oct 4).
It noted that in its advertisement of the licence it had said that because this was for a smaller licence area it would be likely to place particular emphasis on the ability of each applicant to maintain its proposed service.
On this basis, it commented that felt that the backing of three shareholders - The Radio Business Ltd (35%), CN Group Ltd (30%) and The Local Radio Company Ltd (35%) - with, collectively, extensive and current experience of operating smaller radio stations enhanced the likely ability of Abbey FM to maintain its proposed service and on balance therefore had felt the Abbey bid was stronger than that from the rival bid by Barrow Local Radio Limited.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied an appeal by an Alabama FM against a USD 8,000 penalty for tower offences but otherwise was involved only in routine radio related decisions (See RNW Oct 12).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-10-16: The New York Times classical music station WQXR-FM - founded in 1936 and the first commercial classical music station in the US - and The WFMT Radio Network, a service of Chicago classical station WFMT-FM, have announced a collaborative agreement under which the former will contribute primarily production and promotion resources and the latter syndication and distribution services in connection with new initiatives for the production, promotion, and national distribution of classical music radio programming.
The deal is said to be separate from but complementary to WQXR's role as manager of the Concert Music Network of commercial classical music radio stations and notes that WFMT also provides services to the stations involved and that both organisations supply programming to XM Satellite Radio.
In a news release Tom Bartunek, president of New York Times Radio and general manager of WQXR says, "WQXR and WFMT share a history and a mission, and have a longstanding business relationship. This agreement will provide the springboard for us to pool our resources more efficiently and more systematically in the future."
Steve Robinson, senior vice president of WFMT and the WFMT Radio Network, added, "This arrangement strengthens our position as one of the most prolific producers and syndicators of high quality classical music radio programs in the world. It also creates a new and exciting dimension for the field of classical music radio."
2005-10-16: Australia's commercial radio industry has welcomed the government's approval of the introduction of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) announced by Communications Minister Helen Coonan but Andrew Thompson, managing director of Australian AM network WorldAudio, has criticised the decision to exclude it from the first stage of the introduction.
Under the proposed framework Australia's commercial radio networks will only be charged a "small administrative charge" for spectrum allocated to them but WorldAudio was specifically excluded and new entrants are to be barred from entering the market for six years from the initial rollout.
Joan Warner, CEO of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, which represents almost all of the country's commercial radio stations, commented, "Today's announcement is great news for radio because it means Australians will get vastly improved radio services with exciting new features, including more information and entertainment, multimedia content and better sound, all delivered free to air We're delighted the government has given us the green light to move into the digital age, which will allow radio to compete on level playing field with other new and emerging technologies."
She said the industry would invest an estimated AUD 400 million (USD 303 million) over the next few years in rolling out digital radio services across Australia with a phased introduction, starting - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Newcastle, Wollongong, Geelong, Hobart, Darwin and the Gold Coast.
The initial rollout is expected to take around three years with more remote areas having to wait considerably longer, maybe three times as long despite possible government grants to speed up regional rollout.
Although the announcement was welcomed, the industry wants to be able to offer multimedia services not just audio and Warner called for more detailed discussion particularly about bandwidth to be allocated, saying, "We want to ensure the amount of spectrum allocated to commercial radio allows us to provide the additional services and features that are necessary to take full advantage of the technology and drive consumer uptake. Under the current compression technology, 128kb is not enough to do this, we need 256kb."
WorldAudio however was not pleased at its exclusion and says it is to protest about the decision; it says it has spent about AUD 25 million setting up its national network that uses spectrum outside the Broadcasting Services Band that is used for commercial broadcasts.
WorldAudio has been taking part in digital audio trials in Melbourne and had hired lobby firm Jackson Wells Morris to push its case for digital spectrum.
Had it succeeded in gaining the spectrum it would have turned round its fortunes dramatically - the expenditure of around AUD 5 million (USD 3.8 million) on its narrowcasting licenses was miniscule compared to the amounts paid in recent years for commercial FM licences - the record was AUD 155 million (then around USD 84 million) paid by DMG in 2000 for the frequency it is using for its Nova FM in Sydney (See RNW May 25, 2000).
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-10-16: BBC Radio 3, which in June this year devoted six days of its output to the entire works of Beethoven is to follow up with "A Bach Christmas" - ten days from December 16 to 25 - 214 hours in all - devoted to broadcasting the complete works of J.S. Bach.
As well as performances by musicians including conductors Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe and Ton Koopman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Angela Hewitt, the programming will include reflections on Bach's works from a variety of personalities including the Archbishop of Canterbury, poet Andrew Motion, Jazz Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, musician, singer, and songwriter Elvis Costello and author Ian McEwan
The concerts and recordings to be aired will be a combination of legendary historic recordings and modern day classic interpretations as well as a series of BBC chamber concerts from across the country given by leading interpreters of Bach's music.
BBC Radio 3 Controller Roger Wright said of the planned broadcasts, "Listeners have hugely enjoyed our recent composer seasons, in particular our record breaking Beethoven Experience. After announcing last year that the Radio 3 build-up to Christmas 2005 would be spent exclusively in the company of the music of J.S.Bach, we're now pleased to reveal more details of A Bach Christmas. To hear his complete works, set in context, with the leading performers of our day and introduced by an extraordinary line-up of guests should be a real treat and, with specially recorded performances, A Bach Christmas is an excellent example of Radio 3's unique output."
2005-10-15: Australian commercial radio revenues for the first quarter of the 2006 financial year, which runs to the end of September, were up 4.4% on a year earlier at AUD 149.1 million (USD 112 million) according to latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Radio Revenue Performance figures for the country's five major metropolitan markets. The largest rises were in the smaller markets with Melbourne and Sydney bringing up the tail.
The September total for all markets was up 3.6% on a year earlier to AUS 52.6 million (USD 39.6 million).
The strongest quarterly growth was in Perth - up 7.9% to AUD 14.9 million (USD 11.2 million) followed by Brisbane up 6.7% to AUD 22.3 million (USD 16.8 million); Adelaide - up 5.4% to AUD 13.3 million (USD 10.0 million); Melbourne - up 3.8% to AUD 40.1 million (USD 30.2 million); and Sydney - up 2.9% to AUD 58.3 million (USD 43.9 million).
Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner noted that the growth followed three years of strong growth - 11% for the past financial year, 12% a year earlier and 5% for the year to the end of June 2003, and commented, "The first quarter result is very pleasing news for the radio industry and follows three years of strong growth - a great record in what is a very competitive market." "The industry is working hard to ensure positive growth continues with new ads launched earlier this year as part of our on-air radio campaign featuring some of Australia's biggest advertisers and high profile business leaders," she added.
Previous Australian Radio Revenues:
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2005-10-15: According to the UK Guardian, Virgin Radio's current breakfast team of Pete and Geoff (Pete Mitchell and Geoff Lloyd) are mulling over whether to remain with the station where they are due to be moved to drive time to make way for Christian O'Connell, who is joining the SMG-owned station from GCap Media's Xfm on January 23 (See RNW May 19).
O'Connell's slot is being taken over by Xfm drive time host Lauren Laverne from the end of this month.
Virgin has said it wants to retain Pete and Geoff but their agent Alex Armitage told the paper they been inundated with "an enormous amount of offers" elsewhere and have jobs lined up to go to.
The paper notes that when news first broke of their move from the breakfast slot Armitage commented, "They are sick of each other being the first person they see in the morning": It adds that the pair, who have been a double-act for ten years, the last eight of them with Virgin, are likely to take up separate careers.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Pete and Geoff:
2005-10-15: According to the New York Post, the departure of Howard Stern is giving Infinity Radio a short term boost but may cost it dearly in the longer term: Columnist John Mainelli says that advertisers, who have spent more than USD 100 million a year advertising with Stern are proving unwilling to buy time on an unknown replacement show.
Mainelli notes that there are persistent reports that rocker David Lee Roth and comedian Adam Carolla will be the biggest of "five or six" promised regional replacements for Stern but Infinity has refused to make any announcement so far.
He quotes a one-time buyer as saying, "It's fourth quarter already and we're placing first-quarter buys. They really have to tell us what's going on - and soon."
He also says that Inside Radio editor Tom Taylor found a "consensus" among time buyers that "Roth remains an unknown commodity on radio" and added; "Even fewer buyers had an opinion on Adam Carolla."
At the moment, says Mainelli, Infinity is collecting record commercial rates from Stern's show from advertisers who don't expect to be able to reach the hoards of young male listeners Stern attracts after he leaves Infinity for Sirius Satellite Radio:
New York Post report:
2005-10-15: The BBC has named 46-years-old Paul Schlesinger, currently producing comedy for BBC TV, as its new head of Radio Entertainment.
Schlesinger has a background in both radio and TV production - his radio work included People Like Us and Absolute Power, both of which were subsequently made into TV shows and BBC Head of Radio Jenny Abramsky commented, "I'm delighted to welcome Paul back to radio and know that under his leadership the Radio Entertainment department will go from strength to strength."
She added, "Not only does he have a thorough knowledge of radio with many hit series to his name, his experience in television will be invaluable in ensuring that radio continues to play a vital role in providing top-class comedy for its audiences."
2005-10-14: In an attempt to boost the take-up of is HD digital radio by consumers, iBiquity Digital has launched an HD Radio Upgrade programme on the eBay auction site that offers a combination of a USD 20 rebate until January and a trade-in deal for a number of well-known analogue receivers.
Under the programme people who go to the ebay.com/hdradio site can click on a "Trade-in plus rebate " button then follow through to give details of their current receiver and get an instant valuation.
Andrew Lee, senior category manager, consumer electronics/photo, eBay, commented in a news release, "The iBiquity HD Radio trade-in program on eBay is a great way to introduce people to an exciting new technology. The iBiquity program gives people the opportunity to upgrade to the latest digital technology while at the same time earning cash for their old radios."
iBiquity Vice President of Marketing David Salemi added, "The HD Radio trade-in program on eBay provides an easy way for consumers to trade in their old analogue radios while helping save money on their HD Radio receiver purchases. It's a terrific program, and one we think will help accelerate consumer adoption of digital AM/FM radio."
Models listed in the programme come from Alpine, Audio Design Associates, Boston Acoustics, Fujitsu/Eclipse, JVC, Kenwood, Panasonic, Polk Audio, Radiosophy, Rotel, Sanyo, and Yamaha.
RNW comment: The idea is smart but the execution it seems to us smacks of a little meanness of spirit. We would have thought taking a slightly larger hit by including a much wider range of trade-ins to sell more receivers - maybe offering a minimum USD 10 on ANY receiver but reducing the rebate to USD 15, would have been appealed to a much wider potential set of buyers and probably been much more productive. Having the deal apply to fewer than 20 receivers may indeed annoy even more people, who have other models, than it attracts.
iBiquity has also made moves likely to reduce the price of HD receivers through opening a liaison office in Taiwan to provide better support for HD Radio receiver and component manufacturers and has also released new designs for tabletop and home HD Radio receivers that it says will serve as the technical foundation for entry-level consumer HD Radio products and are now available to all HD Radio licensees.
iBiquity COO Jeff Jury said the designs would "play an important role in lowering overall engineering expenses for consumer audio manufacturers and speeding time-to-market for new HD Radio receivers." He added that they are "also flexible enough to adapt to a wide range of audio products, including platforms supporting other digital radio products."
Receivers using the new designs are expected to be introduced in time for the International Consumer Electronics Show in January 2006.
In the Eureka 147 DAB market meanwhile, Frontier Silicon has launched a new Venice 4.0 FS2024 DAB/FM/RDS module, shown for the first time at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, that it says uses only a quarter of the power of competing modules and will allow battery powered receivers to operate in DAB mode for more than 100 hours using standard alkaline batteries.
The module, which is compatible with previous versions of the Venice series, combines Band III DAB capability with Band II for FM/RDS and offers the options of a software FM/RDS function, eliminating the need for a separate FM tuner chip.
Frontier describes it as a "turnkey solution" that for a standalone receiver only requires additions of a power source, antenna, LCD and keypad but can also be combined with other audio components using external microprocessor control via industry standard communications protocols.
e-Bay HD radio site:
2005-10-14: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has awarded a licence for a new Adult Contemporary Rock English-language commercial FM in Haliburton, Ontario, to The Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.
The 6,000 watts station had been opposed on the basis that the business base in Haliburton County is too small to support both the not-for-profit community station CKHA-FM Haliburton and the new commercial FM station and also by Muskoka-Parry Sound Broadcasting Limited, the licensee of CFBK-FM Huntsville/Muskoka, which said the new station's signal would be received clearly in Huntsville.
Also in Ontario, the CRTC refused an application from Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation for an 1,800 watts Classic Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM radio station in Wasaga Beach.
The application had been opposed by other stations in the area, which contended that the new station would clearly need to rely on revenues from outside its intended principal marketing area and would become a regional service that would compete with the many existing radio stations serving Wasaga Beach and the surrounding area.
2005-10-14: NextMedia has announced the USD 10.2 million cash sale of Milwaukee station WDDW-FM to Bustos Media, adding that it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of this year. It will retain 11 stations in the suburban Chicago marketplace.
Commenting on the disposal in a news release, NextMedia President and CEO Steven Dinetz, said the proceeds would be used to strengthen the company's balance sheet and added, "We continue to review all avenues for strengthening our core radio station clusters, while taking advantage of opportunities to monetize our non-strategic assets."
Bustos Media President and CEO Amador S. Bustos, commented, "Milwaukee is one of the fastest growing U.S. Hispanic markets and we are proud to acquire the first Spanish-language radio station serving the market. The acquisition of WDDW is the ideal complement to our existing AM and FM station portfolio, which carries one of our four, branded network programs."
In Washington State, Seattle-based public station KUOW-FM is spending USD 500,000 to extend its range through the acquisition of Olympia-area station KVSN-AM, which it is converting to simulcast of its news, information and National Public Radio programming.
KUOW, which will manage the station pending approval of the acquisition,, is also to request a change of call letters to KUOW-AM.
KVSN, is owned and operated by Gregg Neilson and Larry Adams ; it has been broadcasting religious, music and news programming, both local and national, as well as local high school sports and the Seattle Post Intelligencer says a message on its phone line say the sale was prompted by "an adverse revenue situation that has not shown needed improvement in recent years
The paper quotes KUOW program director Jeff Hansen as saying of the reason behind acquisition, "Our (signal) coverage is very spotty in Olympia. We've been hearing complaints from listeners for years and years and years."
