A song of hope on 183 European radio stations

Disk jockey, Sander Hoogendoorn
Sander Hoogendoorn
Received by Wunderbaum Management

March 20th, 2020 will be remembered as the day European radio stations showed united solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic.  At 8.45 a.m. 183 European radio stations, including RAI and the BBC,  played the English group ,Gerry & The Pacemakers’ version of  ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, an iconic, moving song considered a hymn to humanity.  The song became even more popular after the Liverpool FC fans adopted it as the team’s official anthem (see here) after qualifying for the finals of Champions League in 2019).

The initiative was the idea of Sander Hoogendoorn, a disk jockey working for the Dutch pop music public channel, NPO 3FM, who wanted to bring all the radio stations in the Netherlands together. In the end the initiative went beyond their national borders (find a list of stations that participated here).

Three questions RadioReporter asked Sander Hoogendoorn

Sander Hoogendoorn
Received by Wunderbaum Management

RR: Did you expect this success?

SH: No, I didn’t. The plan was to play this song with all the breakfast shows in the Netherlands. When they tagged along I was happy but then radio stations from Belgium started joining in. Then we started to make some phone calls to see if other European radio stations would like to join us. And they did!

RR: How long did it take you to arrange it?

SH: On Tuesday we started to talk to our listeners about the idea. In the same show I called some friends at other radio stations, asking them to join on Friday at 08.45. They were really happy to help. During the week more and more stations joined in, the last ones even on Friday morning. I think that all around the world more than 190 radio stations played the song!

RR: Which song would you choose to celebrate the victory over the pandemic?

SH: Queen – We Are The Champions

15.000 Italian transmitters connected 

La Radio per l’Italia
Source

Three hours later, at 11.00 a.m., radio stations all over the peninsula united to show solidarity and bring everyone together by playing the Italian National Anthem and three very well known Italian songs:  Azzurro (Adriano Celentano),  La canzone del sole (Lucio Battisti) and Nel blu dipinto di blu (Domenico Modugno). The population was asked  to tune in and wave the national flag. The radio stations involved included 19 private networks (Maria, Radicale and Mater only for the anthem) and more than 600 radio stations,  members of Aeranti-Corallo and Confindustria Radio TV, all connected to more than 15,000 transmitters (there are 9.123 national network transmitters alone. Source: FMList and FMScan).

Share on

Public service broadcasters closed by virus

Website RTVE in Spain, Article about the connection of Radio Exterior and Radio Nacional
Website of RTVE from Spain
Source

Some international broadcasters have been downsizing.  Radio schedules have been cancelled on Radio Exterior de Espana, an international service on short wave, that since March 16th, 2020, has been repeating bulletins on coronavirus transmitted by Radio Nacional de Espana (a national broadcaster on medium wave and FM).

Website of RAE and Radio Nacional in Argentina
Website of Radio Nacional from Argentina
Source


There is an identical situation in Argentina with RAE (Radiodifusion Argentina al Exterior), which  is broadcasting programmes transmitted by Radio Nacional.

Streets of Delhi in India
Streets of New Delhi, India
Source




Drastic cuts in India.  Since March 22nd, 2020, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reduced the national radio broadcasters down to Vividh Bharati (a propaganda radio station set up in 1957 to combat Radio Ceylon) transmitting from Mumbai, to All India Radio in New Delhi with news coverage, and to regional stations that cover local news.  All entertainment, music and sport has been cancelled. Digital transmissions on medium wave have been converted back to analogue to enable reception on common commercial radio receivers.

Ireland: Commercial stations are in crisis

trust radio and choose radio, a campaign launched by independent broadcasters in Ireland
#trustradiochooseradio, a campaign launched by independent broadcasters in Ireland
Source

From Galway, our correspondent John Walsh, from Flirt FM: The radio sector in Ireland is also struggling to deal with the COVID-19 crisis both in terms of staying on air and because of the financial implications of collapsed advertising revenue. In a special edition of the programme Wireless on Flirt FM, a community station in Galway, representatives of community and commercial stations explained the challenges in ensuring continuity of service and speculated about the future of the radio sector. Independent Broadcasters of Ireland which represent commercial stations have warned of the collapse of the radio industry.
Note: Ireland is in lockdown from March 24th to April 19th, 2020.  You can listen to the transmission of March 23rd, 2020 by clicking here.

