This story comes from Bogota, Columbia and is just more example of why crime doesn't pay. Fortunately, the victim got her phone back.
The would-be robber, suffered minor injuries in his run in with the bus. He's lucky he didn't suffer much worse injuries. His victim even helped him out from under the bus. He was detained by police. Something tells me he won't be committing any more crimes every again, after that incident.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
This story comes from Bogota, Columbia and is just more example of why crime doesn't pay. Fortunately, the victim got her phone back.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Rob Ford was elected Mayor of Toronto in 2010, and ever since then, it's been one piece of silliness or scandal after another. Rob Ford is The Distraction Express when it comes to Toronto politics.
Today's story is no different. Apparently the Toronto Star and Gawker have been offered a video that reportedly shows Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. And apparently, the sellers wanted a 6 figure sum for the video.
Now, I haven't seen or been offered the video. But, I always have my suspicions on stories like this. It is said that everybody has doppelganger somewhere, and I've seen enough evidence to support that thought. Also, these days computer editing software can make just about anyone look like anyone else. So even though it might look like Rob Ford, there's no guarantee that it actually is.
He shouldn't be in office really, after being convicted of a conflict of interest back in November 2012, though Rob Ford successfully appealed against being removed from office. That case isn't over though as the lawyer who brought the case is seeking leave to appeal to Canada's Supreme Court.
But this quite frankly, is a piece of silliness, just another one in a long line of silliness surrounding this Toronto Mayor, who has never helped himself, ever since being elected.
UKIP's Nigel Farage never met a controversy he didn't like. In this case, it's being protested against in Edinburgh. A number of protestors yesterday confronted him as he held a news conference in a pub, and he had to be locked in for his own protection.
Now he is trying to put a brave face on it today, by saying that he'd been in worse places than that. Yeah, right! You felt scared for your life, so you got the police to bring a van so you could get away without facing the protestors again. Because you knew in your heart, they had you pegged, to a T.
UKIP describe themselves as "...the UK’s third political party – and the only one now offering a radical alternative...". Third political party? Not true. In terms of elected representatives, they have only 11 MEPs, 3 members of the House of Lords, 1 Assembly Member in Northern Ireland, and 201 councillors in Local Elections. That's a lot lower than many parties, behind the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and even The Green Party.
Yes, they may have made a major breakthrough in England, but outside of England, they have just 1 MEP, for Wales, and 1 Assembly Member in Northern Ireland, and even this was a defection. Their only electoral success outside of England is the one MEP in Wales. This gives the impression that they are somewhat of a band of 'little Engalders', as it were.
They're fighting hard to establish themselves as a mainstream party, even going so far as to ban former BNP Members from joining or standing as candidates, but this is mere smoke and mirrors. The party's policies and actions in various situations have spoken far louder.
They proposed a 5 year freeze on immigration, and they wanted to initiate a drive to remove all illegal immigrants from the UK, something that in cost terms, is impractical. They want to leave the European Union, withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, and the European Convention on Refugees. They want cut corporation taxes and abolish inheritence taxes and national insurance. UKIP lost a sex-discriminitation case when Nikki Sinclaire was expelled from UKIP. Now you might say they lost because they mounted no defence, but to be honest, they must have known what they'd done was indefensible. This is an extremist right wing party.
And whilst Nigel Farage might find it easy to accuse Scottish Nationalism of being extremists and being "akin to fascism", but it's clear to me, that he obviously has little understanding of Scottish politics and his view of the UK is obviously a view of England primarily and not of the other nations in the Union.
However, SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, got it wrong when he said the UKIP Leader had "lost the plot." as to be honest, UKIP and Nigel Farage never had the plot in the first place. Farag'e accusations of a hate campaign as well are liudicrous. If you think a small student demonstration constitutes a hate campaign, then you know nothing about politics. UKIP has little credibility, and even less believeablity after this.
Nigel Farage might be trying to make UKIP seem more electable, but nobody should be fooled by extremism dressed up in a suit. And their audience outside England, might be extremely limited indeed.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
It's been a busy day for me, finding time in amongst appointments, shopping and other day to day activities to look over the RAJARs. But this was one of the things that I was most interested in. What would I make of the latest results.
BBC Radio Cornwall saw an increase in listenership, on both quarter by quarter and year to year. Up 6,000 on the year, and up 23,000 on the previous quarter to 175,000. Share also rose on the quarter, up from 16.1% to 17.5%, and even though in terms of total hours, there's over 100,000 more hours recorded this year than last, somehow, that 17.5% share this year is down from last year's 18.7%. Can't figure that one out.
BBC Radio Devon also saw an increase in listenership, up 16,000 on the year and up 20,000 on the quarter to 245,000. On share, we have a strange quirk, being up from 10.0% share on the last quarter, and down from 13.6% last year, to right between the two, 11.8%. Rarely do stats come out that well.
Heart South West, in the first quarter where we can make a legitimate quarter to quarter comparison, is up from 394,000 to 408,000, an increase of 14,000. Share however was unchanged at 9.8%. This is in stark contrast though to the network figures, which are down. Heart have lost 255,000 listeners in the last year, and 132,000 listeners in the last quarter. Their share has dropped from 5.0% to 4.8%, and total hours in the last year has gone down by over 2 million, and in the last quarter by over a million. It seems that Heart South West is gaining listeners seemingly because it is not local radio, but a quirky hybrid of local and national that is relatively new to some parts of the region, and is piqueing the interest of listeners. But Heart as a network is not doing so well.
This is also the first quarter where we can make a legitimate quarter to quarter comparison for Radio Plymouth. On reach, they have gained an extra 1,000 listeners, going from 37,000 to 38,000. However, the change of breakfast presenter seems to have hurt the station quite significantly. Total hours dropped from 271,000 to 219,000. Share was also down, from 4.9% to 3.9%. How did that drop occur. Average hours per listener went down, quite sharply, from 7.3 hours per week, to 5.8 hours. It seems that work is needed to get people listening longer, because that kind of drop in just 3 months, really hurts a station like Radio Plymouth.
Radio Exe by contrast has had a more positive quarter. Like Radio Plymouth, their reach went up by 1,000. But they also saw an increase in Total Hours, from 176,000 to 196,000; and an increase in share, from 4.0% to 4.6%. They too made changes early in the year, and these changes seem to be paying off, at the moment.
Palm FM can't seem to win at the moment. They've lost 2,000 listeners in the last quarter, down to 35,000; and their share is down from 4.7% to 4.4%. They've been in flux for most of the past two quarters though, and it's only recently that things have settled down again, with a new breakfast show host. Hopefully, by Q3, we will see whether these changes are paying off for Palm.
Gold Devon saw a positive quarter, going up from 36,000 listeners to 42,000, and increasing their share from 1.3& to 1.6%. However, they have been stuck in a small range, and need to break out of it.
Pirate FM had a dire quarter in Q4 2012, and Q1 2013 doesn't look any better. They've lost 1,000 listeners, down to 152,000. Total Hours down from 1,418,000 to 1,371,000 and share down from 11.8% to 11.2%. The problem is quite easily indentifiable. Outside of breakfast, content has been cut right back to the bare bones, and they are doing mostly music and imaging. In other words, they are trying to out-Heart Heart South West. You don't win a battle by trying to sound exactly like your competition. You win a battle by being different from yoour competition, different enough to highlight their weakness and portray them as your strengths.
Overall, it seems that the three Ps, Pirate, Palm and Plymouth, need to do a lot of work to recover lost ground. The BBC and Heart are gaining at their expense.
CBS Baltimore is reporting that a fetish festival that was supposed to happen this weekend coming at the DuBurns Arena in Canton, Baltimore has been cancelled after the new owners of the arena, Coppermine, got a court injunction to prevent the event taking place.
Apparently, a contract had been signed by the previous management of the arena. And Coppermine were so desperate to get out of the contract that they asked a court to intervene.
Now, there were arguments about the event not being right for the area, and that the event would have contravened the new owner's policies, but at the end of the day, a contract is a contract, and should be honoured. Just think, if they are prepared to find a way to not honour this, then they could be prepared to find a way to not honour anything else that they might happen to personally disagree with.
Would they find a way to not honour a wrestling show perhaps, becuase of health and safety concerns? Or maybe a fashion show might not get the go-ahead because the outfits being modeled might be too racy?
If I were organising an event in Baltimore of any kind, I'd be reticent about hiring the DuBurns Arena now, as I'd be wondering if they might find some obscure reason not to honour the contract.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It seems the anti-DAB crowd are being just as vocal as they ever were. But are they making any points? Is there any truth to what they say or is there more spin and propoganda than actual facts?
To find out, I've been reading the site Ten Myths of DAB, which claims to "...explain why the Government is intent on steamrollering this through and the secrets they are keeping from us."
The site actually manages to get off to a good start...
"The more one looks into the whole question of the proposal to switch off the FM transmission network for national stations, such as Radio's 3 and 4, the more one realises there is no compelling reason or mandate to do so as far as the consumer is concerned."
Perfectly correct, actually. There is no compelling mandate as far as the consumer was concerned. In the same way, there was no compelling mandate for the consumer to switch from Sky analogue to Sky Digital, until Sky decided they were going discontinue analogue transmissions in 2001, 11 years before the analogue terrestrial network was switched off. Sky created the mandate, just like the Government did with the analogue terrestrial television network, and they want to do with analogue radio.
But after that good start, the site goes downhill very quickly...
"The more I researched into this, the more apparent it became that because of this lack of mandate, with the exception of one report, every single document from the Government or Ofcom regarding the FM switch off is redolent of hype, marketing spin and smacks of desperation. As an ex-Marketing Director, I can smell it a mile off.
