Friday, February 08, 2019

558 AM 

- radio's hotbed of controversy!


558 is a  much coveted readio frequency at the bottom of the Medium Wave Band. For those whose radio dials are marked in Metres, then 558 kHz is the same as 538 Metres.  Originally the ITU allocated the channel to stations in Egypt, Switzerland and Finland; in those days it was 557kHz, or 539 metres.

The channel came to prominence in Western Europe in September 1972 when the muchj loved North Sea station, Radio Veronica moved to it, after a high power Swiss mouth made it impossible to hear its programmes on 192.

After 12 years on 192 meters, at the top of the AM band, Radio  Veronica moved to 538 on BBC Radio One's fifth birthday at the end of September in 1972. It was also the day that transmissions were heard from Radio Caroline after a four year hiatus. The new frequency gave Veronica coverage well into neighbouring countries, including Belgium and the UK.

 The Battle Commences
All was fine until the following year when the UK's IBA decided to use the channel for Capital Radio in London. although only low power, this made reception of Veron ica difficult over a big chunk of its area.


After Radio Veronica closed in 1974, Radio Caroline tried using the frequency for a short time, but the mast on the Mi Amigo was inadequate for the type of antenna they had in the mid 70s.  The IBA had meanwhile relinquished its use of 558KHz, whose long wavelength gave very wide area coverage.  The BBC thought it might be useful for one of their "local" stations and began a lengthy 'clearance' process to have it assigned to them for use in Essex, even though they had no firm plans to open such a station at that time.

Communicate! 
In early 1984 another offshore radio station, LASER, opened up on 558 from an anchorage close to radio caroline, just off the mouth of the Thames. Laser 558 achieved huge coverage from the radio ship the Communicator, despite using only about 12 kilowatts power.

Laser 558 was hugely successful; accoridng to the official listener figures (RAJAR it attracted just under 5 million listeners in the UK alone, and probably more than that on the near continent, inc ourntriues like Hoilland, Blegium and France.  You can read more about Laser's success in  Laser Radio Programming, a book I published in 2017.  Click Here for details.

When Laser's crew decided to sail the ship into the UK,  Radio Caroline quickly moved onto the frequency.  They operated successfully on it for a few years; it probabbly gave them the widest coverage they had ever had, despite only a modest few kilowatts of power.

In 1990 the UK authorities tried to force Radio Caroline off the frequency and awarded it to a new multi-ethnic station, Spectrum Radio.  Eventually Radio Caroline capitulated as they had only low power available and a hurriedly built partial aerial system.

Spectrum continued on 558 KHz until 2017 when the frequency was taken over by Kelvin McKenzie, who operated TalkSport for many years.  He launched a new station called LOVESPORT on 558 in March 2018.  Depsite its name (and licence conditions) most of the output is general speech and very little of the content is sport.  Many believe it IS a sport station however, and this certainly is a deterrent to many prospective listeners who dont want to hear non-stop sport commentaries and sport.


Kelvin clearly now thinks that the future for Lovesport is DAB and online and he has decided to relinquish the frequwncy.  He has reached agreement with a Punjabi station which will see Lovesport move to 1584, at the opposite end of the Medium Wave dial (and with a much smaller footprint).  Panjab Radio meanwhile will take over 558 kHz with a capital-wide station in Punjabi and English.   The move required approval from OFCOM who are now seeking the views of affected listeners.



RADIO VIEWPOINT 

Why has Lovesport decided to abandon 
the coveted 558 frequency?  

Perhaps not enough listeners have chosen to access Lovesport on 558 Medium Wave? If so, the situation bears some careful examination.  Less than a year's operations seems a very short period to arrive at a decision to shut off the use of one platform for any radio station.

The market for local sport coverage in London is not at all crowded.  In the commercial radio sector, only national station TalkSport makes any attempt to cover sport.  It also competes with BBC Radio Five Live, but neither of these stations cater for local sport interest and must cover the whole of the UK.  The BBC national station is operated from its new base in Manchester.
BBC Radio london pays only marginal lip service to sport in the capital - so LovePSort has a wide open market to serve and ought to be able to attract an audience.