Previous Amador S. Bustos:
Previous Bustos Media:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer report:
2005-10-14: The New York Post has now gone public with the names of two Clear Channel executives it says are being fired as a result of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's radio payola investigation (See RNW Oct 12).
It reports that Clear Channel would not confirm any reason for the dismissal of WWPR-FM (Power 105) program director Michael Saunders but that sources say he is one of the two the company had said it would fire.
Saunders, who was reported to have been in line to collect a plasma TV and entertainment before the investigation stopped delivery, and KHTS-FM, San Diego, program director Diana Laird, who was given a flat screen TV, were both named in the USD 10 million settlement Sony-BMG made to settle the investigation (See RNW Jul 26).
The Post reports that Clear Channel Urban Programming Vice President David "Doc" Wynter is to act as "interim" program director at WWPR.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Daily Post report.
2005-10-13: Two Infinity WCKG-FM, Chicago, employees in a case of what the Chicago Tribune report by Phil Rosenthal described as a case of trying to "figure out how many pinheads it would take to give the Angels fits" were arrested at a Chicago hotel late on Tuesday whilst attempting to wake up members of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Arrested says the report were "Ryan 'Mender' Mendenhall", the legally blind sports guy for Pete McMurray's WCKG midday show, and Karl Klockars, an intern sent along to point Mendenhall in the right direction": It adds that WBBM-Ch. 2, which, like WCKG, is owned by Viacom, reported it was possible the two were knocking on the wrong hotel room doors.
The duo were held in cells for a few hours and will have to appear in court on Nov. 29, charged with criminal trespass.
Rosenthal says WCKG VP and general manager Terry Hardin had no comment nor did McMurray, who sent the two to the hotel on a "mission for Chicago," though he did say on the air he thought the bit was "funny."
Chicago Tribune report:
2005-10-13: Opposition Conservative Member of Parliament and chairman of the British Parliament's culture and media select committee John Whittingdale has accused the BBC of failing to consult the UK recording industry before it went ahead with its offer of free downloads of the complete Beethoven Symphonies in June.
In all the Symphonies, performed by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, were downloaded nearly 1.4 million times (See RNW Jul 22).
Whittingdale commented to BBC Director General Mark Thompson, who was testifying to the committee, that far from "treading carefully" in the Radio 3 Beethoven week the Corporation had 1.4 million free downloads "at a time when record companies are saying that people should pay for music "and added that the BBC was going ahead with trials of archive offerings of radio and TV "without any market impact assessment."
The UK Guardian reports that Whittingdale said record industry organisations, including the EMI label, had told him they were "unable to trace anyone" who had been contacted by the BBC prior to the launch of the Beethoven symphonies, and says the BPI, which represents the big record labels in the UK, confirmed it had not been consulted prior to the Beethoven downloads.
It also reported that Chris Craker, the head of classics at Sony/BMG, told MediaGuardian.co.uk that no one from the BBC had contacted the company prior to the downloads.
Thompson told the committee that the controller of BBC Radio 3, Roger Wright, had talked to "record companies" prior to the launch of the Beethoven week, and said there had been no resistance to the plans.
"We made clear that it was a pilot and we talked to the record companies beforehand, but there was no sense of anxiety," he said.
RNW comment: This seems to be yet another case where someone either has very faulty memories or is a liar but in essence it seems to us that, since the performances were all by the BBC Philharmonic and that it was a one-off limited period offer, the recording companies should be sent away with a flea in their ear on this one.
In addition we would suggest, as we did in July, that the experiment should be seen by the recording companies as an indication of a significant untapped classical music market if they can get their act together.
We suggested then that it was worth considering an industry-wide classical download site at a fairly cheap rate and consider that this tied in to a promotion for top-quality CDs of the downloads at a discount rate (probably taking the download cost off the price) and maybe through making the downloads time limited to give a further incentive to purchase would be a much more productive way forward than mean-minded unimaginative whinging.
It would require recording companies however to be a little more imaginative about the marketplace, and get away from the mindset of buying politicians so as to enact legislation to preserve and extend their profits at the expense of many reasonable consumer copying requirements not just of piracy.
UK Guardian report:
2005-10-13: Nassau Broadcasting has announced agreement to sell seven stations serving the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton markets in Pennsylvania to privately owned, New York City-based Access 1 Communications and its affiliates but has not released details of the price to be paid.
The Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton market stations involved are WWYY-FM licensed to Belvidere, New Jersey; WEEX-AM and WODE-FM licensed to Easton, Pennsylvania; and WTKZ-AM licensed to Allentown.
Those in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market are WVPO-AM and WSBG-FM licensed to Stroudsburg and WPLY-AM licensed to Mount Pocono, all in Pennsylvania.
Commenting on the sale in a news release, Nassau Chairman and President Lou Mercatanti said, "Allentown and Stroudsburg are unique markets. Our stations there represent some of Nassau's earliest investments in radio. While it is difficult for us to let them go, we are very pleased that these seven stations will be in the hands of the team at Access.1, who are outstanding broadcasters committed, as we have been, to providing great, local radio service."
When the deal is concluded Access.1, which also owns general market syndication company SuperRadio and a 49% share of American Urban Radio Networks (AURN), the only radio network designed to market to African-American audiences exclusively, will own 28 radio stations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and Louisiana plus a TV station in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Nassau will be left owning and/or operating 49 radio stations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.
In other radio business, European broadcaster SBS Broadcasting S.A. has announced that its acquisition by equity firms Permira and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has been scheduled to close on October 18th. The deal was approved by European regulator authorities earlier this month (See RNW Oct 11) after being approved by shareholders and unanimously recommended by SBS's board.
And in the US again, Viacom has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of seven cents a share on its Class A and Class B Common Stock: The dividend is payable on January 1 next year to stockholders of record at the close of business on November 30 this year.
Previous SBS SA:
2005-10-13: BBC Scotland has put up its Broadcasting House premises and site at Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow - some 5.3 acres (2.1 hectares) - up for sale.
The Corporation has been at the site since 1936 but Ken MacQuarrie, Controller BBC Scotland, said the accommodation was " no longer fit for the purpose of broadcasting in this digital age", adding that the Corporation's "new purpose-built headquarters at Pacific Quay offer much more opportunity to make better use of space and technical resources."
"Our move will also help BBC Scotland put as much money as possible into programmes by having a much more efficient and effective work place than is currently available at Broadcasting House," he continued.
Amongst the buildings involved is North Park House, built in 1869 to the design of J.T. Rochead as a country mansion and private gallery for the brothers John and Matthew Bell, and later taken over by Queen Margaret College, the first college for women in Scotland that in 1895 began building Britain's first women's medical school on the site.
2005-10-12: Clear Channel Communications has announced that following its internal investigation into payola allegations that formed part of a legal settlement between Sony BMG and the New York State Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer (See RNW Jul 26) it has fired two people it says were involved in "wrongdoing" and disciplined a number of others involved in "inappropriate conduct."
In a news release Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan commented, "We take this issue very seriously and our policy is clear: If you engage in pay-for-play, you cannot work for Clear Channel " adding, "We believe the vast majority of our programmers are doing a terrific job, fully within the law."
Clear Channel says it will not be releasing the names of any of those involved but says it has redoubled its efforts to ensure such behaviour does not occur again and is to give programmers and general managers additional education on the company's anti-payola policies as well as revising the payola affidavits that are signed annually by programming personnel are being revised to be more explicit about activities that are not permitted under the policy.
Clear Channel severed ties with independent promoters two years ago amid reports of payola in the US radio and recording industries.
Previous Clear Channel:
2005-10-12: Most Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) staff returned to work on Tuesday following a vote of nearly nine in ten members to accept the settlement the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) negotiated with the Corporation (See RNW Oct 6).
The CMG said of 3514 Guild members from across the country who voted, 3106 were for accepting the settlement, 394 were against and 14 other ballots were either spoiled or challenged and not accepted.
The Guild's CBC Branch president Arnold Amber said in a news release, "This kind of support shows that the membership believes we've succeeded in pushing the CBC back from its demand to de-stabilize our workforce. We have established that the CBC will use permanent employees for its ongoing activities."
He added, "Many people have talked about how the events of the past eight weeks have helped bring Guild members together in a new way. I think that's reflected in the high voter turnout."
2005-10-12: The latest update by Bridge Ratings of results from its multi-year-long Audience Attrition project show that, although other sources of audio such as digital media players, Internet audio and satellite radio, are still continuing to take listening away from terrestrial radio in the US, the trend has slowed down and listening may even have stabilized amongst younger demographics and actually increased amongst some others.
In the year up to the end of the third quarter of 2005 says Bridge, the 12-24 years-old demographic, the one whose listening has dropped most, used traditional radio 15% less - down from 62 quarter hours per week to 53 - but by September this year the group's use of traditional radio had stabilized although their use of new media continued to increase - up from 55 quarter hours to 67 as listening to other media overtook listening to radio.
For adults 35-64 reports Bridge, although listening to alternative media continued to grow - from 20 quarter hours to 25 - the rate of growth had slowed and listening to traditional radio was up - from 70 quarter hours to 75
For the 25-40 demographic the figures were a decrease in radio listening from 66 quarter hours a week to 64 and an increase in listening to other media from39 quarter hours to 48.
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2005-10-12: BBC chairman Michael Grade on Tuesday broke his silence over allegations made in the New Statesman magazine - and subsequently vehemently denied by BBC Director General Mark Thompson (See RNW Oct 7) - that he wanted BBC Radio 4 Today show presenter John Humphrys fired.
Giving evidence to the UK Media Select Committee he was asked about the allegations and responded, "I absolutely, categorically deny there was any truth in it whatsoever."
Grade said that there were two aspects to the article, one the factual allegation of his having called 14 senior executives and wanting Humphrys fired and the other opinion about the BBC backing down following the criticisms of the Hutton report into a report on the Today programme saying that the government had "sexed up" allegations of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction.
He said that when the story of Humphrys' comments that poked fun or took digs at a number of ruling Labour Party ministers or former ministers was first published (See RNW Sep 7) newspapers were making allegations calling into question the Corporation's impartiality and it was "quite proper" that he made a "simple telephone call to the director general to try and uncover the facts behind that."
Grade said that he held no conversations with other members of the BBC Executive over the matter.
Thompson, who also gave evidence, said the story, as he had already said, was "completely untrue" and that had the magazine checked factually with the Corporation the story would not have appeared. He also dismissed as "preposterous" suggestions that the Corporation had a policy of going soft on Ministers, especially as the BBC was making its case for future licence fee funding.
The BBC has now published its case for funding in which it calls for a licence fee increase from April 2007 based on Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 2.3 per cent a year: This would mean that the current annual fee of GBP 126.50 (USD 221) would rise, in terms of today prices, to GBP 150.50 (USD 263) by 2013. Under the current settlement the fee will rise to around GBP 128.50 (USD 224) when the BBC current Royal Charter runs out in 2007.
Figures given by the BBC in a news release concerning its case say that "self-help measures already underway at the BBC, including job losses, rationalising processes and commercial disposals and dividends" will contribute GBP 3.9 billion (USD 6.8 billion) of the GBP 5.5 billion (USD 9.6 billion) required to meet the BBC "vision" outlined in the Green Paper on the Corporation.
This would leave a funding gap of GBP 1.6 billion (USD 2.8 billion), which the Corporation says could be met by a settlement of 1.8% above RPI but an additional 0.5% is needed to meet additional costs related to the switchover of UK TV to digital.
2005-10-12: Formerly top-ranked Sydney morning host John Laws who has already slipped down following the defection of his former 2UE partner Alan Jones to 2GB - Laws was third in the most recent ratings (See RNW Sep 14) - has suffered another severe blow, this time losing a third of his syndication to regional stations.
Macquarie Regional Radioworks (MRR), which carried Laws on 19 of its regional stations, is launching its own three-hour "Across Australia" show from January hosted from Hobart by Australian TV 60 Minutes presenter Charles Wooley, who is quitting TV to take the job.
The Wooley show will be carried on 39 stations and Laws is the biggest loser although 2UE owner Southern Cross Broadcasting says he will still be the leading syndicated morning host in the country with 43 stations
The Sydney Morning Herald says Wooley got the job after impressing MRR executive chairman Tim Hughes when they were both on a flight to Brisbane and quotes MRR's sales director, Daryl Mitchell, as saying, "They got to talking and Tim realised Wooley had a great and genuine affection for regional and rural Australia and they sort of started negotiations on the back of that chance meeting."
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radio:
Previous Southern Cross:
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2005-10-12: The deaths have been reported to two pioneering North American female radio personalities, Bernelda Wheeler who was a writer, educator and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio host, and Tracey Miller, one of the first women to co-host an all-female morning drive show in the Los Angeles.
The Toronto Globe and Mail obituary of Wheeler, who died of cancer aged 68, says her life and legacy revolved "around a paradox: To play a vital part in the restoration and development of Canadian Indian culture, she had to totally submit herself to educational institutions that nearly eradicated her native heritage."
Her daughter noted that her parents believed in education as the route to survival for their people and insisted on speaking only English, none of their native Cree, in the house before school and that at school a child could be whipped for speaking Cree.
Wheeler, born Bernelda Winona Sakinasikwe (Pratt) on the Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan in 1937, was the first Indian to attend Churchill High School, Manitoba, to where her parents had moved, and subsequently in 1954 got a job as a 17-year-old disc jockey for CFHC-AM (Churchill's affiliate on the CBC northern service).
That in turn led to more assignments in radio and print journalism and she became best known for her work from the late 1960s on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "Our Native Land" radio programme.
Miller, who also died of cancer, was 51: She worked as a news reporter at radio stations in Albuquerque and Seattle before returning to her native Los Angeles in 1982.
She then spent 11 years at KFI-AM, including covering consumer news and reviewing movies, and in 1990 was asked in 1990 to work with Terri-Rae Elmer on "TNT in the Morning."
The Los Angeles Times says that Miller was sceptical about the chances of a show with women as hosts rather than being sidekicks and in 1991 she told the paper she "thought "women would find me threatening and men would find me obnoxious."