Yet the Government remains firmly committed to doing this. So why the steamroller?
The answer is simple. The commercial radio guys want to make more money.
At your expense."
Hmm. Are you so sure about that? If that were the case, the commercial radio powerhouses would be far more committed to DAB than they really are. Their support is lukewarm at best, and in fact, at worst, they are downright hostile to DAB. And they have been ever since 2008, and a report from Grant Goddard of Enders Analytics, a report incidentally I wrote about at the time. It was a hit job worthy of Fox News on a Democratic candidate, not an analysis at all.
So, if this was about the commercial radio companies, they would not be as opposed to it as they are. That is one big mark against the site.
So let's examine each of these 10 myths that the site talks about.
"Myth 1 - DAB is being consumer led."
Now, this is actually kinda interesting. This is the first myth, yet nowhere in the piece do they talk about consumers actions. They don't mention that in the past 3 years, DAB reciever sales have been consistent at 1.9 million units per year. Nor do they mention that DAB accounts for over 20% of all radio listening in this country, 4 times as much as Digital TV or the Internet, although internet listening is growing at a much faster rate, partially because of the availablity of good, solid, internet radio apps, such as TuneIn, UK RadioPlayer. BBC iPlayer Radio, and RTE Radio Player.
What they do mention is the change in emphasis in the Government's 50% target, from 50% of all listening on DAB, to 50% of all listening on Digital. That change in emphasis had not gone unnoticed by many, even within the industry.
The other thing they mention is transmission costs for the radio stations, and how they've gone up. Well of course they've gone up. Think about it, if you were transmitting on FM only, and now you're transmitting an FM signal, a DAB signal and two online streams, one for home use and one for mobile use, then transmission costs are bound to have gone up. They even quote from a 2010 House of Lords Communications Committee report that quotes figures from the RadioCentre. RadioCentre is the UK's commercial radio industry trade body., and this is the quoted piece.
"...RadioCentre told us that total transmission costs have risen from £50m a year, five years ago to £70m, of which £40m is for analogue transmission (FM and AM), £20m for DAB transmission and £10m for other forms of transmission, such as DTT and satellite..."
So, naturally they extrapolate from those figures that analogue transmission is more expensive, and that the commercial radio industry wants to shut down analogue.
That £40million is spread between far more analogue transmitters than DAB's £20million is. More than double the amount of transmitters. Think about this. From the Redruth transmitter, the following signals are transmitted on FM...
BBC Radio 2 on 89.7 FM
BBC Radio 3 on 91.9 FM
BBC Radio 4 on 94.1 FM
BBC Radio 1 on 99.3 FM
Classic FM on 101.5 FM
Pirate FM on 102.8 FM
BBC Radio Cornwall on 103.9 FM
Heart South West on 107.0 FM
...and the following singals are transmitted on AM...
BBC Radio Cornwall on 630 AM
BBC Radio 4 on 756 AM
BBC Radio 5 Live on 909 AM
TalkSport on 1089 AM
Absolute Radio on 1215 AM
...and each one of those signals is transmitted by a separate transmitter, on the Redruth mast. 13 stations, 13 transmitters.
In constrast, on that same Redruth mast, there are just 3 digital transmitters...
South West Digital Radio on 218.64 MHz, aka block 11B. That block transmits 7 stations.
Digital One on 222.06 MHz, aka block 11D. That block transmits 14 stations.
BBC National DAB on 225.64 MHz, aka block 12B. That block transmits 12 stations.
3 transmitters, 33 stations. Surely less transmitters to transmit more stations makes it cheaper? No, it doesn't. DAB transmission is much more expensive than FM or AM transmission, and not every AM and FM station currently broadcasts on DAB. In fact, stations like The Breeze have stopped transmitting on DAB, simply because they are not making enough money to justify transmitting on DAB.
So much for that argument.
Overall, the 'myth' that DAB is consumer led is in fact, only Half True. Consumer demand can be described as steady, both for the equipment, and the services. And in a time of recession, where spending on discretionary items such as consumer electronics has gone down significantly and led to the collapse of Comet, DAB's steady performance is more encouraging than discouraging.
Myth 2 does not have a title, but is all to do with the sound quality. Certainly this topic has sparked many a debate between audiophiles, who want the quality of signal maintained, and others, who prefer more choice, without necessarily maintaining the quality. Unless enough frequencies are released to ensure every digital transmission has a minimum of 128 kbps, and that looks unlikely, you are never going to satisfy the audiophile. I have to rate this myth as Mostly True.
"Myth 3 - DAB sales are growing year on year."
Having read this through, I have to rate this as "Pants On Fire". Here's why.
They reference the DWRG Interim Report, but notice they don't say when that report was. This is what they quote from that report...
"The take-up of DAB digital radio over the last few years has been impressive. By the end of May this year sales of DAB sets exceeded 7 million, with this figure predicted to rise to 9 million by the end of the year."
Those are not yearly sales figures, by the way, but cumulative. Then, they manage to make the dumbest of statements.
"These figures are irrelevant unless one asks the questions "Are those digital radios in daily use?" and "Are those digital radios using FM or DAB?". If a local straw poll I carried out locally is anything to go by then the answers would be "No" to the first one and "FM" to the second."
Would a local straw poll be carried anywhere else other than locally??? That's pretty dumb in itself. Then to ask if that straw poll would be anything to go by... oh dear. No, a straw poll has little value other than being very circumstancial and very flimsy. Remember, DAB represents over 20% of all radio listening in this country. 1 hour in every 5 hours is heard through DAB. Those DAB radios are definitely tuned in DAB for a not insignificant amount of time, that much is obvious from the evidence. Does it matter whether those radios are in daily use or not? Not really, that's perhaps the silliest question of the two.
Whilst it would be accurate to say that DAB have not grown in the past 3 years, and are in fact slightly down on 2008, the lack of economic context to the whole question, ie that we are and have been in a recessionary period since 2008, and sales of discretionary items like consumer electronics have plummeted to the point that one major retailer of consumer electronics collapsed under a mountain of debt, so fundamentally undermines the whole point, as to render the whole 'myth' as totally irrelevant. It's totally busted.
"Myth 4 - Radio listeners want more choice."
This is another one, where there is evidence both ways. Ask most people upfront if they want more choice, and most will generally say no. However, the evidence also says that when they have more choice, they tend to use it. This myth is rated as "Half True."
"Myth 5 - There is a robust Cost Benefit Analysis in favour of the FM switch off."
This one is more difficult, because there is a lack of evidence either way. An Ofcom commissioned report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 2009 was only released after being heavily redacted. Now you can go with the "no smoke without fire" principle if you like. I will point out that tyres can spin and produce smoke, but will never catch fire, rendering the whole principle useless. You have to look at this from the same kind of perspective as you would in Court. And what's more, you have to apply the same principle of "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" to both the pro and con arguments. And if you do that, neither argument satisfies Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. This is a classic "Not Proven", a verdict that is only rendered in Scottish courts. So, due to the lack of conclusive evidence either way, the only way I can call this is "Plausible but Not Proven."
"Myth 6 - DAB has no interference"
This is another myth, that I have to rate as "Pants On Fire", because although it looks more sensible, again the evidence paints a totally different picture.
Unless you are practically right next door to an FM transmitter, nobody hears an FM signal without some background interference. No AM signal is interference free either. A decent DAB radio, placed in a good reception area, gives a signal that is free of background interference.
Now granted not everywhere has decent DAB reception. The same applies for FM. Just spend some time listening to FM on the train. Reception comes and goes like crazy, and white noise can drown out signals. DAB suffers in the same way, but instead of white noise, you get this burbling sound that is actually worse than white noise, and just as frustrating. But that is the physics of radio transmission, not a problem with DAB as a platform.
So, on the basis that the basis for the myth, is totally undermined by simple science, this is rated "Pants On Fire." It's totally busted.
"Myth 7 - The analogue infrastructrure needs £200million of capital expenditure."
This is another myth, that actually has very little evidence at all. The figure does seem to have been plucked out of thin air. £200million over the next 20 years, to maintain the FM network? That figure could be an overstatement, or it could be an understatement. Transmitter parts do need replacing from time to time, and transmitters do need regular maintenance, so that figure actually could be a gross understatement. But without more evidence, it's impossible to answer conclusively either way. This one too is "Plausible but Not Proven."
"Myth 8 - The Government are doing this to sell off the FM spectrum."
This is one of the easiest myths to bust. This is all they write on the page for that myth.
"If they are then it's wishful thinking because no-one (including PwC) have identified any commercial purpose, other than audio, for the FM spectrum were it to be freed up."
I may suggest that whoever wrote this hasn't been paying attention. Mobile phone networks are always looking for more frequencies to expand their calls and data services and increase capacity. Those companies that produce hand held walkie talkies have been lobbying for the frequencies to be used for local communication networks. Even computer network manufacturers are looking for frequencies for Wi-Fi and other wireless network technologies. To say nobody has identified any commercial purpose other than audio, is totally wrong. This one is busted and gets the "False" rating.
"Myth 9 - Digital radio listening is really taking off."
Apparently, the writer of the website, does not understand mathematics. He tries to claim that an increase from 13% to 26% is an increase of 13%. In fact, it's an increase of 100%, as the figure has doubled. Similarly, he claims that going from 19% to 21% is an increase of 2%. In fact, it's more like 10%. And with DAB listening going up by around 10% in 2012, well, it's not exactly taking off, but it is growth.
On that very simple basis, he so totally undermines his whole argument on that myth, as to render other points he makes on that page as moot and irrelevant. This is another "Pants On Fire". It is totally busted.
