February 2008 Archive
- January 2008 -- March 2008 -
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 January comment - Digital - What's the point? We consider digital and conclude that the best approach would be for the US to provide DAB/DRM spectrum and let the market decide whether HD dies or -preferably in our view - ends up a licence-free system thus providing incentives for development of a true worldwide analogue/digital receiver and expanding consumer choice everywhere..
RNW December comment - Ends the year with a the main issues for radio in 2007 - ownership, technological change, and regulation.
RNW November comment - As Don Imus prepares to return to air, we look at issues of getting booted, coming back, and staying on air!
2008-02-29: In more US radio results, Entravision and Saga Communications have each reported reduced revenues for the final quarter of 2007 compared to a year earlier.
For the quarter Entravision net revenue was down 2% to USD 62.5 million and for the year it also fell 2%, this time to USD 250 million whilst for Saga net operating revenue for the quarter was down 1.9% to USD 37.5 million but for the year it was up 0.75% to just under USD 143 million.
Entravision's figures for both periods were affected by the sale of the company's radio stations in Dallas in the final quarter of 2006 and pro-forma figures excluding Dallas showed revenues flat for the year but down 2% for the quarter.
Overall Entravision had a net loss of just under USD 48 million in the final quarter compared to net income of USD 21.4 million a year earlier (from a positive 20 cents per share applicable to common shareholders to a negative 49 cents); the figures include a USD 8.5 million impairment charge of outdoor intangible assets.
For the year Entravision moved from a 2006 loss of USD 134.6 million to a 2007 loss of USD 44.1 million (from USD 1.15 to 39 cents per share).
In divisional terms radio revenues for the final quarter were down 3% to USD 39.4 million and TV revenues were down 2% to 2% to USD 39.4 million whilst pro-forma radio revenues fell 0.9% to USD 23.1 million and TV pro-forma revenues were down 2% to USD 39.4 million and for the year pro-forma radio net revenue rose 3% to USD 93.7 million.
Commenting on the figures Chairman and CEO Walter Ulloa said, "During the fourth quarter we continued to execute our strategy and build our audience shares in a challenging environment. We faced difficult comps due to the absence of events that occurred in the prior year period, as well as continued softness in the advertising market. While our primary focus is on improving our operating performance, we have continued to review avenues to maximize our assets in the M&A market. The planned divestiture of our outdoor business and our pending acquisition of WNUE-FM in Orlando, reflect our strategy of building leading TV and radio clusters in the nation's fastest growing Hispanic markets. The proceeds of the Outdoor sale will expand our financial flexibility and strengthen our ability to implement our business plan as we review all options for putting our cash to work, including strategic acquisitions and potentially returning capital to shareholders. Looking ahead, we remain well-positioned to capitalize on the expanding purchasing power of the Hispanic consumer."
Entravision is forecasting first quarter net revenues this year to fall by low- to mid-single digit percentages and operating expenses to increase by low-single digit percentages compared to 2007.
Entravision also announced that during 2007 it had repurchased 7.2 million shares of Class A common stock for approximately USD 60.7 million of which 2.1 million were bought in the final quarter for around USD 15.5 million and that it had agreed a USD 100 million cash sale of its outdoor advertising operations - Vista Media - to Lamar Advertising Company. Vista's prime assets were some 10,600 advertising faces in New York and Los Angeles, the two largest advertising markets in the United States.
Ulloa said of the sale that it reflected Entravision's "commitment to unlock value for our shareholders and our focus on operating Spanish-language television and radio stations in the nation's fastest-growing and most densely populated U.S. Hispanic markets."
He added, "The proceeds will strengthen our ability to invest in our core television and radio businesses, and will improve our financial flexibility as we review all options for putting our cash to work, including strategic acquisitions and potentially returning capital to shareholders."
In a linked move the company announced that it has appointed Christopher T. Young, formerly CFO and then President of its outdoor unit, as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, from mid-April to replace John DeLorenzo, who is returning to the East Coast to pursue other interests.
At Saga, as already noted net operating revenue for the quarter was down 1.9% to USD 37.5 million but for the year it was up 0.75% to just under USD 143 million: The year's figures were affected by a significant decline in political advertising revenues - from USD 3.5 million in 2006 to USD 1.4 million in 2007. Excluding this fall, Saga said its net operating revenue was up 2.3%.
Station operating expenses rose by 1.8% for the year to USD 106.3 million and operating income was down 6.9% to USD 27.9 million and net income was down 11.6% to USD 11 million (from 61 cents to 55 cents per fully diluted share). On a same-station basis operating revenues were up 0.1% to USD 143.0 million; station operating expense increased 1.2% to USD 105.4 million whilst operating income decreased 8.1% to USD 27.7 million
For the quarter political advertising was down from USD 2.4 million in 2006 to USD 852,000 in 2007 -excluding this, net operating revenue was up 2.4% rather than down 1.9%; station operating expenses were down 0.9%; operating income was down 13.9% and net income was down 14.7% to USD 3.1 million (from 18cents to 16 cents per fully diluted share).
2008-02-29: XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. has announced 2007 revenues up 22% to USD 1.1 billion with those for the final quarter up 20% to USD 308 million with met loss for the year and final quarter narrowing to USD 6.28 million from USD 7.31 million (From USD 2.70 to USD 2.22 per share) and to USD 2.39 million from USD 2.63 million (From 90 cents to 78 cents per share, the latter including 25 cents of merger and settlement related charges) respectively.
The increases were proportionately less than those for rival and putative partner Sirius, which earlier this week reported revenue for the year up 45% and subscriptions up 38% to end with 8.3 million subscribers (See RNW Feb 27).
XM said it ended the year with more than nine million subscribers, having added 1.4 million net new subscribers during the year but Subscriber Acquisition Costs were up - from USD 74 to USD 87 for the quarter and from USD 65 to USD 75 for the year with Cost per Gross Addition up from USD 128 to USD 140 for the quarter and from USD 108 to USD 121 for the year, compared to an SAC of USD 101 for the year and CPGA of USD 114 for Sirius.
XM noted that its "automotive partners increased production of XM-equipped vehicles by 64 percent over 2006, with 3.5 million installs and more than a million in the fourth quarter alone" and also highlighted its first deal to supply satellite radio to motorcyclists in a deal with Kawasaki.
President and CEO Nate Davis said of the results, "XM substantially improved its business operations in 2007 as we grew our subscriber base and revenues and narrowed our loss, positioning us as a stronger and more focused company better positioned to meet the competitive challenges of the future. XM has doubled its revenues in the last two years and our investment and robust performance in the new car market establishes a clear path for sustained future growth."
Regarding the merger with Sirius he commented that this would "benefit shareholders and offer consumers more programming choices and lower prices," adding, "We are pleased with the strong support our merger has received from a broad range of organizations, and we look forward to regulatory approval in the near future."
2008-02-29: Following the decision by GCap Media to axe its digital national station theJazz as part of a cutback in its commitment to digital broadcasting (See RNW Feb 11), GMG Radio is planning to launch its Jazz FM brand on digital radio in London and the north-west.
GMG switched its original Jazz FM analogue station in London to a Smooth FM format in 2005 but retained it as an Internet-only station and GMG Radio chief executive John Myers told the UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent, "DAB has come a long way in recent years and we are confident that Jazz FM has a promising future on a digital platform."
GMG added that it regarded Jazz FMm as a " niche listen and with the demise of theJazz, this is an opportunity to provide listeners with their own jazz station 24 hours a day, rather than have it squeezed into the Smooth Radio output through the night."
In other UK digital radio news, PURE has become the first company to gain endorsement from the Energy Saving Trust for a DAB receiver: These consumer more power than analogue models and the endorsement went to its PURE Move palm-size DAB and FM receiver, which consumes less than a watt when in standby and 3.5 watts when in use.
The model is part of PURE's EcoPlus range, a series that currently has fifteen products with reduced power consumption amongst other features such as components selected to minimise their environmental impact.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous GMG Radio:
UK Guardian report:
2008-02-29: Clear Channel has announced that it is extending its agreement with Ryan Seacrest and under a new multi-platform deal starting this spring will be syndicating a three-hour syndicated program, "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" which will be broadcast live from E! Studios in Hollywood.
The company says the broadcast will focus on all aspects of the entertainment industry, highlighting top talent from the worlds of music, film and television, and that together with the host they will develop original content for the program for national and international distribution across audio, video and online platforms.
Ryan Seacrest Productions will control all content and Seacrest will also control some of the advertising. In addition the RyanSeacrest.com site is to be re-launched and tied into the new programme.
Seacrest has also renewed his deals to continue as host of "American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest", which is nationally syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, and "On Air with Ryan Seacrest", his daily show on Clear Channel Radio's KIIS-FM in Los Angeles.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-02-28:Westwood One has announced that former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, whose "Tony Snow Show" ran on Fox News Radio from late 2003 until he became White House Press Secretary in April 2006, is to be the regular guest host of The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly. In addition to filling in for O'Reilly, Snow will also make guest hosting appearances on other Westwood One programs.
The host stepped down from his White House Post, to take which he had accepted a large cut in his income, after being diagnosed with colon cancer, saying that light of his cancer he needed more than his USD 168,000 salary to provide for his family.
Snow said of the appointment in a release, "I'm really excited about joining the Westwood One team. We're in the middle of the most exciting and surprising political year in decades, and there's no better place to plunge into the issues and personalities than on talk radio. I'm especially delighted to be joining The Radio Factor. Bill O'Reilly has put together a terrific show with a big and informed audience. If you're a political junkie -- and I am -- it just doesn't get any better."
Bart Tessler, Senior Vice President of News and Talk for Westwood One, added, "In this amazing political year, I'm thrilled we can add Tony's perspective to the Radio Factor franchise Bill O'Reilly has created. His experience in the White House and as a long-time writer and broadcaster will add great insight for the listeners of the Radio Factor and other Westwood One programs."
Previous Westwood One:
2008-02-28: A consortium including PR executive Gordon Beattie, John Quinn, who owns 15% of Bauer Radio's Falkirk-based Central FM, and Adam Findlay, son of SMG chairman and former Scottish Radio Holdings Chief Executive Richard Findlay, has placed a bid for the three Xfm stations being sold by GCap Media.
No details were given of the bid and it was not clear what other bids had been made for the station by the Wednesday noontime deadline that had been set by GCap when it announced the planned sale as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
GCap chief executive Fru Hazlitt has said she will hand the licences of the loss-making trio of stations unless they are sold by March 28 but the sale plans could potentially be reversed if Global Radio launches a new bid for GCap, as has been reported (See RNW Feb 25): It has been given until March 5 to make an offer or pull out of bidding for GCap (See RNW Feb 1).
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
The Scotsman report:
2008-02-28: Long-time Rochester host Brother Wease (Real name Alan Levin) who was taken off air by Entercom's WCMF-FM when his contract ended without agreement on a new one (See RNW Feb 8) has joined Clear Channel's WFXF-FM to host a new morning show.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle says that initially Wease will be in sales where he began with WCMF three decades ago because of a non-compete clause in his Entercom contract. It adds that Wease said he does not know how long it will be before he can return to the local airwaves although he expects it to be within a year.
He commented of his move, "Same show as the last show, except different people and is to build his new team while waiting. The paper says he'll be hiring a producer, comedian and female co-host.
Until Wease is able to return to the air WFXF's morning show will continue to be hosted by JP Hastings. He is expected to move to another day slot when Wease takes over the morning show.
Previous Clear Channel:
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle report:
2008-02-28: A survey by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) shows that the amount of music by emerging artists played on French-language stations is approximately twice the amount played by English-language stations, regardless of the definition of "emerging artists" used.
Information was gathered using nine different definitions but for charts in its report the agency has used a Top 40, less than one year" definition that it says appears to have the most advantages since current and historical chart information is relatively easy for all to obtain; some of the relevant charts combine airplay and sales data, two important measures of popularity; and the "Top 40, less than one year" definition may strike an appropriate balance between ensuring name recognition on the part of radio listeners and music consumers and the exposure of an ever-renewing roster of emerging talent.
It is asking for comments on adoption of this definition using which Alternative / Modern Rock; chart; and rhythmic chart English-language stations play most music from emerging artists. Because some formats have been taken off air, it gives no comparative date for French-language stations.
2008-02-28: Reba McEntire, who has won 11 ACM awards, is to host this year's Academy of Country Music Awards for the tenth consecutive year. The ceremony will be held in Las Vegas on May 18 with ACM nominees to be announced on March 4 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.
2008-02-27: In more US results CBS has reported what Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone "another solid quarter while making significant strides in the expanding interactive marketplace" although overall final quarter revenues were down 3% to USD 3.76 billion - it noted that divestitures, the non-renewal of several marginally profitable outdoor transit contracts, and record political advertising sales in the fourth quarter of 2006 negatively impacted the fourth quarter revenue comparison by 4% - and radio revenues were down 10%.
Also reporting was Sirius Satellite Radio, which reported a positive free cash flow for the fourth quarter and for the second half of 2007 with 2007 revenues up 45% year-on-year; a total of 8,321,785 subscribers, up 38%; and a net loss of USD 565.3 million, nearly halving the previous year's loss of USD 1.1 billion (from 79 cents to 39 per share).
In addition Arbitron updated its forecast for this year following the decision in conjunction with The Nielsen Company to end the Project Apollo national research service (See RNW Feb 25), which in 2007 carried associated costs of USD 6.9 million.
It says it still expects revenues for the full year, as per guidance earlier this month (See RNW Feb 15), to increase between 8% and 10% excluding figures for Continental Research, which was sold in January 2008 but that earnings per share will now be between USD 1.30 and USD 1.44 per share rather than the earlier forecast of USD 1.42 and USD 1.56 which it said at the time did not include expenditure incurred in commercializing or closing down the project.
At CBS, fourth quarter revenues as already noted were down 3% to USD 3.76 billion whilst full year revenues were down 2% to USD 14.07 million with the same reasons being given for the decline.
CBS said net earnings from continuing operations were up - adjusted to exclude the write- down of investments, and the impact of station divestitures and favourable tax settlements - by 3% for the full year to USD 1.36 billion but in the final quarter they fell 10.7% to USD 366.7 million, reflecting said the company a higher effective income tax rate of 35.3% for 2007 versus 28.6% for 2006.
Operating income before depreciation and amortization ("OIBDA") for the quarter was up 4% to USD 824 million whilst for the year it was up 1% to USD 3.08 billion.
Net earnings were down by 14.6% for the quarter to USD 286.2 millions (from 43 to 42 cents per diluted share) whilst for the year they fell 24.9% to USD 1.247 billion (from USD 2.15 to USD 1.73 per diluted share).
Redstone said the company had "remained steadfast in delivering on its promises and returning significant value to investors. Leslie [President & CEO Leslie Moonves] and his team continue to lead the Company with distinction, capitalizing upon our strength today and positioning CBS for success in the months and years to come."
Moonves commented that CBS finished 2007 "with our businesses well poised to increase revenues and profits in 2008 and beyond."
In divisional terms only Outdoor showed a revenue increase for the year - up 4 % to USD 2.187 billion- and quarter - up 7% to USD 618.6 million. It was followed by Publishing - up 10% for the year to USD 886.1 million but down 4% for the quarter to USD 242.3 million; TV - down 2% for the year to USD 9.274 billion and down 4% for the quarter to USD 2.46 billion whilst radio was down 11% for the year to USD 1.754 billion and down 10% for the quarter to USD 447.1 million.
Within the radio figures, same station revenues fell 7% for the final quarter with radio OIBDA down 21% to USD 167.4 million and radio operating income down 22% to USD 159.6 million, reflecting CBS said weakness in advertising sales and the impact of the radio station divestitures in ten markets.
Full year radio revenues were down 6% on a same station basis and reported radio revenues fell 11% to USD 1.75 billion.
CBS says it expects operating income this year to be up3% to 5% on 007.
At Sirius, revenue for the year was up 45% to USD 922 million and it ended with 8.324 million subscribers, up 38% year-on-year and not far short of the estimated 9 million of rival - and possibly soon-to-be partner XM. Revenue in the final quarter was up 29.2% year-on-year at USD 249.8 million and its adjusted loss from operations for the quarter was down from USD 166.8 million to USD 107.2 million whilst for the year its adjusted loss from operations was down from USD 327.4 million to USD 185.7 million.
Overall it had a net loss of USD 166.2 million in the quarter down from USD 245.6 million a year earlier (Down from 17 cents to 11 cents per share) whilst for the full year net loss was down from USD 1.1 billion to USD 565.3 million ( from 79 cents to 39 cents per share as already noted).
Sirius said that in the final quarter it added 654,000 net subscribers, and, according to the NPD Group, SIRIUS achieved a 68% share of aftermarket satellite radio sales, its highest ever share.
Subscriber Acquisition Cost (SAC) per gross subscriber addition was USD 101 for 2007 improving 11% over 2006's SAC per gross subscriber addition of USD 114. In the fourth quarter 2007, SAC per gross subscriber addition was USD 90.
CEO Mel Karmazin said that in 2007 the company "achieved our financial goals and solidified our position as one of the fastest growing media companies in the world" adding, "Sirius demonstrated positive operating leverage in the business through solid cost control by limiting growth in total expenses, excluding non-cash items, to under 9% for the year. Sirius achieved positive free cash flow for the second half of the year and $75.9 million in positive free cash flow for the fourth quarter 2007."
Regarding the "pending merger" with XM, he said this would offer unprecedented choice for consumers and create tremendous value for stockholders." And added , "We have made a very strong case for the merger to the government, received broad support from leading organizations and prominent individuals, and we look forward to a fast positive ruling from the government."
RNW comment: That last line, considering that the merger has been awaiting regulatory approval for a year, does rather take the biscuit, We also noted that in his comments to analysts Karmazin spoke of increasing advertising revenue to around 10% of the total: Before that line we were edging away from our original feeling that the merger should be rejected albeit it was a close call. That line makes us think that given a satellite monopoly - and thus the opportunity to increase advertising that is currently limited by the XM competition, the merger probably should be rejected. If it is, it would be pleasing to see this spelled out as a prime reason and observe Karmazin ad-sales pitch hitting his own pocket.
In other ways the competition from other audio sources does support the satellite companies' contention that they do not have monopolistic power but as regards a subscriber rather than advertising funded service satellite radio has much more of a monopolistic position.
2008-02-26: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld one fairness and privacy complaint each against radio and partly upheld one against TV in its latest bulletin in which it also considered two radio standards complaints resolved through action taken by the broadcaster; upheld TV standards complaints against four broadcasters, considered a further TV standards case resolved through action already taken by the broadcaster and gave details of two TV fairness and privacy complaints not upheld.
The figures compare with two radio standards complaints and complaints against six TV programmes upheld in its previous bulletin, partly upheld a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint and posted details of five fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld.
The radio complaint upheld in the latest bulletin involved an April 26 broadcast of The James Whale Show by talkSPORT in which the full e-mail address of the complainant was read out live on air. Whale had read out two emails from the complainant, who was critical of the programme's content - he said, "One of the downsides of commercial radio is the amount of adverts - in the case of this show they are the highlight" - and in a later e-mail that was read out had said , "I dare you to read out one of my emails - my guess is that your ego will not allow it" to which Whale had responded after reading out the e-mail by saying, Well, there you go".
full email address live on air and encouraged listeners to misuse his email address although he regarded the address as confidential and had not given permission for the host to give out the details.
Ofcom ruled that the complainant had a legitimate expectation of privacy in relation to the disclosure of his email address in the programme; that its disclosure infringed his privacy in it was sufficient to render him identifiable to an audience who would not have otherwise been aware who the person referred to in the programme was and that the disclosure was unwarranted. It noted that the broadcaster had not sought to argue that the disclosure was warranted.
The radio standards complaints there were considered resolved related to a BBC Radio 2 programme and one on Tindle Radio's Colchester commercial station Dream 100 FM. The latter complaint related to a listener who had sent a text - to a premium rate number- but who looked at the studio webcam on the station's site and saw that there was nobody in the studio. He said it appeared that listeners had been invited to text in when there was no chance of having requests played or being mentioned on air.
The broadcaster said the number promoted was often used by the station and that the host's reference to having just received a text, and the dedication that followed, was recycled material from his live drivetime show on the previous afternoon.
This, it admitted could lead listeners to believe they could interact with the programme when in fact it was pre-recorded. It apologized and said its presenters had been told that they were not
to give dedications or promote the station's text number during 'automated' programming adding that it was disappointed that the presenter in this case - who had recorded his voice-tracks the previous afternoon - had been "in auto-pilot mode and did not go back and correct the error
It had conducted a disciplinary investigation with the host, who had also been the station's Programme Manager and had since left Tindle Radio. Ofcom considered the action taken had satisfactorily resolved the matter in this instance.
In the BBC case, on her early morning show the presenter Sarah Kennedy talked about an appeal that had recently been launched to help ensure children were safer on their journey to and from school during the dark winter months by wearing high visibility clothing. The line of discussion was elaborated on further by the presenter, who said she had almost run over a black pedestrian as his dark clothes made him 'invisible'.
She continued by adding "it's lucky he opened his mouth to yawn or do something and I saw him".
This attracted a complaint to which the BBC responded by saying there had been no intention to cause racial offence and said that "Such off-the-cuff anecdotes and observations are typical of Ms Kennedy's style. She has a reputation for straight talking and that is part of the reason why she has a large and loyal group of listeners."
The Corporation accepted that this comment was inappropriate and added that with hindsight it felt an apology should have been broadcast. It regretted this had not been done at the time and said it did consider broadcasting an apology in a later programme but this idea had been rejected through concern that this may have had the effect of "perpetuating the original offence". Instead, Radio 2 issued a public apology by means of a press release, which was subsequently reported in the national press.
Ofcom considered that the matter had been resolved through this action.
In addition to the above Ofcom also listed without details 249 TV complaints against 168 items and 29 radio complaints against 26 items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 72 complaints against 53 TV items and six radio complaints against six items that were out of its remit or not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-02-26: This week we devote out look at comment on radio purely to the US where the chorus of voices expressing concern about the medium was strong.
Art Vuolo in Michiguide heads his column "Today's radio failing to 'reignite passion'" and starts off by noting that he and Mike Austerman "have been somewhat critical of the radio industry and what has happened to 'the good ol' days.'"
He continues, "We have quoted a number of other columnists and former programmers who have spoken the truth about the business, but most of the people running stations these days simply don't want to hear it People like Jerry Del Colliano and John Gorman are thought to be eccentric prophets of doom who are burning bridges and alienating today's broadcasters. Not so. Gorman, who tried, with limited means, to make WKRK-FM a successful rock station after years at Cleveland's legendary WMMS, said the radio business needs to remember the three little words, originally delivered in a keynote by National Association of Broadcasters' president David Rehr: "Reignite the passion." But he adds a fourth: How?"
Vuolo quotes from Gorman's blog - we include a slightly longer section: "You will not reignite anything by gutting established morning shows. You will not do it with voice-tracking in dayparts when most people listen - and interact.
"You will not reignite passion by having managers and programmers accountable for multiple stations and, in some cases, multiple markets.
"Reignite the passion? Here's the problem. Only losers say that.
"New media gets a chuckle out of our predicament, because radio's a laughingstock, more so now than ever after the combination of the HD Radio Alliance and the NAB's bungling Radio 2020 campaign, which will do absolutely nothing for no one.
We used to have programmers and managers that were hired for their specific knowledge of certain formats. Today, the business calls for a - pardon the name - Jack of all formats and master of none."
In another segment Gorman was in more positive mood about radio - but not US commercial radio, writing, "Sunday's New York Times mentioned the 30 million-plus daily listeners of National Public Radio's Morning Edition news program. In 1980 they had an audience of just 2 million. It also pointed out that Morning Edition and its afternoon news counterpart, All Things Considered, are the second and fourth most listened to radio programs in the country Radio? Dead? Hardly."
But then of the commercial variety he added, after noting Haley's comments, "I hate to say it. Most I know aren't listening to radio - other than NPR and sports. They get everything else on-line.
"Those I know that Podcast use it to time-shift NPR programming that may not be on at a time when one can or wants to listen.
"It's safe to say that no one's interested in a podcast of a midday voice-tracker."
After that point Gorman makes another less obvious one but one we suspect has far too much truth in it for the comfort of stockholders in US radio companies: "The average household has four radios. Almost all cars have a radio. That doesn't mean they're being listen to. If radio underperforms, listeners go elsewhere.
"Let's create the perfect world scenario where every man, woman, and child in the U.S. had portable access to terrestrial radio. Add access to those HD Radio side channels, too.
"I'll even take it one step further - let's say all of those HD Radio side channels had - don't laugh - compelling programming, too.
"The result? It would kill commercial radio. The audience would be spread too thin among too many stations."
Need we go on, beyond the single sentence: "The real dilemma facing the industry is that there are too many radio stations."
Although he made no comment in terms of station numbers, departing Washington WJFK-FM host -he leaves at the end of May after some 23 years with the show - Don Geronimo echoed some of the comments made by Vuolo, Gorman, Austerman and others in a Washington Post report by Marc Fisher that first looked at the host's career and some of the antics of the "Don and Mike (O'Meara) Show" that would be unlikely to get near the airwaves in today's rather more puritanical atmosphere (our words not his) including "taking a busload of listeners to Intercourse, Pennsylvania., to have sex in motel rooms while the hosts narrated the event on the air."
"This is certainly not the climate for something like that," Geronimo says now and complains, "We're not even allowed to say the word 'masturbate' "although he says the show is better now than at any point in the past two decades.
Geronimo, real name Michael Sorce, was a Top 40 DJ through his teens and 20s, and he was less complimentary about music radio, commenting, "I don't listen to radio now. I listen to XM [satellite radio]. The disc jockeys are real and I love the presentation" and adding of FM stations, "What they're mainly missing is fun. When I listen to a station like Hot 99.5, I could be listening to something in Columbus, Ohio, or San Francisco. It's the same voices, the same 25 records. Let the DJ connect with people and there'll still be an audience."
Fisher doesn't comment on why the records are the same but in an article in The Oregonian headed "Radio Daze - Portland Talking Heads Get Beheaded" Peter Ames Carlin gives the reason, albeit in a different context "Chalk it up to industry-wide cutbacks, due largely to disappointing profits among the media conglomerates that have come to own virtually all of the nation's major radio stations."
He also points up the response that so often comes from station's afterward - PR guff or, in ordinary language, lies in many cases. In the case of long-time KINK-FM morning news anchor, Rebecca Webb, writes Carlin, "Ratings for the show she shared with disc jockey Les Sarnoff have continued to be strong throughout her most recent tenure."
Webb commented that she had been involved in run-ins with program director Dennis Constantine about her choice of news stories, and particularly her resistance to lifestyle and entertainment stories "On February 6, the day before I got canned, I was reprimanded for not talking more about 'American Idol,'" she wrote in an email on Friday. "I was more focused on Super Tuesday."
Webb, who had been working without a contract after her previous deal expired in September, says then-station manager Stan Mak offered her a new two-year contract, complete with a raise. Webb says she countered by saying she didn't need a larger salary - instead, she wanted the new contract to guarantee that some of her longstanding beefs with the station, including an elusive workstation, would finally materialize.
"I decided to make it part of my contract. I gave them a list, and I thought we were making progress on it," she said.
Mak left the station in October and was replaced by Dave McDonald, a CBS Radio manager who was returning to Portland after a three-year stint in Seattle and no deal was done. He commented, "It's accurate to say she was at the end of her contract. We did have discussions (about a new contract) but we didn't do a new deal. There's no big drama, as far as I'm concerned."
The show continued with Sarnoff and another news reader but according to Carlin listener outcry drove him into comment and he released a statement asserting that she was headed to graduate school. This apparently is partly true as Webb is studying for her admissions test but at a deeper level it would appear to be a lie, for whatever reason it was said.
Carlin comments of the manner of the beheadings, "When the axe falls on an on-air personality it happens suddenly, and with no advance notice. There's no time for goodbyes on the air" but does not follow through on what action listeners can take.
RNW comment: If Gorman's correct, increasing numbers are switching to NPR and that may be a very positive move in that a serious plummeting of commercial audiences and thus stock values might just force some positive action. If not, all power to the satellite companies and the Internet.
On then to listening suggestions and as usual - with the exception of some NPR programmes such as "On the Media" to which we listen regularly, we find little in most US station output to attract an English ear. But then we don't care about American Idol nor much of the froth that, judging by the music stations we find the car radio tuned to after use by sons and daughter, British commercial stations seem to feel will attract their target audience - aka younger mugs with more money than sense.
