USA: In the 1920s, radio was one of the sectors of the new economy

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In the Twenties radio was one of the sectors of the new economy
In the roaring years of radio, RCA had a boom comparable to that of technology companies. But this did not prevent it from being overwhelmed by the crisis of 1929, although the purchase of radio equipment continued to grow, as the article of elEconomista.es explains.
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A study of the stock market capitalization shows that in the Twenties of the 20th century the performance of radio companies was comparable to that of today’s technology companies. In the summer of 1920 commercial broadcasters had started their activity in the United States, so it was imagined that the purchase of receivers would have led to a strong development for the industry. The analysis conducted by Jim Reid, a specialist at Deutsche Bank, reconstructs the performance of the stock of RCA (Radio Corporation of America), whose profits had risen from 2.5 million dollars in 1925 to 20 million in 1928, causing the value of the shares to soar by 700% (from cents in 1921 to ten dollars in 1926). 

USA: Radio Disney closes

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The report in the Argentine daily La Nación points out that Disney’s radio station has helped launch a number of celebrities, including Selena Gomez (pictured).
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In the first quarter of 2021, the Walt Disney Company will close Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country. Opened in 1995, the station owned 23 medium-wave stations to reach a large audience of young people and teenagers, but with the spread of streaming in 2014 most of the stations (22) had been sold and the signal was being broadcast digitally, on satellite and in some HD Radio subchannels. Radio Disney Country, a secondary streaming brand launched in the autumn of 2015, was no longer on AM as of 2017 because the station broadcasting it, 1110 KDIS in Pasadena (Los Angeles) had changed its name and format, becoming KRDC. The end of broadcasting is also caused by the uncertainties of the pandemic about the future of live music events. Thirty-six employees (full-time and part-time staff) will lose their jobs and the Pasadena station will be sold off. The closure does not affect Radio Disney in Latin America.

USA: Hybrid car radios never lose your favorite signal

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The new Audi radio indicates whether the signal is coming from FM or the web: WILD 94.9, in the area where the image was taken (Bay of San Francisco, California), is available via their Internet stream.
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Audi cars sold in the United States can be equipped with a hybrid car radio (i.e. capable of receiving the signal over the air or streaming via the internet) that maintains the tuning of the preferred station even if the signal broadcast over the air is weakening during the journey. With a traditional device, when you leave the coverage area of a station, noise increases until the audio becomes unintelligible. Cars equipped with the Hybrid Radio® system, on the other hand, allow you to continue listening because when the listening quality starts to deteriorate they automatically switch from the signal transmitted over the air to the digital signal received via the Internet.

Star 101.3, a San Francisco radio station owned by iHeartRadio, is received at the current vehicle position only via the web.
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The new functionality is available on vehicles in the 2021 series (on sale from September 2020) equipped with the MIB 3 modular multimedia system, which connects to the network thanks to the integrated 4G Wi-Fi hotspot (requires a subscription to the Audi connect® Prime or Plus service). iHeartRadio, a leading U.S. radio company, is making more than 600 stations throughout North America compatible with the Hybrid Radio® system, in order to participate in the project.

USA: Radio must reinvent itself and focus on information

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Variety tells the story of the new project on which the inventor of the radio format who invented playlists in the 1970s is working
Variety talks about the new project the inventor of the playlists is working on
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Lee Abrams, who in 1973 created the radio format AOR (Album Oriented Rock) tells Variety about his new project: a new format to renew the way of doing radio. In the seventies the idea of sticking to a playlist was a way to build a precise radio identity, but almost fifty years later the father of this format repudiates his creature: the programming is now flattened and the radio stations are too similar. The solution? Reinventing oneself, focusing on information, defined by Abrams as “the new rock ‘n’ roll”, and leaving more room for creativity. Here are the details.

USA: Less constraints for US radios

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Removing the constraints of duplication of programs "is preferable to a struggling station reducing programming or going off the air entirely" said Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC
Removing the constraints of duplication of programs “is preferable to a struggling station reducing programming or going off the air entirely” said Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has lifted the ban on broadcasting the same programme (simulcast) on several FM and AM stations. The regulation was introduced in 1964 and has been updated several times (the last time in 1992) to take account of developments in a market where competition is increasingly fierce. It is estimated that in FM no broadcaster will be able to repeat the entire programming (until now the limit was 25%), but the greater flexibility should help to overcome the crisis, favouring format changes and facilitating the transition of medium wave channels to digital. Ultimately, it should be the service offered to listeners that gains. More details and official statements can be found here.

USA: A black radio for black people

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Black Information Network can be heard on the iHeartRadio app but the news is picked up by 91 hip hop, R&B and Gospel radio stations in all the States: Power 105.1 in New York, Real 92.3 in Los Angeles, WDAS and Power 99 in Philadelphia, WGCI and WVAZ in Chicago, WJLB in Detroit, The Beat in Houston and Miami, WQUE in New Orleans and KMEL in San Francisco
Black Information Network can be heard on the iHeartRadio app but the news is picked up by 91 hip hop, R&B and Gospel radio stations in all the States: Power 105.1 in New York, Real 92.3 in Los Angeles, WDAS and Power 99 in Philadelphia, WGCI and WVAZ in Chicago, WJLB in Detroit, The Beat in Houston and Miami, WQUE in New Orleans and KMEL in San Francisco
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In the wake of the racial protests following George Floyd’s death, the iHeartMedia group launched an all-news radio for the black community. BIN, which stands for Black Information Network, offers 24 hours of news seven days a week and according to the promoters is “an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a black voice and perspective”. The publisher has also carried out a study according to which 86% of black listeners believe that this service is necessary and that they will probably use it as an important source of news, while 83% think that it provides information that today cannot be received on the radio or TV. The broadcasts will have no advertising, but will be funded by a group of companies: Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon, “who share and support the mission of BIN”. This line-up suggests that the “black” have been identified as potential consumers.