"Myth 10 - No such thing as a digital radio switchover. No such thing as a DAB switchover. It is an FM Switch Off."
Okay so if that is the myth, why do you then contradict yourself by then writing...
"The DCMS and Ofcom have been very clever here and a masterclass in subterfuge. Rather than talk about the Great FM Switch Off, for that is what it is, they started talking about the DAB Switchover."
You just busted your own myth, with your own words. And by the way, factually, AM still hasn't been switched off yet, and there are still a number of stations across the country broadcasting AM signals. So it wouldn't be just an FM switch off, but an analogue switch off, but it would only be a switch off, if there were nothing to replace it. But there is Digital Radio, so it is a switchover. "Pants On Fire" rating again, and this one is double busted!
Overall, this is just another example of spin and propoganda against the DAB platform, based upon half truths, and unprovables. Not one of the ten myths stood up to scrutiny and came away unscathed. The closest was myth 2, but with the demand from various companies for frequencies, the likelyhood of broadcasters being allowed to expand the number of frequencies that they have available, is so small as to be virtually impossible, which took the edge of something that was otherwise pretty accurate. Unfortunately for the anti DAB community, this site is so full of misinformation as to be useless. As a site, it gets a "Mostly False" rating. What truth there is here, is often so far out of context and over extrapolated as to make what is written very very shaky.
Friday, May 03, 2013
Well, that was a very interesting election. Let me start with the three stories that I originally posted about after 10pm last night.
Let's start with the overall result in Cornwall.
Liberal Democrats - 36
Independent - 35
Conservative - 31
Labour - 6
UK Independence Party - 6
Mebyon Kernow - 4
The Labour and Co-operative Party - 2
Unspecified - 2
Green Party - 1
Liberal Party in Cornwall - 0
Compare that result, with the result from back in 2009
Conservative - 50
Liberal Democrat - 38
Independent - 32
Mebyon Kernow - 3
Labour - 0
UK Independence Party - 0
Green Party - 0
Liberal Party - 0
British National Party - 0
English Democrats - 0
Unspecified - 0
Now the first thing you'll notice is that the Conservatives have lost a lot of seats, 19 in all, so yeah, not a great election for them, going down from first to third. But the Liberal Democrats shouldn't be celebrating too much either. They might be the largest party in the council now, but they have lost 2 seats overall, so not exactly a stellar performance either.
Labour had a reasonable election gaining back 6 seats, 8 if you include their Co-operative allies. They had been totally wiped out when the county council became a Unitary authority in 2009, but this is a good result. Most of the seats were in the old Falmouth and Camborne constituency, although two were in Penzance, one in Mevagissey and the biggest surprise was Labour winning the Gunnislake and Calstock ward, although the candidate who won this time, was orignally an Independent in 2009.
UKIP did well as well, gaining their first seats on the unitary authority. They won 2 wards in Camborne, they also won in Four Lanes; Lynher; Mabe, Perranarwothal & St Gluvias; and Newquay Treviglas.
Mebyon Kernow made 2 gains in Penwithick and Boscoppa, & Crowan and Wendron, but lost a ward in Camborne, bring their seat count to 4. The Greens made a gain in St Ives as well, and two candidates who got elected did not even specify their political affiliation Kinda strange to think two councillors got elected and nobody knows their political affiliation, so you don't know what you were voting for.
Surprisingly, Independent candidates continued to do well with 3 more Independents being elected this time compared to 2009. And one of those candidates who got elected was surprisingly, Colin Brewer.
The man who said disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down, got re-elected by only 4 votes in Wadebridge East. 335 votes to 331 for the second place Liberal Democrat. Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of boos ringing out in Wadebridge at the count when that result was announced. There was a facebook campaign running to stop him running in the election, I imagine the campaign to get him out of office again will picking up steam.
However, one man who did lose his seat today was Alec Robertson, the former council leader, before he was forced to resign. His seat in Helston North was won by Independent Phil Martin with 590 votes, with Robertson only getting 494 votes. Robertson was one of 19 Tories as I said earlier who lost this time around.
Nationally, the picture wasn't much better for the Tories. They lost control of 10 councils. Two councils Labour retook control of. Those councils were Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The Liberal Democrats and UKIP gained no councils at all. The Conservatives also lost 335 coucnil seats overall, with the Liberal Democrats, their coalition partners, also losing councillors, 124 in all. Labour recovered most ground on the night, gaining 291 council seats, and UKIP, the major talking point in the news tonight, gained 139 seats.
Overall, the smaller parties made small gains. Greens gained 5 seats overall, Residents Association gained 2 new seats, bringing their total to 12, and the Liberal Party, the remnants of the original Liberal party that didn't merge with the SDP to become the Liberal Democrats, they gained another seat too, bringing their total to 3. However, not all the small parties gained ground. The British National Party lost the 3 seats they held on councils. So now, there are no BNP councillors.
In the South West, whilst Cornwall and Bristol remained in No Overall Control, the Tories did manage to hold onto Devon, Somerset and Dorset councils. As I reported earlier, the Tories barely held onto Somerset, whilst Dorset was more comfortable. Devon also ended up being reasonably comfortable for the Tories, winning 38 of the 62 seats available. No other party got into double figures. Liberal Democrats won 9 seats, Labour 7 seats, UKIP 4 seats, Independents 3 seats and Greens 1 seat.
Bristol remians in No Overall Control, but the picture was very interesting. Out of the 23 seats contested this time, 10 changed hands, and they were all from the Liberal Democrats. 7 went to Labour, 2 to the Green Party and one to an Independent. Bristol was one of the few areas where UKIP failed to win a seat.
UKIP though did have a good night overall. In Lincolnshire, they won 16 seats from a total standing start. In a few councils, UKIP are now the official opposition, mostly to the Tories, who should really be their right wing allies, but are splitting the right wing vote, in much the same way that the SDP caused a major split in the left wing vote in the 1980s after they split from Labour.
So there we have it. Good night for Labour, better for UKIP, not so good for the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats could have come out worse, but they also could have faired a lot better.
So far, not a lot of surprises in the local elections, or indeed, in the one By-Election that was held yesterday to replace David Milliband in South Shields. Labour held onto the seat with a reduced majority in terms of votes.
Labour's Emma Lewell-Buck got 12,493 votes, with UKIP's Richard Elvin coming in second with 5,988 votes. Karen Allen for the Conservatives was a distant third with 2,857 votes. Ahmed Khan, who stood as an Independent came in fourth with a respectable 1,331 votes. Hugh Annand for the Liberal Democrats came in a very disappointing 7th with just 352 votes, coming behind the Independent Socialist Party candidate and the BNP candidate, losing their deposit. Overall, an unsurprising result, though the Liberal Democrats coming in only 7th with less votes than an Independent, Independent Socialist and BNP, is a big surprise, I don't think I can ever recall them doing worse in any election ever.
In the Local Elections overnight, Conservatives lost control of 2 councils. Lincolnshire had been strongly Tory with the Conservatives holding 60 out of the 77 seats in the council. Today they are still the largest party in council, but hold on 36 seats, 3 seats short of an overall majority. However, the council maintains a storng right wing slant, with UKIP being the second major party with 16 seats, all gains. Labour came in third with 12 seats, an increase of 8 on last time, with 10 Independents and 3 Liberal Democrats.
The other council they lost was Gloucestershire, where they had previously 34 seats on the 53 seat council. Now they have just 23. Liberal Democrats came second here with 14, gaining 2 seats, in an election where they have so far mostly lost seats, Labour came third with 9 seats, with 3 Indepenents, 3 UKIP and 1 Green. There is no obvious coalition to be made here, with Conservatives and UKIP being 1 seat short of a total majority.
In Somerset the Conservatives just managed to hold onto control of the council by just 1 seat. They won 28 out of the 55 seats available, with 18 Liberal Democrats, 3 Labour, 3 UKIP and 3 Independents. There is 1 seat unfilled currently, the Coker Division, the election for that is being held on May 16th, so we will have two weeks before we know if the Conservatives can win that one and make that council just a little bit safer.
Dorset however remained true blue as the Conservatives only lost 1 seat there, still easily maintaining control with 27 out of the 45 available seats. The remaining seats, 12 have gone to the Liberal Democrats, 5 have gone to Labour, and 1 UKIP.
Today, we will see the remaining councils declare their results, one already has, where they only elected a third of the council, that is Bristol. which remains under No Overall Control, as there have been some unusual gains across the political spectrum, Greens have gained 2 seats in Ashley and Bishopston, Conservatives have gained seats, Labour have gained seats, in fact, out of the 12 seats so far declared in Bristol, only 4 have been held onto by the party that held the seat before. Also going to follow Cornwall and Devon county council results, but already UKIP are showing they have done far better this year, than they have previously done before.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Okay, so it's after 10pm, and I can now talk about the local elections. In Cornwall, where I'm based, we have three particular stories that are going to be commanding my attention. Two are about individual councillors, and the third is the council as a whole.
The first story is Alec Robertson. He was the leader of Cornwall Council until last year when he was forced to resign by some of those within the Conservative/Independent administration running Cornwall Council over privatising some council services. In 2009, Alec Robertson won his ward of Helston North by 244 votes. Will he win again, or will UKIP having a candidate there, by the name of Leonie Gough, reduce his vote to the point where either the Independent candidate Phil Martin or the Liberal Democrat candidate Mollie Scrase can pull out the victory. Or indeed will UKIP pull out a victory?