Italy: Radio stations and TV broadcasters seeking finance

Lawyer Marco Rossignoli, Coordinator Aeranti-Corallo
Used by permission
Letter
Letter attached to Press Release from Confindustria
Source

We have already spoken about the problem caused by falling advertising revenue in a previous article, but with the passing of time the problem is worsening.   Franco Siddi, the President of Confindustria Radio Television (the association that represents all the major categories of the radio and television broadcasting industry) has written an open letter to the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.  

The Association Aeranti-Corallo, that represents 439 local radio and television stations, has requested 130 million euro: 80 million to double the annual government funding (from 80 to 90 million euro in 2019, to be distributed on the basis of a list of 903 broadcasters: 137 commercial radio stations 274 local community TV stations, 172  commercial radio stations, and 320 local community radio stations) and another 50 million as a 50% tax credit in order to cover the costs of studio rent, transmitters and electricity (for the months from March to June 2020).  We must keep in mind that an expected funding of 40 million euro was cancelled at the last moment by the decree Cura Italia on March 16th, 2020.

Share on

Radio and Coronavirus

Website of dimensione suono Roma, stamoseneacasa, let us stay at home
Website of dimensione suono Roma
Source

How are radio stations reacting to the state of emergency?  We checked this in Italy, the first country the pandemic spread to in Europe.  On March 16, five days after the government issued a decree advising the population to restrict their movements, we visited all the active websites of the 1,094 radio stations transmitting on FM, the 273 on Dab and the 12 on medium wave on the FMLIST and FMSCAN.  A hundred or so sites gave wide coverage to the exceptional circumstances of the situation.  Among the networks and the superstations (those covering multiple regions), only Dimensione Suono Roma gave good coverage to the Government’s message. Their home page contains the hashtag #stamoseneacasa ( in Roman dialect advising everyone to stay at home).

More active local radio stations

Website of Radio C1 in Italy
Website of Radio C1
Source

Diverse approaches by local and community radio stations:  Radio C1 in Pescara sends a message of hope, Radio Punto Nuovo in Naples interviews a radio presenter from Radio Zona Rossa, the Radio Codogna programme on air since February 23. They broadcast two daily news programmes covering the spread of the virus in the town, which following the Chinese approach, was one of the first to be locked down.  Radio Nuova Macerata focuses on useful information such as free grocery delivery services which are beneficial for the elderly so they are not obliged to leave their homes and risk contagion.

The sacred and the profane in Puglia

Website of Radio Montecalvo
Source
Website of Radio Made in Italy
Source

There is no shortage of curiosities: Radio Montecalvo, a broadcasting station in Foggia announces a prayer to Padre Pio for protection against the coronavirus.  On the contrary, Radio Made in Italy in Bari draws particular attention to their special offer regarding the red light portal Porno Hub, giving free access to the premium services in order to ….. lighten quarantine. 

Luckily someone thinks about children

Website of SWR Aktuell, a German broadcasting company
Source
Website of NDR, a German broadcasting company
Source

With the school closures and parents having to control their hyperactive smaller children, Radio Millennium has come up with a highly appreciated idea for children by broadcasting fairy tales, recorded by the theatre company Teatro del Cerchio  in Parma.  However focusing on children is not an Italian prerogative.  In Germany, for example, the regional radio stations NDR and SWR have increased their numbers of educational programmes for the young.

Website of Radio Millennium in Italy
Source
Share on

US: Are Independent Radios on web going to face extinction?

