October 2007 Archive
- September 2007 - November 2007 -
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 previous relevant story. Regarding external links see note at end of page.
RNW September comment - Considers whether we would develop radio today if it did not already exist and concludes it still remains a very valuable medium for information.
RNW August comment - Considers whether we would develop radio today if it did not already exist and concludes it still remains a very valuable medium for information.
RNW July comment -Looks at regulation in other countries in the light of attacks on the idea of reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine in the US and concludes that other factors are much more important in affecting effective freedom of speech.
2007-10-31: Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin has said that it expects approval of its plans to merge with rival XM by the end of the year and that the deal could be closed within a day.
Speaking to analysts after release of the company's third quarter results that showed revenues up and losses down, Karmazin responded to a question on the merger by saying, "Assuming we get approval on a Monday, the assumption will be that the transaction will be closed on Tuesday."
Karmazin commented that he had been pleased by public comments in favour of the merger and added that almost all the opposition to it had been "directly or indirectly generated by those who fear enhanced competition."
"Momentum for the pending merger with XM continues to build," added Karmazin. "The public interest benefits and enhanced consumer choice that will come from the merger have garnered clear support from our customers, suppliers and other groups representing a diverse cross-section of Americans. Nearly all of the opposition to our proposed merger has been generated by those who fear enhanced competition. We will continue to work with the FCC and the DOJ to make the case that the merger offers more choices, including a la carte offerings, and lower prices for subscribers, and we continue to expect that the merger will be completed by year-end."
He described the results as "solid" and added, "Strong demand for the Sirius service drove robust subscriber growth and, when coupled with a continuing focus on cost control, allowed SIRIUS to significantly reduce our net loss and places us on-track to achieve our financial goals. We expect strong holiday season sales and we are targeting positive free cash flow for the fourth quarter of 2007."
Sirius ended the quarter with 7,667,476 subscribers, a 50% increase from a year earlier when it had 5,119,308. It said it had added 524,938 net subscribers during the quarter mostly from the OEM channel, which was responsible for 460,837 of them. This, said Sirius, was 63% of the market and the quarter was the eighth consecutive one when it had led in subscriber growth
Revenues for the quarter were up 45% year-on-year at USD 241.8 million with advertising accounting for USD 8.5 million of this.
Subscriber acquisition costs per gross addition went down from USD 114 a year earlier to USD 103 with an average monthly churn of 2.1%.
Its net loss was down 26% on a year earlier to USD 120.1 million (From 12 cents to eight cents per share) and the adjusted loss from operations was reduced by 32% to USD 56.9 million. Costs were higher with legal fees and compensation- related costs responsible for the bulk of a rise in general and administrative expenses from USD 21.6 million to USD 33.9 million whilst the increase in subscriber numbers, although leading to a 16.6% fall in the cost of customer service and billing expenses per average subscriber, put up the total from USD 16.6 million to USD 20.9 million - mainly because of higher call centre costs. Subscriber acquisition costs were up by 24.9% to USD 101 million.
The increases were partly offset by a USD 1.5 million fall in sales and markets expenses to USD 29.5 million and a USD 11.7 million fall in engineering, design and development expenses,
Sirius says for the first nine months of the year it has had revenues of USD 672.3 million, up 51.5% on a year earlier, with a net loss of USD 399 million (27 cents a share), down from USD 859.3 million ( 61 cents a share) a year earlier.
For the full year the company says it expects revenues to approach USD 1 billion with subscriber numbers s expected to top eight million and average monthly churn to be from 2.2% to 2.4%.
Sirius shares ended the day 8.86% down at USD 3.29.
2007-10-31: Latest Australian ratings from Nielsen Media Research show the leading stations in all the top markets holding on to their slots - talk was top in Adelaide (DMG Radio Australia's 5AA), Melbourne (Southern Cross Broadcasting's 3AW), and Sydney (Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB) and music in Brisbane (DMG's Nova) and Perth (Austereo's MIX FM).
Despite holding on to its lead in Sydney, 2GB got a shock at breakfast with Alan Jones, who has long dominated the rankings, losing a full 2.7 points and dropping from 16.1 to 13.4 whilst nearest rivals Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O at Austereo's 2-DAY went up from 11.4 to 11.6.
Jones's commercial talk rivals slipped back a little but nowhere near as much with Southern Cross Broadcasting's 2UE dropping from 7.9 to 2.4 and ABC 702 increasing its share from 10.1 to 10.7.
In the morning slot, John Laws, who is to retire next month, saw his share fall from 8.1 to 7.5 whilst 2GB, in first rank, was up from 13.1 to 13.4.
In afternoon drive , where 2-DAY kept the top rank but slipped from 11.6 to 10.7 just ahead of Nova with 10.5 -down from 10.7, 2GB lost its top talk ranking as Philip Clark's share dropped from 8.5 to 6.7, putting him behind both 2UE - Steve Price was up from 7.7 to 7.8 and the ABC - Richard Glover took his share up from 5.2 to 6.9.
In Melbourne, not only did Southern Cross's 3AW hold on to the top spot but its breakfast duo of Ross Stevenson and John Burns increased their dominance - they were up from 20.4 to 20.9 and had the highest share of any team in the country whilst second-ranked ABC 774 dipped from 14.4 to 14.1.
Austereo brushed over the slippage of Triple M - down from 10.3 to 9.3 in Brisbane; from 8.6 to 8.4 in Melbourne; and from 5.6 to 5.3 in Sydney - and highlighted its continuing FM lead in Sydney with 2-Day and in Melbourne with Fox as well as a steady performance in Adelaide where SAFM fell from 11.1 to 10.5 but increases in Brisbane where B105 took its share up from 11.1 to 11.5 and Perth where 92.9FM was up from 10.6 to 12.3 and moved from fifth to second rank.
Austereo Sydney General Manager Helen Davies said the result confirmed the nationwide strength of the Today Network, commenting, "Austereo's Today Network continues to have the number one FM stations in Sydney and Melbourne, and number two FM stations in Brisbane and Perth."
"The results in Perth and Brisbane," she added, "also confirm the strength of the format and strategy, with92.9FM and B105 completing stunning recoveries. Both stations faced enormous competitive challenges a little more than a year ago, but with ongoing focus and hard work the stations have been embraced by their audiences."
DMG, whose Vega stations continue to struggle - Sydney Vega increased share from 3.8 to 4.1 overall and Melbourne Vega from 3.6 to 3.7, concentrated in its comments on the Nova Network's success with the under 40's - it led the pack again in Sydney with the 18-24 and 25-39 demographics and has been top amongst those under 40 across Australia for 19 of the past 20 surveys.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 18.6 (17.0) - same rank; Mix with 16.0 (16.4) same rank; Nova with 11.7 (11.9) - same rank.
SAFM remained fourth but its share fell from 11.1 to 10.5 and ABC 891 in fifth lost share from 10.8 to 9.1.
*Brisbane - Nova with 15.4 (14.8) - same rank; B105 with 11.5 (11.1) - same rank; 97.3 FM with 10.8 (11.0) - same rank.
4BC moved up a rank to fourth with 10.1 (9.2) overtaking Triple M which dropped to fifth with 9.3 (10.3).
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.6 (15.5) - same rank; ABC 774 with 11.2 (11.2 -same rank); Fox FM with 11.1 (10.5) - same rank;
*Nova with 9.3 (9.3) remained fourth, ahead of Triple M with 8.4, down from 8.7
Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 16.2(17.5) - same rank; 92.9 with 12.3 (10.6) - up from fifth; ABC 720 with 11.6 (11.0) - previously third equal with Nova;
*96FM with 11.3 (12.35) - went down to fourth from second and Nova with 10.2 (11.0) dropped to fifth.
Sydney: 2GB 11.1 (12.7) - same rank; 2-DAY with 10.4 (10.5) - same rank; Nova with 9.2 (8.8) - up from fourth.
*2UE with 7.6 (7.9) fell from fourth to sixth behind ABC 702 with 8.6 (7.5) and up a rank to fourth and 1170-2CH, which moved up from seven to fifth with 7.8 (6.9), WSFM, whose share fell from 7.2 to 5.9 went down from sixth to seventh.
Previous ABC Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Previous Southern Cross:
2007-10-31: Irish Broadcaster, book author and psychiatrist Professor Anthony Clare, who popularized psychiatry through his work on BBC Radio 4 through his programme "In The Psychiatrist's Chair" has died aged 64 in Paris from a heart attack. He had been due to retire in two months from the post of consultant adult psychiatrist at St Edmundsbury hospital in Lucan, Co Dublin.
Dublin-born Clare was the best known psychiatrist in Britain during the 1980s and 90s and began the programme, known for probing interviews of personalities, on TV in 1982 before it transferred to radio. He had also broadcast on BBC Radio 4's "Stop the Week", "All in the Mind", and "Father Figures".
Paying tribute, Mark Damazer, Controller, Radio 4, said: "Anthony Clare had a unique interviewing style and In The Psychiatrist's Chair was a gold-standard Radio 4 programme. He was perceptive, unafraid and yet courteous. It was a potent mix. His subjects were not in the chair to be belittled.
"But as his questioning unfolded the audience invariably discovered more about the thoughts and emotions of the famous and powerful. He was a terrific broadcaster."
2007-10-30: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the satellite radio companies Sirius and XM are again engaged in a propaganda battle with the latter gaining the support of eleven house members, only one of them a Republican- Texas Rep. Ralph Hall -, signing a letter in favour of the satellite companies merger and the former producing another study from the Carmel Group that says the two satellite companies compete directly but not with the rest of the radio market.
This study is the second part of a review of the proposed merger completed by The Carmel Group on behalf of the NAB and both come out against the merger.
This latest report includes what it terms a "Sirius vs. XM Ping-Pong Chart" to illustrate the ways in which consumers have benefited from innovations and programming introduced by the two companies to fight of competition from the other.
NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said of the study, "Contrasting XM and Sirius's history of competitive behaviour with their track record of abusing FCC rules, the central question remains: Should two fierce competitors with a demonstrable record of FCC rule-breaking be rewarded with monopoly power? We -- along with consumer groups, minority organizations, antitrust experts and more than 80 members of Congress -- think the answer is no."
The letter from the lawmakers, sent to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin J. Martin, comments on the "overwhelming consolidation of the radio industry, which, we believe, has led to decreased diversity in programming" and praises the satellite companies for increasing it, writing, "Satellite radio has already created the model for incorporating new artists, old favourites, and the current top forty in the same play list."
They add, "Synergies created by the merger of Sirius and XM will create new opportunities for this type of diverse programming that has been overlooked by terrestrial-radio broadcasters. This merger will allow the companies to offer more diverse content by consolidating programming and better utilizing capacity to offer even more unique and diverse programming to currently underserved populations."
RNW comment: Is it just us who wonders why, if there is no competition to terrestrial radio from satellite radio the NAB is spending so much time lobbying against this merger?
We think there are arguments against the merger for competitive reasons and ended up coming out against the merger on these grounds in our February comment.
Bearing in mind the NAB's support for easing of regulations, however, we can only conclude its leaders are shameless propagandists and hypocrites , liars or plain stupid.
Any lawmaker should in our view glance at anything from them to see what their line is; bin their paperwork without any further examination and then get a staffer to try and make a convincing case not to automatically vote the other way.
We don't believe the satellite companies are that much better but their approach has been more intelligent and consistent and were we not strongly in favour of market competition might well have tipped us into supporting the merger.
2007-10-30: GCap Media has, as expected (See RNW Oct 20), won the national airtime sales contract for GMG Radio that had previously been handled by Chrysalis before it was taken over by Global Radio.
GCap already manages the national revenue for GMG Radio's two Century FM stations in the North West and North East of England and from January 1 next year will take on the contract all of GMG's current 11 stations -it has the Real Radio, Smooth Radio and Rock Radio brands as well as the two Century stations.
GMG is to take in house its national sponsorship and promotions, previously handled by Chrysalis and GCap, along with local sales at London's Smooth Radio and regional sales for Century Radio.
GCap's Managing Director London, Fru Hazlitt commented of the contract, "We are delighted to have secured this important contract with GMG. By adding these stations to our own family of well known radio brands including Classic FM, Capital 95.8 and Xfm, we will be able to offer our clients a powerful and unrivalled radio opportunity across the UK."
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2007-10-30: iBiquity has announced the formation of a European HD Radio Alliance to be chaired by Juerg Bachman of Energy Zurich with other members from the Ukraine, and Poland: Vice Chairman is Andriy Karpiy, First Ukrainian Radio Group, Ukraine; General Secretary is Markus Ruoss, Ruoss AG und Radio Sunshine, Switzerland; General Director is Andrea Sentinelli, Europejskie Radio dia Bialorusi, Poland; and Treasurer is Perry Priestley of iBiquity Digital, US.
HD has been tested in Bosnia, the Czech Republic, France, Poland, Switzerland and the Ukraine as well as in Asia and South America but has so far not made any major inroads into markets outside the US although it has been broadcast in the Philippines for two years, on buses in Thailand and is likely to be adopted by Brazil's broadcasters.
Bachmann said in a statement that with a number of countries in Europe testing or deploying HD technology they believed the time was right to coordinate marketing efforts.
RNW comment: HD, which is a proprietary system, competes with DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) and so far the likelihood seems to be that the latter is more likely to gain widespread acceptance. The European group just announced is hardly one of major players compared to the broadcasters in the DRM consortium and we rather doubt that it will have any major influence.
iBiquity has also announced that a wide range of portable HD radio products from eight manufacturers are to be demonstrated at this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.
iBiquity President and CEO Robert Struble commented of the demonstrations, "Manufacturers, retailers and consumers look to SEMA each year for the latest trends and hottest products in the aftermarket. The expanded presence of HD Radio products at this year's event demonstrates the evolution of HD Radio technology into a must-have for the car."
2007-10-30: DMG's Vega Sydney breakfast host Angela Catterns is to leave the station on November 24 at the end of the ratings season after two years in the post.
She was poached from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation when DMG launched Vega (See RNW Jun 11. 2005), which was targeted at an older audience, but which has failed to make a ratings impression. In the latest ratings (just released as we post this report) the breakfast show took a 3.3% share, up from 3.2% in the previous ratings but down from 4.2% for the preceding ratings.
Vega's overall share in the latest ratings was 4.1% and it did best with the 40-54 (6.1%) and 25-39 (5.6%) demographics.
Catterns future plans have not been announced beyond her saying she intends to take a break before deciding on her "next challenge."
RNW note: We will post our usual Australian ratings report tomorrow but in the meantime note that talk stations retained their top spots in Adelaide (5AA), Melbourne (3AW), and Sydney (2GB) whilst in Brisbane (DMG's Nova) and Perth (Austereo's MIX FM ) music stations held on to their top rankings.
The West.com report:
2007-10-30: Pompano Helicopters has launched a USD 362 million lawsuit against Westwood One alleging that it and its subsidiary, Metro Networks Communications, Inc., conspired together to drive Pompano out of business for the purposes of taking over its contracts for providing broadcast stations with helicopters for news and traffic reporting.
Pompano alleges that its "once thriving business was destroyed by Westwood's spreading false and damaging information as part of a planned and orchestrated campaign of tortuous interference with contracts that Pompano ultimately lost to Westwood's subsidiary Metro" and that Westwood One and Metro used "bold, vicious lies as part of a "part of a transparent attempt by Westwood and Metro to take over its business, subverting key personnel usurping and utilizing Pompano's confidential business plan, which led to the cancellation of Pompano's contracts with Metro and other contracts with television stations throughout the U.S.
So far we have seen no response to the lawsuit by Westwood One whose shares dipped by around 2% on Monday morning following a news release for Pompano but then recovered to end the day unchanged at USD 2.24.
Previous Westwood One:
2007-10-30: CBS Radio has now gone public with word that Steve Dahl is to move from afternoon drive on its Chicago WCKG-FM to mornings on sister station WJMK-FM (Jack FM), where he will be the only live personality.
Dahl is to start his new role next Monday and WGMK-FM is expected to change format at the weekend or next week.
Dahl announced the move, already publicised in the Chicago papers (See RNW Oct 27) on his show Monday whilst WGMK midday host Garry Meier announced that it was the end of the road for himself and other air staff at the station including the syndicated Opie and Anthony. It's also been confirmed that the Chicago Bulls, who moved to WCKG at the beginning of last season after a decade with ESPN sports WMVP will be heading back to WMVP.
CBS2 Chicago report:
2007-10-29: This week we concentrate our look at print comment on radio in the UK starting with BBC Radio and the 50th anniversary of the BBC Radio 4 breakfast "Today" show, a programme that Telegraph radio columnist Gillian Reynolds terms the "self-opinionated conscience - and alarm clock - of the nation."
Reynolds continued of the programme, "We love it, we hate it. We rely on it to hold people to account, as John Humphrys did recently with Michael Grade over ITV's phone-in scandals. We rail at it for bias and for interrupting people just as they've got to the point, but we still roar approval when it chops off political flannel. Radio 4's Today programme inhabits the lives of six million people every week[RNW note - the latest ratings give it a reach of 9.26 million a week] , a daily reminder of what time to get up, put the kettle on, leave the house - and what to think about. It sets the day's news agenda. As we come home, the airwaves will usually still be crackling with the stories Today told us 10 hours earlier."
After other comment she notes that the programme is a "national institution. We reserve our right to argue with it, but any attempt to gag it or mess it about will be strongly resisted. Politicians and their aides have tried, to no lasting effect; ask Norman Tebbit or Alastair Campbell. The BBC has even had a go or two itself over the years and, with budget cuts looming, may be about to chip away at it again."
She then continues, "BBC, be warned. Even the programme's worst enemies - and there are quite a few of those among the elite punditry - will not see Today's budget cut for the benefit of Jonathan Ross's bank account. For when Ross is long gone to the great chat show in the sky, history will still recall a conversation on Today one May morning four years ago that led to the resignation of a BBC chairman, the departure of a director-general, the death of a scientist, two major official inquiries, and a shift in the way the BBC is governed."
Reynolds then considers some of the past presenters including "Jack de Manio, of the famously dodgy time checks who, as Timpson once told me, sipped a cocktail of gin and Merrydown cider throughout the programme" and notes the programme's genesis, according to the late British broadcaster Robin Day's memoirs from a suggestion he made in 1955 for a "Morning Review" programme that delivered "intelligent, pithy comment, and description of the sort found on the feature page of newspapers and in the more serious diary columns."
Day didn't get a response and left for ITN (Independent TV news) but two years later - after a battle between "Talk" and "News" departments at the BBC "Today" was launched under the control of "Talks", and over the years it has moved departments and changed style, getting much harder in news terms: Reynolds then runs through more history of the programme ending with some comments garnered from various places ending with a summary of attitudes to the programme - "As Catullus so nicely put it, "Odi et amo."
Then to a different perspective of British radio from John Plunkett's blog in the UK Guardian headed, "Why I love local radio. Do you?"
Plunkett begins, "Why do you tune into your local radio? Is it for the music? The big-name DJs? Or is it because... it is local?"
He then gets down to the nitty-gritty, continuing, "I only ask because the big radio companies want Ofcom to dramatically reduce the amount of locally produced and presented programmes that small to middling-sized stations are required to broadcast."
Plunkett notes the radio companies' arguments - they will be able to use resources better by airing fewer but better local programmes and spend more money on networked shows whose costs can be shared across stations - and then goes to partially accept the arguments - "When local radio is done badly, there is nothing worse. But when local radio is done well, it's fantastic. Well, it's quite good."
The nub of his choice, however, is that he switches to Mix 107 (A classic hits station serving Amersham and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire) "Because it's local. How the heart lifts when Andy, H and the other one (Steve) mention some local south Bucks gossip, some irritating road works or there's yet another trail for Hazlemere food hall (I still haven't been)."
He notes that the station does not have the "production values of, say, BBC 6Music" and then adds, "but it's warm, familiar... and local In an age when information reaches you from all over the world, all the time, via every handheld device imaginable, I quite like the idea of a couple of people broadcasting from a studio down the road to a select band of listeners (19,000 of them, according to the latest RAJARs)."
And then the other nub - "The problem is that 19,000 listeners don't add up to a profit. Well, it might do, I'm not privy to Mix 107's accounts. But most small commercial stations lose money, and networking shows is one way of putting that right."
Plunkett's comments attracted a variety of responses, many commenting in terms of what exists but a couple drawing conclusions that would not please the radio companies: "If GCap and Emap don't want to produce local radio, why don't they hand the frequencies back so they can be given to people who do?" and with a little more detail, "I've heard a few local community RSL stations and they can be very good if the right attitude exists behind them All that's needed is for Ofcom to lower the entry requirements for small community radio stations in exchange for tougher regulation of the station's content; just loosening the regulations willy-nilly will result in half the commercial stations playing exactly the same content for 95% of the time, leading to even less choice and variety for the listener."
Then to the UK Independent, which carried an interview by Ian Burrell with the BBC's director of News Helen Boaden, whose early career was in radio and who is a former BBC Radio 4 controller, but whose current remit seems to be to deliver cost savings.
The results has been a plan to re-organize BBC News operations - amongst other changes nearly a fifth of middle managers will see their posts go and there will be a multi-media approach with online, radio and TV staff working side-by side.
Boaden is quoted as saying, "You want radio, television and online to be integrated so that the important people making the big decisions are sitting near each other." She adds that the result will not be "one horrible, homogenous BBC news blandness" and says the public "shouldn't really notice any difference except that the really good stuff we do on radio, telly and online will be easier to get to."
The cuts it would appear will be comparatively small on the "Today" programme and BBC 2 TV evening "Newsnight" programme and to the suggestion that presenters John Humphrys and Jeremy Paxman had been ticked off for their public campaigning Boaden commented, "To be fair to John he was worried about the overall impact on the BBC's journalism - he wasn't making a fuss on his own behalf. I'm glad I've got staff who really care about what we do, the death of the BBC would be when its staff were indifferent about its future. No, I didn't tell them off. It's always uncomfortable those situations and it's not an easy management issue but I think our big presenters care a lot about our organisation. The BBC has debate in its DNA and long may that go on."
RNW comment: So far the main discernible effect on radio of the changes has been the line "BBC News for Radio X news" on bulletins, which are now not tailored to different stations at some times. We remain concerned, however, that far too many of the changes that have been made over the years have come as a result of concerns about costs rather than commitment to quality. It is quite clear to us at times that some radio reports are the audio from a TV package and that many TV news packages are comprised of a news script with pictures laid to it rather than being constructed as good radio or TV in the first place. We accept that, as with local radio, there is a genuine problem of resources required to produce quality and that with more channels and sources of information -and competition for advertising from the Internet - something has to give. We wish, however, that there were more appreciation that, even if the same person can produce good radio and television, most of the time it requires a different approach to produce top-notch work in different media - or indeed to produce a feature rather than a short report - and that they can't do their best if having to work for more than one outlet at the same time.
Finally some welcome, if fairly rarely so cogently expressed, expressions of doubt about numbers. In this case the numbers are Arbitron's satellite radio ratings and the doubting Mark is Mark Ramsey, the president of hear2.0, who in a blog describes Arbitron's "analysis of satellite radio ratings is hopelessly flawed due to methodological circumstances which make these estimates closer to fiction than an episode of Bionic Woman."
In particular he picks up a comment from Inside Radio about Howard Stern's figures: "Howard Stern then: 20 million listeners. Today: 1,225,100. That's Stern's weekly cume according to Arbitron's first-ever report detailing listening to XM and Sirius. It shows his USD 500 million contract with Sirius buys the company an average 96,700 listeners in any given quarter hour."
To which Ramsey adds, "Hold your horses. While there is no question - nor has there ever been any question - that Stern's audience is down dramatically from its radio prime, the audience is certainly larger than this in real life (and I assure you both XM and Sirius have data indicating this).
And later regarding the comment, "Satellite radio's biggest ratings come from its most terrestrial-like stations. Whether listeners are simply used to a station that has a tight playlist or people really do just want to hear the hits, Arbitron's first ratings report on XM and Sirius shows the channels that are most like terrestrial radio have the largest audience...So much for niche radio."
To which Ramsey responds, "Duh", albeit he expands a little on it although the expansion doesn't add strength to the pithy comment.
On then to listening suggestions, and first bearing in mind the Catullus mention from Reynolds - "Odi et amo - I love and I hate" is one of his most famous poems written for his mistress Lesbia - reminded us that BBC Radio 4's "Adventures in Poetry" a fortnight ago was on Andrew Marvell's "To his Coy Mistress" of which the most quoted lines are probably "The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.": Unfortunately that programme is no longer online but last Sunday's edition -it is repeated on Saturdays - was Portia's defence of Antonio in the Merchant of Venice ("The quality of mercy is not strain'd ) and next week Peggy Reynolds looks at Hilaire Belloc's Matilda (She who "told such Dreadful Lies "). It's a good series and rather a pity that the BBC hasn't put audio of the whole of it online.
On then to other BBC suggestions starting with Radio 3 and this week's "Essay" - "Maths and Music" ( 23:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) in which mathematician Marcus du Sautoy explores the connections between the art of music and the logic of maths.
The programmes are "Counter-culture" in which he deals with rhythmic complexities in Steve Reich, Messiaen, Ewe music from Ghana (tonight); "The Music of the Spheres" in which he examines Pythagoras' theories about the harmonious world, issues of temperament and why so many cultures divide the scale into 12 notes (tomorrow); "Theme and Variations" - looking the symmetry in Bach's Goldberg Variations, the maths behind bell-ringing and Mozart's obsession with numbers (Wednesday) and finally on Thursday "Composing with Numbers" in which he looks at Schoenberg's rectangles, Xenakis' cubes and Messiaen's Mongean shuffle, and reveals that there is music in maths...
Also from Radio 3 we suggest "Night Waves" (21:45 GMT) on Wednesday - about science fiction and scientific research - and Thursday - with Matthew Sweet assessing a new production of "The Investigation", an acclaimed 1960s play about Auschwitz, performed by Rwandan actors who lived through their own country's genocide.
Moving to BBC Radio 2 and tomorrow (22:30 GMT) in the second of six "I Wish I'd Thought of That" programmes Kate Thornton looks at "The Download Revolution - Napster To iTunes" and on Thursday the final programme in the four part "Street Corner Soul" on the rise and gall of doo wop ends (an episode "The Price of Fame.").
Then back to Radio 4 but sticking with music documentary we suggest last Saturday's "Archive Hour" in which Tom Robinson examines the seemingly inevitable anger that has greeted musical innovation in the last 100 years, from early jazz to rap and rave music plus tomorrow's "Music Feature" (13:30 GMT). In "Angelic Organ of Evil" Adam Hart-Davis explores the history of the Glass Armonica, a musical instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin and developed in the 18th century from the simple principle of rubbing one's fingers around the rim of a wine glass. Many composers wrote for it but its sound was also accused of causing evil and endangering public health, and it was even banned in one German town after a child died during a concert.
Turning to a different documentary in "Just on More Thing: Columbo!" on Sunday featured Mark Billingham and contributors including Peter Falk, creator William Link, writer Steven Bochco, director Jonathan Demme and guest star villain Robert Vaughn talking about the TV series which broke many rules, including identifying the villain at the start.
Then for readings and this week's "Book of the Week" (09:45 GMT Radio 4) follows last week's story of the philandering Harry Gordon Selfridge with "Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and his Scandalous Duchess" based on historian Alison Weir's tale of Katherine Swynford who was first the mistress and later the wife of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.
In the afternoons the "Afternoon Reading" (15:30 GMT) on the station features specially commissioned stories exploring the darker side of life followed by Prof Eamon Duffy's series on "Ten Popes Who Shook the World".
Then comedy for which we nominate "Genius" from tonight (17:30 GMT) in which Dave Gorman and celebrity guest Matthew Wright chew over ridiculous and unworkable inventions and ideas which nonetheless display an element of genius in their creator plus "The News Quiz" (BBC Radio 4 on Friday at 18:30 GMT) and from Radio 2 "Out to Lunch" at 13:00 GMT on Saturday.
RNW note: Other pressures have set us back but we plan to update with suggestions from various podcasts/MP3 downloads tomorrow.
Hear 2.0 - Ramsey:
UK Guardian - Plunkett:
UK Independent - Burrell:
UK Daily Telegraph- Reynolds:
2007-10-29: According to the UK Sunday Telegraph, SMG, which operates Virgin Radio in the UK but uses the name under licence, is involved in talks with Richard Branson's Virgin Group about pooling their radio assets to create a standalone, international company.
It adds that the Virgin Group is understood to be keen to retain a stake in the new company, which could be sold or listed on the London Stock Exchange, while SMG is likely to cut all ties so that it can focus on its core business of running the Scottish ITV franchise.
Branson, notes the report, has previously approached SMG about combining radio assets - since 2001 he has been involved in launching a series of Virgin stations in partnership with local media groups.
The previous approaches were rebuffed but, adds the Telegraph, SMG's position has changed since former Chrysalis chief executive Richard Huntingford joined SMG as executive chairman earlier this month and it also notes that potential buyers for its UK Virgin Radio have been put off by restrictions imposed on the use of the Brand.
In other UK radio news, the UK Observer, which is owned by the same parent - Guardian Media Group - says the group and Global Radio have held talks about GMG's possible purchase of some Emap stations if a deal is made contingent on disposals by regulatory authority.
Previous Global Radio:
UK Observer report:
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
2007-10-28: Last week was another one where the issue of new media ownership regulations for the US was the most important regulatory issue, one that in this case led to criticism of the timetable proposed by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin's plans and timetable from politicians (See RNW Oct 25 and Oct 26) and also criticism by the Democrat Commissioners of the short notice given for the final FCC localism hearing and timetable (See RNW Oct 25): Elsewhere it was more a matter of routine decisions.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has allocated a new community radio licence for the Esk region of Queensland to Brisbane River Valley Radio Inc.
It is already broadcasting under a temporary community licence and was the only applicant for the licence and ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said it had assessed the application "with particular regard to whether the proposed general format service would meet the existing and perceived future needs of the community in the Esk region The applicant satisfied ACMA that its service would meet the existing and perceived future needs of the community in the licence area."
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was involved in the following radio decisions (In order of province).
*Renewal until 31 August 2014 the licence of CKUA-FM, Edmonton and its transmitters CKUA, Edmonton; CKUA-FM-1, Calgary; CKUA-FM-2, Lethbridge; CKUA-FM-3, Medicine Hat; CKUA-FM-4. Grande Prairie; CKUA-FM-5, Peace River; CKUA-FM-6, Red Deer; CKUA-FM-7, Hinton; CKUA-FM-8, Edson; CKUA-FM-9, Whitecourt; CKUA-FM-10, Athabasca; CKUA-FM-11. Fort McMurray; CKUA-FM-12, Spirit River; CKUA-FM-13, Drumheller; CKUA-FM-14, Banff and CKUA-FM-15, Lloydminster.
The CRTC also approved the licensee's request to exempt the licence for the undertaking from the requirement to devote a minimum of 60% of its basic annual Canadian content development (CCD) contributions to FACTOR or MUSICACTION. The licensee will instead be required to allocate its basic annual CCD contribution to eligible parties and activities as defined in paragraph 108 of the Commercial Radio Policy 2006.