In similar markets, sport radio stations do very well.  In New York, the leading station is WFAN in terms of advertising turnover (its $76m is far higher than any UK station, even national ones).  WFAN is also down at the bottom end of the AM band, and despite AM being regarded as 'old hat' by many, it is still capable of producing handsome returns for its investors.

All things considered, one can only assume that the main reasons for the rapid take off that Kelvin had expected for LoveSport haven't materialised.  That however, must be a result of the dire lack of promotion by LoveSport for the 558 frequency and, perhaps, the word 'sport' being in the name which probably deters the majority of the potential audience.

More Controversy on 558

558 AM 

- radio's hotbed of controversy!


558 is a  much coveted readio frequency at the bottom of the Medium Wave Band. For those whose radio dials are marked in Metres, then 558 kHz is the same as 538 Metres.  Originally the ITU allocated the channel to stations in Egypt, Switzerland and Finland; in those days it was 557kHz, or 539 metres.

The channel came to prominence in Western Europe in September 1972 when the muchj loved North Sea station, Radio Veronica moved to it, after a high power Swiss mouth made it impossible to hear its programmes on 192.

After 12 years on 192 meters, at the top of the AM band, Radio  Veronica moved to 538 on BBC Radio One's fifth birthday at the end of September in 1972. It was also the day that transmissions were heard from Radio Caroline after a four year hiatus. The new frequency gave Veronica coverage well into neighbouring countries, including Belgium and the UK.

 The Battle Commences
All was fine until the following year when the UK's IBA decided to use the channel for Capital Radio in London. although only low power, this made reception of Veron ica difficult over a big chunk of its area.


After Radio Veronica closed in 1974, Radio Caroline tried using the frequency for a short time, but the mast on the Mi Amigo was inadequate for the type of antenna they had in the mid 70s.  The IBA had meanwhile relinquished its use of 558KHz, whose long wavelength gave very wide area coverage.  The BBC thought it might be useful for one of their "local" stations and began a lengthy 'clearance' process to have it assigned to them for use in Essex, even though they had no firm plans to open such a station at that time.

Communicate! 
In early 1984 another offshore radio station, LASER, opened up on 558 from an anchorage close to radio caroline, just off the mouth of the Thames. Laser 558 achieved huge coverage from the radio ship the Communicator, despite using only about 12 kilowatts power.

Laser 558 was hugely successful; accoridng to the official listener figures (RAJAR it attracted just under 5 million listeners in the UK alone, and probably more than that on the near continent, inc ourntriues like Hoilland, Blegium and France.  You can read more about Laser's success in  Laser Radio Programming, a book I published in 2017.  Click Here for details.

When Laser's crew decided to sail the ship into the UK,  Radio Caroline quickly moved onto the frequency.  They operated successfully on it for a few years; it probabbly gave them the widest coverage they had ever had, despite only a modest few kilowatts of power.

In 1990 the UK authorities tried to force Radio Caroline off the frequency and awarded it to a new multi-ethnic station, Spectrum Radio.  Eventually Radio Caroline capitulated as they had only low power available and a hurriedly built partial aerial system.

Spectrum continued on 558 KHz until 2017 when the frequency was taken over by Kelvin McKenzie, who operated TalkSport for many years.  He launched a new station called LOVESPORT on 558 in March 2018.  Depsite its name (and licence conditions) most of the output is general speech and very little of the content is sport.  Many believe it IS a sport station however, and this certainly is a deterrent to many prospective listeners who dont want to hear non-stop sport commentaries and sport.


Kelvin clearly now thinks that the future for Lovesport is DAB and online and he has decided to relinquish the frequwncy.  He has reached agreement with a Punjabi station which will see Lovesport move to 1584, at the opposite end of the Medium Wave dial (and with a much smaller footprint).  Panjab Radio meanwhile will take over 558 kHz with a capital-wide station in Punjabi and English.   The move required approval from OFCOM who are now seeking the views of affected listeners.