Working station
Source

Is the future of the sector of independent radio doubted?
More restrictive laws on royalties and the shutdown of the Live 365 platform in 2016, that had encouraged web radios in the past, now is putting doubts on the future of the independent radios sector.

Those tiny realities are not capable of paying the amount of money required for royalties to a commercial radio: some web platforms that tried to replace Live 365 (paying a forfait to record companies) didn’t last and, increasing costs for the radios they’ve contributed to reduce the number of online broadcasters. The future is uncertain, as Paul Riismandel’s analysis said, a media producer, who analysed this phaenomenon in an interesting article on Radio Survivor. The article contains practical comparison on costs and on the financial effort that the radio stations had to handle in order to continue.
To view the article please click here.

Share on

Global: Facing state of emergency on the front line

Facebook News Radio Bona Rossa in times of Coronavirus
Coping in times of Coronavirus at Radio Zona Rossa
Source

Codogno, one of the first Italian towns put into quarantine on February 21st, 2020, with all access roads blocked until midnight on March 9th, 2020, has a half hour programme called ‘Radio Zona Rossa’ on the parish radio station Radio Codogno.  The aim of the transmission is to give information through brief, live news updates to all those confined at home in the town. Community broadcasters serve the local populations more efficiently in emergencies and their work should be much more appreciated by governments.

More funds less bureaucracy

Cyclone Fani
Cyclone Fani
Source

In Italy funding is required. The associations of broadcasters are asking the government for financial aid due to them not being able to continue giving information about the coronavirus crisis because of lack of investment in advertising.

Whereas in India a simplified bureaucratic system would be sufficient. The national association of Indian community broadcasters has asked for more streamlined bureaucratic procedures to enable them to restart transmitting immediately when radio studios suffer damage by natural disasters.  This is in order not to have a repetition of the calamity on May 3rd, 2019, when Cyclone Fani interrupted broadcasting of a number of radio stations in the municipality of Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.

The right words to prevent panic

CBAA Emergency Broadcasting in Australia
Article from CBAA: Emergency Broadcasting in Australia
Source

Managing emergency transmissions involves enormous responsibility.  Radio presenters must choose the words they use with great care to avoid spreading panic.  In countries like Australia, where bush fires devastated the continent until the middle of February,  broadcasters are obliged to follow the guidance of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience.  They provide specific measures to be followed when deciding not only if and when to report the news and the way it should be made public, but they also outline how to structure the content and choice of words.

Share on

The consequences of Coronavirus on radio stations

Website of Radio Energy Turin
Website of Radio Energy Turin
Source

Less commercials, cancelled events and audience loss: in Italy, first European country to quarantine its citizens, also the radio is suffering from Coronavirus.

With companies closed and consumptions limited to basic commodities (shopping at the pharmacy or at the supermarket) the consequences on advertisings revenue is the same for every media. Consequently, the Italian government had planned (and later cancelled) to assign 40 million Euros as a bonus to help radio-television broadcasters, out of the 25 billion Euros allocated to support economy (decree of March 16th, 2020, called “Cura Italia”) . This was based on the relevant cuts in advertising’s investments reported by Confindustria Radio Televisioni, an association that represents the main networks.

Record audience for TV

Website of Auditel
Website of Auditel
Source

According to Auditel’s data, however, during the first quarantine week a boom of TV-audience has been noticed, forcing the research institute (that does the scan with the meter) to postpone the report’s publication. On March 10th, 2020, the first day of quarantine for the whole country, the viewers increased by 1,7 million against one week before, with 2,65 million more during prime time.

On March 15th, 2020, despite sport programmes and other popular shows had been cancelled, the prime time viewers increased by 5,1 million. A rise in audience like this surely increases the value of commercials, but is still not enough to make up for the general loss in advertising investment.

And what about Radio?

Website of TER (Tavolo Editori Radio)
Website of TER (Tavolo Editori Radio)
Source

Radio broadcasters did register a loss of audience especially during the morning, usually rich in commercials: in car the traditional radio listening still prevails, but will the quarantined commuters still listen to the transmission that accompanied them on their way to work? Or are they going to sleep for an extra hour?

