SPAIN: MAYOR OF MADRID IN WAR AGAINST PIRATE RADIOS

MAYOR OF MADRID IN WAR AGAINST PIRATE RADIOS
The studios of M21 Radio, Madrid’s municipal radio station to which El Confidencial dedicated a long article. It used to be called Onda Imefe. Its equipment was improved under the left-wing city council, but the new PP council decided to close it down and get rid of the equipment
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Many Spanish municipalities make their voice heard on the airwaves: they operate the ‘Emisora Municipal‘ (although not all of them have the word municipal radio in their names), a station that usually has its studios in the municipal building and broadcasts at low power (from 50 to a few hundred watts, just enough to cover the city) between 106 and 108 MHz. Madrid also has one. Or rather, there was: it was closed down three years ago (2019) by the new mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida (Partido Popular, allied with Ciudadanos and Vox to govern the city), who, in order to denigrate the work of the old administration (Manuela Carmena, PSOE socialist), had described the station as a six-million-euro beach bar for 400 people. But three years on, it seems that the capital’s first citizen has had second thoughts (he’s been in government since 2019) and wants to “make radio” as he puts it (El Confidencial has tried to investigate, but the administration has not leaked plans to use it so it’s still not clear what editorial project they’re working on). The mayor had not calculated that leaving the old frequency free would be a big mistake: there are dozens of pirate radio stations in the capital. It would have been enough to leave a low-power, modulated signal on to prevent occupation.

Millions in the wind (the value of a valuable canal in a capital city)

M21’s Facebook page is sleek and curated. You can still find it online, with the latest posts of 2019, such as the one about the Madrid jazz festival. A large part of the M21 staff were students from CES (Escuela Superior de Imagen y Sonido), who were doing their internship at the municipal radio station. Only the managers were professionals
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Madrid’s 88.6 is a valuable frequency, located at the lower end of the FM band, where the most important radio stations are and where most listeners cross. When manually tuned receivers were used, the channels at the beginning of the band were the most sought-after. El Confidencial examines the case in detail, talking about the labyrinth in which the administration has got itself into in order to identify which of the many territorial and state administrations is competent to intervene and resolve the problem. So a pirate radio station occupied the frequency and the administration filed a complaint against unknown persons. Waiting for something to move in the organizational machine of the State or of whoever should control the airwaves. Difficult, given that in the country there are not only pirate radio stations but thousands of unauthorised broadcasters who are also national networks. The final hoax: the Madrid City Council is continuing to pay the State the annual fee for the use of the frequency. This and more in the article, in which you can also find information on the old municipal radio station: M21 (the radio station is nicknamed Radio Carmena, after the mayor who started the station: Manuela Carmena, judge emeritus of the Supreme Court of Spain).

SPAIN: CATHOLIC NETWORK CONDEMNED, IT HAD FIRED AN EMPLOYEE FOR HIS IDEOLOGY

The article in CincoDías, a column in the economics section of the Spanish daily El País, discusses the subject in-depth and also offers a link to read the ruling
The article in CincoDías, a column in the economics section of the Spanish daily El País, discusses the subject in-depth and also offers a link to read the ruling
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The Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (Tribunal Superior de Justicia – TSJ) annulled the dismissal of a sound technician of Cope (Cadena de Ondas Populares Españolas, owned by the Spanish Episcopal Conference), and ordered the company to reinstate him and pay his back wages. The employee had written a comment on Twitter about a Spanish satirical film where Jesus is portrayed as a homosexual. The court upheld the appeal because an employee is not obliged to share a company’s ideology or decalogue of good practices and cannot be expelled for this reason. Moreover, he was not a journalist, broadcasting news or opinions, but a sound recording assistant; his Twitter profile was personal and did not indicate that he was an employee of the Catholic radio station. Therefore, the followers of the post could not have damaged the company’s image, as they were unaware of who he worked for.

SPAIN: The Union asks public television to allow advertising again

El País article analyzes the financing model of public television, currently devoid of advertising, and presents the union's proposals
El País article analyzes the financing model of public television, currently devoid of advertising, and presents the union’s proposals
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The UGT (Sindicato Unión General de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de España) has formally asked public broadcasting to modify its strategic plan, providing for new measures to plug budget losses. RTVE lost 31.6 million euros in 2020, and by the end of April 2021, the debt had reached 184 million euros. The main demand concerns advertising, which the union is asking to reintroduce, at least in a limited way, also to re-establish competition, today very limited because in fact 95% of the market is controlled by a duopoly. An article published in the economics section of the newspaper El País goes into the details of the proposal, analyzing the similarities with the “French model”, which inspired the financial law of the Spanish government, which provides four channels of financing for public radio and television.