So to more serious channels albeit in passing for a more positive view on radio we would suggest a dip any Tuesday into the UK Daily Telegraph for Gillian Reynold's radio column: Those suggestions do include music, if not today's pop in most cases (the inane comments of most of the DJs are a turn-off rather than turn-on).
In the music category we suggest BBC Radio 2 and the current Mark Lamarr Saturday evening "Redneck Music" series (The second part from last Saturday is currently on the site) and Thursday's "Leonard Cohen On Songwriting" (23:00 GMT(, the second of a three-part series on the song writing world (The first part is on the site until then).
Then from BBC Radio 3, we suggest this week's "Composer of the Week" on "William Alwyn" (Noon GMT with a 20:45 GMT retreat) - best known for his film scores rather than concert works - and the "Lunchtime Concert" from Tuesday onwards (13:00 GMT) - this week it features performances from series of concerts given at St George's Hall in Liverpool last autumn to mark the city's 800th anniversary: They feature young artists performing British and American repertoire, reflecting Liverpool's position as a gateway to the New World.
Also from Radio 3, on Tuesday we suggest "Night Waves" (21:45 GMT) in which one item features Rana Mitter talking to Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics and author of a controversial book, "The True Cost of the War in Iraq" that argues that the conflict has done significant damage to both the US and global economies. Another Night Waves worth a listen this week is that on Thursday which features a discussion on social and cultural issues facing Britain's Jewish community as the annual Jewish Book Week takes place.
Then on Friday evening we suggest "Jazz on 3" at 23:30 GMT in which Jez Nelson presents a gig from pianist Myra Melford's group Spindrift, featuring Brandon Ross on guitar, Mark Taylor on French horn and Shuni Tzou on the dizi (Chinese flute).
And as a final selection from the Channel we suggest Saturday and "Music Matters" (12:15 GMT in which Tom Service investigates the links between music and health and looks at reports on how music can change the lives of people with conditions ranging from schizophrenia to Alzheimer's) and "Hear And Now - Improvisation in Modern Classical Music" (23:30 GMT with Alywnne Pritchard exploring the world of improvisation and its role in contemporary classical music, in a discussion with composer Richard Barrett and writer John L Walters.).
Moving on to BBC Radio 4, we start with "Start the Week" from Monday - another programme featuring Stiglitz, this time with host Andrew Marr and another author, Jacob Weisberg whose "The Bush Tragedy: The Unmaking of a President" is also just out.
We'd also suggest from earlier three programmes that like "Start the Week" are available as MP3 downloads or streams - last week's "Analysis"- "Jackanory Politics" in which Frances Stonor examines the increasingly popular method of delivering a political message by telling a story - interesting not just on the preference of humans for stories rather than facts (an also for a combination of innumeracy and lack of thought displayed by most people when it comes to probabilities); last Friday's "News Quiz" and Thursday's "From our Own Correspondent" with items on Cuba, Pakistan and Uganda. All of them are available as MP3s or streams.
We'd also suggest last Saturday's "Archive Hour" - "Putting It Simply" in which Kathy Sykes looks at the science has been seen and heard on radio and television and Sunday's "The Westminster Hour" (Streams only).
From the weekdays we'd suggest "Cleaning out the Camp" from Monday in which Eddie Mair examined the policies and attitudes of Britain's armed forces towards homosexuality - a laissez-faire attitude during the Second World War when circumstances were desperate but hostile later, despite an easing of attitudes amongst society as a whole.
The in the afternoons the "Afternoon Readings" (15:30 GMT) this week are stories from the Bath Festival: They're followed by "Mine All Mine" in which Chris Ledgard looks at the different attitudes of those who want to defend intellectual property and those who think that often by sharing the world could do better than with patents and copyright.
After that back to music and this week's "Music Feature" - "The King Of Light Music" on Tuesday (13:30 GMT) looking at the career of Eric Coates, whol like Alwyn is better known for his film and theme tune work than his other compositions.
Then we suggest "In our Time" (09:00 GMT live - after which it is an MP3 or a stream) from Thursday " on the topic of Shakespeare's "King Lear" and on Friday (11:00 GMT) we suggest "A Race Apart" in which Sarfraz Manzoor talks to American students from two different universities who have opted for a racially segregated education, whether black or white.
Finally back to literature and next Saturday with "Macbeth Remixed" (05:45 GMT), a series comparing the known historical facts about Macbeth with Shakespeare's dramatisation and "Please Look After This Bear" (10:30 GMT) in which Michael Morpurgo celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of Paddington Bear plus Sunday's "Archive Hour -The Larkin Tapes" in which Paul Farley tells the story of two tapes by poet Philip Larkin, recorded by BBC sound engineer John Weeks, which remained hidden on a cluttered shelf in a garage for 25 years.
RNW Note: Having been delayed, we have not yet gone through our notes on other MP3s. We will update later after posting other stories from today.
John Gorman blog:
Michiguide - Vuolo:
The Oregonian - Carlin:
Washington Post - Fisher:.
2008-02-25: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), pursuing its opposition to the introduction in the US of recording royalty payments for terrestrial broadcasters, has attacked member companies of the Recording Industries Association of America (RIAA) with its Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton saying it welcomed debate "over which side has been more 'fair' to artists -- radio stations or RIAA-member companies."
The NAB says that its comment was made as a result of learning that the RIAA "will parade a handful of artists through Congress this week in support of legislation that would result in as much as a USD 7 billion annual tax on local radio stations."
Wharton added, "America's hometown radio stations expose and promote musicians to 232 million listeners every week. Contrast that with decades-long exploitation of artists by foreign-owned record labels, demonstrated just this month in a USD 6 million lawsuit against Universal Music Group for 'cheating' artists like Count Basie and Benny Goodman out of royalties."
The musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition had prompted NAB's response by a news release headed "Three Days, Three Performance Right Questions" and an advert in RollCall.
The three days of the news release were timed to coincide with what it terms the broadcasting industry's "three-day lobbyfest in Washington this week" in which it said "Big radio's number one priority is to defeat legislation to create a fair performance right on radio for recording artists, musicians and record labels."
Doyle Bartlett, executive director of the musicFIRST Coalition commented, "It's time for the NAB and corporate radio to answer the tough questions about their refusal to pay artists and musicians. AM and FM music radio stations earn USD 16 billion each year in advertising revenue. But not a single penny goes to the artists and musicians whose creativity, whose heart, whose soul and whose passion brings to life the music that listeners tune in to hear."
He went on to pose three of the "many questions that the NAB and corporate radio lobbyists can not possibly answer with a clear conscious (RNW note: He presumable meant "conscience" but like NAB finds the word such anathema and in his case couldn't put it down correctly.]
These were to justify their revenues without compensating the owners of "intellectual property" for their contribution; to justify a competitive advantage against others "in the music marketplace"; and state which of its leaders was correct - NAB President David Rehr who terms the proposed payments a "performance tax" of BAN Radio Board chairman and Withers Broadcasting Group president W. Russell Withers Jr. who in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing disagreed with the term "tax" and said it was a "performance fee."
The advert in RollCall shows a busker above whom is the caption "HE JUST MADE MORE MONEY THAN ANY RECORDING ARTIST ON THE RADIO" and then continuing, "When your favourite artist's song blares over the radio waves, they're not receiving a single penny. Radio stations broadcast musical performances for free, neglecting the many talented artists, musicians, producers, and background singers behind every song. While broadcasters use songs to gain ratings and charge top dollar to advertisers, they refuse to pay even pocket change to the people who bring music to life on the radio. Only Congress can close the corporate radio loophole."
RNW comment: To us this is very much a case of pot and kettle. Arguments put forward by the NAB in our view should never be taken as face value and are usually misleading at best and dishonest at worst.
In this case we think that, as in the rest of the world, there is no logical justification for exempting terrestrial stations from royalty payments - these are not taxes, whatever dishonest propaganda the NAB puts out - that are levied on all others but there is a good case for debate over the level of fees, and, as we have commented in the past, the idea of setting up a tier of royalty charges (See RNW Comment March 2007) that would bring some market discipline to the whole process with artists who try to get too greedy finding themselves without airplay (and thus we suspect with considerably lowered in income) and allowing upcoming artists to increase their exposure by levying no royalty charges.
2008-02-25: In further GCap Media business developments, the Sunday Express has reported that Global Radio is set to make an increased bid for GCap, possibly as early as this week.
The paper did not give a source for its report which said that Global, which has until March 5 to make an offer or pull out of bidding for GCap (See RNW Feb 1) is to increase its offer from GBP 313 million (currently USD 616 million) to GBP 350 million (USD 688 million ).
In other GCap business, The Scotsman reports that Scottish tycoons Gordon Beattie and John Quinn are in talks to acquire the three Xfm regional radio stations - in Glasgow, Manchester and Cardiff - put up for sale by GCap (See RNW Feb 11).
The paper says the two, who are said to have lined up a financing package with a Scottish Bank, are likely to face competition from Bauer, which could incorporate them and possibly its Kerrang! stations into its Q radio brand.
It quoted Beattie - who owns public relations agency Beattie Communications, has interests in radio, while Quinn is a 15% shareholder in Falkirk-based Central FM and tried unsuccessfully to acquire the 20% stake held by Emap- as saying, "We are taking a look at it and we'll make up our minds in the next week if we are going to bid" and Quinn as adding, "We are pretty keen. We have an appetite and we've taken advice. I wouldn't like to go through all this and be a loser."
Also with GCap, former Piccadilly Radio /Key 103, Capital Radio, and Virgin Radio host Steve Penk has ended his stint with its Oxford station Fox FM.
He was due to leave in March but broadcast his last show on Friday and the station already lists Neil Williams as its new breakfast host. Penk was said earlier in the year to be finding the daily commute to Oxford a problem and to have turned down another 12-month contract.
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2008-02-25: Westwood One, Inc. has announced an agreement under which Los Angeles-based private equity firm The Gores Group, LLC will invest up to USD 100 million in it, subject to various conditions including the closing of pending agreements between Westwood One and CBS Radio Inc. - Westwood One's shareholders approved the agreement earlier this month but the closure is subject to other conditions including a determination by the its Board of Directors that the Company has sufficient financing to conduct its business operations in compliance with its legal and financial obligations after the closing (See RNW Feb 14) -and approval by Westwood's shareholders
Under the agreement, Gores will purchase USD 12.5 million of Westwood One common stock at a price of USD 1.75 per share, a purchase that is anticipated to close concurrent with the closing of the CBS agreements, In addition, at Westwood One's option, Gores also will purchase up to an additional USD 12.5 million of common stock at USD 1.75 per share and between USD 50.0 and USD 75.0 million of 7.5% Series A Convertible Preferred Stock ("Convertible Preferred Stock") with an initial conversion price of USD 3.00 per share and Warrants (issued in three tranches) to purchase up to 10 million shares of Westwood One common stock, such Warrants to be exercisable at USD 5.00/share, USD 6.00/share and USD 7.00/share, respectively .
On top of this, 18 months from the date of issuance, Westwood One may cause the conversion of the Convertible Preferred Stock if the per share closing price of the Westwood One common stock equals or exceeds USD 4.00 for 60 trading days in any 90 day trading period or Westwood One sells USD 50.0 million or more of common stock to a third party at a price per share of at least USD 4.00. The Convertible Preferred Stock will be redeemable at Westwood One's option after 57 months from the date of issuance. Any common stock issued to Gores in connection with the Securities will have registration rights.
Upon the closing of the Convertible Preferred Stock and Warrant investment, the Westwood One Board of Directors will increase to eleven members of which three will be elected by Gores and Gores will also have the right to nominate an independent director.
Westwood One President and CEO Thomas Beusse said the investment was "a key element of our strategic process to enhance shareholder value and an important component in satisfying the conditions to closing our proposed agreements with CBS Radio", adding that it represented "a significant vote of confidence in the future of our business" and together with the CBS deal "enables us to position an independent Westwood One for future growth and success."
Westwood chairman Norman J. Pattiz added that the investment brought with it "Alec Gores' and his team's considerable operational resources and provides the Company with significant resources to once again focus on the production of quality original programming for our current and emerging media platforms."
Previous Westwood One:
2008-02-25: A total of 70 people were prosecuted in the UK in the 2006/07 year for communications-related offences, 61 of them for illegal broadcasting, according to UK media regulator Ofcom: The other prosecutions related to Citizens Band Radio (1 prosecution); EMC (Electromagnatic Compatibility - 5 prosecutions); RTTE (The Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations 2000 - CE marking or manufacturing standards - 5 prosecution); and one "other" categories (For sending a hoax message) with convictions secured in all cases.
In relation to illegal broadcasting fines totalling GBP 6,845 (USD 13,470) plus costs totalling GBP 20,889 (USD 41,100) were imposed with forfeiture orders made in 42 cases, conditional discharges issued in 31 cases and an absolute discharge in one case: There were also a total of ten official cautions and 31 warning letters sent with six disclaimers.
2008-02-25: Arbitron and The Nielsen Company have announced that they are ending development of their "Project Apollo" national research service on which they have been working for some three years.
In a joint statement the two companies said that "Despite a promising level of interest, we did not secure sufficient client commitments to make Project Apollo a sustainable venture for our two companies" and expressed gratitude to those involved including companies, consultants and to the marketing and advertising agency executives of the seven Project Apollo Steering Committee members who helped them "explore the cutting edge of media and marketing research."
Nielsen executive vice president Susan D. Whiting said they had "learned a great deal from 'Project Apollo' "and added, "I am confident that this work will enable us to provide even higher levels of quality service to our clients."
Arbitron chairman, president and chief executive officer Stephen Morris added, "Everyone recognized from the outset what an ambitious effort we were undertaking: harness the best in modern research technology and methodology to see if we could finally fulfil the promise of a single-source media and marketing research service."
2008-02-25: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended to the government an easing of regulations on private FMs to allow them to carry news, permit ownership of multiple channels in a market and possibly increase the area to which a station broadcasts, and also allow an increase from 20% to 26% in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) permitted for stations that wish to broadcast news and from 20% to 49% for stations that do not opt for news broadcasting.
News broadcasting would still be constrained however with sources limited to "content from AIR, Doordarshan, authorized TV news channels, United News of India), Press Trust of India and any other authorized news agency" and shall be factually based with a prohibition on "broadcasting of news contents having speculative, anticipatory or based on rumours/ hearsay."
The proposals are made in the authority's "Recommendations on the 3rd Phase of Private FM Radio Broadcasting" in India: In the first phase in 1999 a total of 22 private channels went on air and in the second 337 FM licences were put on sale resulting in the issue of 245 Letters of Intent out of which 185 channels have gone on air. The government is considering a further extension of private FMs beyond the 92 cities for which licences were offered in Phase II and asked TRAI for recommendations.
TRAI issued a consultation paper on the matter in January and on the basis of responses its chairman Nripendra Misra has written to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry asking for an "early decision" on the recommendations to "facilitate modifications to the existing guidelines which will enable expansion of FM broadcasting in smaller and uncovered areas of the country."
In the 168-page document, the TRAI says FM Radio services in India have "made rapid strides in the recent past particularly since adoption of TRAI Recommendations for the Phase-II" and continues, "Experience in the Phase-II expansion suggests that untapped potential for further growth is quite phenomenal which can be realized if certain barriers to growth are removed."
It comments that it "does not find any justification to continue with the existing guidelines that restrict the contents of FM Radio broadcast to exclude news and current affairs" and adds, "Sustaining the growth witnessed in FM Radio sector is possible only if certain major policy decisions are taken and these include increasing the number of channels for FM Radio broadcast. Stakeholders in general have commented upon the need to enhance the viability of FM Radio operations in the country so that entry into semi-urban and rural areas is facilitated. One such area which is said to affect the viability of FM radio operations in the country is the restriction on multiple ownership of channels in a city and networking of FM radio programmes across entities."
"Disadvantaged regions like North-East and Jammu & Kashmir" it says, "have been given special dispensation in the policy framework by way of reduction in the annual fee payable by broadcasters in these regions for a period of three years from the date of issue of LOI (Letters of Intent)."
It has also chosen "to mandate collocation of transmitters with existing facilities of All India Radio. Flexibility has however been given to the successful bidders of FM Radio broadcasting to form a consortium and set up required infrastructures, etc. if the AIR facility is not available within a period of three months." It also notes that the Working Group Report of Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2007-12) had said that FM transmitters should be Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM+) compatible.
The TRAI proposes to auction Phase III licences on the same basis as those issued for phase II - that changed the high annual fees set out for phase I with a system of a one-time entry fee plus annual fee of 4% of gross revenues or 10% of the reserve one time entry fee (OTEF), whichever is higher - but it adds that in regard to regional licences, where a private FM is already operational in the area, its license "may be given the option to enlarge the area of operation for the same channel to provide coverage to full district after paying difference in maximum bid price determined through the auction for the district or similar district in the state and One Time Entry Fee (OTEF) already paid for city. If highest bid is less than the original bid price for city basis, the migration shall be allowed without any additional payment."
Regarding ownership caps it says that the existing limit of 15% of total FM Radio channels in the country is no longer valid as the fear of monopoly is no longer real and may be withdrawn but as far as districts are concerned at least three channels, excluding AIR, should go to different entities. Once this condition is met, it adds, operators should be allowed to bid for other channels up to a maximum of half the total channels in the district.
It also proposes allowing operators to network across their own stations but not stations of other broadcasters.
Previous Indian Radio:
TRAI Recommendations (168 page 1.69 MB PDF):
2008-02-24: Last week the attention on the regulators related far more to TV than radio as the Federal Communications Commission back into the indecency fines business with penalties of USD 1.24 million against ABC for a February 2003 episode of NYPD Blue and of USD 91,000 against Fox for an April 2003 episode of "Married by America".
In each case the penalties had been reduced - from USD 1.42 million and USD 1.18 million respectively - after the agency opted under a new policy to levy penalties only in the markets where there had been a complaint. ABC has paid but is appealing to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals whilst Fox said it is "actively considering" is options.
In radio terms it was much quieter with no releases from Ireland, only one from Australia and a few more elsewhere.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) as decided not to renew the "Groove FM" community licence held by Youth Media Society of Western Australia Inc (YMS).
The ACMA said that in assessing the licence renewal it found "significant corporate governance problems" and continued, "Due to the seriousness of these problems and the poor history of compliance by YMS with its licence obligations over several years, ACMA decided that YMS does not have the management capacity to provide the service. ACMA was also of the view that the service provided did not adequately meet the needs of the broader youth community of Perth as its music programming is too narrow."
YMS has been investigated twice since it began its service in March 2003 and additional licence conditions were imposed after the first investigation (See RNW Licence News, May 7, 2006) whilst after the second breaches of the additional conditions were found and remedial action ordered earlier this year.
YMS can apply for a three-month temporary community broadcasting licence - it could have to share the frequency if there are other applicants - under which, says the regulator, it "would have the chance to reconsider its community of interest and show through its own actions that it can encourage participation in the operations of the station."
AMCA Chairman Chris Chapman commented that YMS had "not performed at the level and with the outcomes expected of community broadcasters" and continued, "YMS has a strong incentive to use its time on a temporary community broadcasting licence to demonstrate to ACMA that it can comply with the Broadcasting Services Act."
The ACMA has also announced that its second conference on spectrum management - Radcomms08 - is to be held in Melbourne from Wednesday 30 April to Friday 2 May. It notes that highlights will include discussion of an independent review of government spectrum holdings in Australia that the ACMA intends to release in April along with a draft of its first spectrum demand analysis and work program, entitled Five-year Spectrum Outlook.
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted only a few radio related decisions and notices including the following:
Approval of various applications by CITR Radio Inc. for licences for National, ethnic, Tamil-language specialty audio services in various musical formats:
These were - Tamil Bouquet (ITR 60's & 70's); Tamil Bouquet (ITR 80's & 90's); Tamil Bouquet (ITR Classical Instrumental); Tamil Bouquet (ITR Classical Vocal); Tamil Bouquet (ITR Latest Hits); Bouquet (ITR News & Info); Tamil Bouquet (ITR Oldies); Tamil Bouquet (ITR Religious Christian); Tamil Bouquet (ITR Religious Hindu); Tamil Bouquet (ITR Variety).
Approval of application by MZ Media Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence of CFMX-FM-1 Toronto (formerly CFMZ-FM-1) by deleting its re-broadcasting transmitter CFMZ-FM Cobourg and also approval of application by MZ Media for a broadcasting licence to operate an 86,700 watts (the same as CFMZ-FM) English-language Specialty Classical and Fine Arts FM in Cobourg.
The CRTC also posted a public notice, with a March 28 deadline for the submission of interventions or comments, concerning an application by My Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to reduce the power of its English-language commercial station CHMY-FM Renfrew, Ontario, from 1,000 to 790 watts, increase the antenna height and relocate the transmitter.
As already noted there were no radio postings from Ireland but in the UK Ofcom was involved both in licensing decisions relating to the award of a DAB multiplex, receipt of only one application for another multiplex and the advertisement of a third (See RNW Feb 22) and in enforcement actions. The latter related to pirate operators in four London boroughs and raids in which 22 transmitters were seized and three people arrested (See RNW Feb 20).
In the US as already noted the main media attention as far as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was concerned related to TV indecency penalties but the agency also garnered some publicity when an appeals court upheld lawsuits relating to its dismissal of petitions concerning the effect on migratory birds of transmission towers on the Gulf Coast (See RNW Feb 22).
The FCC also said it was now prepared to grant another three construction permits relating to its FM Auction 62. They were in Clifton, Colorado plus Hettinger and Wishek in North Dakota.
In licence and enforcement actions the agency was involved in the following decisions:
Issued forfeiture for USD 8,000 to Lazer Licenses, LLC, licensee of KSBQ-AM, Santa Maria; KLMM-FM, Morro Bay; and KLUN-FM, Paso Robles, for public file regulation breaches...
Lazer had argued for reduction or cancellation of a propose penalty on the basis that the relevant documents had been prepared on time but could not be located because of staff changes, adding that it had modified procedures to prevent repetition. The FCC found that Lazer's efforts warranted a good faith reduction and cut the penalty to USD 8,000.
Maryland: Denied applications for review of earlier decisions to deny extra time for Birach Broadcasting Corporation to construct modified facilities for WDMV-AM, Walkersville.
The station is operating and licensed to Walkerville but its previous owner Elijah Broadcasting Corporation had been granted a permit authorizing relocation of the station's transmitter to a site near Damascus, Maryland, from which the station would serve Poolesville, Maryland, instead of Walkersville.
Subsequently in November 2003, against opposition from New World Radio, Inc., Birach, which had acquired WDMV and the contested permit in December, 2002, was granted an application to relocate the licensed facilities of a commonly owned station, Station WGOP-AM, to the same Damascus Site and the WDMV permission was affirmed.
Birach had later filed for an extension of the time allowed for the change but this was refused and the company had failed to carry out the construction by the relevant deadline. The FCC rejected its arguments for an extension.
Texas: Denied petition for reconsideration of earlier decision rejecting call to deny assignment of licences of KFCD-AM, Farmersville, and CP for KHSE-AM, Wylie, to from DFW Radio License, LLC to Bernard Dallas, LLC. The FCC's earlier decision rejected an "unsupported" claim that Bernard failed to disclose foreign ownership interests in its principal equity owner, D. B. Zwim Special Opportunities Fund, L.P. and found that the petitioners had not established a prima facie case that DBZ engaged in an unauthorized transfer of control of KHSE.
In its denial for reconsideration it said that alleged new evidence of Bernard's non-compliance with foreign ownership regulations did not establish that this was the case. The licence assignment was granted.
Washington State: Renewed licence of BBC Broadcasting, Inc.'s KRPI-AM, Ferndale, to which objection had been raised by "Residents Against High-Power Radio Interference" on the basis of interference in properties close to its transmission towers; that the signals exceed safe environmental levels; that KRPI does not conform to the spurious emission limits; that its foreign language programming is of no value to the local community; and that property values have declined in areas affected by interference from KRPI.
BBC said it complied with regulations governing emissions and that the facility is suitable fenced and has appropriate warning notices, and that it has cooperated, and will continue to cooperate, in resolving interference complaints.
The FCC accepted the broadcaster's response, found inadequate evidence to support the objections, and renewed the licence.
Wisconsin: Issued USD 4,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Courier Communications Corp., licensee of WNOV-AM, Milwaukee, for breach of its rules about broadcasting a telephone conversation without first informing the other party to the conversation of its intention to do so.
The "conversation" in this case was of a voicemail greeting from the mobile phone of complainant without his permission.
Courier had responded that the programming was provided with on-air personality, Michael McGee, Sr., whose show "Word Warriors" broadcast the call. It added that it "did not know of, and did not approve of, the actions taken solely by McGee," who, it asserts, was an independent contractor.
The FCC pointed out that the licensee was responsible under its rules and rejected Courier's arguments.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-02-24: In more signs that Eureka DAB Digital Radio is continuing to make progress despite the recent decision by GCap Media in the UK to severely cut back on its digital operations (See RNW Feb 11); RadioScape has announced that it has now delivered its 100th DAB Broadcast System for live service transmission and Digital One, the UK national commercial multiplex in which GCap used to hold the controlling interest, says it can now reach more than 90% of the UK population; and Australia is less than a year away from introducing DAB+ transmissions in its capital cities.
RadioScape says that in addition to the system sale it has also sold more than 40 broadcast and test systems to DAB receiver manufacturers across Europe and Asia. Its CEO John Hall commented, "2008 will be a year of increasing activity in the international radio market as more countries roll-out DAB and DAB+ services. With new contracts in China, Indonesia and Belgium we now have DAB installations in 14 countries and we see demand continuing to increase on the back of further successful field trials in recent months."
Noting UK comments about the viability of commercial DAB services Hall continued, "Broadcasters realise they must take advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital if they are to make DAB economic. We are increasingly working in close cooperation with broadcasters to enable new types of digital content and services, leveraging our significant DAB receiver expertise to create 'end to end' solutions. Most of these engagements are overseas at present, but we see real opportunity to assist UK broadcasters encourage more rapid consumer take-up."
Amongst areas where the company is active are China, where the media ministry , the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), has endorsed DAB as the industrial standard for digital audio broadcasting, and Indonesia where a a Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) co-operation project, between South Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and DMB Nusantara, a Jakarta-based DMB service provider, recently selected RadioScape's DAB Broadcast System for its nationwide DMB infrastructure across Indonesia.
In China RadioScape is now enabling services in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Yunnan and there are also plans for 14 DAB services during the 2008 Olympics.
WorldDMB President and Digital One Chief Executive Quentin Howard said the RadioScape announcement "is further evidence that the DAB family of standards continues to gain momentum around the world, becoming the system of choice for European and Asian broadcasters. No other system offers the variety and range of consumer devices, nor matches DAB's low network costs, making it the world's leading terrestrial digital radio and mobile multimedia solution."
In Australia, where DAB+ services are scheduled to go on air from January 1 next year Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart, Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner said the development was "one of the most significant milestones in Australian broadcasting history" adding, "It is a re-positioning for the 21st century of Australia's most used form of electronic media and places Australia at the forefront of world broadcasting trends."
The DAB+ system to be used by Australia uses AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), which offers two to three times the capacity of the MP2 encoding used in UK DAB transmissions
In the UK, which so far has announced no plans to upgrade its system, Digital One, which is now owned by Arqiva, has switched on its Scarborough transmitter, extending the range of services available in the area. The multiplex can reach more than 90% of the UK population compared to some 85% for BBC DAB - also planning to extend its range to 90%- and around 75% for the Freeview digital TV platform.
Howard said the multiplexes' announcement "reflects the reality that DAB digital radio is indeed in rude health. We had record Christmas sales figures from GfK, the RAJAR results show that DAB digital radio commands 10% of all radio listening and total sales have reached six and a half million sets. Digital One's announcement that we now reach over 90% of the British population is another hard fact, demonstrating digital radio's strong position and firm foundations."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
Previous Digital One:
Previous GCap Media:
2008-02-23: Radio One, Inc. has announced the resignation of its Vice President of Operations, Zemira Z. Jones, a former Vice-President and General Manager of ABC Radio, Chicago, who joined the company in July 2004 (See RNW Jul 14, 2004 ). Nothing was said about any replacement or Jones's future plans.
Alfred C. Liggins, III, Radio One's Chief Executive Officer in a release said he was "thankful for the privilege of working with Radio One" adding, "Together we took a uniquely great company and turned up the heat. Now Radio One is poised to release its full brilliance and I am blessed that Alfred, Barry and Ms. Hughes allowed me to be part of it."
Radio One CEO paying tribute said, "I want to thank Zemira for all that he has done for us. He has been a valuable part of our leadership team and I am sure that he will continue to be a part of our family. He is highly respected and I am certain that he will contribute to the radio industry for years to come. He will definitely be missed."