*Approval of application Salt Spring Island Radio Corp. for a broadcasting licence to operate a 340 watts English language Specialty commercial FM to serve Salt Spring Island and denial of competing application. In making the award the CRTC said the competing application gave details that indicated signal weaknesses reaching part of the main town with no coverage in the more populated areas in the northern part of the Island whereas that of Salt Spring would cover all thee latter area and give good coverage in the main town. It also noted the experience of the latter's principals in business and broadcasting and concluded that it had a viable business plan whilst there were major flaws in the opposing proposals.
*Approval of power increase from 50 watts to 1,400 watts for Seaside Broadcasting Organization's English-language, Type B community station CFEP-FM, Eastern Passage. The increase will change the station's status from low-power unprotected FM station to a regular Class A FM.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to add a 765 watts FM transmitter at Marathon to rebroadcast the programming of its national French-language network service La Première Chaîne originating from CBON-FM, Sudbury. The CBC said the FM transmitter at Marathon used to rebroadcast the programming of CBON-FM was previously licensed as a radiocommunication distribution undertaking and that the licensee had ceased the operation of this undertaking: The CBC agreed to maintain the service in Marathon and now wishes to have the transmitter added to the licence for CBON-FM.
*Denial of application by Burlingham Communications Inc. to add a 9,900 watts transmitter at Meaford to broadcast the New Adult Contemporary/Smooth Jazz of its CIWV-FM, Hamilton.
Burlingham said its listeners wanted to receive the station's programming while at their seasonal residences in the Georgian Bay area and said it would not solicit local advertising or provide local programming to the Meaford area in the short term, although it stated that within three years it might apply for a broadcasting licence to serve the local Meaford community with an originating station.
The application was opposed by Central Ontario Broadcasting (Rock 95), Corus Entertainment Inc., Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation, Larche Communications Inc., and Evanov Communications Inc. and Blackburn Radio Inc., each of which have operations in the Georgian Bay region. They argued that no evidence had been provided of market demand for the service and also that, even if it took no advertising, the station would affect advertising rates by taking away audience.
*Approval of application by Messiah Lutheran Church for a 46 watts English-language, low-power, non-commercial religious FM in Prince Albert.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has launched the Réalt DJ competition for 2007/2008: This competition, now in its fourth year, provides a chance for a third level student to win a top prize of thirteen weeks work experience with a radio station.
In all eight radio stations - Beat 102-103 FM, Midlands 103FM, Mid-West Radio, Spin South West, Spin 1038, Tipp FM,:Today FM and WLR FM, are participating in this year's competition which involves the compilation by students of a twenty minute radio programme in Irish.
Submissions of a programme on CD to a participating station have to be entered by December 1.
In the UK, Ofcom upheld no complaints in its latest Broadcast Bulletin (See RNW Oct 23): It also posted its reasons for the award of the Northamptonshire multiplex to GCap Media's NowDigital Ltd earlier this month against competition from MuxCo Northamptonshire Limited (also Oct 23) and announced that the same two companies were the bidders for the Gloucestershire multiplex.
GCap's NOWdigital digital bid is offering eleven services in addition to BBC Radio Gloucestershire. They are:
Severn Sound -Contemporary and Chart Music from GCap.
Gold - Classic hits from GCap.
Chill - Chill out from GCap.
XFM - Modern Rock from GCap.
Star - Adult Contemporary from UKRD.
JACK fm - Variety Pop and Rock from Absolute Radio.
Sunshine Radio - Classic Pop Hits from Laser Broadcasting.
Easy listening - easy listening service from a confidential provider
UCB - Contemporary and Classic Christian music from UCB.
Dance - dance service from a confidential provider.
Traffic Radio - Continuous traffic and travel from the Highways Agency.
GCap adds that after the licence award, and subject to available capacity, it will continue to explore the possibility of introducing an access channel for local community stations and adds that of those in the area Gloucester FM 96.6, Forest of Dean Community Radio, Stroud FM and Tone Radio have indicated they are interested in seeing on DAB.
The Muxco bid shareholders, each with a 25% share, are UKRD Group Ltd, Murfin Media Ltd, Town & Country Broadcasting Ltd, and MuxCo Ltd and they are offering a bouquet of podcast plus 11 services including BBC Radio Gloucestershire and three existing analogue commercial services - Severn Sound; Gold 774; and Star 107.5.
The other services are digital-only offerings, six of which say the bidders will also be available on the neighbouring Hereford and Worcester multiplex, which was awarded to MuxCo Hereford & Worcester Ltd in September (See RNW Sep 7) and launches in September 2008.
The services offered are:
Easy Radio - An easy listening melodic music service.
Smithy Rock- A rock service.
Local Live- a mixed music and speech service.
Shuffle- a service comprising music and listener generated content for teenagers and young adults.
A service playing a variety of rock and pop.
UCB UK - a Christian music and speech service.
Traffic Radio- a traffic and travel service.
Muxco adds that as well as these new radio services, "MuxCo Gloucs will carry a local Podcast Service providing opportunities for niche services to cater for a diversity of passions, interests and communities to reach their audience."
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as well as the issues of media ownership already noted was involved in a number of enforcement actions including issuing a USD 1,500 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to KMC Broadcasting, L.L.C. , licensee of KHRA-AM, Honolulu, Hawaii, for failure to file renewal application in time. The licence was renewed.
The FCC also admonished Creative Educational Media Corporation Inc., licensee of KNYD-FM, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma for failure to comply with environmental rules prior to commencing construction in relation to proposed modification of its main station and auxiliary station facilities.
The FCC in admonishing Creative Educational Media added that it found no adverse effect with respect to the proposed construction of main station facilities but directed Creative to prepare a cultural resource survey report regarding a proposed auxiliary facility
The FCC also ruled on a number of disputed licence applications and in Texas it denied petitions on behalf of Terry Keith Hammond, in relation to a January dismissal of the application for the renewal of the licence of KBKH-FM, Shamrock. This had followed a 2005 filing for renewal of the licence in which Hammond failed to report a felony conviction, thus, said the commission, "raising false certification, misrepresentation, and lack of candour issues" in relation to his fitness to hold a licence.
In Hawaii it denied objections to a construction permit for a new AM station at Ewa Beach on the basis that the Ewa Neighbourhood Board, an advisory body, had voted to "not approve construction of the radio tower" proposed in KM's application and felt that that KM "should do an environmental impact statement."
KM in response said that local zoning approval is not required at the application stage and that any concerns the Ewa Neighbourhood Board have will be addressed "at the appropriate time during the local zoning and land use permit approval process before the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting."
In New York the FCC granted the application of Holy Family Communications, Inc. for a new NCE FM station at Lancaster, to which there had been objections on the basis that it should not have been awarded under the FRCS's points system for mutually exclusive applications.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-10-27: According to the UK Times, Global Radio is thought to be the favourite in the contention for Emap's radio business and has the GBP 400 million (USD 800 million) necessary to boy the division outright.
The suggestion has led to speculation on the future of Emap's Kiss and Global Radio's Galaxy brands, which compete for similar markets.
The paper adds that GCap Media is thought to be a strong contender if there is to be a break-up but would face regulator hurdles if it bids for the whole business.
It also says that Guardian Media Group has made inquiries about acquiring the Emap's Magic if a trade buyer of the radio division has to sell the station for regulatory reasons.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
UK Times report:
2007-10-27: CBS Radio in Chicago is expected to move Steve Dahl from his afternoon slot on WCKG-FM, whose Free-FM format is expected to be dumped, to its adult hits WJMK-FM a morning personality according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Feder notes that such a move would make him the only on-air host at the station, which currently airs without DJs. Dahl, he says, has more than three years left of his multimillion-dollar contract and had said earlier this month that he has "the ability to decide whether or not I want to be moved." He adds that his sources say Dahl has agreed to the new assignment although he could change his mind.
Also in Chicago, WTND-AM, which has been bought for USD 15 million from Multicultural Broadcasting by Green Bay, Wisconsin-based Sovereign City Radio, is to switch to mixed language programming with Spanish-language brokered programming airing from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekdays and full-time on weekends according to Feder.
The rest of the airtime - from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays - will be used for the Relevant Radio Catholic talk format, which will also continue to air on Newsweb Corporation's WAIT-AM under a brokered arrangement.
Feder column re Dahl:
Feder column re WTND:
2007-10-27: The UK Radio Advertising Bureau has appointed Suki Thompson & Associates, specialists in agency search and selection, to aid it in finding a new creative agency partner to work with the body to drive consideration of radio as an advertising medium amongst advertisers and agencies.
The RAB is now part of the UK RadioCentre whose CEO Andrew Harrison said of the move, "The new wave of radio has been really building momentum in recent months. Both audience and revenue are on the up, and radio's ability to operate across multiple platforms will continue to drive this momentum in the digital age. With the advertising industry's attention focused largely on the internet nowadays, it's essential that we continue to engage advertisers and agencies in all the new opportunities offered by Commercial Radio."
2007-10-26: XM Satellite Radio has reported third quarter revenues to the end of September up nearly a fifth on a year earlier with growth driven by automobile subscriptions that its president and CEO Nate Davis sees as providing its future growth.
XM said it ended the quarter with some 8.57 million subscribers, up from 7.19 million a year earlier, a gross addition of 952,000 and net addition of 315,000, and its revenues were up 19.6% to USD 287.5 million.
Overall XM reported an increased loss before taxes - up from USD 83 million a year earlier to USD 145 million: Its adjusted operating loss, including USD 9 million in expenses relating to its planned merger with Sirius Satellite Radio, rose from USD 1.6 million to USD 46.7 million.
XM said its subscriber acquisition costs for the quarter were up from USD 59 a year earlier to USD 70 including approximately USD 10 related to increased factory installations by new automotive partners. Cost per Gross Addition (CPGA) costs rose from USD 94 to USD 116.
Davis commented of the results, "During the third quarter, XM achieved year-over-year gains in both gross and net subscriber additions, despite weakness at retail, driven primarily by a record number of new automotive subscribers. We're already seeing the early results of the ramp in production of XM-equipped vehicles, which will provide XM with sustained subscriber growth for 2008 and beyond."
He also said that XM remained "optimistic that our deal to merge with Sirius will close by the end of this year" and continued, "In the meantime, we continue to work with the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to further demonstrate that this merger is in the public interest and should be approved."
Retail installations were down 22% on a year ago and the company is concentrating its efforts on automobile installations of which Davis at the company's conference call said that OEM vehicles produced but not yet sold were a potential opportunity. He noted that conversion rates for new car purchasers with XM trials remain stable and asked by an analyst about weakness in retail sales linked the two markets saying, "Retail is going to be very tied to what happens in the OEM market," noting that although fewer people are likely to buy aftermarket receivers as OEM installations increase a study that found that OEM customers tend to buy second and third satellite receivers.
2007-10-26: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin J. Martin has come under further pressure from lawmakers concerning his proposed schedule for new media ownership regulation.
A letter from 42 House Democrats led by New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey has written to him to express "grave shock and dismay over reports that you are circulating draft media ownership rules among your colleagues at the Federal Communications Commission " and saying that in relation to reports that he intendeds to finalize them by year end, "We believe that such actions are reminiscent of the bad behaviour that resulted in an intervention by the Third Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals in your agency's efforts on media ownership three years ago."
They call on him to "immediately take steps to resolve significant shortcomings in your plan regarding accountability, transparency, and scientific integrity."
As regards the time scale they write, "Your effort to advance these rules is taking place before the FCC holds its promised sixth and final public hearing on the state of our current media ownership rules. Furthermore, the most recent hearing, in Chicago, IL, only took place on September 20, 2007. It is our understanding that each of the hearings held by the agency has been very heavily attended, with people staying into the late evening in order to make their opinions known. Therefore, we have great difficulty understanding the propriety of moving forward on new media ownership rules before the commission has held its final event. In addition, we cannot comprehend how your staff could possibly have fully analyzed the public comments submitted in Chicago before you began to circulate these new rules. "
2007-10-26: Latest UK radio ratings from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) show the BBC increasing its overall lead over commercial radio but both lost audience on the previous quarter although figures were stable year-on-year
Within the BBC figures its two national speech channels each lost audience with Radio Five Live dropping to a new low of 5.49 million listeners a week - its previous record low was 5.52 million in the final quarter of 2,000 - and BBC Radio 4 losing 220,000 listeners over the figures for the second quarter and 200,000 on a year ago to 9.26 million.
In contrast to Radio Five Live, its digital sister station Five Live Sports Extra increased its year-on-year figures by 81,000 year on year but was down 136,000 on the second quarter to 730,000 and commercial rival UTV's talkSPORT was down 60,000 on the second quarter but up 50,000 year-on-year to 2.31 million listeners a week.
BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 also each lost audience on the previous quarter but Radio 3 increased its audience quarter-on-quarter but was down year-on-year as was national commercial classical music station, GCap Media's Classic FM. SMG's Virgin Radio was down quarter-on-quarter but up year-on-year.
In the London market Emap's Magic saw breakfast host Neil Fox take top honours with 885,000 listeners a week, just 5,000 above Johnny Vaughan at GCap's flagship Capital although Capital claims it held on to the breakfast crown when the comparison is made with Vaughan's new 06:30 to 10:00 slot rather than the 06:00 to 09:00 rated by RAJAR.
Overall UK radio listening remained stable over the past year with 44.9 million listeners -89% of the UK adult population whilst listening to digital-only stations was up from 4.8 million a week to 6.2 million over the year and 2.8 million adults - 18.6% of MP3 owners - say they have used their MP3 player to listen to podcasts, up from 1.9 million a year earlier.
Within the figures listening via a digital platform has risen - up to 15% compared to 12.8% in the second quarter: Of this 8.6% of listening is to Digital Audio Broadcasts (up from 7%); 3% via digital TV (up from 2.6%); and 1.6% via the internet ((up from 1.5%).
Digital listening hours were up 13% to 153 million hours a week and listening via a mobile phone has grown steadily: of adults (15+), 9.2% of those sampled said they had listened using a mobile phone compared to 7.1% a year ago whilst of those 15-24 the numbers rose from 18.6% to 22.5%.
Both the BBC and the commercial industry emphasized the growth of digital listening in their comments on the overall picture with Jenny Abramsky, Director BBC Audio & Music, saying, "The continued growth of digital radio is once again the highlight of the quarter. It is pleasing to see digital listening - from DAB to podcasting - ensuring radio remains as popular and relevant as ever."
RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison added, "Today's results show another positive quarter for Commercial Radio. The increase in digital listening is now at a record high with 16.8% of commercial listening via digital platforms and Commercial Radio taking a 63% share of all listening to digital only services. This puts us in a great position to reap the benefits as we move to a digital world - we do however need to make sure there is a clear plan to get there. "
UK Digital Radio Development Board (DRDB) chief executive Ian Dickens added, "This is the third quarter in a row where digital radio has seen overall growth in reach, hours and platform share, and the medium is now delivering those all-important listeners to broadcasters who have invested in radio's future. The growth in listening is mirrored by the growth in DAB ownership - more than 5.5 million DAB sets have been sold and we will confidently reach 6.5 million this Christmas.
"With sustained growth and commitment from broadcasters, DAB is on track to reach 50% household penetration by 2010."
RAJAR introduced new methodology for its ratings in January meaning direct comparisons would be misleading in some cases. The format of the information released is also changed.
For our comparisons we have therefore gone with figures out by the BBC and GCap in their cases below for comparisons to the previous quarter (and year) but with RAJAR for other commercial stations:
*BBC Radio 1 lost 295,000 listeners and had a weekly audience of 10.578 million with listening share up from 10.3 % to 10.6% (9.8% a year ago when it had 10.577 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 2 lost 104,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 13.013 million and listening share up from 15.6% to 15.8% (15.5% a year ago, when it had 12.739 million listeners)
*BBC Radio 3 gained 155,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 1.938 million and a listening share up from 1.1% to 1.2% (1.3% a year ago, when it had 2.026 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 4 lost 220,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 9.262 million and listening share unchanged at 11.2% (11.8% a year ago when it had 9.466 million listeners).
*BBC Radio 5 Live, excluding Sports Extra, lost 401,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.489 million, and an unchanged 4.2% listening share (4.2% a year ago when it had 5.747 million listeners).
(Including Sports Extra it lost 452,000 listeners to end with a weekly audience of 5.652 million and a listening share down from 4.5% to 4.4% (4.4% a year ago when it had 5.874 million listeners).
*BBC World Service lost 2,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 1.303 million and an unchanged listening share of 0.7 (0.8% a year ago when it had 1.352 million listeners).
*BBC Asian Network gained 21,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 476,000 and a listening share up from 0.2% to 0.3% (0.3% a year ago when it had 481,000 listeners).
On the commercial side for national networks:
*G-Cap's Classic FM gained 240,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 5.944 million and listening share up from 4.0% to 4.3% (4.2% a year ago when it had 5.898 million listeners).
*UTV's talkSPORT lost 60,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.312 million and an unchanged of 1.8% (RAJAR lists year-on-year comparisons as not applicable.).
*SMG-owned Virgin (total including all AM and FM) lost 62,000 listeners to end up with a weekly audience of 2.472 million and unchanged listening share of 1.5% (RAJAR lists year-on-year comparisons as not applicable.).
Among digital stations - excluding Emap's Kerrang! which has a substantial analogue and digital listenership and a total weekly reach of 1.387 million including its analogue stations (down from 1.478 million quarter on quarter and up from 1.349 million a year ago) but including BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra and Asian Network - the top ten stations in the survey had a weekly audience as below (previous quarter in brackets):
1 The Hits (Emap) -1.494 million (up from 1.345 million and up from 1.182 million a year ago).
2 Smash Hits Radio (Emap) - 990,000 (up from 906,000 and 926, 000 a year ago).
3 BBC 7 -795,000 (up from 738,000 and from 697,000 a year ago) and up from fourth.
4 BBC Five Live Sports Extra - 730,000 (down from 866,000 and up from 649,000 a year ago) and down from third.
5 Planet Rock (GCap) - 548,000 (up from 530,000 and 422,000 a year ago).
6 BBC 6 Music - 485,000 (up from 471,000 and 400,000 a year ago.) and up from seventh.
7 BBC Asian Network - 476,000 (up from 455,000 and down from 481,000 a year ago). Up from eighth.
8 BBC 1Xtra - 421,000 (down from 473,000 and up from 394,000 a year ago). Down from sixth.
9Heat (Emap) - 413,000 (down from 425,000 and up from 296,000 a year ago).
10 Q (Emap) - 400,000 (up from 392,000 and from 379,000 a year ago).
Previous GCap Media:
Previous RAJAR ratings (Second quarter 2007):
2007-10-25: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set Wednesday October 31 at its HQ in Washington DC for its fifth of six planned localism hearings.
It made the announcement on Wednesday, provoking a protest from the Democrat Commissioners Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein who in a joint statement said the notice "doesn't bode well for the future of the Commission's localism and media ownership proceedings."
They noted that they agreed to clear their diaries for the meeting more than two weeks ago and then continue, "But neither we nor the public received any confirmation that the hearing would occur until tonight-just 5 business days before the event. This is unacceptable and unfair to the public. And it makes putting together an expert panel nearly impossible."
They then ask, "Is the Commission serious about allowing the public to participate in the agency's decision-making? Or is the goal to be able to claim that hearings have been held, even if the public has not had a chance to fully participate?"
2007-10-25: CBS Radio has announced a restructuring that drops regional management positions and sees President and CEO Dan Mason overseeing stations in ten markets and Scott Herman, formerly EVP, Eastern Region, become Executive Vice-President, Operations, with a role that includes overseeing all the company's other stations.
Mason will be in charge of CBS Radio stations in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
CBS Radio says its Regional Vice Presidents Don Bouloukos and Lisa Decker will remain with the Company as Senior Vice President/Market Manager's for New York, and Seattle and Portland, respectively and Bouloukos will also become Senior Vice President/General Manager of WFAN-AM, the company's New York sports station.
The company has also announced that Michael Weiss, currently President of Sales for the CBS RADIO division of Interep, is to replace Michael Kincaid as its President of Sales following Kincaid's resignation for medical reasons. Kincaid, says CBS Radio, will take on a new position within CBS with details to be announced at a later date.
Mason said the changes were "designed to implement a streamlined chain of command moving our division toward a more fully responsive and profitable position." He added, "Our ratings have improved and a new head of sales will help us better monetize our recent success. Having someone of Michael's capability and experience involved in all aspects of the sales performance at our local stations, and contributing to enhancing our relationships with national advertisers we are poised for a bright future. From Leslie Moonves [CBS Corporation President and CEO] on down, everyone at CBS firmly believes in the future of our business, and we look forward to further promoting the medium's inherent strengths and capabilities."
Of the redeployment of Bouloukos and Decker he said, "Employing the expertise of Don and Lisa in the field makes it possible for us to optimize our resources in the markets where they are most needed. Their contributions to the day to day operations of those markets will also help drive performance and cost savings, and improve our degree of internal control."
2007-10-25: US Senators Byron Dorgan (North Dakota Democrat) and Trent Lott (Mississippi Republican) have threatened to seek support for a "resolution of disapproval" to block attempts by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin to introduce new lighter media ownership regulations by the end of the year. The tactic has only been introduced once previously according to the duo - when the FCC , then chaired by Michael Powell, attempted to ease ownership rules and in that case the Senate veto was not invoked because the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently struck down the rule change.
Dorgan quoted in a Dow Jones report posted by CNN Money says, "There's no urgency for the agency to further relax ownership rules. In fact I would make the case that there's no set of evidence to suggest they should be relaxed."
Lott added, "I think we've already got too much media concentration. I can't understand why a Republican administration would want to allow more concentration."
The report says both senators, speaking at a news conference, stressed that the issue wasn't a partisan one and notes that two potential Democratic Presidential contenders, Senators Chris Dodd (Connecticut) and Barack Obama (Illinois- See RNW Oct 24) have already publicly said they oppose the move.
Earlier in the day a Senate Commerce Committee into radio's future had considered the issue as well as that of performance royalties and other senators including Olympia Snow (Maine Republican) had expressed concern about the pace for the proposed change.
Amongst those testifying to the hearing, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Radio Board chair Russ Withers, owner of Withers Broadcasting Companies,, spoke in favour of easing ownership regulation and legislation to vacate the increased streaming royalty rates for music introduced by the Copyright Royalty Board and introduce new rates. He also opposed the lifting of third-adjacent channel protection for low-power FMs.
With regard to media ownership Withers said broadcasters for not asking for "total deregulation" but for "rules that reflect the current competitive radio environment."
Noting criticism of the changes to broadcast ownership rules made under the 1996 Telecommunications Act he said part of the reason that Congress directed the FCC to make the changes was because the then-fragmented broadcast industry, particularly the radio one, was in serious trouble. "In the early 1990's," he said "the FCC reported that more than half of all stations were losing money and almost 300 stations had gone silent. You can't serve the public interest with no service."
Withers said the changes since 1996 had enhanced diversity of programming offered by local radio stations and that localism was still alive and well with more radio stations in the US than ever before and some 4,490 owners for the 13,500 full-power stations.
Regarding the royalty rates, he said the CRB decision "causes serious harm in two ways. First, the cost for radio stations to stream music will drastically increase. Two, the new CRB rates are a barrier to entry for many stations that want to be part of the Internet revolution."
"We support, "said Withers, "a new and fair rate structure that encourages Internet streaming. We have made attempts to work with the recording industry to reach compromise, and were left waiting 92 days for an answer. As a result of their stonewalling, we all face a very uncertain future for what was becoming a growing and exciting platform for music."
Withers also brought up the issue of terrestrial radio paying performance royalties - what the NAB labels a "Performance Tax" - saying that "Local radio, however, is not the reason the recording industry is suffering from declining profits, and local radio should not be used as a bail-out fund."
CNN Money/Dow Jones report:
2007-10-25: Britain's major commercial radio companies have called upon UK media regulator Ofcom to allow smaller commercial stations to slash their local content to three hours a day so as to cut costs and allow better competition with the BBC.
In a letter signed by GCap Media chief executive Ralph Bernard; Emap Radio group managing director , Dee Ford; Global Radio chief executive Ashley Tabor and chairman Charles Allen; GMG Radio chief executive John Myers; and Scott Taunton , the chief executive of UTV Radio, they say, "We all agree that localness is important to our listeners. However, it is also clear that quality of output is of greater importance. It is against [the BBC] that every local commercial station must compete daily, on terms that are heavily skewed in the BBC's favour."
"Few local commercial stations," they add, "have the resources to recruit the kind of talent, or produce the kind of programme, that can compete with the likes of Chris Moyles, Jeremy Vine or Chris Evans. Indeed, even if a commercial station did have this kind of resource, the reality is that this kind of talent is rarely available based outside of London. And even where such talent is available, local or regional stations often present less attractive opportunities."
The letter was sent to Ofcom as part of its "Future of Radio"consultation and the commercial industry body the RadioCentre wants the proposed local requirements that Ofcom put forward of eight hours - 13 hours for large stations - a day local content to be cut to a minimum of three hours for stations with potential audiences of less than 500,000, and seven hours for stations broadcasting to more than 500,000 potential listeners.
The letter says this would then give commercial radio the "best of both worlds: quality programming to compete effectively with the BBC, but with something the national BBC stations can't deliver - local output at the relevant times of day."
Ofcom was due to release the results of its consultation this month but has now put the date back to the "back end" of the year because of the volume of responses received (See RNW Oct 24).
2007-10-25: Arbitron has put another nail in the coffin of competition for electronic radio ratings in the US with the announcement that Cumulus has signed an agreement to use its Portable People Meter ratings for 33 of its stations in eight markets.
The multi-year agreement covers Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston-Galveston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Nashville and San Francisco and provides for Cumulus to subscribe to PPM ratings as and when they are introduced into each market.
2007-10-24: Illinois Senator and US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has posted on his website a letter sent to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Kevin J. Martin calling his media ownership proposals "irresponsible" and calling on him to launch "an independent review panel to develop proposals to further promote media ownership diversity." He also asks Martin to reconsider his reported December deadline for the FCC to introduce new media ownership proposals.
Obama notes reports that following what he terms "an insufficient 30-day review" the FCC intends to allow greater media consolidation and says this would "allow large media outlets to become larger, potentially cutting out small business, women and minority-owned firms."
In the 700-word letter he says the Commission "has failed to recognize the vital role" that ,minority owned and operated newspapers and radio stations play in the African American and Latino communities and in US democracy and "has not done enough to further the goals of diversity in the media."
His letter terms says he believes "both the proposed timeline and process are irresponsible" and also says he "object to the Commission's propensity to vet proposals through leaks to the press and lobbyists."
In support of the latter contention he cites a report issued in September by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) entitled "The FCC Should Take Steps to Ensure Equal Access to Rulemaking Information" and that said, "Situations where some, but not all, stakeholders know what the FCC is considering for an upcoming vote undermine fairness and transparency of the process and constitute a violation of the FCC's rules."
Obama adds that in the wake of that report he finds it disturbing that according to the New York Times (See RNW Oct 19 #FCC5) the Commission is "considering repealing the newspaper and television cross ownership rules" and continues, "Repealing the cross ownership rules and retaining the rest of our existing regulations is not a proposal that has been put out for public comment; the proper process for vetting it is not in closed door meetings with lobbyists or in selective leaks to the New York Times."
Obama says that although the proposal "may pass the muster of a federal court, Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy."
The removal of cross-ownership bans is supported by the US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) that in a 42-page filing to the FCC says the "Commission's studies generally demonstrate the lack of harm, and, indeed, the benefits that would be gained, from allowing local broadcasters to adopt more economically viable ownership structures."
"In particular, " says the NAB, "the various studies show that the cross-ownership of broadcast stations with newspapers, and the common ownership of broadcast stations in the same market, promote the Commission's traditional goals of competition, diversity and localism and serve the public interest. The public interest benefits derived from common ownership specifically include, inter alia, the offering of greater amounts of news programming, including local news. In light of such demonstrated benefits, the Commission should act promptly to complete the statutorily-mandated quadrennial review of the broadcast-only local ownership restrictions, and reform those rules to serve the public interest in light of competition."
NAB says that the "real threat today to locally-oriented services, including costly services such as local news, is not the joint ownership of broadcast stations (which the Commission's studies show promotes such services), but the stations' continuing challenge to maintain their economic vibrancy in the face of multi-channel and other competitors that are not constrained by restrictions on local ownership structure."
NAB urges the Commission to "repeal the restrictions on cross-ownership of broadcast stations and newspapers; reform the television duopoly rule to allow more freely the formation of duopolies in markets of all sizes; and reject calls to reduce the current ownership levels in local radio markets and instead continue the relaxation of such limits."
Regarding minority ownership the NAB re-iterates its previous call for the issue to be tackled by public-private partnerships and market-based stimulants including tax incentives to "promote entry and long-term viability of minority and female entrants in a competitively vibrant broadcast industry."
NAB submission (42 page 242 KB PDF):
2007-10-24: UK media regulator Ofcom is to delay publication of its "Future of Radio" consultations that were to have been issued this month.
It puts the delay - to the "back end" of this year - down to the number of responses to its consultation document that was published in April (See RNW Apr 18). In all more than 140 responses were received and the regulator says this meant it needed extra time to properly consider them.
2007-10-24: US "progressive" talk network Air America Radio has announced that it has added 11 more stations to take its affiliate total to 67 affiliates as well as being available through the internet and on Sirius and XM satellite radio.
The stations added are KJLL-AM, Tucson; WTAN-AM, and WDCF-AM, Tampa; KXLJ-AM, Juneau; KKEE-AM, Astoria, Oregon; WWWT-AM, WWWT-FM, & WWWB-AM, Washington, DC; WBDB-FM, Watertown, New York; and WVPO-AM & WPLY-AM, Philadelphia.
The network has also lost its outlet in Austin, the Texas state capital, where KOKE-AM has switched to a Spanish language format.
Previous Air America:
2007-10-24: In another sign of the health of the digital radio receiver market in the UK, PURE Digital says it has now sold more than 250,000 of its ONE radio, the first premium brand DAB receiver on sale for less than GBP 50 (USD 100).
Pure has also seen its EVOKE-1S DAB digital radio take the "Best Portable DAB" radio in the 2007 What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision awards, making it the fifth EVOKE model to take a What Hi-FI? Award: Its EVOKE-1 was awarded Best Buy in the accessories category in 2003; EVOKE-1XT received the Best Portable DAB radio award in 2004 and the EVOKE-2XT and the EVOKE-3 won the Radio Product of the Year in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
2007-10-23: UBC Media Group in a trading update says it has made a positive start this year "with the core divisions continuing to perform strongly, creating cash flow for investment in the launch of the company's world leading "Cliq" radio downloading business, which is on track."