SPAIN: Debate on the renewal of public broadcasting top management

How are public broadcasting executives elected? A comparison of the procedures adopted by six European countries

Debate on the renewal of public broadcasting top management
The image of the BBC’s London headquarters opens the article by Vozpópuli, ‘independent and liberal digital medium’
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In recent months, when the top management of Radiotelevisión Española (RTVE) was being renewed, a debate was opened in the country on the mechanisms that govern these choices. An article in the periodical Vozpópuli compared the Spanish situation with that of five other European countries: the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Italy and Germany. In Spain, the president of RTVE is chosen from a shortlist of ten candidates, six of whom are appointed by the Congress of Deputies and four by the Senate.

In Germany, the TV channel ZDF enjoys greater autonomy from political forces and the executive, in order to focus on the professionalism of the management.

Details can be read here.

SPAIN: The war between the stars of soccer

The war between the stars of soccer
José Maria Garcia, in an archive image, during an editorial meeting
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A challenge between two Spanish journalists, kings of the ratings and rulers of the fans, took place in Spain at the end of the last century. The programs they invented aired on two networks after midnight, and were followed by millions of Spaniards. Thirty years later, that epic battle is being celebrated by a TV series

It is a beautiful story that the Italian magazine Contrasti, a sports and cultural magazine, dedicates to the challenge between two Spanish football commentators, which took place in Spain between the eighties and nineties of the last century. The protagonists are José Maria Garcia, the true “dominus” of commentators, who earned more than soccer players (in 1987 his cachet was one billion pesetas, equal to 6 million euros today, without indexation) and his antagonist, José Ramón de la Morena.

Spanish TV, drawing on archive material, has produced a programme on the beginnings of José Maria Garcia and made it available on YouTube
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Garcia used to broadcast on Cadena Ser (an acronym for “Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión”: today it has about 250 owned and almost 200 associated stations,) but it was from 1982, when he moved to Antena 3 Radio (a national network closed in 1994) that his season of success began. “Supergarcía“, his program aired from midnight onwards (he decided at what time to close the microphones) would be followed by over a million people. Thanks to his program, the flagship of the network, Antena 3, exceeded Cadena Ser in terms of ratings, but when the station was purchased by the competitor (which absorbed its 93 stations) Garcia moved to the antagonist network, the Catholic Cadena Cope (acronym of “Cadena de Ondas Populares Españolas”, where he remained until 2000, and then moved to Onda Cero (third in ratings, it has 220 stations), where he remained until 2002. Garcia was so popular and powerful that he could tell team presidents and ministers to go to hell, and he had a special relationship with King Juan Carlos, who gave him exclusive interviews.

José Ramón de la Morena will leave the microphones as of 30 June 2021. At 64, he has decided to devote himself to his family and his foundation and has not renewed his contract with Onda Cero. His wife, 25 years younger, gave him a son in February 2021.
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But at some point on his way, Cadena Ser bet on a young antagonist, José Ramón de la Morena, who created a new format for the program, managing over the years to catch up, then keep up and finally overtake him. In 2002, Garcia threw in the towel, thus breaking the magic of this no-holds-barred challenge (well described in the Contrasts article). So much so that a few years later, Ramon De la Morena also lost the scepter.

SPAIN: Pandemic dries up budgets and radios cut back

Commercial radio stations have lost more than 20 percent of their turnover and need to save money
Pepa Bueno and Carlos Herrera, like other Iberian radio stars, risk a cut in their salaries for the whole of 2021: commercial radio stations have lost more than 20 percent of their turnover and need to save money
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The economic crisis caused by the pandemic is having an impact on broadcasters’ turnover, which according to the InfoAdex study on advertising investment in Spain in 2020 will drop by 22.9% for all stations. This is a total of 111.5 million euros that will be lost and which will impact mainly on the large commercial networks such as Cadena Ser and Cope (which have lost 25.4 and 24.4% respectively). Broadcasters consider intervening again in the contracts of the big stars (including Pepa Bueno and Carlos Herrera), cutting them for the second consecutive year and probably until the end of 2021. And the situation shows no sign of improving, as the January 2021 InfoAdex figures put the decline at 26.7%.