The second story is Colin Brewer. He was an independent councillor until the end of February 2013, when he resigned over a comment that he made at an information event at County Hall in 2011, that disbaled children cost the council too much money and should be put down. But by April, he had submitted papers to be a candidate once again for the ward of Wadebridge East. But this time, he has a much tougher task ahead of him. In 2009, Colin Brewer won his ward by 145 votes, but he was only up against a Conservative and another Independent. This time, he's up against another Independent, Conservative, UKIP, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates. I think it's safe to say that he has a much tougher task ahead of him this time.
Now, onto the Council itself. 123 councillors being elected in 122 wards, and last time in 2009, the Conservatives were the largest overall party with 50 seats, the Liberal Democrats had 38 seats, Independents had 32 seats, and the remaining 3 seats went to Mebyon Kernow. Labour, UKIP and the Greens were all seatless in Cornwall. But remember, that was in 2009, when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister and Labour was the party in power. Nowadays, David Cameron is Prime Minister, and there is a coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in power.
Now Cornwall has traditionally been a 3 way political battle, between Independents, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. But nationally, the Con/Dem coalition, as it is known in some circles, has not been very popular. With austerity biting harder than expected and for longer, neither party is expected to do well. But there is an added wrinkle here. The council has been run by Conservatives and Independents, some of whom are not expected to do well either.
This means that we could see more minor parties making headway in Cornwall. Labour have traditionally not been strong in Cornwall, although Candy Atherton did have some limited success as a Labour MP in Falmouth and Camborne. And if we are to see any surge in Labour vote, it is most likely in the areas around Falmouth and Camborne. Mebyon Kernow is the only one of the minor parties to have seats currently, and they would be expecting to do better than in 2009, but whether they do or not is something we will see over the coming hours.
UKIP have been making slow headway nationally, and they are expecting to get at least one councillor elected at the expense of the Conservatives. The Greens do have candidates standing in some wards, but little is expected. Also standing in some wards are The Liberal Party in Cornwall and the Labour and Co-Operative Party, as well as the obligatory plethora of independents, with some wards having as many as 4 independent candidates on the ballot.
Outside of Cornwall, it's mostly England that is electing councillors today, though the Isle of Anglesey in Wales is also holding an election. Full county council elections are happening in 27 counties, but most are counting tomorrow. The notable exceptions are Somerset, Dorset and Hampshire, who start counting tonight. Labour and UKIP will be expecting to make gains in this election, with Conservatives and Liberal Democrats losing ground. Whether we will see other parties like the Greens, BNP and the English Democrats making any headway as well as a result, is up in the air. 7 unitary authorities are also holding elections, Cornwall is one of those. Only Bristol though is not electing a full council, they elect a third of the council this year.
There are two mayoral elections, in Doncaster and North Tyneside, and the Isles of Scilly is also electing their unitary authority. In some council areas as well, such as Cornwall, there are parish, town and city council elections also taking place. This means that in some areas, counting will be going on until about 10pm Friday night.
All in all, a lot of ground to be covered over the next 24 hours or so, and this will be a key electoral test, more so for Ed Milliband and Nigel Farage, than for David Cameron or Nick Clegg. We will see what happens over the next 24 hours.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Douglas Mounce, formerly of BBC Radio Devon and Radio Plymouth, was an inspiration to me. One of the original voices of BBC Radio Devon, host of Treasure Hunt, the Sunday morning gameshow, and Showtime, all about the songs from the shows, amongst many other programmes, he had an infectious personality and superb wit. I will miss his wonderful on air personality.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Later on, I will talk more about this, but I have to say this now. Boston Police have someone in their twitter team who is quite a poet, for in tweeting about the suspect's capture, they wrote this.
The hunt is over.
The search is done.
The terror is over.
And justice has won.
Very poetic and very appropriate.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Hello, Ian Beaumont here. I've
been nominated for a new category at this year's Sony Radio Academy
Awards, and am one of a number of presenters up for The Golden
Headphones Award, which will be presented to the presenter who has the
most votes in this public vote.
You can vote for me by going to http://
www.sonygoldenheadphones.com/ vote/ and entering my name in the search box.
You could win one of 20 pairs of Sony MDR-1R Headphones just for voting.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister from 1979-1990, has died after suffering a stroke. She was 87.
Her death is not to be mourned, as she was suffering from dementia in her later years, so in many ways for her, it will be a release. Nor is her death a matter for celebration. It is a time for reflection.
She entered Parliament in 1959, after winning the safe Conservative seat of Finchley. In those early years in Parliament, she managed to get a private members bill through, requiring local authorities to hold their council meetings in public. She was one of the few Conservative MPs to support decriminalising Male Homosexuality, as well as supporting legalising abortion, and banning hare coursing.
Her first real controversy came during her time as Education Secretary from 1970 to 1974, with the abolition of free milk for 7-11 year olds in school, during which time the phrase "Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher" was coined. It was a policy that hurt her, as she later wrote about it, as it brought "... the maximum of political odium for the minimum of political benefit...".
When Edward Heath lost both elections in 1974, she ended up being elected to replace him, defeating both Heath, and his preferred successor William Whitelaw. She never expected that she would become Prime Minister though, and she might have been right, had it not been for the Winter Of Discontent over the winter of 1978/79. James Callaghan's government lost a vote of no-confidence on 28th March 1979 by just one single vote, 311 to 310, and Parliament was dissolved on Saturday 7th April 1979.
That election was memorable in many ways. It was the first election since 1959 to feature three leaders who had not previously faced a general election as leader of their party. Neither Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan nor David Steel had led their party into a general election. The result was memorable too, and not just for the obvious reason. The swing to the Conservatives was 5.2%, the largest swing since 1945. The SNP would rather forget that election though, as they lost 9 of the 11 seats they had previously held. And of course, Britain had it's first, and so far only, woman Prime Minister.
After that 1979 election she began the process of changing the country, what she thought of as reform and modernisation. Her first major target was the power of the unions. But it would be a foreign affairs crisis that would overshadow everything else in her first term. When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands on 2nd April 1982, she acted against the advice of foreign policy experts and sent our troops into battle. Neither Margaret Thatcher nor the Argentinian President at the time, General Leopoldo Galtieri, actually declared war over the Falkalnds, however a war cabinet was set up, the first time that had been done since the end of the second World War.
74 days after hostilities began, the Falklands War was over. Britiain had emerged victorious, and the Military Junta that had ruled Argentina since 1976 found their grip on power to be crumbling. In 1983, elections were held in Argentina, returning the country to democratic rule. That same year, Mrs Thatcher called her own election, and unsurprisingly, won a landslide. A majority of 144, the biggest margin of victory since Labour in 1945.
During her second term, the defining moment, was the miners strike that began in 1984 and lasted almost a year. It was the most divisive of industrial disputes, and the pain some say she caused, is still felt in some communities today. But the strike was eventually defeated, and miners returned to work.
But she almost did not live to defeat the miners. But for a few walls, and the grace of whatever god you believe in, we might have been talking about an assassination of Margaret Thatcher at Brighton on 12th October 1984. A time bomb had been planted in a room in the Grand Hotel in Brighton, just less than a month earlier. It exploded at 2.54am on October 12th. 5 people died, 31 were injured. Margaret Thatcher had been the target, but she survivied without injury.
She privatised many state monopolies, and sold off much of the council housing stock. She constantly challenged some in the European Economic Community, who were looking for closer integration into a European Union. Not only was she often on her own in EEC affairs, she was sometimes on her own in Commonwealth matters too, especially South Africa.
The 1987 General Election saw her majority in the House of Commons cut to 102. It was to be her last General Election victory.
What led to her leaving office is open to question. Most say it was her stance on Europe. But unquestionably, the Community Charge, or Poll Tax as it became better known by, played a huge part. It replaced the rating system, which was based on a notional rental value, and the charge was a per person charge, which was the same whether you lived in a £100,000 house or a £1,000,000 house. The Poll Tax riots became the visual symbol of Margaret Thatcher's growing unpopularity. She was seen as out of touch, someone who had lost touch with their own background, and had become part of the elite.
She faced Michael Heseltine in a leadership vote in 1990, and whilst she won the vote, she was short of the margin needed to avoid a second ballot. It was a ballot she wanted to contest, but she was persuaded by her cabinet to not contest the ballot. It would be the one time, the lady would turn, and it was a turn that would take her out of power. She resigned on the 22nd November 1990.
Whether you loved her or hated her, her determnination and strength of belief rarely wavered. She felt she was doing what needed to be done. Unquestionably, she shifted the political system in this country away from socialism, towards individualism. She is one of the few politicians that people responded to passionately, either loved or loathed, and in an era, that has been dominated since she left office by grey suits and spin, her Iron Lady persona will continue to make her the most memorable of British politicians, long after today.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
It's been announced that Liberty Global has bought Virgin Media, the UK cable operator, for around £10billion. According to one report I read, some analysts were predicting that Liberty might actually invest in new cable infrastructure to increase the reach of Virgin Media here in the UK, which is currently 55% of the population.
I sincerely hope those analysts are right. Virgin Media has 4.9million subscribers, whilst Sky, the only competition for Virgin Media, has over 10 million subscribers and covers almost all of the UK. If Virgin Media is to be truly competitive with Sky, then it needs more cable layed to cover the 45% of the UK that it doesn't already cover.
Of course, this will require many tens of billions of pounds in order to provide that extra coverage, as all the areas that need to be covered are mainly rural areas. All the main cities have been cabled already. Areas like Cornwall have no cable infrastructure at all, and some areas like North and East Devon and Somerset have areas nearby that have been cabled, such as Exeter and Bristol. But in all those areas, and many others, Sky is the only choice for Subscription Television.