Previous Radio One:
2008-02-23: The BBC has appointed Adrian Van Klaveren, currently Deputy Director of News and Controller of News Production, as the Controller, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC 5 Live Sports Extra.
He succeeds Bob Shennan who resigned to join Channel 4 Radio (See RNW Dec 4, 2007) but will not oversee the BBC Asian Network, which was also in Shennan's remit. The Asian Network has been overseen since December by Andy Parfitt, Controller of BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra BBC, and BBC Switch, the BBC's new teen content across TV, Radio and digital, and he will retain the role.
Commenting on the appointments, Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Audio & Music, said she was "thrilled that Adrian is to become Controller of 5 Live. Adrian is a passionate listener to and supporter of 5 Live and the right person to take the station forward to its new and exciting future in Salford. He has been a terrific editorial leader in BBC News, affecting change across the whole division. He understands how important 5 Live is for BBC Radio and for BBC News and Sport. Under his leadership I have no doubt 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will go from strength to strength."
Regarding Parfitt's additional role she said, "From audience perspective it makes sense that the Asian Network, which provides so much for young British Asians, sits with our other youth stations, Radio 1 and 1Xtra. Andy Parfitt has done an excellent job in looking after the Asian Network these past few months and I am sure that it will flourish under his controllership."
Van Klaveren commented of his appointment, "Getting the chance to run my favourite radio station is my dream job. Radio 5 Live has a unique tone and character and a very special relationship with its audience. I want to build on that passion for sport and commitment to live news. I'm really excited about leading the station to its new home in Salford."
2008-02-23: Progressive US talk network Air America Radio is changing hands again and has announced a new chairman and Internet General Manager.
An announcement by the network says that Vermont businessman Charlie Kireker is to purchase a controlling interest in it from Green Family Media through Pendulum Media, which has been set up for the purpose.
Kireker will take over as chairman on March 17 in succession to Stephen L. Green, who will remain on the board as well as retaining a significant investment. Mark Green will remain as President and Scott Elberg as COO of Air America and Philippe Collin has joined it as Senior Vice President, and General Manager of Interactive Media.
Collin has been an interactive and marketing executive managing digital media products and services for more than 14 years, serving clients including ABC Radio Networks, CNN, FedEx, LVMH and Muzak and most recently was President of innovative marketing group M-IMS.
In a statement Kireker said he was "thrilled to become the chair of one of the new, leading journalistic voices in America" and added, "The investors in our group have great confidence in the future growth of Air America's audience and media reach."
Paying tribute to the outgoing chairman, Kireker said they were "extremely grateful" to him and continued, "Over the past 12 months, Steve has been instrumental in the successful effort to save and stabilize Air America. Now in its fourth year of existence, Air America has consolidated its operations and is ready to pursue an expansion strategy and profitable growth in and after this pivotal election year."
Regarding future plans he said the management team "has the media, business and public credentials to build on our past and expand the Air America brand by increasing affiliates, listeners and revenues Our Board and management team look forward to re-launching our new web site and our multi-media strategy, which will premiere soon."
Air America says it now has 65 affiliates and an estimated weekly audience approaching two million. Its national network sales and affiliate growth are managed by Westwood One.
Previous Air America Radio:
Previous Westwood One:
2008-02-23: Shane "Rover" French, whose morning show on CBS Radio's WKRK FM/92.3 "K-Rock," Cleveland was taken off air at the start of the week, has left the station because of a contract dispute according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The paper says that WKRK vice president and general manager Tom Herschel confirmed the departure, saying, "We hoped we would come to a new agreement. Now that's not going to happen."
It adds, quoting radio consultant John Gorman, that the show is likely to surface again on Clear Channel's WMMS FM/100.7 in early April, and notes that would mean that WMMS would have to move or drop its current syndicated morning program "The Bob and Tom Show" to make room for Rover.
Previous Shane"Rover" French:
Cleveland Plain Dealer report:
2008-02-22: There was more evidence of problems and a slowdown in US radio in results from Entercom, Fisher Communications and Radio One Inc. with only Entercom increasing revenues in the final quarter, although Fisher, whose revenues were up 4% year on year and down 1% on the quarter noted the effects of political spending in the final quarter of 2006 as a primary reason for the quarter's comparisons.
Entercom reported net revenues for the quarter up 2% to USD 120.6 million - same station revenues were up by less than 1% and same station operating income was up 1% to USD 52.2 million.
Entercom overall station operating expenses overall were down 1% to USD 68.4 million -same station operating expenses were up but by less than 1% - but a USD 38.7 million non-cash pre-tax intangible impairment charge took net income from a positive USD 6.94 million to a loss of USD 9.36 million (From a positive 17 cents to a loss of 25 cents per diluted share).
For the full year, revenues were up 7% to USD 468.4 million but station operating expenses rose more - up by 9% to USD 281.2 million. Same station revenues were flat and operating expenses up 3% and same station operating income down 3% to USD 171.6 million.
Overall net income was again hit by impairment charges of USD 84.0 million turning a net income of USD 47.98 million to a net loss of USD 8.36 million (from USD 1.19 to a loss of 22 cents per diluted share).
Entercom says it expects first quarter same station net revenues this year to be down in the mid-single digit range year-on-year with same station operating expenses to fall by around 1%.
Its President and Chief Executive Officer David J. Field said the company was "pleased to report positive fourth quarter results, highlighted by growth in same station revenues and same station operating income."
"Most significantly," he added, " adjusted income from continuing operations per share grew from USD 0.37 to USD 0.40. In 2008, we are experiencing significant growth in our digital and business development efforts, partially offsetting the impact of the general economic slowdown. We expect free cash flow to grow during the first quarter over the prior year period."
At Fisher Communications, which has disposed of most of its radio operations to concentrate on TV, final quarter revenues were down 1% to USD 44.1 million but full years revenues were up 4% to USD 160.4 million with net income for the quarter nearly doubling from USD 16.9 million to USD 31.4 million (from USD 1.94 to USD 3.60 per share) - they were much the same for the full year - up from USD 16.8 million to USD 31.9 million (From USD 1.93 to USD 3.65 per share).
President and CEO Colleen Brown said, "2007 was a strong year for Fisher, building off an improved year in 2006. In the past two years we have driven sales growth, ratings growth, and margin growth. We have diversified our network and geographic footprint, built duopolies in our existing markets, entered the Spanish-language television business, launched an Internet division, and significantly improved our debt to cash flow ratio, while continuing to improve the performance of the Company."
At Radio One, revenues were down 5% on a year earlier to USD 78.1 million for the quarter; station operating income was down 26% to USD 27.8 million; and net loss leaped to USD 387.6 million (USD 3.91 per basic share) - including USD 404.1 million in non-cash impairment charges for intangible assets - compared to a net loss of USD 25.5 million for the final quarter of 2006 when the company reported USD 49.9 million in impairment charges. The increase in impairment charges, said the company, was "due to impairment of radio broadcasting licenses primarily associated with our Los Angeles station and Houston market, and to a lesser extent, also with our Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, and Philadelphia markets."
For the full year, net revenues were down 3.2% to USD 330.3 million; operating expenses more than doubled from USD 273.4 million to USD 315.6 million; operating income went from USD 68 million to a loss of USD 315.6 million and net loss leaped from USD 6.7 million to USD 387.1 million.
Radio One put the quarter's revenue decline down to a combination of the effects of comparison with strong political advertising a year earlier and particularly noted problems in Los Angeles, where the company has spent some USD 5 million on urban AC KRBV-FM, which it has reformatted. It also noted that the demand for national advertising had been "particularly weak for the markets in which we operate" and said revenues were down in Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston and Philadelphia, partially offset by gains in Atlanta and Raleigh.
President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III said in a statement, "As predicted, the industry experienced a soft fourth quarter, with the markets in which we operate down 5% year to year. Of our same 5% net revenue decline, 300 basis points are attributable to unfavourable political comps. Los Angeles accounted for only another 27 basis points of the decline, although the advertising push in Q4 appears to be impacting Q1 beneficially, with low single-digit revenue growth and positive EBITDA forecast for Q1. The market continues to be challenging, particularly at the national level; however, we are seeing some good local revenue numbers and are optimistic that there may be a halt to the overall revenue decline in Q1. Reach Media continues to perform well, as does TV One, which remains significantly ahead of their original plan. Our Q4 internet revenues grew by 32% year to year and our Interactive One team recently re-launched the Giant magazine website, and will release beta versions of our content verticals in Q1."
On a more positive note he continued, "I remain excited about our diversification strategy and the non-radio assets that we are assembling. At the same time, our management team is highly focused on improving radio cash-flows, which remain core to our business and which provide the platform for our future growth."
At the company's conference call Liggins noted that Radio One's revenue in Los Angeles was down around 12%, double that of the market as a whole, but that they had now "bottomed out and are poised to grow." He also noted continuing problems in Detroit because of auto industry "woes".
Newly-appointed CFO Peter Thompson acknowledged continuing "softness" in the radio industry but said there were "definitely signs of improvement" for Radio One whilst Radio One President Barry Mayo said that in January the company had "outperformed the market by more than four points" and added, "We feel like we've turned the quarter in L.A. We did have a tough fourth quarter there, but we're expecting to break even or do a little better in the first quarter."
South of the border, Mexican radio operator Grupo Radio Centro reported an 0.5% increase in fourth quarter broadcasting revenues to MXN 206.96 million (USD 18.96 million) but full year revenues were down 20.7% to MXN 654.76 million (USD 59.98 million), a decrease put down primarily to the absence of the political spending of 2006.
Operating income for the quarter was down 3.1% to MXN 84.09 million (7.70 million) and down 41.2% for the year to MXN 184.33 million (USD 16.88 million) and net income for the quarter was almost flat - down from MXN 46.602 million to MXN 46.036 million (Approximately USD 4.44 million) - whilst for the year it was almost doubled - from MXN 434.748 million (USD 39.82 million) to MXN 911.19 million (USD 83.46 million) thanks largely to extraordinary items of MXN 263.523 million (USD 24.14 million) resulting from the reversal in June 2006 of the provision for the contingent liability related to arbitration proceedings.
Previous Grupo Radio:
Previous Radio One:
2008-02-22: In further UK digital broadcasting moves, regulator Ofcom has announced the award of the Lincolnshire digital multiplex licence to sole applicant MuxCo Lincolnshire Limited; says it received just one application for the Mid & West Wales local digital radio multiplex licence - from MuxCo Wales Limited; and has advertised a new North Wales multiplex licence.
MuxCo Lincolnshire Limited, in which Lincs FM Group Ltd holds 51% and MuxCo Ltd 49%, is offering seven services in addition to BBC Radio Lincolnshire (See RNW Licence News Jan 27).
In Mid and West Wales, MuxCo Wales Limited, in which Town & Country Broadcasting Ltd holds 70% and
MuxCo Ltd 30%, the proposal is for three local services in addition to BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru and "a wide selection of podcasts provided by a range of companies".
Radio Pembrokeshire - A full service offering from Town and Country Broadcasting Ltd.
Radio Carmarthenshire - A full service offering from Town and Country Broadcasting Ltd.
Wales Live - A full service offering from Town and Country Broadcasting Ltd.
Service would begin using two transmitters by the first quarter of 2010 with two additional transmitters to be added within two years so as to provide total 'outdoor' coverage of 55.8% of the adult (aged 15+) population of the licensed area.
For the North Wales licence, whose coverage would have an estimated adult (15 plus) population of some 300,000, applications together with a USD 1,000 (USD 2,000) non-refundable fee have to be submitted by May 21.
2008-02-22: Democrat commissioner Michael J. Copps has called a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacating the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denial and dismissal of the Gulf Coast migratory birds petition: The court said the commission violated US regulations by approving communications towers that threaten migratory birds and says the agency has to conduct at least a minimal analysis on the effects of the towers on migration as the environment groups want.
Copps commented in a statement, "For years, I have been disappointed with the FCC's failure to get serious about its environmental responsibilities. Now the D.C. Circuit has affirmed something this agency should have acknowledged a long time ago: that the National Environmental Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act require the FCC to take a hard look at the effects of communications towers on migratory birds."
"Yesterday's decision," he continued, "should be a wake-up call to this agency. It is time to stop acting as if a problem will go away if we just keep kicking it down the road. As we move forward with the steps that the court has ordered us to take, I hope we will live up to the letter and the spirit of the environmental statutes Congress has given us. This means more than just checking the boxes required by the statutes-it means taking a thorough look at whether our rules and practices contribute to millions of needless bird deaths. I look forward to working with my colleagues to accomplish this important and time-sensitive work."
The three judge tribunal was hearing a petition filed by The American Bird Conservancy and Forest Conservation Council and ruled that the FCC "failed to apply the proper NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) standard, to provide a reasoned explanation on consultation under the ESA, and to provide meaningful notice of pending tower applications."
"A precondition of certainty before initiating NEPA procedures," said the ruling "would jeopardize NEPA's purpose to ensure that agencies consider environmental impacts before they act rather than wait until it is too late. Based on the record before the court, there is no real dispute that towers 'may' have significant environmental impact "
"Indeed," they continued, "the Order's emphasis on 'conflicting studies' and 'sharply divergent views' regarding the number of birds killed confirms, rather than refutes, that towers may have the requisite effect."
In a dissent Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, whose 2006 confirmation following a wait of almost three years was seen as a victory for President Bush in his drive to place a more conservative stamp on US courts, said he would dismiss the suit "as unripe because the FCC, in a separate rulemaking proceeding, is re-examining these environmental issues and considering the effects of communications towers on birds nationwide, including in the Gulf Coast region."
He continued, "The Commission has gathered considerable factual information and input from interested parties - including from the petitioners in this case - and the FCC's counsel represented to the Court that the Commission expects to act soon. This case is thus closely analogous to a situation in which a petitioner comes to court to challenge an agency order while the agency is still considering a petition for reconsideration. We routinely dismiss such cases."
To this Judges Janice Rogers and Merrick B. Garland responded by commenting that Kavanaugh's assertion that the case was "unripe"rested on the "mistaken assumption that the Commission has set about reconsidering Petitioners' precise requests through its nationwide inquiry into the migratory bird issue. However, the NPRM issued several months after the Order nowhere indicates that the Commission is reconsidering the Gulf Coast petition calling for a programmatic EIS under NEPA, formal consultation under the ESA, or notice of pending tower registration applications."
Darin Schroeder, American Bird Conservancy's Executive Director of Conservation Advocacy, said they were "very pleased by today's ruling which will require the FCC to assess the environmental impacts of towers. Given the large number of bird deaths caused by towers, an environmental review is long overdue. This is a huge victory for migratory birds and the millions of Americans who love to see them each year."
American Bird Conservancy noted that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates between five million and fifty million birds are killed each year in collisions and other accidents caused by communications towers and that in the decision the court criticized the FCC for refusing to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service when approving such towers and for failing to sufficiently involve the public in its tower approval process.
In particular it noted commend in the decision that "The Catch-22 is that the Commission provides public notice of individual tower applications only after approving them."
Court ruling (57 KB PDF):
2008-02-21: US radio revenues made a weak start to the year according to the US Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), which reports January total revenues down 6% on a year earlier.
The only bright spot was again non-spot where revenues were up 11%. All the other categories showed falls - of 5% for local revenues, of 13% for national revenues. And of 7% for local and national combined.
Previous RAB figures (Dec 2007):
2008-02-21: GCap Media has lost yet another executive with the departure of former Capital Radio programme director Scott Muller who is returning to his native Australia.
Muller was hired in 2006 from DMG's Nova in Sydney - one of the first stations in the world to limit advertising breaks, where he was programme director (See RNW Apr 25, 2006). He had also taken on additional duties within GCap.
His role will disappear with Capital managing director Paul Jackson expected to take over his duties.
2008-02-21: Radio One Inc. has announced the appointment of Peter D. Thompson as its Chief Financial Officer with immediate effect. He succeeds Scott Royster who left the company at the end of last year after more than a decade with it (See RNW Jul 8, 2007).
Radio One CEO Alfred C. Liggins, III making the announcement said Thompson was "very familiar with Radio One having served as a consultant in 2006 with regard to certain strategic initiatives and most recently joining the senior executive team last fall as Executive Vice President of Business Development."
"In that most recent position," continued Liggins, "he focused on our business diversification strategy, including our Internet initiative and potential acquisitions and also participated in the 2008 budget process, monitored our covenant compliance and participated in the year end close process. Thus, while he is officially starting as Chief Financial Officer today, for several months he has been providing valuable analysis and advice with respect to the Company's overall financial performance."
Previous Radio One Inc.:
2008-02-20: Australia's first radio ratings of the year just out covering the period January 13 - February 9 show the leaders - Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide talk stations 2GB, 3AW and FiveAA respectively plus Nova FM in Brisbane and Mix 94.5 in Perth all holding on to their top rankings.
The big change in Sydney, where following the departure of John Laws from Fairfax Media's 2UE, its rival Macquarie Radio Network's 2GB has gone further ahead in the ratings - 2GB's overall share was up from 11.7 to 14.3 whilst 2UE's was down from 7.4 to 6.3.
2GB, now in a breakfast competition with Fairfax Media's 2UE without John Laws, who retired at the end of November last year after a 55-year career (See RNW Dec 2, 2007), began the day well and then continued the performance.
In the breakfast slot the new 2UE team of Mike Carlton and former ABC NewsRadio presenter Sandy Aloisi with the "Mike and Sandy" show was in its first ratings against Alan Jones at 2GB. The result was a 5-point share increase for Jones - up from 14.1 to 19.1 and an 0.8 fall for 2UE, down from7.6 to 6.8.
In the Morning slot, former drivetime host Steve Price replaced Laws for 2UE and is up against Jones - for the first part of the period - and Ray Hadley. Price did not fare well- he lost 2.1 to fall from 7.3 to 5.2 whilst 2GB was up 2.9 from 14.9 to 17.8.
In drive time the talk gain in the ratings went mainly to ABC 702 - its share was up 3.2 to a top-ranked 13.6 whilst 2GB was up a point to 9.0 and 2UE fell by 2.3 to 4.5.
Commenting on the results Austereo highlighted improvements for Triple M on the east coast following changes to its playlist with Chief Executive Officer Michael Anderson saying the decision late last year to move the network's focus to a rock format in Sydney and Melbourne was showing promise.
"We took a deliberate decision to break Triple M away from the pack of variety stations and return it to the rock music that is so closely associated with the Triple M brand," he said, adding, "We have seen an increase in audience share of almost a whole percentage point in Sydney and half a point in Melbourne, in a survey that is traditionally flat at this time of year.
"It is still early days, and the next few surveys will show us how well it is working, but the early signs are promising," Anderson continued. "With our top-rating AFL coverage and our Monday Night NRL call about to return we're very excited about Triple M's potential."
He also praised the Today Network, saying its consistent leadership was also translating into a robust online presence for the network and noting, "We've been strengthening the relationship between our on-air and online content, and shows such as Matt and Jo and Kyle and Jackie O are driving incredible audiences to our websites. Our increasing focus on integrating our on-air and online content means we've got a very attractive offering for listeners and a different set of options for our clients."
DMG termed the results a strong start with increased share for its Nova stations in Sydney and Melbourne and highlighted its lead amongst the under-40 demographic across Australia, noting that it has held this rank for 21 of the 22 surveys since the network launched in early 2005.
City by city, the top three stations were (previous % share in brackets):
*Adelaide: 5AA with 13.5 (17.5) - same rank; Mix with 12.7 (14.6) same rank; ABC 891 with 12.5 (8.5) - Up from fifth.
*Nova with 11.8 (11.9) remained fourth and SAFM with 11.2 (12.1) fell from third to fifth.
*Brisbane - Nova with 14.6 (15.6) - same rank; Triple M with 11.8 (10.2) - up from fourth; B105 with 10.9 (9.9) - up from fifth.
*ABC 612 with 10.7 (11.4) fell from second to fourth.
*Melbourne - 3AW with 15.0 (15.6) - same rank; ABC 774 with 12.8 (11.1) - up from third; Fox FM with 12.5 (12.6) - down from second;
*Nova with 10.3 (9.8) remained fourth, and Gold FM remained fifth with 8.2 (7.8), and Triple M remained in sixth rank with 6.6 (6.2).
Perth - MIX 94.5FM with 17.3 (14.2) - same rank; ABC 720 with 13.0 (11.9) - up from third; 92.9 with 12.9 (13.3) - down from second;
*6PR with 10.0 (9.8) was up two ranks to fourth, going ahead of Nova, which was up a rank to fifth with 9.8 (10.7) and 96FM with 8.9 (10.9) - fell from fourth to sixth.
Sydney: 2GB 14.3 (11.7) - same rank; ABC 702 with 10.5 (9.4) - up from third; 2-DAY with 9.8 (10.0) down from second;
*Nova with 8.5 (8.2) remained fourth ahead of WSM which was up from seventh to fifth with 7.0 (6.8), ahead of Mix 106.5 which fell a rank to sixth with 6.4 (7.8), and 2UE was down a rank to seventh with 6.3 (7.4).
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Australian ratings:
Previous Fairfax Media:
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
2008-02-20: UK media regulator Ofcom says that 22 illegal radio transmitters were seized and three arrested in action taken in conjunction with police and the London Boroughs of Hackney, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Islington. Ofcom says that it estimates of some 150 illegal stations operating in the UK half are in London and the South East and there are more than 30 illegal stations operating in the four boroughs.
Among stations targeted in the operation that ran for ten days to February 16 were:
Hackney stations - Attitude 107.4 FM; Kasapa 104.0 FM; Takeover 107.7 FM; andTrue 100.2 FM.
Haringay stations - Bizim 104.2 FM; Heat 96.6; Jiggy FM; SLR 97.7 FM; Touch 94.0 FM; Xtreme 101.7 FM; and Unidentified Station 102.6 FM.
Islington stations - Origin 95.2 FM and Rude 88.2 FM;
Tower Hamlet stations - Conshus 106.9 FM; Kool 94.6 FM; Live 101.5 FM; Millennium Supreme 99.8 FM; and Shine 87.9 FM.
In addition to the action against the stations more than 20 letters were sent to local night clubs that have advertised on illegal stations.
Ofcom's Director of Field Operations Robert Thelen-Bartholomew commented, "Illegal broadcasters can cause serious interference to safety-of-life services such as the fire brigade and air traffic control, as well as legitimate radio stations. Ofcom takes swift and firm action to remove these illegal stations from the air. We work closely with local authorities to ensure that this problem is tackled at source for the benefit of the community."
Statements of support came from councils concerned with Islington Council's Executive Member for Housing and Communities Councillor Terry Stacy describing the pirates as "a menace" and adding, "Illegal broadcasters can put lives at risk by interfering with vital emergency equipment, damage council property and make the lives of our residents hell. Sometimes these stations are linked to drug-dealing and serious crime, which we will not tolerate."
2008-02-20: Cleveland host Shane "Rover" French has added to speculation that he may have another deal in the works for his "Rover's Morning Glory," show with a brief posting on his blog on Tuesday saying that he cannot post any information "about what's going on or what the future holds for the show" because the show is still under contract to CBS.
He adds, "They've told us we can't talk about it, nor can we discuss what the future holds, or we'll be in breach of contract. They're also holding the website hostage, saying we can't post anything here in regards to what's going on (who knows, they may even demand this post be removed).
Hang in there. You'll be hearing a lot more of us very soon."
On Monday he had posted a Haiku message on his blog:
Told the Eye we're gone,
They're bitter we found new friends,
Scared, they yanked us off.
CBS has moved Opie and Anthony into the morning slot at alternative WKRK (92.3 K-Rock) but says nothing on the web site about future plans - Opie and Anthony were previously run delayed in the afternoons.
Previous Shane "Rover" French:
2008-02-20: Australasian media group APN News & Media, which recorded a 5% increase in 2007 net profit to AUD 167.4 million (USD 154.1 million - up from 33 cents to 34 cents per share) on revenues up 4% to AUD 1.31 billion (USD 1.21 billion) has expressed interest in buying from Clear Channel International the 50% of the Australian Radio Network (ARN) that it does not own according to The Australian
The paper quoted APN chief executive Brendan Hopkins as saying it was keen to talk to Clear Channel about possibly buying its stake and adding, "We're very happy shareholders. Obviously, we're interested in talking We're very lowly geared. If that transaction came to us, we would have to be interested -- and obviously, that's a pretty sizeable transaction."
Hopkins also said the company was frustrated about its recent share price underperformance, commenting, "It's a source of concern in one sense that we don't get a fair rap from time to time. We don't have the huge escalation of revenues in the good times because we're broadly based (in publishing, radio and outdoor advertising), but we also don't have the dips in revenues in the bad times."
Looking ahead, APN said in a statement, While some major markets such as Auckland and Sydney showed only moderate growth, we are optimistic about an improved outcome for 2008.''
Hopkins also said that following its rejection of an AUD 1.9 billion ( USD 1,75 billion) buyout bid led by major shareholder Tony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media Plc, he is not expecting any further moves by the latter to take over the group.
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-02-19: Obituaries for radio this week in our look at print comment on the media, albeit in some cases the evidence presented suggests the death may not be as close as forecast: We start in the US where Mike Austerman in Michiguide starts his column by asking the question "Is radio dead?" and continues on to attribute the death claim to Wall Street personality Jim Cramer - "at least as the stock market is concerned."
Austerman then goes on to ask "How did we get to this precarious point?" and then answer: "For me, all of this madness started locally back in the mid'90s when up and down the dial stations were changing their owners faster than most of us change our furnace filters. Then there were two events locally that signalled the beginning of what has now become the most trying time in radio history."
His first event was the finances that led to the format switch in November 1997 of WQRS-FM, Detroit's Classical Music Station for more than 30 years, of which he says, "It was documented that the plug was pulled because new owner Greater Media just wasn't making money fast enough to justify what it spent to get WQRS, which is currently soft rock WMGC-FM (Magic 105.1)."
Putting some numbers to reasoning he gives details of transactions that preceded Greater Media's acquisition: "In 1996, Marlin Broadcasting sold WQRS for USD 18.5 million. A short time later, the station was sold again by American Radio Systems to Secret Communications for USD 27 million - a whopping increase in value of almost 50 percent! Still in 1996, Secret sold WQRS and sister stations WMXD-FM (Mix 92.3) and WJLB-FM (97.9), along with stations in other markets, to Evergreen Communications for USD 227 million.
Evergreen at the time owned WKQI-FM (now Channel 95.5) and WQRS was spun off, due to federal ownership limits, to Greater Media in exchange for a radio station in Washington, D.C., and USD 9.5 million.
The second event he refers to was another format switch when in Sept 1999 the "plug was pulled on WWWW-FM (106.7) after 19 years of playing country music, including a time when it was the top-rated station in town."
"This time," he writes, "the indicator wasn't so much the format flip but rather how it was handled and what's happened since " " Following about 48 hours of nothing but an annoying tone, a rock station was introduced with little fanfare and an even smaller budget for marketing and air talent. Some people feel that 106.7, now back as a country station as WDTW-FM (The Fox) and part of Clear Channel's large portfolio of local stations, exists solely as a flanker - a station meant to siphon a portion of the listeners from competitors stations, so the company's primary station(s) can rank better in ratings reports and command better advertising rates."
Austerman then says he wants to make it clear that such "cluster strategies are rarely concocted solely at the local level and given the chance, the guys and gals on the ground here would not program this way"; rather it is a matter that "this is big business and 'doing radio' these days is less about who and what you hear on the air and more about meeting budget numbers. Today, winning is keeping your job and being able to find a new one. "
He then concludes, giving detail of job losses, that consolidation has meant only one station is left in Detroit that is not part of a cluster, one station (Citadel's WDRQ- Doug FM) is "essentially nothing more than a computer. How does one compete financially against a station that pays for no air talent?" and budget cuts have continued and the "people being most affected by the slow fall of these empires are the very ones that have the most passion for the business and those that listeners most closely identify with" "Where there were once 20 true competitors, now there are 4 or 5."
Comments that the article attracted include one that refers broadly speaking to the situation north of the border - Canada has recently de-regulated somewhat-- capping ownership more strictly in a market; limit translations to filling in gaps in a primary signal; requiring local broadcasting; and linking allocation of frequencies to the economic impact of adding stations rather than just auctioning them off.