More details on the smaller radio stations in the article by the independent newspaper El Español.

SPAIN: The Prisa Group divests abroad

The Prisa Group divests abroad
Prisa, Spain’s leading media group, is present in 24 countries. The radio brands are Cadena Ser, Los 40 Principales and Cadena Dial
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Before splitting its activities into two branches, the company with the largest number of radio stations in Spain divests abroad. If in the domestic market the Grupo Prisa refuses offers, abroad it has divested three radio and television companies. After Panama, with Los 40 Principales, the divestments continued in Portugal with the Media Capital group, which in addition to radio stations (Comercial and M80) owns a TV chnnel (TVI), an audiovisual production company (Plural) and a portal for digital natives (Iol.pt). In Argentina, instead, it has sold two radio stations in the capital: Radio Continental (104.3) and Los 40 Principales (105.5).

More details in the article of Economia Digital.

SPAIN: RTVA Andalucia is the cheapest public channel in Europe

the cheapest public channel in Europe


The service of the periodical elplural.com contains more details on the contrasts between workers and the regional government
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It’s been months of unrest for workers at RTVA-Canal Sur, Andalusia’s public radio and television station. At the end of November 2020, 400 workers had signed a manifesto against the budget cuts decided by the regional government. To support his argument, the president of the Andalusian junta Juanma Moreno Bonilla had stated several times in interviews that regional television was expensive. But he was defeated by a recent study by the University of Santiago de Compostela, carried out in collaboration with the universities of Valencia, Malaga, Castilla-La Mancha, Barcelona, Madrid, Vigo, Carlos III of Madrid and A Coruña. The report, “Current Panorama and Trends in Public Radio Television in Europe”, shows that the cost for Andalusian citizens is only 16.16 EUR per year, the lowest in Europe. As a whole, Spanish public TV costs citizens 44 EUR per year compared to 160 EUR in Denmark and 113 EUR in the UK.

SPAIN: RNE loses 15% of listeners, SER intercepts them


Economía digital’s article analyses in detail the situation of the audience crisis of the public broadcaster.
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Radio Nacional de Espana has lost 190,000 listeners in just a few months, and now has around one million. It is an unprecedented collapse that emerged from the General Media Study (EGM) audience survey at the end of the third round of surveys. Compared to the first quarter (the survey was suspended in the second quarter due to the pandemic), the drop was 15%. And the drop does not only affect the flagship network, but also (although to a lesser extent) the other public networks.

An old article in the newspaper Vozpopuli also spoke of the tense atmosphere created in February in the public broadcasting networks by the redundancy campaign.
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Economía digital (Spain’s fifth largest news group, a native of the network) points the finger at the redundancies, resignations and new appointments made this year in the TV and radio networks. Changes made by Rosa María Mateo (RNE’s interim sole director) and Enric Hernández (news director) have triggered a reaction from the trade unions.

The graph shows the contacts of the three most followed networks on the internet: while COPE is 600,000 users ahead of SER, the network in third place, Onda Cero, has almost 9 million fewer contacts.
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SER (+241,000) and, marginally, COPE (+20,000) gained. COPE is also the first in terms of digital audience: the Cadena de Ondas Populares Espanolas (also owner of Cadena 100, Rock FM and Megastar FM brands), has exceeded twelve million unique users, outstripping rival SER by over 600,000 followers.

Spain: Digital radio sunk by socialists

The article of Panorama Audivisual dedicated an in-depth analysis to the rejection of the bill "Urgent measures for the promotion of digital terrestrial sound broadcasting" which took place on November 4
The article of Panorama Audivisual dedicated an in-depth analysis to the rejection of the bill “Urgent measures for the promotion of digital terrestrial sound broadcasting” which took place on November 4th, 2020
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If in 2018 it was the PP (Partido Popular) that sank DAB, it now was the Socialists of the PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) who rejected the bill presented by Compromís, a political coalition from Valencia, to the Senate. The spokesman in the Senate of the Valencian political coalition, Carles Mulet Garcia, points out that from next December in Spain all cars will have digital radio (as required by European regulations) but that owners will not be able to receive programs, turning the nation into “a technological island of Europe”. In Spain the technical plan for the development of digital radio was launched in 1999. It foresaw the coverage of 80% of the population in 2005, then reduced to 20% in 2011. Today listening is limited to Madrid and Barcelona, although there are unauthorized transmissions on the Costa del Sol and the Canary Islands.

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