If Liberty Global do invest in new cable infrastructure, then Sky will have a proper competitor for the first time since On Digital folded back in 2002. There is no doubt that the recent phone hacking scandal has weakened Sky and more especially, parent company NewsCorp, so it will be interesting to see how they handle a stronger competition in the Liberty Global owned Virgin Media.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
It's been a while since I wrote regularly here on Viewpoint. That's mostly because my attention is focused currently on a new project. I'm hosting a new show on The Source FM in Falmouth, called Ian Beaumont Live & Direct.
The show airs live on Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm and is broadcast on 96.1 FM in Falmouth, Penryn and surrounding areas, incluidng St Mawes, Flushing, Carnon Downs, Mabe and Devoran. It's a music based show, and I play a number of very familiar tracks, and some less well known ones including tracks by local artists and brand new music.
Even when I'm not on the air, you can keep up with the programme in various ways. I have a programme page at The Source FM website at http://www.thesourcefm.co.uk/programmes/ian-beaumont-live-and-direct where you can leave me messages for inclusion on the show.
You can also like the show's Facebook page, and interact with me there at http://www.facebook.com/IanBeaumontLiveAndDirectOn961FmTheSource. You can leave comments, requests and suggestions there too, I do love reading your comments.
The show also has a twitter feed at https://twitter.com/IBLiveAndDirect and you tweet me at any time, just start your tweet with @IBLiveAndDirect and it'll wend its way to me.
Or if you're on Google Plus, you can add the show to your circles to keep updated with the show. You'll find my page at https://plus.google.com/102337430810815788919. Again, your comments are most welcome.
So, if you are in Falmouth, Penryn or the surrounding parishes, and can hear us clearly on 96.1 FM, or if you're outside that area, and near a computer where you can point your browser to http://www.thesourcefm.co.uk/listen, please join me, every Tuesday at 11am UK time, for 2 hours of great music and good company. It wouldn't be the same without you.
Well, there is no doubt in my view about what the headline is from the latest RAJARs. 6Music is definitely a growing station. The station reached almost 1.9 million listeners, a record breaking performance, especially when you consider it broadcasts only on digital radio. The performance can really be put down to things, having the right presenters in the right slots, and the intelligent approach to music that 6Music uses. Many other stations could learn a lot from 6Music and allow a few tracks on the playlists that are less familiar, but often just as good as the more familiar ones.
On the local side, the spotlight really falls on 3 stations. Radio Exe, who reduced their TSA by over 100,000; Palm FM, and Radio Plymouth, who recieved their first official ratings in this quarter. All of these stations and Pirate FM as well, are up against the newly formed monolith that is Heart South West, who are reporting combined numbers for the first time rather than separate numbers for Cornwall and Devon.
Heart South West reported 394,000 listeners. The best we can tell, that is actually an increase on the quarter and a small increase on the year. The station was listened to for 8.1 hours per listener per week, whihc is a reasonable figure. So how do their competition measure up?
Let's start with Radio Exe, whose TSA figure is basically now the city of Exeter and not a lot more. The reach does not look good at just 21,000 listeners, down from 25,000 the previous quarter. However, in the smaller TSA, that now represents 11% of the TSA, rather than the 9% or so last quarter. Average Hours per week went up rto 8.3 from 7.4, but that was not enough to stop the total hours dropping from 183k to 176k. This does mean that in the smaller TSA, the share went up to 4% from 2.8%. A lot of this feels like cosmetic changes really rather than anything solid.
However, at the beginning of 2013, they made some fairly significant changes to their schedule. Matt Young left the station, and Chris Dinnis took over a shortened drivetime from 2pm til 6pm. Nino Ferreto, who at one time had been the breakfast presenter on Radio Exe in it's previous identity of Exeter FM, has come back and taken over the daytime slot between 10am and 2pm. Ashley Geary's Live and Local expands and becomes a regular show every weeknight between 6pm and 8pm. Kellow's Bootlaces and The Pow Wow, two shows about Exeter's local football and rugby teams take the 8pm slots for an hour on Mondays and Thursdays respectively, with Gary King's Totally 90s getting an airing on Fridays at 8pm. Radio Exe is obviously making a play at being the home of local music and sport, though that seems a little strange when the saturday afternoon show, when both local teams are in action, is not particularly sport focused. On the local music side, they are in direct competition there with local community radio station Phonic FM, which has actually been around longer than Radio Exe, by all of 3 days. It will be interesting to see if Radio Exe's strategy actually pays off for them. The next set of RAJARs for them will be very important, as it will be the first test of how the revised schedule is actually working for them.
For Palm FM, the problem was much simpler in understanding, stop a downward trend that had been developing over the past 18 months or so, and it looks like they might have done that. 37,000 listeners is up 3,000 on the quarter and level for the year, so it looks like some stability may have returned to Palm FM. Or has it? The share and hours figures don't read as well as the reach figure does. The share has dropped to 4.7%, the lowest level since 2008, and way down from a peak of 7.2% in Q4 2010. At only 7 hours per listener per week, the total hours figure has dropped to 261k, the lowest level since 2009 and down from the peak of 340k in Q3 2010.
Much like Radio Exe, Palm FM has also made some changes in 2013, with John Hogarth leaving the role of Programme Controller to concentrate on Breakfast, and Jon White, formerly Radio Plymouth's Breakfast Show host, replacing Hogie as Programme Controller and also replacing Dave Gould as host of the Interactive Afternoon. Dave Gould also seems to have left Palm FM, as Allen Fleckney has taken over Dave's old Sunday Afternoon slot. Again, much like Radio Exe, the Q1 2013 numbers will be very interesting to watch.
For Radio Plymouth, the problem has been not knowing how many people were listening. Now, with their first official RAJARs, they know. 37,000 listeners, same number as Palm FM. 7.3 hours per listener per week, 271k total hours and a 4.9% share are respectable numbers and a good starting point. However, these numbers were during Jon White's time on the Breakfast show. Jon is now Palm FM Programme Controller, so Chris Batchelor has taken over the Breakfast show, and it will be interesting to see whether the movement in the numbers in Q1 2013 will be up or down.
For Pirate FM, the last quarter saw a big drop in reach down to 153,000 and a very low 11.8% share, their worst performance that I can verify going back to 1999. Total Hours dropped below 1.5 million, the worst performance since Q4 2008. Radio Cornwall saw a small drop down to 152,000 listeners and 16.1% share, down from 154,000 and 16.3% respectively, whilst Radio Devon recovered some ground, rising to 225,000 listeners and 10% share, from 203,000 listeners and 8.9% share. But all these stations have some serious opposition already from community radio stations, and in 2013, there will be many more launches across Cornwall and Devon, meaning that more stations will be competing for listeners attention.
In Cornwall, there's already Radio Scilly, The Source FM and Radio St Austell Bay broadcasting on FM, with Penwith Radio, Redruth Radio, CHBN Radio and The Hub all due to launch this year. In Devon, the competition from community radio already exists with Soundart Radio in Totnes and Phonic FM in Exeter on FM, and The Voice, already broadcasting across North Devon, Exeter and Torbay on DAB, even though the editorial area is only North Devon. The Voice are due to add FM distribution in North Devon this year, and will be joined by Bay FM in Exmouth, Plymouth Community Radio, Q-mmunity Radio in Crediton and Totnes FM in Totnes. All these stations are taking small chunks of the audience now, and these chunks are getting slowly bigger, and soon there will be more chunks being taken out of the audience pie. It will be interesting to see just how the more established stations respond.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Well, it seems that I have caused somewhat of a stir on Twitter with my coverage of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. And quite frankly, that pleases me no end, because it means that I am doing my job on this blog, and on my twitter feed, which has in many ways become an extension of this blog.
My goal with this blog has always been to challenge the myths and misconceptions about the news stories and about life in general. That can be done many ways. One way is to present both sides, where both have strong cases, and there is no clear right or wrong answer. But I prefer it when the facts are clear and unambiguous, and in those situations, when you still have people who argue that black is white, then you need to challenge them, with unvarnished, undiluted facts and truth, and watch as they try to spin their way out, and end up spinning out of control.
Now I know that half the world will not agree with any single opinion of mine, and I'm comfortable with that. But, when your opinions are based on something easily disprovable, expect to called on it. My friends have done it to me in the past, and I expect no less from them.
I know that some people just cannot handle being told the truth, upfront, straight and to the point. But if I get people thinking about it, and responding to what I write, then frankly, I have done my job well.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
In the aftermath of the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, we're hearing people say that they weren't interested, didn't know who to vote for, etc.
The translation of all this is quite simple. 85% of the UK electorate didn't want to bother to work something out for themselves, but rely on someone or something else to tell them what to do.
It seems that many people have forgotten what citizenship really means. It means you have both rights and responsibilities. Apparently many people just want the rights, not the responsibilities.
Crime affects everyone. Shoplifting is not a victimless crime, as it raises prices for all of us. Any of us could be victims of crime at any time.
I think it's time to consider making voting mandatory, like they do in Australia.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
I've been scouring the internet for any information that I can find about coverage. ABC in Australia is airing an extended Breakfast on ABC1 until 10am, with additional coverage of the election between midday and 1.30pm and between 3pm and 4pm, all times for Sydney. Meanwhile ABC News 24 airs Breakfast until 10.30am and then rolling coverage until 6pm Sydney time.
CBC News Network is airing coverage from 5pm ET with a 3 hour long Power and Politics special, then Peter Mansbirdge takes over at 8pm until 6am with all night National special.
EuroNews has rolling coverage from 8pm UK, 2100 CET. France 24 and RT are expected to have special coverage as well. In RTs case, the likelihood of coverage coming from RT America in Washington would be quite high, but so far nothing has been explicitly advertised.
Politico have coverage online from 7pm, which is being simulcast on C-Span from 8pm ET. Democracy Now also has online coverage from 7pm for 6 hours.