RADIO VIEWPOINT 

Why has Lovesport decided to abandon 
the coveted 558 frequency?  

Perhaps not enough listeners have chosen to access Lovesport on 558 Medium Wave? If so, the situation bears some careful examination.  Less than a year's operations seems a very short period to arrive at a decision to shut off the use of one platform for any radio station.

The market for local sport coverage in London is not at all crowded.  In the commercial radio sector, only national station TalkSport makes any attempt to cover sport.  It also competes with BBC Radio Five Live, but neither of these stations cater for local sport interest and must cover the whole of the UK.  The BBC national station is operated from its new base in Manchester.
BBC Radio london pays only marginal lip service to sport in the capital - so LovePSort has a wide open market to serve and ought to be able to attract an audience.

In similar markets, sport radio stations do very well.  In New York, the leading station is WFAN in terms of advertising turnover (its $76m is far higher than any UK station, even national ones).  WFAN is also down at the bottom end of the AM band, and despite AM being regarded as 'old hat' by many, it is still capable of producing handsome returns for its investors.

All things considered, one can only assume that the main reasons for the rapid take off that Kelvin had expected for LoveSport haven't materialised.  That however, must be a result of the dire lack of promotion by LoveSport for the 558 frequency and, perhaps, the word 'sport' being in the name which probably deters the majority of the potential audience.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Radio fan shoots wife DEAD!

Extreme action 

by radio DXer



Many of us in the radio fraternity take radio to its exteremes, devoting hours to what is probably thought of by many 'normal' people as "Nerdy".  

One such afficionado is FRED HUBER, from the American  mid-west, who took such a dislike to his wife Eleanor Huber daring to "tochu that dial"  (as many DJs have warned us not to do) that he shot her. Dead!

An incredible story. Very sad, and one that might make me and some of my friends  a bit more wary of persuading our nearest and dearest to sit down with them for a quite evening twiddling the knobs.


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

"Stay out of Court" guide for radio station staff



STAY OUT OF COURT

with this "more than useful" new book






Essential Reading if you work in radio

Paul Rusling 


Many people running radio stations think their biggest legal danger comes from journalists, and what they might put into a news bulletin.   The reality is, however that it is their presenters and DJs who are the biggest potential danger to the station - they are the ones more likely to get a radio station into trouble. 
“At least journalists usually have some legal training in college and read off pre-prepared scripts. However presenters ad lib their links and are untrained in media law," says Paul Chantler.  "It is no coincidence that the two biggest legal catastrophes in commercial radio in the last 20 years were caused by presenters rather than journalists.
“The next big legal problem in radio will probably be caused by Johnny Jock on Radio Nowhere’s breakfast show commenting on allegations he read on Twitter about the local mayor – Very dangerous.”
Paul Chantler has worked as a journalist, presenter, producer and PD in British radio for over 30 years.  His co-author, Paul Hollins, who currently presents on Smooth Radio, has worked on stations all over the UK including Key 103, BRMB, Capital London andHeart London. 
This is an easy-to-understand guide to the laws of defamation and contempt for radio broadcasters, podcasters and social media users.  It is  illustrated with lots of real-life examples of when things have gone wrong and what to do to ensure you... keep it legal.   At £ 9.99 it is FAR cheaper than a lwyer, and way cheaper than the cost of going to court. 

Your can find KEEP IT LEGAL at Amazon 

- full details HERE.


For more useful books on radio - Programming and Production, 
see the World of Radio web pages about Radio Books 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

STEVIE WONDER 

JOINS BATTLE 

FOR THE FUTURE 

OF RADIO



Legendary Motown musician Stevie Wonder has joined the battle for the future of radio. He's written a lengthy article about how the current trend towards ever more copyright bodies is stifling radio and may lead to its demise. The move will certainly drive many smaller stations out of business, leaving only the big boys on the bands - the major conglomerates.