In the event the show lasted three years and eventually came in at the top of the ratings, leading to Miller becoming co-host of "Two Chicks on the Radio" with Robin Abcarian in 1997 on KTZN-AM but that role only lasted six months before the station's talk format was replaced by the Radio Disney children's format.
Miller subsequently worked with Peter Tilden in the afternoons at KABC-AM and later as co-host with him of the morning show at what was then KMPC-AM in 1995.
Los Angeles Times - Miller obituary:
Toronto Globe and Mail - Wheeler obituary:
2005-10-12: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied an appeal by Fun Media Group licensee of WAFN-FM, Arab, Alabama, and owner of associated antenna structure at Scant City, Alabama, against a USD 8,000 penalty for failure to clean and repaint its antenna structure to maintain good visibility.
The penalty had already been reduced from USD 10,000 because Fun Media Group had no record of previous violations but the Group had argued the FCC had failed to properly address its arguments concerning the conditions of the tower, the agent's distance from the structure and other important facts that undermined the validity of the penalty.
The FCC said it found nothing in the submission to overturn the penalty and confirmed the USD 8,000.
2005-10-11: Sirius Satellite Radio has hired another Infinity executive with long experience of working with Howard Stern as Programming Director for Stern's channels on the satellite broadcaster.
He is Tim Sabean, who as Vice President, Active Rock Programming at Infinity, supervised the programming for Infinity's rock stations WYSP-FM/Philadelphia, WBCN-FM/Boston, WRKZ-FM/Pittsburgh, KUFO-FM/Portland, KRSX-FM/San Antonio, WAZU-FM/Columbus, and WXRK-FM/New York.
He also simultaneously served as Vice President of Programming for Infinity's Philadelphia cluster: WYSP, WPHT-AM, WIP-AM, KYW-AM and WOGL-FM, as well as Operations Manager for WYSP.
Sabean, who joined Infinity in 1991, has programmed many of the Infinity stations that carried Stern and Scott Greenstein, Sirius President of Entertainment and Sports, commented, "No one is more suited to support Howard's vision for the channels than Tim Sabean. He has demonstrated exceptional abilities in developing talent and achieving great success in multiple markets. And given his history with Howard, we're confident that Howard's radio revolution is on its way."
Sabean starts at Sirius next Monday and Stern is due to launch on Sirius in January.
In Canada, Sirius' partner Sirius Canada has appointed a new President and CEO: He is former Consumer Electronics Executive Mark Redmond who was with Thomson for 17 years. Redmond takes over from Kevin Shea, who is to remain with Sirius Canada as a senior advisor to the board.
Commenting on the appointment Sirius Canada chairman Michel Tremblay said Redmond's "tremendous experience in operations, marketing and sales for global consumer electronic and technology industries" would be a "great asset" to the company.
Redmond aid in a news release, "My main focus is to launch our service to all Canadians as soon as possible," said Redmond. "We've had enormous interest from consumers calling us and asking when we will be ready for launch and where can they get SIRIUS. We want to make sure SIRIUS is the superior offering over all other satellite radio providers in Canada, giving subscribers a winning-edge in entertainment options. We also look forward to providing Canadian artists with a platform to showcase their talent across North America."
On a less positive note for Sirius, a report on investment web site TheStreet.com says that not only does Sirius have only around as many of subscribers as rival XM but its method of counting inflates its numbers.
In the Sirius case reports Scott Moritz it sometimes counts as a subscriber an automobile that has gone to a dealership with a factory installed receiver whereas XM only starts its count when a customer activates the subscription.
Moritz quotes an unnamed investor who he says sold Sirius and holds XM as saying the Sirius count meant it can "call it a sub, even if it is sitting under water on a dealer's lot in New Orleans."
Previous Sirius Canada:
2005-10-11: In a Question and Answer posted on the Emmis web site, its chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says Hurricane Katrina has definitely slowed down the sale of its TV station in New Orleans but that Emmis will have to "work through that."
"The first thing is to take care of our people and get operations back up to speed," he says. "Then we'll deal with disposition. The station is temporarily broadcasting from the studios of WALA in Mobile, and while repairing the damage to the city and the studio may delay any ownership change, the station's core assets - its signal, community reputation and talented staff - remain valuable and attractive to buyers."
Smulyan ducks a question of whether he feels vindicated by the fact that the proceeds of TV disposals so far have exceeded Wall Street expectations, commenting, "When we announced our intentions to sell, some analysts estimated the group's value at USD 900 million, but it's clear we're likely to exceed that by several hundreds of millions. I wouldn't say I feel vindicated by the agreements we've made so far. We knew there were people out there who want to focus on TV, who would see greater value in it."
Regarding possible investment in the Washington Nationals Smulyan says initially he was looking at going ahead on his own but it "became clear that it made sense for Emmis to be involved" and adds," We looked at it, and we saw the total nature of the investment. Obviously the team is quite profitable, and on a cash-flow basis, the investment would be at a lower multiple than the TV assets we're in the process of selling. But we also believe there are some other opportunities that come with it - cable TV rights, stadium-area development, participation in Major League Baseball's internet venture - that are very attractive."
Regarding radio Smulyan looks ahead to the introduction of HD digital radio, commenting, "We would like to start a nationwide HD plan by the end of this year. Our goal is to speed the transition to digital and then to determine what the best business model is for the industry, and that will be based on what is best for the consumer."
He also comments on the competitive situation in Chicago, the rise of Kiss in New York ratings, and optimism that Hot 97 will gain share over Clear Channel competitor Power FM; the sale of St. Louis' Red - "Red was a great idea based on how we saw unserved consumers spending their time and money on music, but the marketplace didn't accept it. We still believe in the concept, and our people did an excellent job of executing it, but we just didn't feel it would be profitable for us. Because our other St. Louis stations do so well, we decided it was best to focus on them" - and interest in interest in ABC Radio.
On the latter, Smulyan comments, "It's attractive to grow if we can grow in the right way. ABC would be a perfect match up; perfect for them and perfect for us. It would allow us to have more properties in the largest markets, and it would also make their network stronger."
2005-10-11: European anti trust regulators have cleared the USD 2.55 billion purchase of European Broadcaster SBS Broadcasting SA by private equity companies Permira and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., clearing the last hurdle in the deal.
It had been unanimously approved by a special committee of independent directors of SBS, as well as by the company's board of directors and shareholders representing a minimum of 21.9% of the total outstanding common shares of SBS (See RNW Aug 23) and subsequently by shareholders at a special meeting held in Luxembourg at the beginning of last week. It is expected to close around the middle of this month.
Previous SBS SA:
2005-10-11: Jefferson-Pilot Corporation, parent company of Jefferson Pilot Communications, which owns 3 TV and 18 radio stations, has agreed a "merger" with Lincoln National Corporation, the parent company of the Lincoln Financial Group of companies to create a new Lincoln Financial Group.
The deal, which is subject to shareholder approval has been unanimously approved by both companies' boards of directors and a news release refers to is as a "Merger of Equals" that will create a "powerful national distribution network for financial products with market-leading positions in each of its businesses [RNW note: For the sceptical about "equality" as defined in PR and a dictionary Jefferson-Pilot shareholders will have around 39% of the new company.]
The release says savings of around USD180 million a year are expected, with 50 percent to be achieved within 12 months of closing, 80 percent within 24 months, and the balance by the end of 2008. It does not say how many jobs will be cut but says savings will come from "greater efficiencies through shared services, the consolidation of corporate functions, and reductions in business unit costs" and that there will be a one-off implementation cost of around USD 180 million.
Lincoln Chairman and CEO Jon Boscia is to become Chairman and CEO of the merged company and Jefferson Pilot, President and CEO Dennis Glass, will become President and COO.
Boscia described Jefferson Pilot Communications as "an extremely attractive portfolio of broadcasting assets" and added, "This is a unique and strong franchise, which will provide earnings diversity to Lincoln and an additional outlet for publicizing the Lincoln Financial Group brand and remain a key part of the overall organization."
RNW comment: Although the initial statement suggests that Jefferson Pilot Communications will be retained, we would expect it firstly to be renamed and secondly to have to continue to produce cash flow if it is to have a secure future within Lincoln. And whatever is said, we expect business to be business if a would-be purchaser made a sufficiently high offer that the new company thought meant a sale would produce better returns on its investment.
Previous Jefferson Pilot:
2005-10-11: UK media regulator Ofcom upheld no radio complaints and only two TV complaints in its latest Broadcast Bulletin, compared to one radio complaint and one TV complaint upheld in part in the previous bulletin.
In addition it considered two more TV complaints resolved; this compares to three TV complaints considered resolved previously.
In addition Ofcom listed with no details a further 130 complaints against 114 items that were rejected or held to be out of remit compared to corresponding totals of 121 complaints against 85 items in the previous bulletin.
These included 13 radio complaints relating to 13 items compared to 19 radio complaints relating to 19 items in the previous bulletin - and 117 TV complaints relating to101 items compared to 102 TV complaints relating to 66 items in the previous bulletin:
Previous Ofcom broadcast bulletin:
2005-10-10: As we write no numbers have been released but a significant majority of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) employees are expected to ratify settlement of the dispute that led to their lock-out - and much comment on the Corporation in print media in the country: Which is, of course, a cue, to start with some of that comment - starting with a readers' comments - and as it happens dip into some other blogs elsewhere
In the Toronto Star we found a range of comment from the paper's readers and its own staff.
In a selection of reader comments under the heading, "Voices: Returning to CBC" the paper included both praise and brickbats, with radio faring well in the former category.
One comment from Garry Bilton summed the divergent opinion about CBS radio and TV up succinctly - "CBC radio offers an audience real choice and quality. CBC television, the incredible black hole of waste, offers two programs worth their (salt) - The National and Hockey Night In Canada."
Radio also fared well in the comment from Timothy Boyle who wrote, "I will be returning to CBC radio 1 because I want to, and CBC television because I have to. As much as I am a free enterprise fiscal conservative and regard CBC television as an outdated socialist anachronism I still value CBC radio 1 as a national treasure which regrettably does not enjoy the following it deserves."
And from Kenneth Chisholm: "I don't know about CBC TV, but as long as there are stupid radio commercials and vapid programming on commercial radio, CBC Radio is the only radio for me."
From Robert Parkins came a stinging comment: "What about retaining the audience that stayed with CBC because we felt the programming was much better during the lockout? "
And totally against the CBC, first Sean O'Reilly who presumably should emigrate southwards, "The time has come for our government to end its association with the CBC It is not the taxpayers job to fund something that should make money and the only thing holding it up is my money, if people really care, than set up something like PBS in the States."
And more succinctly, albeit we suggest he's a viewer rather than a listener, from Mike Johnson: "Is there a bigger waste of taxpayer money than the CBC? Bloated budgets, bad programming and a big giant yawn from John Q. Public. The sooner it is privatised the better."
And finally also praising radio but suggesting they take a leaf from services provided by the strikers, Tony Kao wrote, "I am absolutely thrilled that the CBC will return to normal soon, as I have dearly missed the familiar voices of CBC radio hosts and its intelligent and thought-provoking programming. Though it'll be nice if they could continue the podcast phenomenon that the locked out employees started."
In similar vein Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias in her column plumped firmly for the staff rather than management, commenting, "While senior management, a.k.a. "The Gang of Four" - president Robert Rabinovitch, CBC-TV executive vice-president Richard Stursberg, radio vice-president Jane Chalmers and human resources vice-president George Smith - stuck the knife in the public broadcaster and to the public which pays for it by ordering this lockout, it was the workers who, through their passion and creativity, innovation and imagination, kept producing what they could, even without a paycheque."
She continued, "They gave Canadians street fests, replacement radio, podcasts, online news sites, rallies, burlesque shows, concerts and uncounted blogs, both serious and entertaining, which made plain one thing: CBC does not belong to the managers who have been talking of "business models" while presenting PowerPoint flowcharts at endless meetings The workers proved that CBC is not about executives with corporate credit cards and fancy perks. It's not about packing off hundreds of managers to high-priced training retreats where they play-act and learn to "lead." It's also not about shoving any old programming down a pipe purely for the ratings."
"It's about passionate people who work even if they are not getting paid for it. It's about public service and the public interest."
Changing continents, we also found support for public radio from Australia where a posting by Andrew West in theContrarian blog in the Sydney Morning Herald noted the continuing strong ratings for ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio in Sydney despite losing its breakfast and morning hosts.
"Breakfast with Julie McCrossin [RNW note- McCrossin, who replaces Angela Catterns, has now quit leaving a new hole in the breakfast slot] still rated 12 and mornings held at 9. These are bloody good numbers for serious radio," he wrote. "But it's hardly surprising that audiences have stayed loyal because no matter how warm and engaging the presenters - and I thought Catterns and Loane were especially good - listeners are tuning in because it's the ABC."
"They like the brand name. They like the freedom from the cacophony of screeching advertisements and right-wing demagoguery elsewhere on the talk dial. (I make a specific exception for Mike Carlton and John Stanley, who are, respectively, very funny and very journalistically credible.) Even when good presenters leave the ABC, such as Philip Clarke who went to the more lucrative environs of 2GB, they rarely take their audiences with them."
West then went wider afield in his comments of support for public radio, writing, "The fury directed at public broadcasters, such as the ABC, the BBC and America's money-starved but consistently high quality PBS and National Public Radio, is usually because of the stories they choose to cover, rather than how they report. Powerful entities, especially corporations and unrestrained governments, prefer the public was fed a televisual diet of stories about cellulite creams and sports stars auctioning team sweaters for sick kids. Anything, anything at all, to keep their minds off the closed-door deals that are done to carve up the nation's economy and marketplace between the most powerful institutions and personalities."
He concluded, "The ABC is an imperfect institution; too many bonnet dramas, too many attempts at 'edgy' inner-city comedy and too much bloody cricket. But audiences are still showing that, by and large, they prefer credibility to cacophony."
As in Canada, responses varied from strong support to strong disagreement over the value of the ABC: In the former category David Brugger said, "ABC Radio has developed an amazing culture of balanced journalism mixed with fun, quirky and intellectual opinion from all sides of the argument. No Sensationalism here! "
And in the latter Elgar Welch posted the following: "Sally Loane was dreadful. She hardly knew anything about real life people out there grubbing for a living. She made me puke with her Miss North Shore accent and attitude. The morning programs including breakfast are as boring as bat shyte, so is the entire 702 programming and content. The ABC needs to sell its swanky big building in the CBD and move out into a factory building say at Mt Druit, It might just make 'em a bit more human."