In America itslef, there's lots of coverage. Each of the main networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, have coverage beginning at 7pm ET, whilst CNN's main coverage begins at 4pm. FOX News Channel's coverage begins at 6pm ET and MSnbc's coverage also begins at the same time. Current has their "Politically Direct" coverage anchored by Al Gore, starting at 8pm ET.
Over on twitter, I'll be tweeting coverage during the night using the hashtag #vpus2012. I will see you there.
Saturday, November 03, 2012
This election cycle in the US has been the most divided and one of the closest in recent memory, certainly the closest since 2000. But an improving economy and the most unwelcome of October surprises in Hurricane Sandy, handled brilliantly by President Obama, may have swung the election away from Mitt Romney. Obama had the easier path to 270 anyway this year, and Mitt Romney looks like he has had just too much to do to turn it round.
However, don't expect the declaration of the winner to be made by 11pm ET / 4am GMT. This will be a lot closer than the 365 to 173 electoral college votes that we saw in 2008. Indeed, it's quite possible that Mitt Romney may get more votes overall, but lose the election due to the particular quirks of the US election system. I am fully expecting the declaration of the winner, to come after Midnight ET, maybe closer to 1am ET.
However, just as interesting as the final result, is just how many people will vote for the third party candidates, as two debates featuring only the 3rd party candidates have aired or are about to air on RT America, one of those debates was actually produced by online TV operation Ora TV with Larry King, former CNN host moderating. RT America can be seen by over 50 million people in the US, which is still far less than CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, who can all be seen by at least 200 million people, but still means that candidates that have not been seen on more mainstream media outlets, have gotten more exposure this time around than in previous years.
Also, likely to possibly change things around a bit this year, is the Occupy movement, which the right wing media have done their best to downplay or ignore, calling it a spent force or a dead movement. Now, by contrast, nobody has refered to the Tea Party movement on the Republican side as a spent force, which says to me that the Republicans are genuinely scared of how the Occupy movement could have a major impact on the political scene, especially after the movement changed the discussion framework of the debate on government spending in the US in 2011.
Another factor that could be an issue is Roseanne Barr. Whilst the actress and comedienne was unsuccessful in getting nominated for the Green Party, she has used her twitter feed to actively campaign on Green Party issues, to her over 174,000 followers. It does mean that we are in for a much more interesting time in this election cycle, rather than just who's gonna win. With Ron Paul backing Gary Johnson, the Libertarian party candidate, it will mean that there are more stories in this election than in 2008. The only story in 2008, was how much Barack Obama would win by, it was that obvious.
There will be a lot of coverage of course, on TV and radio, across the world, as this story has global impact. In the UK, the BBC will have coverage on both radio and television. Radio 5 Live will start the ball rolling at 10pm GMT / 5pm ET, with Richard Bacon hosting coverage for 8 hours, with 5 Live Breakfast taking over at 6am. Radio 4 will also have coverage, anchored by James Naughtie and Bridget Kendall, until 6am when the Today programme will continue the coverage. BBC1 and BBC News Channel will have coverage starting at 11.35pm, and continuing into Breakfast. Outside of the BBC, ITV is anchoring its own coverage also starting at 11.35pm and going on into Daybreak. Commercial radio however, doesn't seem to be covering it outside of news bulletins. LBC, the UK's only news/talk station, has no speciall coverage planned as I write this, although I expect the overnight hosts will talk about it, with a full roundup expected in The Morning News with Susan Bookbinder at 6.30am.
Satellite viewers can expect to find a lot of coverage. One of the more unexpected sources this time is PBS America, who are airing the live PBS NewsHour coverage from Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, starting at 11pm GMT and going on until at least 5am. Sky News are starting their coverage at 10.30pm, and going on until 9am. Bloomberg's coverage starts at Midnight and runs until 5am. CNBC is providing their own coverage after the live NBC Nightly News at 11.30pm, and the coverage goes on until 7am. Al Jazeera's coverage runs from 9pm to 7am, whilst FOX News Channel's coverage starts at 11pm and goes on until 10am. But CNN International take the award for the most coverage, starting off at 11am, including a special hour long edition of Amanpour at 8pm, switching to a simulcast of CNN USA at 9pm until 7am, when they resume coverage until 3pm, when they switch to a modified normal schedule, with an additional hour of International Desk at 5pm. Although Piers Morgan Tonight is scheduled for 11pm, I expect that to be replaced with an edition of World Report from Hong Kong.
Over in Ireland, TV coverage is the order of the night, as radio seems to be giving live overnight coverage a wide berth. Neither RTE Radio 1 nor NewsTalk have any scheduled coverage outside of daytime and news bulletins. NewsTalk's George Hook is presenting his drivetime programme, The Right Hook, from America all week, but there is no overnight coverage scheduled. On television RTE 1 has their own anchored coverage from 11.35pm until 3am, then they join CBS News for their coverage at 3am, switch to EuroNews at 7am, before RTE return to their own anchored coverage at 8am until 9.40am.
TV3 on the other hand, are doing something weird. Undoubtedly, the story will feature in the regularly scheduled Tonight with Vincent Brown at 11pm. TV3 will join CNN's live coverage at 2am until Ireland AM starts at 7am. However, betweem Midnight and 2am, TV3 are showing Psychic Readings Live. I don't need to be psychic to know that TV3 will basically have given RTE the ratings victory in that timeslot. Also, Ireland AM is not known for its news coverage, so that could be an interesting programme.
As we get closer to Election Day in the US, I will be finding out more about how other broadcasters around the world will be covering the story, and I will update the blog with those details as I find them. Also, if I get any word on internet streams of coverage, and I expect there to be such streams from Politico and Democracy Now amongst others, then I'll bring that information to you as well. On the night, I myself will be live tweeting on @cityprod. It should be a fascinating night.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
So, it's been reported today that BBC London are axing Danny Baker's weekday afternoon show, as well as removing Gaby Roslin from the breakfast show. But most attention has been on Danny Baker, who has often had an off and on relationship with BBC bosses.
He started on BBC GLR back in 1989, arrived on BBC Radio 5 with SportsCall on a Saturday lunchtime, and by February 1992, he had taken over the station's breakfast show, Morning Edition. He did shows on Radio 1, Radio 5 Live, Talk Radio, Virgin Radio, before returning to BBC London in 2001, and taking over the weekday afternoon show in 2005, the show which has now been axed. He continues to broadcast a show on BBC Radio 5 Live every weekend.
Danny Baker is one of those talents, rather like Chris Moyles and Chris Evans, who have never really sat totally comfortably, within the BBC. In the past, pre-2002, they would have easily found a home within commercial radio. These days, commercial radio has gone ultra-safe, timid, generic, and bean-counting to the Nth degree. So it's harder now to see Danny Baker finding a home on commercial radio these days.
Some people have compared Danny Baker to Kenny Everett, but that is an unfair comparison, as they are two very different types of radio personality. Kenny Everett had personality and a lot of creativity. Danny Baker has attitude, and that's about it. But the thing they both shared was that they knew exactly what they wanted to produce and how they wanted to produce it, and there are very few like them currently, across the world, people like Steve Wright, Danny Baker, Chris Evans, Keith Olbermann and Gay Byrne, and they are an essential part of the mix, yes, they are all difficult to manage, but at the end of the day, the passion they have for the product they produce comes through and they connect with listeners and viewers. At the end of the day, that connection is what every station needs, not only to survive, but to grow.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Since Midnight, the RAJAR figures for the thirdf quarter of 2012 have been made public, and it has to be said, at first impressions, the figures don't look good for the health of radio. None of the sectors saw any gain in hours on the last quarter, and local commercial radio has continued a steady downward trend that has been ongoing, since 1999. In terms of reach, BBC radio saw a very minor gain, whilst commercial radio saw a very minor loss.
Both BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 saw drops in reach terms on the quarter, whilst Radio 3 and Radio 4 both saw reach gains. Radio 3's is it's traditional summer bump from the Proms, which always brings listeners to the station who may not normally listen at other times.
Interestingly, both 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra saw no Olympic bounce at all. In fact, both saw slight declines.
Of the BBC's DAB stations, only Asian Network was below 1 million. Both Radio 4 Extra and Radio 6 Music saw gains, whilst World Service held steady and 1Xtra saw a small decline.
On the national commercial radio side, Talksport saw it's reach climb above 3 million, Classic FM saw a slight decline, whilst Absolute Radio saw a major decline overall, down over 200,000 listeners on reach to just above 1.5 million listeners. However, Absolute 80's the group flagship digital station, saw an increase, as did Absolute 90s.
Global Radio can't be too happy with their brands overall. Only Xfm saw gains in both reach and hours, LBC saw a gain in reach, but as with a lot of stations that see gains in reach, LBC saw a drop in both hours and share. All the other brands, Heart, Gold, Capital, Choice, Real and Smooth, all of them saw drops in both reach and hours overall. Within those general figures there are some incredible strange variations, some of which this time are more unusual than normal.
Looking deeper, into the individual stations, there are some interesting stories, but the one that stands out, and for very much the wrong reason, is Gold Devon. If you were to look at the year to year figures, you'd ask what the issue was. In the past year has gained 3,000 listeners, 30,000 hours and 0.2% share. Unfortunately those figures do not reveal the whole story about Gold Devon. In early 2012, the Exeter and Torbay local DAB multiplex arrived in North Devon, which increased the availability of Gold Devon into an area where it had never been available on AM before. Between Q3 2011 and Q1 2012, Gold Devon's reach almost doubled from 28,000 to 52,000. Their hours more than doubled from 271k to 605K, and their share more than doubled from 1.1% to 2.6%. Things were looking quite good for Gold Devon at this point.