Stevie makes several impassioned pleas in his article (you can read it all by clicking here), and stands up firmly on the sign of broadcasters.  He owns his own station in Los Angeleses, called KJLH Stevie says it stands for Kindness, Joy, Love and Harmony and he insists that the DJs have a free hand in the music they play. The station even includes the name FREE in its title.  Stevie bought the station over forty years ago, in the early 1970s. KVLH has long been one of the leading black music stations in California and is now the oldest African-American owned station on the west coast.

"Radio give us not only music and entertainment and direct into our homes, but news, war and religion, " says Stevie.  "It has helped shape the psyche of our country in difficult times and it has served to reassure us that we were not alone at times we thought we were. And while radio has seemingly been eclipsed through the years by other forms of mass communication, radio remains that constant that we rely on to always be there to deliver what we need."

The first thing most people think about when they think about radio is hearing their favorite song," Stevie reminds us. "Or they will be tuning in to listen to their favorite radio personality, because to this day DJs are often just as big a star as those on the records they spin (an out-of-date metaphor, I know, but you get the point).

"The first thing most people think about when they think about radio is hearing their favorite song," Stevie reminds us. "Or they will be tuning in to listen to their favorite radio personality, because to this day DJs are often just as big a star as those on the records they spin (an out-of-date metaphor, I know, but you get the point)."

"Mo matter how much current artists embrace new technology and platforms to spread their music, if you ask any one of them, they will still tell you that their biggest kick came from hearing their song on the radio for the first time, " says Stevie in the article

One of Stevie's best friends will tell you exactly the same. Paul McCartney (his and Stevie's duet Ebony and Ivory was #1 around the world in late 1983) reports that the first time he and the other three Beatles heard their music on the radio was in the group's van travelling home from a gig in 1962. They herd it on Radio Luxembourg; DJ Tony Prince has the actual copy played  and now signed by Paul McCartney its worth over £10,000. 


"All across the country there are still independent station owners maintaining a strong and vital link to their communities in the form of being not just a source of entertainment but also the eyes, ears and voice of their listeners. They are small-business men and women trying to be of service to their local markets while also dealing with the obstacles of running a radio station. I know these people very well, because I am one of them. I have owned my radio station KJLH in Los Angeles for almost 40 years," says Stevie, whose music continues to be among the most downloaded on iTunes. KJLH programmes all kinds of black-oriented music, but primailly jazz and urban contemporary. 


  "We strive very hard to be a meaningful member of our community and offer things that the large or nationwide programmers can’t. We are a home to our listeners, a place they find comfort and refuge from the mass market. All that is threatened if we cant stay in business. As a songwriter and recording artist, I grew up at a time when there were only two performing rights organizations in the United States, ASCAP and BMI. In virtually every other country in the world there is only one society. Then came a third, SESAC. And now we have a fourth: GMR. We  independent station owners are facing higher costs to play the music our audience wants to hear.  We have chaos, uncertainty and uinfairness!"

Let us all find a way to create a better system that takes away the need for any of us to be unhappy. 
Let us work together to get this thing right.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

CBS sells radio stations to Entercom


CBS sells radio stations to Entercom


One of the largest and highest rated American radio networks, CBS RADIO, is to be sold to the foruth largest owner of stations, ENTERCOM.  The neas was announced on 2nd February 2017. 

Entercom began in the late 1960s and currently runs 125 stations across a couple of dozen markets. It sees this merger as a consolidation and boosting of its earnings for shareholders and outlets for advertisers. Its share price showed gains of around 7% on the news that calls it "the creation of a pre-eminent radio platform."  

Entercom's CEO David Field will run the new network, which is expected to get NYSE and FCC approval before Easter.  “This agreement is great for shareholders and achieves our previously stated objectives by separating our radio business in the best possible way,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. “Entercom is a superbly run company, and together with CBS Radio’s powerful brands and remarkable people, we are creating an organization that will be even better positioned to succeed in this rapidly evolving media landscape.”