It adds that turnover in the first half to the end of September is expected to be up by 9%, partly due to a boost because of a recovery in radio advertising; that revenues at its Commercial Division, which provides advertiser funded network programmes to commercial radio, is expected to be up 13%; and that its content business, which provides commissioned radio programming, expects a 17% year-on-year increase..
Regarding Cliq, which allows the purchase of music tracks whilst listening to a radio station, it says the full consumer launch is on schedule for December 4, the date on which it plans to release its full Interim results. Cliq, it notes is designed to take advantage of next generation digital radios, which will also be broadband Internet devices and will feature a 'buy' button and enable listeners to purchase songs with a single click from live radio stations: As an interim measure, however, the service will initially launch as a Java' application, available to 85% of current mobile handsets, meaning that radio listeners can use their mobile phones to instantly identify and purchase music that they hear on the radio.
UBC also announced that after seven years with the company its Finance Director Jenny Donald is to leave on December 5 to "fulfil a longstanding ambition to sail around the world." UBC Financial Controller Gavin Rigby will fill the post on an acting basis until a replacement is found.
UBC CEO Simon Cole said she would leave the company with its finances in good health and cash in the bank, adding that he was confident Rigby was a "very safe pair of hands" and concluding, "We thank Jenny for her service; she has waited patiently for the right opportunity to take this maritime adventure and we wish her well with this exciting journey."
2007-10-23: Two employees have been fired by Northern Broadcasting's Michigan AC WSRT-FM, Traverse City-Petoskey, following an earlier announcement by Arbitron that it would be re-issuing Spring ratings for the market because three diaries had been returned from a media-affiliated household.
Arbitron said the diaries could "substantially" affect the results for WSRT and have a slight effect on other stations' ratings and that they should not be including in the sample although they had been for its original report.
WSRT General Manager Charlie Ferguson commenting on the firing in a statement distributed to employees and other Arbitron customers in the market noted that Arbitron had alleged on October 12 that one or more of its employees had filled in diaries for the Spring 2007 survey and that it would be releasing revised ratings, that would primarily affect WSRT's listening figures, on October 22.
He added that there was no impact on the figures for the company's other stations in the market and continued, "After performing our own due diligence, we concluded that the household of two of our employees had indeed filled out diaries, which were subsequently used in the tabulation of the spring ratings. On Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007, I asked for and received both of their resignations, effective immediately."
Ferguson then continued, "Whether one or both were involved, we cannot tolerate any cloud of suspicion over the integrity of our company, ownership or management."
2007-10-23: UK media regulator Ofcom in its latest Broadcast Bulletin has raised issues of adult chat programmes on the Sky TV satellite platform and found eight TV programmes, most of them from this category to have breached its standards regulations but had not found any radio breaches: It did not deal with any fairness and privacy cases in the bulletin.
In addition to the breaches Ofcom also listed without details 115 complaints against 94 TV items and 22 radio complaints against 22 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 85 complaints involving 72 TV items and 18 radio complaints involving 17 items that were out of its remit or not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Ofcom has also posted the reasons for awarding the Northamptonshire digital multiplex to GCap Media's NowDigital Ltd earlier this month (See RNW Oct 12) against competition from MuxCo Northamptonshire Limited.
Describing the two bids as "similar in both quality and nature", Ofcom said this made the award a particularly difficult decision with the business plans of both bids described as "robust and credible." It said the coverage offered by the winning bid was "very satisfactory"; that its timetables for launch were "realistic" and additionally noted NowDigital's experience as a multiplex operator including neighbouring multiplexes in Peterborough, Leicester and Coventry; and within the bouquet of services welcomed the provision of an Asian service within a package that it felt "appeal to a broad range of listeners in the area through their differing formats and target demographics." In awarding the decision it made the services offered and implementation by September next year of the transmission plans part of the licence conditions.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2007-10-23: Although US commercial radio is having problems National Public Radio (NPR) is a success story with weekly listening of some 25.5 million nearly double the 13 million of a decade ago; member stations up from 635 to more than 800; and is in a position according to chief executive Ken Stern in a Wall Street Journal interview where it could survive without government support although he still thinks such support is important.
The Journal also notes what the paper terms "clouds on the horizon" as its average listener ages and the organization faces competition from "new media options" In his interview, Stern, who joined NPR in 1999 as executive vice president, comments of this, "All media face a lot of challenges of keeping people focused on their products. If you look at the statistics, time spent with any media is going down. It's fragmented across all sorts of different platforms. The answer is better radio. If we do that, we're going to hold people." He notes that podcasts and online listening offered by NPR are not measured by the standard time-spent-listening category."
On the importance of public support Stern says this is important "to building civic society; it's important to democracy; it's important to public discourse" and emphasizes that most funding for public broadcasting goes to the stations not NPR, saying of the way funding is distributed, "The last locally controlled, locally held, locally driven medium in this country is really public broadcasting. Support from Congress for that is incredibly important. When we say only 10%-12% of funding for public broadcasting comes from the federal government, that's true, but it's much higher in cases of rural stations and minority stations, and those are the ones that would be most hurt by cutbacks in federal funding."
NPR itself he says could survive without public funding but would be a "lesser company for it, because the organizations that couldn't survive, the rural and minority stations, are really a critical component of the community of public radio and NPR. If you go to rural communities, often the only station in town is the public-radio station."
Of NPR shows Stern expresses confidence in "Morning Edition", which ahs 13 million listeners a week, second only to Rush Limbaugh, and says he is not concerned about its state against competition: "It's the signature of high-quality news in this country. It's grown enormously. It's continuing to improve," he comments.
Stern also comments of other shows and a "multi-channel universe "and says he is "quite optimistic about the future." As well as news he comments on the expansion of NPR's music service - to be launched next month - and says NPR and public radio are already "are already huge tastemakers" for music and on the new Internet royalty fees - he says he hadn't met many performers "who are worried public radio is not paying enough" but has met lots "who are concerned that higher fees might drive NPR and public radio out of the Internet business. Because if that happens, and we have to cut back our service or stop serving the American public, that would be bad for audiences, and it would be worse for artists."
Wall Street Journal interview:
2007-10-22: This week in our look at print comment on radio we start with two articles that go right to the heart of commercial radio - the dislike by many people of adverts.
Far from being "free", advertising-funded radio demands a price in terms of interruptions and the nature of the programming (let nobody tell you a commercial station can afford to regularly upset its big advertisers whatever is thought about their activities and many a report has been altered, dropped or simply not started over the years to preserve a station's income): That price is, however, frequently ignored but in Boston last week it appears that Entercom has realised it is a price and according to Jay Fitzgerald of the Boston Herald has adopted a tactic with one station of running commercial free from 09:00 to noon weekdays in the hopes of increasing its audience and then retaining them later.
Fitzgerald quotes Ron Valeri, director of FM programming for Entercom Boston, as saying of the announcement in relation to its adult-hits WMKK-FM (MIKE-FM) - Entercom has not dropped adverts at its other Boston stations WAAF-FM, WRKO-AM and WEEI-AM - that the change is "permanent not a stunt" although he said there might be a "short-term hit to revenue" because of the change.
Valeri said the change is a reaction to competition from the Internet, iPods and satellite radio and the hope its that people will appreciate the commercial-free period and stick with the station afterwards.
The issue of adverts was also well up the list of reasons C.E. Skidmore gave in her column in the Glenn Falls, New York, Post-Star for paying for radio. Describing herself as a satellite addict she writes that she commuted more than a hundred miles a day to and from work on top of driving for reporting assignments and has "grown tired of traditional radio."
Stressing that this is not an attack on people who work in the business, she comments, "What I've grown to loathe are the politics that come along with the playlists."
She then picks up the issue of financing and the cost to the listener head-on "Terrestrial radio is free in the sense that as long as you have a receiver, you're good to go. Buy an alarm clock, car or stereo system and you're in. You are welcome to tune into whatever station your location allows. In a separate sense, it isn't free -- as in, it costs money to operate a station legally. That money is earned via advertising. I hate commercials. I've done voice-over work, and I still hate them. The only thing worse than commercials is listening to the same commercials on an infinite and hourly loop."
And of the cost to get rid of them she writes, "Music stations on satellite radio are commercial free. If I could tack $13 onto my cable bill to get rid of commercials, I'd do that too. That goes double for all the graphic designers who think that Flash ads, pop-up ads or animated gifs are the most effective annoyances the Internet has to offer."
And of the available choice on traditional radio: "I don't want to sit through half an hour of music that I can't stand to get to four songs that I sort of like just to have to hear that same bunk repeated. The only reason we sit through the stuff we hate is because, chances are, it's the only station with a mildly acceptable platform in a 100 mile radius."
A contrary view is expressed in Randy Dotinga's report on HD radio in Wired, albeit the general tenor of the article is critical of the introduction of digital radio in the US as indicated by the heading, "As HD Radio Sniffs Success, Critics Question the Formula."
Critics of HD, writes Dotinga, say tight control by big radio companies is "smothering the fledgling industry's chances" and he quoted Robert Hughes, co-owner of San Diego rock station KPRI, which has no immediate plans to broadcast in HD, as saying, "Radio's most popular formats were created by radio rebels, outlaws, misfits and ne'er-do-wells -- not by corporate marketing executives."
Stations, says Dotinga, spend an estimated USD 100, 000 to upgrade their transmitters to carry the digital signals but so far "digital radio has generated nearly no buzz" with only some 200,000 receivers sold last year according to iBiquity, although it estimates this will increase to 1 million to 1.5 million this year.
The receivers are power-hungry compared to analogue receivers, although a new chip to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January will ease the consumption and Dotinga notes that the HD Digital Radio Alliance trade group, which is dominated by huge radio companies, announced last week that, although commercials as such remain banned, it will, for the first time, allow advertisers to underwrite blocks of time on the hundreds of sub-channels that piggyback onto parent stations' digital signals.
In addition notes Dotinga, members of the alliance cannot offer formats that already exist in the local markets on their sub-channels and he quotes John Decker of San Diego public radio station KPBS, which broadcasts in HD but isn't a member of the trade group as saying, "There's not much free market there, is there?"
Hughes thinks the focus on niche programming on HD sounds like satellite radio and he says the premise for HD Radio "is under a pretty serious cloud."
Some analysts also think the absence of adverts and in most cases of DJs is a negative and radio consultant Donna Halper commented, "The myth is that (listeners) find the DJs annoying. They find them annoying when they babble endlessly."
RNW comment: Although it may be unfair, we find our best predictor of many decisions in the US is to consider whose vested financial interests are at stake, assume the regulators and politicians are susceptible to bribery (aka campaign funding or highly paid jobs in the relevant industry after leaving the regulator) and then work out where the most money is. HD fits that scenario to a "T" - it puts the digital signal on frequencies that are already licensed, thus preserving the power of the existing companies, and does not require any additional programming or public service. In contrast, the Eureka DAB introduced in the UK and elsewhere uses separate spectrum and in the case of the UK was introduced with a stick and carrot approach under which multiplexes were open to bids from anyone but existing companies had the benefit of an automatic renewal of their analogue licence if they provided a digital service on their local multiplexes (renewal is of course automatic nowadays in the US under almost all circumstances) rather than having to bid again for the analogue licence. We rather think the US public got the worst deal and if the argument is that the market should decide the logic should surely be that licences should be put up for auction regularly - say every 10-12 years - with the incumbent only having the advantage of not needing to pay start-up costs.
Finally for something completely different, a look as it hits its 50 birthday, at the BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme by Miranda Sawyer in the UK Observer.
We choose it for a few quotations as much as the overall content (for which follow the link) beginning with comments on John Humphrys, one of the programme's four regular presenters: "I am delighted to report that Humphrys is... cool. (He'll hate that.) Not because he is the grumpiest of the show's presenters and the most prone to flying off the handle. Those things aren't great, of themselves. But when such character traits lead this immaculately presented, highly respected 64-year-old to shout, 'Well, if that's the case, then my cock's a swizzle stick! And I can tell you, it's fucking not!' then I'm sorry to be so teenage, but I think that's cool."
And later of the problems faced during the three shows Sawyer sat in on: "Every time I was there, something went drastically wrong. Respectable establishment types weren't at the address they said they'd be, or turned up too drunk to speak; an 'ordinary' person was too hesitant to talk live, so was interviewed during the news, then edited and broadcast, all within eight minutes; a working ISDN line went down because a BBC television team decided to hijack it; taxis didn't arrive; radio cars couldn't get to their destinations on time because they were contract-hired rather than part of the corporation. Though you couldn't tell by listening, there was some major hair-tearing going on backstage. What's amazing about that is that the only people I saw even vaguely irritable were the presenters; the editorial team was always calm."
As to who was "too hammered to string a sentence together" and how the producers set up replacements, again follow the link but one snippet is worth repeating as an indication of the style of those concerned - a comment from Humphrys that "the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq should be a pre-recorded interview rather than live, because she's not used to radio and the topic is upsetting" and a specific role "the fantastically titled Early Interferer." And someone obviously invented it!
On however to listening suggestions but first a note on why US stations in general do not get a recommendation although a considerable number of them do offer streams and some offer downloads.
Overall we find little of attraction in most of them compared to the offerings of public broadcasters elsewhere who seem to have more incentive - and maybe funding - to expand their offerings beyond various forms of niche music (and thanks to the availability of downloads and modern technology we can get that without commercial interruptions when we wish to choose the music and from UK stations - again without adverts on the BBC stations to find out what is new). Even National Public Radio, to which we do listen, carries comparatively little in the terms of longer reports (a word of praise here to CNN for its efforts in this regard. We would welcome, however, any suggestions of particular stations that do offer material beyond the standard fare - but no partisan polemic offerings.
So to BBC radio and from Radio 4 last week's "Thinking Allowed" (Aired Wednesdays with a repeat on Sunday. It's also available as an MP3): Last week's edition was on "Revolutions" and whether they ever lead to positive social change and featured regular host Laurie Taylor considering the arguments for and against with Mike Haynes, whose new book claims they are a useful and inevitable tool of progress, and David Wootton who argues that they do not lead to progress. One interesting little snippet we noted from the programme was that more people fled from the US following the American Revolution than from Russia following the Russian one, albeit the issues of how far this was due to prevention of flight by the new authorities was not considered fully.
Then to BBC Radio 2 for a number of suggestions starting tomorrow night (Tuesday) with the first of a six-part series "I Wish I'd Thought of That." :Entitled "Weaving the World Wide Web" (21:30 GMT) the programme deals with the Internet and includes an interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Then on Wednesday "Suzi Quatro's Heroes of......Rock 'n' Roll" (22:00GMT) features Mary Weiss, the lead singer of the Shangri-Las and on Thursday Stuart Maconie's programme (19:00 GMT) includes Sir Paul McCartney's BBC Electric Proms performance from Camden's Roundhouse and later (at 22:00 GMT) the stations has the third of its four-part "Street Corner Soul" series on the story of doo wop.
Finally from Radio 2 next Saturday (19:00 GMT) we suggest "Mark Ronson: Electric Prom" in a programme in which Ronson is backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and joined by artists including Lily Allen, Sean Lennon, Alex Greenwald, Daniel Merriweather, Santogold, Terry Hall of The Specials, Tim Burgess and Mark Collins of The Charlatans and Candie Payne.
Going over to BBC Radio 3 we suggest "Jazz on 3" on Friday (22:30 GMT) in which Jez Nelson presents two sessions by groups centred around the duo of multi-instrumentalist James Allsopp and drummer Tim Giles- one session with guitarist Stian Westerhus, keyboardist Philip Hochstrade and drummer Ben Reynolds and another with Leeds-based bassist Dave Kane.
Then from Saturday, which we note is the day before clocks change, we suggest the feature "The Fisk Jubilee Singers" (at 11:15 GMT) in which Bonnie Greer re-traces the journey of "The Fisk Singers", a groundbreaking 19th-century black choir in Britain and later (17:30 GMT ) "Opera on 3", a production recorded at the Royal Opera House in June 2007 of Massenet's Thaïs with soprano Renée Fleming in the lead role and from Sunday (when the UK has moved to GMT) "Drama on 3", a repeat of the broadcast premiere of David Mamet's adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Glengarry Glen Ross."
And from BBC Radio 4 again we suggest the "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT weekdays with an evening repeat): "Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge", Lindy Woodhead's biography of Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of the department store and a philanderer, gambler, dandy and showman as well as a retailing pioneer. We also recommend Friday's "Newsquiz", a special edition paying tribute to the late Alan Coren (Also available as an MP3 after the first airing).
Also still available via the listen again facility are "Ten Popes who Shook the World" (from Monday) in which Eamon Duffy, Professor of the history of Christianity at Cambridge University, starts his selection with St. Peter and from Tuesday, "A Dewey Decimal", the story of the six-digit cataloguing system developed by the New Yorker Melvil Dewey, who was also responsible for introducing the "American" spelling of words, an innovation that probably should receive less universal welcome.
Finally two MP3s from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation whose "All in the Mind" for the past two Saturdays has been on the topic of "Art in the Asylum", based on the Pinzhorn and Cunningham Dax collections of art psychiatric patients held in Germany and Australia respectively
Boston Herald - Fitzgerald:
PostStar - Skidmore:
UK Observer - Sawyer:
2007-10-22: The AUD 1.35 billion (USD 1.2 billion) Macquarie Media Group acquisition of Southern Cross Broadcasting is now almost a done deal following a 99.8% vote of approval by Southern Cross shareholders.
Before the vote the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had said that it would not intervene to block the deal - which also involves the sale of Southern Cross's metropolitan radio stations and Southern Cross Syndication to Fairfax Media and a sale by Fairfax Media to Macquarie of its nine regional radio stations - on the basis of an undertaking that the syndication and related assets would be sold to a party independent of Macquarie if the Fairfax deal did not go through.
The sale is the first cross-media deal in the country since the Australian government dropped ownership restrictions that formerly prohibited owning a broadcaster and newspaper in the same market and the ACCC had noted that it was likely to result in "a substantial lessening of competition" in several metropolitan areas.
Southern Cross chairman John Dahlsen told the small number of shareholders at the special meeting that the scheme now needed to be approved by the Supreme Court of Victoria at a court hearing currently scheduled for Friday this week after which, assuming approval, payment should be sent to them around Nov 5.
The Melbourne Age reports that after spending some 17 minutes giving details of the deal, the 72-year-old, whose own shareholding is worth AUD 15.4 million ( USD 13.6 million) "diverted from the script and began sobbing as he lamented having to endorse selling the company he co-founded 24 years earlier."
He then praised "this fantastic company that has, I believe, done a great job by its shareholders - particularly those original shareholders who invested in us more than 20 years ago" and then continued, "It's been a great ride, we've had a lot of fun, but above all it's been - in my experience having been a director of a number of public companies - a very open, decent and transparent company and it's a shame that it's been taken over, but we have a job to work for you as shareholders and that's what we've done. At the end of the day we've done the right thing by everyone in this room."
Previous Southern Cross:
Previous Macquarie Media:
Melbourne Age report:
2007-10-21: Last week was again fairly quiet for the regulators although we did note from latest figures from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that, despite moans about the state of analogue broadcast media, the numbers of US commercial broadcast stations continue to grow (See below).
In addition according to the New York Times the FCC looks as if it may again be heading for a party-line split on easing media ownership regulations (See RNW Oct 19): Elsewhere there we no major issues and no busy regulators either when it cam to radio.
In Australia no radio decisions were posted and in Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted only a few including, in order of province:
*Approval of application by Rick Sargent for a 50 watts English-language, low-power Eclectic Adult Contemporary music format commercial FM in Bolton.
*Approval of application by Rick Sargent for a 50 watts English-language, low-power tourist information FM in Caledon. The commission notes that Sargent initially applied through the Department of Industry to operate this low-power tourist information station (which was assigned the call sign CFGM-FM) under rules concerning stations that did not accept advertising but that due to various unanticipated costs relating to engineering services, he is requesting in the present application permission to broadcast advertising.
*Approval of application by Amherst Island Radio Inc. to change the frequency of English-language developmental community station CJAI-FM, Stella - a low-power unprotected FM - from 93.7 MHz to 92.1 MHz: The request follows approval of an application by K-Rock 1057 Inc. proposing the use of the frequency 93.5 MHz for a new FM station at Kingston. This says Amherst Island Radio would render its signal useless.
The Commission noted that this will allow it to consider AIR's application for a regular community radio licence while at the same time permitting a smooth transition between developmental and regular community radio status for CJAI-FM in the event that AIR's application is eventually approved.
The Commission also posted various public notices including radio related matters.
One with a deadline for submission of interventions for comments of Nov 19 included the following radio-related applications.
Quebec and New Brunswick:
*Applications by Radio Rimouski inc. to amend the licence of the French-language commercial radio programming undertaking CFYX-FM, Rimouski, Quebec, by adding FM transmitters at Amqui, Quebec (280 watts), and Edmundston, New Brunswick(1.4 watts), to broadcast the programming of CFYX-FM.
Another with a deadline for submission of interventions for comments of Nov 22 including the following radio-related application:
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 19,900 watts FM transmitter at Yarmouth to the licence of CBH-FM, Halifax, to broadcast its programming service Radio Two originating from CBH-FM.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a ten-year contract with Treaty Radio Limited (Limerick's Live 95FM) to continue its service for the Limerick City and County area (See RNW Oct 19) and in the UK, Ofcom has announced the award of four more community licences in the north and northeast of England and also rejected a further five applications (See RNW Oct 17).
Ofcom has also approved format changes to allow co-location of CN Radio's Rugby FM and Touch FM (Coventry) at Honiley. CN said the change would create a new South Midlands headquarters that will offer resources and facilities to CN's current stations and our new Warwick station, beyond what would normally be expected in small market stations. It added that whilst the broadcast base would change, each brand would retain its respective localised focus and would broadcast specific local content.
It added that it had not specifically consulted our audience over these proposed changes but did not think that this was needed because it does not consider a change of studio location will in any way adversely affect the localness of the output.
Ofcom in approving the change commented that it involved short distances only, and a good case has been made with regard to the financial situation.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as noted has posted latest broadcast station numbers and could be heading for party-line conflict over media ownership regulation.
The FCC also issued a number of proposed penalties in connection with licence renewals including (in descending order of amount):
*USD 7,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Pittsfield Public School Committee, licensee of WTBR-FM, Pittsfield, for failure to file renewal application in time and continued operation after the licence expired. The licence was renewed.
*USD 7,000 NAL to B&E Broadcasting, Inc., licensee of WSLV-AM, Ardmore, for failure to file renewal application in time and continued operation after the licence expired. The licence was renewed.
*USD 1,500 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to O-N Radio, Inc. licensee of WOON-AM, Ardmore, for failure to file renewal application in time. The licence was renewed.
USD 500 NAL to Community Christian Broadcasting, licensee of K294AI, Scandia, for failure to file renewal application in time and continued operation after the licence expired. The licence was renewed.
USD 500 NAL to Community Christian Broadcasting, licensee of K249CU, Concordia, for failure to file renewal application in time and continued operation after the licence expired. The licence was renewed.
RNW note: The FCC was also involved in a number of licence awards where there were objections. We will update with these later.
Previous Licence News:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-10-21: US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid's letter, co-signed by 41 Democratic senators and sent to Clear Channel Communications CEO Mark Mays calling on him to condemn Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comments (See RNW Oct 3) has raised a total of USD 4.2 million for the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, the charity to which Limbaugh had said money raised by the auction of the letter on eBay would be given.
In the end the letter attracted 213 bids according to eBay: The winning bid, to which Limbaugh added a matching amount, was of USD 2.1 million from D.C. philanthropist Betty Maryland and the USD 294 million Eugene B. Casey Foundation whose past gifts have gone to various organizations including the Washington Opera and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
The New York Times reports that taxes may have to be paid by the Foundation on the purchase and quoted Marcus S. Owens, a lawyer who headed the Internal Revenue Service division that oversees charities and foundations, as saying the foundation would have difficulty demonstrating that buying the letter furthered a charitable purpose. "They'd have to establish the link between the transfer of money for that letter and promoting free speech," said Owens, "and that's going to be tough."
Reid in a statement in the US Senate said of the auction that Limbaugh "He put the letter up for auction on eBay and I think very, very constructively, let the proceeds of that to go to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation that provides scholarship assistance to Marines and federal law enforcement personnel whose parents fall in the line of duty. What could be a more worthwhile cause?" and added, "I strongly believe that when we can put our differences aside, even Harry Reid and Rush Limbaugh, we should do that and try to accomplish good things for the American people."
Limbaugh threw the comment back in Reid's face: His site headlined an item "Harry Reid Brazenly Tries to Take Credit for Auction" linking to transcripts of his broadcast comments in which he commented at one stage, "This is a clever move, rather transparent, to totally take the credit for this" and later "Put our differences aside? Has he apologized? He is trying to horn in and act like he's part of this whole thing, folks. This is unbelievable! "
Limbaugh also poked fun at Reid for referring to "Mark May" not "Mark Mays" as the Clear Channel CEO.
New York Times report:
Rush Limbaugh web site:
2007-10-21: Clear Channel's Chicago adult contemporary WLIT-FM has dumped Whoopi Goldberg's syndicated morning show, which it has been airing for fourteen months, and from Monday the slot will again be filled by Melissa Forman, who had hosted the slot for five years before she was dropped (See RNW Aug 14, 2006).
She had already been re-hired - after a six-month break - to host afternoons on the station in February and Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that under a new two-year deal signed Thursday, she will be heard live in mornings and on recorded voice tracks in afternoons.
The Goldberg show had done poorly in the ratings - the show fell from 11th place and a 3.0 share with the 25-54 demographic under Forman to 19th and a 1.8 share with Goldberg - and Feder quoted Darren Davis, vice president of programming and operations for Clear Channel in Chicago, as saying, "I obviously made a mistake in replacing Melissa a year ago, and the ratings have suffered. To be frank, I simply underestimated Chicago's love for Melissa. But Chicago has spoken, and Chicagoland clearly wants to hear Melissa on the Lite every morning. I'm just thrilled to have Melissa back where she belongs."
Previous Clear Channel:
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder column:
2007-10-21: The US had a total of 29,459 licensed broadcast stations at the end of September, up 1805 on a year earlier and up 1,652 since the end of last year, the most recent numbers previously posted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Within the figures, the number of licensed radio stations at the end of the year was 13,939, up 146 a year earlier and up 102 since the end of last year.
AM station numbers at 4,751 were up 25 on a year earlier and up 22 since the end of 2006 whilst commercial FM numbers rose to 6290, up 38 year-on-year, and up 24 since the end of 2006 and educational FM numbers rose to 2873, up 83 year-on-year and up 56 since the end of last year.
In addition the number of FM translators and boosters was up 1531 year-on-year and 1.487 since 2006 to 5618. The number of low-power FMs was 815, up 69 year-on-year and up 44 since the end of last year.
Previous FCC station numbers:
RNW note:We cannot find figures to the end of June on the FCC site but have queried them: Last year they posted the June figures along with the September ones in November.
2007-10-20: Global Radio and Sky have scrapped a joint venture to turn LBC 1152 into a 24 hour Sky News branded station. The plans, agreed between Sky and Chrysalis before Global took over the company, also included launching a national service via the 4 Digital multiplex next year and so far there is no word on whether this plan will be affected.
The collapse of the deal has also been followed by a withdrawal by Guardian Media Group Radio from its advertising sales contract with Global Radio. The Guardian, owned by the same parent, says GMG Radio took advantage of an opportunity to get out of the contract that arose after Global bought Chrysalis in August: Chrysalis had handled national airtime sales for GMG Radio's Smooth Radio, Real Radio and Rock Radio brands and negotiations over a renewal broke down. The paper says the contract is now likely to go to GCap Media which already sells national advertising for GMG's Century stations, bought from GCap last year for GBP 60 million (Then USD 112 million See RNW Oct 30, 2006).
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
UK Guardian report re GMG deal:
2007-10-20: Arbitron has announced that CSM Media Research - a joint venture between TNS and CTR Market Research - China's leading market research company - is to field test its Portable People Meter (PPM) audience measurement system in Beijing in the run-up to next year's Olympics.
TNS licences the PPM system and the tests are to be carried out in conjunction with Beijing's major radio broadcasters.
Arbitron's Vice President, International PPM Marketing Brad Bedford said of the trial, "We are delighted to have the opportunity to demonstrate the strengths of the PPM system in such a significant market. The 2008 Olympics will be a major event and we are confident that PPM will provide valuable insights at this exciting time."
Paul Wang, Managing Director of CSM Media Research, added, "China's large and rapidly advancing media industry requires the world's most advanced and reliable measurement systems. Both China's media industry and Beijing's broadcasters have shown the foresight to take full advantage of the PPM system's ability to deliver more accurate audience estimates from the PPM panel. Data from the Beijing PPM test will drive new insights into how audiences interact with the radio medium."
As well as in the US, the PPM system is in use in Belgium (for radio and TV ratings); Canada (for TV ratings in Montreal and Quebec); Norway (radio); and Kazakhstan (TV).
In addition it is to be adopted for radio ratings in Denmark next year and is currently being evaluated in the UK following a four-year evaluation of electronic audience measurement systems by RAJAR that included assessments of the Media Audit/IPSOS "Smart Cell Phone" meter, the GfK "wristwatch" meter and the Eurisko Media Monitor system.
2007-10-20: The BBC unions have held off calling for a strike ballot following a letter from the corporation saying that it will delay until November 5 any call for volunteers for redundancies that will arise as a result of its cost cutting plans which will cost some 2,500 posts and 1,800 jobs (See RNW Oct 19).
The corporation says it will still go ahead with the plans and in its letter to the unions says, "The BBC reserves the right to ask for volunteers for redundancy at any point. This process will commence on Monday 5th November."
The unions - Bectu, the NUJ, and Unite - welcomed the decision to withdraw its initial plans to issue redundancy letters yesterday (Friday) and to agree to union demands for talks on a national framework agreement.
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "We are pleased the BBC have stepped back from the brink and agreed to union calls for meaningful talks to take place at a national level. Such a framework will provide the unions with the opportunity to make clear our ongoing concern at the implications for quality broadcasting of the BBC's plans to cut jobs and for proper negotiations over Mark Thompson's proposals to take place."
The BBC in a statement said it was "committed to working closely with the unions in the best interest of staff. We have written to the unions today to invite them to continue the dialogue we opened yesterday so that they participate fully in the implementation of the BBC's six-year plan. >"
It added, before confirming it would invite staff to volunteer for redundancy on November 5, "We are very conscious that the overwhelming feedback from staff is that any period of uncertainty must be kept to an absolute minimum. Staff are most keen to understand their own futures and we believe delay will cause unnecessary stress."
2007-10-19: The US Federal Communications Commission looks as if it may again be heading for a party-line split on easing media ownership regulations according to the New York Times.
The paper reports that chairman Kevin J. Martin's proposals include the repeal of the ban on companies owning a newspaper and broadcasting station in the same city and adds that Martin appears to have the support of the Republican majority although it adds that it is not clear that he "proceed with a sweeping deregulatory approach on a vote of 3 to 2 - something his predecessor tried without success."