However, that changed in April with the arrival on DAB of North Devon based community radio station, The Voice. The Voice had long lobbied to be allowed to broadcast to North Devon after the almagamation of Lantern FM, into what eventually became Heart Devon. They had been broadcasting a 28 day FM RSL and during that RSL, they agreed a deal with NOW Digital, to broadcast on DAB as well full time on the multiplex that had not long arrived in North Devon. They launched on DAB in April, broadcasting not just to North Devon, but also to Exeter and Torbay. The net result: Gold Devon got hammered. They lost about 40% of their reach, dropping from 52,000 to 31,000. Their hours have dropped by a little more than half, down from 605k to 301k, and their share halved from 2.6% to 1.3%
In the past year, Gold Devon has been on a huge rollercoaster, and we still don't yet know where this rollercoaster will end. There is still a possibility that Gold Devon could drop even more listeners. At one time, Gold Plymouth had just 7,000 listeners, and the Plymouth area is the only area in Devon now where Gold broadcasts on both AM and DAB. The fact that Gold's local advertising has to be sold together with Heart in Devon, rather than separately, suggests that Gold Devon may not be profitable on its own, even with the fact that there is no local programming, and limited local content, sometimes as little as a 20 second weather forecast per hour.
Every station's figures fluctuate to some degree, but Gold Devon's figures are amongst some of the wildest swings I've ever witnessed.
In Devon and Cornwall, few stations are performing well. BBC Radio Cornwall is down 7,000 reach on the quarter, but is up 2,000 reach on the year. Over the year, Radio Cornwall has gained 42,000 hours, but the share has dropped 0.4%, mainly because the TSA figure is 4,000 more now than it was in Q3 2011. On the quarter, Radio Cornwall has gained 84,000 hours and 0.3% share, mainly due to the fact people are listening longer. 12.4 hours per week this quarter, compared with 11.3 last quarter.
BBC Radio Devon's reach was stable at 203,000, still down 56,000 listeners on the year, but the station saw a massive drop in listener hours. 9.5 hours per week this quarter compared with 11.4 hours last quarter and 10.7 hours a year ago. As a result of this, the total hours figure dropped below 2 million for the first time in a long time, if ever. I cannot recall nor can I find currently evidence that it has ever been that low. The share of listening dropped below 10% for the first time in a long time, if ever, in fact it dropped below 9%. Something has clearly gone awry at Radio Devon, and frankly without some in-depth investigation, I'm not sure what the answer is. It maybe that the cancellation of the separate Plymouth breakfast show has significantly hurt the station.
Whatever the problems are at BBC Radio Devon, Heart Devon has definitely benefited from them. Although down in the reach by 19,000 on last year, the station is up 17,000 on the previous quarter. Share is up by 1.2% on the previous quarter as well, and total hours was also up by 241,000, though that's still down 96,000 hours on last year. Sister station Heart Cornwall is also performing well, well above my own expectations. 69,000 listeners is up 1,000 on the quarter, down 1,000 on the year, so definitely holding steady there. However, Heart Cornwall is outperforming its predecessor, Atlantic FM in terms of holding on to listeners. Average Hours per week in up to 7.4 hours, a new high for the licence, beating Atlantic FM's previous best of 7.1 hours per week in Q1 2011. Both Heart Devon and Heart Cornwall are outperforming the network as a whole on Average Hours per week, with Heart Devon's 8.1 and Heart Cornwall's 7.4 beating the network's 7,2. However, all these figures are still on the low side of what I consider to be the mark to aim for, which is 10 hours a week and higher. However, none of these figures are remotely anywhere near the worst. Absolute 70's scores 3.1 hours per week, then The Hits scores 3.0 hours per week. Pulse 2 scores a paltry 2.8 hours per week, but that is beaten by Q, the worst performer of them all at just 2.7 hours per week. In terms of keeping them listening, Heart do okay.
The other story that I've been following with interest is Celador Radio, and more particularly, their soft AC brand, The Breeze. Figures for The Breeze have never been great, and even though the Hampshire version has increased their reach by 7,000 to 42,000; the South West version has slipped from 29,000 to 26,000. Even the recently rebranded Midwest Radio, which is now The Breeze, but still reports under the Midwest Radio name, has slipped from 37,000 to 35,000 listeners. Given the fact that The Breeze has been removed from the Bristol and Hampshire local multiplexes, the viability of the brand as a whole, as an FM only brand, is seriously called into question. Given that two other FM only stations in Devon have either lost listeners in the past quarter or not gained any listeners, the idea that any station only needs to be on FM these days, is starting to smell like a busted myth. Radio Exe did not gain any listeners in the last quarter, holding at just 25,000 reach. However, it did keep listeners for a bit longer, so hours and share were up. Palm FM on the other hand lost 3,000 listeners in the last quarter, and both hours and share were maginally lower. Back with Celador, until recently, Jack FM was the better performer. However, in the last quarter,, Jack Bristol saw a sharp decline in reach, from 116,000 to 92,000. However, hours and share both saw an increase on the previous quarter, but are still way down on last year. Jack Oxfordshire is seeing declines in reach, hours and share on the previous quarter. However, Jack South Coast is performing better on reach, hours and share.
Another story worth mentioning is Free Radio 80s, which replaced Gold in the West Midlands. In the Birmingham area, Free Radio 80's is outperforming what Gold used to achieve. 93,000 compared to 71,000. Even around the Coverntry area, performance is the same at 21,000. So right now, I'd call Free Radio 80s a success story so far.
So overall, what do the figures tell us? Well, non-music radio held itself together, better than music radio in the last quarter, and digital radio only stations seemed to perform better than FM only stations. Brand radio seemed to do poorly, but other stations also suffered. The Olympics were great for TV audiences, but those increased TV audiences meant radio lost out. Local commercial radio continued to trend downward, with little or no sign that stations are actively trying to reverse the trend. Radio needs to do something pretty drastic if they are going to attract the attention of younger listeners these days, and just being aural wallpaper, is not going to cut it any longer.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Do you remember the competition that Heart ran for about 6 months during their daytime shows between 10am and 4pm? It caused a lot of controversy on some radio forums, and apparently, OFCOM also recieved a complaint about it.
The complaint from a listener to Heart's Devon station, now mostly merged with Heart Cornwall, formerly Atlantic FM, to form Heart South West. There were three incidents that the complainant reported where the presenter, in this case Toby Anstis, host of the Mid Morning slot from 10am to 1pm across the whole Heart Network, did not make clear that the competition was across the whole Heart Network, not merely the station that the listener was listening to.
OFCOM found that the station had been in breach of Rule 2.15, which states that...
“Broadcasters must draw up rules for a broadcast competition or vote. These rules must be clear and appropriately made known. In particular, significant conditions that may affect a viewer's or listener's decision to participate must be stated at the time an invitation to participate is broadcast.”
Now, it has to be said, this I think is something of a harsh decision, as I believe the top prize on the competition was around £50,000, or maybe it had gone up to £60,000, but either way, that would be enough motivation for any listener to want to call in. Also, as OFCOM noted in the decision, only the person who got through to the studio was charged for the call, and others would not be.
But there are a couple of interesting points that are worth remembering here.
The first is the issue of listener trust. Now this is something that some people in the broadcasting industry either don't understand, or forget about, or think that it doesn't matter. Yet, listener trust is one of the most important commodities that any station can have, as it helps to build ratings and credibility, two of a radio station's results. It's very easy to destory listener trust, and once that trust has gone, it's very difficult to get it back.
And Heart, in its very construction, is a station that actively avoids being upfront with listeners. The fact that 35 stations have become 17 all under a single brand, with 17 hours a day of network programming on weekdays, and 20 hours a day on weekends, yet tries to say with a straight face that it prides itself on it's localness, just doesn't ring true. A listener to Heart South West in Penzance, wouldn't feel that a station based in Exter and London, is very local to them. After all, Exeter is 110 miles away, and London is 289 miles away. Not exactly local, especially when compared to Pirate FM, that is based in Pool, near Redruth, which is only 15.7 miles away, and does locally originated programming for all except 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon
Heart's words and actions are not congruent, and as such, to me as a listener, it does not make me want to trust them as a radio station.
The second point I'd like to make is one that would annoy a lot of the fans of Heart on the various radio forums and sites, but is a very pertinent point.
Heart's parent company, Global Radio, have set themselves up as the big guns in the industry, and with their intended purchase of the entity formerly known as GMG being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading, this breach of the broadcasting code doesn't help matters for them, even if it doesn't hinder them. And even if this breach is counted against them in that process, which is unlikely, it's not exactly a big minus. But when you set yourself up as the biggest company in the industry, there will be people who will not like what you do, just as there will be people who do like what you do.
However, some of the reactions that I have seen from Heart's fans, or as I usually call them, the Heartophiles, have been definitely derogatory towards the complainant. Some of the thoughts about who the complainant might be, are logical and believable. After all, in creating Heart Devon, Global took 5 different breakfast shows, 4 different daytime shows and 5 different drivetime shows, and replaced them with 1 countywide breakfast show and 1 countywide drivetime show, with network daytimes. They basically fired a lot of people and it's not inconcievable that some of them might have an agenda against Heart. However, it has to be said that a number of those who used to work for those stations that became Heart Devon, still have some very strong friendships with those who still work at Heart.