And from cricket fan Michael Collins: "Too much cricket! There's no such thing as too much cricket. If you don't like cricket, I suggest that you find a non cricket playing country in which to live."
And then to the US and a blog in the Mercury News, which was rather harder hitting, shall we say, than the blogs above. Brad Kava, for example, commented on "Delusional talk show hosts" and took, assuming the comment he cited is accurate, a well-deserved swipe at Bill O'Reilly.
"I know you have to have a big ego to be in radio and fill the airwaves with your opinions," he wrote. "But from some of the things I heard the last few days, you have to be delusional too "
"Rush imitator Bill O'Reilly, whose 'No Spin Zone' spins more than Linda Blair's head in 'The Exorcist,' told his audience the other night on KNEW-AM ' that gas prices were coming down because of his complaints about them on his radio show."
As Kava then commented, "Yeah, right. Does anyone with more than half a brain believe that?"
And on Michael Savage: " Michael Savage (also KNEW) told his audience that there were only a few professions left where people understood reality: 'fisherman, lumberjack; talk show host.'"
And on Rush Limbaugh, the man himself? "His opinions jerked so wildly in the wake of George Bush's latest Supreme Court nomination, I could understand how he would need Oxy-Contin He told another caller, who thought Bush in his moderation may be trying to unite the country, that that was ridiculous, because the president would never unite with the liberals who were ruining this country."
As Kava then added, "Isn't this the same guy who, not long ago, claimed that Bush was a uniter, while Democrats tried to divide the country? Yes."
Finally before moving on to listening suggestions, a very different perspective on radio - courtesy of a Los Angeles Times report on a call-in show that airs in Baghdad and has a devoted audience in, of all places, Abu Ghraib prison.
The report, by Edmund Sanders, is about a programme aired daily for 90 minutes by a Sunni Arab political organization: Sanders says the programme, "tolerated by U.S. prison officials, allows friends and family of detainees to send one-way messages of love, support and concern to those inside Abu Ghraib's walls.
Sanders reports that the " show was launched last year, largely by accident. A senior official of the Iraqi Islamic Party noticed that when he spoke as a guest on the party-owned radio station, Dar al-Salam, he received many letters from Abu Ghraib prisoners."
"I thought, why should they be listening to me when they could be listening to their families instead," said Alaa Makki.
He added that U.S. officials initially had reservations about allowing prisoners to listen, but the party persuaded them to give the program a chance, noting that the plug could always be pulled if things didn't work out.
"We won the confidence of both Americans and the prisoners, which is not an easy thing to do," Makki said.
Sanders says U.S. officials, who monitor the show's content through an interpreter, aren't fans, but have decided to live with it and have issued radios at the request of Iraqi human rights officials although they are still concerned that callers can provide misinformation.
"My concern is that the information broadcasted may be incorrect, or misleading, and therefore create unnecessary problems within the camp," said Lt. Col. John Hussey, the 306th Military Police battalion commander in charge of Abu Ghraib detainees. He said the radio show recently aired information that suggested there were five female prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The false report agitated prisoners and threatened to stir up violence until U.S. officials convinced them it was untrue.
Hussey also noted ingenuity by the prisoners: When the radios were first issued, some detainees figured out a way to configure them to monitor the short-wave communications of prison guards, Hussey said. "The altered radios were permanently removed from the detainees," he said. "In addition, we made adjustments to the guards' radios to prevent this type of monitoring in the future."
Attorneys for detainees, however, are positive about the programmes and say the programme performs an important humanitarian service. They also note that many of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib are not hardened criminals but ordinary citizens unjustly accused and cite the release of nearly 1,000 of them last month without being charged because of lack of evidence or because they were deemed to pose no threat.
"It's like giving a breath of fresh air to someone who is suffocating," said L. Najat Zubaidi, a defence attorney who represents detainees.
On then to suggested listening and first of all BBC Radio 1 on Thursday from 18:00 GMT for John Peel Day programming, programming that conflicts with BBC Radio 3's celebration (at 20:30 GMT) of the 75th birthday of playwright Harold Pinter
Then going back in time, last Saturday's edition of the Verb, BBC Radio 3's weekly magazine on language (Available on demand on the site), was a translation special that looked at children's literature in translation and featured Somaliland's leading poet,.
And still with Radio 3 the Sunday Feature last week (also available on the site) was Cold War in a Hot Continent in which Jane Standley looks at the way in which the Soviets and Americans became involved in vying for the support of newly-independent states in Africa and in combat through proxies with catastrophic consequences for some of the countries involved [Support for terrorism would seem to be a fair description in a number of cases!].
Then sticking with history but changing channels, we'd suggest the latest in the Archive Hour series on BBC Radio 4, which on Saturday was "America's Barefoot Refugees", the story of the farmers who fled drought-ravaged areas for California but, as chronicled by John Steinbeck in the Grapes of Wrath found further misery and exploitation when they arrived.
Going for voices, we'd suggest the most recent Radio Roots programme from BBC Radio 4 - it featured Richard Burton - assuming that is the BBC fix the link as it instead played Nothings: The Story of Musical Comedy- from five days earlier!
From Australia we'd suggest two ABC programmes - the latest Science Show that dealt with real science prizes, particularly the Nobel Prizes, and (around 34 minutes in) the IgNobel Prizes. Perhaps a contrast for those in the other recommendation, the latest Street Stories, which in "Talking the Talk" looked at the "intellectual combat sport" to use the programme's description, of debating.
Finally over to America and WNYC's "On the Media "(A stream or MP3) which last week began with comments by Senator John McCain on Pentagon opposition to releasing further photos from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and also of the Bush administration to the measure proposed by the Senator and overwhelmingly passed by the Senate setting out standards for US treatment of prisoners of war and detainees.
The latter is threatened with a Presidential veto - on the grounds, according to McCain, on the basis of comment from Vice President Cheney that it is regarded as "unwarranted intrusion into executive branch responsibilities."
McCain says his response is to say that the US constitution gives a special responsibility of Congress for captures on land or sea: Maybe we're hoping for too much but a question on the lines of moral bankruptcy at the highest level in the US administration would surely have been appropriate in response to this.
Later the programme featured comment by former Soviet spokesman Vladimir Posner on the "propaganda" conducted by himself and that currently being conducted - rather unsuccessfully it would seem - by Karen Hughes in the Middle East.
Posner cites as high points in US image overseas the periods when Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were in office representing the America people wanted to believe in and vis-à-vis the current situation - he says if you have "Brezhnev or Bush ( the interviewer passes on this "correlation")- attempts to change perceptions won't work and also quotes the saying, "Don't be mad at the mirror if you have an ugly face!" which in the circumstances of the previous item seems quite apt.
Los Angeles Times - Sanders:
Mercury News blog - Kava:
Sydney Morning Herald - blog re ABC:
Toronto Star - Reader's voices:
Toronto Star - Zerbisias:
2005-10-10: As publicity is geared up for the launch of the late DJ John Peel's autobiography "Margrave of the Marshes" that was completed after his death by his widow Sheila, the UK Sunday Times again raises hopes that his record collection could end up in the British Library with assistance from lottery funding.
The paper notes reports that a US radio station has reportedly bid more than GBP 500,000 (around USD 900,000) for the collection but says at auction it could fetch twice that.
The collection, of 26,000 LPs, 40,000 singles and 40,000 CDs is currently housed in an extension at his Suffolk farmhouse home: It ranges, says the paper, from "Beatles singles to records of Mongolian "throat singers", African railway station bands and Bulgarian women's choirs" and many of the recordings are "rare pre-release and promotional copies of discs sent to him by record companies during his 40-year career on radio."
If the collection is bought for Britain it would probably be housed in a special room in the library's sound archives, which already contain 2.5 million recordings including tapes of vintage Peel sessions of rock groups on Radio 1.
His widow told the paper "We have decided nothing yet. For the time being the record collection stays with us."
The UK Sunday Telegraph has already started publishing excerpts from the autobiography and it will be the Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 from October 24-28.
In addition Thursday this week has been declared John Peel Day by BBC Radio 1, which will feature a special Peel Day programme of live music from live gigs and highlights of a Wednesday Concert in London from 1800-midnight GMT followed by a Peel Day Special running from midnight to 02:00GMT:
BBC Radio 1 Peel Day:
UK Sunday Telegraph autobiography excerpt:
UK Sunday Times report:
2005-10-10: According to the US interest group Public Knowledge, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is again pushing the idea of a radio broadcast flag with rumours suggesting it may try to get a friendly (read "bribed?") lawmaker to attach such a flag to a spending bill.
On its web site the organisation comments, "This is really getting ridiculous! We beat the broadcast flag in Federal Court, we beat it in the Appropriations Committee, but the MPAA is giving it another try. This time, they're allying with the RIAA and asking for more: not just a flag for digital broadcast television, but even broader FCC authority in the name of "protecting" digital radio, to boot!"
The group publishes language that it says the RIAA is now proposing that it says would specifically require encryption of all copyrighted material: In a fact sheet on the issue it notes that the D.C. circuit court has ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to impose a broadcast flag scheme and also says that a May 11, 2005 Congressional Research Service report noted that the flag then proposed would prevent important fair uses, like the ability of teachers to engage in distance learning and the ability of individuals to email fair use portions of works to themselves and others.
The wording published by Public Interest says that the FCC:
(a) has authority to adopt regulations requiring licensees broadcasting using digital audio broadcast systems to encrypt the transmission of copyrighted material and to regulate devices that receive such transmissions as may be necessary or appropriate to permit the reception of such encrypted transmissions and to implement any authorized copying and redistribution limitations authorized under such regulations as may be adopted pursuant to this section, provided, however, that the Commission may not authorize any digital audio broadcast transmission system that does not include such encryption at the source; the adoption of any digital audio regulations pursuant to this section shall not delay the adoption of final operational rules for digital audio broadcasting, and
(b) may reconsider, amend, repeal, supplement, and otherwise modify, in whole or in part, any regulations adopted pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section in order to further the purposes of this section, provided, however, that any such change in the regulations shall incorporate encryption at the source as the means to achieve those purposes."
RNW comment: We have long felt that the argument on copyright is significantly perverted by the nature of the legal system in that it gives organisations with large resources the ability to keep on pushing - and with the amounts at stake usually only at a proportionately small cost to themselves - whilst opponents, who may have as good or better arguments frequently lack such resources.
In the UK one means the courts have of easing this particular burden is to refuse leave to appeal: We don't necessarily go this far but would think it fair that where no new facts are adduced, leave should only be allowed on the basis of a pre-determined penalty that is made clear. In the case of the RIAA and MPAA ban on any legal action for a decade would seem about right.
Public Knowledge web site:
Public Knowledge regarding broadcast flag:
2005-10-10: Radio listeners in Hyderabad and Secunderabad, where no private FMs have yet been licensed, are nevertheless now able to hear a private station thanks to Radio Biryani, which has bought time from All India Radio (AIR) in the city.
Its show airs from 1700 to 1900 local and was launched last week with its first programme "Welcome Hyderabad". It was launched by DC Interactive, and is available on the Internet through Deccan.com to appeal to an overseas Indian audience [RNW comment: The signal was not of good quality when we tried it in the UK.]
DC Interactive CEO Vijay Marur told exchange4media of the launch, "We have been looking at FM for some time. Hyderabad does not allow us the option of starting a private FM station now. We are starting off with a time band from AIR, with content created by us."
The current deal runs for three years and the company could extend the pilot scheme to other cities: Marur commented, "We are fairly confident that this will succeed. We are not looking at channels across the country, but we can ride on other channels with similar arrangements. A natural extension is possible in all markets where the Asian Age and the Deccan Chronicle are present."
The company is also planning a similar launch in Dubai through a tie-up with a local FM station from whom it has picked up a five-hour slot in which it hopes to start airing its programming from December 2.
Programming is made up of music, talk, and comedy in a mix of English, Hindi and Telugu with an emphasis on a youth audience, a valuable demographic if the station, as it hopes, gains its own frequency in further private FM licensing.
On the latter, Marur commented, "We are definitely in the game. If the numbers work, we would be the first to get into the field."
Previous Indian Radio:
Deccan site (Links to Radio Biryani):
2005-10-09: Last week was another fairly quiet one of mainly routine actions from the regulators with no major issues arising.
In Australia the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) made no decisions relating to radio but has called for comments on proposals to allow changes that would boost coverage of commercial radio service 2ICE, Lithgow, providing the service for the first time to residents of Katoomba, New South Wales, and also improving its signal in Mount Victoria and Blackheath.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week with radio decisions including the following:
*Approval of an application by of CJRT-FM Toronto, to use a subsidiary communications multiplex operations (SCMO) channel to broadcast a predominantly Korean-language service.
*Approval of power decrease from 5,200 watts to 2,300 watts of English-language alternative rock FM authorized in June.
*Approval of extension of time limit, this time until 31 August 2006, to commence the operation of the transitional digital radio undertaking associated with CJRC-FM, authorized in November 2002. This is the second request for an extension.
*Approval of power decrease from 11,000 watts to 5,800 watts and increasing in antenna height for CIGB-FM, Trois-Rivières.
As well as decisions the Commission also issued a public notice, with a deadline for submission of interventions or comments of 14 November in which there was one radio item, an application from Sound of Faith Broadcasting to increase the power of CJFH-FM Woodstock from 50 to 250 watts by increasing the antenna height and by relocating the transmitter. The change if approved would change the station's status from that of a low power unprotected service to a regular Class A1 FM station.
The CRTC has also posted note of a request from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) that it defer its planned review of the commercial radio policy until it is in a position to assess the impact of subscription radio on the commercial radio sector, and the industry is able to develop a plan for radio's transition to digital. It says it will make a decision soon.
There were no radio decisions from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom had a busier time; it says it has received three applications for the new Warwick FM licence in Warwickshire and has also advertised a new FM licence for Southend-on-Sea.