RNW comment: In the current set-up the US it seems to us gets much of the worst of both worlds - it is not free enterprise since although frequencies are licensed for a limited period renewal is almost automatic yet there are fewer public interest requirements. Some five decades ago on visiting the US this writer found its radio livelier, albeit even then its overall output was actually less broad despite having many more stations, than that in the UK. Today we find the balance has swung much more in favour of the UK, even if Rush Limbaugh finds it as per comments he made not that long ago, rather more boring. To a British ear he is largely intellectually undemanding and bombastic rather than entertaining and informative, whatever his ratings and regrettably so much is missing from US radio that is provided regularly by the BBC (the commercial industry is of course much more on the American model and also limited) that we think it difficult not to conclude that an outsider from another planet would have great problems defending the US system on the basis of its results other than as a distribution mechanism for recording company products, loudmouths, and persuading people to buy goods they probably don't need much of the time although local advertising does have clear benefits for local businesses.
It should be made clear here that, although we understand the arguments in favour of the overall economic benefits of advertising, much of broadcast advertising for major brands is about marketing image rather than giving information - yet another reason we used to research through print adverts and nowadays go online - to the detriment of the broadcasters.
On to a different criticism of US radio, this time from Jerry Del Colliano who in his insidemusicmedia blog takes on the fixation as he sees it that US terrestrial radio has with satellite radio.
Under the heading, "Radio's Grudge Helps Satellite Radio ", he writes, "There are few things that aggravate radio executives more than satellite radio For years they were so blinded by the prospect of competition from satellite radio that terrestrial operators actually thought they were competing with satellite. Some still think so."
Del Colliano does not agree, pointing out the combined total of some 15 million subscribers and saying of some of the satellite output "They run many music channels with no commercials -- and some channels have few listeners. They are money losing machines that have posed no threat to traditional radio -- not even for a minute."
He then goes on to point the finger at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) accusing it of "helping to mislead the industry into thinking that satellite radio is worth the millions and millions of dollars it spends every year on fighting the XM-Sirius merger" and continuing, "This is just playing to the lunatic fringe of radio people who fear a technology that is as outdated as -- well, terrestrial radio. "
Del Colliano also takes up the issue of one area where satellite radio has been successful - in getting factory installation of receivers by automakers for the major reason that they pay the companies to do so. He also notes that "terrestrial radio has a proven track record of cutting back on programming" and suggests that Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin post merger - and the savings of eliminating duplicated technology - could, although "was never one to spend money on programming when he ran Infinity/CBS", if he chose make satellite channels rich in content "more cost effectively than, say, a consolidator with a lot of local stations"
"Terrestrial radio and the NAB," he comments, "should be merging with satellite radio in the sense that radio has to become a bigger, more technologically and sociologically advanced tent for it to have a future."
Terrestrial radio concludes Del Colliano will never be a growth industry whiles satellite radio "can only thrive because terrestrial radio is taking its eye off the ball - content" and the NAB rather than wasting money on fighting satellite should be "using their resources and influence to get all radio under the roof of "new radio" -- the only way to survive and perhaps some day thrive -- together."
The responses again are interesting with one post suggesting that the NAB will use approval of a satellite merger to "justify more consolidation" whilst another commends the benefits of localism on terrestrial radio.
Moving over the Atlantic, the decision by GCap to effectively pull out of digital broadcasting as far as it can - for many of its local licences it would face a re-advertisement were it to pull out since UK analogue licensees get automatic renewal if they provide the service on a DAB multiplex and thus isn't prepared to gamble on winning them - has led to a number of articles as well as expressions from various other broadcasters of their commitment to the media: These included the BBC, Channel 4 radio, various digital-only services including Passion for the Planet, United Christian Broadcasters, and a number of Asian services or putative services including Asian FX and Panjab Radio, Club Asia, and ZEE Radio.
Under the headline "How radio killed the digital star" Juliette Garside in the UK Daily Telegraph polled views from a number of industry figures.
Some, she says, had suggested that there "should be a 'DAB armistice' - a six month period over which anyone who doesn't want to be in digital could exit without losing any FM licences. If this were allowed, one industry boss says, 'there would be an avalanche of licences handed back'."
[RNW comment: From a government point of view this is suggestion that turkeys should vote for Christmas, confirming out view that the industry figures concerned are as daft as Del Colliano obviously regards some of those in the NAB and US terrestrial radio.]
Others see digital as the future but not necessarily through terrestrial broadcasting - as well as DAB and online, many UK radio stations are carried on digital TV platforms -and Garside quotes Virgin Radio chief executive Richard Huntingford as saying: "Radio will become a digital medium, but it's a brave person in these early stages that decides which platform it is that consumers are going to adopt."
Simon Cole, UBC Chief Executive and chairman of the Digital Radio Development Bureau - his company recently closed the Oneword digital channel after seven years of losses - said of digital radio, "This is radio's Freeview moment", referring to the Freeview platform set up by UK terrestrial broadcasters after ITV digital collapsed, having only managed to get some 1.2 million subscribers and adding, The problem was not digital television, the problem was the way it was organised and paid for."
Channel 4, says Garside, is talking to the BBC about creating a not-for-profit body like Freeview to market DAB to consumers and 4 Digital Group Chair Nathalie Schwarz commented of the GCap pullout, "We will look back on this moment as the rebirth of digital radio. Its success will be about serious investment in engaging content. The second thing you need is marketing. And third, we need to work with technology companies to have smart, affordable receivers coming into the market."
GCap chief executive Fru Hazlitt has opted for broadband delivery as the future for her group - commenting, "Broadband is going through the roof in terms of the take-up in people's homes. We have 15m customers on air and 1.7m online. We have great ambitions for broadband" but Schwarz poured cold water on that suggestion.
"The beauty of radio is you can hear it from your kitchen to your bedroom to your car," she said. "You can't be lugging your PC around your house, and broadband is not coming to car radios anytime soon."
And from Guardian Media Group a bit of sitting on the fence or being wishy-washy, with its radio chief executive John Myers commenting, "Everyone is committed but there has to be change. We will only know for sure if there is a future for DAB if people want it without fear of loss of licence."
Finally back to content and comments, albeit they may well have been prejudiced because of personal experience, from former GCap DJ Dominik Diamond, who last year was Scottish DJ of the year at the Xtrax Scottish Radio Awards.
Diamond used to work on GCap's Xfm station in Scotland - the company is to retain only its London Xfm licence and says it will hand back the regional Xfm licences if it does not find a buyer for them, albeit not for the brand - and the Glasgow Sunday Herald Media Correspondent Peter John Meiklem quoted him as branding the GCap a "dead company walking" and terming its management "morons."
Diamond, says the report, "claims GCap failed to understand the Scottish market, starved the station of funds and proved unable to make the decisions needed to ensure Xfm Scotland's future."
He said those at the company's London headquarters responsible for managing Xfm Scotland were "complete and utter idiots who didn't understand either the music or the market" and continued, "They just lost any shred of credibility. When figures started to go down they panicked and made the music choice too narrow and too mainstream - the listeners didn't want to be beaten over the head with the same seven songs played over and over again. They were morons, and if, in business, your boss is a moron, then you're screwed."
The Herald report notes that Xfm, having lost GBP 598,000 ( USD 1.17 million) before tax in the year to the end of 2006 lost GBP 1.7 million (USD 3.3 million) last year and notes that it scrapped on-air DJs for the 10:00 to 16:00 time, choosing instead to air music requested by listeners.
It also notes that Diamond has a personal interest in that he left Xfm Scotland under a cloud in June last year, reportedly after his request for a higher salary was turned down, and is now working for UTV's Edinburgh-based Talk 107 but also cites some agreement with him including a comment from Billy Anderson, managing director of rival station Real Radio.
He blamed the GCap London management for regarding the station as one serving central Scotland rather than a national Scottish station and said, "It had great potential. I'm not criticising the people who are there. It would have been difficult for anyone to run that business. They were forced to conform to a format that was designed for the London market" adding, "I don't think they have put as much effort into the content as they could have and the local managers haven't been in a place to challenge that."
GCap, however, took a different view with its head of communications Jane Wilson saying that the company would "quite possibly" have decided to sell the station even if it had achieved its target of 500,000 weekly listeners because the idea behind Xfm Scotland - building a "listening community based on music taste rather than on geography" or other factors - was one that GCap no longer believed in: Instead it now felt that Xfm in London, broadcast through the internet, would perform better than three regional stations broadcast on analogue radio. [RNW comment: In other words little extra cost with the hope of extra online income. All it needs to scupper that, though, is someone putting up a preferred online service, maybe even a group that takes over the regional licences. That would be a turn-up for the books and could even kill Xfm in London as well as Hazlitt's career with GCap, assuming she has one as we suspect it will be taken over at some stage, either now at around GBP 310-20 million (USD 620-625 million) or later for even less after Hazlitt has asset stripped by cutting costs but provided no strong reasons for listening.]
And a final word from the Herald and a senior Scottish radio industry source, who asked not to be named. He commented on the pressures Hazlitt was under to fend off a takeover and "to ease discontent from her shareholders" adding, "The bottom line is there are a lot of problems at GCap, they've spent a lot of money on DAB radio. Xfm Scotland has definitely been the victim of some pretty over-zealous cost-cutting to feed the ugly monster that is DAB radio. It has to get its money back from somewhere."
On to listening suggestions and from the BBC we suggest last Sunday and BBC Radio 4 including the "Food Programme" that looked at produce from the Extremadura region of Western Spain - including hams cured for around three years and costing up to GBP 450 (USD 900) for a ham on the bone (7-8 kilos) - and "Advice To The Living", a surprisingly upbeat programme in which various people with only a short time left to live gave advice about what matters and what doesn't, and about enjoying every moment left for them.
Also from Sunday on Radio 4 we suggest "In Business" - "The Long March" in which Peter Day looked at the winners and losers of modern China's economic machine.
Then from BBC Radio 2 we suggest the four-part "Mark Lamarr Redneck Music " series that began last Saturday and continues next Saturday (20:00 GMT); from Tuesday (23:30 GMT) "Jason and Iyare's... ...A-Z of Street Music", the first of a six-part series; and from Friday (19:00GMT) 19:00 the first of the "The Bob Hope Trail" seriesin which Michael Freedland tracks the lives of big stars through ordinary people who met them and turns its attention to 'the fastest gagman in the business', London-born Bob Hope.
From BBC Radio 3, we opt for "The Essay" yet again (23:00 GMT Monday through Thursday and this week on the topic "Death and the Philosopher" - a contrast to the "Advice to the Living" suggestion) plus "Afternoon on Three" that this week after the 13:00 GMT "Lunchtime Concert" features at 14:00 GMT a week of concerts by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra complemented by other Czech music and Czech performers.
Also from Radio 3 for the Jazz fans we go for Friday and "Jazz Library" at 22:30 GMT - this week Alyn Shipton talks to the South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim about the highlights in his recorded catalogue - and the following "Jazz on 3" in which Jez Nelson presents a gig played at the Vortex jazz club in London in January, featuring the first appearance together of free-jazz saxophonists Evan Parker and Dave Liebman.
And from BBC Radio 4, we suggest the 15:30-16:00 GMT slot with "Afternoon Reading" - this week highlighting the best work from over 250 creative writing groups in the North of England and "Giving It All Away" in which Heather Payton meets some of the UK's high-profile philanthropists plus the "Woman's Hour Drama" - around 10:45 GMT with a 19.45 GMT repeat - that this week is a re-working of "Faust" adapted by Martin Jenkins and dramatised by Jonathan Holloway.
From Monday evening we suggest two programmes - "Dancing With The Russian Bear-Pipeline Power" in which Tim Whewell looks at the new chill in relations between Russia and the West and "Secret Science- National Institute of Biological Standards and Control" in which Vivienne Parry reports on the work of the NIBSC, Britain's frontline defence against pandemic flu as well as the leading WHO international standards laboratory and a guardian of the vast majority of the world's biological medicines and reference materials.
From Tuesday we go for "World on the Move -Great Animal Migrations"(11:00 and 21:00 GMT), the new BBC series looking at the movement and migration of animals across the planet; "Billy Bunter's Birthday Bash" (11:30 GMT) in which Gyles Brandreth pays tribute to Billy Bunter, the perennially youthful schoolboy who first appeared in print 100 years ago, and his creator Frank Richards; and the "Music Feature -The Nun Who Nurtured Reggae" (13:30 GMT) in which Jonathon Charles tells the story of Sister Mary Ignatius Davies, who ran the music programme at a school for wayward boys in Jamaica for 64 years until her death in 2003.
Jumping to Thursday we suggest this week's "In our Time - The Multiverse" (09:00 GMT and available as an MP3 after airing) - a discussion of the idea that there are more universes than the one we know, in which the laws of physics themselves are different and "Material World" (16:30 GMT and also an MP3) in which Quentin Cooper investigates solar power and how it can most effectively be utilised to provide the country's energy needs.
Then from Friday another series worth a regular listen in "It's My Story" - this week "White Girl Running: Melanie Verwoerd", the story of the wife of the grandson of Henrik Verwoerd, the assassinated South African Prime Minister credited as being the architect of apartheid.
Studies abroad convinced the couple that change was needed and after a meeting with Nelson Mandela in 1991 she joined the ANC and went on to be elected as an ANC member of parliament plus to end on a light note "The News Quiz" (18:30 GMT and also an MP3).
Moving to MP3s and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, we make a number of "green" suggestions, starting with last Saturday's "All in the Mind", which looked evidence that a little greenery in surroundings tends to reduce crime amongst other things - apparently a study in inner city Chicago found just that - areas with more trees according to police crime date had few crimes.
Then we suggest the previous week's "Background Briefing" (the ABC keeps the most recent four of its weekly programmes on the site): This looked at advertising and marketing of "green" products and how much of it is deceptive and misleading. Last Sunday's edition, which featured Princeton Professor of Economics Paul Krugman talking about how the New Deal society has been dismantled in America, is also worth a listen.
Changing stations last Thursday's "Earthbeat" from Radio Netherlands also had a green tinge, including comment on climate change from "Stern Report" author Nicholas Stern and items on biofuel from algae and a green credit card shopping spree in Amsterdam.
After that religion and Monday's "Curious Orange" that included discussion on scientology in the Netherlands and euthanasia legislation in the country - no not connected!
Then back to the ABC and from last Wednesday a change of top and perspectives from "The Religion Report" on the suggestion by the Archbishop of Canterbury of Islamic shariah law in Britain including comment from Cambridge University-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Michael Mumisa on why the majority of Muslims in Britain don't want a bar of shariah law.
Finally from the ABC we suggest a dip into the "Night Air" web site, which regularly features intriguing sounds - last week it considered what it termed "consider reflections and reverberations across a range of media - from the CT scanner, to the sound therapist, to the carousel. We're exploring the sonic therapeutic potential of Tibetan bowls, getting inside the head of a speaking photo booth and musing on a music box with a mind of its own."
Insidemusicmedia - Del Colliano:
Michiguide - Austerman:
Sunday Herald - Meiklem:
UK Telegraph - Garside:
2008-02-19: Australia's commercial radio industry has committed around AUD 1 million (USD 907,000) in airtime and research funding to "underpin the findings" for its latest advertising campaign that will highlight the effectiveness of radio support for an online campaign.
The first adverts that will air next week are part of a continuing campaign - launched in 2003 - to promote radio as an advertising medium: Termed "Radio and Online - We Just Click!", the campaign is based on research conducted by TNS last year which shows that over 80 per cent of people who hear a radio commercial have visited that website as a result.
Joan Warner, Chief Executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, said of the combination, "Radio and the internet are both instant, conversational media that appeal to the connected generation, so there are clear benefits in using radio and online advertising in combination, as this research clearly shows."
She also cited Nielsen Media research that showed more than "two-thirds of commercial radio listeners are online daily and these listeners are using the internet to shop, research or download information - so the combination of using radio to promote an advertiser's website makes very good sense."
"The research," she said, "highlights the effectiveness of radio in driving audiences online which is a huge incentive for advertisers. It also highlights how radio and online advertising when used together assist in raising brand awareness and is a very cost-effective solution for many advertisers."
The TNS research included several brands covering a number of different categories. It included test and control markets in major metropolitan markets, and aimed to show the effectiveness of commercial radio to encourage listeners to engage with the internet and directly respond to radio advertising campaigns.
Among its findings were:
*over 80% of people who hear a radio commercial with a website address included have visited that website as a result
*radio advertising achieved an average of 30% recognition across five brands
*an iconic finance brand generated a 145% increase in page impressions on its website during the campaign
*visits to a the website of a finance brand, new to the market nationally, increased by 25% following the campaign
*an iconic home improvements brand generated 11% more visits to its webpage following the campaign period
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2008-02-19: BBC Radio 2 has announced that Michael Ball, best known for his work in London's West End theatre, is to take over the Sunday morning slot previously held by "Parkinson's Sunday Supplement": The latter's host Michael Parkinson announced last year that he was to drop the show in December and go globetrotting with his wife (See RNW Nov 18, 2007).
Ball, who is currently appearing in "Hairspray", sat in for Parkinson in 2006 and also hosted the Radio 2 series "Ball over Broadway" as well as a number of one-off Radio 2 specials: He will host his first show on April 6 and said of the move, "This is a wonderfully exciting new challenge in my career. I hope listeners will make a regular date to have lunch with me on Sundays."
BBC Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas said of Balls' appointment: "Michael has proved to be an accomplished presenter on Radio 2 already. His warmth, obvious love of music and sense of humour make him perfect Sunday morning company."
2008-02-18: According to the UK Sunday Telegraph, there have been four bidders for Virgin Radio whose owner SMG has put it up for sale as it concentrates on its core TV business.
The paper says that as well as three British Companies - Absolute Radio, Global Radio, and UTV- Malaysian media company Astro All Asia Networks is understood to have put in a bid.
Astro All Asia, which describes itself as "the region's leading cross-media operator specialising in creation, aggregation and distribution of content across multiple platforms" and is the sole provider of Direct-To-Home satellite television services in Malaysia, was incorporated in the United Kingdom in 2003 and is registered as a foreign company in Malaysia.
It operates eight FM stations in Malaysia, including the top-ranking stations in key Malay, Chinese, Indian and English vernacular demographics and says these stations cumulatively reach some 11 million listeners a week or half the total radio listeners in the country. In addition, it also packages 17 digital radio channels over the DTH platform.
The Telegraph notes that the Astro is backed by Ananda Krishnan, thought to be the third-wealthiest man in Southeast Asia, and worth around USD 6 billion according to Forbes.
SMG values Virgin at GBP 85 million (USD 166 million) on its books but the paper says the offers are thought to be between GBP 60 million and GBP 70 million (USD 117-137 million).
Another potential bidder, private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, is now out of the running.
UK Sunday Telegraph report:
2008-02-18: Clear Channel has filed a lawsuit to force private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners to close its USD 1.2 billion purchase of Clear Channel's television stations, claiming that the purchases is dragging its feet over the purchase, which it wants completed before the separate USD 19.5 billion buyout of Clear Channel by private equity investors led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital.
It would need to re-file for regulatory approval is the deal is not completed before the buyout and is asking the Delaware Chancery Court for an expedited hearing.
The lawsuit says that Providence's "refusal to consummate the transaction is a failure to comply with the terms of the agreement," adding that "Clear Channel is therefore entitled to an injunction restraining such failure and a decree of specific performance requiring Newport [A company set up by Providence to make the purchase] to comply with the agreement."
Providence, which agreed deal in April last year (See RNW April 21, 2007) said that it was "surprised and disappointed that Clear Channel would suddenly bring this baseless lawsuit " and the Associated Press said it also believes that the action violates its agreement and thus would mean that it would no longer have to pay the agreed USD 46 million break-up fee if the deal falls though.
"Under the terms of the contract, this fee is no longer payable because Clear Channel has commenced this litigation," Providence said in a statement.
Reuters reports that Clear Channel had warned in November last year that the deal might fall through adding that were this to happen it would keep "these terrific assets in the Clear Channel family."
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-02-17: Last week saw a lull in activity almost everywhere for the regulators with only a fairly small number of postings and no major issues.
In Australia, there was just one posting by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which accepted an enforceable undertaking from Fairfax Media Limited to divest its River 94.9 commercial radio licence in Ipswich (See RNW Feb 15).
In Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) posted one radio related decision, the approval of an application by Communications CHIC to increase the power of Christian music CHIC-FM, Rouyn-Noranda, from 50 watts to 300 watts. The increase will change the status of the station from that of an unprotected low-power service to that of a regular Class A service. The Commission noted that it did not receive any interventions in opposition to this application from other radio stations in the market.
It also posted a consultation notice, with a deadline for comment of March 18, relating to a number of applications including the following radio items:
Application by Northern Native Broadcasting, Terrace, to add a 16.7 watts low-power FM transmitter at Smithers to broadcast the programming of CFNR-FM, Terrace.
Application by Yves Sauvé, on behalf of a company to be incorporated, to use 100.1 MHz with a power of 550 watts and effective antenna height of 52.5 metres for a new French-language commercial FM at Vaudreuil-Dorion. This was approved in July 2007 subject to a suitable frequency being found
In Ireland, although no radio licensing decisions were announced, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has presented their awards to the winners of the 2007 New Adventures in Broadcasting Scheme (See RNW Feb 16). It is also involved in the release of radio ratings, the latest of which showed overall listenership down slightly (See RNW Feb 15).
There were also no radio licensing decisions in the UK although Ofcom did post its latest Broadcast Bulleting in which it upheld two complaints against radio (See RNW Feb 12). It also announced that it is to exempt from licensing the use of Digital PMR446 "walkie talkies" operating in the frequencies around 446 MHz.
In the US, there were no major decisions from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) but it did set deadlines for comment on - and reply to comments on - its localism proposals (See RNW Feb 16).
The commission also posted a number of decisions regarding licence renewals where there had been objections raised or late filings. These included (In order of state):
*Granted application by Bay Broadcasting Company Inc. for renewal of license of KAKN-FM, Naknek, subject to payment of requisite filing fee and 25% late-fee penalty charge.
*Denied application by Northern Radio, Inc. to review staff decision denying earlier Northern Radio petition to reconsider grant to Turquoise Broadcasting Company, LLC permits for four new FM translator stations in Seward and two in Delta.
It did grant a request from NRI's counsel, David Tillotson for a declaratory ruling concerning whether an FM translator licensee's sale of advertisements with the use of a rate card would violate FCC rules concerning which it said there was no prohibition on the use of rate cards, or the airing of commercial "spot" announcements purchased off of a rate card, as means to solicit contributions but added that revenues from sales of advertising time cannot exceed the costs of operating the translator station.
*Issued USD 1000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Danbury Community Radio, licensee of WFAR-FM and FM translator Station W250AA, Danbury, for late filing of renewal application and unauthorized operation. The licence was renewed.
*Denied informal objection on basis of interference to his signal raised by Jay Ayer and renewed licence of Money Matters Radio, Inc.'s WBNW-AM, Concord.
*Granted application by Michael H. Glass for renewal of license of WMER-AM, Meridian, subject to payment of requisite filing fee and 25% late-fee penalty charge.
*Refused petition for reconsideration filed by KSBN Radio, Inc., former permittee of unbuilt station KZTY-AM, Winchester. The call sign had been deleted from the FCC database because the construction permit expired before the facilities authorized had been built.
The FCC had ruled that KRI's construction of two 114-foot fibreglass whip antennas without prior Commission approval did not fulfil the terms of KRI's construction permit to build two 285-foot steel towers. It did not accept KRI's contention that the fibreglass antenna system need not have "been at the same physical height as the facilities authorized because it was of "an identical electrical height."
*After re-analysis dismissed Americom Las Vegas Limited Partnership's petition for reconsideration of grant of construction permit for new AM station in Reno to Pamplin Broadcasting Inc.
Americom said the station would interfere with its KPLY-AM, Reno: The FCC noted that if Americom does experience interference from the new station it may file a complaint with appropriate supporting documentation.
*Denied petition from Romar Communications, Inc. to reconsider its earlier decision to grant in part KM Communications, Inc's application for review of its denial of a previous KM Petition for Reconsideration and proceed to auction with mutually exclusive applications from both organizations for a new AM at Ithica. Under an earlier decision it had found that Romar's proposal would serve a significantly larger population than that of KM and thus was entitled to preference
*Rejected petition by Rod Kovel for reconsideration of renewal of licence of New York AM Radio, LLC's WEPN-AM on the grounds that the station does not serve the public interest because its format was changed to all-sports, duplicating the formats of other stations in the market; broadcasts minimal public interest programming; "spends much of its free airtime referring listeners to programs on the cable networks"; greeted repeated requests to improve its signal with "utter indifference" and did not return phone calls for information about a specific commercial.
*Denied informal objections on the basis that the station "is falling far short of 'localism' expectations as required by the FCC" and renewed licence of CBS Radio's KUFO-FM and KCMD-AM, Portland.
*Denied petition to reconsider staff decisions rejecting JNE Investments, Inc.'s call to reconsider grant of minor change application to Siga Broadcasting Corporation's KTMR-AM, Edna.
*Granted application by McClatchey Broadcasting for renewal of license of KELP-AM, El Paso, subject to payment of requisite filing fee and 25% late-fee penalty charge.
*Denied petition to reconsider staff action dismissing application by SIBR, Inc. for a new Class B AM station at Midland.
*Granted application by Jeffery M. Jennings for renewal of license of FM translator Station K276DA, Cedar City, subject to payment of requisite filing fee and 25% late-fee penalty charge.
Cancelled USD 3,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture issued to Southern Communications Corp., licensee of WIWS-AM, Beckley, for failure to maintain the station's public inspection file and admonished Southern for its failure, which related to late placing on file the issues/programs list for the second quarter of 2001 and the biennial ownership reports for 1996 and 1998.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-02-17: According to the UK Times, Absolute Radio and Global Radio are through to the second round of bidding for SMG's Virgin Radio with the position regarding UTV unclear and private equity firm Vitruvian Partners having opted out because it was unwilling to pay the GBP 60-70 million ( USD 120-140 million) that the paper says SMG has set as its target.
The Times adds that Guardian Media Group requested information on the station but also opted out of the bidding and also notes concerns about use of the Virgin brand name, which the Virgin Group can revoke should the station be sold to a trade buyer.
Previous Absolute Radio:
UK Times report:
2008-02-16: Austereo in its 2008 first half-year report has presented an upbeat view of the future for radio in the country noting that commercial radio continues to gain audiences, despite declines in other main media and noting increasing listening via new platforms: "There are," it says, "no longer clear boundaries in content delivery."
In the six months its sales revenue was up 8.7% to AUD 138.6 million (USD 121.4 million) with overall revenue also up 8.7% - to AUD 140.5 million (USD 123.1 million) - non-spot revenue was up 20%; EBIT was up 7.8% to AUD 48.55 million (USD 42.54 million); and net income was up 3.5% to AUD 27.8 million (USD 24.4 million). Per share earnings were up 9.7% to 7.9 cents per share.
The company also noted the sale of it Greek station, Village 88 Athens, in line with a policy of focusing on Australian business opportunities: It says the net value of the assets sold was AUD 6.4 million (AUD 5.6 million) and it made an estimated profit of AUD 140,000 ( USD 123,000) on the sale.
In terms of the future it is upbeat about the impact of Digital audio broadcasting, which is scheduled to begin in the country in January 2009, commenting that"DAB+ will re-focus audiences and advertisers and create a powerful reason to increase usage of radio" although it adds a cautionary note that because of likely consumer uptake time of DAB+, "dual-casting with analogue may continue for at least 10 years. In-car sets will only be converted over time and multiple in-home receivers will be progressively replaced."
CEO Michael Anderson said that the group continued to expand its cross-platform strategy, commenting, "We have invested in some of Australia's finest talent and created shows which provide great entertainment. This has enabled us to drive deeper, richer content online. Austereo continues to lead the radio industry in online in all measures."
He said this was illustrated by a year-on-year growth of 89% in online page impressions; a 30% rise in unique browsers, a 14% rise in podcast downloads to a monthly average of 740,000 and online radio streaming now averaging 711,000 listeners. In addition the company's video streaming, launched in October last year, already attracts 91,000 viewers a month.
"The primary focus, he said, "continues on building the core radio business, driving our cross platform strategy and preparing for Digital Radio in 2009."
Chairman Peter Harvie added that the strength of the group's operations provided a sound outlook saying Austereo expected capital city commercial radio growth to be in the order of 2% to 4% for the second half of the financial year.
Harvie particularly noted that radio was likely to come off well is international advertisers cut back on spending saying that the medium "is quite ideally suited to less than sunny days" with a reliance on local advertising, broad audience reach and low costs.