On the other hand, the ones that are experiencing smart working, or the ones that are at home forced by the temporary closure of their companies, are they going to turn on their radios or their TV sets? 
In a couple of months we’ll have some statistics that will tell us if radios took advantage of this epidemic, or if TV or other media prevail.
To know that, we have to wait for the next Ter’s research ( the “Tavolo Editori Radiofonici” published on March 10th, 2020, the results of the first round, made of 30.000 surveys done since January 21st, 2020)

Share on

Ukraine: A new TV channel for the occupied territories

Map of Ukraine, the Russian occupied regions in focus: Donbass and Crimea
Map of Ukraine, the Russian occupied regions: Donbass and Crimea in red
Source
Modification by Editor

Starting March 1st, ‘Dom’ has been turned on: a TV channel through which the Ukrainean government is transmitting its voice to the regions where control was lost in 2014. Those regions are the Donbass, in the hand of Russian separatists, and Crimea, occupied by the Russian Federation (see red circle on the image above). This initiative is just one part of a strategy promoted by the government in Kiev: in 2018 the transmitters were already improved to boost the TV signal (five digital channels and two analogue)  to Crimea, where Ukrainian channels have been replaced by the Russian ones.

Ukrainians, come back home

Traditionally dressed local Ukrainians
Locals
Source

The channel has been created to spread the message : ‘Ukraine is our home’, said the general manager of the broadcaster Yuliya Ostrovska ; during a press conference she also reported that ‘54% of the inhabitants of occupied territories can’t watch Ukrainian TV channels, and the 43% of them can’t view Ukrainian websites’. The design of the channel logo is interesting : it has been created to be read as ‘Dim’ (Ukrainian) and also as Dom (Russian), two different words that have one meaning : home. The languages used for the transmission will be Russian and Ukrainian.

A showcase for the country

city view on Kiev, Ukraine, capital of Ukraine
View on Kiev
Source

The broadcaster, now in a testing phase, is going to transmit TV series and sport programmes, selected from the premium content provided by different groups: 1+1 Media, StarLight Media, Inter Media Group and Media Group Ukraine. The 15% of the quota allocated to 1+1 will be realized by Kwartal 95 studio: a production company founded by the current President Volodymyr Zelensky, that has helped forge his notoriety as actor and comedian. The schedule will be enriched with news (national and local) and talk shows, aiming to become capable of creating all the content autonomously.

Jamming

Giant antenna causing jamming
Source

But all those efforts may be compromised by electronic interference, said Mykyta Poturayev, a parliamentary responsible for information that attended the press conference. Just like during Cold War, when high power transmitters with giant antennas were active from the USSR territory, spreading noise, to make listening of Western broadcasters very difficult. Dom is like a foreign channel: it is dedicated to the occupied regions by being transmitted only over air. Once the autonomy of programmes’ production is reached, it will be transmitted via satellite and by cable. 

Share on

Philippines: If this TV is inconvenient maybe I’ll shut it down… or maybe not

News Release, Republic of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
News Release: It’s up to Lower House to tackle ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, says President Duterte
Source

After the Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte told the press his intention to stop the renewal of the ABS-CBN TV station’s licence in March 2020, he accepted the apologies of the television network. It is considered being critical of the government after broadcasting a negative speech and not airing his campaign ads.

On February 26th, 2020, answering some journalists questions during an event held by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the President said that he’s going to leave the decision of the renewal entirely to the Congress.

‘We acted properly’

ABS-CBN grateful humbled by Duterte acceptance of apology, article
ABS-CBN News: ABS-CBN ‘grateful, humbled’ by Duterte acceptance of apology
Source

In a statement on February 27th, 2020, ABS-CBN took the opportunity of thanking the President and to explain their version of what had happened: During 2016, a video of Duterte swearing, and some children asking the President if his actions were right.