But it is worrying that the attitude is that the person invloved is somehow either a professional complainer, or someone at a rival station, that's a very damaging attitude to hold. When you are working at a radio station, you are busy doing so much, that you don't have time to dissect the opposition's output, much as you'd might like to. I find the whole idea of a rival station getting a complaint submitted to OFCOM to be totally ludicrous. The other idea of a professional complainer, whilst being more plausible, considering the past actions of organisations like MediaWatch UK, also seems unlikely in this situation. The professional complainers, such as MediaWatch UK, go after the BBC, or Channel 4, or Sky. The groups that are anti-Global and anti-Heart, are rag-tag Facebook groups of individuals, many of whom don't even have the time to actively monitor Heart's output all day.
The idea that "normal listeners" don't complain is something that broadcasters have been trying to use for years to discredit anybody who did complain about their output. It's a dangerous attitude to hold, and is very insulting to listeners, who are the most important people for any radio station. If you don't value the feedback you get from your listeners, then why should they listen to your station?
All in all, this is small fry, this is a minor infraction. In the NFL, you'd call this a 5 yard penalty. It's nothing. But the reaction of the Heartophiles online, is very disconcerting. They're treating it, like they've given up a 15 yard penalty, a major infraction, and they've basically attacked the motivation of the complainer, without having any proof, or any eveidence, or even anything slightly circumstancial. Rather than accept that Heart made a few mistakes, they throw some quite wild unprovable accusations, just so they can feel better. Such behaviour is unjustified, unwarranted and does not help Heart from a public relations standpoint.
It's a shame that these so called fans cannot just accept the fact that Heart go caught out on some minor infractions of the broadcasting code and let things be. But any big company can be regarded as a target, as the BBC, ITV, Sky and NewsCorp have all found out. And now Global are starting to realise that as the biggest commercial radio company, you are there to be shot at, and some people will take potshots at you, and some will hit the target. The measure of a company is how you react and recover from those hits and do you make your product better as a result.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
On the day when GB's Women Footballers kicked off the sporting action in an Olympics that is supposed to lift our spirits, we got word from the Office of National Statistics that showed the UK suffered a 3rd quarter of economic contraction, down a worse than expected 0.7%.
When publications such as The Daily Telegraph, and The New Statesman have such damning stories about a "part-time"... "work experience" Chancellor of The Exchequer, in other words, George Osbourne, you know you're in trouble.
But also, if you were a shareholder of a company that had seen three consecutive quarters of losses, 4 quarters of losses in 5, and 5 quarters of losses in 7, you'd demand a change at the top level. Both the CEO and CFO would be unquestionably under threat. David Cameron and George Osbourne should be very seriously thinking about their positions, and George Osbourne should definitely resign.
Austerity Doesn't Work!
That should now be clear to every human being and your more discerning domesticated animals.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Earlier on, on my regular weekly web radio show on Spreaker, I asked whther you felt Rangers, in the wake of going into administration, should have been relegated to Division 3 of the Scottish Football League, or should they have only been relegated to Division 1, or Division 2.
Please leave your comments below.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Chris Moyles announced his departure from the Radio 1 Breakfast Show today, his final show will be around the beginning of September. He is still contracted to the station until the end of 2014, so it's a sure fire bet that he'll have another show soon.
Radio 1 has always been aimed for a younger audience. Back in the late 1980s, it was regarded as a 15-34 station, a traditional Contemporary Hit Radio station. But since those days, they seem to be aiming even younger. Apparently, Radio 1's average listener is aged 30, and that's too old according to some in the industry.
I find this whole idea of average listener age frankly ridiculous. I find the idea of local stations going after specific demographics to be seriously flawed. Local stations should be about serving local areas, rather than specific age groups. Getting as many people tuned in to your station as possible, that should be the measure of success, along with revenue, and hopefully, profits. National stations, like Radio 1, yes, you can do that, and still be successful, but for a local station to do that, and hope to gain enough listeners, I feel that as a strategy, it cannot win well enough to defeat a broad appeal station.
Monday, June 25, 2012
So, it's being reported today that Global Radio is to buy GMG Radio for £50million. It's being reported that UTV Media, Absolute Radio and Bauer Radio are expected to lodge complaints to the Competition Commission.
It's strange to watch this happen, knowing that this has happened already in two broadcasting related industries, and in both of them, they are significantly weaker now, than they were before the whole merging process began. Instead of becoming more than the sum of the parts, in both cases, the industries have become singiificantly less than the sum of the parts that made it, and it's already been happening in radio and it seems to be getting worse.
When radio stations first started being sold in the UK, back in the early 1990s, the usual valuation for a station was around £10million each. Accounting for inflation, which doubles every 15 years roughly, that would make each station today worth somewhere between £20-25million. Except, that Global has just bought 10 stations for £50million. That's £5 million per radio station. Accounting for inflation, that valuation of radio station back in the early 1990s would be somewhere near £2million. In other words, the value of an individual radio station has fallen 80% in the last 20 or so years.
That's some pretty massive depreciation. It's a damning indictment of an industry that seems to be doing what both Virgin Media in cable and ITV in terrestrial broadcasting. Merging themselves, not into oblivion, but into irrelevance. And as this trend continues, listeners will slowly continue to desert those stations that are part of this massive conglomerate, and seek other alternatives, from overseas if necessary.
And there is a bigger issue than merely the massive depreciation in the value of the radio industry over the last 20 years. This is the biggest radio company in the UK, buying the third biggest, when it is already way more than double the size and reach of the second biggest. And all this does is make Global bigger and make radio a less attractive industry for people and other business to come into. Radio was a better industry and a stronger industry, when there were more players in constant competition.
What's often refered to as consolidation is in fact nothing more than seeking to eliminate competition. And Charles Allen, who was the man responsible for the assimiliation of many of the ITV regional companies into Granada, and the eventual merger with Carlton to form ITV plc in 2004, knows all about that. And with GMG willing to sell, Global basically, being the biggest, could offer the most money, and yet, they still undervalued the group by at least half, according to GMG's own valuation in it's last annual report.
Global want to basically consolidate all of commercial radio under one company, much like Charles Allen tried to do at ITV, and almost succeeded. This deal is not designed to increase competition or preserve it, it is designed to reduce it. For that very reason alone, the Competition Commission should refuse this deal.
Friday, June 15, 2012
One thing that really makes me feel disappointed about the state of radio and broadcasting in general. The attitude that was summed up in an article in March 2012 on the Radio Today website written by Stuart Clarkson.
"Stop and think for a second about your own radio listening habits. And then think about how a friend or family member who doesn’t work in radio (or have an unhealthy interest in the medium) consumes it."
There is so much wrong with that statement, that I couldn't deal in detail with all the various problems with it in my rebuttal to him. But in this article, I can deal with all those problems and show why stations should not fall into the trap of believing that "real people consume media differently" from anybody else.
The first problem with that is the idea that there is a distinction between 'real people' and 'people who have an unhealthy interest'. This idea that there is a distinction between these two groups and that the more knowledgeable group should be negatively regarded is exclusive to the media. It does not exist in any other industry.
Imagine if I was a shop worker, and another shop worker from a different store came into my store with a complaint about a product I sold. Which would be the correct response?
A) "I'm sorry, but you have an unhealthy interest in retail. I will do nothing about your complaint."
B) "I do apologise. Would you like a replacement or refund?"
Generally, the correct answer would be B. If I had ever come out with anything remotely like A, I would have expected the shop manager to have hauled me over the coals in his office, and rightfully so.
So why do broadcasters regard complaints from some viewers and listeners in the same way by claiming the person has an 'unhealthy interest' in the medium? It's not good customer service, and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the viewer or listener.
There's another problem with this distinction. It shows up an attitude problem within the broadcaster. It says that the broadcaster looks at viewers or listeners, and does not consider them to be the most important people for the station. Probably they think their advertisers are more important than their listeners or viewers. But this shows they have forgotten or not understood one key fact.
Advertisers follow where the viewers or listeners go, rather than the other way round.
We have seen repeated examples of stations losing lots of listeners for one reason or another, and the advertisers desert the station. Plymouth Sound saw that in 1999 when their AM service was replaced by Classic Gold and the station lost 2/3rds of their listeners. Advertisers started to go to Pirate FM in order to get the reach they used to get with Plymouth Sound AM.
Without listeners or viewers, advertisers do not have anybody to advertise to.
It's a simple as that. Anytime you prioritise advertisers over viewers or listeners, you are putting the cart before the horse. The most important people to the success of any station is your viewers or listeners.
Now after all that, let's talk about 'consuming media'.
The first question there really is do we consume media? Well in a sense, we do, because the media is mostly a consumer product. We buy newspapers, magazines, radios, televisions, computers, games consoles, computer and console games, DVD's and Blu-Ray's, so in a sense, media is a consumer product. However, the idea that we really consume media implies that we do not make a conscious choice about which media we consume.
Far too often when we go shopping for food, we aren't really making conscious choices. We are merely picking up the same things we have always picked up, because we have got used to their texture and taste. In that situation, exercising real choice would be to decide to buy a different product, or to decide to not buy any other product, or after thinking about it, deciding to buy it anyway.
However, with most media, it is a conscious choice. It is a choice whether we go to the cinema or stay at home. It is a choice whether or not we switch on the radio or the television. It is a conscious choice when we decide which channel we are going to watch, or which radio station we are going to listen to. It is a conscious choice which game we play, or which movie we watch on DVD or Blu-Ray. So I would not call it consuming media. We interact with it, consciously making choices. Those who refer to it as consuming media are again basically forgetting that the viewer or listener is the most important person to that station. Without them, the station cannot survive.
If your radio station needs more audience to attract more advertisers and make more money, then does it make sense to keep doing the same thing you've always done? No, you have to make changes. By hiring me as a consultant, I can guide you how to improve your product, and maximise your reach by precise use of new and old media techniques. Email me to find out more.