Austereo's profit was less than the average predicted by analysts and its stock fell on Friday by 5.2% to AUD 2.0
2008-02-16: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has again attacked the US satellite radio companies for breaking the rules on use of terrestrial repeaters in a filing to the US Federal Communications Commission and for good measure thrown in the suggestion that the agency adopt wording in relation to them to specifically limit the use of repeaters to "the simultaneous retransmission of the complete programming, and only that programming, transmitted by the satellite directly to the SDARS subscribers' receivers, and may not be used to distribute any information not also transmitted to all subscribers' receivers."
In the 14-page filing, the NAB noted that XM has admitted to using 19 repeaters that were never authorized; siting 142 - almost a fifth of the total at "locations that differ by at least five seconds from their FCC authorized locations; operating at least 228 above authorized power levels, and .installing additional unauthorized antenna at 21 stations with antennas above authorized heights ay 79.
In the case of Sirius, NAB says it has revealed "problems with 11 of its terrestrial repeaters" noting that "eight are located at least 1.4 miles away from their authorized locations, four are placed at least five miles from their reported locations, and one in Lansing, Michigan was deployed 67 miles away from its FCC-authorized location." [RNW comment: Which of course confirms that clear use of English or understanding of arithmetic -or both- are hardly strengths for the NAB.]
2008-02-16: The winners of the 2007 New Adventures in Broadcasting Scheme run by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) will receive their awards this evening in a ceremony and workshop session in Dublin.
In all 18 of the 35 programme proposals submitted are being funded to the overall tune of Euros 143,000 (USD 210,000) and of these twelve were entered into the final awards competition, with three winning awards.
The overall winner was Electrolight from Lyric FM, a project in which composer Roger Doyle journeyed through the last six decades surveying electronic music and presenting its evolution. The adjudicating panel commended the programme for being extremely well crafted and thoroughly researched and noted in particular the passion and enthusiasm of the programme's presenter and the excellent sound quality and scripting.
The Innovation Category award went to "Romancing Paddy Poleski" from Beat 102 - 103 FM, a series produced by Jennifer Allen and featuring some of the South East's newest couples.
The Learning and Development Category award went to "Tall Tales from the Hollows and the Hills" from Shannonside Northern Sound, produced in conjunction with Maccana Teoranta. Participants came from a series of "Writing for Radio" workshops and were coached and guided by producer Kevin McCann in the production of 22 original drama scripts with eight of them going on to be produced and broadcast on Shannonside Northern Sound.
2008-02-16: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set March 14 as the deadline for comments on its Report on Broadcast Localism and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Commission's proceeding on Broadcast Localism that was adopted on December 18 last year.
Reply comments have to be submitted by April 14.
2008-02-15: In latest US radio results, Arbitron has reported revenues up but earnings down; Beasley revenues were up slightly but net income was well down; and Clear Channel reported record earnings per share on revenues up slightly
At Arbitron, 2007 revenues from continuing operations were up 6% over 2006 at USD 338.5 million but EBIT was down 24.3% to USD 63.3 million and net income from continuing operations was down 19.5% at USD 40.5 million (Down from USD 1.67 to USD 1.37 per diluted share) with overall net income down 20.7% to USD 40.2 million. Costs and expenses for the year were up 14.7% to USD 243.4 million, much of it related to planned increase in Portable People Meter (PPM) related expenses.
Arbitron also reported that at the end of January this year it concluded the sale of its UK-based custom research business Continental Research and that it has reclassified Continental's results as a discontinued operation in the above figures: In 2007 Continental revenue was USD 13.6 million and it made a net loss of USD 300,000 and in the final quarter it lost USD 500,000 on revenues of USD 4.6 million.
For the final quarter, Arbitron's revenue from continuing operations - excluding Continental - was up 5.4% over a year earlier at USD 80.1 million; costs and expenses were up 10.6%, again largely relation to PPM expenditure; EBIT was down 41.7% to USD 6.2 million; interest expense was form from USD 3.2 million a year earlier to USD 400,000 due primarily to the early retirement of a USD 50 million outstanding senior secured note in October 2006; and net income fell 24.5% to USD 3.7 million (From 17 cents to 13 cents per diluted share).
Chairman, president and CEO Stephen Morris noted PPM problems that had led to it delaying commercialization of the system in New York and eight other markets as a result of feedback, and continued, "While we are disappointed by the delay, our core radio ratings business remains successful and profitable and our basic business model is intact. We fully expect to execute successfully our long-term plans to bring electronic measurement to radio and help the industry prosper in this highly competitive media environment."
Morris also noted that Arbitron had bought back USD 100 million in stock during 2007 and that in the fourth quarter its board authorized a new stock repurchase program of up to USD 200 million over a two-year period.
"As before," he said, "our goal in managing our capital is to strike the appropriate balance between continued investment in PPM initiatives and our core business while returning capital to shareholders, and remaining open to appropriate opportunities for strategic deployment of capital."
For 2008, Arbitron is forecasting revenues from continuing operations to rise between 8% and 10%; earnings per share to be between USD 1.42 and USD 1.56 including some USD 1.6 million in costs associated with extending the Project Apollo pilot into the first quarter, figures that Arbitron says does not contemplate any expenditure incurred in commercializing or closing down the project: 2007 costs for the Project were USD 6.9 million.
At Beasley Broadcast, revenues for the year were up 6.9% to USD 133.9 million but for the final quarter were only up 0.4% to USD 35 million; station operating income for the year fell 15% to USD 37.4 million and for the quarter by 42.8% to USD 9.9 million and net income for the year fell 52.9% to USD 4.8 million (from 42 cents to 20 cents per diluted share) and for the quarter it fell 82.5% to USD 500,000 (From 13 cents to two cents per diluted share).
Beasley noted that fourth quarter revenues were up in its Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market cluster, including revenue generated from the Miami Dolphins broadcast rights (which were not broadcast in the same period last year) as well as growth in revenue related to the Company's interactive and new media initiatives, offset by declines at seven of its 11 market clusters.
It added that same station revenues for the quarter were down 3.8% to USD 33.5 million whilst for the year they fell marginally - from USD 122.84 million to USD 122.55 million.
Chairman and CEO George G. Beasley said its fourth quarter revenue performance "exceeded the industry at-large, our markets and the guidance provided at the time we reported our third quarter results."
He added, "With programming and on-air changes in place in various large and mid-sized clusters, our focus in 2008 is to continue delivering on our long-term goal of topping the performance of the markets in which we operate and generating gains across our entire station portfolio and through our Interactive initiatives" and noted that in the fourth quarter "Interactive initiatives accounted for 3.4% of the Company's total revenue and represented 3.1% of the full year 2007 total revenue."
Beasley also noted that in the fourth quarter it repurchased approximately 65,000 shares of our common stock for a total of USD 448,000 representing an average price of USD 6.86 per share and that since the inception of the repurchase programme three years ago it had repurchased about 1.3 million Beasley Broadcast shares for a total of USD 11.9 million."
Looking ahead, Beasley says it expects first quarter 2008 revenues to decline by about 4% year-on-year.
At Clear Channel revenues for 2007 were up 6% year-on-year to USD 6.82 billion and those for the final quarter were up 4% to USD 1.84 billion with expenses for the year up 6% to USD 4.4 billion and for the quarter up 7% to USD 1.2 billion including USD 36 million due to movements in foreign exchange and a reduction of USD 9.8 million due to favourable settlement of a legal proceeding.
Net income for the year was up 35.7% to USD 938.5 million with earnings per share a record USD 1.89 per diluted share (a 37% year-on-year increase) whilst for the final quarter net income was up 51.7% to USD 320.56 million ( from 43 cents to 65 cents per share).
Within the figures, radio revenue for the year was up just USD 1.1 million to USD 3.439 billion whilst for the final quarter it was up 3% to USD 874.6 million whilst Outdoor revenue was up 13% for the year and quarter to USD 3.282 billion and USD 936.7 million respectively.
Looking ahead Clear Channel says, based on pacing for the first quarter, it expects radio revenues to be down 4% for the quarter and 0.9% for the year with outdoor revenues up 4.5% for the quarter and 3.7% for the year.
Clear Channel says it expects it acquisition by private equity groups to close by the end of March and says it has agreed with the United States Department of Justice to enter into a Final Judgment and Hold Separate Agreement in accordance with and subject to the Tunney Act. The FCC has already approved it.
Regarding its sale of both radio and TV stations, Clear Channel says that Providence Equity Partners Inc., to whom it agreed in April to sell its TV Group, has told it that the buyer is considering its options including not closing the deal, which has consent from the FCC, on the terms and conditions as agreed. It notes that the acquisition deal is not contingent on the closing of its own acquisition.
Regarding radio, where it announced plans to sell 448 non-core stations, Clear Channel said that at the end of 2007 it had sole 160 and had definite agreements regarding the sale of 73 more with sales of 57 of these completed by February 13.
AT that date, it said, it also had agreements for purchase of 12 of the 187 stations remaining up for sale.
Previous George Beasley:
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-02-15: Latest Irish radio ratings from the JNLR/TNSmrbi survey covering January-December 2007 show overall listening down slightly, with 84% of the adult population listening daily to a mix of national, regional and local radio throughout the country, down 1% on the previous ratings covering October 2006-September 2007 and also on a year ago.
Listenership to any regional/local radio remained stable at 52% compared with the previous survey period but down from 56% a year earlier with national station reach compared to the previous survey except for RTÉ 2FM - 23% for RTÉ Radio 1 (24% a year earlier) ; 17% for RTÉ 2FM, down from 18% (18% a year earlier); 16% for Today FM (16% a year earlier); 6% for Newstalk 106-108FM (No figures in the year earlier survey) and 3% for RTÉ Lyric FM (3% a year earlier).
In share terms for 07:00 to 19:00 the overall figure for any regional/local station fell 0.4 to 47.6% with RTÉ Radio 1 up 0.4 to 21.6%; RTÉ 2FM up 0.1 to 12.8; Today FM unchanged at 12.5%; Newstalk up 0.1 to 3.4%; and RTÉ Lyric FM unchanged at 1.7%.
In the South-East Region Beat 102-103FM's reach was down 1 to 17% and its market share was down 0.3 to 11.4% (No figures for a year earlier).
The survey was the first with figures for new regional youth service Spin South West, which went on air in July 2007 and recorded a reach of 14% and a market share of 8.2% to the end of the year.
Amongst local stations, excluding Dublin and Cork, the top five stations in terms of weekday reach (compared to the previous ratings) were Highland Radio with 61% - up from 60%; Limerick's Live 95FM with 60%, up from 58%; Shannonside/Northern Sound with 52%, down from 55%; WLR FM with 49%, down from 51%; and Midwest Radio/Ocean FM with 45% - down 1 from 46% and unchanged respectively. Radio Kerry/KCLRFM each lost rank and 2 to fall to 44%.
In share terms the top five were Highland Radio with 62.5% (-0.9); Mid West Radio with 51.1% (-2.5); Shannonside/Northern Sound with 49.6% (Up 2.6); Tipp FM with 49.2% -3.7); and WLR FM with 45.0% (-2.4). Radio Kerry with 43.4% (-4.1) fell from fifth to seventh behind Limerick's Live 95FM, which rose a rank to sixth with 43.6% (+1.7)
In Dublin the leaders in terms of weekly reach were RTÉ Radio 1 with 36% (-3); FM104 with 29% (-2 and retaining top rank for a local station); 98FM with 25% (-1); RTÉ 2FM with 24% (-2) and Newstalk with an unchanged 19% whilst in Cork the leaders in reach were Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM with 65% (-1); Cork's 96FM with an unchanged 51; RTÉ Radio 1 with 31% (-1); Cork's Red FM with 30% (+1); and Cork's 103FM County Sound with 27 (+1). They were followed by Today FM with an unchanged 25%; and RTÉ 2FM with 22% (+2)
RTÉ Radio Managing Director Adrian Moynes, welcoming the figures as confirming thee benefits from recent schedule changes, commented, "This time last year I said that RTÉ Radio was at the beginning of a creative renewal and I was confident it would deliver results for the station."
He continued, "The figures now speak for themselves with RTÉ Radio's schedule changes paying off in many ways, for example; Morning Ireland, Joe Duffy, Gerry Ryan, The Tubridy Show and Marian Finucane all have over 300,000 listeners and Mooney has just gained a further 17,000 listeners. RTÉ Radio programmes continue to dominate the Top 20 most popular radio programmes in the country."
Previous Irish Ratings:
2008-02-15: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says it has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Fairfax Media Limited to divest its River 94.9 commercial radio licence in Ipswich, thus bringing to an end its breach of Australia's media control rules under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.Until divestment Fairfax has agreed to appoint an independent manager to operate the business.
The ACMA had granted Fairfax temporary relief from the rules when it acquired licences formerly owned by Southern Cross Broadcasting under a deal in which Macquarie Media took over Southern Cross.
All the breaches were ended in November last year apart from the breach of the rules in the Brisbane/Ipswich radio licence area where Fairfax could control River 94.9 and Southern Cross controlled 4BC and 4BH.
2008-02-14: The US Department of Justice is to require Clear Channel to divest itself of radio stations in Cincinnati, Houston, Las Vegas and San Francisco as a condition for it to approve the company's acquisition by private equity investors led by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners and its Antitrust Division has filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to block the proposed acquisition together with a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the lawsuit and the Department's competitive concerns.
The DOJ says that in the cities concerned because Bain and Lee already have substantial ownership interests in two firms - Cumulus and Univision - that compete with Clear Channel the "transaction, as originally proposed, likely would have resulted in higher prices to purchasers of radio advertising".
Clear Channel and Cumulus, sys the DOJ compete in Cincinnati and Houston whilst in Houston, Las Vegas and San Francisco Clear Channel and Univision own competing Spanish-language radio stations, thus meaning Bain and Lee if they acquire control of Clear Channel would have "the incentive and the ability to reduce competition between Clear Channel and Cumulus and/or Univision, which would result in increased prices and reduced levels of service in the sale of radio advertising time."
The DOJ notes that according to the terms of their deal with Clear Channel Bain and Lee will between them have the right to appoint two-thirds of the members of Clear Channel's board and they already appoint half the Cumulus Board and Lee appoints three of Univision's 17 Directors.
In other Clear Channel business, the company has now completed its USD 74.8 million sale of 57 stations in 13 Pacific Northwest markets to GAP Broadcasting, led by Skip Weller.
Most of the stations involved were originally to be sold to a group led by Chris Devine but that deal fell through.
Weller commented of the completion that they were "beyond thrilled to officially own these wonderful radio stations that are operated by talented and passionate broadcasters."
Previous Clear Channel:
2008-02-14: First-round offers are due in today for SMG's Virgin Radio, which the company put up for sale as part of its plans to sell off non-core assets and concentrate on its TV operations. It has already sold off its print and outdoor operations and in November last year it announced rights issue - expected to raise GBP 95.1 million ( USD 198.5 million) to strengthen its hand for the Virgin sale (See RNW Nov 7, 2007).
SMG, which last year reduced the value of Virgin Radio in its books to GBP 105 million (currently USD 206 million) had planned a public offering in the autumn (Fall) but that fell through: In June last year the Glasgow Herald said UTV had valued Virgin at around GBP 60 million (around USD 120 million) rather than the GBP 100 million (USD 200 million) that SMG wanted and quoted an unnamed source as saying there wasn't "a single human being in the City of London who thinks the IPO (initial public offering) is going to happen." (See RNW Jun 24, 2007)
SMG has now put Virgin's value as around GBP 85 million (USD 167 million) but offers are expected to be between GBP 60 and GBP 70 million (USD 118-138 million).
Trade bids are expected from Global Radio and UTV and possibly from Absolute Radio, which runs two Oxford stations, plus private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, which came second in the auction of Emap Radio that was won by Bauer. Global Radio was third in the Emap bidding.
Global Radio is also currently considering whether to make another bid for GCap Media for which it offered 190 pence a share in December last year, an offer valuing the group at GBP 313 million (currently USD 615 million) that was rejected by GCap's board as too low. GCap's shares closed at 190p on Wednesday.
Previous Absolute Radio:
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2008-02-14: Clear Channel has made a USD 22 million offer to settle lawsuits brought against it and other major corporations in March 2003 (See RNW Mar 12, 2003) by victims of the February 2003 fire at "The Station" nightclub in Providence in which pyrotechnics used by the 1980s rock band Great White ignited soundproofing around the stage causing a hundred deaths and injuries to more than twice that number.
The Providence Journal reporting the offer says that the total now offered - some 40 companies and individuals are being sued - has now reached USD 71.5 million.
Amongst those sued in addition to Clear Channel are brewer Anheuser Busch Inc., The Home Depot, the state of Rhode Island, a local TV station whose cameraman was accused of blocking an exit while covering the fire, and others including a pyrotechnics maker and a manufacturer of insulation material and any settlement will require approval of all the plaintiffs plus Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ronald R. Lagueux, who is overseeing the fire victims' claims.
The victims lawsuit, reports the Journal, alleges that Clear Channel's rock station WHJY-FM, which is listed as a separate defendant along with Clear Channel itself and its Capstar subsidiary, "'knew or should have known that the concert and band it promoted' at The Station the night of the fire 'was one that customarily utilized pyrotechnics and that Great White had repeatedly, openly and illegally used unlicensed pyrotechnics on its tour on numerous occasions' " before the night of the fire and had planned to set off illegal fireworks on the night of the fire.
It says that WHJY and its DJ Michael Gonsalves (Dr. Metal) - who died in the blaze - "had both the authority and opportunity to stop or delay Great White's performance over any issue relating to safety or equipment" but failed to do so and that Clear Channel was negligent and partly to blame because it "directly manages and controls the day-to-day affairs" of WHJY, including "decisions made with respect to promotion and sponsorship of concerts such as that which occurred at The Station on February 20, 2003."
Clear Channel and Capstar has asked that the claims against them be thrown out but Judge Lagueux refused in a 2005 decision, saying, "To the extent that plaintiffs can establish that WHJY had control over the planning and operation of the concert, then the court can find that WHJY owed a duty to the plaintiffs. That duty, if proven to exist, may have been breached when WHJY failed to take any steps to prevent the ignition of the fireworks inside the small and crowded nightclub."
Clear Channel chief legal officer Andy Levin, whilst admitting no role in the fire, said in a statement, "We are pleased to resolve these claims and, hopefully, contribute in some way to a sense of resolution for the affected victims and their families."
The fire also led to criminal charges against club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and former Great White tour manager Daniel Biechele who agreed plea deals on involuntary manslaughter charges in 2006 under which Biechele and Michael Derderian received four-year jail sentences and Jeffrey Derderian was ordered to perform community service.
RNW comment: A comment on the Journal site from "Lisa" says that that it is "crazy" to hold others than the owners of the establishment to blame and notes that they like those who attended the concert did not know what was going to happen.
We are no friends of Clear Channel but in this case think the penalty they are paying - presumably to clear the matter up rather than because they think it is fair (in other words giving way to legal extortion) - is completely out of proportion. The logic used by the lawyers for the plaintiffs could equally be used against everyone who attended the concert knowing anything of Great White's past and thus being prepared to support an illegal fireworks show. Taken a bit further it would also make the judges and lawyers responsible for creating an atmosphere in which others might be encouraged to take less care in future when attending public events where there might be dangers. Ridiculous indeed, but so is much of this case in our view and like so many US lawsuits the main beneficiaries in the long run are the lawyers - almost everyone else pays through extra insurance, or through hidden costs such as the refusal of companies or individuals to sponsor or take part in events because there could be a lawsuit with unreasonable judgments.
Previous Clear Channel:
Providence Journal report:
2008-02-14: UK radio ratings company RAJAR is to withdraw its latest figures following what it terms a "very small software glitch" that affected the results for some 280 stations whose figures are issued on a six-monthly basis.
The error says RAJAR related to statistical weighting following addition of new stations in the final quarter of last year and it issued an apology for the error that it says will only "marginally" affect most stations although some might see "more significant changes".
The error does not affect results published on a Quarterly or Yearly basis but it is the largest the organization had admitted to.
In an e-mail to stations RAJAR said it and RSMB (the contractor responsible for the processing of the survey) "would like to apologise to subscribers for any inconvenience caused by the need to re-issue results for Half-Yearly reporting stations. Additional automated checks have now been put in place to ensure that this error will not happen again."
2008-02-14: Westwood One shareholders have approved the company's new operating deal with CBS Radio that runs until March 2017.
The agreement was originally reached in October last year (See RNW Oct 3, 2007) but required approval of shareholders excluding shares held by CBS Radio or its affiliates.
Under the agreement CBS Radio stations will broadcast Westwood. Westwood One notes that the closure is subject to other conditions including a determination by the its Board of Directors that the Company has sufficient financing to conduct its business operations in compliance with its legal and financial obligations after the closing.
Previous Westwood One:
2008-02-14: BBC Radio Five Live's Wednesday soccer phone-in show "606" made a cross-platform debut on interactive TV on Wednesday when the radio show was supplemented by a TV offering on BBCi that allowed digital TV viewers to see the programme being presented by host Tim Lovejoy together with details of texts from listeners, league tables, news and sport updates and other information.
The show already attracts a large online audience and has the BBC's most visited message board.
Lovejoy commented before the debut, "I'll have to dress properly to make my 606 telly debut but it's still the same anger, passions, misery and joys as every week only with pictures and texts!"
2008-02-13: The US radio industry has heard calls to look to mobile devices and online delivery as well as over-the air broadcasts at the RAB2008 conference in Atlanta at which Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) President and CEO Jeff Haley delivered the keynote State of the Industry speech
Haley also announced a marketing alliance with Katz Media and Interep that he said was part of efforts to "raise the bar on the RAB's Key Advertiser focus, our effort to directly drive revenue for Radio."
The initiative, he said, had already progressed and for the first time "with success from Cadillac, Target, and Wal-Mart, we (RAB) have generated more revenue for stations than what we cost them."
He then went on to say that for a specific list of clients the three organizations would "provide a single point of contact for all communication with advertisers and their agencies."
Haley also said that the industry had to have "an action plan for electronic measurement to prepare us and our clients for the transition to behavioural-based research" adding that it was important in this regard the industry had to speak with one voice and communicate "a specific plan and take responsibility for a consistent point of view."
Haley said that last year they had defined radio as sponsored audio content and identified core strengths - reach - 93% of the US population, relevance - 87% retention of TSL, and receptivity -92% of the audience stayed during commercial breaks.
This year, he said they would explore how to position "Radio's assets across the increasing number of distribution channels in ways that are attractive to Advertisers" and extend its ability to meet consumer demand for the product where and when it was wanted, adding that radio was "uniquely positioned to do this because it is the only medium that does not change its form from channel to channel."
"Print and video," he said, "are different experiences when they move to digital - Radio is not. The Rolling Stones sound like The Rolling Stones no matter the channel."
After flattering his audience with terms like "passion" and "commitment" and ; "innovation, experimentation, and an enduring drive for success, Haley went on to note double-digit increases in off-air revenues saying that at the current rate of growth this could approach USD2 billion by the end of 2009.
He also commented on the commercialization of HD Radio and went on to list ways in which and devices on which people could listen including the Internet and broadcast with demand for devices such as portable players and mobile phones to include radio reception. In particular he noted the ability to display text and thus direct advertising in terms of location and personal preferences as well as to use the radio to purchase music.
In listening terms, noted Haley, if half of Americans took advantage of radio functionality on the mobile phones or portable players for half-an-hour a day that would increase the total by some 10%, which in turn would translate to a potential additional revenue of some USD 3 billion a year.
2008-02-13: Spurred on by hopes of a fresh bid.shares in GCap Media rose on Tuesday to just above the 190p per share that Global Radio had offered for the company in December - a bid that was rejected by GCap's board without being put to shareholders.
They ended the day at 191.5 pence and in early trading today rose again to touch 193 pence before falling back below the bid price: In early afternoon they were 189 pence.
GCap on Monday unveiled a cost-cutting plan to boost profits and avert a takeover (RNW comment: Or maybe force a higher bid?): The plan includes the closure of digital only stations, disposal of its interest in the Digital One national commercial multiplex, and sale or closure of its Xfm stations outside London (See RNW Feb 11)
Global Radio said in a statement to the city that it was still considering whether to make a fresh offer or drop the bid: It has until The Takeover Panel has set a deadline of March 5 by which Global either has to announce a firm intention to make another bid for GCap or that it does not intend to make an offer and in the latter case it would need special permission to rejoin the bidding within six months (See RNW Feb 1).
In the statement Global said "While Global Radio retains the right to make an offer, there can be no certainty that it will do so. This announcement does not constitute a firm intention to make an offer."
Global's chairman Charles Allen and chief executive, Ashley Tabor are scheduled to meet GCap investors including the Daily Mail & General Trust, Schroders and Fidelity, to discuss its plans and says it will decide on its plans after these meetings.
Previous Global Radio:
2008-02-12: Following the decision by GCap Media, the UK's largest radio group and its new chief executive Fru Hazlitt, to close its digital-only stations, dispose of its interest in the national digital one commercial multiplex to parner Arqiva, and concentrate on FM plus broadband and mobile devices, other companies have stressed that they remain committed to DAB broadcasting.
Two of the biggest players, the BBC and the Channel-4 backed 4 Digital Group, which won bidding for the UK's second national commercial multiplex, issued a joint statement from Jenny Abramsky, Director of BBC Audio & Music, and Nathalie Schwarz, Chair of 4 Digital Group in which they referred to the growth in DAB listening and cited a Digital Radio Development Board (DRDB) forecast that household penetration of DAB would grow to 30% in 2008.
"It is clear to us," they continued, "that DAB has an exciting future in a fast converging UK media industry. The BBC and 4 Digital Group are committed to digital radio long term and both believe that working together, and with the rest of the radio industry, is vital if we are to secure the UK's position in the forefront of digital radio development. We want to work together to make the very best of UK radio available to everyone, while continuing to compete to provide the very best audio content that will be the primary means of ensuring the success of digital radio in the years to come."
The two organizations they said were exploring the technological innovations made possible by DAB, from interactive exchange between listener and broadcaster and EPG-based services, including programme storage, to text and image-based services that offer programme information, pictures, sports results and local news and weather.
Abramsky in a separate release commented that it was "important not to confuse GCap's current strategy with success or failure of DAB. DAB is a success story - two million sets were sold in 2007 - and is part of the digital future of radio. More than 22% of UK adults now claim to have DAB at home and it makes up 10% of all radio listening."
The DRDB said it regretted the closure of Planet Rock and theJazz, but looked forward to the emergence of new national DAB only services and added, "DAB digital radio is growing strongly and, as recently published receiver sales and listening figures show, remains a strong proposition for the UK radio industry, both commercial and public, and we believe the medium will emerge from this period of transition stronger and more attractive to both broadcasters and listeners."
There was also an expression of confidence in DAB from Bauer Radio, the former EMAP Radio: Its group managing director of programme Mark Story said DAB gave "wonderful access and broad choice and diversity of listening. There are a host of very exciting digital radio stations on the way. You should be looking forward to radio's finest hour."
Arqiva, which currently owns most of the DAB networks in the UK, said as an independent operator it could "maximise the potential of the Digital One multiplex" and added, "DAB receiver sales have never been better and we have every confidence in the long-term future of digital radio".
Manufacturers also re-iterated their commitment to the medium with Colin Crawford, Pure Digital's Director of Marketing, commenting, "The ongoing migration to digital is a macro trend that will continue. PURE Digital continues to focus on the long-term growth and success of DAB digital radio, and while we regret the announcement today, we look upon it as a minor exception to overall industry take-up which will not affect our on-going commitment to development of the digital platform".
Frontier Silicon CEO, Anthony Sethill commented "2007 was a great year for DAB. Frontier sales were up 40% on 2006 and totalled 2.2 million units. With the roll out of the new DAB+ standard, additional services from 4Digital Radio in the UK and the launch of DAB+ in Australia we are confident the next two years will deliver continued growth for the DAB family of standards around the world".
RNW comment: One of the valid criticisms of the current DAB system in the UK is that its MP2 coding is outdated - the DAB+ standard to be adopted in Australia uses more advanced coding that makes more efficient use of spectrum - and that by cramming in too many channels its technical quality rather than being superior to FM is inferior to a good FM signal being received on high quality equipment. It also has problems of geographical coverage - reaching only around 65% of the UK although this covers four-fifths of the population.
At the same time it does have advantages of fewer interference problems that analogue transmissions and potential for adding additional data facilities and for much listening on the move the environment in which listening is happening is such that the absence of interference is more important than the peak technical quality. At the same time, we would have preferred to see at least the classical music services broadcasting at a higher bit rate of 256kbps if MP2 is to be retained - the quality difference is not of importance for speech and most pop, which nowadays seems to rely on volume more than technical quality to attract listeners, who have it on as background anyway most of the time.