During a hearing on the franchising’s conformity in the Senate, Carlo Katigbak (CEO of ABS-CBN group) told that he has ‘only respected the laws and the broadcasting regulations for political ads’ and that the TV was unable to air Duterte’s ads due to the limit in broadcasting time, at a value of approximately 7 million Philippine peso (PHP) (approximately US $ 138.000). The TV station immediately gave back 4 million PHP, meanwhile the return of the remaining 2.6 million ($ 51.000) has been delayed by the President himself: Duterte, accepting the apologies, told the TV to give the money to charity.

A group that covers TV and radio (both AM and FM)

Homepage of Mor - My only radio, Philippines
MOR – My only radio, Philippines
Source

ABS-CBN is a multimedia group born in 1967 by the fusion of Alto Broadcasting System (ABS, founded in 1946) and Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN, founded in 1956). The company manages various TV networks such as ABS-CBN, which provides 50 to 60% of the turnover, and ABS-CBN Sports + Action. Radio includes regional stations like Radyo Patrol (medium wave) and My Only Radio, with 16 FM transmitters in the whole country. The activities of this group are manyfold: They include broadcasting of international TV channels and pay TV, a film production company, a record label and a publishing house.

Share on

Italy: Radio tormenting – someone uses the rosary

If your neighbour is listening to radio at high volume, do you use earplugs or are you gonna start a watt-war?
It is also possible trying to solve the problem by knocking at your neighbours door or, in more serious cases, by calling the police. But when the noise occurs often and is intentional, it becomes stalking and thus a lawyer is necessary. 

Hard Rock or Radio Maria?

Italian website of Radio Maria
Radio Maria Website
Source

Checking on the web, it’s possible to find a great number of people convicted of  tormenting their neighbours, using noise made by TV or radio programmes. It’s funny that, in Italy, people seem to prefer using religious programmes, such as the rosary (transmitted by the national and most famous religious broadcaster: Radio Maria), instead of music.
Here follows a brief list of the most interesting and funny cases:

2020, Divignano (near Novara, in Piedmont, Italy): A married couple persecuted their neighbour using various religious functions transmitted by Radio Maria
Read more

2019, Vicenza (Veneto, Italy): A man was trialled for listening to Radio Maria at high volume during early morning hours
Read more

2018, Biella (Piedmont, Italy): A night worker can’t sleep during the day because of its neighbour listening to Radio Maria all day
Read more

2012 Golfo Aranci (Sardinia, Italy): 8 months of imprisonment for the two sisters that persecuted their brother during his restaurant opening hours, using Radio Maria as their weapon
Read more

There are also people who use the rosary to defend themselves.
2013 Fiesole (Tuscany, Italy): A family listened to Radio Maria at high volume to drown out the noise made by the neighbours parrot.
Read more

Share on

Spain: the legendary “cupón de la ONCE”, the main character of Spanish radio commercials

Everyone who had a chance to listen to Spanish radio programmes, especially the ones on Radio Nacional de España or the private stations Cope and Cadena Ser (on FM and medium wave), has noticed that one of the most common commercials talks about the “cupón de la ONCE”: a ticket of a very popular lottery managed by the homonymous organisation, managed by blind people. Created in the 1930s as a non state lottery, it was promoted by some blind people associations in Andalusia, Catalunya and Levante, which merged in 1939 in the official national organisation that started calling the ticket “cupón”.

The 80s boom

With the advent of democracy in Spain, also the organisation renews itself: the lottery becomes national (1984) and the prize reaches 100.000 pesetas (1987), multiplying by a million the ticket’s value, sold for 100 pesetas. Since then, the lottery took off, becoming more and more popular, and radio broadcasters started being flooded with commercials promoting the tickets’ sale. Lottery’s proceeds, from the 60’s, are invested in the opening of educational centers and libraries, to promote cultural events, and to finance fundamental services such as rehabilitation.

El Cuponazo
Source
Share on