The paper adds that the two Democrats on the commission raised questions about Martin's approach with Michael J. Copps, who has been opposing media consolidation for years, saying Martin's plans to complete the relaxation of rules in December would require procedural shortcuts, giving the public too little time to comment on the proposals and industry experts too little time to weigh their impact on news operations.
"We shouldn't be doing anything without having a credible process and nothing should be done to get in the way of Congressional oversight and more importantly, public oversight," Copps said in a telephone interview from London. "We've got to have that public scrutiny. That was one of the big mistakes that Mr. Powell made, and he was taken to the woodshed by the Third Circuit. I fear it is déjà vu all over again."
The paper adds that advisers to Martin hope to gain support from a Democrat, probably Jonathan S. Adelstein and then quoted Adelstein as saying the timetable was "awfully aggressive." Adelstein has already said that before relaxing ownership regulations the agency first needs to address other media issues, including encouraging improved coverage of local events and greater ownership of stations by companies controlled by women and minorities.
There is also likely to be political opposition to any attempts to rush through changes and North Dakota Democrat Senator Byron L. Dorgan said - at a hearing on Wednesday called to examine the digital transition of the television industry- of the plans, "This is a big deal because we have way too much concentration of media ownership in the United States" and added, "If the chairman intends to do something by the end of the year, then there will be a firestorm of protest and I'm going to be carrying the wood."
Martin said he wanted a consensus and added, "We've had six hearings around the country already; we've done numerous studies; we've been collecting data for the last 18 months; and the issues have been pending for years," Mr. Martin said in an interview. "I think it is an appropriate time to begin a discussion to complete this rule-making and complete these media ownership issues."
Sen Dorgan and Mississippi Republican Trent Lott have released a letter sent to Martin remindhing him that they had asked him not to "fold the localism proceeding into the ownership review" but to conduct a separate localism hearing prior to a review of ownership rules.
The duo said the FCC had not adequately studied "the impact of media consolidation on local programming" and called on it to ensure that it had put "sufficient mechanisms in place to ensure that broadcasters are serving their local communities" before considering any changes to relax the existing rules. They say they want Martin, before moving ahead with the ownership proceedings, to separately finish the localism inquiry, provide a report on localism with recommendations through a notice of proposed rule making, and allow public comment on this separate proceeding for at least 90 days on the findings of this report."
New York Times report:
2007-10-19: BBC unions are threatening a strike at the end of next month or beginning of December if the Corporation does not back down over plans for job cuts and redundancies formally announced on Thursday: In all the BBC says some 2,500 posts will go over the next six years including some 1,800 redundancies and that News and Factual production will be most affected. The corporation has also dropped plans for proposals to spend some USD 1.5 billion over the period on new proposals including four new local radio stations. Offsetting this will be the creation of some 700 new jobs as the corporation moves
In a letter to the BBC the joint unions (Bectu, the NUJ and Unite) say they believe that given the five-year time frame and the number of jobs involved compulsory redundancies can be avoided and accuse the corporation of breaching employment legislation and existing union agreements" in failing to consult with them. They also note that the Health & Safety Executive has informed the BBC that it is in breach of existing laws concerning stress management.
They then say that the "BBC must agree a national framework which will cover how the divisions will process the redundancies, and crucially, what they will do to assist staff to be retrained and redeployed" and that until this framework is in place the BBC should not trawl for volunteers for redundancy. They also note the existing agreement from ACAS (the government's Arbitration and Conciliation Service) that provides five months from the date of selection for staff to allow them to be redeployed expires in March 2008 and say the BBC needs to extend this to cover all redundancies included in this round of cuts and also freeze external recruitment for the duration of the round of cuts.
Should the BBC not agree to delay any call for volunteers for redundancy before a national framework is in place by noon today the unions say they will immediately ballot on a strike.
Bectu Assistant General Secretary Luke Crawley said the BBC "must honour its agreements with the joint unions or face the fact of an immediate industrial action ballot. It is unacceptable to trawl for volunteers without agreeing a national framework covering the treatment of staff facing redundancy."
He added, "We are extremely concerned that the pressures on staff left behind will lead to increased stress and strain, which is why we are demanding that the BBC implements a programme of risk assessments before any redundancies take place. Destructive cuts like these will damage programme quality."
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said, "We have sought reassurances from the BBC that they will honour their agreements with staff and agree to meaningful negotiations over their plans. They have refused to give those reassurances and are pressing ahead with plans to axe jobs and make cuts which we believe will undermine quality programming across the BBC. Whilst they talk about consultation they are pressing ahead with plans to axe 2500 jobs. Their fine words are exposed as nothing more than empty promises."
BBC Director General Mark Thompson announcing the plans did not give details of areas other than factual where cuts are to be made but the BBC has said investment in future media and technology will rise by 21% to GBP 184 million (USD 368 million) over the next five-to six years and BBC journalism will get a 6% rise to GBP 964 million (USD 1.93 billion) at the end of the period.
The corporation said in a news release that the plan -"Delivering Creative Future" - would focus on quality with fewer better programmes; on a digital step-change to make programmes available on demand; and creating a small BBC to provide best value to audiences.
Thompson told staff, "Media is transforming. Audiences are transforming. It would be easy to say that the sheer pace of this revolution is too fast for the BBC.
"That for us to do what other media players are doing - integrating newsrooms, mixing media, exploiting the same content aggressively across different platforms - is just too radical ... but I think we can see both here and around the world the price you pay for taking what looks like the safe option."
"I've devoted almost my whole working life to the BBC, much of that not as a suit but as a rank-and-file programme-maker," he added. "I love the BBC and what it stands for. I care too much to see it drift steadily into irrelevance."
The plan he concluded would produce "a smaller BBC, but one which packs a bigger punch because it is more focused on quality and the content that really makes a difference to audiences. And it will be a BBC which is fully prepared for digital".
2007-10-19: Arbitron Inc. has reported third quarter revenues to the end of September up 6.4% on a year ago at USD 96.5 million but expenses were up 16.4% to USD 66.1 million, partly because of expenditure in connection with the rollout of its Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings service.
As a result, Earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) for the quarter were down 15.4% year-on-year at USD 27.2 million, and net income fell 14.9% to USD 17.2 million (from 69 cents to 58 cents per diluted share).
For the first nine months of the year revenues are up 6.9% year-on-year to USD 267.3 million; EBIT is down 21.7% to USD 57.2 million; and net income is down 20.2% at USD 36.5 million (from USD 1.51 to USD 1.21 per diluted share).
Chairman, president, and CEO Stephen Morris commented in a statement, While the PPM commercialisation is both complex and challenging, we have been able to stay on track with our ambitious market-by-market rollout schedule for the Portable People Meter ratings service."
He noted the launch last month of the 'pre-currency' survey period in New York and the embedded radio markets of Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex-Somerset-Union, three markets that are scheduled to convert to Portable People Meter as full 'currency' on December 31 and the recruitment of "consumers" for Los Angeles, Riverside, Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose, adding, While this has been logistically demanding, especially because each market has its own unique characteristics, we're committed to converting these markets as scheduled."
At the company's conference call, Morris stressed the importance of the PPM and in response to questioning about compliance rates - particularly a problem in the 18-24 and 25-34 groups - said that for these groups they were trying various approaches including financial incentives and one-on-one coaching visits.
Morris also commented that this particular age group might be more willing to carry devices such as a cell-phone although this was not essential at the moment because overall figures were good.
Asked about possible rebated when there are shortfalls, Morris said that they were comfortable with the idea if a guarantee could help with confidence and were open to talks about this whilst CFO Sean Cramer added that both they and customers were looking for sample size not rebates.
Concerning Project Apollo, whose pilot evaluation period has been extended into the first quarter of 2008 at the request of the seven advertisers on its steering committee, Morris said this was obviously frustrating" but added that the clients were very excited" about the data gathered so far.
Looking ahead Arbitron is reiterating its earlier guidance for the year of revenues to increase between 5.5% and 7.5% year-on-year with earnings per share between USD .135 and USD 1.45 for 2007.
2007-10-19: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has signed a ten-year contract with Treaty Radio Limited (Limerick's Live 95FM) to continue its service for the Limerick City and County area.
Commenting on the signing, Conor Maguire, Chairperson of the BCI said, "The Commission is delighted to conclude contract negotiations and sign this ten year contract with Limerick's Live 95FM. I am confident that this service will continue to maintain high standards of programming for the listeners of Limerick City and County. We wish the station every success in the years ahead."
2007-10-19: Absolute Radio International UK at lunchtime on Thursday launched the first "Jack FM" format station in the. Absolute won the licence last year (See RNW Oct 14, 2006).
It is also planning to launch the format on DAB digital multiplexes in various parts of the country next year.
Previous Absolute Radio International:
2007-10-18: The BBC Trust has approved the six-year plan to be announced today by the Corporation's Director-General Mark Thompson and that includes a number of job losses, expected to be in the thousands rather than hundreds: The UK Guardian says that Thompson has told senior staff that 2500 posts will go including some 1800 redundancies and another 700 staff redeployed.
The paper adds that BBC deputy director general, Mark Byford, said that in the London-based news division there would be between 475 and 490 post lost with between 350 and 370 redundancies.
In addition hundreds more posts are expected to go in the BBC English Regions and national services plus cuts in specific services such as children's TV and BBC Vision, particularly London factual. The Guardian says that vision director Jana Bennett said there would be between 700 and 725 post closures in her division, resulting in 640 to 660 redundancies and that GBP 100 million ( USD 200 million) a year would be cut from the annual commissioning budget.
Some staff were briefed on the plans on Wednesday evening and the rest - and the unions - are to be briefed this morning.
The Trust News release on the matter quotes Chairman Sir Michael Lyons as saying, "All of us at the BBC have constantly to remind ourselves that the guaranteed and privileged funding at our disposal is coming from people who have no choice but to pay it. This is the public's BBC and the public pays for it with the licence fee. And those same people have made it absolutely clear that they want quality, value and something a bit special in return. After six months of very detailed work by the management and rigorous testing and challenge from the BBC Trust, we are confident that the plans we have approved today will safeguard the core values of the BBC at a time of radical and accelerating change in technology, markets and audience expectations."
It is followed by a Trust statement of more fancy-sounding PR words than meaning but that does include a note that a tenth fewer programmes are to be commissioned and that the BBC Executive said the BBC can deliver total annual net efficiencies of 3% each year. It also says that the Trust has approved in principle the sale of Television Centre and requested a more detailed strategy on the BBC's property portfolio " as part of the cost-cutting plans.
BBC Trust news release:
2007-10-18: CBS Corporation has announced a new employment agreement with its President and CEO Leslie Moonves that sees his term extended to the end of September 2011 with basis pay reduced from USD 5.9 million - including USD 2.9 million in deferred compensation - in his previous contract to USD 3.5 million a year.
In addition to this Moonves gets a one-time option to purchase five million shares of CBS Class B Common Stock, vest in four equal instalments over the next four years, plus Moonves annual restricted stock units during the term with a value of USD 7.6 million per year.
CBS adds that it has also provided incentives for Moonves to continue his relationship with the Company upon the end of the employment term and Executive chairman Sumner Redstone (84) said in a release, "I look forward to working with Les for many years to come. What he has accomplished since we unleashed the new CBS Corporation has exceeded all my expectations. There is no better CEO in America, and I have no doubt that his success will only continue as he leads CBS into the next decade."
Moonves in the same release said, "I love this great company and the talented people with whom I am privileged to work. I am very excited about our future together and confident in our continued success."
2007-10-18: The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has posted the names of the 13 winners of ABC Radio's regional youth initiative Heywire, a competition in which Australians aged 16-22 living in regional or rural Australia s are asked to submit short stories in text, pictures, film or audio, about life in Australia outside the major cities.
The competition is now in its tenth year and of the 37 2007 winners, 11 were from New South Wales; nine were from Queensland; four were from South Australia; four from Victoria, four from Western Australia; two from the Northern Territories; two from Tasmania; and one from the Australian Capital Territory.
The winners, as well as gaining distribution of their stories on ABC radio and the Heywire web site will all also travel to Canberra in February next year for the Heywire Youth Issues Forum at the Australian Institute of Sport. They will participate in leadership and community building activities, skill-building in media and communication, and network with members of parliament, government and community leaders. They will also further explore many of the issues raised in the winning stories.
Sue Howard Director of ABC Radio & Regional Content said she was pleased that so many young people continue to use Heywire to speak out about the things that matter to them, commenting, "Heywire is unique, in that it gives young people in rural Australia a chance to highlight what is important to them and to their families and communities. To see the creativity, breadth and depth of the stories from all over Australia is an eye opening and a truly moving experience."
Previous ABC Australia:
ABC Australia Heywire site:
2007-10-18: Veteran British Broadcaster Michael Parkinson, who had already announced that he was to end his TV chat show, has now said he will drop his BBC Radio 2 show, "Parkinson's Sunday Supplement" - which has been running for 11 years, in December and go globetrotting with his wife.
This is London reports that 72-year-old Parkinson told a charity event at the British Academy in London that he was looking forward to indulging his passion for travelling as well as concentrating on writing his autobiography, adding, "'My wife Mary and I want to wander around and see places we have never been able to see before. I have been working for most of my life so it is about time I had a break."
He added, "We have wanted to spend more time in Australia where my grandchildren are. I would like to live in New York for a few months of the year and there are parts of Europe that we have never been able to see. We don't have any burning ambition to go to Alaska or anything like that but it would be nice to just wander about. The plan is to know that we are free."
Parkinson is not retiring completely, however: He said, "'I am not finished with radio and TV. I want to be freelance and decide where and when I write articles or do shows."
BBC Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas said: 'I wish Michael well. He has given Radio 2 many years of great service. His Sunday morning show will be missed."
This is London report:
2007-10-18: Air America host Randi Rhodes, who was injured on Sunday night in an incident that the station's late-night host Jon Elliott described on air as an attack and speculated might have been a "right-wing" attack, is due back on air on the station today.
Following Elliot's comments, Air America had later issued a statement saying reports of a "presumed hate crime are unfounded" and the host apologized for his speculation. Rhodes lawyer, reported the New York Daily News, said the host was injured in a fall while walking her dog, had said the host hit her head and wasn't sure what had happened and that no report had been made to the police.
Previous Air America:
2007-10-17: Citing "sources close to the deal", the New York Post says that Don Imus has agreed a deal with Citadel worth between USD 5 million and USD 8 million a year that will see him back on the airwaves in New York in the first week in December.
The paper says Imus, fired by CBS Radio for his "nappy-headed hos" comment about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, is likely to take over the morning slot from incumbents Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby of the "Curtis and Kuby" show. It adds that, as with his CBS Radio Show, which had been aired by MSNBC, Imus is planning to syndicate the new show on TV.
The paper quotes Sliwa as saying of the reported deal, "There's nobody that's been more supportive of Imus than me, but I don't think he should get to take bread out of my mouth. He deserves to be back in the game - just not in my seat."
Of those who had been involved in campaigning against Imus after he made the now infamous remarks, the paper says the Rev. Al Sharpton declined to comment whilst The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he hopes Imus "uses the restoration of his public forum to uplift, not to degrade" and added, "We respect his right to return to the airwaves, but the American people that criticized his actions will watch him closely."
Michael Harrison of the radio trade publication Talkers Magazine agreed that Imus would have no trouble attracting back his listeners and advertisers, commenting, "Imus is a morning institution . . . I think that Imus' potency right now is greater than it's ever been. More people will be tuning in out of curiosity who have never heard of him before."
He also noted that although Imus's ratings had been slipping when he was fired, "Ratings are not everything in the radio business. Imus has a qualitative listenership, as opposed to a quantitative one. He is popular with highly educated people. That's why he attracts outstanding guests and very valuable advertisers. He has the people listening that advertisers want to reach."
New York Post report:
2007-10-17: UK media regulator Ofcom has announced the award of four more community licences in the north and northeast of England and also rejected a further five applications.
Awarded licences were:
Bishop Auckland - Bishop FM.
Catterick - Catterick Garrison FM.
Hartlepool - Radio Hartlepool.
South Craven, Yorkshire - Drystone Radio.
The applications turned down came from Yorkshire and were:
Bradford - Asian Community Radio and Peace Radio.
Huddersfield - Radio Paigham.
Keighley - Valley Radio.
Wharfedale - Wharfedale Radio.
2007-10-17: Boston radio host Howie Carr has been told by Suffolk Superior Court judge Allan van Gestel that a clause is his contract with Entercom's WRKO-AM that gave Entercom the right to match any competing offers made during his contract was enforceable, leaving the host in limbo.
Carr had accepted an offer to host the morning drive slot at Greater Media's WTKK-FM under a USD 7 million five-year deal and was due to make the move last month but the judge ruled that the clause in his contract that gave WRKO the right to meet a competing salary offer within 180 days from any radio or TV station within WRKO's coverage area was enforceable (See RNW Sep 21).
Carr's contract was due to expire on Sept 19 and the judge said that had Carr waited until September 20, he could have made his move because the agreement with Entercom would have expired. Because he took action before the expiration, said the judge, WRKO was able by exercising its right of first refusal to continue his services: "Carr cannot now say that what he did had no legal effect under the agreement that he signed with Entercom five years earlier," van Gestel wrote, adding "And he cannot now twist the language of that agreement to mean something that it does not Carr is not, as he argues in his brief, 'in essence, (subject to) a lifetime employment agreement' with Entercom. And wherever he legally finds himself, it is of his own conscious doing. He has not, as he publicly claims, been placed into some form of high-paid indentured servitude by this court."
Carr is to appeal against the decision according to the Boston Herald which quoted WRKO attorney Shepard Davidson as saying: "The court has confirmed for a second time that Mr. Carr is under contract with Entercom through September 19, 2012.The court's decision also makes it clear that Mr. Carr is employed by Entercom and cannot broadcast for any other radio station other than WRKO. Everyone at Entercom is looking forward to getting back to work with Mr. Carr and hopes that he will honour his contractual obligation and resume broadcasting on WRKO as soon as possible."
Although he said Carr had to stick with Entercom the judge denied a motion from WRKO to ban WTKK from talking to Carr, and making public statements about the possibility of him joining their station, because it could hurt WRKO's advertising sales, commenting that Entercom had "definitely failed to show irreparable harm."
RNW comment: A little calculating patience would, it seems, have been a virtue that would have rewarded Carr handsomely in this case. At the same time it would be interesting to read all the other sub-clauses in Carr's contract since unless he is barred from doing so he could certainly launch many barbs at Entercom as well as throw bouquets to Greater Media during the five years - Stern, after all, managed to promote his move pretty well before he left CBS Radio for Sirius.
Done badly, it would harm Carr: Handled well it could keep his ratings up but harm Entercom's image and potentially its advertising revenue, which might be the most just outcome in this case.
Previous Greater Media:
Boston Herald report:
2007-10-17: Former BBC 6 Music host Liz Kershaw whose show was taken off the air following revelations that production staff had posed as competition winners on pre-recorded programmes in 2005 and 2006 is in talks about a return to the station according to the UK Guardian.
Quoting an insider it says she could be back as early as next year. Kershaw has remained with the Corporation, working local radio station BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire and the paper says that although producer Leona McCambridge was subsequently sacked Kershaw's own future at 6Music is understood to have never been in doubt.
UK Guardian report:
2007-10-16: Arbitron has announced a five-year agreement with Radio One, Inc. for radio ratings services in 16 markets - Portable People Meter ratings services in 15 top-fifty markets and a continuation of the diary-based ratings services in one market.
PPM markets involved are Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Raleigh, St. Louis and Washington D.C., all of which are included in Arbitron's previously announced PPM rollout plan.
Commenting on the agreement, Radio One president and CEO Alfred C. Liggins said in a news release, "Electronic measurement is providing compelling evidence about the power of Urban radio to reach and engage the African American consumer. It is also demonstrating the 'working persons' advantage that Urban radio offers marketers who want to reach the brand conscious and brand loyal African-American consumer."
He added, "I commend Arbitron for its willingness to address the concerns expressed by urban broadcasters. I look forward to helping guide the process of enhancing the sampling of African-Americans in the PPM service in order improve the utility of the PPM ratings for all broadcasters."
Previous Radio One Inc:
2007-10-16: CanWest's new Aberdeen station, Original FM, has unveiled its planned line-up for its launch on October 28 including staff poached from Emap-owned rival Northsound by Original FM's managing director Iain McKenna, a former head of Northsound, who resigned from Emap's Radio City in Liverpool to move back to Aberdeen.
Hosting the breakfast show will be Martin Ingram, who spent 19 years with Northsound; Drivetime will be hosted by programme controller Neil Weightman, also from Northsound, as is evening host Evelyn Brown.
A posting on the station site quotes Ingram as saying, "it's a once in a lifetime chance to be there at the start of something new. I'm delighted to get the opportunity to give the people of the North-East something different, more grown-up, and to be part of a great team with fresh ideas."
David Heane who was formerly with GMG's Century FM in Manchester covers the 10-14:00 slot.
Emap says it does not feel threatened by the new station. Ally Ballingall, managing director of Emap Radio for the north of Scotland, told the Sunday Herald, "We are getting on with the job in hand. We are offering tickets to Westlife in the Aberdeen ECC exclusively for Emap listeners on the day that Original launches. They haven't got an audience. It's them that have to do the chasing."
Original FM site:
Sunday Herald report:
2007-10-16: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has again voiced its objection to lifting third-adjacent channel protection from Low Power FMs with its President and CEO David K. Rehr writing on proposed legislation to lift the third-adjacent channel protection, which it had succeeded in getting introduced into previous LPGFM legislation.
NAB, which has consistently lobbied for the protection despite a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) study that showed no evidence of such interference and whose rules would have closed down a station that did interfere, is currently opposing the Local Community Radio Act of 2007.
In his letter, written to Hawaii Democrat Sen. Daniel Inouye, Rehr writes that the bills to remove the protection are "based upon the results of a flawed study to determine the amount of interference these new micro-radio stations would cause. That study, however, was deficient in its methodology, implementation and analysis of
results in assessing the need for third adjacent channel interference protection."
Rehr in his letter points to the LPFMs already approved and adds that broadcasters do not oppose LPFM stations but does "oppose the introduction of thousands of micro-radio stations that would cause significant harmful interference to full power FM radio stations."
RNW comment: The audio samples produced by NAB in its attempts to argue against LPFMs were in our view misleading as to the likely effects of removing the protection. In addition, most of the LPFMs approved are for rural areas since the protection prevents licensing of an LPFM in many cities and urban conurbations.
2007-10-16: UTV plc is now formally UTV Media plc under its previously announced corporate re-structuring (See RNW Aug 17) that has been approved by shareholders and the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland.
The company says the new name better reflects its current activities and Group chief executive John McCann commented in a release, "Over the last few years, the company has diversified its operations beyond Television, and has successfully expanded into Radio and New Media. In 2006, for the first time, total sales generated by Radio exceeded that of Television, with Radio accounting for 54% of total sales, while Television and New Media accounted for 37% and 9% respectively. The new name, UTV Media plc, more accurately reflects the company's broadened portfolio and strategy towards a diversified UK and Republic of Ireland media business."
2007-10-15: This week we start yet again with Limbaugh and in this case with that Reid letter, and the e-bay auction thereof: The letter as we have already reported was sent to Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays in relation to Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment and the balance of the evidence in our view is that Limbaugh did indeed make a comment that amounted to "characterization of troops who opposed the war as "phony" soldiers"; that he didn't intend to do this - the comment came from loose speaking in an attempt to attack Republicans who had spoken against the war ; and that Limbaugh would have serious mental problems with himself were he to admit that he spoke loosely and isn't as gifted by God as he proclaims (In itself his use of the Almighty in his marketing would probably have been widely regarded as blasphemy at one time).
What is notable about this incident is the Limbaugh-Mays chutzpah - the E-Bay description of the letter begins, "When "Dingy Harry" Reid and the U.S. Senate turned away from the business of the nation to instead smear a private citizen, forty-one of them sent a letter demanding the "repudiation" of their inaccurate interpretation of Rush Limbaugh's comments about Jesse Al-Zaid (a.k.a. Jesse MacBeth) and other "phony soldiers" who falsify their service. This letter was delivered to Mark Mays of Clear Channel Communications, Rush Limbaugh's syndication partner, and widely quoted in the Drive-By Media."
It continues, "Up for auction is the original letter signed by 41 Democrat senators. This historic document may well represent the first time in the history of America that this large a group of U.S. senators attempted to demonize a private citizen by lying about his views. As such, it is a priceless memento of the folly of Harry Reid and his 40 senatorial co-signers."
The proceeds of the auction - the bidding after 109 bids with just over three days left was USD 41,500 when we last checked: It was from "d***o( 753)",which maybe says it all.
On to the more sane (unless the buyer is Limbaugh under a pseudonym since the publicity would cost far more than that). The auction incidentally includes the attaché case used to carry the letter on stage for a Limbaugh speech in Philadelphia last week and a personal letter from Rush Limbaugh, thanking the winning bidder for his donation - the proceeds of the auction will go to The Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation, a registered charity which provides financial assistance to the children of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers.
Enough however of the politics of US talk radio and on to different perspective on it - the move to FM Talk, the prime topic for Mike Austerman in the Michiguide, which posted his column from the Sunday Oakland Press.
Austerman writes, "There appears to be a major revolution underway in radio this autumn. In city after city across the country, talk-based programming is shifting from AM stations with marginal signals to the FM band, where listeners are more likely to be able to tune in 24 hours a day without annoying interference and static."
He then continues,
After further comment on owners that have put talk on FM in Michigan and elsewhere and the problems of AM with weak signals, he writes that "the evidence is there that radio companies are embracing the idea of connecting with listeners with talk formats that are today's equivalent of what used to be called full-service. Those kinds of stations were pretty much heard only on AM - until recently."
RNW comment: The point not raised here but surely worthy of comment is that in theory at least HD AM would overcome most of the problems of reception that beset analogue AM. We have been critical of the over-blowing of the virtues of digital but for speech radio where audio quality as such is not that important but freedom from interference is, HD would appear to be a potential solution were receivers to be much cheaper and thus the obvious replacement whenever an analogue set packs up. Unfortunately we doubt that this will ever happen with a proprietary system.
On then to comment on niche speech and Marc Fisher in the Washington Post: He has been listening to XM Satellite Radio's "POTUS '08", a channel "devoted exclusively to presidential politics.."
His response - after he has detailed some of the material on offer: "Me, I'm ready to sell my vote to anyone who can stop the words. "
Fisher then goes on to note the death of "mass media and mass audiences" according to pundits and follows that by commenting that "the economics of the new model are uncertain. Narrow niches mean small audiences, which mean ad revenues that won't knock anyone's socks off. And goodness knows, nobody pays for content anymore. At a certain point, the niche becomes so narrow that it cannot sustain content of any value."
Unfortunately from the perspective of advertising-funded media, it would appear from a New York Times report by Louise Story that the advertisers are moving significant amounts of their budget away from the mass media they have traditionally used.
The report- "The New Advertising Outlet: Your Life" - is heavily skewed to Nike's practices - it has moved from spending 55% of its United States advertising budget with traditional media companies a decade ago to 33% last year: At the same time overall advertising figure, writes Story, show that "many large marketers are taking huge chunks of money out of their budgets for traditional media and using the funds to develop new, more direct interactions with consumers - not only on the Internet, but also through in-person events."
Whatever the totals, the trend appears clear - and just as worrying for advertising-funded media - as does the downloading of music for the recording companies.
After that listening and a first suggestion for the latest "In Business" from BBC Radio 4 on Sunday (Available as a podcast or stream): In "Eureka Democracy", Peter Day looks at the arguments in favour of collaborative innovation - the basis for such developments as open-source software and Wikipedia. Others using - exploiting some say - input from contributors outside their organization include Lego but the sceptics raise doubts as to how widely the idea can be successful in the long run.
Looking at innovation from another perspective, we'd also recommend last Saturday's "Bottom Line" (Stream or MP3 podcast/download) that looked at the issues of trade secrets and how to protect such secrets whilst not stifling innovation and creativity.
Technological change has also given individuals the capability to do things hitherto impossible and earlier on Sunday the station aired "Internet Sleuths" , a documentary that looked at the growing use of the worldwide web by amateur detectives seeking to shed light on cases of murder and missing persons that the police have given up.
Taking a step back in time, Saturday's "Archive Hour" on the station was "War against the Family" in which historian Orlando Figes drew on the archives and interviews he has gathered for his new book The Whisperers to tell the secret histories of family life during Stalin's reign of terror: Next Saturday in "Freedom or Death" Figes reveals the moral dilemmas individuals faced in their dealings with the Stalinist regime. Truly frightening programmes that anyone thinking about what happens when such a leader is toppled - instances that come to mind include Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and the current Burmese junta - might well find illuminating.
Also from next Saturday on Radio 4 we'd suggest the Saturday Play - "The Pianist" , a radio drama production of the performance from Wladyslaw Szpilman's novel that was originally part of the 2007 Manchester International Festival: The story of survival in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation, originally published in 1946 as "Death of a City", has been a best seller and was also made into a movie by Roman Polanski.
Moving from the inspirational to the anything-but (in our view) category, we next suggest last Wednesday's "Thinking Allowed" (Stream or MP3) that included amongst its topics the current fad/fashion for hair removal by both males and females and a social history of ghosts (believed in far more now than a decade ago).
Changing stations but sticking with the BBC, we move to Radio 2 and suggest tomorrow (21:30 GMT) and "Faith on the Web" in which in a look at how the internet is being used by manay religions, to use the BBC blurb, "Simon Mayo looks at what's available when you click on God."
Also from Radio 2 we suggest Thursday's "Street Corner Soul", the second of four programmes on the story of doo wop
Then from Radio 3 we suggest this last Sunday's "Drama on 3" - a new version of Salome by Lizzie Hopley - and this week's "Essay" (22:00 Monday through Thursday ) , four tales of "Britain's Hidden Slave Trade."
E-Bay - Limbaugh letter:
Michiguide - Asterman:
New York Times - Story:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2007-10-15: Austereo's Sydney 2-Day FM breakfast team Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O have taken their second consecutive award of "Best On-Air Team" and Neil Mitchell of Southern Cross Broadcasting's Melbourne 3AW a second consecutive "Best Talk Presenter" award in this year's Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs), organized by industry body Commercial Radio Australia..
For the first time, the ceremony included a special memorial tribute to those who have made a contribution to radio was unveiled: They included legendary rugby league commentator, the late Frank Hyde who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year as well as Stan Zemanek (Southern Cross Broadcasting) and Dugald Cameron Snr (Grant Broadcasting) who died in the past year.
The awards ceremony itself appeared to have been accompanied by liberal consumption for awards presenter Charles Wooley, whose "Charles Wooley Across Australia" took a Best Networked Program award: He stumbled with names and read the awards in the wrong order leading visiting American Harry Shearer, from The Simpsons, to comment, "When the people up here are drunker than down there, that's when you know you've got a show" and provided an opportunity for Derryn Hinch to get a big laugh by introducing himself as, "I'm Derryn Hinch, and I'm sober."