The Warwick applications came from 2 Day FM, a bid for a locally-focused, classic hits format backed by the CN Radio Company; Silver 107.3 FM, a bid for a full service locally-focused music, news, information and entertainment station for people aged 25 and over backed by Macquarie Bank; and Warwick Local Radio, a format targeted at the 35 to 64 year old demographic backed by Laser Broadcasting.
Warwick Local Radio (WLR) has already run a 20 day trial broadcast to gauge what the people of the area want from their local radio station and to demonstrate the style of programming it will offer.
The Southend-on-Sea licence would cover an area with an adult population between 200,000 and 250,000 and the deadline for applications, together with a GBP 5,000 (USD 9,000) non-refundable fee January 12.
Ofcom has also announced the award of a further 18 new community radio licences taking the total of such licences awarded to date up to 48.
They cover stations in:
West Midlands - Aston (Aston FM); North east Birmingham (CVCR); Small Heath (Unity FM) and Winson Green in Birmingham (New Style Radio); Stourbridge (The Bridge); West Bromwich (The Public) and Wolverhampton (WCR FM).
Northern England: Leeds (Radio Asian Fever) in Yorkshire and Oldham (Oldham Community Radio), Salford (Salford Community Radio), and Tameside (Tameside Community Radio) in Lancashire; and Stockport (Pure Radio) in Cheshire;
Northern Ireland - Banbridge (Shine FM); Belfast (Féile FM and Raidió Fáilte); Downpatrick (Down FM); Lisburn (BFBS) and Newry (IÚR FM).
Ofcom also announced that the new Barrow-in-Furness FM licence had been awarded to Abbey FM (See RNW Oct 4)
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put up a section of its site relating to indecency complaints (See RNW Oct 8).
It has also issued decisions relating to a number of conflicting low power licence applications including the following:
Tentative decision to grant a licence to an application from Public Radio, Inc.for a station to serve Key West rather than a mutually exclusive application from the Mary V. Harris Foundation ("MVHF") for a station to serve Stock Island.
Tentative decision to grant a licence to an application from Living Proof, Inc. for a station to serve Lunenburg, rather than mutually exclusive applications from CSN International for a station to serve Lexington; from the University of Massachusetts for a station to serve Stow; and from WAVM (FM), licensed to Maynard School Committee for a station to serve Maynard.
Tentative decision to grant a licence to an application from Cornerstone University for a station to serve Springfield, rather than a mutually exclusive application from American Family Association for a station to serve Augusta.
Tentative decision to grant a licence to an application from WAMC for a station to serve Remsen rather than a mutually exclusive application from Souls Harbor United Pentecostal Church for a station to serve Utica:
Tentative decision to grant a licence to an application from Positive Alternative Radio, Inc. for a station to serve Blennerhassett, rather than a mutually exclusive application from Shofar Broadcasting Corporation for a station to serve Eden, Ohio.
In addition, Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein (his colleague Michael J. Copps was unable to attend but his aide represented him) has attended a town meeting in Iowa relating to new ownership regulations (See RNW Oct 7).
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2005-10-09: Long-time WGBH-FM classical host Ron Della Chiesa is to give up his role as host of the Boston public station's Classics in the Morning in late November although he will remain with the station as the voice of its simulcasts of Boston Symphony Orchestra performances at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and also work on special live opera broadcasts.
Chiesa, who has been with the station for 35 years- he began as a news announcer for WGBH Channel 2 in 1966 and switched to WGBH-FM three years later - will be replaced by Cathy Fuller who currently hosts the show on Mondays and Fridays.
2005-10-09: Former BBC London FM breakfast host Danny Baker is to return to the station in an afternoon slot from 1500 to 1700 slot on October 17th after a summer sabbatical; the same day sees Jono Coleman teaming up with JoAnne Good in the breakfast slot at the station (See RNW Oct 4).
Baker, who won the Sony DJ of the Year Gold for his station this year - and then announced his departure (See RNW May 12) - said of his return, "My new life of indolence was going wonderfully well until I was offered a new show back at the old place that both intrigued and stimulated me 'How about coming back and doing what you do - but this time in a way that would NOT require you to get up at 4.44am?' they said."
2005-10-08: According to the New York Times Susquehanna Media is close to a USD one billion plus deal to sell its radio stations to a investors including Cumulus Media, the Blackstone Group and Bain Capital; the paper says a separate deal to sell its cable television operations to Comcast for slightly less than USD 800 million is also close to agreement.
The paper cites unnamed "executives involved in the talks" as the source of its information and says they cautioned that the deals could collapse or other bidders emerge.
In other US radio business news, Citadel has announced that it is to start paying a regular quarterly dividend of $0.18 per share on its Common Stock with the first dividend to be paid on January 18, 2006 to shareholders of record on November 30, 2005.
Chairman and CEO Farid Suleman, said the dividend would recognize "the Company's significant free cash flow and underscores the Company's commitment to enhance shareholder value."
"At the same time, we will continue to have the financial flexibility to invest in strategic opportunities, " he continued.
XM Satellite Radio has also announced a regular quarterly dividend on its 8.25% Series B Convertible Redeemable Preferred Stock; The dividend is payable in shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock at a rate of $1.0313 per share of Series B Preferred Stock owned, with fractional shares to be paid in cash and the shares to be issued will be valued at 95% of the average daily price of the Class A Common Stock for the 10 consecutive trading days ending on October 14.
New York Times report:
2005-10-08: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a new broadcast-indecency related web site that it says is "designed to educate the public about the laws governing the airing of obscene, indecent and profane material and the Commission's enforcement of those laws."
It details such topics as How To File A Complaint; the Complaint Process; and Who Handles Indecency Complaints and also links to statistics dating back to 1993 (partial for some years) on the number of obscenity, indecency and profanity complaints received by the Commission; the number of Notices of Apparent Liability (NALs) issued by the Commission and the total forfeitures imposed by the Commission.
In 1993 there were 5 NALs issued, all for radio complaints, totalling USD 665,000 of which four were paid and one was cancelled and in 2004 there were a record 1,405,419 complaints relating to 314 programmes - 145 radio, 140 TV, and 29 cable with a total of 12 NALs (9 radio, 3 TV) totalling 7,928,0805 of which four have been paid, agreement o pay has been received in a further case, six are pending and one was cancelled.
1995 recorded the lowest level of penalties, just one radio NAL for USD 4,000, which was paid.
FCC broadcast indecency site:
2005-10-08: SMG-owned Virgin Radio on Friday started to make its news bulletins available on demand, a move the station says was spurred by the increase in online listening to the station on July 7 after the London bombings.
It is the first UK commercial station to make bulletins available on demand although the BBC has long offered a comprehensive service of on-demand news programming.
Unlike the BBC service, which is available 24/7 and which makes many news programmes available for up to a week after transmission, Virgin's will only offer the most recent bulletin.
On its web site it promotes its service by commenting, "Our journalists present distinctive, fast-paced bulletins - packed with the days top stories and supported by our colleagues at Sky News
As well as running a national service for listeners across the UK, we also produce separate London-focused bulletins for anyone tuning in on 105.8 FM."
Virgin has also been ahead of UK stations in offering podcasts of some of its shows - it launched the service on March 9 this year, the first UK commercial station to offer a podcast - with what it terms "very best of that day's Pete and Geoff breakfast show. You'll not hear the news, weather, or traffic and travel - we think they're great, too, but by the time you listen they'll be out of date, so we've already edited them out for you. "
It has now added a podcast of the Sunday 1600 to 1900 Tim Lovejoy Show Podcast.
RNW comment: Laudable though it may be that Virgin has dipped its toe into the on-demand waters - and it seems to have been fairly innovative in terms of attracting sponsorship to finance the venture - the actual service offered is rather pathetic compared to offerings from, for example, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, and some US public radio and college stations. SMG may well have calculated correctly in financial terms and be ahead of commercial rivals in the UK but it's still at the Model-T stage to put it in terms of an automobile analogy.
Virgin Radio web site:
2005-10-08: According to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times Jonathon Brandmeier could return to Emmis's classic rock WLUP-FM (the Loop), where he was top rated morning host in the 1980s and 90s, in his old slot by the end of this month, probably on October 27.
Feder says "sources" say that Chicago-based agent Lisa Miller has negotiated a contract running a little over three years for the host and if he signs as expected an official announcement of his move could come as soon as Monday.
Brandmeier has been off air since Infinity changed the format of KCBS-FM in Los Angeles from Oldies to the Jack-FM format in March
Feder said WLUP vice president and general manager Marv Nyren stopped short of confirming a deal but sounded more optimistic than ever, saying, Every day that goes by we're more and more excited about the possibility of Johnny B. coming back to the Loop. Given all the changes going on in the market, we couldn't be happier with the timing."
Other reports suggest that agreement has been reached with Brandmeier for a start date of October 27.
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2005-10-08: According to a report "FM Radio in the Arab World 2005" by Research and Markets the numbers of FM stations in the Arab world are set to sky rocket as more countries in the area allow private FM operations.
In the regionat the moment the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Algeria have most state-owned stations - 19 in five networks in the UAE and 17 Radio-Television Algerienne (RTA) stations in Algeria - and Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq lead the region in private FM operations with 23, 17 and 10 operational stations respectively.
Research and Markets report summary (Full 59 page report costs around USD 940):
2005-10-07: A row has blown up in the UK over a report in the New Statesman magazine that alleged that BBC chairman Michael Grade initially called for BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter John Humphrys to be fired after reports of his comments about politicians: In the event a BBC report criticised Humphrys for making what it terms "inappropriate and misguided" comments but took no further action (See RNW Sep7).
In an unprecedented e-mail to BBC staff, released by the BBC Press Office, its Director-General Mark Thompson referred to "reports today in The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The Daily Mail following up on an article by John Kampfner in the New Statesman which are so utterly false and misleading that I really can't let them stand uncorrected."
In the article, the cover story of next Monday's edition of the magazine, Kampfner writes in terms of the Corporation losing its nerve and backing off reports that annoy ministers as licence fee negotiations reach a critical point.
He then continues, "After the Times produced its recent sting against Humphrys, suggesting he had maligned Labour politicians in an after-dinner speech, there was alarm among senior BBC news staff. They were not surprised that the government had engaged sympathetic journalists to spread its black propaganda for it. They were shocked, however, at the craven fashion in which their management and governors responded. According to a number of people involved, Michael Grade, the BBC's chairman, phoned several executives that weekend demanding that the Today presenter be sacked. Further calls ensued between 14 senior executives, none of whom knew what to do. Thompson, the director general, was minded to agree with Grade but when, on the Monday, he saw the furious reaction to the government's antics in the rest of the media, particularly the Daily Mail, he changed his mind. In the end Humphrys was merely rapped on the knuckles, but insiders know the true significance of this episode: this was not an exercise in independent management, merely the calibration of two competing fears - of ministers and of media moguls."
Kampner, interviewed on the BBC Radio4 World at One programme on Thursday stuck by his story and said that Thompson took the decision not to fire Humphrys but to "rap him over the knuckles" after - and mainly because - newspapers at the start of the following week were full of support for the presenter.
He said Grade had wanted to take tough action to show that his reform of the BBC's governance had been effective.
Thompson said the reports were untrue, continuing - "And not only is it not true, it is frankly preposterous it is wholly without foundation" and went on to praise Humphrys and said that "instead of shooting from the hip " the BBC held a speedy investigation to determine the facts.
He also said that at no point had the Chairman or anybody from the BBC Board of Governors put any pressure to ease off criticism of the government.
Regarding the suggestion that he changed his mind about action on the Monday following the Times report of Saturday Thompson says this is "Completely untrue - in fact a straightforward lie."
RNW comment: It is difficult after reading the whole of the Thompson e-mail not to believe either that he is one of the most foolish bald-faced liars in the history of the world or, as he puts it in his email, "The original Humphrys story felt like a malicious attempt to undermine the BBC's journalism from one direction. This New Statesman piece feels like an equally malicious attempt to undermine it from a different direction."
We just don't believe that Thompson is going to make statements as strong as the one he issued were it likely that the New Statesman really had evidence to stand up its report.
The matter is likely to be brought up next Tuesday when Thompson and Grade are scheduled to give evidence before the culture, media and sport select committee so the Statesman has a few days to put up or shut up.
New Statesman article:
2005-10-07: Entercom's New Orleans' WWL-AM website has been selected for inclusion in The United States Library of Congress Web Preservation Project in the collection of Internet materials related to Hurricane Katrina for its contributions to the New Orleans community both during and after the hurricane.
During the period the station was a prime source of news to the area and its site was constantly updated to include up-to-the-minute emergency information and streaming audio of the WWL-AM radio broadcast. It also set up "Find friends and family" section of the site where people could post messages to locate families or friends.
WWL-AM we site:
2005-10-07: Around 400 people attending a "Town Meeting on the Future of the Media" held at the University of Iowa's Pomer-antz Center have heard calls for media to remain under local control rather than being sold to large corporations.
Amongst those speaking was Democrat Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, one of two Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): He appeared with Jordan Goldstein, an aide of his fellow Democrat FCC commissioner Michael J. Copps, and criticised US broadcasters for their lack of coverage of local issues, and said what he wanted to ensure was that things were done in the public interest not just the furtherance of corporate profit.
He added of the FCC, "What we've done over the years is to pull our own fangs, and we have become basically a toothless tiger."
"I think the public is better served hearing many voices rather than a handful of giant voices across a number of outlets they own," commented Adelstein.
The meeting is one of a series being held in the wake of court rulings that prevented the introduction of new eased media regulations passed by the Republican majority on the FCC in June 2003 when its chairman was Michael Powell.
Adelstein warned that although the FCC needed to move promptly on new rules it was important to get them right since once mergers had been allowed it was almost impossible to undo the mergers: "You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube," he said. "We need to be cautious so we don't let any of it squeeze out."
He was backed up by Eliot Keller, general manager of KZIA-FM in Cedar Rapids, who said his was the only locally-owned station in the market - the others are owned by Clear Channel and Cumulus, and commented, "I hope the FCC doesn't allow local ownership to go the way of the dinosaur."
Iowa Press-Citizen report:
2005-10-07: India's Information and Broadcasting Minister S. Jaipal Reddy has told the 14th national convention of the Association of Radio and Television Engineering Employees meeting in Chennai that he favours reviving licence fees for radios and TV sets to make Prasar Bharathi, the body that oversees India's public broadcasting, financially viable.