In the longer term we would like to see DAB+ available - chips capable of handling both DAB and DAB+ plus DRM on AM signals are now around - and suspect the real competitive issue will be the extent to which wireless broadband can get near to the reception reliability of the broadcast signal.
Maybe Hazlitt has done her homework well on this but we suspect not and that the whole plan is based almost entirely on cost cutting: In that regard we agree with Global Radio chairman Charles Allen who commented that you "can't cut your way to growth."
We suspect that Allen will hold his hand and not increase his bid for GCap but have a good chance of picking it up within the year at even less than is currently bid.
We also hope the regulators will hold their nerve on AM and other GCap lobbying - if GCap wishes to give up signals let it do so and allow other stations -commercial or community - to use the spectrum. Apart from Classic FM there is little in the GCap stable it seems to us that cannot be provided by others and we can't see them wishing to pull out of Classic FM's national licence.
Previous Channel 4 Radio/ 4 Digital:
Previous Frontier Silicon:
Previous Pure digital:
2008-02-12: US National Public Radio (NPR) says it and its podcasting partners have now generated more than 200 million downloads since it launched its Podcast Directory in August 2005 with just 33 titles.
In all there are now 617 titles in the directory following addition of the new NPR News "In Character" series profiling classic fictional characters from American literature, film, television and theatre, seven podcasts from new participant 91.3fm WYEP Pittsburgh and nine from current station contributors.
Downloads of the podcasts, which cover 40 topic areas, currently average 12 million a month and in the final quarter of last year totalled 36.5 million, nearly a fifth up on the previous quarter.
NPR podcast site:
2008-02-12: John Evington, the former Wireless Group executive, who was the launch programme director for CanWest's Southampton-based Original 106 (See RNW Mar 31, 2006) and became its managing director (See RNW May 6, 2007), has left the station.
Evington, who was group programme director at the Wireless Group when it was bought by UTV, subsequently had a spell as a consultant - including a spell in China a training role for Radio Foshan in Guangdong Province (See RNW Jul 26, 2005) - before joining CanWest where he also helped launch "Original" stations in Aberdeen and Bristol.
No reason was given for his departure but the station, launched with estimates in its licence expectations of reaching around 14% of its potential audience, has achieved less than a third of that.
2008-02-12: The US National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has leapt on reports of a failure of a new prototype 'white space' device during Federal Communications Commission testing last week, to repeat its view that such devices should not be allowed.
Microsoft's director of wireless incubation Ian Ferrell was reported by TRDaily on Friday to have said of the failure, "They were running some tests on it, and it just stopped working" but added that the devices submitted to the FCC are only "test vehicles so they can establish their rules," adding they "have no resemblance" to devices that will be marketed. Ferrell was also reported to have said a device that failed FCC requirements during the first round of FCC tests last year had a damaged scanner.
TR Daily also reported that in a filing Edmond Thomas, senior technology policy adviser to the White Spaces Coalition, said the "final production devices will address power issues thoroughly while the test devices were built largely to demonstrate detection and protection capabilities."
Reacting to the report, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, "By failing two out of two tests at the FCC, Microsoft and the Wireless Innovation Alliance have demonstrated that unlicensed devices are not ready for prime time. This admission by 'white space' proponents vindicates beyond doubt the interference concerns expressed by broadcasters, sports leagues, wireless microphone companies and theatre operators. Completing a successful transition to digital television ought not to be jeopardized by introducing risky technology that has proven to be unworkable."
RNW comment: Whilst we agree that great caution has to be applied before allowing such devices that could potentially interfere with other signals onto the market, Wharton's comments fail the test of logic for a bright three-year-old.
As usual the NAB seems incapable of resisting the impulse to over-egg and in this case it didn't really need to. The devices are certainly not ready yet but then again early digital TV signals had significant artefacts and reliability problems that have now been largely rectified.
TR Daily report (Requires subscription).
2008-02-12: UK media regulator Ofcom has upheld two radio standards complaints in its latest Broadcast Bulletin in which it also upheld standards complaints against six TV programmes; considered a further TV standards case resolved through action taken by the broadcaster; partly upheld a TV Fairness and Privacy complaint and posted details of five fairness and privacy complaints that were not upheld. One of the latter involved complaints by Ribble Valley Borough Council about news reports on BBC TV and BBC Radio Lancashire.
The radio standards complaints upheld involved a competition that was run across GCap's Gold network and broadcast by its Birmingham Gold station the company and comments by a guest presenter on Oban FM's Drivetime show.
In the case of the latter a listener complained that contributions from guest presenter John Macgregor were biased against the local authority, and infringed the privacy of their representatives and also complained that the presenter, as a local businessman, was able to give undue prominence to his personal views and business interests.
Ofcom asked the station to provide a recording of the broadcast but the station was unable to provide it, saying it had experienced problems - now rectified - with its logging system.
Ofcom noted that because of this it was unable to investigate the complaint further and ruled that the station was in breach of licence conditions relating to retention and production of recordings.
In the GCap case, the company ran a competition for which there was a prize of a "limited edition boxed set of all eighteen Elvis singles" and also a chance to win a holiday to Memphis and Tupelo.
A listener complained on October 15, unlike previous days, neither presenter clearly stated that answers had t be submitted whilst a Presley song was being played, thus meaning that people could have entered before or after the song when they had no chance of winning.
GCap admitted the shortfall on this occasion and apologized but said it was an isolated incident. It also said the entries were charged at a premium rate but Gold received no revenue from the text entries.
Ofcom ruled that its rules were breached and said were there a similar breach in future it was likely to consider further regulatory action.
The figures compare to no radio complaints upheld; TV standards complaints against two broadcasters up held and two other TV standards case considered resolved in its previous bulletin in which it also gave details of a TV standards complaint and a TV fairness and privacy complaint that were not upheld.
Ofcom also listed without details 72 TV complaints against 53 items and six radio complaints against six items that it did not uphold or were considered out of its remit: This compares with 276 complaints against 183 TV items and 21 radio complaints against 20 items that were out of its remit or not upheld in the previous bulletin.
Previous Ofcom Complaints Bulletin:
2008-02-11: GCap Media has, as expected (See below), announced a major pullback from digital radio and sale of its stake in the national commercial digital multiplex.
Under major retrenchment announced by GCap Media's new chief executive Fru Hazlitt she estimates will see the group saving around GBP 8.8 million (USD 17.1 million) a year, largely through concentrating on its core FM services, a pull out from digital broadcasting except for its Classic FM and local licences where a pull out would mean the licences would be re-advertised because they gained automatic renewal on the basis of provision of a service on the relevant local multiplex, pushing to end AM transmissions, disposal of its share in the Digital One national digital multiplex to partner Arqiva for a nominal amount. The plan, says Hazlitt, will largely be implemented by the end of March and will involve some GBP 7 million (USD 13.6 million) of one-off restructuring costs.
Hazlitt's strategy says the company, means the group will focus on a three pillar strategy of delivering its services on platforms that consumers want and that generate higher revenues and profit - essentially FM and broadband delivery; of concentrating on "brands that can win within a multi-platform environment"; and reducing costs accordingly.
She commented of digital broadcasting that GCap had concluded "that DAB is not an economically viable platform for the Company."
GCap is to close its national digital only stations "The Jazz" and "Planet Rock"; put up for sale all its Xfm licences except that in London - it says it is already holding discussions about the sale of the Xfm licences in Wales, Scotland and Manchester that are forecast to make a combined loss of GBP 800,000 (USD 1.56 million) this year and if the sales fall through will hand the licences back to Ofcom on March 28; and will also end its policy of restricting advert breaks on its London flagship, Capital Radio, to two commercials from April 1,a move that Hazlitt estimates will increase revenues by around GBP 2 million (USD 3.9 million) for the rests of the current financial year and by GBP 4 million (USD 7.8 million) for the full year 2009/10. The increase compares with an estimated loss of GBP 5.8 million (USD 11.3 million) lost through introduction of the policy since when GCap's audiences have fallen.
The sale of GCap's 63% holding in Digital One includes agreement for a nil-cost cancellation of GCap's contracts for the broadcast of theJazz, Planet Rock, Core and Life, that GCap estimates would have cost it GBP 4.7 million (USD 9.2 million) a year: Set against this is a forecast profit of GBP 5.9 million ( USD 11.6 million) for Digital One this year including GCap revenues but GCap says that it was forecasting a significant call next year because of the loss of the BT Movio and Oneword contracts, which contributed an aggregate GBP 5.5 million (USD 10.8 million) of profit this year and whose spectrum it has been unable to sub-let to a third party.
Overall GCap noted that the DAB platform accounts for around 9% of all radio listening with most of it to "established, analogue stations."
"Listening to digital-only stations," it said, "including all of the BBC's digital stations as well as the commercial sector accounts for less than 4 per cent of all radio listening."
Regarding AM, GCap said it was "fast becoming obsolete for music radio given the low quality of its transmission and we do not believe that the next generation will want to tune into AM-quality radio."
It noted that it had a network of 25 Gold stations which are also broadcast online, on DAB and on digital television but was non-committal about their long-term future beyond noting that because its AM transmission contracts run until between 2012 and 2016, depending on individual licences, its "why immediate exit from AM is not an option for GCap Media" although it will "be lobbying vociferously for AM switch off."
As regards the future, GCap says it will scale back investment in the Gold Network "to a level that will allow us to sustain an on-air product that remains attractive to our listeners, but which reflects that it is broadcast mainly on the declining AM medium" and that it has identified the brands with greatest potential for growth as Capital Radio, Choice FM and Xfm in London, the national station Classic FM and The One Network.
It commented that it could see "longer term opportunities in mobile telephony and broadcasting our stations through digital television" but said of FM that it was "the backbone of the radio industry and we believe it compares favourably to any of the digital platforms currently available to the consumer in terms of quality."
Broadband, it said, is "the ideal complementary platform to analogue radio given the interactivity that they both provide, creating social networks and communities on-air and online" and GCap says that it is working in partnership with Nokia and Apple and has "struck up a great working relationship with Apple, resulting in the first live streamed radio to the iPod Touch in the UK.
The markets were not over-impressed with the plans and GCap's shares ended Monday down 2.9% at GBP 184.25 pence, valuing the company at GBP 304 million ( USD 596 million), GBP 9 million (USD 17.6 million) below the rejected offer for the company from Global Radio.
Looking at the graph of share movements, it would appear that early hopes for the plan were dashed as the stock, which had risen to a day's high of 189.25 pence - just below the 190 pence offer- plunged to 182 pence shortly after the announcement before recovering a little.
2008-02-11: This week we concentrate our look at print comment on radio in the UK where comments about her new station by a former BBC Radio 5 Live presenter who has moved to BBC Radio 4 sparked defence of the station and a degree of debate about its nature.
Summing up the comment and background quite neatly, Jeff Randall in the Daily Telegraph wrote, under the heading, "It is good that BBC Radio 4 is middle class": "Having migrated from BBC Five Live - home of the demotic phone-in - Woman's Hour's new presenter Jane Garvey complains that there is a 'massively middle-class bent to every programme on Radio 4'."
He continued: "Jane, if the definition of "middle-class bent" is a focus on issues that affect law-abiding, tax-paying people, who care more about their children's schooling than a holiday in Florida, prefer home-cooked meals to junk-food takeaways, still read books and would rather listen to commentary in the Queen's English than gutter patois, then there's something in what you say. And three cheers to that."
"The BBC should not be apologising for a radio station that, more than any other part of Auntie's sprawling empire, clings to the basic tenets of Lord Reith's mission: to educate, inform and explain. If this is middle class, at least it is a civilising force.
"In a corporation that is obsessed with promoting diversity, inclusivity and accessibility - code words for non-white, non-shires and non-conservative views - Radio 4 is the last redoubt for millions of listeners who select their broadcaster on quality of output, rather than its role in social engineering."
Randall later also comments on the station as part of the overall BBC Radio output, commenting, "But, let's for a minute, accept the false assumption that Radio 4 does cater largely for house-owning, well-educated types in rich bits of England who know the difference between a Canaletto and Cannelloni So what? The BBC has an Asian Network, a black music station, Welsh language, Irish language and Scots Gaelic output. The World Service talks to people in places that most of us have never heard of. On the website, there's BBC Urdu, BBC Bangla and many others besides. Why shouldn't there be a station that's appreciated largely by the Coping Classes in leafy suburbs?"
He also puts Garvey somewhat in her place, writing, "As for Garvey's unwanted middle classes, who are they? Where do they come from? Do we assess them by background, education, accent, manners, housing, income, wealth, employment, aspiration or a combination of all these factors? How far up the social ladder do you need to climb before becoming middle class? Or is class like caste, permanent in this life?"
In the Sunday Times, columnist and former BBC Radio 4 "Today" breakfast programme editor Rod Liddle hits Garvey harder, writing, after comments on the term middle-class, that Garvey, "pronounced herself 'thrilled' to join Radio 4 back in October last year; I assume that she had listened to the station before she took up the job (and the larger salary). Anyway, she seems to be making the mistake, by implication, of equating the term "working class" with "stupid" or "cretinous"; her objection to Radio 4 is not that it drives a 4x4 and wears pearls, but that it has intelligence and gravitas and depth. .. Only a middle-class person could make such a mistake - and, for sure, Jane is one, both by my rather broad definition (I can't stand the cow) and the more usual one - she was educated at a posh independent school, attended a respectable university and now works as a presenter for the BBC. I mean, how much more middle class can you get? Well, Polly Toynbee, I suppose (who is, incidentally, similarly afflicted). "
In the Independent stable two articles presented a contrasting emphasis, one by John Walsh being much more positive about the station and the other by Janet Street-Porter in the Independent on Sunday much less so.
Street Porter writes under the heading, "Young, gifted... and ignored by Radio 4. The BBC's main spoken word station fails to reflect the diversity of Britain - or even the variety in the white middle class" and continues, "Nothing wrong in that as long as you take care to receive information, ideas and input from the real world outside the cosy (generally white) confines of the BBC. If I was locked in a room and forced to listen to a diet of Libby Purves being bright and interested on Midweek, followed by an edition of Woman's Hour in all its mind-numbing worthiness with Ms Garvey or Jenni Murray talking about menstruation, followed by Money Box Live with that irritating bloke going on about pensions, and then (the real icing on the cake) that dour Winifred whatshername on You and Yours (more stuff about pensions for pensioners) for more than a single day, I think I would top myself."
She goes on, "Don't get me wrong, I regularly listen to Radio 4. I adore The Archers, rarely miss Eddie Mair on PM and tune in to Front Row. I was addicted to the recent serialisation of Lionel Shriver's novel We Need to Talk About Kevin - exemplary stuff; it reduced me to tears. Sadly, these gems are more than offset by ghastly, unfunny shows at 6.30pm, dry-as-dust book programmes, and there's the enigma of Fi Glover and the appalling Saturday Live. Overall, far from being the jewel in the crown of the BBC, Radio 4 is dangerously close to becoming marginal."
RNW comment: To which we would note the business, documentary, science and technology programmes also on the station, suggest that not everyone shares Street Porter's view of the 18:30 weekday comedy slot, and maybe unkindly add that maybe she should be given a hook and rope and locked in a room with the only programming available the programmes that we note she does not mention. At the end of the period she would either deprive the world the pleasure of reading her (one we don't share, normally exercising the equivalent of the off- switch and skipping over her column after glancing at a few paragraphs and writing off the column as the usual half-informed display of prejudice or statements of the obvious) or emerge a little more widely informed.
Lower down her column she moves on to what seems to be her main complaint - the lack of black faces in UK broadcasting and particularly the absence of "black presenters on any of the main Radio 4 current affairs programmes and only one black continuity announcer."
She then concludes her comment on the matter by writing, "Finally, there's the received wisdom on Radio 4 that most listeners are middle aged with the same set of values. My generation - the baby boomers - is redefining what it is to be a pensioner. We spend more time on the internet than any other group, travel and are curious consumers of every kind of culture. Yet Radio 4 constantly portrays the elderly as obsessed about money and health issues. Time for Mr Damazer to offer more challenging fare, please."
To which our comment is that Street Porter again betrays her narrowness and obviously does not listen to much of the channel nor it would appear bother to scan the schedules before she writes about what is on.
In the Independent, John Walsh took a different angle, at first commenting about the "middle-class" description, summing up the dilemmas of the station quite neatly in one paragraph: "Poor Radio 4. It just goes on its own sweet way, at its own stately pace, a slightly droopy Edwardian figure, and people throw things at it and abuse it behind its back. But do the slurs have sustenance? Is it irretrievably middle-class? Since the end of the 1970s, the term "middle-class" has become so generalised, it has ceased to mean much. But if there is middle-class radio, is there such a thing as "upper-class radio" (what would that sound like?). Perhaps Ms Garvey meant there were too many old-fashioned presenters and announcers using received BBC pronunciation, discussing things in a judicious, school-debating-society way, and not enough shock-jock voices hurling opinions at listeners and demanding a response (but only to fill in time until the next commercial break)."
He continues, "Maybe we would be happier with the words "highbrow" and "lowbrow" - but they're generally used about the arts, and Radio 4 arts coverage isn't anything like as highbrow as Radio 3's. Its excellent flagship arts show, Front Row, is more likely to review Cloverfield or Dot Cotton's performance in EastEnders than to swoon over a Berg opera."
Walsh then looks at the audience make-up for the station - 39 per cent are AB1s, high-earning "posh" professionals, 36 per cent are C1s, or medium-rich, junior managers, while the remaining 25 per cent are C2D2s - he does not list a breakdown by age but later takes up the topic amongst others as the excerpts below indicate (for the rest read the full article).
"Radio 4 isn't an organism that evolves in response to consumer demand; it doesn't, by and large, change its essence to woo a radio audience exhausted by the rubbish advertisements on commercial stations, or sated with the footie on Five Live This is crucial to its appeal. Radio 4 has always sounded middle-aged, but intelligently so, like your clever uncle whom you stop regarding as a tragic old git when you grow up and hit 30 and start listening to what he says Here is the only place on earth where a show called Gardeners' Question Time could find an audience, and where the host pretends, by effortful little jokes about mulch and fertiliser, that this is not a specialist show for horticultural nerds but a programme that everyone can enjoy
"Children find Radio 4 boring because they equate the music and phatic monologue on XFM with entertainment. When they discover the pleasures of good writing and intelligent conversation as they grow older, they discover Radio 4 and become converts. But it has to be said: the station does flirt with boredom and depression It has a blithe unconcern for its listeners' attention spans and capacity for downbeat subjects
"It's precisely the oddness of Radio 4 that we value. The querulous carping tone of You and Yours, or the valetudinarian huffing on Yesterday in Parliament may make you switch channels to Virgin or Magic FM, where you can listen to some music for a while; but the feeling that you might be missing something interesting will always bring you back. There are about 20 Radio 4 shows to which I listen regularly, with such enjoyment that I arrange car rides and shopping trips around them: they include Today, Broadcasting House, The News Quiz, Any Questions, Front Row, Down the Line (and you can tell it's a spoof because the faux-DJ presenter Gary Bellamy has a convincingly chippy Five Live voice, one that would never get a job on Radio 4) A Good Read and anything in which Paul Gambaccini investigates a musical event."
Walsh concludes, "As the Roman poet Catullus said: "I hate and I love; why I do so, you may well ask."
"Lots of Radio 4 fans will confess the same. They love the hours they spend with it, but they'll begrudge having to listen to some less-than-sparkling drama or leaden comedy. But they won't switch channels (or switch off) because it would be like switching off a voice in your head that explains the world or reassures you through the day, and keeps you tuned into the thought processes of your extended family: Uncle John Humphrys, Aunt Martha Kearney, Cousin Paul Merton, Great-Aunt Kate Adie..."
After BBC radio 4 over to the US and regrettably all-too-frequent topics of articles about radio - the crassness and bigotry that makes it to air and the commercial woes of the medium but little of content to praise.
The host who made the headlines this week was Chet Coppock to whom Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti applied the term "creep" in a column headed "Chicago sports radio stuck in sewer" that followed a five-shift suspension of the host for an anti-Semitic comment made on air.
Not one to mince words, Mariotti began his column by commenting, "It's a good thing Chicago's two sports radio stations, WMVP and WSCR, are bottom feeders in the quarterly ratings. Otherwise, the perception might be that their hosts define the city. And heaven help us if we were personified by a collection of crude, disgusting cavemen who spew anti-Semitism, conduct ``hug a Black'' missions, make fun of people on life support, refer to a female TV executive as ``a bitch'' and react to Bill Wirtz's passing by asking which local figures should die next."
"This," he comments, "isn't just irresponsible behaviour. It's really sick and demented, making shock jocks sound like cool-jazz DJs."
And continuing the attack: "Hardly a week passes without one of these creeps finding trouble. This time, it's WMVP's Chet Coppock, who wins the Marge Schott award for slurring Jews on his show last weekend. For some peculiar reason, Coppock was asked on the program how he spells Jewish. ``M-O-N-E-Y,'' he responded. It is a flagrant Jewish stereotype, of course, and it follows a recent bizarre pattern in which Coppock was suspended for dropping his pants in the presence of a female employee -- he was trying to moon another male host, I'm told -- and was assaulted by a fan outside Allstate Arena after a DePaul game. Obviously troubled, the 58-year-old veteran of the local broadcasting scene shouldn't be anywhere near a live microphone."
And then the crux as concerns anybody interested in radio as a medium: "But he continues to work because he and other hosts are enabled by executives who confuse smut with cutting-edge programming -- and, by extension, attempts to drive ratings and profits."
Mariotti gives further examples and then comments, "Another problem is allowing sports hosts with low IQs to pontificate about social issues. For years, WSCR's Mike North has embarrassed his hometown by forcing his views on race, religion and current events when, in truth, he's just a goof who was pulled out of a hot-dog stand 15 years ago. North has a hard enough time putting together a sports argument, much less breaking down Hillary vs. Obama. But there he was, mimicking and mocking brain-damaged Terri Schiavo during her right-to-die drama. Sorry, but why is a sports host telling me about Terri Schiavo? And wouldn't I want to scream if I heard him ridiculing her, wondering how he might feel if she was one of his family members?"
And after detailing further North practices Mariotti asks reasonably enough why he remains on air - coming up with an answer that related not to the audience (although we would ask where he would be were the sports fans of Chicago opted to turn the radio off whenever he's on?) but "because he successfully curried the favour of White Sox and Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who sees himself as a similar rags-to-riches story and placed North in his trusted circle many years ago."
Reinsdorf, according to Mariotti also allows others to "get away with bad behaviour" and he accuses the station of having "shamefully sold its soul to the chairman."
He also suggests a business reason (back to the audience although not actually attacking them) - "Attacking specific age demographics, station bosses emphasize "guy talk'' that often morphs into "Animal House'' talk, though most hosts are old enough to be the fathers of frat boys.
We also noted various comments about radio cutbacks but have opted to leave them out this week and go straight to the end of Ben Fong-Torres "Radio Waves"column from the San Francisco Chronicle.
He begins with comment on one cut that was reversed when the audience spoke - a decision by John Scott, who had replaced Clear Channel's Green 960 Program Director Bob Agnew, to cut down the syndicated morning show from Stephanie Miller and in its place anchor a news block himself, commenting of the reason, "It's ratings and revenue. Stephanie has not been able to achieve a level of ratings where we can make a buck."
Apparently the audience didn't agree - Scott apparently received a massive negative response - and has reversed his decision.
And to end comments we suggest a look at Fong-Torres column a little later in which he reproduces a posting "You Know You've Been in Radio Too Long If ..." that he says has been making the rounds.
Amongst the list the two that topped out list were "You played practical jokes on the air without fear of lawsuits"; "You used to smoke in a radio station and nobody cared"; and, thinking particularly of the recent row over such activities at the BBC, "You ran a phone contest and nobody called, so you made up a name and gave the tickets to your cousin" albeit the BBC staff concerned seem to have made up the names to fill the air rather than gain any advantage.
On then to listening suggestions and after the encomiums for BBC Radio 4 we have to start there: From the weekend, we suggest BBC Radio 4's current Saturday morning series "And The Academy Award Goes To..." in which Paul Gambaccini traces the history of the Oscars and tells the story behind award-winning films. Last Saturday's edition was on "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" whilst next Saturday (10:30 GMT) the programme is on "The Silence of the Lambs."
Also from Radio 4 at the weekend we suggest Sunday's "In Business" on "Team Spirit" and from weekday afternoons this week "The Afternoon Reading "(15:30 GMT): The readings this week are under the heading "Cupid Strikes" with each programme being a story connected to St Valentine's Day.
Then another of the station programmes we try and catch, its "Music Feature" that on Tuesday )13:30 GMT) is "The Jazz Baroness" - "The Jazz Baroness" in which film maker Hannah Rothschild tells the story of her eccentric great aunt Pannonica Rothschild, who settled in New York after World War II and became famous as the Baroness of the Bebop jazz revolution and whose patronage benefited musicians such as Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, the latter dying in her hotel apartment, causing, to it mildly, somewhat of a scandal. It's on the web site and will be repeated on Saturday (15:30 GMT).
Also from Tuesday (09:00 GMT) we suggest "World on the Move-Great Animal Migrations" the first programme in a series following the movement and migration of animals across the planet and later in the morning "The Defeat of Sleep" (11:00 GMT) in which BBC science correspondent Pallab Ghosh (Janet Street Porter, had she widened her listening might have spotted that this is not a typical Anglo-Saxon or English name) Ghosh investigates the potential effects of anti-sleep drugs on society and the following programme, "The Strange Parallel World of Christian Pop" in which Paul Bayley tells the story of this musical genre, usually neglected in the UK at least.
And as a final Tuesday suggestion, this week's "Law in Action" features US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia talking to Clive Coleman about terrorists and torture, abortion, the legal image of the US abroad and how judges judge.
We also suggest Friday evening's "News Quiz" (18:30 GMT or an MP3) and next Saturday's "Archive Hour" - "Gould's Mind" in which Piers Plowright looks at the career of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, who abandoned the concert platform to produce a series of ground-breaking documentaries for radio and TV
Then BBC Radio 3 and this week's "Composer of the Week" (Noon with a 20:45 GMT repeat is Herbert Howells, including archive interviews with the composer and in the evenings "The Essay" (Monday through Thursday at 23:00 GMT), that this week is on the topic "A Sense of Ourselves" and features four writers and immigrants to Britain giving an outsider's perspective on modern Britishness.
We'd also suggest the following programme "Late Junction" on Tuesday when Fiona Talkington marks 50 years of the work of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
And from Saturday we suggest "Between the Ears" (21:45 GMT) - "Mobius Strip and the Confidence Trickster" in which Forensic Psychiatrist Anne MacDonald, architect Cecil Balmond and the fiancé of a compulsive liar try to understand the process of psychological manipulation in humans using the mathematical concept of the Mobius Strip - a piece of paper with only one side.
After that BBC Radio 2 and from last Saturday "I Want You Back...The Story of the Jackson Five."
Then from Thursday we suggest "Aspects of Love" (22:00 GMT) in which Jerry Hall explores the mythology, philosophy and physiology of love with the help of a group of philosophers, scientists, authors, artists and musicians and the following (23:00 GMT) third part of Chris Jagger's look at the work and influence of Alexis Korner.
Finally from Radio 2 two more music documentaries, the fourth and final part of "The Dust Bowl Balladeer", the story of Woody Guthrie on Friday (19:00 GMT) and from Saturday (20:00 GMT), "Mark Lamarr's Redneck Music", the first of a four-part series.
RNW Note: As we are behind with our listening and posting, we will update with various podcast/MP3 suggestions later.
Chicago Sun-Times - Mariotti:
San Francisco Chronicle - Fong-Torres:
UK Independent - Walsh:
UK Independent-on-Sunday - Street-Porter:
UK Sunday Times - Liddle:
UK Telegraph - Randall:
2008-02-11: According to the UK Sunday Times, GCap Media is to sell its stake in the national commercial digital multiplex Digital One for a token GBP 1 (USD 2) to its partner Arqiva.
The paper says the move will deal a blow to government hopes to increase digital radio take-up and is being made to save money in the face of a possible GBP 313 million (USD 454 million) takeover bid from Global Radio and adds that new chief executive Fru Hazlitt will also pull the plug on the group's remaining digital-only stations, Planet Rock and The Jazz as part of her turnaround plan.
GCap estimates the Sunday Times will save around GBP 8 million (USD 11.6 million) a year through the move and says analysts believe GCap must pledge to at least double earnings by 2010 from the GBP 19 million (USD 27.6 million) forecast for the year to March to stay independent.