As well as his talk award Mitchell also took the award for "Best Current Affairs Commentator" and was inducted into the Australian Radio Hall of Fame along with Greg Smith.
Smith began his radio career on air as an announcer at 7BU in Burnie, Tasmania in 1968 but made his mark as a program director, taking Melbourne 3XY, which he joined in 1981, to the top in numerous ratings and the biggest listenership of any radio station in Australia at that time.
He moved to SA FM in 1984 and took it from fourth rank to top, the first Australian capital city FM to head ratings and later in the role Austereo's Group Program Director after SA FM's parent Austereo took over Fox FM in Melbourne, saw Fox hit the top spot. In March 1992 under his reign every Austereo hit top rank in a survey. He left the company in 1995 and set up a consultancy business before retiring in 2004.
Commercial Radio Australia chief executive Joan Warner said of him, "Greg had an uncanny understanding of the needs and motivations of the audience and he was pivotal in creating a distinct new style and sound for FM radio in Australia."
Hamish and Andy from Fox FM in Melbourne also got two awards at this year's ceremony - for "Best Music Special" for their feature "Hamish and Andy with Robbie Williams" and also "Best Networked Program"
Awards this year were (M- Metropolitan; P -provincial; C - Country; N - Network):
BEST ON-AIR TEAM:
C- Sea FM Morning Crew with Matt, Maree and Smithy (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Maryborough Queensland).
P - Phebe Irwin and Dave Gorr - "Phebe and Dave's Bigger Breakfast" (Grant Broadcasting, Wave 96.5 FM, Wollongong New South Wales.).
M - "Kyle and Jackie O Show" (Austereo, 2Day FM, Sydney New South Wales.).
BEST TALK PRESENTER:
C - Jennifer Menchin (Bathurst Broadcasters, 2BS, Bathurst, New South Wales.).
P - Mike Welsh - "Mike Welsh Drive Show" (Capital Radio, 2CC, Canberra, Australian Capital Territories)
M - Neil Mitchell - "3AW Morning Program" (Southern Cross Broadcasting, 3AW, Melbourne, Victoria.).
BEST MUSIC PERSONALITY:
C - Cameron Williams (Capital Radio, 97.7 Snow FM, Jindabyne, New South Wales.).
P - Kris Fade (Australian Radio Network, The Edge 96.1, Sydney West New South Wales.).
M - Jabba (DMG Radio, Nova 969, New South Wales.).
BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR:
Neil Mitchell (Southern Cross Broadcasting, 3AW, Melbourne, Victoria).
BRIAN WHITE MEMORIAL:
NM - Greg Henricks - "Sting in the Tale" (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, 92.5 Gold FM, Gold Coast, Queensland).
M - Jason Morrison (Macquarie Radio Network, 2GB, Sydney, New South Wales.).
BEST SPORTS PRESENTER:
C - Geoff Mann - "Without a Doubt" (Super Network, 2DU, Dubbo, New South Wales.).
P - Steve Allan -"2GO Good Sports" (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, 2GO FM 107.7, Gosford, New South Wales.).
M - Clinton Grybas - "3AW Sport" (Southern Cross Broadcasting, 3AW, Melbourne Victoria.).
BEST NEWS PRESENTER:
C - Sarah Taylor (ACE Radio Broadcasters, 3WM, Horsham Victoria.).
P - Rod McLeod (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, 92.5 Gold FM, Gold Coast Queensland.).
M - (AM) - Tony Tardio (Southern Cross Broadcasting, 3AW, Melbourne Victoria.).
M - (FM) - Kristy Warner (DMG Radio, Nova 969, Sydney New South Wales.).
BEST PROGRAM DIRECTOR:
C - Glen Roth (Capital Radio, 97.7 Snow FM, Jindabyne, New South Wales.).
P -Jason Matthews (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, 92.5 Gold FM/Sea FM 90.9, Gold Coast Queensland.).
M - John Brennan (Macquarie Radio Network, 2GB, Sydney, New South Wales.).
BEST MUSIC DIRECTOR:
C - Karina Singer (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sea FM 101.9, Maryborough, Queensland.).
P - Johnno Keetels (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sea FM, Cairns, Queensland).
M - Mickey Maher (Austereo, B105, Brisbane, Queensland.).
BEST SHOW PRODUCER - ENTERTAINMENT/MUSIC:
NM - Joseph Gleeson (ARN/Austereo, Mix 106.3, Canberra Australian Capital Territory.).
M - Derek Bargwanna (Austereo, 2Day FM, Sydney, New South Wales.).
M - Sam Cavanagh (Austereo, Fox FM 101.9, Melbourne Victoria.).
BEST SHOW PRODUCER - TALKBACK/CURRENT AFFAIRS:
NM - Tony Briscoe - "Charles Wooley Across Australia" (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Heart 107.3, Hobart, Tasmania.).
M - Paul Christenson - "Alan Jones Show" (2GB, Macquarie Radio Network, Sydney, New South Wales.).
NM - Dennis Guthrie and Charles Wooley - "Beaconsfield Master Blaster "(Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Heart 107.3, Hobart, Tasmania.).
M - Sideshow Mike Andersen - "Anzac Day" (Austereo, Triple M, Sydney, New South Wales.).
BEST MUSIC SPECIAL:
C -Early Openers - "Spirit of the Bush" (ACE Radio Broadcasters, Mixx FM 106.3, Horsham, Victoria.).
P - Matty Acton and Renee Peterson-"The List-Backstage at the Big Day Out 2007 (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sea FM 101.9, Maryborough, Queensland.).
M - Hamish and Andy - "Hamish and Andy with Robbie Williams" (Austereo, Fox FM 101.9, Melbourne Victoria.).
BEST SPORTS EVENT COVERAGE:
NM - Luke Bradnam and Ben Harrison - "Gold Coast Game Fishing Comp" (Hot Tomato, 102.9 FM, Gold Coast, Queensland.).
M - Triple M Football - "2006 AFL Grand Final" (Austereo, Triple M, Melbourne Victoria.).
BEST STATION PRODUCED COMMERCIAL:
C - Ray Adams - "For Pup's Sake Dog Grooming - Rex" (ACE Radio Broadcasters, Mixx FM 106.3, Hamilton, Victoria.).
P - Kent Howlett and Lawrence Moorfield - "Strike Action, Strike Bearer, Strike Out" " (Hot Tomato, 102.9 FM, Gold Coast, Queensland.).
M - Rusty Graham - "The Island Party Boat" (DMG Radio, Nova 106.9, Brisbane, Queensland.).
BEST PROMOTIONS DIRECTOR:
NM - Steve White (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sea FM/92.7 Mix FM, Sunshine Coast, Queensland).
M -Leanne Glamuzina (DMG Radio, Nova 106.9, Brisbane, Queensland.).
BEST STATION PROMOTION:
C -The Morning Crew with Matt, Maree and Smithy- "Smithy's Challenge Wheel" (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, 101.9 Sea FM, Maryborough, Victoria.).
P - Sea FM - "15 Concerts in 15 Days" (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sea FM, Sunshine Coast, Queensland.).
2Day FM Promotions - "Kyle and Jackie O Boost Your Life" (Austereo, 2Day FM, Sydney, New South Wales.).
BEST STATION PRODUCED COMEDY SEGMENT:
C - Dave and Hughesy - "Telco Torture" (Super Network, Zoo FM, Dubbo, New South Wales.).
P - Luke Bradnam - "Granny Calls Granny" (Hot Tomato, 102.9 FM, Gold Coast, Queensland.).
M - Matt Hale - "Cake Message Phonecall" (Southern Cross Broadcasting, 96FM, Perth, Western Australia.).
BEST NETWORKED PROGRAM:
C - Trent McCurdy - "The Dirty 30" (ACE Radio Broadcasters, Mixx FM, Horsham, Victoria.).
P - Charles Wooley - "Charles Wooley Across Australia" (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Heart 107.3, Hobart, Tasmania.).
M - Hamish and Andy (Austereo, Fox FM 101.9, Melbourne, Victoria.).
BEST SYNDICATED AUSTRALIAN PROGRAM:
Radiowise Media Networks - "Home Grown Humour", Sydney NSW
BEST STATION SALES ACHIEVEMENT:
C - Flow FM (W&L Phillips, Flow FM, Kapunda, Southern Australia.).
The Sales Team - 5RM/Magic 93.1 FM, Star Broadcasting, Riverland SA C
P - Mix 106.3 Sales Team (ARN/Austereo, Mix 106.3 FM, Australian Capital Territory.).
M - Triple M Brisbane (Austereo, Triple M, Brisbane, Queensland).
BEST AGENCY SALESPERSON:
C - Stephanie Hodgetts (Star Broadcasting, Riverland, South Australia).
P - Tanya Williams (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Brisbane, Queensland.).
M - Simon Kent (Austereo, Melbourne VIC, Melbourne Victoria.).
BEST DIRECT SALESPERSON:
C - Denise Nolan (Star Broadcasting, 5RM/Magic 93.1 FM, Riverland, South Australia.).
P - Leonie Leonard (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Hot FM/Sea FM 98.7, Mackay, Queensland.).
M - Juanna Masters (Austereo, Fox FM 101.9/Triple M, Melbourne Victoria.).
BEST SALES PROMOTION:
C- Belinda Didsman, Zanna Munro, Phil Cole and Jennifer Menchin - "60 Jobs in 60 Days" (Bathurst Broadcasters, 2BS, Bathurst, New South Wales.).
P - NX FM - "Have Maces with Matty" (Austereo, NX FM, Newcastle, New South Wales.).
M - Triple M - "The Snickers Hour" (Austereo, Triple M, Melbourne Victoria.).
BEST COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT:
C - Janeen Hosemans - "Bessie Fitzpatrick - Orringe Appeal" (Bathurst Broadcasters, 2BS, Bathurst, New South Wales.).
P - 93.9 Bay FM - "Bay FM Community Forum" (Grant Broadcasting, 93.9 Bay FM, Geelong, Victoria.).
P - KO FM Promotions Team - "Murdoch Family Rescue" (Austereo, Newcastle, New South Wales.).
M - Triple M - "Youngcare Appeal" (Austereo, Triple M, Brisbane, Queensland.).
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION:
C - Andrew Andrews (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, 103.5 Mix FM/Sea FM, Maryborough, Queensland.).
P - David Huth (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Sea FM/92.7 Mix FM, Sunshine Coast Queensland.).
M -Ben Ryan (DMG Radio, Nova 106.9, Brisbane Queensland.).
Max Healey, Leigh Zaghet and Alastair Reynolds (Southern Cross Broadcasting, Southern Cross Syndication, Sydney, New South Wales.).
INNOVATION AND EXCELLENCE:
Natalie Florence - "3AW Producer Manual" (Southern Cross Broadcasting, 3AW, Melbourne Victoria.).
MOST POPULAR STATION MANAGER:
C - David Bye (Star Broadcasting, 5RM/Magic 93.1FM, Riverland, South Australia.).
P - Paul O'Connor - Hot FM/Sea FM 98.7, Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Mackay Queensland.).
M - David McDonald - (Southern Cross Broadcasting, 4BC/4BH, Brisbane, Queensland.).
BEST NEWCOMER ON-AIR:
C - Charles Croucher (2BS, Bathurst Broadcasters, Bathurst, NSW
P - Zoe Ella (Macquarie Regional Radioworks, Hot FM, Townsville Queensland.).
M - Dylan Lewis (DMG Radio, Nova 100, Melbourne Victoria.).
BEST NEWCOMER OFF-AIR:
C - Krystle Theodore (ACE Radio Broadcasters, Mixx FM 106.3/3CS, Colac, Victoria.).
P - Michael Thompson (Capital Radio, 2CC, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.).
M - Faith Bradley (Southern Cross Broadcasting, 4BC, Brisbane, Queensland.).
Previous - 2006 - ACRAS:
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Kyle and Jackie O:
2007-10-14: Last week was again a fairly quiet one for all the regulators with no radio decisions announced in Australia by the Australian Communications and Media Agency (ACMA) and a limited flow elsewhere.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a quiet week with postings only on a few radio matters, mainly notices of applications rather than actual decisions.
One decision announced came in British Columbia where the Commission approved the application by CTV Limited (formerly CHUM) to acquire the assets of the radio programming undertaking CFBT-FM, Vancouver from The Beat Broadcasting Corporation.
Public notices posted included the following that contained radio applications:
*With a deadline for interventions or comments of November 14:
*Application by Jack McGaw Consulting Incorporated to change the frequency of English-language tourist information service CIRH-FM Halifax, and increase its power from 10 watts to 560 watts. McGaw says this will improve the quality of its service and adds that it is concerned that its current signal is likely to experience interference from a new French-language Community FM approved last month. The power increase would change CIRH-FM's status from a low-power unprotected service to a regular Class A service.
*Application by Blackburn Radio Inc. to use frequency 103.9 MHz with a power of 200 watts for a new transmitter for CHOK-AM, Sarnia, that was approved in July subject to the applicant proposing alternative technical parameters to the proposal for a 615 watts transmitter on 100.9 MHz in the original application.
The CRTC also posted notice of a public hearing to be held on December 10 in London, Ontario, that will consider the following radio applications for which comments and interventions have to be submitted by November 15.
Applications by CITR Radio Inc. for:
*A licence to operate a Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is a full time audio service in the Tamil-language consisting of music and songs from the 1960s and 1970s, directed at Tamil speaking Canadians.
*A licence to operate a Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is a full time audio service in the Tamil-language consisting of music and songs from the 1980s and 1990s, directed at Tamil speaking Canadians.
*A Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is a full time audio service in which music programming will consist of Tamil-language South Asian classical music but all spoken word programming will be in English.
*A Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is a full time audio service in which music programming will consist of various South-Asian languages classical music but all spoken word programming will be in English.
*A Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is full time audio service in the Tamil-language consisting of new release music and songs directed at Tamil speaking Canadians.
*A Tamil and English-languages specialty audio programming undertaking consisting of news and information programming, directed at Tamil speaking Canadians across Canada. A maximum of 30% of the programming will be in the English-language and a minimum of 70% will be in the Tamil-language. Programming will originate from various sources in South Asia.
*A Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is a full time audio service in the Tamil-language consisting of music and songs from before the 1960s, directed at Tamil speaking Canadians.
*A licence to operate a Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is a full time audio service in the Tamil-language consisting of religious music and songs related to Christianity, directed at Tamil speaking Canadians.
*Application by CITR Radio Inc. for a licence to operate a Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is a full time audio service in the Tamil-language consisting of religious music and songs related to the Hindu religion, directed at Tamil speaking Canadians.
*A a licence to operate a Tamil-language specialty audio programming undertaking. Proposed is a full time audio service in the Tamil-language consisting of a variety of programming such as news, music, songs, talk and general entertainment, directed at Tamil speaking Canadians across Canada.
*Application by Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. (Golden West) for a licence to operate a 27,000 watts country music English-language commercial FM in Winkler/Morden. Approval of this application will see the licensee exceed the ownership limits set for commercial radio licensees in markets with less than eight commercial stations operating in a given language.
*Applications by MZ Media Inc., one for a licence to operate CFMZ-FM, Cobourg, as a new English-language FM commercial specialty radio programming undertaking. Subject to the approval of the application, the licensee also proposes to amend the broadcasting licence of its English-language Specialty FM commercial radio programming undertaking CFMZ-FM-1 Toronto, Ontario by deleting its transmitter CFMZ-FM Cobourg, Ontario.
*Application by Sidney E. Dolson for a licence to operate a 50 watts English-language FM Type B native radio programming undertaking in Muncey.
*Application by 2079966 Ontario Limited for a 32,000 watts blended rock (current and classic) English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Blackburn Radio Inc. for a 14,635 watts Classic Hits English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Larche Communications Inc. for a 20,000 watts rock English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Evanov Communications Inc. for a 40,000 watts easy listening English-language commercial FM.
The above four applications are each for a new service and are mutually excusive, all proposing use of 92.3 MHz.
*Application by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation to add a 5,450 watts FM transmitter in Owen Sound to broadcast the programming of CFOS-AM, Owen Sound.
Applications for Peterborough and/or Kawartha Lakes: The applications are mutually excusive, all proposing use of 96.7 MHz.
*Application to convert the English-language commercial radio station CKRU-AM to FM. The proposal is for a 6,000 watts transmitter and the service would retain CKRU's current Oldies music format.
*Application by Newcap Inc. for a 17,000 watts Gold Based Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Larche Communications Inc. for a 17,000 watts classic hits English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Pineridge Broadcasting Inc. for a 17,000 watts Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Application by K-Rock 1057 Inc. for a 12,400 watts Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Evanov Communications Inc. for a 13,000 watts Adult Contemporary English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Acadia Broadcasting Limited for a 17,000 watts Soft Rock/Pop English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for an 11,694 watts blues English-language commercial FM.
*Application by Andy McNabb, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a 5,370 watts Christian talk specialty English-language commercial FM in Kawartha Lakes
*Application by Anderson Parish Media Inc. for a 3,000 watts Easy Listening English-language commercial FM.
Applications for Windsor:
*Application by Neeti P. Ray, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a 2,900 watts commercial ethnic FM
*Application by Blackburn Radio Inc. for a 3,300 watts country music rock English-language commercial FM.
The above two applications are mutually exclusive as each proposes use of 95.9 MHz.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 690 watts FM transmitter in downtown Windsor to broadcast the programming of CBE-AM, Windsor.
*Application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 620 watts FM transmitter in Windsor to broadcast the programming of CBEF-AM, Windsor.
In Ireland, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has approved the sale of two Emap Irish stations to Communicorp but barred the sale of a third station as this would have given Communicorp control of three of the five commercial radio licences for the Dublin area and also announced that two of the five applications it received for a new Classic Gold/Easy Listening/Smooth multi-city FM service have been put on a shortlist for a public hearing to be held in Dublin on December 17 (See RNW Oct 10).
In the UK, Ofcom has awarded the Northampton digital multiples to GCap Media's NOW Digital bid that was competing against a bid from MuxCo Northamptonshire Limited and also invited applications for new community licences in the East Midlands, West Midlands and Lincolnshire (See RNW Oct 12).
Ofcom also posted its latest Broadcast Bulletin which included breaches of rules relating to competitions by GCap and GMG Radio (See RNW Oct 9) and issued a "Yellow Card" to CanWest-owned Solent station Original 106 for playing up to almost twice the amount of top 20 hits allowed by its Adult Album Alternative format (See RNW Oct 9).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a cap of ten applications per applicant for permits for non-commercial educational (NCE) FMs submitted in the filing window from October 12-19 currently open. The decision was made following its call for comments on the issue that led to more than 10,000 responses, the overwhelming number of which were in support of the limit with most arguing for it on the basis of fostering diversity and localism.
In Florida, the commission granted in part a petition from Central Florida Educational Foundation, Inc. contesting the award of a construction permit (CP) for a new non-commercial educational (NCE) FM at Merritt Island to Merritt Island Public Radio, Inc. (MIPR)
Central was one of four mutually exclusive applications for the frequency and for the licence, two of them to serve Merrit Island the other two to serve Cocoa Beach. The commission had tentatively selected on a points system and this was challenged on the basis that the award of points had been erroneous, specifically because it had been formed only 22 months before the "snapshot" date and thus could not be considered because to be "established" it had to have been in existence for 24 months. Removal of the points associated with this status would change the decision and the matter has now been referred back to the FCC. MIPR has 30 days to respond.
In Massachusetts, the commission turned down a petition from the University of Massachusetts (UMASS), Boston, to reverse a decision to grant a CP for a new non-commercial educational FM at Orleans, to Lower Cape Communications, Inc. UMASS had put in a competing application and was challenging on the grounds of transmitter location availability the award that had been made under the FCC's points system. The FCC said it found UMASS's arguments without merit.
In Vermont, the commission denied objections to the renewals of the licences of Vermont Public Radio's WRVT-FM, Rutland, and WVPA-FM, St. Johnsbury. The objectors had based their objections on dissatisfaction with programming that they say meant the licensee was not serving the public interest. The objections were dismissed and the licences renewed.
The FCC also issued a number of penalties or notices of apparent liability for forfeiture (NALs) including (In descending order of amount):
*USD 1,500 NAL to Assyrian American Civic Club Of Turlock, Inc., licensee of KBDG-FM, Turlock, California for failure to file renewal application on time. The licence was renewed.
*USD 1,500 NAL to Plymouth State University, licensee of WPCR-FM, Plymouth, New Hampshire for failure to file renewal application on time. The licence was renewed.
*USD 250 NAL to Minds Of Business, Inc., licensee of Low Power FM KMOB-LP, Clearlake, California, for failure to file renewal application on time. The licence was renewed.
*USD 250 NAL to The Savior's Voice Broadcasting Company, Inc., licensee of Low Power FM WSVV-LP, Center Moriches, New York, for failure to file renewal application on time. The licence was renewed.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-10-14: Adelaide's top-rated breakfast hosts - Kym Dillon, Ali Carle and Chris Dzelde - have jumped from Australian Radio Network's Mix 102.3 to Austereo's Triple-M, leaving an uncertain fate for the incumbent team of Jane Reilly, John Blackman and Andrew "Cosi" Costello.
Kym Dillon, Ali Carle and Chris Dzelde, who have been together for four years, will join Triple M next year and the Adelaide Advertiser said they approached Austereo: It quoted its Adelaide general manager Peter Maynard as saying, "They approached us as their contracts were up for renewal at the end of 2007. They all originally come from Triple M, so they know what we do and they have a great affinity with the station."
The paper said Dzelde would not elaborate about the move but did say, "We're really looking forward to a new adventure and it's going to be invigorating and exciting. We hope the Adelaide listeners go along with us."
MIX 102.3 general manager George Fiacchi said Kym, Ali and Dzelde would not be on-air on Monday and that Jason "Snowy" Carter would cover the breakfast slot solo until a new team was announced next month.
Adelaide Advertiser report:
2007-10-13: Shares in Emmis, which rose more than 5% on Thursday following publicity about a call by Noonday Asset Management, which owns around a tenth of the company's stock, for it to consider strategic options including a sale or partial sale, moved up again slightly on Friday.
They ended the week at USD 5.57 -only slightly up from the USD 5.50 at which they began last week but considerably up on the October 1 opening price.
Noonday in a letter to the Emmis board has said it was disappointed with the second quarter results released earlier this month (See RNW Oct 6) and felt the stock was undervalued. Emmis, it said "should be exploring vigorously appropriate alternatives to bring the share price in line with the company's intrinsic value."
Last month another shareholder, Martin Capital Investment, which also owns around a tenth of the company, had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission a note saying its managing partner Frank Martin had asked the board to "seriously consider selling its radio stations and other holdings" (See RNW Sep 15).
2007-10-13: Citadel's Chicago oldies station WZZN-FM "True Oldies" has hired Greg Brown to host its 16:00 to 20:00 weekday slot and has already dropped John Records Landecker as afternoon personality according to Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times. Previously Landecker hosted mornings at former oldies station WJMK for a decade until 2003
Feder whose column on Thursday said Landecker's contract, due to expire on Friday, was not being renewed reports that following the column management decided to move up Landecker's departure and he did not air on Friday as expected.
The new WZZN schedule, reports Feder, will be Scott Mackay from 5 to 9 a.m., Scott Shannon (via recorded voice tracks) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Brown from 4 to 8 p.m., and Dick Biondi from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Landecker, he adds will remain on WZZN as host of the syndicated oldies show "Into the '70s" that will air on Sundays from 7 p.m. to midnight Sundays, starting Oct. 21: He also continues to fill in on news/talk sister station WLS-AM .
He adds that Landecker said he is to team with veteran talk host Turi Ryder to form a radio partnership, commenting, "I'll bet money we're better than anything anyone else has on now anyway."
Chicago Sun-Times - Feder:
2007-10-13: In further signs of the health of the Eureka system Digital audio broadcasting market, Frontier Silicon says it has now shipped more than 5 million DAB ICs and modules. Main markets have been the UK with Denmark, Norway, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland contributing the rest. The market is expected to expand as DAB+, already chosen by Australia for the standard it will use when services are introduces at the end of next, makes inroads. Among the countries expected to move to digital radio using the Eureka-147 DAB are Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Malta, Israel, Hungary, Kuwait, Malaysia, and New Zealand
Frontier Silicon was founded five years ago and its CEO Anthony Sethill commented of the development, "With the positive reaction in the broadcaster community to the announcement of the DAB+ standard we are very excited about the prospects for DAB/DAB+ radios and we expect to see significant expansion in this industry over the coming years".
In Australia commercial radio broadcasters have put on a display of digital radios at their national conference held in Melbourne this week: It included a digital radio-enabled mobile phone that allows users to view, navigate and store visual content such as images and slides broadcast by radio stations: The equipment was developed by Cambridge-based The Technology Partnership (TTP), with broadcast software developed by All In Media (AIM), in collaboration with Australian radio broadcasters.
Joan Warner, chief executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, commented, "Australian radio broadcasters are committed to getting digital radio and its exciting multimedia features into mobile phones. By working with TTP and All In Media we'll now be able to demonstrate some of the exciting possibilities that digital radio is capable of bringing to hand sets when digital radio is officially launched."
Speaking at the conference Dominic Strowbridge, a former executive of BT Movio, said that in the UK research had produced positive results regarding the use of mobile phones for radio with 38% of all those surveyed (and 46% of the 16-24 age group) saying they listened to digital radio via their mobile daily. Mobile TV was still developing a business model he added, commenting, "The combination of both TV and radio gives consumers more content choice and the ability to really personalize their mobile entertainment service to whatever mood they are in. This suggests that the appropriate way to deliver the winning consumer experience is to use a hybrid approach to technology, potentially combining 3G, DAB+ and DVB-H."
Pure, the UK digital radio manufacturer that is part of Imagination Technologies plc, announced at the conference that it is establishing a local entity, Pure Australasia, based in Melbourne, to service the new Australian and New Zealand digital radio markets.
Pure has already released two models, the Siesta and Chronos II models, that can be upgraded from DAB to receive DAB+ using software currently in development and plans to have a range of DAB+ models available early next year. It demonstrated the Siesta clock radio at the conference
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Frontier Silicon:
2007-10-13: The BBC has announced that it is launching a daily podcast of its farming soap "The Archers" from tomorrow (Oct 14) and is also to add a podcast of the BBC Asian Network's daily soap "Silver Street" from Monday.
The programmes will be the first drama podcasts for the BBC, which began podcasting in November 2004 with a trial podcast of Radio 4's "In Our Time". The corporation now offers more than 120 programmes as podcasts. These are mainly factual in nature wit BBC Radio 4 offering more than other services but also include some entertainment and sports podcasts.
The launches follow the April approval of the BBC on-demand services by the BBC Trust following a Public Value Test and BBC on-demand services and Mark Friend, Controller, Multiplatform & Interactive, BBC Audio & Music, commented, "Our podcasting trial has been extremely popular and I'm delighted that we can now begin to offer our audiences a much wider range of great content to download."
The Archers already has a healthy online listening audience, receiving a million "listen again" requests for its stream and its Editor Vanessa Whitburn added, "It's marvellous to be able to offer The Archers to take away and enjoy. It's the first audio drama to be made available by the BBC in this way and everyone in Ambridge is delighted."
Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer added, "The Archers' audience has already demonstrated that it loves the chance to listen to the goings on in Ambridge in its own time. Now - The Archers meets Podcasting - a marriage, or civil partnership, between one of Radio 4's longest-lasting hits and new technology. I anticipate nothing but happiness and many more Radio 4 programmes will be podcast too."
BBC podcasts web site:
2007-10-12: Advertising revenues for Australia's metropolitan commercial radio stations rose by 9.78% over a year ago to AUD 165.5 million ( USD 149.1 million) in the first quarter of the financial year according to the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers Radio Revenue Performance figures released by industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
All markets were up - Sydney by 4.6%; Adelaide by 6.2%; Melbourne by 10.9%; Brisbane by 12.9%; and Perth by 23.3%.
September also produced a strong performance with Sydney revenues up nearly 3% to AUD 19.6 million (USD 17.7 million); Adelaide up 4% to AUD 5.4 million (USD 4.9 million); Melbourne up 11% to AUD 16.2 million (USD 14.6 million); Brisbane up 14% to AUD 9.1 million (USD 8.2 million) and Perth up 21% to AUD 6.9 million (USD 6.2 million).
Commenting on the figures, Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said they augured well for a stronger first half of the financial year given the Federal election is due to be held before December.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers' Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook report released earlier this year forecast radio revenue would increase by 1.7 per cent in 2007 and grow by an average 3.4 percent annually to reach AUD 1.09 billion (USD 982 million) by 2011.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2007-10-12: Clear Channel has agreed the sale of 57 stations in 13 markets - in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota and Iowa - to Oaktree Capital Management's Dallas-based GAP Broadcasting.
The stations are amongst the stations that Blue Point Media, LLC had agreed to buy but that deal collapsed.
The stations are in Pocatello and Twin Falls, Idaho; Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, and Shelby, Montana; Casper, Cheyenne, and Laramie, Wyoming; Duluth, Minnesota; and Burlington, Iowa- all stations in the Blue Point deal - plus Yakima and Tri-Cities.
The deal is being done through a new company GAP West, to be based in Denver and whose President will be former Next Media President and COO Skip Weller: GAP itself was launched as a new company that made its debut with a USD 139 million purchase of 52 Clear Channel's Texas stations and in September announced that it was to add seven Louisiana stations that it was purchasing from Apex Broadcasting
Weller commented in a release, "I am very excited to be partnering with [GAP President] George Laughlin and his team to bring GAP's personal approach to another fast-growing region of the country. I look forward to working with the dedicated and talented team of employees at Clear Channel who operate the terrific group of stations that GAP is acquiring."
GAP says it intends to begin programming the stations under a Local Management Agreement before the deal closes.
Previous Clear Channel:
2007-10-12: UK media regulator Ofcom has awarded the Northamptonshire digital multiplex to GCap Media's NOWDigital bid that was competing against a bid from MuxCo Northamptonshire Limited.
Both were offering nine services plus BBC Radio Northampton.
The winning bid offered:
Northants 96 - Contemporary and Chart Music from GCap Media.
Classic Gold 1557 - Classic Hits from GCap Media.
Xfm - Modern rock from GCap Media.
Adult Contemporary service - the provider and name for this are currently confidential.
UCB UK -Religious service from UCB Limited.
Traffic Radio - Local Traffic and Travel from the Highways Agency.
Sabras Radio - Asian service from Sabras Sound Limited.
Jack FM - Variety Pop & Rock from Absolute Radio International Ltd.
Connect FM - Adult Contemporary & Classic Hits from Forward Media Ltd.
Ofcom has also invited applications for new community licences in the East Midlands, West Midlands and Lincolnshire.
Applications have to be in by January 15 next year for the licences on offer and Ofcom specifically notes that FM licences will not be available for the city of Nottingham and Gedling District of Nottinghamshire; for Telford & Wrekin Unitary Authority; and for the City of Wolverhampton Metropolitan District. It also notes that in Birmingham, where it initially believed it would be unable to consider licensing any community FMs it may now be able to consider services because two community stations based in the West Midlands that were offered a licence in the first round have decided not to go ahead.