Noting that public TV service Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) together have a deficit of around INR 12 billion (USD 272 million) a year after government funding and their commercial revenues are taken into account-an amount he said was not huge for a nation with a billion-plus population - Reddy drew parallels with the BBC in Britain and NHK in Japan, both of which receive funding from licence fees, and said there was "nothing wrong" in people contributing to the expenses of a public broadcaster.
As an alternative to the licence fee, he suggested there could be a one-time tax to put Prasar Bharati into a viable position.
Previous Indian Radio:
Previous Prasar Bharati:
2005-10-07: Cricket success for England contributed substantially to BBC online listening in August according to figures released by the Corporation that show in the month overall listening totalled 16.1 million hours, up nearly 19% on July and 86% on a year earlier: BBC Five Live Sports Extra and Radio 4 long wave benefited particularly from cover of the Ashes cricket matches against Australia with 2 million hours and a quarter-of-a-million hours listening respectively, triple their previous record figures. For Five Live Sports Extra the listening was up nearly 260% on June and more than five times that of a year ago.
Of the online listening total of 16.1 million hours, live listening at 10.9 million hours was up 16% on July and 110% on a year ago whilst on-demand listening of 5.2 million hours was 25% up on July and 50% on a year earlier.
In terms of network listening in August this year, the rankings were - Total listening hours-live plus on-demand and percentage change compared to July then to August 2004:
Radio 1 - 4,108,963 + 19.6%; + 51.1%
Radio 2 - 2,653,673 + 9.2%%; + 67.0%.
Radio 4 - 2,147,512 -3.8%; +56.8%.
5 Live Sports Xtra - 2,013,774 + 258.2%; + 531.2%.
*5 Live Sports Extra was tenth in July.
BBC 7 - 1,332,598 + 38.25%; 92.1%
Radio 5 Live- 1,004,555 -30.4% +234.7%.
- *BBC 7 was fifth in July and 5 Live was fourth.
Radio 3 - 714,101 + 14.1%; + 66.9%
6 Music - 606,722 + 10.7%; 30.2%.
1Xtra - 522,555 + 5.87%; 11.9%.
Asian Network 207,257 + 8.01%; + 29.6%.
The top five on-demand programmes in August were:
1- The BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers with 387,476 listens in August, down 2.2 % on July.
2 - Chris Moyles on BBC Radio 1 with 391,140 listens in August, up 56.7 % on July.
3 - The Essential Selection on BBC Radio 1 with 307,743 76 listens in August, up 84.5 % on July.
4 - Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1 with 160595 listens in August, up 62.0% on July and up a rank.
5 - Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 1 with 156,886 listens in August, up 99.5% on July when it was ranked 15th.
* Just A Minute on Radio 4, which was fourth in July, was ninth with 121,952 listens, down 25.8%.
Previous BBC Online figures:
2005-10-06: Viacom has now filed details of its plans to split itself into two public companies - a new Viacom including its cable and entertainment activities and a new CBS Corporation that will include CBS, UPN, Infinity and book publisher Simon and Schuster although it gives no firm date for the split.
Current shareholders will receive half a share in each of the new companies for each share they now hold.
It has also announced two executive appointments linked with the split.
Infinity Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jacques Tortoroli, a former CFO at Westwood One, has been appointed Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of new Viacom, following the separation of the organization into two publicly traded companies. He will report to Michael J. Dolan, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of new Viacom, which will be headed by long-time MTV chief Tom Freston.
Going to the new CBS is Viacom Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer Susan C. Gordon, who has been appointed Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of CBS Corporation.
She will report to Fredric G. Reynolds, who will serve as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of CBS Corporation, which is to be headed by current CBS head Les Moonves.
Viacom filing (752 kb 315 Page PDF):
2005-10-06: Australian Broadcasting Corporation Sydney breakfast host Julie McCrossin who only a month ago (See RNW Sep 7) took over the slot on ABC 702 from Angela Catterns, who moved to DMG's Vega station in Sydney has resigned from the post for health reasons.
A statement released by ABC local radio said, "Julie feels that she is unable to continue to present the program. She has found herself unable to cope with the early hours required and this has affected her health."
McCrossin had been off air this week and her fill-in Simon Marnie will continue to host the programme until October 14 after which Sarah McDonald, who is currently hosting ABC Radio National's Life Matters until October 14, will take over for the rest of the year.
ABC 702 station manager Roger Summerill said in a statement, "We had encouraged Julie to stay and had hoped she would reconsider. We are disappointed with her decision to resign."
Before moving to the breakfast show McCrossin hosted Life Matters; she is understood to be talking to the network about a return to Radio National.
2005-10-06: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Canadian Media Guild (CMG) have now signed a return to work protocol that will put locked-out workers back on the payroll from Friday although most will not return to work until Tuesday after Thanksgiving Monday.
The protocol assumes that CMG members will ratify the agreement in voting to take place from today until Sunday and also has provisions for an earlier return to work of some staff this week to make essential preparations for the restoration of services. In addition staff on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and CFL on CBC are to be asked to return to work early on a voluntary basis so that the programmes can be aired at the weekend.
The protocol says that during the ratification period there will be no picketing at sports venues or of vehicles associated with airing sports programming and all picketing is to cease immediately on ratification of the agreement.
Where employees have made commitments that prevent them from returning to work immediately they will be given some leeway through being allowed - on the basis that they are "legitimate requests- to use up to 2 weeks of time-off-in-lieu and/or annual leave to bridge the time required.
The agreement includes pay rises of 12.6 per cent over the life of the contract (See RNW Oct 4) and a lump sum is to be paid on October 27 to cover amounts owed retroactively.
Agreement protocol (6 page, 107 KB PDF):
2005-10-06: UK GCap Media has made more staff from the former Capital Radio redundant as part of its restructuring under which according to comments made to the UK Guardian by its Chief Executive Ralph Bernard some 70 to 100 posts are to be lost.
In an update the company said it had identified around GBP 25 million in cost savings (USD 44 million), more than three times the GBP 7.5 million(USD 13.2 million) a year it had originally estimated would be saved by the merger of Capital and GWR (See RNW Sep 29).
Staff at Capital 95.8FM are currently being told if they are to be retained with around 15 jobs going including half the station's producers.
Previous GCap Media:
2005-10-05: Clear Channel President and CEO Mark Mays has told the Progress and Freedom Foundation that "free radio is at risk" and continued, "And I'm here to say in the strongest possible terms that - just as we did 10 years ago - free radio needs the government to step up."
Mays commented on the role played after Hurricanes Katrina and Tina, saying, " The past five weeks have given us enormous clarity on free radio's vital role in our local communities. Radio was, literally, the lifeline to thousands who were trapped in the floodwaters along the Gulf Coast. It was free radio professionals who opened impassable roads and waded through life-threatening waters to restore broadcasts. It was free radio that dispatched rescue workers to people trying to escape rising water by climbing onto their roofs. It was free radio that delivered life-saving information from local authorities to citizens, including where to get water and food and ice. And it was free radio that put aside corporate affiliations to combine resources and staff to create an unprecedented 24/7 joint broadcast that saved peoples' lives.
When the electricity didn't work. When television didn't work. When the Internet didn't work. When pay radio didn't work. Free radio worked."
Mays then went on to say, "free radio faces more competitive threats than at any other time in our history and none of these threats are crippled by the at-times suffocating regulations that stifle free radio" and then enumerated the i-Pod and Podcasts, Internet radio, Wireless phones- none of them regulated - "And perhaps the most alarming - each of the two satellite radio companies has more than 120 stations in every single market in the continental United States. And the content on satellite radio is not regulated. In contrast, free radio is limited to just 8 stations per market. And both our content and delivery system are highly regulated."
"Make no mistake - free radio does not fear competition. We just want to be able to compete fairly," he continued, enumerating various ways in which radio was meeting challenges, including his company's programming for the Internet and the iPod, for cell phone service and in-vehicle navigation companies, and investment in HD digital radio.
This, however, he said was not enough, and just as in 1996 de-regulation by Congress allowed enough flexibility to turn free radio into Free "a profitable industry" action was now needed again.
Mays called for regulation of satellite by passage of H.R. 998, the "Local Emergency Radio Service Preservation Act of 2005" that would formalise rules prohibiting satellite companies from carrying local services and also for further easing of ownership limits.
"In markets with 60 stations or more," said Mays, "there is room to raise the local ownership cap from 8 to 10 stations. In markets with 75 stations or more, there is room to raise the local ownership cap from 8 to 12 stations."
"Free radio is not asking for a handout. Free radio is not asking to be completely unregulated.
Free radio is asking for a level playing field," said Mays. "And creating a level playing field has always been the government's most important and noble role in business."
RNW comment: Our view is that the Mays argument could easily be transposed into a defence of the horse and cart against the technology of the automobile: It reads well but when the PR bull is taken out it boils down to a self-serving plea for government action to allow Clear Channel to grow and limit competition from satellite. It's what we would expect and may well gain support in the same way that lobbying - bribery it would probably be called elsewhere - of politicians has allowed other businesses to push forward changes that in our view have not so much created a level playing field so much in many cases as move funding from taxpayers to the benefit of those businesses.
In terms of greater concentration of ownership, we think Mays' argument is undercut to such a degree through the ability to put extra channels on HD radio that it deserves contempt more than serious consideration.
In terms of dealing with the challenges from new technology our view is that Mays should take a lesson from the mythology of King Canute (he didn't actually believe the tide wouldn't come in) and accept that either Clear Channel can attract an audience in the changed world or will fold in due course.
Which takes us to the value of the medium of radio as an information source - at normal times as well as in disasters when power outages and other problems may well put other media out of action, there is a case for serious consideration of what services the US needs to have available and how they should be funded. The answer is not necessarily to give any relief to the Clear Channels of this world - it might even be a better solution for the government to fund satellite services since in their case there are no transmission towers to be damaged by a storm.
Overall the whole speech of Mays should in our view be treated as a cue to think seriously on the last issue and go where logic and national interest dictate and the rest should be almost completely disregarded as anti-free market pleading.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Text of HR 998:
2005-10-05: The Macquarie Bank Group has now launched its new Macquarie Media Group (MMG), which is seeking to raise between AUD 927 million and 996 million (USD 708 million to 761 million) in an initial public offering of stapled securities [securities where investors own two or more securities which are generally related and bound together through one vehicle as holding a share in a unit trust and a linked share in a fund's management company].
MMG is being launched with initial assets of a 100% holding in Macquarie Regional Radioworks Pty Limited, which combines the assets of RG Capital Radio Limited and DMG Regional Radio Pty Limited that were acquired last year.
The issue is being structured through the issue of 195.25 million stapled securities (including the issue of 40 million stapled securities to Macquarie) with each stapled security comprising one unit in Macquarie Media Trust, issued by Macquarie Media Management Limited (MMML), and one share in Macquarie Media Holdings Limited (MMHL) stapled together.
The Offer price per stapled security will be payable in two instalments. The final price of the first instalment will be set by way of a bookbuild [a method of determining the price of a stock before it is floated on the stock exchange], which will have an indicative price range of AUD 2.70 -3.05 per stapled security. The second instalment price will be AUD2.00 per stapled security and will be payable on the first anniversary of the allotment date of stapled securities under the Offer. Proceeds from the first instalment will be used to acquire a 100% interest in Macquarie Regional Radioworks from Macquarie, repay the existing borrowings of Macquarie Regional Radioworks and its holding company, Macquarie Media Group Pty Limited, and fund the costs of the capital raising. The proceeds of the second instalment will be used to make further acquisitions in the media sector.
The retail offer for MMG will commence on October 18 and close on November 3, with the price of the first instalment expected to be announced on November 10.
MMG executive chairman Tim Hughes, formerly former RG Capital chairman, has little media experience outside the radio industry but the fund has a broader remit - "to acquire, own and manage a broad portfolio of media assets."
He commented, "We are delighted to offer investors the opportunity to participate in MMG. This exciting new fund managed by the Macquarie will provide investors with a combination of exposure to the attractive investment characteristics of the media sector as well as the stable underlying cash flow of Macquarie Regional Radioworks. The combination of the partly paid securities and the fact that MMG will be ungeared at listing means that MMG is well positioned to capitalise on opportunities that meet its investment criteria."
Previous Macquarie Bank/Macquarie Regional Radio:
2005-10-05: Following on the heels of XM, which has just announced that its added 620,000 subscribers in the third quarter of the year - up 47% on a year earlier (See RNW Oct 4), Sirius Satellite Radio says it added some 360,000, a 97% increase on a year earlier in its case.
Sirius has now added more than a million subscribers so far this year and now has more than 2.17 million; it says it expects to reach three million by the end of the year compared to XM's estimate of topping the six million mark.
Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin said in a news release, "We continued to experience strong subscriber growth during the third quarter, which was the best third quarter in our history, and increased our market share from the year-ago quarter by more than 20%. With the traditionally heavy holiday selling period coming up, we fully expect demand for our service to accelerate significantly through the remainder of the year With the recent introduction of our new programming line-up, which will include Martha Stewart Living Radio later this year and Howard Stern in January 2006, we are ushering-in an exciting new chapter in satellite radio."
2005-10-05: According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Canadians have missed CBC radio most during the lockout of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) staff that is now in its eighth week although there are hopes that it a tentative agreement reached with the Canadian Media Guild will be speedily ratified.
"Neither CBC management nor the Canadian Media Guild distinguished between radio, television or the Internet when presenting their sides to the public," notes the paper, "But many of the issues raised (such as whether the CBC can remain competitive) were directed more toward television. Has CBC Radio been unfairly burdened by TV during the lockout and the damage the lockout may have done to audience loyalty?"
It reports that Arthur Lewis, executive director of the advocacy group Our Public Airways, told a recent pro-CBC rally in Ottawa. "I'll bet a lot of you are supporters of CBC Radio. "But you've probably said, 'CBC Television? I'm not so sure...I could live without it.' And I hear this from people all the time."
Lewis argued that the reason wasn't just the increase in available channels but "rather, it's because so many years of government cuts have impoverished CBC and driven it -- particularly CBC Television -- to be so dependent on commercial revenue, that it has skewed programming choices."