 “These two great companies, with their impressive histories, complementary assets, and premier content and brands, are a perfect strategic and cultural fit, enabling us to deliver local connection on a national scale and drive accelerated growth," commented David J. Field,  is to be in charge of  the new combioned company.  "We look forward to welcoming our talented new colleagues at CBS Radio, and we have the utmost respect for their significant contributions to the industry.”

Monday, October 03, 2016

RADIO ADVENTURES

 OF THE 
MV COMMUNICATOR 


           World of Radio Ltd has published a new book, all about the eleven radio stations which have broadcast from the Radio Ship, the MV Communicator.  The book is written by Paul Rusling who was part of the team which set up LAser 558 on the ship back in 1983 and 1984. He draws heavilly on conversations with colleagues and others who were involved with the ship over its 21 year career as an offshore radio station. In that time, a total of eleven  radio  stations have used the ship, to avoid the draconian European bradio regulations.  

The First Phase saw LASER 730, LASER 558 and LASER HOT HITS broadcasting from the mouth of the Thames Estuary, with CSI transmitters and a very shaky antenna system.  Over five million listeners in the UK tuned in and a similar number on the near continent. She was blockaded by the British Government and eventually her crew mutinied after being starved of supplies by her operators. 

After going into port she was sold at auction but the new owner was just as hapless at getting supplies to her, and the ship was mercilessly battered by storms and a run of bad luck. On two occasions she was forcibly boarded during the night, on one occasion by one of her co-owners! 

In 1989 the ship was taken to Portugal for refitting, but was detailed for a while by the government after Dutch agents told them that one of her new customers, the Undergound Church, was a front for mercenerary recruitment and other nefarious activities. Her next port of call was the Netherlands where she was made much more welcome and given a succession of licences to broadcast no less than six radio stations: 


Holland FM, 

Holland Hot Hits 

Hot Hits 1224 

Veronica Hot Hits

Q Radio and 

Q The Beat.  



The Communicator's next port of call was a trip back to England and her old home port of Lowestoft where work began equipping her to broadcast from the Irish coast.  A last minute change of plans saw her head to the Orkney Islands and a base in Scapa Flow. There she helped launch The Super Station in 2004 but she was soon up for sale again.

During her trip around the European radio waves and various ports she was home to many DJs, radio engineers and various projects.  All are detailed in this great new book which spills the beans on the huge amounts of money the ship made for her various owners. 

Now availabe as HARDBACK
or as a SOFTBACK copy 
This is a collection of stories of those eleven radio stations that were heard transmitting from the Communicator at one time or another. The book also examines the background into several other radio projects that had plana to transmit from the ship. It's a story of adventure, intrigue and mystery.  The midnight raids, some outright extortion, several takeovers and of course that real lure of pirate radio - The Loot! 

Among the questions that this book answers are:-
  • Why broadcast from on board a ship?
  • What qualifications did DJs need on the ship?  
  • How did people live on board?  
  • What did everyone eat and drink? 
  • What did they do in their leisure time?
  • Whose was the ghost who manifested by the transmitter?

 Its a fun-filled, action-packed tale of 
dramatic events on the High Seas.  
Over 200 pages of swashbuckling excitement!  

To get a copy you can either order it at your local bookshop (ISBNs are below) or order via Amazon, or direct from the publishers who can get me to personally sign it and put in whatever dedication you wish.   Find it at the WorldofPagesweb site. An excellent idea for a Christmas present perhaps?


Link to  'Radio Adventures of the MV Communicator'
Radio Adventures 
of the MV Communicator
by Paul Alexander Rusling.  
Published by World of Radio Ltd
ISBN   Hardback   978-1-900401-14-2
             Softback   978-1-900401-12-8


The original book about Laser, called The Lid off Laser 558,  is currently being reprinted.