2007-10-12: The US National Organization for Women (NOW) has called for a letter-writing campaign to Citadel Broadcasting to oppose any hiring of former CBS and MSNBC host Don Imus, fired after referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."
NOW says on its site that "Imus had a long history of racist and sexist comments, and we finally reached the boiling point" and adds, "After over 30,000 messages from NOW activists like you, we met face-to-face with top brass at CBS and NBC. Both companies dumped Imus and his executive producer Bernard McGuirk, who had also used coarse and degrading language about the players."
It comments that Imus "publicly apologized, but then he turned right around and threatened to sue CBS for firing him. In fact, he settled with the network for somewhere between USD 10 million and USD20 million, according to the Washington Post."
NOW President Kim Gandy said in a statement, "CBS and MSNBC did the right thing and fired Don Imus. Not one but two major media corporations understood the cost of hate speech and the value of public confidence. Now, after a six-month vacation and a seven-figure settlement, Imus is looking for a comeback with another big corporation. It's like a bad dream. Didn't they learn anything? No one has a right to a platform on the radio -- if they did, we'd have more talk shows than we have airtime."
She continues, "So what does it say to the public when a big corporation provides a stage for someone with a history of using the public airwaves for hateful and racist speech? It says they've made a choice about the kind of audience they want, and women and people of colour aren't included. "
NOW asks in relation to Citadel CEO Farid Suleman's comment to the New York Times that "Imus has "more than paid the price for what he did" (See RNW Oct 6); "Does $10 million in your bank account and a six month vacation sound like paying a price?" and concludes with a reference back to its earlier campaign: "let's turn those 30,000 messages into 300,000! Even after Citadel signs Imus, your messages can still have an impact. Send a letter today, before Imus hits the public airwaves."
2007-10-12: US radio revenues in August were down 1% on a year earlier according to figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) that again showed non-spot revenues as the only bright spot.
They were up 11% year-on-year whilst local revenues were down 1%, national revenues were down 5% and combined local and national revenues were down 2%.
Previous RAB and RAB Revenue figures:
2007-10-11: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which is strenuously lobbying against the merger of Sirius and XM Satellite Radio, has filed a nine-page petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking it to stop the clock on its 180-day review of the merger until "until NAB has a reasonable opportunity to review and supplement the record with certain documents relating to the serious apparent wrongdoing by XM and Sirius executive and senior-level employees regarding the operation of FM modulators/transmitters and/or transmitters and and/or terrestrial repeaters."
The NAB has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documentation on these matters and its move comes as the satellite companies have been publicising support for the merger from organizations and individuals including by Members of Congress Rep. Eliot Engel (D - NY), Rep. Rick Boucher (D - VA), Rep. Anthony Weiner (D - NY) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R - TX) and Independent Women's Forum and Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA), which have been added to the list of supporters.
Stock in the satellite companies received a boost following the filing by Citi Investment Research analyst Eileen Furukawa who gave the merger a 60% chance of success and said it could produce cost savings of up to USD 7 billion. Sirius stock, which opened the week at USD 3.43 ended Wednesday at USD 3.69 and XM stock, which opened the week at USD 14.24 ended Wednesday at USD 15.42 - Furukawa had raised XM's price target to USD19.50 from USD$15 and maintained a "Buy" rating.
The NAB has already raised the issue of breaches of regulations by the satellite companies - including matters of interference and siting of terrestrial repeaters in locations that were not as authorized by the FCC - and it says in its call for a halting of the clock, that there "is a compelling public interest in having these documents considered and evaluated in the context of the merger proceeding."
It adds that there can "be no doubt that, in light of their history of non-compliance, the question of [the] applicants' reliability is directly relevant to the Commission's review of the proposed merger, separate and apart from basic character qualifications issues."
In addition to the filing the NAB posted a response from its Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton to a Sirius-XM statement contending that "NAB's allegations are unfounded saying, "There is nothing 'unfounded' about NAB's so-called 'allegations.' XM and Sirius have disclosed in public documents that they knowingly and wilfully violated interference and terrestrial repeater rules. The central question now is whether XM and Sirius are rewarded
2007-10-11: Retired Chicago "Superjock" Larry Lujack is to be inducted in the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB ) Hall of Fame next April at the 2008 NAB Radio Show according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The announcement has not been officially posted but Feder says Lujack reacted with his "unique brand of weary cynicism", commenting, "As this will be my third and probably last Hall of Fame induction, I've decided, in my acceptance speech, to dump the phony gracious and fake humility bit and just be truthful for a change. I was, still am and always will be incredibly good, and frankly, I'm more than a little disappointed that it took the NAB this long to recognize that fact! Further, I am deserving of this honour because I've always subscribed to the NAB Code of Responsible Broadcasting. I have no idea what it's about -- but I've always subscribed."
Feder notes that Lujack was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Illinois Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame in 2002.
Chicago Sun-Times -Feder:
2007-10-10: The US National Association of Black Journalists, responding to recent reports of talks between former CBS Radio and MSNBC host Don Imus with Citadel and Fox has posted a call to both organizations trying to block any deal.
Imus was fired in April following his infamous "nappy-headed hos" comments about members of the Rutgers' Women's Basketball Team, and the NABJ is urging both Citadel chief executive Farid Suleman and Fox chairman Roger Ailes to halt negotiations, terming the reports about the host's negotiations as "unimaginable."
The New York Times report quoted Suleman as saying Imus "did something wrong. He didn't break the law. He's more than paid the price for what he did (See RNW Oct 6)."
NABJ president Barbara Ciara says in the posting, "NABJ remains outraged after the racially inflammatory insults made by Don Imus last spring. He used his free speech to broadcast hate speech. To put him back on the air now makes light of his serious and offensive racial remarks that are still ringing in the ears of people all over this country."
She added, "It is our hope that Citadel Broadcasting and Fox News will put decency and good broadcast practices ahead of a dysfunctional alliance."
NABJ's Vice President of Print Ernie Suggs said, "It seems inconceivable that less than a year after Imus was dismissed from CBS Radio and MSNBC for his vicious insults upon the Rutgers women's basketball team, that Citadel Broadcasting and Fox News would consider putting him back on the air."
The NABJ says it appreciates the swift action from CBS radio, NBC and its cable channel MSNBC in condemning Imus' remarks and removing him from the airwaves six months ago, and now hopes Citadel Broadcasting and Fox will do the right thing and break off negotiations with the incendiary host.
So far we have seen no response from either Citadel or Fox to the call.
2007-10-10: The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has approved the sale of two Emap Irish stations to Communicorp but barred the sale of a third station as this would have given Communicorp control of three of the five commercial radio licences for the Dublin area.
Emap had announced the Euros 200 million (then USD 275 million - GBP 135 million) sale of its Republic Of Ireland radio stations to Communicorp in July (See RNW Jul 17) subject to regulatory approval. The two sales that have been approved by the BCI also need clearance from the Republic's Competition Authority and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Given the go-ahead were the purchases of national franchise Today FM and Donegal station Highland Radio and rejected was the sale of Dublin station FM104 - in Dublin Communicorp already controls 98FM and Spin 103.8: The BCI said it was "not satisfied that Communicorp would not hold an undue amount of the communications media in the Dublin City and County franchise area following completion of this transaction."
Emap is conducting a review of its business that could see all its radio holdings sold with Global Radio, which bought Chrysalis's radio division (See RNW Aug 1) seen as the most likely purchaser although former Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley has been reported to be fronting a private equity bid for the stations (See RNW Oct 1).
The BCI has also announced that two of the five applications it received for a new Classic Gold/Easy Listening/Smooth multi-city FM service have been put on a shortlist for a public hearing to be held in Dublin on December 17. The two bids are the More FM bid from TV3 Television Network Limited and the 4FM bid from Choice Broadcasting:
2007-10-10: Regent Communications has announced agreement to sell its four stations in the Watertown, New York market to KXOJ, Inc. for USD 6.25 million in cash. Stations bei ng sold are WFRY-FM, WCIZ-FM, WTNY-AM and WNER-AM with the transaction expected, subject to regulatory approval, to close in the first quarter of next year.
Regent President and CEO William Stakelin said of the deal, "This transaction reflects our focus on maximizing the value of our portfolio to the benefit of our shareholders. The proceeds from the sale of our smallest market cluster will strengthen our financial flexibility as we continue to build on our leadership position in the nation's mid-sized radio markets. We would like to thank all of our employees in Watertown for their dedication and service."."
2007-10-10: UK radio ratings organization RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) has appointed former GCap and Capital Radio chief executive David Mansfield as its chairman to succeed Lord Gordon of Strathblane, who retired earlier this year after four years in the post.
Mansfield, now 53, is an executive director of Ingenious Media PLC, which he joined in May last year: His began his media career nearly 30 years ago in Scottish Television and Grampian Sales after which he moved to Thames Television, where he rose to deputy director sales and marketing. In 1993 he moved to Capital Radio as group commercial director, becoming chief executive of the company in 1997. He remained chief executive when Capital Radio merged with GWR PLC to form GGAP -Media PLC in May 2005 but stepped down in September that year (See RNW Sep 20, 2005).
His appointment comes as the organization prepares to move to electronic ratings from its current diary system, a switch that has been delayed because none of the competing systems it tested had fully met its requirements.
Mansfield said of the appointment, "Measuring audience behaviour is a significant challenge for all media and particularly radio which is at the forefront of the digital revolution. RAJAR is the world's leading radio audience research body and has been highly successful in enabling both the public and commercial sectors to work constructively together for the good of the industry. I am looking forward greatly to taking the organisation forward and maintaining its excellent service to the industry."
Welcoming the appointment, Jenny Abramsky, director, BBC Audio and Music, who is also a RAJAR board member, said, "Radio is an exciting and dynamic industry in which to be involved, now more so than ever, and I am therefore delighted that David, with his impressive track record, has agreed to assist RAJAR in facing the challenges of audience research in the 21st century. I would also like to express our thanks to Jimmy Gordon for his measured and careful guidance during his four year term, which was a period of great change for RAJAR."
Also welcoming the appointment, RadioCentre chief executive Andrew Harrison, another RAJAR board member, said, "David Mansfield, with his wealth of experience in representing the radio industry, both at home and abroad, has a fantastic record in leading on industry matters. We are very pleased he has agreed to take over the mantle of chairman and lead RAJAR through the exciting and testing issues of radio audience research in the digital age, as well as ensure that the gold standard of radio audience measurement continues to be upheld."
2007-10-09: UK media regulator Ofcom has rapped the knuckles of both GCap Media and Guardian Media Group over station competitions, one relating to a prize described as an opportunity to accompany the presenter to Athens and watch the Champions League Final when in fact the Athens concerned was a restaurant of that name in Birmingham and the other to leaving a prize line open for entries after a winner had been verified.
The "Athens" competition involved GCap's BRMB and the station had said in response to a complaint that "the station wanted to ensure that the competition was fun and engaging for its listeners and, to a large extent, they believed that this had been achieved."
They further maintained that there was no attempt to mislead contemptuously or deceive its listeners or engage in any practice that could be deemed less than exemplary. They further added that the radio and added that the radio industry is a "highly competitive market where there is a need for radio stations to show genuine creativity so as to attract listeners."
The prize had been described as a chance for 100 people to win "tickets to go to Athens and watch the Champions League final" but GCap said sufficient clues were given that the trip was not to Greece and at one point it was stated that the prize was for "Athens in Brum" not "Athens in Greece" whilst at another point there was an interview with the restaurant owner. In addition people had been advised to arrive at the station for 3p.m. on the day of the match, which should have alerted participants that the location was not in Greece in view of the flight time and time difference. GCap said that 95 winners had enjoyed the day's festivities and three individuals did complain that the true nature of the prize was not accurate and were offered a refund for the full cost of their texts.
Ofcom's panel listened to links covering the promotion from May 16 to 22 and said the presenter repeatedly gave the impression that the prize was an opportunity "to be there with me right across to Athens" and also said "this is our biggest prize so far". It noted that the first time there was an unambiguous clue to the location was on May 22 and added that the interview with the restaurant manager was aired on May 21 and "was so cryptic that listeners were still unclear about the actual venue."
It concluded that there was a serious breach of its codes but since it was the first recorded against the licensee opted to take no further action.
In the GMG case its Real Radio in Scotland ran a competition in which listeners were asked to text in the location of the prize - a car - from clues aired as to where it was in Scotland.
Ofcom became involved after a complaint that the name of a winner had been posted on the station website before she had been put to air and Real Radio when contacted said that the winner's name had been verified and then sent to the station's interactive department, at 15:07, to be placed on the broadcaster's website. It added that the first possible slot for airing the winner was 15:12 so there was a five-minute period when, through an oversight, listeners could have entered with no chance of winning although it confirmed no other correct answers were received in this instance and no appeals for entries had been made during the period.
Ofcom noted that in this case the unfair conduct was unintentional and also that adverse effects were likely to be minimal but said that nevertheless the decision to record the winning entry and delay its broadcast without ensuring that lines were closed was unfair to listeners who entered in the interim and therefore breached its code.
In a third ruling it held that the Breakfast Show on Power FM in Hampshire had breached its codes in a broadcast in April when listeners were asked to contact the station with stories of what had " gone wrong during sex".
Power said in response to a complaint that most of the incidents read out were not in its view offensive and it believed that the discussions had centred on the humiliating experiences in which people had found themselves, as opposed to their sexual experiences specifically. It accepted that the decision to broadcast the items had been an error of judgement, and that the nature of the discussion was not acceptable at that time of the morning and apologized unreservedly to the complainant.
Ofcom noted the admission of error and steps taken to ensure no future broadcasts of this nature when children are likely to be listening but said it remained the "case that this was an item which the presenters returned to on repeated occasions throughout the transmission of this programme, at breakfast time. We were therefore concerned that at no time during the broadcast, no member of the production team, sought to limit the material appropriately. "
In a further radio case the complaint was considered resolved by the action taken by the broadcasters - Emap's Metro Radio and TFM 96.6FM - over complaints that the recorded promotions for a "Cash, Car and the Caribbean competition" did not make it clear it was a cross-network competition rather than one being run just by the stations concerned.
Emap said this had been its first such networked competition and broadcasters had been told to refer to the networked status of the competition and broadcast pre-recorded trails that specifically mentioned the networked status of the competition every hour.
It added that in the case of Metro there were two pre-recorded promotional items. One of these had the full details of the competition including the networking and pricing information. The other did not, as it was intended to be used as an introduction or end piece to the competition or a presenter announcement about the competition."
Unfortunately a wrong promotion had been played by the station whilst in the TFM case a presenter had adlibbed and this could have given the impression that the station was not being run across the network. It said that it would in future provide specific guidance to prevent ad-libbing pre-scripted announcements so as to avoid errors. In this case Ofcom said it felt the matter had been resolved by the admission of error and steps taken to prevent repetition.
In addition to these complaints Ofcom also fined GMTV GBP 2 million (USD 4 million) in connection with premium rate line competitions which competition finalists were regularly selected before lines closed over a period of nearly four years; upheld five TV standards complaints and upheld in part a TV fairness and privacy complaints. It also posted details of two TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
The numbers compare with no radio complaints upheld in its previous bulletin when it upheld standards complaints concerning four TV items and gave details of another TV standard complaint not upheld and also partly upheld a TV Fairness and Privacy Complaint and gave details of three other such complaints not upheld.
Ofcom also listed without details 85 complaints against 72 TV items and 18 radio complaints against 17 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 104 TV complaints involving 84 items and 11 radio complaints involving 11 items that were out of its remit or not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2007-10-09: Long-time Washington DC radio host Red Shipley, the voice of gospel bluegrass in the music's home region for half a century, has died of cancer in Charlottesville.
His "Stained Glass Bluegrass" programme was aired by WAMU from 1982 until last month when it dropped all its bluegrass programming and before that he had worked at WJMA-AM and WKCW-AM.
Paying tribute WAMU general manager Caryn Mathes commented, "Radio lost one of its own legends last night. I'm deeply saddened by the news of Red's passing, but grateful that he was able to spend 25 years on the air with us at WAMU, and heartened that he was able to continue doing what he loved for so long."
Washington Post report:
2007-10-09: UK media regulator Ofcom has issued a "Yellow Card" to CanWest-owned Solent station Original 106 for playing up to almost twice the amount of top 20 hits allowed by its Adult Album Alternative format: The station was the first in the UK to be awarded a licence for this format and its character of Service when the licence was awarded in 2005 was "a credible mix of adult-orientated music, with particular appeal for 40-59 year-olds, with 24 hour local news."
In more detail this was spelled out as meaning that it would play "predominantly album tracks over the full range of adult-orientated genres including Adult Rock, Adult Soul/R&B/Blues, Adult Mellow and Adult Eclectic from the 60s to today"; that songs that are or have been in the Top 20 chart will account for no more than 35% of the station's output and that within each hour of daytime music no single genre or decade will account for more than 35% of songs played. In addition speech output, to include sport, weather, travel, should not make up less than 30% of the station's daytime output not less than 40% in breakfast and afternoon drivetime with bulletins containing local news to be broadcast hourly, 24 hours a day and an extended 15 minute bulletin to be broadcast every weekday in afternoon drivetime.
Following a complaint -thought to be from a rival broadcaster - that the 35% cap on Top 20 hits was not being observed by Original and a number of the tracks being aired were "out-of-Format" taking the station "uncomfortably close to existing Adult Contemporary stations in the Solent marketplace", Ofcom carried out spot sampling for which it requested three days of music logs, one of which was checked against station audio for the relevant day.
This showed that the station was consistently playing a higher percentage of Top 20 hits than the permitted 35%: Over the three days the average was 44%, over the daytime for the three days it was 56% and at weekday peak time it was 67%.
Ofcom agreed "with the complainants that a number of tracks being aired by Original were mainstream pop records that do not sit happily with the label "Adult Alternative", although it commented of the tracks concerned and named that its ruling was not one that music by the artists were necessarily unsuitable for the format nor that the station could not play any of the individual tracks in the future. It concluded that the station was in breach of its format, and issued a Yellow Card.
CanWest has struggled to gain an audience for the station - latest ratings figures showed a weekly reach of 32,000 listeners in an area including Southampton, Portsmouth, and Bournemouth that has an adult population of some 1.6 million. The station, which went on the air in October last year, is one of three owned in the UK by CanWest and its licence was the first awarded to a foreign company (See RNW Sep 6, 2005). A year later it won a licence for its Original station in Bristol (See RNW Sept 15, 2006) that went on air in May this year and then this year a licence for Original in Aberdeen ( See RNW Jan 12). This station is due to launch soon.
2007-10-08: After going for a digital bias last week we're back to analogue and programming this week starting with stunts -in the form of a "Britney Suicide Watch" - and ill-chosen words. The ill-chosen words - at least ill-chosen in our view, were the "phony soldiers" ones from Rush Limbaugh albeit a fair number of Republicans and right-wingers seem to think not only that he did nothing wrong but that he is incapable of doing anything wrong (See RNW Oct 4).
The whole saga seems to us overblown as indeed to a non-American eye have many past attacks on hosts both conservative and non-conservative (from outside the country using English with meanings that have not been perverted by US politicians and partisans we would hardly call some of them "liberal" or "progressive" although most do support the Democrats).
To wrap the matter up until there are any surprise developments - which we don't anticipate - we have chosen just two comments that are broadly supportive of Limbaugh
First Andrew C. McCarthy, director of the grandiloquently titled "Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies" and a man who would seem to have no problems with faith and plenty with fact: Writing in the National Review he headlined his comment, "Phony-Soldier Sympathizers Stoke a Phony Controversy. Rush Limbaugh has never done anything but honour our armed forces" and later in his first contentious comment says of the Limbaugh audience: "Why do they listen? Because "talent on loan from God" - for all its insight, passion, and biting satire - has a hallmark notably absent from the other side's one-note polemics: unfailing civility."
He continues, "On a typical excursion into broadcast excellence, there will be a liberal or two who call in to engage. These are often the finest moments of the program. The reason is good will.
There is no snarky 'get off my phone!' Rush, instead, engages in a rare form of dialogue once known in Washington as civil discourse.
Since every time we've looked at Limbaugh's site it's contained an insult to someone - the current one is "Dirty Harry" for Sen. Harry Reid we can only conclude that McCarthy thinks that this is fine and civil: Of course it isn't being said to the abused person's face but it is be politically-based vilification whose existence we'd prefer in the open rather than something banned and hidden but civil discourse it isn't.
There is more - some of it the slightly defensive - "Even if you take the position that Rush's remark was ambiguous - I think that's a strained construction, but let's assume it for argument's sake - the logical step when confronted by ambiguity is to place words in a broader context. How do they fit, not just in the surrounding circumstances of the conversation but in the full body of the man's work?" That would apply equally to one-off remarks by others, including, as it happens Don Imus. We await continuing evidence that McCarthy and other Limbaugh supporters will take this approach when the remark is one they dislike or disagree with.
Then there's a different perspective- a perspicacious one in our view - on the comments from Paul Mulshine's Jersey Voices blog on NJ.com: He says of the comments that Democrats who have got worked up about the comments miss the point because "Limbaugh's attack was not directed at Democrats. It was directed at Republicans"
He supports the argument by noting that the caller whose comments preceded the one in which the "phony" exchange was contained, said he was a Republican former soldier who along with many other Republicans wanted to pull American troops out of Iraq.
"Well, who are these Republicans?" Limbaugh asked. "I can think of Chuck Hagel, and I can think of Gordon Smith, two Republican senators. Who are the Republicans in the antiwar movement?"
Limbaugh, of course, has a staff of researchers to keep him informed and of course, if challenged on this, would probably define the "anti-war movement" to exclude them but Mulshine accurately brings up the names of Pat Buchanan ("who predicted with amazing accuracy before the war began that American troops would still be bogged down in Iraq four years later."); William F. Buckley ("who has termed the war 'a failure'."); and the "approximately 50 percent of the audience at the recent GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire who applauded candidate Ron Paul's call for a pullout from Iraq."
Mulshine then continues, "Limbaugh, who is a politics junkie, couldn't have missed that moment, though he might have missed that recent report out of the Center for Responsive Politics, which monitors campaign contributions. That report stated that Paul received more contributions from members of the military than any other GOP candidate. That's a clear indication that something's up, said Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the center."
Enough, however, of the propagandists and on to the stunt: This was a "Britney Suicide Watch" contest announced by "Big Boy" of WKQI-FM, Detroit. On his evening show last week he announced in relation to the pop star, who had lost custody of her two young sons the previous day, "If you can guess the exact day that Britney dies, whether it's from drugs or however she dies, if you're right, we'll give you a thousand bucks."
As Susan Whitall of the Detroit News reported the matter there was "swift and negative reaction" and by mid-morning the next day the station removed the web page for the stunt - the paper posted an image of it that shows a crying Spears next to a skull and crossbones with a "Britney Death Poll" headline in bloody letters on a pink background.
At the start of the next night's show it aired a statement by Dom Theodore, operations manager, apologizing if anyone was offended by the "content" of Big Boy's show.
"Channel 955 wants to take this time to apologize to any member of our audience who may have been offended last night by the content of Big Boy's show," the apology said. "In no way were we making light of death or suicide."The fact is that people across the country are talking about Britney. And the media, itself, needs to take responsibility for the part they have played in her sad situation."
Theodore also said the cash prize of USD 1,000 would have been donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Before then hosts Mojo and Spike of the "Mojo in the Morning Show" criticized the stunt and station management with Mojo commenting on the show, "Big Boy is a great guy, but sometimes you go over the edge when you're preparing and planning things. I've got to say I don't agree with the contest."
Spike agreed. "I think this is coming from the top. Our boss is one of those guys who thinks any publicity is good publicity and he likes the attention it gets. It sickens me..."
According to the report after the show Spike, who has been a vocal supporter of suicide prevention, and who was scheduled to emceeing an "Out of the Darkness" walk for the AFSP at the weekend said he stood by the criticism, commenting, "Mojo thinks we won't have a job tomorrow because of what we said. I was personally embarrassed. For months I've been working on this walk, and it's going to be difficult to get up in front of (suicide) survivors and their families representing the radio station that allowed this to happen."
He commented, "I have lost a family member, a friend, and two former co-workers to suicide. It's the second-leading cause of death for college students and third-leading cause of death for teens."
Tammi Landry, Michigan area director for the AFSP, said she had received calls from people who said they might not attend the walk if Spike was the MC - she said she was to e-mail them to let them know he had nothing to do with the stunt - and added, "A contest like this is dangerous, especially to a very impressionable, depressed teenager. It's making suicide an available option for them. The contagion is real."
And regarding the money? The AFSP would not have accepted it said Landry; "A USD 1,000 for this walk would have been great, we need money for research and education, but I'm not taking money from an organization trying to get better ratings with a suicide watch."
Finally after the negatives to the positives starting with appreciation from Chris Campling in his "Radio Head" column in the UK Times of "doo-wop".
It's pegged to the start on BBC Radio 2 this Thursday of a four-part "Street Corner Soul" documentary (22:00 GMT) and contains nuggets of related information -" Paul Simon wrote a song called "René and Georgette Magritte with their Dog after the War" (he also has a well-deserved reputation for being a mite pretentious at times) in which he imagined the Surrealist and his wife relaxing of an evening to the sounds of "the Penguins, the Moonglows, the Orioles and the Five Satins/ The deep forbidden music they'd been longing for". Quite why the Magrittes should have been fans of some of the leading doo-wop bands of the Fifties is unclear, but one thing's for sure - Paul Simon loves them" and appreciation - " it is possible to truly love doo-wop, the close-harmony R&B that went from the city street corners to flourish all too briefly in the charts before being swallowed up by big, bad rock'n'roll. There's a warmth about it, a feeling of care being taken, of harmonies worked on and polished."
For those not familiar with the name, it derives as Campling points out "from the nonsense words sung by the bands in lieu of the instruments they could not afford. It could just as easily have been called 'shoo bop', say, or 'da yip yip yip yip bom bom bom bom'."
Campling also comments on suggestions that it could be seen in its DIY elements as a precursor of rap - "five-part harmony singing is about as comparable to some bloke shouting in rhyme as a Roller is to a badly pimped ride" and the way it has been forgotten "At least one generation has grown up unaware of it, but with their musical tastes informed by it nonetheless."
He concludes, "Compiled to mark the 60th anniversary of the first doo-wop hit (in 1948, but you can see Radio 2 getting so excited they wanted to get it out to the people now), this is a social history programme with what must be the best soundtrack of the year."
Which takes us to a final comment, this time on Bob Dylan's "Theme Time" show on XM Satellite Radio from Linton Weeks in the Washington Post.
Weeks notes that Dylan can be "a mumbling and aloof musician" and "a contentious, pretentious artist who is laconic, distant, apparently indifferent to enunciation, pleasantries and other everyday social constructs" but says the radio show gives listeners a different Dylan.
"He's voluble, generous, articulate," writes Weeks. "He's liable to quote a poem, give tips on hanging drywall, pass along a recipe. In his show on baseball, he broke into "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" -- a cappella."
He then adds of the show, "The one thing missing from the radio show, oddly enough, is Dylan's own music" and later quotes various comments on the show, which attracts around two million listeners a week (RNW note: It is also carried in the UK -with around a fifth of the US population - by the BBC on its digital station "6 Music", which in the last ratings had a weekly audience of around 500,000 and occasionally on Radio 2, the top-rated UK station with a weekly audience of more then 13.25 million).
Comedian Richard Lewis termed it a "surreal hour of radio" and Elvis Costello commented that the shows are "a bit like those films of Picasso painting on glass. They don't pretend to explain anything about the host but they offer just a little glimpse of the musical -- and literary -- taste of a great singer and songwriter without obliging him to confess every dark secret."
Another listener Penn Jillette commented, "I don't mean in any way to diminish the importance of the quality music he plays, but Dylan's heart is so in this show that you hear Dylan even in other people's music."
Dylan handles production of the show and Lee Abrams, XM's chief creative officer said of it, "The actual recording of it is a big mystery" but added of possible concerns about content, "Doing something that would be illegal or filthy is not in his repertoire."
As well as the music, Dylan sprinkles the show with jokes - sometimes "lame"; anecdotes and stories about songs being played and other matters - "comedian Phil Silvers wrote 'Nancy (With the Laughing Face)' for Frank Sinatra to sing about his newborn daughter" ; poetry - including verse from Henry Ward Beecher and Edgar Allan Poe; and even a recipe for barbecue sauce.
Weeks says the "uncorking of Dylan's wit and wordiness may have begun with a series of interviews Dylan did with his manager, Jeff Rosen, in 2000." These were crafted into "No Direction Home," a 2005 documentary by Martin Scorsese. That same year, Dylan published Volume 1 of his planned three-volume autobiography. "Chronicles" (Readings of which were aired by BBC Radio 2 earlier this year).
And finally maybe the simplest compliment for the show from writer and comedian Amy Sedaris who commented, "I like the way Bob Dylan talks. I like how he drags his words out. I like what he finds interesting."
RNW comment: As it happens so do we and his Friday (20:00 GMT, 9PM local) airing on 6 Music is regular listening for us. Unfortunately for rights reasons it is not streamed live and the replays are only available in the UK.
After that to listening suggestions and for those who can get it we suggest the Dylan and for those who can or can't the "doo wop".
Also on a musical theme we suggest from Saturday's BBC Radio 4 the Music Feature "Who Likes Techno?" in which Toby Amies explores the history of Techno, which began in Detroit in 1988.
We also suggest downloads of some BBC documentaries - the current list as we write runs from a two part "Rebuilding Southern Sudan" (Sept 24 and Oct 1) to "Life after Vietnam", compiled from the recordings made in Vietnam shortly before he was killed by Lance Corporal Borownowski (Oct 5) and "The Land of the Mobile Millionaires", the story of Nokia's millionaires (today Oct 8):We would also note that not all are available as MP3s (but there is then a stream) and that some earlier programmes listed in the archive are available as streams but not as MP3s.
Sticking to podcasts for a moment we next suggest last weeks "Research File" from Radio Netherlands (repeated Thursday this week) and two reports on energy use: One was on the 'multi-fuel converter', a device that can change almost anything that burns into a source of hydrogen and the other was a new type of greenhouse that's so energy efficient that it doubles as a solar power plant; in winter it can heat not only itself but even houses and buildings in the neighbourhood.
Also from Radio Netherlands we suggest last Saturday's edition of "The State We're In", including items on how women's lives have - or have not - improved in Afghanistan since the US toppled the Taliban; an interview in the programme's "Focus on Fidelity" series with author and "serial cheater" Ray Kluun; and a look at the musical, composed by Hugh Masekela, based on the activities of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Then to Australia and Burma in the shape of the Australian Broadcasting Commission's "All in the Mind" from Saturday: This featured medical anthropologist Monique Skidmore, who has conducted field work in the country for more than a decade, commenting on how the state manipulates the emotional life of the Burmese and the psychological strategies they adopt to survive under the military regime.