The paper says regaining the TV audience is likely to be more difficult than regaining the radio one, although both have now to catch up, and quotes Michael Nolan, an industry veteran and professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario as saying, "I would be concerned if I was a CBC Television executive" with the fall season now well under way I was a little surprised there wasn't a greater groundswell of public opinion upset about the lockout. And if I was the CBC I would be very worried about this, because over these seven weeks they have lost position. And they are going to have to get that back some way -- or try to get it back."
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2005-10-05: Yet another judge is to handle court proceedings against conservative US talk host Rush Limbaugh in future: The case was originally assigned to Circuit Judge Jeffrey Winikoff who transferred it to Circuit Judge Thomas Barkdull III after a ruling by the 4th District of Appeal issued a mandate that Barkdull, the judge who issued search warrants for Limbaugh's medical records should decide which records were relevant to the warrants.
Barkdull has now transferred the proceedings to Circuit Judge David Crow, saying that following his decision which records should be turned over to prosecutors investigating possible doctor-shopping offences he has no jurisdiction over other parts of the case.
Palm Beach Daily News report:
2005-10-05: The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of Ireland (BCCI) upheld no complaints against radio and only one against TV - an advert it held to infringe the " general principle of decency" in September.
In all the BCCI considered 18 complaints finding one frivolous and vexations and losing it without further investigation, deferring two and ruling on 15 others.
Not upheld were eight radio complaints, two involving NewsTalk 106 and the others involving RTÉ Radio 1, and six TV complaints, all but one against TG4 involving RTÉ TV1.
2005-10-04: US radio revenues, which fell 2% in July (See RNW Sep 3) rebounded by the same amount in August when overall revenues were up 2% with local advertising up 3%, national figures flat and non-spot revenues down 5% on a year earlier.
Year-to-date figures show total combined spot and non-spot sales figures up 1% on a year earlier with both local and national sales up 1% and non-spot revenues flat.
On RAB's sales index, that sets pre-dot com 1998 to 100, the sales indices for August are local, 131.1; national, 121.0 and total combined local and national, 127.1 whilst corresponding year-to-date figures are 140.1; 141.2; and 140.2.
RAB President and CEO Gary Fries commented, "Radio remains relevant to today's consumers, even as new media proliferates. During the recent tragedies in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, we witnessed the significance of Radio's unduplicated localism and mobility. As Radio transitions into the digital arena with HD Radio, its ability to engage consumers on a variety of levels will accelerate its growth even further."
Previous RAB figures (July):
2005-10-04:Talks are continuing between the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Canadian Media Guild about details of implementation of a tentative agreement on a contract until the end of March 2009 that would end the lockout of CBC staff - now entering its eighth week.
Both sides met federal Labour Minister Joe Fontana briefly on Monday before returning to meetings to set a timetable on a return to work.
An earlier statement from CBC management said the two sides had "reached a tentative agreement that, if ratified, will end the current lockout of CMG-represented staff at the Corporation" and continued, "These last seven weeks have been very difficult for everyone throughout the Corporation, and we will work hard to overcome the challenges that this labour dispute has presented for us - our future as an organization depends on it. We look forward to seeing everyone back at work, doing what they do best: creating and broadcasting exceptional television, radio and online programming for Canadians across the country."
The CMG on its web site says of the agreement, "We have an agreement in principle! We are very pleased to report that the Canadian Media Guild and CBC management have reached an agreement in principle that will form the basis for a new, fair collective agreement."
It then continues, "We still have work to do. A committee will be formed to write the remaining contract language to form a tentative agreement for ratification. The next phase of negotiations is to work out a return to work protocol. We'll get back to you with more details as quickly as we can. Until further notice, picket lines will remain in effect."
Under the tentative agreement the Corporation's use of contract staff will be limited to 9.5% of its permanent workforce plus 80 jobs, a ratio to be maintained until at least the end of June, 2010, and around 90 current contract employees will also have, for the first time, the opportunity to convert to staff. Those who remain on contract cannot be terminated during their contracts except for just cause or lack of work and contract workers will have access to a pension after two-years including a buyback option that will also apply to any contract worker who takes a staff post.
Temporary employees will gain the right to convert to staff if they have worked in the same position in the same location and component for 18 months and will accrue seniority for use in progression on salary scales and upon becoming permanent.
Contract workers will be entitled to severance pay and severance pay at retirement will be maintained for all existing employees and will include anyone on contract who converts to staff after ratification but those hired after ratification will not be eligible for severance on retirement.
Staff salary increases have also been agreed comprised of across the board increases for a total of 12.6% for the life of the collective agreement - 2.5 % for 2004, 2.5% for 2005, 2.1% for 2006, 2.5% for 2007, and 3.0% for 2008 and freelancers will receive the same across the board increases except for 2006 when their increase is 2.5%, not 2.1%, making a total of 13% over the life of the agreement.
2005-10-04: Yet another former Capital Radio executive is leaving GCap Media, the company formed through Capital's merger with GWR: the departure of Graham Bryce, managing director of Capital Radio's Xfm, Choice and Capital Gold stations, is expected to be among a number of management changes anticipated at the company as former GWR and now GCap chief executive Ralph Bernard restructures the company following the departure of former Capital Radio and GCap chief executive David Mansfield (See RNW Sep 20)
Bryce joined Capital in 1994 as an accountant and then became a strategist before becoming Xfm managing director with Choice and Gold being later added to his remit.
Also at Xfm, former Kenickie lead singer Lauren Laverne, who has hosted the station's drive time slot since January last year, is to take over the breakfast show from Christian O'Connell who is moving to SMG-owned rival Vigin (See RNW May 19)
And in another London breakfast show move, BBC London has now formally announced that Jono Coleman will take over its breakfast show on October 17, co-hosting the "Jono and Jo" show with current host JoAnne Good.
The BBC station had wanted Coleman, who was dropped at breakfast host on Chrysalis-owned Heart FM in London in favour of Jamie Theakston, to move in earlier to replace Danny Baker but Chrysalis refused to release him before the end of his contract.
Jono commented, "I love JO I think we will have a great laugh and will need to keep each other awake in those early hours!" and she responded, "I'm concerned as to who's going to be the sobering influence on this show! It's not me and I have a wonderful feeling it won't be Jono! "
2005-10-04: XM Satellite Radio says it added nearly 620,000 subscribers during the third quarter to end with a total of more than 5.05 million, an increase of 48% on the year earlier figures when it added 415,000 net new subscribers.
President and CEO Hugh Panero said this year "continues to be a phenomenal year for XM Satellite Radio, with more than 1.8 million new net subscribers since the beginning of 2005."
"During the third quarter," he added, "we increased our lead as the number-one satellite radio company by topping five million subscribers, and we expect to surpass six million by the end of the year. This was our best third quarter ever, and with a tremendous line-up of new products and programming choices, we expect the fourth quarter to be the most successful in the history of our company."
In other satellite radio news, WorldSpace, which went public in August (See RNW Aug 7), has completed the move of its headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Silver Spring, Maryland.
The company, in which XM now has a USD 25 million strategic shareholding (See RNW Jul 20) - and which in its early days licensed its technology to XM but later sold the rights for USD 75 million, says the new office, which features more than 52,000 square feet of space, is expected to "foster greater synergy among staff and accommodate future growth."
Chairman and CEO Noah Samara commented, "While WorldSpace has enjoyed its DC location for the last 10 years, the move to Silver Spring strategically places us in the heart of the media industry and is consistent with our ongoing strategy to grow our satellite radio services globally."
2005-10-04: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the new Barrow-in-Furness FM licence in Cumbria that it advertised in April (See RNW Apr 8) to Abbey FM Ltd.
Abbey, which is owned by The Radio Business Ltd (35%), CN Group LTD (30%) and The Local Radio Company LTD(35%), is offering a locally focussed full-service, music and information lifestyle station for 25-64 year-olds.
It was competing against an application from Barrow Local Radio Limited, which was offering a service of contemporary and classic popular music together with local news and information.
Previous CN Group:
2005-10-03: It was a toss-up this week whether to start our look at print comment on radio with the negative or positive - the coin came down heads so step forward UK Sunday Times columnist Paul Donovan, playwright Harold Pinter and BBC Radio 3.
Donovan began his latest Radio Waves column, "When Harold Pinter first wrote to the BBC, as a struggling young actor in the early 1950s, few recipients could read his signature. John Arlott, better known as a cricket commentator, but then producing poetry, replied: 'Dear Miss Pinter.' Radio drama wrote to him: 'Dear Mr Puiter.' His name was written down internally as 'Herbert Pinta'...More than half a century later, the only indignities to assail him now are those that are fully intended."
"Friend and foe alike, here and the world over, know exactly how to spell his name and who he is: playwright, poet, director, actor, screenplay-writer, polemicist and scourge of western foreign policy."
Donovan notes that the BBC Third programme "played a key role in nurturing someone with such a gift for revealing people through the nuances and pauses of their spoken language" and continues, "Not surprisingly, therefore, the Third's successor, Radio 3, marks his anniversaries. It is doing so again soon. A week tomorrow, on his 75th birthday, it will broadcast his latest work, Voices, a haunting, uncomfortable, unsettling mix of fragments of speech (in English and Azeri) and discordant music (composed by James Clarke) Before that, on Wednesday, a Night Waves discussion of his work with Peter Hall and Patricia Hodge is followed by a repeat of a famous radio production from 1990 of Betrayal, about the intricate deceits of adultery. Michael Gambon plays the ex-lover; Hodge plays the wife; and Pinter himself is the husband."
Donovan comments of the success of the play "it is idle to pretend that it has not derived added piquancy from its auto- biographical echoes" and notes Pinter's betrayal of his first wife, the actress Vivien Merchant when he had an affair with Joan Bakewell, who was betraying her husband, Michael.
After further comments on why Pinter is sometimes reviled, Donovan ends on a doubly positive note regarding the playwright and the radio station "He is also, it should be said (but often is not), a fine story-teller I asked him whether he listens to Radio 3 as well as writing for it. He did not answer that, but said: "The importance of the Third Programme and of Radio 3 cannot be overstated. It has meant a great deal to me for nearly 50 years." He is not alone in those sentiments."
After the praise, even if tempered with some reality, a less positive view of last week's presenting debut on BBC Radio 2 by actor Johnny Depp: Writing in the UK Observer of his programme on actor James Dean, who was killed in a car crash, Sue Arnold says that when someone from the BBC Radio 4 media chat show, The Message, called her to ask what she "thought about Hollywood superstars hosting radio programmes" she responded "Not a lot."
This she continues "was a bit mean and not strictly true. That's the trouble with knee-jerk reactions. Instant, stereotypical images pop up in your head."
After comments on images that had popped up and the probably reality Arnold writes, "As for his presenting skills, frankly, if I hadn't known it was Johnny Depp, I'd never have guessed. That subdued, unemotional voice intoning what sounded like an entry from Roget's Thesaurus to describe the star as 'rejected, sincere, arrogant, sensitive, feared, confused, unloved, violent, lonesome, uncontrollable, moody, tormented' that kicked in straight after the blockbusting, Cinemascope fanfare was perfectly anonymous Radio isn't the best vehicle for megastars. Their faces may be instantly recognisable but their voices, especially their own, out-of-character voices, are not. [RNW comment - we would suggest there are exceptions -listen, for example to any Richard Burton work on radio drama.]
Arnold, however, balances the criticism with some positive comments "With or without Depp, the live-fast, die-young story of James Dean is fascinating. My only complaint is that I'd rather have had more facts about his life than nostalgic memories from fans, such as Bill Wyman, David Puttnam and Adam Faith, recalling how much he influenced them as teenagers... On the wider issue of Hollywood stars muscling in on Radio 2 documentaries, what it demonstrates more than anything is the global reputation and pulling power of the BBC. What other organisation could get such big names to work for peanuts? Not enough people appreciate this. Now is as good a moment as any to remind you that, along with Coca-Cola, the BBC's is the most recognised logo in the world."
Instant stereotypical images we'd estimate popped up in many heads last week when Salem host and former U.S. education secretary and national drug policy director William Bennett said on his "Bill Bennett's Morning in America"show that aborting black babies would reduce crime.
The full quotation was, "I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky", but the second part did not leaven the criticism that flowed in from the White House downwards.
Bennett himself, who had note that the comments were made in response to a caller who suggested that Social Security would be in better financial shape if abortion were illegal, leaving more people to pay into the system, was anything but apologetic. In an interview on Fox News, he accused critics of distorting his comments by omitting the remark on the morality of the idea and on his show he subsequently called the criticism "ridiculous, stupid, totally without merit" and said, "I was pointing out that abortion should not be opposed for economic reasons, any more than racism or for that matter slavery or segregation should be supported or opposed for economic reasons," he said. "Immoral policies are wrong because they are wrong, not because of an economic calculation. One could just as easily have said you could abort all children and prevent all crime, to show the absurdity of the proposition."
RNW comment: Had Bennett indeed made the more general remark about aborting all children, his defence would be much more sound as it would, bearing in mind his background, had he suggested sterilising all Republicans. As it is the remarks can easily be seen as implicitly racially divisive, whether intended to be or not and whether or not there was any conscious recognition of this.
His reactions on criticism of the comments he made on his show, audio of which he posted on his site together with the following show, are rather self-serving and Bennett on his Friday show makes much of handling tough questions but the show is largely one in which he spends his time attacking those who attack him and taking calls from the sycophantic (Maybe in fairness because nobody called who expressed cogent criticism). Bennet may well be right about those attacking him but he's certainly a pot to their kettle in some ways.
However we still have more time for Bennett than for Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who called Bennett's comments "regrettable and inappropriate" then could not forebear from attacking others and adding, "What's much worse is the hypocrisy . . . from the left."
Mehlman, to the best of our knowledge did not have enough of the man in him to be more specific, and without specifics to back them up rather than try to deflect criticism onto others the remarks are contemptible.
Enough however of hosts and on to listening and a good week on the BBC for authors and playwrights: We've already mentioned Harold Pinter in the context of BBC Radio 3 on Wednesday starting with a "Night Waves" discussion of Betrayal at 20:00 GMT followed by the "Drama on 3" repeat of the 1990 production of the play.