USA: IBA, united we stand

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The logo of the Independent Broadcasters Association, a new association for American radio stations: 2.700 have already joined and the target number is 3.000
The logo of the Independent Broadcasters Association, a new association for American radio stations: 2.700 have already joined and the target number is 3.000
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IBA (Independent Broadcasters Association) is about to be set up in the United States. The aim is to increase the impact of thousands of member radio stations when communicating with record companies, selling airtime for advertisements (from the radio and social network to smart speakers like Alexa) and negotiating savings on services (from accountancy to putting programmes on air). We put three questions to Ron Stone, the promoter of the initiative.

Ron Stone, President and CEO of Adams Radio Group, is about to launch IBA that already has 2.700 member radio stations
Ron Stone, President and CEO of Adams Radio Group, is about to launch IBA that already has 2.700 member radio stations
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RR: IBA not only offers its members the sale of commercials that will be broadcast on 3.000 radio stations, on as many apps and Facebook pages, but also to reduce the fees for music rights by negotiating royalties as a group of broadcasters. What difficulties did you encounter when explaining your proposal? Wasn’t getting 3.000 “heads” to agree a problem? Or has the prospect of earnings (and savings) made prospective members more willing to listen? 
RS: The goal is to represent the stations that become members as an unwired network, offering this network to clients that have a national presence. In addition, we will create a digital platform for all the members to participate in that will allow for the first time, a true digital sale opportunity by radio on a national scale to compete for digital spending.

RR: Could this model also work in other countries? Associations usually do lobbying or offer services, but none of them have thought of taking such an active role.
RS: I really cannot answer this as I am not familiar with broadcasting in other countries. We will not be a lobbying group. We will leave that to the NAB, unless we find that there is a particular issue that we are being harmed by and not fairly represented.

RR: In order to sell advertising for 3.000 radio stations, are you going to create an independent advertising agency or rely on existing structures?
RS: With an unwired network, it becomes fairly easy. It is an all or none sale. Clients cannot cherry pick stations.

The objectives of the Independent Broadcasters Association

This is not only an association, but an organisation offering services. This could start a trend that may be followed in other countries in order to achieve economies of scale, which are essential after the collapse in advertising due to the Coronavirus crisis
Here is the form to request information
This is not only an association, but an organisation offering services. This could start a trend that may be followed in other countries in order to achieve economies of scale, which are essential after the collapse in advertising due to the Coronavirus crisis
Here is the form to request information
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Excerpt of the program of the association, from Radio IBA

The concept is to serve independent radio stations in ways we are NOT being served by existing organizations and provide independent operators with ways to drive revenue and achieve cost benefits from scale that cannot be achieved alone.

Below reflects my thoughts on what the organization would focus on right away and during the first two years.

Group employee benefits Better coverage and lower prices, and potentially add additional benefits for our employees.

Revenue generation An unwired network & digital platform supported by a national sales team to monetize for us.

Digital services group This would enable continuity across independent stations giving us the opportunity to accomplish double digit digital revenue through Web, Mobile, Alexa, & Streaming

Shared resources A system that allows sharing of that talent in non-competitive situations and reduces our dependence on national syndication that requires cash, barter and sometimes both.

Proprietary systems and services Under the umbrella of a member owned association, we can create proprietary systems that we control and eliminate some of the costly monthly per station fees for traffic, accounting, CRM, Yield Management, even automation and music scheduling.

This will of course take time, like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. But as independents, we are 7,000 stations strong, and multiply what each of us pay for any one service, it becomes crystal clear that through a membership owned organization, we would have the wherewithal to accomplish this, and the revenue growth and savings would be astronomical.

Coronavirus: US Christian radio stations in crisis

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The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the largest Christian group of radio stations in the United States into crisis.

The Christian radio group’s business plan was to charge pastors for time on their transmissions to broadcast their sermons
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The Salem Media Group had a business model that protected them from the highs and lows of the advertising market. In 2019 they made US$79 million by selling pastors time on their transmissions to deliver their sermons. However, they certainly did not forgo both local and national commercials that brought in $68 million. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 pandemic caused their shares to plummet to 80 cents (they were at US$8 in 2018 and US$30 in 2004). Moody’s, an American credit rating agency, has classified investments in the company as high risk.

The report published by Cristianity Today provides more details on the financial crisis in Salem
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The Salem Media Group has a network of 3,100 radio stations (100 of which they own) with a guaranteed 298 million listeners per week. The board of directors have announced a dividend block, a reduction of 10% in managers’ salaries and they are now considering personnel cuts (a total of over 1,400 employees). In this article the magazine Christianity Today outlines the situation in-depth.

Local authorities are more generous

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relaunching tourism in the region Emilia-Romagna, italy - 2 million euro campaign to promote tourism
Emilia-Romagna, Italy, relaunching tourism
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Luckily measures have been taken by some Regional Governments.  Emilia-Romagna has allocated  € two million for a campaign on the radio, TV and social media in order to relaunch the tourist season. While in Abruzzo (even though it is still a proposed bill) €300,000 are arriving to support local radio and TV stations, newspapers and online press.

Public radio stations ask Trump for help

CPB, corporation for public broadcasting seeking for additional emergency funding
CPB seeking additional US$ 175 million
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The US$ 75 million received from Congress (we have spoken about in one of our previous articles) is not enough. The Corporation of Public Broadcasting, that distributes funds to about 1500 public radio and television stations, had originally asked for US$ 250 million and insists on having the other US$ 175 million, which is indispensable to guarantee the survival of the public and university stations.

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

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Working station
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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.