One thing that became clear of Burma last week was how far the generals amass wealth whilst most of the populace live in poverty and the ABC's most recent Background Briefing (Sunday) looked at another country with a massive disparity in wealth in "Mexico: Magnates, monopolies, and masses."
Then back to the BBC starting with Radio 3 and two programmes - "The British Composer Awards" (21:30 GMT Monday through Friday) in which the station is broadcasting over the two weeks 12 entries from which listeners will choose the BBC Radio 3 Listeners' Award in the 2007 British Composer Awards, organised with the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters - and this week's "The Essay" (2200 GMT Monday through Thursday) that this week in "Raising my voice" features four artists - a novelist, Multi-Media Artist, Songwriter and Painter, and Film-Maker - working in a variety of fields consider the impact on their creativity of challenging mental health problems.
We'd also note that next Saturday the "Opera on 3" performance is James MacMillan's "The Sacrifice" that was commissioned by Welsh National Opera ten years ago. It features the composer conducting the chorus and orchestra of Welsh National Opera.
After this we note that as above BBC 6 Music on Friday for those in the UK has Dylan's "Theme Hour" and this week on Saturday (19:00 GMT) an edition of the programme is also -with the theme "Eyes" on Radio 2. And to add to the "doo-wop" programme already mentioned (Thursday 22:00 GMT) we suggest another Radio 2 musical documentary - Tuesday's "A Taste of Summer" about the 1967 "Summer of Love."
Finally BBC Radio 4 and first drama with last week's "Saturday Play" - "Dover and the Claret Tappers", a comedy thriller featuring as its main character a bumbling and unpleasant senior police Inspector who in the first few moments we found so far over the top that we nearly tuned out but whom we then found to exercise a kind of fascination. Another Dover play "Dover Beats the Band" is next week's Saturday Play and we'd also note that the station features in its "Afternoon Reading" slot (14:30 GMT weekdays) this week stories from the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Detroit News - Whitall:
National Review - McCarthy:
New Jersey Voices - Mulshine:
UK Times - Campling:
Washington Post - Weeks:
2007-10-08: Indian Broadcast Tribunal TDSAT (The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal) has stayed until November 13 a one-week ban on broadcasts by Delhi private radio station Red FM.
The ban was ordered by India's Broadcasting and Information Ministry on September 29 following remarks by a DJ that had sparked violence and protests in Nepal the previous day: The channel has apologized for the remarks concerning Indian Idol talent show winner Prashant Tamang, who is a Gurkha, and a Ministry official said the Gurkha Community has "reacted strongly to the remarks by the RJ protesting the stereotyping as racist and insulting." The remarks according to the ministry portrayed all Gurkhas as darwans (gatekeepers and guards).
Protest strikes were called in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sukna and the army and para-military forces were deployed whilst in Siliguri there were violent clashes. West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee complained about the violence and also for strong action against the station and Tamang in a statement called for his supporters to refrain from violence.
The Ministry gave the station less than a day to explain the remarks that is said breached Indian codes and Red FM's lawyers argued that the regulation said there should be a 15 days notice period, during which a show cause notice should be served, which also had not been done. Government counsel said that the 15 days was a maximum but nothing prohibited earlier action.
The tribunal decided that the broadcasting ministry could continue its inquiry but that the stay should remain in place.
The case led the Times of India to publish an editorial in which it said the case was another argument against what it termed "an illiberal Broadcasting Bill, which proposes to regulate programme content by bringing it under the purview of a government-controlled panel. "
"This is the thin end of the wedge of censorship," it continued. "The Bill has proven controversial and been kept in abeyance as the government consults stakeholders. If the ban on Red FM is a foretaste of things to come, that's another argument against the Broadcasting Bill. "
It also commented that there was a conflict of interest because the ministry effectively controlled the state broadcasters which competed with the private broadcasters; said it wasn't smart business to tune out a particular constituency of listeners, and concluded, "In the end nothing other than widespread public sensitivity can control ethnic jokes. The I&B ministry cannot use one misstep by a radio jockey to flex its muscles for targeting the broadcasting profession. "
Previous Indian Radio:
Times of India editorial:
2007-10-07: Last week was a fairly quiet one for licence decisions with the major announcements being ones relating to the past in the form of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report that ruled that the Commission did not suppress reports that did not fit in with desires of former chairman Michael K. Powell. Elsewhere the main report came from Australia where the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released the country's broadcasting financial results for 2005-06 showing that the country's commercial radio industry had radio revenues of AUD 1 billion (See RNW Oct 5).
The ACMA also called for comment on proposals to allow the Moss Vale community radio service 2MVH in New South Wales to vary the transmitter site, increase the power limit, and extend the licence area for the service to cover the Wingecarribee Shire.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had a quiet week with only two radio decisions announced as below.
*Approval of application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to change frequency and decrease power from 26,900 watts to 24,400 watts of transmitter CBAF-FM-21, Bon Accord, that broadcasts the programming of CBAF-FM, Moncton. The frequency change was requested in accordance with Canada-U.S. agreements on broadcasting frequencies because the frequency originally approached was not acceptable to the Federal Communications Commission.
*Approval of application by Miramichi Fellowship Center, Inc. to change frequency of CJFY-FM Blackville, alleviate interference problems caused by Radio Beauséjour inc.'s transmitter CJSE-FM-2, Baie Sainte-Anne, New Brunswick.
The CRTC also posted three public notices, as below:
*With a deadline for comment or interventions of October 22, concerning application to renew the licence of CHIM-FM, Timmins and its transmitters CHIM-FM-1, North Bay; CHIM-FM-2, Iroquois Falls; CHIM-FM-3, Kirkland Lake; CHIM-FM-4, New Liskeard; CHIM-FM-6, Sault Ste. Marie; CHIM-FM-7, Elliot Lake; CHIM-FM-8, Wawa; CHIM-FM-9, Chapleau; CHIM-FM-10, Kapuskasing, Ontario and CHIM-FM-5, Red Deer, Alberta, expiring 30 November 2007.
It noted that the licensee might have failed to comply with section 9(2) of the Radio Regulations, 1986 concerning the provision of annual reports for the years 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 and with its condition of licence relating to financial contributions to be made to Canadian Talent Development for broadcast years 2001 through 2006.
*With a deadline for comment or interventions of November 8 concerning various applications to be considered at a public hearing on December 3 in Gatineau, Quebec.
They include the following application for licences to serve the Ottawa/Gatineau Market including mutually exclusive applications proposing the use of frequencies 101.9 MHz and 101.7 MHz and also mutually exclusive proposing the use of 99.7 MHz.
*Application by Réél-Radio for a licence for a 158 watts French-language community-based campus FM in Gatineau using frequency 101.9 MHz.
*Application by Radio de la communauté francophone d'Ottawa for a licence to operate a 1,295 watts French-language Type B community FM in Ottawa using frequency 101.7 MHz.
*Application by Fiston Kalambay Mutombo, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence to operate a 285 watts French-language specialty Christian music FM in Ottawa using frequency 101.9 MHz.
* Application by Instant Information Services Incorporated for a licence to operate a 200 watts French-language commercial tourist FM in Ottawa using frequency 101.9 MHz.
*Application by Corus Radio Company for a licence to operate a 3,300 watts English-language commercial specialty news/talk FM in Ottawa and Gatineau using frequency 101.9 MHz.
*Application by Astral Media Radio inc. for a licence to operate a 3,600 watts English-language Soft Adult commercial FM in Ottawa and Gatineau using frequency 101.9 MHz.
*Application by Frank Torres, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence to operate an English-language blues music commercial FM in Ottawa using frequency 101.9 MHz.
*Application by Christian Hit Radio Inc. for a licence to operate a 2,400 watts English-language commercial specialty (religious) FM undertaking in Ottawa using frequency 99.7 MHz.
*Application by Ottawa Media Inc. for a licence to operate a 4,800 watts English-language Adult Album Alternative commercial FM in Ottawa and Gatineau using frequency 99.7 MHz.
*Application by Mark Steven Maheu, on behalf of a corporation to be incorporated, for a licence to operate a 3,700 watts English-language Pop Alternative commercial FM in Ottawa using frequency 99.7 MHz
Other applications to be considered at the meeting are:
*An application by Radio CHNC ltée to convert CHNC-AM, New Carlisle, Quebec and its transmitter CHGM Gaspé, Quebec to a 3,800 watts FM using frequency 107.1 Mhz and at Gaspé 257 watts on frequency 99.3 MHz, - and add three new FM transmitters in Carleton (480 watts on 99.1 MHz), Chandler (870 watts on frequency 98.3 MHz) and Percé (426 watts on 107.3 MHz0, Quebec. Regarding this the commission says it wishes to discuss with the applicant among other things its concerns regarding the station's continued non-compliance with the requirements of the Radio Regulations, 1986 and more particularly with respect to the broadcast of French-language vocal music during the broadcast week of 25 February to 3 March 2007.
*An application by Instant Information Services Incorporated to increase from 25 watts to 427 watts the power of English-language commercial tourist station CIIO-FM, Ottawa. This would change the status from an unprotected low power service to a regular Class A service.
*An application by Radio du Golfe inc. for a licence to operate a 337 watts musical hits and talk format French-language FM in Gaspé using frequency 92.7 MHz with an additional 17.8 watts FM transmitter in Rivière-au-Renard, also using 92.7 MHz.
*An application by Apsley Community Chapel for a licence to operate a 50 watts low-power English-language commercial specialty (religious) FM in Apsley.
*With a deadline for comment or interventions of November 9 concerning application by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a 3,000 watts FM transmitter at Brockville, Ontario to broadcast its programming service of Radio One originating from CBO-FM Ottawa.
There were no radio announcements from Ireland and in the UK Ofcom also issued no radio decisions although it has now posted its September Radio Broadcast Update that includes notes on agreed changes of format to GMG Radio's Century Radio (North East), The Local Radio Company's Bath FM and Spectrum Radio 558AM.
The first would allow the station, which after 12-years no longer has an agreement to broadcast Middlesborough FC games for which I had split its output to carry some bespoke M.F.C.
programming which is not commentary based; that for Bath FM would allow co-location of Bath FM studios at Brunel FM, Swindon; and that for Spectrum Radio would allow it to change the restriction that limits it to broadcasting eight hours a day to the so-called 'Asian' community to a maximum of ten hours a day with the additional two hours used to broadcast a programme aimed at the Sikh Community prior to 7am.
The update also included a Content Sampling report for U105, Belfast, which was found to be operating within its format; approval of the Global Radio acquisition of Chrysalis Radio; and digital multiplex changes shown below:
London II multiplex - Replacement of Traffic and Travel Format with South Asian and service to be known as 'Zee Radio'.
London III multiplex - Replacement of Rhythmic Adult Contemporary Format with Pop and the service 'Smash Hits'.
West Midlands multiplex - Addition of Urban Asian Format and service to be known as 'Urban Asia' West Midlands.
Wolverhampton multiple - Removal of DayOne Radio from the Access Channel.
In the US, the Office of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Inspector General has, as already noted, ruled that the commission did not suppress documents.
The FCC also ruled on a number of non-commercials educational (NCE) station licences and issued a number of enforcement decisions.
The NCE station decisions (in order of state involved) were:
*In California the Commission rejected a petition from the State of Oregon to deny the award of a permit for a new NCE station in Redding, California, to Christian Arts and Education, Inc.
It also denied a further petition from the State of Oregon to deny the award of a permit for another new NCE station in Redding, California, to the Research Foundation, California State University at Chico and awarded the permit to the latter.
*In Hawaii the Commission granted in part a petition filed by Calvary Chapel of Honolulu, Inc. (CCHI) to deny the application of Maka'ainana Broadcasting Company (MBC) for a new non-commercial educational (NCE) station at Kanoehe. They were amongst three mutually exclusive applications for the licence, which had been tentatively assigned using a points system.
CCHI made various submissions and the Commission said that if the details it provided were accurate the record would not adequately support MBC's claim of eligibility under the "established local applicant" criterion. Exclusion of those points it noted potentially alters the outcome and it opted to refer this matter to the Commission for further consideration. MBC was given thirty days to produce additional documentation to consider concerning MBC's claim to be an "established local applicant" and to serve that documentation on the mutually exclusive applicants after which there will be a 15-day period thereafter for the other parties to file a response.
*In Indiana the FCC denied a plea from CSN International of East Twin Falls, Idaho, to reconsider refusal of a waiver of the deadline to construct NCE station WWTS-FM, Logansport, for which it had been granted a construction permit in October 2002 as the result of a settlement agreement between parties in a mutually exclusive group of NCE applicants.
The permit expired three years later and less than a month before is expiry CSN filed a request for a waive on the basis that it could not construct the station at the authorized site because the tower would not pass current standards with the addition of its antenna. CSN argued that it had established good cause for the waiver on the basis of assurance of the site's availability before it applied for the CP but the FCC staff denied the request, noted that CSN had waited two and a half years to investigate the tower's ability to accommodate its antenna, and held that the CP had expired. The FCC held that the petition for reconsideration included no new facts and showed no error in the original decision. It denied it but noted that a new filing window had been announced from October 12-19 this year and said CSN could re-apply.
*In Nevada, the Commission rejected a petition from Thomas Aquinas School to deny the award of a permit for a new NCE station at Reno to the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada Acting on Behalf of Truckee Meadows Community College and awarded the permit to the latter.
The enforcement decisions, in descending order of the penalty involved, were:
*Issued USD 3,600 forfeiture to Unique Broadcasting, L.L.C., licensee of KKJW-FM, Stanton, Texas, for failure to respond to Commission correspondence requiring written statements of fact relating to operation of the station.
*Issued USD 500 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to American River Folk Society, licensee of KFOK-LP, Georgetown, California, for failure to file renewal application on time and unauthorized operation after the licence expired. It also renewed the licence.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2007-10-06: CBS Radio's WTZN-FM, Pittsburgh, which a week ago dropped its FM talk format has now switched to a top 40 format - "B 94, Pittsburgh's Hit Music," named after the 1980's B94 - following a week stunting with Christmas music.
The original B94 format had lost significant audience share to Clear Channel's WKST "KISS-FM" - and the station later went through name changes to "93-7 BZZ" and "B93-7" to differentiate it from its Clear Channel rival: It- was dropped in 2004 when Clear Channel dropped Howard Stern and CBS moved the station to a modern rock format including Stern.
After Stern moved to Sirius Satellite Radio, CBS turned it to a "Free FM" talk format, which it replaced in April this year with "The Zone (The "Man Station"), an FM outlet with a line-up of local hosts and syndicated shows. The former, including Scott Paulsen, John McIntire and John Steigerwald, were dropped with the Zone's format.
The move back to a top 40 format was made as expected at 17:00 on Friday and began with an announcement "1981" - the year the original B94 was launched - and a montage of 1981 news clips, some station history and a montage of B94 jingles. It is currently airing commercial-free and 94-minute blocks of music with air talent expected to be named shortly.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reporting the return quoted Keith Clark, vice president of programming for CBS Radio Pittsburgh, as saying the station is aiming for "a new generation of B94 listeners" and adding, "It was a great Pittsburgh radio brand that in hindsight shouldn't have gone away."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report:
2007-10-06: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Inspector General's Office says evidence does not support allegations that two draft research reports of staff economists in the Commission's Media Bureau had been suppressed by senior managers at the Commission or that senior managers had ordered one of the reports to be destroyed because the results were in conflict with FCC policy.
The report does not completely exonerate the FCC, however, and quotes from an e-mail message from former Media Bureau chief Kenneth Ferree - a lawyer and political appointee who was brought to the commission for its then chairman Michael K. Powell in 2001 - in which he says of the radio report that he was "not inclined to release this one unless the story can be told in a much more positive way. This is not the time to be stirring the 'radio consolidation' pot."
The reports - "Do Local Owners Deliver More Localism" concerning the effect of consolidation on local TV news cover and "Review of the Radio Industry, 2003" were subsequently posted on the Commission web site (See RNW Sep 20, 2006 and RNW Sep 16, 2006): Their existence had been brought to the attention of current FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin by California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer who said at the time that the radio report seemed "to have been suppressed by the FCC."
Martin agreed with Boxer concerning the investigation, carried out under the direction of by Carla Conover, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, and her 34-page report
The investigation says the report was the largest ever conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and reviewed more than 150,000 pages of documentation and searched more than a terabyte of electronic data as well as interviewing 35 individuals including Ferree although two former commission employees refused to be interviewed. They were Professor Adam Candeub of Michigan State University College of Law and former staff attorney in the FCC media bureau who had alleged to Senators that material had been suppressed and its destruction ordered and the author of one of the reports.
The report says its investigation "did not substantiate" either of his allegations and adds that there was a "complete lack of any hint that corroborating evidence exists for the allegation that anyone gave a direction to destroy documents", which would have been a criminal offence.
It draws attention to an overlap between studies to be conducted by the FCC Media Bureau and its Localism Task Force whose remit included the study of how Commission rules might affect localism and also to tensions between staff.
Regarding the local TV report the OIG report quotes an econometrician as saying he strongly believed this was "'killed' because Kenneth Ferree did not like the results" and also says he was told Ferree was "furious" with the report but also notes no witnesses corroborate this although some recall him being upset over one economic report and concerned about a possible significant proprietary data rights issue in connection with the local TV report. It concludes by saying it suspects that "tension between staff and management and staff and senior economists may have exacerbated a difficult situation but that this tension was not caused by or related to any effort to suppress the report because of agency management dislike of the results."
The question of what happened with the radio report, says the OIG's office, is in some ways "simpler" but also in some ways "presents more troubling aspects."
It says there is no dispute that a fairly complete report was prepared, that Ferree then decided that it would not be revised into a final version to be submitted to the chairman's office and that the Media Bureau would not work on another report until media ownership issues were again before the commission. This does not establish," it says, that the document was "suppressed".
It notes the Ferree message regarding not stirring the "radio consolidation" pot that continued " [Given that the reports in the series had been issued at uneven intervals in the past] It would hardly seem odd if we did not release one this year particularly given that we just did a big radio order as part of the biennial All in all this is a really bad time to release something like this. If we can change the focus and make it more positive... then perhaps we can do something like this again but this will take more than just regurgitating last year's report with new numbers."
"Based on the evidence", including interviews of staff and former staff and management including Ferree, the OIG report says "we believe the decision not to go forward with the release process for the Draft 2003 Radio Report was not an attempt to conceal information, and was a reasoned decision based on valid management issues consistent with expressed and observed directions of the Media Bureau Chief on similar matters."
It adds, however, that "there are certain factors relating to government work that perhaps could have been more carefully weighed, such as the Senators' concern that work done at taxpayer expense was not made directly available to the public."
Having allowed Ferree leeway on the issue of not completing the report, the OIG's office goes on to say the aftermath presents "more troubling issues" in connection with Ferree's instruction to staff to say in response to queries as to when a new version would be released those enquiring should be told the bureau did not have time and resources to produce an annual updating of the report.
This instruction apparently did not reach all staff and various responses had been given to enquiries internally and from a Commissioners office - the response to this was that a decision had been taken not to release the draft - and one member of the bureau, says the report, "clearly thought the instruction was basically to lie, but did not have any recollection of receiving or responding to any inquiries."
In its most trenchant comment, the report says: "We suspect that were the then-Media Bureau Chief still in place we would refer the matter to Chairman for administrative consideration" but adds that with different management in place and no other reports of such action it does not consider this necessary.
The report did not satisfy Sen Boxer whose spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz told the Los Angeles Times the Senator disagreed with the conclusions and might ask congressional investigators to look into the matter.
"We absolutely dispute that conclusion," Ravitz said. "This is information that should have been made public, and Mr. Ferree made a political decision to put it in a drawer."
Also critical was Democrat Commissioner Michael J. Copps who said in a statement that the OIG's report did not "explain why a study that reached striking and exceedingly relevant conclusions wasn't finalized and made a part of the record" and added, "The nagging feeling remains that we don't yet have the entire story."
Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm that filed the suit that halted the FCC's 2003 media ownership rule changes said the report "bends over backward to give the benefit of the doubt to the commission management."
The Times says Powell did not respond to messages seeking comment and Ferree declined to comment, saying he had not read the entire report.
RNW comment: We are numbered amongst the doubters on this one. Our initial response was "Pontius Pilate is innocent. So are Powell and Ferree and that remains our response. The report seems to have exhaustively proved that there is no evidence on record to prove that Ferree made decisions improperly but it certainly suggests that he tailored his decisions to the perceived requirements of Powell rather than acting on the basis of where evidence led. Powell, like his father after the My Lai massacre, we have always regarded as someone whose ambition is such that he would bias his actions towards power rather than any other factor, and in this case the pressure was on to loosen ownership restrictions.
Whatever Boxer's conclusions, however, we don't see much point in congressional action over this one and think the report has gone as far as is reasonably possible.
Previous Media Access Project:
FCC Inspector General's report (1.68 MB 34 page PDF)
Los Angeles Times report:
2007-10-06: Emmis Communications has reported second quarter revenues to the end of August down 3.5% to USD 99.4 million - put down primarily to its New York and Los Angeles stations - with operating income down 25.3% to USD 16.5 million and station operating income down 23.3% to USD 26.4 million.
Within the figures radio revenues fell 6% to USD 74.4 million but radio operating expenses rose 5.9% to USD 50.6 million. International radio revenues for the quarter were up 14.7% to USD 10.7 million but international radio operating expenses rose USD 28.7% to USD 7.0 million.
Overall Emmis's net income was down from USD 112.3 million to USD 14.1 million with net income available to common shareholders from USD 110.1 million to USD 11.8 million (Down from USD 2.96 to 31 cents per common share).
The prior-year period included a USD 108 million gain from discontinued operations compared with a USD 10.6 million gain this year but income from continuing operations was still halved - from six cents to three cents per share.
Stating the obvious after the customary upbeat comment, Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan commented in a news release, "We're pleased that our radio ratings have generally improved and we anticipate better sales performance from our new national-sales rep Katz Media Group. That said, expected weakness in our radio division persisted."
"Our results," he added, "were in line with our guidance for the quarter, and we continue to face a challenging market environment."
Looking ahead Emmis says it expects its pro-forma radio net revenues, which fell 6% to USD 74.4 million in the second quarter, to be down year-on-year in the third quarter (to the end of November) the mid-single-digit range on a percentage basis whilst it expects radio operating expenses for the quarter to be up year-on-year in the mid- to high-single-digit range on a percentage basis. Emmis shares were up 3.96% to USD 5.51 on Friday.
2007-10-06: The New York Times has given further credence to reports that Don Imus is about to move to the morning slot on Citadel's WABC-AM, New York (See RNW Oct 4): In an interview Citadel Chief Executive Farid Suleman - formerly chief executive of the then-Infinity Radio that was taken over by CBS Radio - told the paper of the "nappy-headed hos" exchange that cost Imus his show on CBS Radio, "He did something wrong. He didn't break the law. He's more than paid the price for what he did. I think he should be evaluated by what he does going forward."
Suleman would not, says the paper, comment on the reports that Citadel was close to an agreement with Imus but it adds that three people who "collectively have had conversations with both sides of the negotiations characterized them as having reached an understanding for Mr. Imus to take over the 6 to 10 a.m. slot on WABC" and said that if the negotiations proceed on course, though, Mr. Imus would return to radio in the New York City region on or around Dec. 1, taking over the slot from Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby.
The Times says it has not been possible to find details of the pay Imus wants or the duration of any agreement to be made with Citadel but adds that Imus is also seeking a TV station to simulcast his programme: His previous programme had been simulcast by MSNBC and the paper says that amongst his conversations Imus has spoken to Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive of the Fox News Channel and the forthcoming Fox Business Network, as well as chairman of Fox Television Stations.
As with previous reports, the Times says Imus is expected to take with him Charles McCord, the newsman who has served as his sidekick for three decades but still to be resolved is whether there would be a role for Bernard McGuirk, his long-time producer and another on-air foil.
New York Times report:
2007-10-05: Sirius and XM have set November 13 for a special shareholders' meeting to approve the planned merger of the two companies. Stockholders of record as of October 1 will be eligible to vote at the meeting on the plans which have been approved by the boards of both companies but have yet to gain regulatory clearance.
The merger is being strenuously opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) which, in yet another filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has accused the two companies of trying to kill the existing Commission merger review standards since they "recognize that following the Commission's legal standards would kill the merger."
"The Commission's acquiescence to such an approach would be arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with its own precedent, and set the Commission's merger review process on a risky course," says NAB in the ten page document filed with the Commission on Thursday.
The NAB also reiterates its arguments that DOJ/FTC Guidelines mean that the "relevant product market is satellite DARS. It follows that the merger of XM and Sirius, the only two satellite DARS providers, would produce a monopoly in that market."
Also opposing the merger on this ground is the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio (C3SR, a body whose founder was reported by Corporate Crime Reporter as working full time at the lobbying arm of a law firm - See RNW Apr 3). In an anti-trust filing it includes a report that it says "exposes gaping holes in the economic analysis submitted by XM and Sirius in support of their proposed merger."
2007-10-05: Sky News and Global Radio have announced the appointment of David Ford, currently with Sky Sports and formerly with the BBC including a spell on the Radio Five Live launch team as Managing Director of Sky News Radio.
Under a joint venture Sky and Global Radio are to develop a 24-hour rolling news service for radio, further details of which will be announced closer to its launch next year but Sky says Andy Ivy, the Head of Sky News Radio, will continue running Sky News Radio's syndication service that provides news to more than 60 client stations, including Virgin Radio and talkSPORT.
Sky News Head of News, John Ryley said of the appointment, "David brings a wealth of broadcast experience and a proven track-record at Sky. He has the perfect credentials to spearhead the launch of Sky News Radio on DAB" and Ford added, "This is a fantastic opportunity to challenge the status quo and offer a real alternative to what's currently on offer. Sky's award-winning journalists in the UK and abroad will now have another outlet to deliver breaking news in a fresh, innovative way."
Previous Global Radio:
Previous Sky News Radio:
2007-10-05: Australia's commercial radio industry generated AUD 1 billion (currently USD 888 million) in revenues in the 2005-06 financial year according to the "Broadcasting Financial Results" report for 2005-06 just released by the Australian Communications and Media Agency(ACMA).
The radio revenues compare with AUD 3.99 billion (USD 3,545 billion) for the country's TV industry.
The report is available as a CD or via e-mail at AUD 550 (USD 489).
2007-10-05: Bridge Ratings President & CEO Dave Van Dyke has announced that the company has entered a multi-year agreement to provide Private Label research for an undisclosed media company in the broadcast industry and will no longer provide industry-focused research studies on a regular basis as it has in the past although it says "studies of significant import will be released to the public on occasion."
Van Dyke does not give any clues to the single client for whom Bridge will now conduct its research nor the fields in which it has interest beyond saying that it is a "major multi-media broadcast company seeking their own in-house analysis and research arm."
In Bridge's news release it gives a very brief history of the company, which was founded in 2002, and notes that it "gained high visibility in 2003 with its controversial study on the impact of high levels of advertising on radio listening" and later "accurately projected the impact of satellite radio on the consumer market."
Previous Bridge Ratings:
2007-10-04: According to Newsday, Don Imus, who was fired by CBS Radio and MSNBC after his comments about the Rutgers basketball team, is close to finalizing a deal with Citadel Broadcasting.
The report notes that Citadel owns WABC-AM in New York and suggesting its morning slot - currently held by Ron Kuby and Curtis Sliwa - would be a logical one for the host, but says it is not clear where Imus would be aired.
Newsday, citing a "person familiar with the discussions", adds that Imus would bring along his long-time newsman, Charles McCord, who last appeared on Imus's former home, WFAN-AM, on August 31 but says it is less clear whether Bernard McGuirk, the Imus producer who was involved in the on-air chat about the team, would have a role.
2007-10-04: The UK's three largest commercial radio companies have announced new co-operative moves to aid them compete better with the BBC and are to set up three new production units - to be run by GCap Media, which has already announced that it is to take over production of the hit40uk chart show (See RNW Sep 28), Global Radio and Emap.
Under the new structure GCap will look after shared programming for commercial's contemporary hit radio stations in a unit led by its programme director for content and digital, Pete Simmons; Global Radio's network production unit under Heart programming director Mark Browning will take on adult contemporary station projects including the A-List chart show, UK Music Week and The Brit Awards; and Emap Radio will look after production of the Fresh 40 dance chart and the rhythmic station network's chart show. The Fresh 40 show will continue to be produced by independent production company, Somethin' Else.
Radio Centre CEO Andrew Harrison told Radio Today UK, "This gives commercial radio three official genre networks. Building on the success of UK Music Week where the genre networks worked incredibly well, this is a much more coherent, nationally focused structure for our industry. This structure provides access points for the Music and Media industry to be able to create some really exciting national promotions".
hit40uk Ltd managing director Rob Corlett added, "Against a backdrop of potentially more industry consolidation, Commercial Radio has serious ambitions to grow audiences. Placing show production within the key network's lead broadcasters means they can be the foundation of more shared programming projects and the networking resource and expertise can develop".
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
Radio Today UK:
2007-10-04: The row over Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" has continued to simmer although support from Republicans in Congress, some of it strongly for the host, and more nuanced support from Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays indicates that the matter will blow over without doing him any harm amongst his core listeners: Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks syndicates Limbaugh's show.
Mays in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sidestepped the issue of how widely Limbaugh was spreading his condemnation when he used the words "phony soldiers" - commenting of this, "I cannot speak with authority as to whom exactly Mr. Limbaugh's comments were directed, or what was his intent. Only Mr. Limbaugh can speak to those issues, which he has done."
Mays then does what might be termed a "Rush" in that he links the host (fairly) to past support of the US military, sidesteps the issue by saying that "if Mr Limbaugh's intention was to classify any soldier opposed to the war in Iraq as a 'phony soldier' , which he denies, then I, along with most Americans would be deeply offended by such a statement" and goes on to make a comment that would gain almost universal support: "While I do not agree with everything that Mr Limbaugh says on every topic, I do believe that he, along with every American, has to right to voice his or her opinion in the manner they choose . The First Amendment gives every American the right to voice his or her opinion, however unpopular. That right is one that I am sure you agree must be cherished and protected."
Mays makes no response to Limbaugh's subsequent actions but Fox News in its report carries a transcript of part of Limbaugh's original comments and notes that "A literal reading of the Sept. 26 show in question shows that the controversial host did not in fact say that soldiers opposing the war are 'phony', but his remarks have left confusion as to whom he is referring when he used the phrase" and later adds of the host's attempts to claim that he was referring to only one soldier - Jesse Macbeth who falsely claimed to have participated in war crimes in Iraq and received a Purple Heart - that critics note the reference to soldiers in the plural and that subsequent attempts by the host to "clarify his position" in fact "muddied the waters by editing out a portion of it [RNW note - This closes up the gap between the original phony soldiers remark and the subsequent raising of Macbeth's name nearly two minutes later]"
Limbaugh on his web site continues to attack those who have attacked him and in particular decries a TV advert launched by veterans group VoteVets that is opposed to the Iraq war. It features Brian McGough, a veteran who was injured in Iraq, and who comments in part, "My traumatic br+ain injury was real. And, my belief that we are on the wrong course in Iraq is real. Until you have the guts to call me a "phony soldier" to my face, stop telling lies about my service."