Before that BBC Radio 4 in "Front Row" tonight and tomorrow night is devoted to another British writer and playwright Alan Bennett and his conversation with Mark Lawson. As well as the regular show at 18:15 -45 GMT, tomorrow at 19:00 GMT the conversation continues in a 40 minutes special programme, "A War Against Prejudice."
Already aired, but available on the Listen Again part of the Radio 4 web site the most recent edition of "Bookclub" (which is repeated on Thursday at 15:00 GMT) featured playwright, screenwriter, novelist and film-maker Hanif Kureishi discussing his semi-autobiographical book The Buddha of Suburbia with James Naughtie and a group of readers.
And in the 1445 GMT Afternoon Reading slot on Radio 4 this week features work from Burmese writers including on Friday two essays from a collection of newspaper articles by Aung San Suu Kyi, the winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
Sticking to Radio 4 but changing to comedy, on Wednesday we'd suggest "Think The Unthinkable" in the 1730 GMT slot (Last week's programme will be available until then) and also "Dead Ringers" in the same slot on Friday (Again last week's programme will be available until then).
Finally back to writing but from a different perspective in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "All in the Mind", which on Saturday was "Writing on the Mind - the power of story telling" in which psychologist and therapist Michael White who co-founded the therapeutic technique known as Narrative Therapy, memoir writer and biographer Barbara Brooks join producer Gretchen Miller in conversation about the narratives of people's lives.
Bennett Show web site (Includes links to his statement and transcripts of his interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News):
New York Times re Bennett comments:
UK Observer - Arnold:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Washington Post re Bennett comments:
2005-10-03: The news blackout on proceedings in the talks between the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Canadian Media Guild was extended over the weekend until midnight local time on Sunday by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service with talks expected to continue overnight.
In the meantime the majority of some 300 CBC workers who responded to a survey on the CBCunplugged.com web site have plumped for October 11 as the date for the CBC to be back in operation.
October 11 was listed by 41% of respondents, with October 17 the next most popular date - with support from just under a fifth of respondents. There were also nearly 9% of optimists who thought there would be a return to work this week.
CBC unplugged web site:
2005-10-03: Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Wes Butters who was dropped from his chart show on the station in February to be replaced by JK and Joel (Jason Griffith and Joel Hogg) is to move back to his home area - he was born in Salford - as breakfast host on Chrysalis's Galaxy FM in Manchester.
The show is currently hosted by Nicksy (Simon Nicks), Lynsey Horne and "Irish Alan" Toner, the first two of whom are leaving the station; Toner will stay on the show.
Butters moved from Galaxy FM in Newcastle to take over the Radio 1 chart show from Mark Goodier in February 2003 (See RNW Feb 8, 2003); Since leaving Radio 1 he and former Virgin Radio DJ Daryl Denham have been involved in setting up the British-based website Podshows.com that offers paid-for podcasts by a number of British DJs and personalities (See RNW Apr 12).
2005-10-02: The main regulatory news last week came from Canada where the three companies granted audio subscription licences have now put in amendment applications (See story below): Elsewhere it was a very quiet week.
There was nothing radio related from Australia, Ireland, or the UK and in Canada the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a fairly quiet week.
In addition to publishing details of the amended audio subscription applications already mentioned, for which the deadline for comment is November 4, the CRTC approved one licence change: this was an application to increase the power of CIBU-FM, Wingham, from 21,200 watts to 70,140 watts and decrease its antenna height. The change would improve signal quality for the station but was opposed by two other licensees- Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of CFPS-FM Port Elgin, and Burlingham Communications Inc., the licensee of CIWV-FM Hamilton/Burlington.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a deadline for intervention of November 2, concerning a number of other applications including one by CJPX-FM, Montréal, which wants to use a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operations (SCMO) channel to broadcast predominantly Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Sinhalese-language programming and the other from CIWV-FM, which wants to increase its power from 11,390 watts to 21,400 watts.
It also noted the withdrawal of a request to extend the deadline to commence operation of a new French-language country music AM to serve Lévis (previously Saint-Nicolas), Quebec, that was authorised in 2000.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is still heavily mired in matters to do with communications failures during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, published its latest complaints figures, showing indecency complaints plummeting by more than 95% (See RNW Sep 29).
The FCC also commenced a hearing to determine whether amateur radio operator David Edward Cox, licensee of Amateur Radio Station W5OER, should have his licence revoked in due of recent felony convictions.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
2005-10-02: All three companies that were granted radio subscription licences in Canada have filed applications with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to vary the conditions of their licence with particularly drastic changes proposed by the CHUM-Astral consortium, which has already said that its original bid would not be viable were all three applicants to be granted licences.
CHUM, which has reaffirmed this comment, wants to be allowed to broadcast more foreign channels and repeats of programming already broadcast on Canadian AM or FM stations, and to broadcast commercials.
In place of its current licence for 50 channels all produced in Canada, CHUM wants to be allowed removal of the limit on numbers and to be allowed to package or link with each Canadian channel (now to be one that has at least 35% content) a non-Canadian audio channel although it says no subscribers would be offered a package in which "foreign-produced channels predominate."
Regarding repeats of terrestrial programming it wants to replace the original commitment to a maximum of 10% with 50%: it also wants to be allowed up to six minutes of advertising an hour rather than be commercial free.
CHUM has not guaranteed that it will go ahead even if the application is granted but has said it will not unless it is.
CHUM-Astral had bid with a terrestrial-based system that would initially have around 50 stations that would reach around 60% of Canadians in urban centres only, but it offered more Canadian content than the satellite bids.
The changes proposed by the satellite companies - Canadian Satellite Radio, which is partnered with XM, and Sirius Canada, whose partners are Sirius, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Standard Radio - are tidying up applications to increase their Canadian, specifically French-language commitments, as they had committed themselves to do to reduce opposition to their grant of licences.
CSR, which anticipates launching in December this year, is now proposing to start with a minimum four French language channels - of which two at least will be music channels - within its eight Canadian channels.
It is also proposing to "honour the principle of equality of linguistic service" for any additional Canadian channels it adds in its first three years of operation and says if within that period it exceeds its subscriber projections by a quarter or more but has not added at least two additional Canadian channels it will increase the percentage of its gross service revenues that it will use to support Canadian Talent Development from 5% to 6%
Sirius says it will also carry a minimum four French language channels within its eight Canadian channels of which a minimum will be music channels, will also maintain equality of language services - in other words one English and one French channel - if it is able to add two further Canadian channels in the three years following its launch and that it will also either add two Canadian channels or up its Canadian Talent Development contribution by 1% should it exceed its subscriber projections by a quarter.
Previous Sirius (Canada):
Previous Standard Radio:
2005-10-02: Entravision has announced successful completion of its new financing arrangements under which it has replaced its existing USD400 million senior secured bank credit facility with a new USD650 million senior secured bank credit facility consisting of consists of a 7-1/2-year USD500 million term loan and a 6-1/2-year USD150 million revolving credit facility.
Entravision says that due to strong market demand, the USD500 million term loan was attractively priced at LIBOR +150 and it successfully executed a USD500 million notional amount amortizing swap converting its USD500 million floating rate term loan into a fixed rate obligation at a rate of 5.96% for a five year period.
It also announced today that it has successfully completed its previously announced tender offer for USD 225,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 8.125% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2009.
In other US radio business, Alex Langer, former owner of Boston station WBIX-AM, currently operating under a business news format, has announced his intention to buy back the station, which he launched in 1997.
He sold it in January 2002 to former money manager Bradford Bleidt for USD 10 million but the deal went sour when Bleidt, who had not paid the full amount, was arrested after he attempted suicide and sent taped confessions of malpractice to the Securities and Exchange Commission (See RNW Nov 21, 2004).
Subsequently an agreement by Boston businessman Chris Egan to buy the station also collapsed and it was put back under Langer's control by the receiver (See RNW Dec 2, 2004).
The sale back to Langer has the approval of the court-appointed receiver and would involve Langer paying USD 1.5 million for WBIX, assuming USD 433,000 of station debt, and also giving up his claim to the -- USD7.5 million of the USD10 million sale price that he says Bleidt still owed him.
If Langer then sells the station within three years and received more than USD 10 million the receiver would get 25 percent of any amount above that sum to settle claims by defrauded investors.
Boston Business Journal report re WBIX:
2005-10-01: The UK Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) has come under widespread attack for censoring a radio advert for a prostate cancer charity: the cancer kills around 10,000 men a year in the UK.
The RACC, which oversees radio adverts in the UK, ordered the removal of a "squish" sound in the advert to be removed and restricted its airing until after 9p.m., a decision that actor Ricky Gervais, who donated his time to making the advert, said he could not understand.
In the advert Gervais plays a doctor who sticks his finger up the anus of a patient - a "digital rectal examination" to check for the cancer - although neither the words anus or rectum are used - told the BBC Radio 4 PM programme on Friday that he found the decision "ridiculous."
"I'm very proud of the noise because I did my own sound effects," he said and asked why it was offensive to discuss "something that actually happens?" and added that he didn't know who was going to take offence.
He described the RAAC action as "overprotective" and " a little bit silly" and likened the style of the advert to the British Carry-on comedy films.
The RAAC said in a statement that it deliberated for a long time before making the decision but decided the noise was "too graphic" and the theme meant that it should only be aired at appropriate times.
The Prostate Cancer Charity removed the noise and replaced it with silence but did not change the script in any other ways: Its chief executive, John Neate, said the advert was not offensive and said the decision was "draconian, unnecessary and completely unacceptable".
RNW note: The BBC PM programme as well as interviewing Gervais played the advert on air on Friday evening and for anyone who wants to make up their own mind, the charity has posted the advert as an MP3 (754kb) or Windows Media stream.
Prostate Cancer web site:
2005-10-01: Air America CEO Danny Goldberg has declared "untrue" claims that the network is in financial difficulties - made in two News Corporation media outlets - John Mainelli in the New York Post said the network was in bad financial shape and Bill O'Reilly on Fox News said it could be on "its last legs."
In a "blog" on Huffingtonpost he says the attacks come from "the same cast of right wing media characters who have attacked the Network for ideological reasons from day one" and that, contrary to their comments, "Air America is in strong financial shape."
Noting that the latest attacks followed the launch of the Air America Associates initiative in which he "asked our listeners to support our programming financially" Goldberg writes, "Many of our listeners also listen to NPR stations and Pacifica and are used to supporting radio programming they like. I got the idea from the Nation Magazine's program "The Nation Associates" which helps them fund investigative journalism. Like Air America Radio, The Nation is a for-profit company."
Goldberg makes comparisons with the means that various conservative hosts charge for extras - such as Rush Limbaugh's "Limbaugh Letter " and "24/7" service and the "EIB store" plus similar premium "membership" offers and goods for sale by O'Reilly and Sean Hannity.
He also takes up comments that Air America's ratings have been falling and says that although "Right wing bloggers have had fun cherry picking isolated pieces of ratings reports to distort the enormous enthusiasm Air America's growing audience has demonstrated" at the vast majority of our affiliates "Air America ratings are up."
"On a nationwide basis," says Goldberg, "the most recent Arbitron ratings Spring 2005 book showed that our affiliates reach over three million people per week each of whom listens for an average of several hours a week. This is more than triple the amount of people who were listening when measured one year earlier in the Spring, 2004 book."
Previous Air America:
Huffingtonpost - Goldberg comments plus responses from other bloggers:
2005-10-01: Negotiators in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) dispute whose associated lockout enters its eighth week on Monday are now in a two-day news blackout period that runs until this evening.
During the period talks between the CBC and Canadian Media Guild will continue under mediation led by Elizabeth MacPherson, director-general of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, who is said to be keeping Labour Minister Joe Fontana up to date on progress.
Fontana called the two sides to Ottawa on Monday (See RNW Sep 26 and has put pressure on for a settlement although he has been careful not to take sides.
2005-10-01: Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), whose plans to finance its USD 10.5 million purchase of WCAL-FM and KMSE-FM from St. Olaf College through tax-efficient bonds to be issued by St Paul City Council fell through last year (See RNW Dec 10, 2004) has now arranged financing through the St. Paul Port Authority.
The Authority agreed by a 4-2 vote to issue the bonds, a decision subject to Minnesota state approval, despite arguments that the deal would provide little economic benefit to the city.
The Pioneer Press quoted Port Authority Commissioner Dan Bostrom, who also is a City Council member, as saying, "What does this bring to the city of St. Paul? I would say absolutely nothing."
Amongst those who supported the bond issue Commissioner Kathy Lantry, who also is the City Council president, noted that it only meant that the Port Authority was giving its name to the bonds. "The port authority isn't subsidizing anything," she said and the authority's bond counsel Robyn Hansen responded to criticism by Michael McNabb, a lawyer for the group SaveWCAL, that the deal did not meet the requirements for public financing because it doesn't prevent widespread unemployment or blight by saying that it has broad power to finance economic development and that the deal wouldn't prevent other projects from going through.
McNabb also charged that the deal is tainted by a conflict of interest because Hansen's law firm, Leonard, Street & Deinard, does a substantial amount of work with Piper Jaffray & Co., the lead underwriter for the bond issue.
The law firm is not involved in this deal and port authority spokesman Tom Collins said the firm has disclosed its ties to Piper Jaffray in the past.
Pioneer Press report:
2005-10-01: The BBC has announced plans for nine new digital radio transmitters in England and Wales that will bring around 1.2 million more people within reach of its national DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) signal within a year.
In England the new transmitters will cover Canterbury (53,000 listeners); Kingston upon Hull and Grimsby (440,000 listeners); Kendal (42,000 listeners); Kings Lynn, Swaffham and Fakenham (114,500 listeners); Penrith (32.500 listeners); and Redruth, Truro, Penzance and parts of Newquay (250,000 listeners).
In Wales transmitters will offer cover to Aberystwyth (34,000 listeners in West Wales; Haverfordwest, Cardigan and Pembroke (114,000 listeners in South Wales) and Bangor, Llandudno and parts of Caernarfon and Conwy (110,500 listeners in North Wales).
The UK currently has the greatest penetration of digital radio in the world with approaching 2 million receivers now sold and additional listening via digital terrestrial and satellite TV platforms.
The receivers, which initially cost hundreds of pounds, now rang in price upwards from around GBP 50 (USD 90).
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Regarding external links, we give links where we can but an ever-increasing number of newspapers and stations either require registration or only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA).
Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
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