It adds that Global will also bid for Virgin Radio, which is being sold off for around GBP 70 million (USD 101.5 million) with first round bids to owner SMG due this week.
Hazlitt's predecessor Ralph Bernard was a major commercial radio proponent of digital radio and put around GBP 80 million (USD 116 million) into it.
UK Sunday Times report:
2008-02-11: Australian talk host Alan Jones and Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB are facing court action over comments made about Moslems following a decision that Moorebank, Sydney, resident Sam Ekermawi can revive a complaint he made with Australia's Anti-Discrimination Board and that had originally been declined.
The Sydney Sunday Telegraph reports that the original decision not to take the case was made because transcripts provided were inconsistent with Ekermawi's allegations but he then lodged an appeal with the full transcripts. This case was heard whilst he was overseas and he submitted that the complaint should "be revived in the interests of justice."
The Administrative Decisions Tribunal that granted him leave to re-open the case said the Anti-Discrimination Board "did not have all of the relevant information" at the time it made its original ruling and had believed incorrectly that Ekermawi did not wish to pursue his complaint.
The report adds that according to the complaint Jones had said that there was a "fight between Muslims and Christians and Muslims are unable to live within Australian communities" and that this sparked numerous phone calls from listeners who continued "with an onslaught of Islamic hatred" with some saying Muslims should be deported.
The case is to be heard later this year but no date was given.
Last year led the Australian Communications and Media Authority ruled that Jones and Macquarie Radio Network's Sydney 2GB had breached industry codes in comments about riots in the Cronulla area of southern Sydney in December 2005 that involved Middle Eastern groups and other residents (See RNW Apr 12, 2007).
Previous Macquarie Radio Network:
Sydney Sunday Telegraph report:
2008-02-10: Last week was again a quiet one for the regulators as regards radio with the main items of import from the US where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted its new media ownership rules, again provoking dissent from the two Democrats on the commission (See RNW Feb 5) and the UK where Ofcom updated its rules relating to required local content and DAB multiplex quality (See RNW Feb 8), in both cases rejecting broadcasters calls to ease regulation further. Elsewhere there were no radio announcements from Australia or Ireland and only a few from Canada.
There radio-related postings from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) included (in order of province):
*Approval of application by Astral Media Radio Atlantic Inc. to change the frequency of its transmitter CIKX-FM-1, Plaster Rock, from 91.7 MHz to 88.3 MHz. Astral said its existing unprotected frequency would interfere with a new frequency approved for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CBAF-FM-21, Bon Accord.
*Denial of application by Sidney E. Dolson for a licence for a predominantly English-language, low-power 50-watts Type B Native FM radio programming undertaking in Muncey. The CRTC noted that the applicant indicated that the station would be owned and operated solely by himself whereas requirements for such a licence include conditions that it be one that is "owned and controlled by a non-profit organization whose structure provides for board membership by the native population of the region served." On this basis, it said, the applicant was ineligible to hold the licence.
*Denial of application by Bayshore Broadcasting Corporation to add a 5,450 watts FM transmitter in Owen Sound to carry the programming of CFOS-AM, Owen Sound.
Bayshore said this would address signal deficiencies encountered in Owen Sound from October to March but the application was opposed amongst others by other station operators Blackburn Radio Inc., Larche Communications Inc. and Evanov Communications Inc.
Rejecting the application the CRTC noted that the proposed transmitter would extend the area currently covered by CFOS and differed from other applications it had approved of low-power FM transmitters that would broadcast within the area of an AM signal to address deficiencies.
In addition it noted that Bayshore currently operates two FM stations in the market and said it considered that approval of this application would result in Bayshore having three FM presences in the market, giving it an advantage and potentially limiting the future diversity of voices in the market.
In the UK, Ofcom has, as already noted, introduced new rules regarding local broadcasting and Dab multiplexes. Ofcom also announced that only UTV's Wish FM had applied for its licence and is to be invited to re-apply under fast-track procedures and called for comments on the single application for the Lincolnshire digital multiples (For both see RNW Feb 9).
In addition it updated its timetable for analogue licence re-advertisements and posted details of further community radio grants it has awarded.
The analogue licence timetable includes the following:
March 2008: Yorkshire Dales licence currently held by Fresh Radio.
Ullapool licence currently held by Lochbroom FM.
Greater London licence currently held by XFM.
Medway Towns licence currently held by KMFM.
Canterbury licence currently held by KMFM
Dover/Folkestone licence currently held by KMFM.
East Midlands licence currently held by Heart 106 (This licence currently qualifies for renewal because of provision of a signal on the local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
June 2008: Wolverhampton licence currently held by The Wolf.
July 2008: Southport licence currently held by Dune FM.
Eastbourne licence currently held by Sovereign Radio.
East of England licence currently held by Kiss 105-108 (This licence currently qualifies for renewal because of provision of a signal on the local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
Peterhead licence currently held by Waves Radio (This licence currently qualifies for renewal because of provision of a signal on the local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
Thanet licence currently held by KMFM (* Note - One of the four licences currently held by KM Radio qualifies for renewal and will not be re-advertised).
Huddersfield licence currently held by Home FM.
Western Isles licence currently held by Isles FM.
Cambridge licence currently held by STAR Radio.
Liverpool licence currently held by Juice FM (This licence currently qualifies for renewal because of provision of a signal on the local digital multiplex and may not be re-advertised).
Hastings licence currently held by Arrow FM.
Regarding community awards. Ofcom had GBP 160,400 (USD 312,000) available to grant in its second round of awards, having allocated GBP 304,600 (USD 593,000) in addition to GBP 35,000 (USD 68,000) awarded by the Department of Culture Media and Sport for alternative community media projects.
Regarding the second round, Ofcom said its panel considered 52 applications, making grants to 12 applicants. The average grant was GBP 13,365 (USD 26,000), with a maximum of GBP 16,000 (USD 31,000).
The awards made (In descending amount order) went to:
Radio St Austell Bay, Cornwall - GBP 16,000 for a fundraiser:
10Radio, Somerset - GBP 15,500 for a Development Manager.
IúrFM, Newry - GBP 15,000 for a Station Manager.
BRFM The Bridge, Isle of Sheppey - GBP 15,000 for a Community Fundraising & Development Officer.
The Super Station, Orkney - GBP 15,000 for a Fundraising Officer.
Voice of Arica, London - GBP 15,000 for a Project/ Station Manager.
Hayes FM, Hayes - GBP 15,000 for a Station manager.
Radio Verulam, St Albans - GBP 14,000 for a Business Development Manager.
Youthcomm Radio, Worcester - GBP 14,000 made up of GBP 9,190 for a Volunteer Community Support Worker and GBP 4,810 for a Fundraiser.
Phoenix FM, Halifax - GBP 10,200 for a Training & Participation Officer.
Salford City Radio, Salford - GBP 9,190 for a Station Manager.
WCR FM, Wolverhampton - GBP 6,500 for a Manager.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as noted has posted its media ownership rules, raising protests from the Democrat minority
In addition President Bush has proposed an 8.3% rise in its budget for the 2009 financial year (See RNW Feb 5).
The FCC also issued a number of penalties or proposed penalties and posted various rulings on renewals that had been contested.
The penalties posted or proposed included (In descending amount order) the following radio-related ones:
*Affirmed USD 21,000 penalty on of Twenty-One Sound Communications, Inc., licensee of KNSX-FM, Steelville and Florissant, Missouri for failure to maintain Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment in operational readiness condition, failure to maintain a main studio in compliance with the Rules, and failure to maintain a complete public inspection file. USD 18,000 of this related to the main studio and EAS breaches and USD 3,000 to the public file violations.
Review had been sought on the basis among other things that there had been no intention to violate the rules, that the guard on duty during an inspection in March 2001 was the station's manager - the FCC noted that he said in the presence of the station owner that he was not part of station management, and that the main studio was actually in the transmitter building not the guard shack previously identified as the main studio and that EAS rules were not violated because he had 60 days to correct problems with the equipment.
The FCC concluded that its original penalties had been justified and upheld the total penalty.
*Issued USD 10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) to Peak Communications, Inc., licensee of KQBE-FM, Ellensburg, Washington, for public file violations over a period of six years. The licence was renewed.
*Imposed USD 5,600 penalty on SM Radio, Inc., licensee of KUOL-AM, San Marcos, Texas, for failing to maintain a main studio presence in its community of licence. The penalty was reduced from USD 7,000 initially proposed. SM had appealed for reconsideration on the basis of inability to pay and a history of compliance and a reduction was made on the latter basis but did not accept the argument in terms of ability to pay.
SM had appealed against the latter decision arguing on the basis that the programming on the station and others owned by the same proprietor is primarily religious in nature and that that listeners' monetary donations "help defray the costs of station operation and expand the reach of the Bernal ministry."
The FCC noted that SM had not identified sources of funding and refused to provide financial information that would give a complete picture of the resources available to it, instead basing its inability to pay claim solely on SM Radio's financial statements.
The FCC in confirming the penalty noted that the status of religious broadcaster did not shelter SM from its obligations to operate in accordance with its responsibilities as a Commission licensee, nor exempt certain sources of income from consideration in gauging its ability to pay.
Regarding licences, decisions posted by the commission included the following:
Tentatively awarded permit for low power FM station at Anchorage to Anchorage Christian Life which was facing mutually exclusive application from Organization for Northern Development.
*Renewal of licence of The Greenwich Broadcasting Corporation's WGCH-AM, Greenwich, which had been the subject of a number of objections, saying it should not be renewed because of the station's minimal efforts to serve the local news coverage needs of the community, in particular, in reference to lack of local coverage during snow emergencies in January and February of 2006.
The broadcaster said that the station, a twenty-four hour news and information outlet, broadcast at least three and a half hours of local news programming each day and the FCC said that it had not been given factual allegations to justify refusal. It also noted that whilst it recognized the concerns expressed about the quality of the station's programming its role in overseeing content is limited.
*Upheld objections to its tentative decision to grant a permit to construct a new non-commercial educational FM at Favoretta to Daystar Public Radio, Inc. and tentatively granted the licence to Central Florida Educational Foundation, Inc. which, along with Post-Newsweek Stations, Orlando, Inc., had objected.
The licence was originally tentatively awarded on the basis of the commission's points system after Daystar and Central along with four others had filed mutually exclusive applications for various communities. The FCC's analysis eliminated the other applications and on a points basis selected the Daystar application over that of Central's application for a licence for Palm Coast, Florida.
The Daystar application certified that its plans would protect the operations of Post-Newsweek's station WKMG-TV and would not cause interference to the reception of more than 4,000 people, a figure Daystar had calculated on the basis of the 1990 census.
Post-Newsweek objected that the figures were outdated, did not take into account growth in the region, and did not meet the requirement to use the most recently published census data. It said its figures, based on the 2000 census showed that 4,143 people lived in the predicted interference area.
Daystar had responded that the 1990 census figures were the latest released when it made the application and that it was not required to update pending applications each time new figures were released and this argument was accepted.
Central's objection was on the basis that Favoretta was not a licensable community as it had no geographical boundaries, was not incorporated or recognized as a separate community.
Daystar had responded to this by saying that Favoretta is on a list of communities compiled by the Florida Department of Education but the FCC agreed with the objection that Favoretta was not a licensable community and accordingly re-allocated the licence to Central as the tentative selectee.
Upheld objection from Water of Life Radio to tentative award of an LPFM service at Missoula to St. Gregory's Communication Association and tentatively granted the licence to the former on the basis of the FCC's points allocation system.
Awarded Calvary Chapel of Southern Ocean County a Construction Permit for a low power FM at West Creek: Two mutually exclusive applications - from Public Broadcasting of Southern Ocean County, Inc. for a station at Eagleswood and Heritage Bay Homeowners Association, Inc. for a station at Barnegat were turned down.
Previous Licence News:
CRTC web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-02-09: UK media regulator Ofcom says that only incumbent broadcaster UTV's Wish FM has applied for the Wigan and St Helen's local FM licence, for which it will now invite UTV to re-apply under its fast track procedure.
It has also called for comment on the sole application for the Lincolnshire digital multiplex, submitted by MuxCo Lincolnshire Limited in which Lincs FM Group Ltd holds 51% and MuxCo Ltd 49% (See RNW Licence News Jan 27).
The group is offering seven services plus BBC Radio Lincolnshire.
Also regarding UK digital, national commercial multiplex Digital One has now switched on its Whitby transmitter, adding a choice of further national services to another potential 30,000 listeners.
Currently Digital One's national transmitter network can reach more than 85% of the British population.
Previous Digital One:
2008-02-08: CBS Radio has followed Clear Channel and Emmis by culling staff with details emerging of budget cuts that the company says involve less than 5% of its staff positions that have either been ended or reorganized.
The company says the moves will allow it to "continue to build on our strategy of deploying our assets to best grow our ratings and monetize results" and adds that the changes in operating structure introduced have improved its business practices by "by simplifying buying and selling transactions, speeding up the decision-making process and importantly, allowing us to more effectively monetize the aggregate number of listeners who hear us on the radio and the Internet."
Amongst those who are out are K-Rock (WXRK-FM) Program Director Tracy Cloherty, who took up the post a little over six months ago; Fresh 102.7 (WWFS-FM) PD Rick Martini; Chicago adult rock WXRT-FM VP and General Manager Michael Damsky, a 24-year veteran with the station; Cleveland Soft Rock 102.1 (WDOK-FM) PD Scott Miller ; Dallas Lite FM (KVIL-FM) PD Charlie Connolly; and Las Vegas Jack 100.5 (KKJJ-FM) PD/MD Craig Powers.
2008-02-08: UK media regulator Ofcom has turned down approaches from radio companies to allow them to reduce the amount of locally made programming and has also moved to regulate audio quality on digital multiplexes.
In a statement posted as part of its "Future of Radio" review, Ofcom requires local FMs to broadcast at least ten hours of locally-made programmes each weekday during daytime (including breakfast) and at least four hours at weekends; and AM stations at least four hours of locally-made programming every day of the week. Stations based in the nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) will be required to provide a further six weekday hours of programming from their home nation.
Ofcom notes in relation to this that when it proposed these guidelines, commercial radio industry respondents broadly considered that the amount of locally-made programming should either not be regulated at all, or should be part of a co-regulatory approach and that if Ofcom considered regulation was required, for FM stations this should be limited to seven hours on weekdays to allow stations maximum flexibility.
It adds that No station will be required to produce more locally-made programming than at present and, for many licensees, the new guidelines represent substantial deregulation.
Regarding digital multiplexes, it says it has concluded stereo and mono broadcasting on DAB should be regulated to preserve sound quality for listeners. Licensees wishing to switch from stereo to mono must now request approval from Ofcom although the policy will be reviewed after 12 months.
The new regulations have been brought into effect immediately.
Ofcom "The Future of Radio - Localness on analogue commercial radio and stereo and mono broadcasting on DAB (147 Kb 44-page PDF):
2008-02-08: Entercom has announced that it negotiations over his contract have broken down parted company with DJ Brother Wease (Real name Alan Levin), Rochester WCMF-FM morning drive host for 23 years who has been off air since the end of last year (See RNW Jan 5).
WHEC TV reported that the negotiations were ended abruptly with a statement from Entercom Regional Vice President, Michael Doyle that said, "We did our best to try and bring Wease back to WCMF, but in the end, were not able to reach an agreement. We understand that he intends to pursue other opportunities."
Doyle said the Wease Show was being replaced by "The Men's Room" show "featuring an ensemble cast of some of Rochester's best radio personalities."
"Over the past month," he added, "we have heard very positive comments about the show we have been putting on the air. We are excited by the prospect of taking the show in a different direction with some new stars."
The station adds that when it phoned Wease he was unable to say what the opportunities were.
Entercom took over the station from CBS last year as part of a USD 262 million four-market 15 station deal (See RNW Aug 22, 2007)
2008-02-08: Salem has announced the appointment of Sean O'Neill as General Manager of its two New York City Christian talk stations WMCA-AM and WWDJ -AM.
O'Neill has relocated to New Jersey with his family and commented, "I'm thrilled to be a part of Salem and these great heritage New York stations. There are many exciting opportunities on the horizon and I'm honoured to be leading the team that will take these stations to the next level."
Before he joined Salem, O'Neill was General Sales Manager for four and a half years at CBS-owned KFWB NEWS 980 and the Dodgers Radio Network and before that he was Vice-President and General Manager of Big City Radio's Spanish Pop station KLYY "VIVA 107.1" in Los Angeles.
2008-02-07: On the heels of Emmis's flip of smooth rock WQCD, New York, to new adult rock format (See RNW Feb 6) comes word that the company has eliminated a total of 46 jobs in five markets - Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and St. Louis.
The total includes those lost as a result of the flip and Emmis said in a statement that like many industry peers it "took these steps as an expense-reduction effort and to better position the company."
Emmis added that another dozen employees would be moved to new posts or have their hours cut: Regarding the jobs that have gone it said many were part time and it had provided a generous severance package.
2008-02-07: The birdsong audio that has been airing on the digital channel previously used by Oneword in the UK (See RNW Jan 12) has proved unexpectedly popular according to the UK Daily Telegraph, which adds that it has also sparked a flood of internet chatter as twitchers try to identify the birds on the tape.
The audio was recorded in the Wiltshire garden of Digital One's chairman Quentin Howard in the spring of 1992 and the paper quoted one listener, who claimed to have identified more than 12 types, as saying, "I'm sure there must be more. It's one hell of a garden."
Another commented that it was "a lot more enjoyable than some of the rubbish on air these days - and definitely better than debate or phone-in shows full of 'oiks' shouting at each other."
Others were less complimentary, one commenting, "It's not exactly forest wildlife, melodic birdsong and waterfalls, is it? More like annoying crows and random gunshots to make you jump."
Howard said that as soon as another broadcaster takes up the channel the birdsong will go again - as it has before when there were phone calls and letters of complaint.
He added that he was open to offers from birdwatchers to maintain the service but they would have to raise the estimated GBP 1 million (USD 2 million) a year cost of running a digital channel and even then would need adverts to be commercially viable.
Previous Digital One:
UK Telegraph report:
2008-02-07: So far it hasn't put them into the Australian charts but Indie rock band The Sunpilots, winners of the rock category in last year's NA2R (New Artist to Radio) event that Australian commercial radio stages to find the next big on-air group, has topped this week's most added position with Australian radio.
Their single "Spotlight in the Sun" also topped the most added ranks in the Dance/Pop and Contemporary Rock: It has the support of the Nova network, the Hit Music Stream, Triple M, Macquarie Southern Cross Media and various regional stations.
Another winner, Brett Barnes, who took the Adult Contemporary category award, was fourth most added in AC radio, gaining particular support from the Australian Radio Network (ARN).
Joan Warner, Chief executive of industry body Commercial Radio Australia said the news was fantastic for the artists and testament to Australian commercial radio's role in promoting new Australian talent.
"NA2R," she said, "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. This initial success for two of last year's winners highlights the fundamental ideal of the NA2R initiative and hopefully will be the first of many successes for these talented artists."
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
2008-02-07: Mega Media Group has announced that it is to launch its rhythmic top 40 Pulse 87.7 FM in New York next Monday with the Star and Buc Wilde Morning Show scheduled to launch the following Monday.
Mega had announced a long term lease of the announced a long-term lease of Island Broadcasting Company frequency in November last year. (See RNW Nov 29, 2007)
Mega also announced that the station will be led by radio veteran Joel Salkowitz, whose CV includes spells with Sirius Satellite Radio, where he was as Vice President of Music Programming and Content, Clear Channel, ABC Radio, NBC Radio, Westwood One and Emmis for whom, as Regional of Programming at Emmis' HOT97 (WQHT) in New York, he helped develop the Rhythm Top 40 format.
Salkowitz said that he was "excited to be a part of a new, independent radio business that I can help to grow from its very inception."
He added, "It will be especially gratifying to work with Star who is one of the top morning talents in the country and who was able to have such a huge impact on not one, but two radio stations in New York. He's a one-of-a-kind personality and together with a unique music format, we're going to give New York something to get excited about on the radio again."
RNW comment: Our view is that Star (aka Troi Torain) whose one-air record portrays him as a crude, bigoted, racist, misogynist, is not one to praise albeit he could be said to have a value in bringing some of the darker elements of the audience to light.. In this case we would not shed a tear to see the whole venture collapse with financial losses for the investors and an indelible stain on Salkowitz escutcheon.
Previous Torain (Star):
2008-02-06: U. S. Public Broadcasting officials have vowed to fight yet more drastic budget cuts proposed by President Bush, this time of around 60% of the funding already appropriated by Congress to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
The recommendations from the President include taking USD 200 million from the USD 400 million already appropriated by Congress for the CPB in the 2009 financial year and USD 220 million from the USD 420 million already appropriated for the 2010 financial year. In addition the President proposes to allow no additional funding in the 2009 financial year for public radio and public television digital conversion or upgrades to the Public Radio Satellite System.
In all this would cut the CPB's 2008 financial year funding by 56% and CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison said in a news release, "While we are acutely aware of the difficult budgetary choices facing the federal government, the cuts proposed in the budget for public broadcasting are draconian. Implementation of these severe cuts would impact millions of Americans who utilize public broadcasting on so many levels beginning with educational programming and services. Further, it would work to degrade a 40-year partnership the American people overwhelmingly support and their elected representatives in Congress have repeatedly voted to strengthen."
The CPB notes that in many parts of the United States, local public radio and television stations are the last locally-owned and locally-operated media outlets and that while the Federal investment comprises only 16 percent of the average station's budget, for small stations in rural and minority communities, that percentage is much higher. It adds that the proposed budget, if enacted, would force these stations to reduce services or shut down entirely.
National Public Radio (NPR) CEO Ken Stern also criticised the recommendations, commenting, "Just days ago, a national Pew survey cited public radio and NPR as the only growing broadcast news source for Americans seeking to learn about the presidential race. Now, the drastic proposed cuts threaten to diminish this kind of information, context and community that we provide more than 30 million citizens weekly. Communities across the country rely on public radio as one of their most valuable local assets, and this value has been recognized for years with bipartisan endorsement of continued funding. The last time funding was challenged more than 2 million Americans who count on public broadcasting contacted their members of Congress and made their voices heard. We welcome their renewed support as we respond to this challenge."
RNW note: The president has proposed cuts every year since he became president and Congress has ignored his recommendations each time, making it very unlikely in the run-up to a presidential election that it will not again reject his recommendations. It also seems to us that compared to the value of having a well informed public the figures involved in total are very small beer compared to the funding that goes on pork projects in the US.
2008-02-06: Emmis has flipped its New York smooth jazz WQCD (CD 101.9) to what it terms an innovative adult rock format 101.9 WRXP, The New York Rock Experience. Although it is retaining the smooth jazz output on the frequency's HD2 side channel.
Emmis made the move following multiple research projects from Paragon Media Strategies and says the new station, which launched with Rock and Roll" by New York Icon Lou Reed & the Velvet Underground, followed by the world premiere of REM's "Supernatural Superserious, will air a variety of rock from artists like Franz Ferdinand, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana, Coldplay, U2, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, The Police, Beck, Radiohead, The Who, Oasis, Arcade Fire, Social Distortion and REM.
The company says the playlist will be determined by the qualities of the music rather than era and RXP Program Director Blake Lawrence said in a release, "On-air personalities will play a direct part in choosing the music. It's unheard of in radio these days, but 101.9 RXP is about the music and not so much the music business - we're merging rock styles and generations into a singular community that we call The New York Rock Experience."
Emmis VP of Programming Jimmy Steal added, "Having grown up on the great NY rock radio of the past, I'm absolutely thrilled that Emmis has identified an unserved audience that now has a great new 3 dimensional rock brand. This brand builds, and expands upon, NY's great rock radio legacy -
RXP is a rock station that truly represents a rock culture, for rock music lovers.....and is not just another rock format."
The new station has a new web site whilst information about the smooth jazz output remains on the CD1019.com site which thanks listeners for their support over the past two decades but says that due to "a declining audience for Smooth Jazz over the past few years" the format will no longer be available on the 101.9 signal but will continue on HD. It adds that CD1019.com will continue to provide you with upcoming smooth jazz events in association with the HD2 channel, and if you are a member of the CD101.9 Loyal Listener Club you will continue to receive e-mail updates.
CD1019 web site:
101.9 RXP web site:
2008-02-06: This year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards have included a Lifetime Achievement Award for John Martyn, the Scottish singer-songwriter. It was presented to him by his friend, Phil Collins - with whom he first collaborated on the 1980 album, "Grace And Danger" and in a message Eric Clapton said Martyn was "so far ahead of everything, it's almost inconceivable."
Other awards included the "Folk Singer of the Year Award" to Julie Fowlis; the "Good Tradition Award" to Shirley Collins in recognition of her exceptional work championing English song; both the "Best Album" - for "Prodigal Son" - and the "Best Original Song"- for "Never Any Good" - awards to Martin Simpson; the "Duo of the Year" award to John Tams & Barry Coope; "Best Traditional Track" to "Cold Haily Rainy Night" by "The Imagined Village"; "Musician of The Year" to accordionist Andy Cutting ; "Best Live Act" to Bellowhead; and the "Best Group" to Lau;
The Horizon Award for the best emerging artist went to the all-female group "Rachel Unthank & The Winterset" and "The Folk Club of the Year" to the Dartford Folk Club
Highlights of the show will be broadcast this evening (19:00GMT) in an extended edition of The Mike Harding Show and will then be online for a week.
2008-02-06: Arbitron has announced that it has signed the United Stations Radio Networks, Inc. for its RADAR network ratings service, taking the total number of RADAR-rated networks to 58, a doubling since Arbitron acquired the service in 2001.
USRN will be rated in the RADAR 97 release in June 2008 and its President and COO Jim Higgins commented in a release, "As media accountability and transparency have become the watchwords among our clients, we're excited to now be providing RADAR network ratings to our advertisers. Our philosophy is to deliver the largest audiences for commercials airing on top market stations and to capture the impact of these messages accurately for the ad buying community. RADAR continues to be the gold standard of network radio audience measurement, and USRN is committed to growing our presence in RADAR."
Previous RADAR (RADAR 95):
2008-02-05: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now officially released its new media ownership rules that were first posted in December when it wrapped up its 2006 Quadrennial Regulatory Review, rules that then provoked notes of dissent from the two Democrats on the commission (See RNW Dec 19, 2007) and have again prompted them to complain.
The new rules lift some restrictions on newspaper-broadcaster cross-ownership but leave unchanged current roles on local radio and TV ownership and the dual-network rule and the 124-page (Word document) report highlights the comments made to the agency and says it approach is a "cautious" one that "By modestly loosening the 32-year prohibition on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership, our approach balances the concerns of many commenters that we not permit excessive consolidation with concerns of other commenters that we afford some relief to assure continued diversity and investment in local news programming."
"We believe," it says, "that the decisions we adopt today serve our public interest goals, appropriately take account of the current media marketplace, and comply with our statutory responsibilities."
It continues on to say: "The 1975 cross-ownership ban is the only Commission media ownership rule that has remained in effect without modification for over three decades. Today, we make a modest change in the rule that has the primary effect of presuming that certain limited combinations of newspaper and broadcast facilities in the largest markets are in the public interest."
Statements were issued by all the commissioners, with all taking similar stances to those at the time of the original posting. Chairman Kevin J. Martin says the order "strikes a balance between preserving the values that make up the foundation of our media regulations while ensuring those regulations keep apace with the marketplace of today" and notes that the Court that had rejected most of the proposals made under his predecessor Michael Powell "specifically upheld the Commission's determination that the absolute ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership was no longer necessary."
The report also contains comments by the other Commissioners that are essentially as made in December but in addition Democrats Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps issued a joint statement in which they take up various issues including time tabling regarding which they comment that after they had been told they had to "hurry up" and vote by December 18, the Commission waited more than a month and a half to finally issue the order..
"Apparently, it took the majority that long to finalize issues left unresolved at the time we voted<" they comment. "There is no reason we could not have heeded the wishes of many in Congress to take the time needed to work these kinks out before the Commission voted."
They go on to re-iterate concerns that the cross ownership proposal was "so vague and chock-full of loopholes that it would permit any broadcast station to merge with any newspaper in virtually any market in the country" and add that it creates two new loopholes rather than closing any.
The say they remain Sceptical of the supposed "high hurdle" that the majority say will exist for "combinations that don't qualify for a positive presumption" and continue to say , "Anyone looking to gauge how high this hurdle is likely to be need only flip to paragraph 77, where the majority casually grants five permanent waivers to newspaper-broadcast combinations that would not qualify for the public interest presumption involving top-20 markets and non-top-four TV stations under the new rule."