Limbaugh on his show suggested VoteVets was treating McGough like a suicide bomber and said, "This is such a blatant use of a valiant combat veteran, lying to him about what I said and then strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media and a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can walk into. This man will always be a hero to this country with everyone. Whoever pumped him full of these lies about what I said and embarrassed him with this ad has betrayed him, they aren't hurting me they are betraying this soldier."
RNW comment: We have seen no evidence that McGough did not check the comments made by Limbaugh before committing himself to the advert and thus no evidence that he was taken in by lies but we have seen plenty of evidence that Limbaugh, who according to Reid showed his own commitment to the military by getting a deferment when young, either does not know how to use words or is dissembling in the knowledge or hope that many of his audience will accept his word at face value rather than doing any checks.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Mark Mays:
Fox News report:
Limbaugh web site:
McGough advert (Video on YouTube):
2007-10-04: The BBC has announced a new broadcasting award, "The Nick Clarke Award" , named after the former host of the Radio 4 "World at One " programme who died of cancer in November last year (See RNW Nov 24, 2006).
The award will be launched on Saturday at "The Nick Clarke Debate" at the Cheltenham Literature Festival by Radio 4 Controller Mark Damazer and will be for interviews that leave a strong impression on the audience, provide a deeper understanding of their subject matter or are particularly memorable. The debate is to be attended by Clarke's widow Barbara and their two sons, Benedict and Joel.
Internet-only interviews will not be allowed and each programme that wishes to enter can only submit one interview - exactly as it was broadcast. The first award will be for interviews conducted between 31 July 2007 and 31 July 2008 with the winner will announced at next year's Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2008.
2007-10-04: The Pacifica Foundation has named Nicole Sawaya, fired eight years ago as general manager of its Berkeley station KPFA-FM, as its new Executive Director with a five-year deal.
She will move into the role, which was advertised with a USD 80,000 salary, on a part-time basis in mid-November and take over full-time on December 3 from Oakland-based attorney Dan Siegel who is currently serving as interim Executive Director.
Sawaya was fired as General Manager of KPFA in 1999 by Pacifica's then executive director Lynn Chadwick amidst row with the organization's national management, a dismissal that led to protests by staff and the "Take Back KPFA" activist group: Chadwick left the organization the following year (See RNW Feb 29, 2000).
A former station manager at two other California public stations - KZYX-FM in Philo, before joining Pacifica and KALW-FM in San Francisco after she was dismissed - Sawaya's appointment has been welcomed by KPFA staff. Its acting director Lemlem Rijio told the Berkeley Daily Planet, "The station went into a huge festive mode. She's someone who understands and is deeply committed to the mission of Pacifica and can actualize it."
Siegel told the Planet Sawaya had "a good sense of what radio is and how to do high-quality news and public affairs" but warned of potential problems with personnel clashes, a warning that had been echoed in an September interview her predecessor Greg Guma gave to Ernesto Aguilar, program director of Pacifica's KPFT-FM. (Use was of the video was embargoed at the time but the 72 minutes have now been posted by the station).
Guma, who had already announced that he was to leave, said he found a shocking depth of animosity in Pacifica, commented on an ideological battle among "good hearted" people who are "to some extent obsessed" with Pacifica, which has allowed them "somewhat delusional thinking at times ." and also warned of financial problems that he said could force a station sale.
Berkeley Daily Planet report:
KPFT interview (Page includes link to 72-min video):
2007-10-03: Westwood One has now agreed a new long-term arrangement with CBS Radio running to March 2017 following various delays concerning a new agreement to replace the current agreement that is scheduled to expire at the end of March 2009.
The new deal is being recommended by Westwood One's board but requires ratification by shareholders and the company says it is working on a preliminary proxy statement which it anticipates filing with the SEC by November 10, 2007, and intends to submit definitive proxy materials to its shareholders at an annual meeting of shareholders to be held early in the first quarter of 2008 at which time the proposed agreements will be voted on by Company shareholders.
Under the agreement CBS Radio stations will broadcast Westwood One commercial inventory, including that of the Network and Metro Networks divisions, through March 31, 2017 in exchange for certain programming and/or cash compensation that will be tied to audience performance with CBS Radio getting cash incentives if they reach a high performance but have to pay out cash penalties if performance falls below prescribed levels.
Amongst other things Westwood One gains exclusive national radio syndication rights to CBS Radio News and will terminate the current Management Agreement and Representation Agreement between Westwood One and CBS Radio with representatives of CBS Radio resigning from Westwood's Board and Westwood managing its business directly and separately from CBS Radio.
In addition Westwood One will retire the existing 3,000,000 warrants held by CBS Radio in Westwood One and CBS Radio has agreed to a standstill on the sale of its Company common stock until December 31, 2007.
Westwod One will also be looking for a new CEO to replace Peter Kosann, a CBS employee who will step down upon the completion of the transaction with CBS Radio.
Previous Westwood One:
2007-10-03: Coming up to a week after US talk host and Republican party shill Rush Limbaugh referred to US soldiers who opposed the war in Iraq as "phony soldiers", the row generated by his remarks has still not died.
The matter was first brought to wider attention by watchdog group Media Matters which also posted a transcript of Limbaugh's comments regarding this and also with a caller who said he was a Republican who felt the war was not "winnable" and the US should "cut the losses" and whom Limbaugh said could not be a Republican.
The audio and transcript of his conversation with another caller features Limbaugh using the "phony soldiers" and then continuing for another few seconds: Later, after Limbaugh had reacted to the criticism by claiming that he was talking about one individual Jesse Macbeth who falsely claimed to be an Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq War and alleged Iraq war atrocities, Media Matters posted a fuller transcript and accused the host of misleading the military audience who hear his show on the American Forces Network it which broadcasts only the first hour of the show so his original comments were not broadcast to this audience.
This included a transcript of 1 minute 35 seconds of Limbaugh's comments that were made on the original show before, 1 minute 50 seconds after the Phony reference he brought up Macbeth's name: Limbaugh, it said had described the AFN broadcast comments as the complete version of his comments.
Comment on the matter has predictably been mainly along partisan lines although there has been condemnation of the Limbaugh remarks by some Republicans, particularly following publication of reactions that put the Limbaugh comments in the context of a September 12 New York Times report that noted the deaths in an accident in Iraq of two of seven soldiers who had contributed an Op-Ed - a third was shot in the head while the op-ed was being written - expressing scepticism about the war, saying the Iraqis would "will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are -- an army of occupation -- and force our withdrawal" but ending "As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through."
Amongst those who disagreed with Limbaugh were Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman who told the Star Tribune, "Limbaugh's suggestion that those who have served their country and express their opinions are 'phony soldiers' is wrong. There needs to be a level of civility and honest debate in this country about issues as important as this. Labelling an active duty General a traitor, or calling a soldier a phony for having a different opinion does not rise to the level of discourse we hold ourselves to in this country."
On the Democrats' side Majority leader and Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid has posted on his website a letter to be sent to Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays - Clear Channel's Premiere Networks syndicates Limbaugh's show - that reads in part, "Although Americans of goodwill debate the merits of this war, we can all agree that those who serve with such great courage deserve our deepest respect and gratitude. That is why Rush Limbaugh's recent characterization of troops who oppose the war as "phony soldiers" is such an outrage. Our troops are fighting and dying to bring to others the freedoms that many take for granted. It is unconscionable that Mr. Limbaugh would criticize them for exercising the fundamentally American right to free speech. Mr. Limbaugh has made outrageous remarks before, but this affront to our soldiers is beyond the pale."
He then calls on Mays to "publicly repudiate these comments that call into question their service and sacrifice and to ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize for his comments" and says, "Just as patriotism is the exclusive realm of neither party, taking a stand against those who spew hate and impugn the integrity of our troops is a job that belongs to all of us . The letter I read will be available on the Senate floor for the entire day. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle will have every chance to add their names to it, and I encourage all of us to do so. If we take the Republican side at their word that last week's vote on another controversial statement related to the war was truly about patriotism, not politics, then I have no doubt that they will stand with us against Limbaugh's comments with equal fervour."
He concludes, "I am confident we will see Republicans join with us in overwhelming numbers. Anything less would be a double standard that has no place in the United States Senate. I ask my colleagues, Democrat and Republican alike, to join together against this irresponsible, hateful, and unpatriotic attack by calling upon Rush Limbaugh to give our troops the apology they deserve."
Limbaugh for his part has reacted by posting on his site a story "House GOP Resolution Commending Rush Limbaugh for His Support of Our Troops" with text of the resolution from Georgia Republican Representative Jack Kingston; another "Rush to Reid: Say It to My Face " in which he refers to Reid as "dingy Harry" - and also to Senator Tom "Dung Heap" Harkin - and accuses Reid of demanding his syndicator condemn him for "for something that I did not say, which Harry Reid knows I did not say" and also trying to link attacks on his comments with the absence of attacks on ABC TV for an investigative report on "phony soldiers"; and a third, "This Proves Media Matters Wrong" that links to a Department of Justice news release concerning Operation Stolen Valor," a year long effort to investigate and prosecute those who lie about their military service for financial gain or other reasons."
Lower down he refers to his own work with items on "Rush Apologizes to Troops for the Smear by Media Matters" and "Rush Sets Record Straight: 'Phony Soldiers" Is a Phony Story' with outside links to stories on - "House Dems Prepare Resolution Castigating Rusho Radio Equalizer: ABC's 'Phony Vets'o and Newsbusters: "The Group Behind Smear Campaigns."
RNW comment: In this particular case, it seems to us that there is no way on the evidence presented that Limbaugh's arguments, much though for different reasons they are likely to be supported or tacitly played down by dittoheads, the rabid right and many cowardly Republican politicians, hold water. The evidence seems to be that Limbaugh was having one of his usual partisan and bigoted spells, went over the top, was caught out, and is now working on the principle that attack is the best form of defence.
Certainly one phrase he used - "It's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people" - seems to apply in spades to Limbaugh who is either so blinkered he could not understand the points being made or wantonly misrepresented them. He also makes a song and dance about the lack of military experience amongst many who are questioning the continuation of the war, a point that he seems to forget also applies to many of the war's protagonists.
In the end we doubt that there will be any long-term fallout for him albeit there could yet be more votes lost to the Republican Party as it becomes associated with his comments and attitudes.
Limbaugh web site:
Media Matters original report (Links to Limbaugh audio):
Media Matters follow up (With transcript showing material left out by Limbaugh in his later broadcast).
Minneapolis Star-Tribune report:
New York Times Op-Ed:
2007-10-03: iBiquity Digital says six leading US radio companies - CBS Radio, Clear Channel, Cumulus, Cox, Entercom and Greater Media - are now in the process of installing iTunes Tagging technology that will allow people who hear a song on their local HD Radio stations - and want to preview, buy and download it later on iTunes.
Peter Ferrara, CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance, the coalition of radio broadcasters formed to promote HD Radio technology, commented on the broadcasters' promotional plan for iTunes Tagging, saying "the HD Digital Radio Alliance is tremendously excited about this great new HD Radio feature and will broadly promote iTunes Tagging. We plan a multi-million dollar advertising campaign focusing on the JBL and Polk products, as well as participating retailers."
Previous HD Radio Alliance:
2007-10-03: The BBC has announced that it has disciplined a number of staff members but not given further details of the punishment involved following discovery that the Jo Whiley Show on BBC Radio 1 aired a competition phone call in which a member of staff posed as an audience member.
The incident was not identified for the recent internal BBC review on the matter of fake calls that has already led to disciplinary action and some dismissals and it was not in the report given to the BBC Trust at its last meeting on September 19.
The BBC in a statement said: "A pre-recorded section of Radio 1's Jo Whiley Show on 20th April 2006 featured a phone competition in which a member of BBC staff posed as a caller from the audience. The incident came to light following the recent publication of further editorial breaches. A number of staff members have been disciplined. We would like to make clear that Jo Whiley was unaware that the caller was not a genuine member of the public."
The BBC Trust, which was informed of the incident issued a statement in which it said it was "satisfied that BBC management is taking appropriate action in light of this finding and that the breach raises no new issues which require any change to the Director-General's action plan."
2007-10-03: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in a ten-page filing on proposals from the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council ("MMTC") designed to increase minority and female participation in the broadcast industry, as well as on the general issue of fostering minority and female ownership expresses general support but calls for policies to emphasize public/private partnerships and rely on market-based stimulants.
It highlights programmes it has been involved in to promote minority and female participation in the media business "in conjunction with National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation ('NABEF') and Broadcast Education Association ('BEA')" but totally ignores criticisms that have been voiced, most recently the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) media ownership held hearing in Chicago, about the lack of minority owners of broadcast companies.
NAB says it strongly supports "the reinstatement of a tax incentive program that would provide companies tax credits or other benefits if they sell broadcast properties to minorities or women" but adds that when it comes to defining Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Businesses it warns that without a proper definition action "could run afoul of constitutional limitations that require that strict scrutiny apply in cases of racial classification."
It ends by expressing concern about imposing "unnecessarily restrictive designated entity rules", and says the Commission should "avoid unwarranted and unproven assumptions that modernizing the local broadcast ownership rules will result in fewer opportunities for women and minorities."
RNW comment: As usual the NAB is not particularly clear about what it wants done - other than broadcasters being paid from the public purse to do things it says should be encouraged but calls for market solutions, clearly implying that the market will not provide those solutions without incentives Some commitment to the free market!
NAB response (41 KB 10-page PDF):
2007-10-02: Katz Media has taken another customer from Interep with a move by Emmis to switch its national representation business to Katz immediately.
Announcing the switch Emmis Radio President Rick Cummings said the Katz team had "built a great reputation for sales talent, customer service, and outstanding relationships" whilst Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan paid tribute to Interep, saying the decision was "one of the most difficult decisions we've ever had to make" and expressing his respect for the Interep team led by its CEO David Kennedy.
Kennedy reciprocated, saying the decision, "although very difficult for each of us, works in the best financial interests of both companies and sets the stage for each to better accomplish [our] objectives...Interep wishes Emmis well, and looks forward to the opportunity to partner with them again in the future."
For Katz its CEO Stu Olds commented that he believed "the strength and reach of our two companies allows us to offer advertisers the highest level of choice, service and accountability in the market."
2007-10-02: British broadcaster, writer, producer and director Ned Sherrin has died of cancer aged 76 at his London home: He had presented the BBC Radio 4 Saturday evening programme "Loose Ends" and lunchtime quiz show "Counterpoint" a until just before the end of last year when the disease forced him to step down .
Paying tribute BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said, "Ned brought to Radio 4 a fabulous cocktail of wit, zest, curiosity and mischief - all based on an extraordinary knowledge of stage, screen and writing."
Of his radio show Damazer added, "Ned and Loose Ends introduced to Radio 4 an incredible array of talent. He was an impresario as well as a great raconteur. He was a natural broadcaster - and got the best out of others. He sparkled and made us all smile and laugh. And for all his fame, he was considerate and kind. He will be hugely missed."
BBC director general Mark Thompson also paid tribute, terming him a "trail blazer who paved the way for the sophisticated modern comedy satire shows."
Sherrin came to national fame in the UK as the deviser of the BBC TV Show "That was the Week that Was" in 1962, the first satirical show on British TV. It ran for two years before being ended as an election was approaching and it was perceived as too risky (and risqué).
Sherrin, who qualified as a barrister after reading law at Exeter University, began his broadcasting career with Independent TV at its 1956 founding when he produced shows for ATV in Birmingham, moving to the BBC a year later.
As well as his broadcast work, Sherrin produced and directed numerous theatre productions and was also involved in producing a number of films including "The Virgin Soldiers" that he produced with Leslie Gilliat.
His friend and manager for 35 years Deke Arlon said Sherrin was "one of the great bon viveurs of the world, with a tremendous ability to enjoy".
BBC Radio 4 is to air a special tribute show about Sherrin today at 17:30 GMT.
BBC News report:
2007-10-02: Another CBS "Free FM" station has now bitten the dust with a format change on Monday afternoon during the Deminsky and Doyle Show of WKRK-FM, Detroit, to a sports format that is simulcast with WXYT-AM.
All of the air staff have gone apart from Deminsky and Doyle, who move from afternoon drive to mornings (06:00 to 10:00) as of today: Other shows on the station are Scott Anderson & Doug Karsch's "The Big Show" (10:00 to 14:00); The Sports Inferno with Mike Valenti & Terry Foster (14:00 to 18:00); The Book on Sports with Pat Caputo (18:00 to 22;00); and Dennis Fithian (22:00 to 02:00).
The station website does not mention the change - the Free FM site redirects to the 1270 XYT site that when we checked still listed ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" in the morning drive slot.
WXYT web site:
2007-10-01: We concentrate in this week's look at print comment on radio on items related to technology in the form of digital radio.
First digital in a potentially positive light courtesy of Marc Fisher in the Washington Post: Under the headline "Even the Shouters Are Barely Heard On AM Radio These Days" he notes the woes of AM in Washington DC where the absence of a high-power AM outlet has been a major factor in leaving the band with a problem.
"Sports, all-news and talk programming," writes Fisher, "continue to draw large audiences to the AM band in most big cities, but not in Washington, where even the most popular AM station, WMAL, draws fewer than 4 percent of all listeners." He then adds, "Like a shopping mall whose department store tenant leaves, Washington's AM band took a hit when all-news WTOP moved its programming over to FM last year" and quotes Jim Farley, WTOP vice president of news and programming, as saying, "That whole audience had no reason to go to AM anymore. Strong competition is what makes for healthy AM stations."
This reason, writes Fisher, was why WMAL, the talk station that is the only Washington AM outlet to show up regularly in the Top 10 of Arbitron's ratings, wanted Washington Post Radio - which occupied the WTOP frequency until dropped by owner Bonneville in favour of 3WT with a talk format featuring syndicated talk show hosts and he quotes WMAL President Chris Berry as saying he now wishes the new 3WT well "because the more people are sampling on the AM dial, the better it is for those of us who own real estate there."
"In coming years," writes Fisher, "with digital radio offering the promise of much-improved sound quality, AM may become more attractive -- if Americans start buying the new HD radios that the industry is pushing. But for now, AM is in a pickle, especially in Washington."
One answer he says may be more specialized output and he notes that Bonneville is making money from its Federal News Radio (1050 AM), which features programs aimed at federal workers and that several low-powered local stations are paying the bills by renting out airtime to people who want to reach Korean, Vietnamese, Latino, Ethiopian and other immigrants.
Farley agreed, commenting that "The future of AM may be one of specialized niches," and adding that he sees inspiration in a new channel that XM satellite radio is launching that is devoted entirely to presidential politics.
Fisher also notes that in its home town of Salt Lake City, Bonneville, which is owned by the Mormon Church, is experimenting with a format devoted entirely to Mormon news and Christian music.
Next a look at one of the new UK digital stations, Emap's "Heat" that is tied with the company's eponymous gossip and celebrity magazine.
Sophie Morris in a UK Independent article on the station quotes Andria Vidler, the managing director of Magic FM who is leading the Heat Radio launch at Emap, as saying of the demand, "If you look at the TV world, there's a lot of interest in celebrity gossip and news for a particular target audience who love the ongoing soap story of 100 to 150 celebs who are in the public eye, and no radio station does it. Heat is the strongest brand that people who love that type of news will follow."
The station, says Vidler, is also re-directing its resources compared to most analogue stations where the Breakfast show is the prime driver of listening. In the case of digital, peak listening time is in the afternoons and early evening where people are still at work and so Heat is putting its main effort in this slot: Vidler commented, "There is an audience who listen online at work but you have to bear in mind it is a different environment. With (BBC) Radio 4 and Radio 2, you might be able to sit down for a cup of tea and just listen to the radio, which is entertaining and all-absorbing. We need to create a radio station where a woman can do things as well as listen."
Vidler, who is also involved in the launch next summer of another magazine-linked station, "Closer Radio", says of the plans for Heat that the aim is for a weekly audience of 600,000 for the first year and 850,000 to one million by the end of the second.
The article was headlined "Heat radio: Your ears will be burning..." and was written before Heat was launched and an incident a day after the launch made it seem prescient.
The headline on a Sky news report by Matt Smith concerning the station summed up why: "Radio Star Says F*** Seven Times On-Air" it said before going on to give details of the comments made by Sophie Davidson, who started swearing when a clip she was linking into failed to play, while she pre-recorded her entertainment news round-up for Heat Radio.
The clip was supposed to be deleted but was in fact broadcast, featuring Davidson saying, "Aaaaagh. F***, f***, f***, f*** "You f*****g b******s, it's 'cos I can't f***ing print out my f***ing script."
Then digital in the UK from a different perspective, that of people who are potentially going to be forced to dump their analogue sets, spending millions to benefit a radio industry and manufacturers whether they want to or not, should there be a switch-off of analogue.
In the UK Sunday Telegraph Dan Roberts is not convinced of the benefits. "Most of us," he writes, "are dimly aware that our ageing television sets are about to be declared old hat. By diktat of culture commissar Purnell, the analogue TV signal will soon be turned off, requiring everyone to shell out for some more equipment to watch the same old repeats of Only Fools and Horses I wonder, too, how many listeners know they are planning to do the same thing to radio. No one wants to broadcast the fact yet, but industry regulators are already talking about switching off the AM and FM signals to force everyone to use digital radios. As far as most radio companies are concerned, the only question is when."
He then quotes "one bright spark from an industry body called the RadioCentre: 'If you've got every home wired up to broadband, every home with a digital TV, everyone with a 3G phone and an iPod, the traditional analogue radio is going to look very old-fashioned. In five years' time Britain will be a digital economy, and radio should play its role in that.'"
"Much of this may be true," he adds, "but none of it is a reason for forcing us all to ditch every radio set in the house: from the expensive hi-fi in the living room, to the paint-splattered portable in the greenhouse, just so the industry can flog us some new products."
Roberts goes on to note the uncertainties of future technology and the reasons for switching over - "The only half-decent reason for turning off the analogue TV signal is that the broadcasting spectrum might be used for something else, like more mobile phones The spectrum used by FM and AM radio stations is far smaller and therefore of even less use. The real reason we are sleep-walking towards a mountain of redundant radios is down to self-interested commercial lobbying and the mindless inertia of government."
RNW comment: We tend to agree on this one and have already commented that if the industry is so keen to save comparatively small costs in running analogue and digital transmitters - costs that are far less than the interest that would be charged on a loan to cover the replacement sets (which also consumer more power - and the government is pushing for incandescent light bulbs to be taken off the market to save power) - it should be told to put up the funds for replacement sets or take the chance and dump analogue licences. The industry, of course, won't put its money where its mouth is on this one, but will prefer to drive the process by regulator fiat rather than market or democratic decisions.
Finally before listening suggestions, to note that the BBC Radio numbers are now 40 years old, an anniversary that Radios One through Four have been marking over the past week.
The anniversary led to specific praise for BBC Radio 4 - a speech-based (but not talk radio) station whose output includes news, drama, features, intelligent talk and more.
Commenting on the anniversary in the Times Chris Campling refers to one programme on Radio 4- "4 at Forty" that was broadcast on Sunday evening as revealing that "there were fears in the run-up to September 30, 1967 that the former Home Service might be deemed inferior to the BBC's other new stations - Radios 1, 2 and 3."
"You obviously don't get to be a big cheese in Broadcasting House without a very low opinion of the listener's intelligence," writes Campling before going on to comment on a special "Radio 4 - This is Your Life" also broadcast on Sunday and noting that Radios 2 and 3, and indeed 1, which also turn 40, have their own celebrations.
For those who want a little more on Radio 4, the Times also posted Lisa Mullen's "20 things you didn't know about Radio 4", including the farewell for the home service - "This is the end of the Home Service for today and for all days " to the ultimate protest at not being able to receive the station's signal - an incident in May 1988 when an elderly woman shot a BBC commissionaire in the reception of Broadcasting House - using blanks (Perhaps as well this wasn't today as she might well have been shot with real bullets thanks to fears of terrorists).
Mullen also incidentally notes that "Radio 4 is the second most popular BBC radio station after Radio 2, but costs three times as much to run - roughly GBP 71 million (USD 142 million ) a year and that the F-word was first uttered on the station by the film director Lindsay Anderson in 1970, to surprisingly few protests.
For the rest follow the link and for the audio, the websites of all the BBC stations involved will have a stream of the audio available for a week - if we had to narrow down to a couple of choices we'd go for Kenny Everett ( a repeat of the DJs first show on the station - it actually dates from 1981) from BBC Radio 2 and "4 at Forty" or, for programming more related to that of 1967 "Stand by for Switching -The Soundscape of 1967" from BBC Radio 2 and for a round-up of the years for a pop station Radio 1's "A To Z of Radio 1."
After the BBC's internal anniversaries we move to one that has rather more worldwide significance, that of the launch on Oct. 4, 1957, of Sputnik. The context of that launch is considered in this week's BBC Radio 4 "Book of the Week" (08:45 GMT daily) that is "Khrushchev's Secret Visit", Matthew Brzezinski's story of the rivalries that ignited the space age.
The "Afternoon Reading" on Radio 4 (14:30 GMT weekdays) is also on the topic of Sputnik, this time a selection of stories specially commissioned to mark the launch.
On BBC Radio 3 the launch is marked in this week's editions of "The Essay" at 22:00 GMT Monday through Thursday: It features four personal essays marking the anniversary.
Then to wrap up BBC suggestions we opt for Radio 2 on Thursday (22:00 GMT) and the last of Stuart Maconie's "Seven More Days That...Rocked the World"- this one dealing with the prank in which Ozzy Osbourne was reported to have bitten the head off a dove- and also next Saturday (19:00 GMT) and "Dream Dylan Live" in which Bob Harris introduces an hour of Bob Dylan's greatest hits plus from BBC Radio 4 last Saturday's "Poetry Societies", this one about "The Pushkin Club" plus Monday's "Start the Week".
The last is available as a stream or MP3, leading us to suggest some further MP3 downloads including from the BBC World Service's "Documentaries" the final "Clinton Years" programme (there for a few more days) and from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last Sunday's "Night Air" - "Electrofringe -Laptop audio mulch-verk, slam poets and circuit bent Barbie dolls!" and from the same day the latest "Spirit of Things" that in "Cult of Death" looks at what makes an educated person from a good family join extremist groups and volunteer to become a suicide bomber?
Sky News - Smith:
UK Independent - Morris:
UK Telegraph - Roberts:
UK Times - Campling:
UK Times - Mullen:
Washington Post - Fisher:
2007-10-01: Former Chrysalis Radio chief executive Phil Riley is fronting a private equity bid for Emap's radio stations - valued at around GBP 400 million ( USD 800 million): it operates the Heart and Magic stations as well as regional stations including Key 103 in Manchester and Forth and Clyde in Scotland - according to the UK Sunday Telegraph.
The paper says he told it he had backing for the bid but declined to give names although it adds that he is understood to be working with Vitruvian Partners, the private equity firm run by former executives at Apax, one of Europe's largest buyout groups.
Emap is conducting a review of the business that includes the possibility of selling any or all of its three divisions - consumer magazines, business-to-business and radio - with indicative offers due to be submitted today.
The paper says that Riley is likely to face competition for the radio assets with Global Radio, which took over Chrysalis Radio and adds that the sale is expected to kick off a round of consolidation in the UK radio industry that may create two super-groups although current regulatory limits on ownership mean that existing major groups would be prohibited from a straight merger without significant divestments or station swaps.
Riley, says the paper, believes taking Emap private will help the trading of stations to take place and commented, "Emap is a great place to start if you want a seat at the table as the consolidation process unfolds. And it's an attractive business in its own right."
Regarding Emap's other divisions, the paper says its B2B business, valued at around GBBP 1.2 billion (USD 2.4 billion), is likely to get most interest with weaker interest in the consumer magazines business.
Previous Global Radio:
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
2007-10-01: Australian commercial radio body Commercial Radio Australia has announced the names of the three winners of this year's New Artist to Radio (NA2R) initiative.
They are rock trio "The Sunpilots" (Raj Siva-Rajah on vocals, Bob Spencer on guitar and Anthony Soole on percussion), who have just released a four-track EP; pop trio Six.O.Six.5 (J.dee on lead guitar, Ben on bass and Cassie Maree on lead vocals) whose act is a mix of urban pop and punk rock; and solo artist Brett Barnes, who took the Adult Contemporary prize. South African-born Barnes has produced and released an EP "More than Radio".
Commercial Radio Australia Chief Executive Joan Warner commented of the award, "Now in its sixth year, NA2R continues to give unsigned talented musicians and bands the chance to shine and show what they can do in front of Australia's major radio decision makers. It is an amazing competition because it gives acts the promotional and professional support they could not otherwise afford."
The winners will share in a AUD 150,000 (USD 133,000) advertising prize across the four major radio networks down the east coast of Australia, with an opportunity to be added to the playlists of selected radio stations and the competition is open to unsigned Australian artists - acts that do not have a record deal but may or may not have an independent distribution deal.
There were more than 160 entries this year, whittled down to nine finalists from whom the winning acts in each genre were decided by a panel of commercial radio network program and music directors, based on their commercial radio play potential. This year's finalists also attended a workshop run by commercial radio program directors and an experienced record industry executive about how to maximize radio airplay
The three winning acts are now to perform before radio industry leaders and heavyweights at Crown Live in Melbourne on October 12 with one artist then chosen to perform the following night at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRAs). In all awards are scheduled to be made in 32 categories this year.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2007-10-01: Prejudice is alive and well at BBC Radio 4 according to the UK Mail on Sunday, which says BBC Radio Five Live's award-winning drive-time presenter Peter Allen has been snubbed for a job fronting Radio 4's flagship Today programme "because he is too much of an Essex boy".
It adds that friends of Allen - who left school at 18 to work for his local newspaper and did not go to university - believe he is a victim of "Oxbridge snobs" who control the BBC and says that it has learned that he was poised to move to Radio 4 as a potential successor to John Humphrys, the breakfast Today's Show presenter who is expected to retire soon but as details were being finalized the move was vetoed by BBC management.
The paper notes that Humphrys, who also never went to university, is an exception amongst the regular presenters and notes that Ed Stourton, a descendant of the 19th century Baron Stourton and cousin of Baron Mowbray went to the elite Catholic public school Ampleforth and Trinity College, Cambridge; Sarah Montague attended Blanchelande Girls' College, a fee-paying convent school in Guernsey before going to Bristol University; and James Naughtie went to the selective Keith Grammar School, Aberdeen University and Syracuse University in New York.
RNW comment: We rather suspect the Mail's political agenda in this report - it is no friend of the BBC in general - but both Humphrys and Allen have a fairly hard-hitting style that could have aroused concern amongst the current BBC hierarchy.
Mail on Sunday report:
Links note: As far as possible we provide site links to the previous related story. Should these links not work, please advise us so we can sort out the problem.
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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- September 2007 - November 2007 -
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