"The most telling-and troubling-aspect of the majority's analysis," say Copps and Adelstein, "is the absence of any discussion of the twin principles' of diversity and competition underlying the cross-ownership ban" and they also note that the tests proposed "gives the green light to companies to fire reporters and other employees to achieve 'synergies'" and that when there is comment about "avoiding the 'harms associated with mandatory divestitures'" this sets a " dangerous precedent, especially where, as here, the applicants consummated the transaction with full knowledge of the FCC's rules. "
They also say that the "'length of time that the waivers have been pending'-does not compel the granting of a permanent waiver".
They conclude, "Technically, these permanent waivers will not be precedent under the new rules because they (allegedly) are being decided under the existing waiver standard. But they are revealing. And what they reveal does not bode well for those of us concerned about how strictly the new rules are likely to be applied. We said the new rules were likely to be about as tough as a bowl of Jell-O. What we didn't realize was that they may turn out to be as tough as a bowl of Jell-O before it's put in the fridge."
2008-02-05: Long-time Washington D.C. host Don Geronimo - real name Michael Sorce - has confirmed on air that he is to leave "The Don & Mike Show" that he has co-hosted with Mike O'Meara on CBS Radio's WJFK-FM since 1991 and for six years prior to that on WAVA-AM.
The host, who is now 49, will host his last show on May 30 and said he has tried to quit three times since Freda, his wife of 25-years, died in 2005.
The Washington Times quoted him as saying, "My life has changed. Time doesn't heal all wounds, but it does help," and adding that he wants to spend time with his girlfriend, a son graduating from college and three grandchildren.
He added, "Radio is not something I can get out of my blood. I just don't know where I fit right now. I need to get some down time and see what happens next."
WJFK general manager Michael Hughes told the paper, "To say Don will be missed is an understatement He delivers for his audience every single minute of every hour he's on the air and that kind of talent is hard to find. For the better part of two decades, Don has kept us all entertained and engaged with his ability to tell it like it is and willingness to share the most personal of details in his own life,"
The show will be renamed the "Mike O'Meara Show" and will continue with regulars Buzz Burbank, Robb Spewak and Joe Ardinger and Hughses said it "will have that same familiar feeling with a few new elements and surprises."
In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times has reported the death of long-time KFWB-AM on-air personality Don Herbert who joined the station -now owned by CBS Radio - when it converted to an all-news format in 1968. He remained there for 30 years.
Herbert, born Herb Rosenblum in Brooklyn in 1935, majored in broadcasting at the University of Alabama. He worked in radio and television stations in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C., before arriving in Southern California.
After joining KFWB in 1968 he worked as an anchor and reported on many major news stories in the country that year, including the assassinations of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Times notes his interest in science and medical news that led to what he considered one of his greatest accomplishments as a newsman, a series of reports called Operation Heart Start, which led tens of thousands of people to be trained in CPR.
Los Angeles Times report:
Washington Times report:
2008-02-05: British DJ Tony Blackburn, whose career began on the "pirate" stations Radio Caroline and Radio London in the 1960s and who was the launch DJ on BBC Radio 1 in 1967 is to joining Guardian Media Group's Smooth FM to host its weekend breakfast show.
Blackburn, who last year left GCap Media's Classic Gold before its merger with sister network Capital Gold (See RNW Jul 25, 2007), subsequently fronted a pre-recorded classic soul show networked across the kmfm stations in Kent, on Sundays from 16:00 to 19:00 and also hosted the BBC London Saturday lunchtime show is currently hosting a Friday 10:00 to 14:00 show on KCFM 99.8fm in Hull & East Yorkshire, a slot he is expected to retain. In September last year he returned to Radio 1 for a day to mark its 40th anniversary celebrations (See RNW Sep 6, 2007) His Smooth Radio Show will launch on February 16.
The UK Guardian, which is owned by the same parent, quoted Smooth programme controller Gavin McCoy as describing Blackburn as a "consummate professional and an entertainer through and through" and adding, "We are over the moon he'll be leading the charge on the weekends".
Blackburn said Smooth was "a wonderful station with a growing audience and a music format I love."
UK Guardian report:
2008-02-05: President Bush has submitted a 2009 budget for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of USD 338.9 million, up 8.3% on the 2008 proposed budget.
As well as mandatory salary increases and inflationary increases for contracted services, the agency singles out initiatives related to public information about digital TV; combating waste, fraud, and abuse, in the Universal Service Fund; replacing Mobile Digital Direction Finding (MDDF) vehicles that are used to support emergency responders including police and fire departments in the resolution of harmful interference to their communications systems - the commission is asking for USD 900,000 to provide ten Mobile Digital Direction Finding (MDDF) vehicles and associated radio receivers and direction-finding equipment; and establishing a Public Safety Clearinghouse Program that will significantly expand the Commission's coordination and outreach efforts targeted to the public safety community as amongst priorities to be funded.
The agency calculates that it will need the equivalent of 1,899 full time employees for the year, down from 1,919 a year earlier. Most of the budget is to come from regulatory fees - a projected total of USD 337.9 million, up from USD 312 million a year earlier with the remaining -unchanged - USD 1 million coming through direct subvention from Congress.
2008-02-04: This week we start with digital radio in our look at print comment on the medium starting with a comment from the UK as to why commercial radio there has to stick with digital radio followed by US reports giving some sound reasons why many smaller stations may well not bother with HD.
That first comment came from the UK Guardian and Nathalie Schwarz, chairman of 4Digital Radio, following release of the most recent UK radio ratings that showed listening via digital platforms now accounts for getting on for a fifth of UK listening (See RNW Jan 31, 2007).
Under the heading "Why we must stick with digital radio", Schwarz comments that DAB is still very much in its infancy and adds, "The commercial realities are hard and a couple of the new digital stations haven't survived a difficult and unprotected childhood. DAB radio has its share of naysayers and a few wish to read this as an indication of some major strategic problem and question the viability of digital radio."
She then goes on to decry this view, writing, "At a time when digital convergence is being driven at a faster pace in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, it's a viewpoint those of us who support DAB radio have some difficulty understanding.
Schwarz then comments that as "other traditional media rush to reshape their businesses and capture a stake in the new digital world, the debate we should be engaged in is surely about how radio can avoid being left on the sidelines and flourish in a converging digital landscape If there's a better alternative to making DAB the cornerstone of radio's digital future, we are yet to hear about it."
She notes that of digital listening in the UK, DAB accounts for the major part - 10% of all listening is now via DAB compared to 3.1% for digital TV and 1.9% for the internet and then makes what we consider a crucial point: "The most important factor for the growth of any new platform is fresh and creative content. Choice alone is not enough - it is about offering the right kind of choice for consumers with investment in programming, new talent and marketing."
Having thus seen much US digital radio condemned to the dustbin - its content does not appear to be particularly fresh or creative and there appears little investment in programming and talent- never mind new talent albeit there is now some marketing - we were not surprised to read two reports last week reflecting the slow development of HD radio in the US.
In the Williamsport Sun Gazette, Patrick Donlin under the heading "Conversion by rural radio stations said to be too costly" notes the absence of "government mandates to enforce a digital radio conversion" [RNW comment: Very much the case of course because of the relatively small value of the spectrum that would be released compared to that gained by switching off analogue TV] and cites a report from Mansfield University communications professor Gary McIntyre that estimates the cost of conversion to digital as around USD 95,000 for a station.
Whilst McIntyre notes that stations in major Pennsylvania markets such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are converting he says for a small station that this is "a lot of revenue" and adds, "
"Right now, I don't think they're visualizing a return on the investment."
McIntyre had polled small stations whilst conducting a survey and of 50 stations that responded only one had converted and of the remaining 49 he said 86% reported it would be "highly unlikely" or "somewhat unlikely" that their stations would be converting over the next year. [RNW comment: Presumably an innumerate professor dressing up the figures to make them seem impressive since this amounts to 42.14 stations rather than a round number and we just don't believe the percentage].
McIntyre commented that this was unfortunate since the sound was near CD quality - "Most experts say it is not CD quality, but it is close to it" - and in addition extra channels can be broadcast along with data such as artist information, weather forecasts and traffic reports.
In another report - this time from Illinois the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier - Nathaniel West looks at the attitude of station owners in the area, concluding that the combination of costs and relatively few people with HD receivers "makes the conversion to digital radio an impractical option, at least for the immediate future."
He quotes Chris Bullock, regional manager for The Cromwell Group of Illinois, which operates a dozen radio stations in Mattoon, Effingham, Decatur and Vandalia, as saying, "It's something we will do, but it will take some time" whilst Denis Roche, general manager for Eastern Illinois University station WEIU-FM in Charleston added, "There are not a heck of a lot of stations moving to it" and said to convert the station to digital would be "cost-prohibitive at this point."
At Lake Land College's radio station, WLKL-FM, station manager and radio and TV instructor Greg Powers shared the view on costs, commenting, "We probably are not looking that way for quite a while," he said. "It takes a pretty big chunk of change to convert digitally, (and) studies have shown there aren't that many people out there who have a digital receiver."
Finally consideration of what the term "radio" can mean nowadays courtesy of Kurt Hanson's blog on RAIN in which he argues that the definition of the term if crucial to evaluating the success of the medium.
Hanson cites consultant Walter Sabo as sating that as recently as the 1970's stand-alone FM radio stations were not allowed to join the NAB because they weren't considered "radio " and then comments, "If you defined 'radio' as AM radio stations back then, radio was in a period of serious decline - far worse than terrestrial radio's current situation. But once you changed your definition and defined "radio" as both bands, the medium instantly (and honestly) was incredibly healthy!"
In the current situation Hanson comments that if you include AM, FM, satellite and streaming and internet services in the definition then "once again, radio is healthier and more vibrant than it's ever been."
We'd go part of the way with that comment whereas some of the responses to the blog dismiss it almost in its entirety and certainly the availability of streams and MP3 downloads permit a much wider choice of radio from round the world albeit they can't do anything to increase the number of hours a day to listen nor do copyright restrictions on music bode well for the strength of competition from internet-only outlets.
That, of course, always limits our listening suggestions apart from the fact that for those who want pop music the material that is topping charts is still widely available and there are many sites that provide free downloads or streams of other music where the artists concerned are looking for exposure rather than copyright payments.
So on to listening suggestions and after a week when other things have cut into our listening time, we have opted to concentrate to start off with on BBC programming over the weekend or on our schedule to listen to this week.
Commencing with music-related programming we first opt for BBC Radio 4 and Tuesday's "The Sound Makers" (13:30 GMT) in which Paul Gambaccini meets sound engineers James Lock and Geoff Emerick have worked with a range of artists from the Beatles to the Three Tenors.
Then from BBC Radio 3 we note that on weekdays (14:00 GMT) the station marks a "South American" week with work from composers from the continent and recordings of performances by the BBC Orchestras and BBC Singers made on tour in Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.
BBC Radio 2 on Thursday (23:00 GMT) and the second programme in the three-part "Alexis Korner" documentaries in which Chris Jagger showcases the work of broadcaster and bandleader Alexis Korner, the father of British Blues. This week's programme looks at the Ealing Club, which became the crucible of British rock and where Korner formed Blues Incorporated.
On Friday (19:00 GMT), the station has the third part of a four programme series on Woody Guthrie.
After that on to speech and again from Radio 3 we suggest a regular "The Essay" (23:00 GMT Monday through Thursday) that this week features writer and philosopher AC Grayling exploring the works of Francis Bacon; Joseph Addison; William Hazlitt; and Matthew Arnold.
Also from Radio 3 we are hoping to catch Friday's "Jazz Library" (22:30 GMT), a special tribute edition devoted to Oscar Peterson and the following "Jazz on 3" that features a performance at London's Vortex jazz club featuring guitarist David Torn's latest project Prezens.
On Saturday "The Wire" (21:10 GMT) is "Moonmen" by Jimmy McAleavey, a philosophical encounter between two isolated men - an astronaut and a CB radio enthusiast in rural Ireland and on Sunday Drama on 3" (20:00 GMT) is "The Trial and Death of Socrates" by Sebastian Baczkiewicz.
Returning to Radio 4, from last weekend we unexpectedly found ourselves listening to "Saturday Live" after an over-long overnight shift - and a fascinating story of how an Englishman bought a Scottish malt whisky distillery and against the odds made it a success. Also from Saturday we suggest the "And The Academy Award Goes To..." series. Last week's was on "Lawrence of Arabia" - Next Saturday's (10:30 GMT) is on "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest".
On Sunday we found the latest "In Business - Lean, Mean and at Your Service" - on lean-production techniques (listened to whilst doing other things) much more engaging than we had anticipated,
From this week we suggest Monday's "Documentary" (20:00 GMT) in which Mike Thomson examines documentary evidence to consider how close America came to launching a pre-emptive attack in order to prevent Pakistan from becoming a nuclear power and Monday's "Afternoon Play", Penny Leicester's dramatisation of the notebooks of former cabinet secretary Norman Brook: This also contains interesting material on fears that the US might opt to attack with nuclear weaponry as a first option.
We'd also suggest Wednesday's "Afternoon Play" (14:15 GMT) -" Death of a Pirate" about the final broadcast of a pirate radio operator with outspoken views and also from Wednesday (23:00) GMT "Oliver and Zaltzman: Transatlantic" , a look at the US presidential election primaries from both sides of the Atlantic.
Then on Thursday "In our Time" (09:00 GMT, repeated 21:30 GMT and also available as a podcast/download) discusses the concept of "The Social Contract" between governments and people as opposed to other ideas about governance such as the divine rights of kings
On Thursday evening (21:00 GMT "Costing the Earth - Bring Me Sunshine" looks at solar power as a source of energy including plans to build solar plants in the deserts of North Africa to produce electricity for export to Europe.
Journal-Gazette - West:
RAIN - Kurt Hanson blog:
Sun-Gazette - Donlin:
UK Guardian - Schwartz:
2008-02-04: Although most attention has been centred on the possibilities of the Clear Channel buyout falling apart, other radio deals are also potentially at risk from the current credit crunch including that for Cumulus, which Zacks Investment Research comments remains likely to be done but at a lower price than the USD 11.75 per share plus assumption of some USD738 million in debt (See RNW Jul 24, 2007).
At the time the buyout - by a group led by Cumulus Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lewis W. Dickey, Jr. together with an affiliate of Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity - valued the company at around USD 1.3 billion, representing a premium of some 40% on the price before the announcement.
Zacks notes that the stock price roughly halved since the buyout was announced - it closed on Friday at USD 6.59 having touched a low of USD 5 on Jan 22 - and a price near USD 10 would be more reasonable. It is retaining a Buy rating on the shares with a target price of USD10.
Cumulus shares fell by 3.8% on Monday to US D 6.34
2008-02-03: Last week saw the regulators in routine mode with no decisions on major issues, although in Australia issues of spectrum allocation have been put forward for comment, and a fairly low level of routine activity all round with no radio decisions posted in Canada.
In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced three initiatives to, as it put it, "promote increased consultation, transparency and accountability in its radiofrequency spectrum planning and management."
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman commented, "Demand for spectrum is increasing, the range of stakeholders we are dealing with is both increasing and becoming more varied, and spectrum issues themselves are becoming increasingly complex. Efficient allocation and use of radiofrequency spectrum promotes economy-wide productivity gains. Our approach to spectrum management must allow these efficiency gains to be achieved, while recognising the interests of existing spectrum users. ACMA's aim therefore is to have the right kinds of arrangements and regulatory interactions to enable us to engage with all of our stakeholders in the best way we can."
Action taken will start with the establishment of a new advisory group, the Radiocommunications Consultative Committee, which replaces two former consultative committees. In addition an annual radiocommunications conference is to be set up commencing with RadComms '08, to be held over three days in late April and early May in Melbourne and there will also be more frequent seminars and workshops plus the development and annual updating of a five-year rolling spectrum strategy plan.
The ACMA also announced that it had decided not to renew the community radio broadcasting licence held by the Portuguese Cultural and Welfare Centre Inc (PCWC), which is licensed to provide a service for the Portuguese speaking population of the Fremantle licence area of Western Australia.
It commented that in assessing PCWC's licence renewal application it found significant corporate governance problems and because of the seriousness of these problems decided that PCWC does not have the management capacity to provide the service.
The frequency concerned will be made available for temporary community broadcasting and PCWC may apply for a temporary community licence but will need to share the frequency if there are other aspirant community broadcasters in the licence area who are also interested in providing a service.
In another community radio case, the ACMA found that Eurobodalla Access Radio Inc., the licensee of community radio station 2EAR Moruya, New South Wales, breached a condition of its licence by failing to encourage members of the community it serves to participate in the operations and programming of the service.
It said it found that 2EAR did not have appropriate mechanisms in place to encourage members of its community to participate in the operations and programming of the service. However, as the licensee has already taken appropriate measures designed to ensure its obligations under the Broadcasting Services Act are met, ACMA is not proposing to take action at this time.
In Ireland the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has awarded in principle a new Classic Gold/Easy Listening/Smooth multi-city FM licence to Choice FM (See RNW Jan 29).
The BCI also announced the signing of ten-year community FM contracts with Raidió Corca Baiscinn (South West Clare Community Radio) and Tipperary Mid West Radio, each of which have held five year licences for their services.
In the UK Ofcom issued its latest Broadcast Bulletin, upholding no radio complaints (See RNW Jan 30). It also posted details of its reasons for the award of three new community licences in January - to Tudno FM (Llandudno, North Wales); Radio Elwy/Point FM (Rhyl, North Wales); and Preston FM (Lancashire).
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also had a quiet week as regards radio decisions although it did post a few contest licence applications and penalties.
These included the following:
Michigan and Wisconsin: Granted application to transfer control of Big G Little O Inc., licensee of WHRY-AM, Hurley, Wisconsin, and WUPM-FM, Ironwood, Michigan from Charles H. Gervasio, Rochelle M. Gervasio, James J. Gervasio, John C. Gervasio, Judy Gervasio, and Norma T. Rigoni to Gerald J. Hackman and John J. Nix.
The FCC denied a petition from Heartland Communications Group, LLC to deny the transfer on the basis of a non-competition agreement entered into on July 30, 2004, by Hackman and Heartland in connection with the sale of four Wisconsin stations to Heartland.
Under the non-competition agreement Hackman agreed that four years neither he nor his affiliates would engage in competitive activities within a 35-mile radius of the radio stations being sold and Heartland argued that the transfer would be against the public interest because it would violate the Non-Competition Agreement.
The FCC took the view that the issues involved were a private matter concerning which it is not the proper forum for a resolution and that Heartland had not provided evidence of an injunction or a stay issued by a local court against the proposed sale nor had Heartland provided any substantial and material question of fact warranting further inquiry in connection on a further objection on the grounds that it understood that Hackman and Nix were already involved in "dictating programming and managing operations at these stations, raising questions of whether a premature transfer of control has occurred.". It therefore gave the go-ahead for the transfer as is its normal policy but noted that this does not prejudice any legal actions that might be taken.
Oklahoma: Granted application from Mur-Thom Broadcasting, Inc. for renewal of license for KIXR-FM, Ponca City and re-instated the call signs. The FCC noted that the station licence had expired because renewal had not been filed within the deadline required although subsequently temporary authority to continue operations pending consideration of the renewal applications had been granted.
The FCC found that an application had been made but the licensee had failed to pay the required filing fee: It therefore renewed the licence and retroactively billed Mur-Thom for the USD 150 filing fee plus a 25% surcharge.
Washington State: Issued monetary forfeiture of USD 7,000 to James J. Grinton of Bellingham, Washington, for engaging in the transmission of one-way communications and his failure to transmit his assigned call sign in the Amateur Radio Service. Grinton had not filed a response to a Notice of Apparent Liability for forfeiture for this amount with which it had been served.
Florida: Issued a USD 2,000 forfeiture to First Baptist Church, Inc., licensee of non-commercial station WAKJ- FM, DeFuniak Springs, for failure to install the required Emergency Alert System ("EAS") equipment and failure to maintain full-time managerial and staff personnel at the main studio during normal business hours.
First Baptist had requested reduction of cancellation of proposed penalty of USD 15,000, saying that when the station moved to a new main studio it forgot to reinstall the EAS equipment but had now re-installed this and also that it had thought that it was sufficient to only have one person present at the main studio- nobody had been present when the Commission first wished to inspect the studio because the General Manager, who was the only person with a key was away for a week. The FCC informed the General Manager that main studios must be staffed full-time by managerial and staff personnel during normal business hours bur again when an inspection was attempted subsequently agents found the studio unattended during normal business hours.
The FCC dismissed the appeal on both these grounds but did reduce the penalty on the basis of ability pay and a history of compliance.
Previous Licence News:
ACMA web site:
BCI web site:
FCC web site:
Ofcom web site:
2008-02-03: Baltimore public station WYPR-FM has dropped Marc Steiner's talk show, blaming a drop in ratings although the host himself described this as "baloney" according to the Baltimore Sun.
The paper also reports that WYPR board chairman Barbara Bozzuto said Steiner and management had been at odds over what direction his show should take -- and that his show's time period was the only one for which ratings at the station had declined.
She added that the station has "grown and evolved and has successfully introduced a number of new programs that better serve the community" and also said that since it acquired stations in Frederick and Ocean City WYPR had become more of a state-wide station and that Steiner's show was too often centred on Baltimore.
"Based on the ratings for this time slot," she said, "the public is telling us that we need a new and better way to share ideas and discuss issues that affect our listeners. We thank Marc Steiner for his dedicated service and insightful commentary and wish him the very best."
Steiner, reported the Sun, said his firing was the result of philosophical and personality differences with WYPR President Anthony A. Brandon and commented, "Tony Brandon has been trying to diminish my power at the station and move me off the air for six years. It has been his agenda. It has been one thing after another, and I've always tried to take the high road and never say anything about it publicly."
Brandon could not be reached for comment.
The Steiner Monday through Thursday noon to 14:00 slot is to be filled by a new locally produced program called Statewide, to be hosted by WYPR Vice President Andy Bienstock until a permanent host is found.
Steiner led a campaign to save the former John Hopkins University station WJHU-FM when it faced financial problems six years ago (See RNW Feb 2, 2002) but when the Your Public Radio Corp. completed its USD 5 million purchase the bulk of the money came from a small group of guarantors and he had no ownership stake. Steiner became a vice-president but lost that post.
Bozzuto said of his actions then, "We give him much credit. He wanted an NPR station to stay in Baltimore, and he was right. He made an effort, but what he raised was just in the six figures. It was small compared to what they wanted for the station. But we've always praised him and given him credit for being the one who tried to keep public radio in Baltimore."
The paper reported a mix of reactions to the news from listeners and contributors to the show, some taken aback by the news but others expressing concern about the direction the show had taken.
Baltimore Sun report:
2008-02-02: iBiquity's President and CEO Robert Struble has claimed that last year was a "breakthrough" year for digital radio in the US with sales up to more than 330,000 receivers compared to 40,000 in 2006.
Struble released the figures to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) board meeting and the NAB radio board has voted to put pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to allow a boost to the power of FM radio transmissions.
In other moves regarding HD, the NAB board was briefed by HD Radio Technology Task Force chair Caroline Beasley, who is also Beasley Broadcast Group VP/CFO, on efforts to target automakers to make HD available in their vehicles.
RNW comment: With a "breakthrough" like this in a nation of 300 million, no wonder iBiquity is trying to push for a ride on the back of satellite radio by filing with the FCC to make HD capability for satellite radio receivers a condition of any Sirius-XM merger.
2008-02-02: BBC Radio Manchester has suspended its late night host Phil Wood following a conviction for failing to stop after an accident that left a man badly injured with head injuries, broken ribs, a broken leg and a broken arm.
The Manchester Evening News reports that Wood had failed to tell his bosses about the conviction and that the station is to hold an internal investigation. A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC was unaware of the incident. We have asked Mr Wood to step down from his show while we investigate further."
Woods, who had admitted failing to stop, had contacted the police some time after the accident to say he thought he might have been involved in it but had not stopped because he thought the person involved was trying to steal his car.
He was fined GBP 900 (USD 1,800), ordered to pay penalty costs and given ten penalty points on his licence. A charge of careless driving was withdrawn after he admitted failing to stop.
Manchester Evening News report:
2008-02-02: XM Satellite Radio has announced that it has reached agreement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment over the lawsuit brought by the recording company regarding its Pioneer Inno, a portable satellite radio that has recording features.
No details were disclosed of the settlement, which follows similar agreements announced last month with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group who along with Sony BMG have withdrawn from the complaint filed by the major record companies against XM in May 2006.
Only EMI's lawsuit is now outstanding.
2008-02-01: GCap Media, which on Thursday published an upbeat interim statement, has welcomed an announcement by The Takeover Panel Executive that it has imposed a deadline of 5pm on 5 March 2008 by which Global Radio has to either announce a firm intention to make another bid for GCap or that it does not intend to make an offer.
GCap notes that by March 5 Global will have had more than 11 weeks since it made its initial takeover approach and three weeks since new chief executive Fru Hazlitt presents her plans for the future of the group.
Should Global opt out of bidding it will be able to make any other bid for six months without consent from the Panel.
In its interim statement GCap reported like-for-like revenues in the quarter to the end of 2007 up 4%; December revenues up 8% and January revenues expected to be up 7% on a year earlier: It notes that since its half year statement in November "the radio advertising market has continued to see reasonable growth."
Of the January figures it said they represent "an encouraging start to the quarter as the comparable period to 31 March 2007 was the year's strongest in terms of revenue growth."
GCap also noted that in the final ratings for 2008 it had maintained its position as the UK's leading commercial radio group although total reach was down slightly -from 15.0 million a year earlier to 14.8 million listeners a week.
The markets responded positively to the statements with GCap shares ending the day up just under 6% at 186.5 pence, valuing the company at just below GBP 307.5 million ( USD 611.5 million).
Previous GCap Media:
Previous Global Radio:
2008-02-01: Nielsen Media Research has won the contract, awarded by industry body Commercial Radio Australia, for Australian radio ratings from 2009, which are to include measurement of radio streamed via the internet and mobile phones as well as over-the air listing. It had been competing against Ipsos and Roy Morgan Research. And under the new contract , which runs from 2009 to 2011 with an opportunity for a two-year extension, will continue to produce ratings eight times a year in five metropolitan markets; Sydney, B Robert Struble - President & Chief Executive Officer of iBiquity Digital Corporationrisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth as well as three regional markets: three surveys in Newcastle; two in the Gold Coast and Canberra.
The new features will increase the cost of ratings but the enhancements were welcomed by the Australian commercial radio industry and Michael Anderson, Chair of Commercial Radio Australia and CEO of Austereo commented, "The commercial radio industry regards the new approach as a significant step forward for the survey system. We have adopted an attitude of continuous improvement in relation to the survey system and resultant data. We have conferred with stakeholders such as the MFA (Media Federation of Australia) and their input has been vital in moving forward and planning for the future."
MFA chairman Gary Hardwick commented, "We are delighted to see the radio industry investing more in the survey system and making significant changes to the survey methodology in moving from household flooding to placement of one diary to a household. We are also pleased to see the move towards trialling an online diary option and measurement of listening platform."
He added, "One issue on which we have opened discussions with the industry, and on which we will continue to work, is that of extending the surveys for some additional weeks per year to cover the early part of summer when Christmas shopping is in full force. As the MFA is now a member of the industry Research Committee we will continue to explore this issue with the industry as well as existing and developing electronic measurement devices."
Kingsley Hall of DMG Radio, Chair of the industry Research Committee, said the tender process "called for genuine enhancements to our audience measurement process which would benefit all industry participants - Nielsen responded accordingly and we look forward to working with Nielsen to achieve them. By including platform measurement and on line diary trialling in the new agreement we aim to ensure radio keeps pace with its audience's listening habits."
Commercial Radio Australia chair Joan Warner said the new tender did not include electronic metering as no credible electronic testing device was yet available worldwide although a technical trial of the Nielsen Media Research IMMI Phone Meter trial is currently underway in Australia with further tests of other devices planned when appropriate.
Warner added, "The industry is aware of the criticisms levelled at the diary system. The changes included as part of this tender are aimed to improve outcomes for the broader radio and advertising sectors and hopefully will address many concerns. While the diary system remains the only proven and reliable ratings method used around the world at present, the Australian radio industry has an open mind on electronic measurement. As a result we are continually monitoring all advancements in electronic testing and are currently involved in a technical trial of the Nielsen mobile-phone device."
Concerns about electronic metering according to Warner include a completely unexplained drop in breakfast listening; significant problems with compliance; and a cost of up to three times the diary system.
Previous Commercial Radio Australia:
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