UK: HEART ATTACK LIVE

Suffolk's GenX Radio presenter Tim Gough dies on air
The BBC website dedicated a lengthy article, with testimonies from former colleagues who remember him for the time they spent together behind the microphone
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It’s as good a day as any in Ipswich, a Suffolk town where GenX Radio is based, a web station that within a year has been so successful that it has taken the leap into the airwaves, submitting an application to Ofcom to open a DAB channel (the authorisation will come a few days after Tim’s death). Even though it has no competition, because it is the only commercial station in the region, it needs to upgrade its palimpsest in order to land in the digital band. So it recruited a veteran of the airwaves for its most important programme: the breakfast slot, which between 6am and 9am takes listeners from waking up to resuming their activities. And Tim Gough is an exceptional presenter: he has decades in the business behind him and, above all, began his career in 1986 at Radio Orwell, a station based in Ipswich (transmitted on 1170 kHz on medium wave and 97.1 MHz on FM).

A morning like any other

A still from Green Day's video clip, in which Madness depicts the daily grind of getting up to go to the office even when you got home very late.
A still from Green Day’s video clip, in which Madness depicts the daily grind of getting up to go to the office even when you got home very late. But work calls!
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The sun rose at 7.37am. The sky is grey but not cold, it’s 13 degrees. It’s Monday, a new week begins and it’s time to get the energy going. Tim is happy. These are the first broadcasts he is conducting after ten years away from the microphones. He lives 30 km from the station and to avoid travelling to the studios before dawn he has equipped himself at home. He has been on the air for almost an hour when he plays Grey Day by Madness, a ska group that in 1981 with this song parodied a grey morning like that, but in which you still have to get up and drag yourself like zombies to the office after a night of revelry.

Suddenly the music stops

In the BBC report, there is an image taken at Saxon Radio (used to broadcast on 96.4 FM, and merged with Radio Orwell) showing a Tim in his early twenties preparing the setlist
In the BBC report, there is an image taken at Saxon Radio (used to broadcast on 96.4 FM, and merged with Radio Orwell) showing a Tim in his early twenties preparing the setlist (he made his debut at the age of 19, in 1986)
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Grey Day is a track full of energy, evoking for Tim the years when he took his first steps at Radio Orwell, in 1986, and he thinks it’s the right push to face a new cloudy week. But shortly afterwards, at 7.50, the music suddenly stops: Tim is taken ill, probably from a heart attack. The ambulance arrived and the paramedics tried to revive him, but after 25 minutes of effort, they had to throw in the towel. Tim left live. As soon as the news spreads, the emails start arriving: hundreds of messages of love. After all, Tim is a well-known personality: after his debut on Radio Orwell in 1986, he became a specialist in morning host. He moved on to Saxon Radio and SGR-FM and made appearances on Smooth Radio, several stations in the East Midlands and other national radio stations. The BBC article collects several testimonials from former colleagues, who agree that he is a friendly, funny and very talented guy. (Written by Fabrizio Carnevalini)

SPAIN: WILL THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OPEN UP TO DIGITAL RADIO?

The Collserola tower, a daring construction designed by British architect Norman Foster in 1992 for the Olympic Games, is 288 metres high and also houses the antennas of the DAB multiplex for Barcelona
The Collserola tower, a daring construction designed by British architect Norman Foster in 1992 for the Olympic Games, is 288 meters high and also houses the antennas of the DAB multiplex for Barcelona

The Iberian country is lagging behind in the transition of radio to DAB. Eighteen years after the activation of multiplexes, digital broadcasting seems not to have emerged from the experimental phase: they are active in Madrid and Barcelona, and a few other cities, still broadcasting in the old standard DAB and not in DAB+. The few programs carried are those of Radio Nacional de Espana (Radio 1, Radio 5: Radio Clásica, and Radio 3 remain excluded), and the main networks (the missing ones are, for example, Cadena Dial, Los 40, Rock FM). Similarly to FM, where inertia in granting authorizations has proliferated illegal frequencies, to which networks also resort, unauthorized multiplexes have been turned on. The number of official ones active mainly in tourist areas (the Costa del Sol and Canary Islands) is doubled.

Avalanche of appeals

Panorama Audiovisual to reconstruct the situation interviewed Jaime Rodriguez Diez, the lawyer who advised the radio stations to file the appeals
Panorama Audiovisual to reconstruct the situation interviewed Jaime Rodriguez Diez, the lawyer who advised the radio stations to file the appeals
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Given the competition made to official radio stations by unauthorized ones, many broadcasters interested in digital broadcasting have appealed to the Spanish Constitutional Court, which between September and October 2022 upheld sixteen “recurso de amparo”, which added to those already pending bringing the total to 22. This ”recurso” is a legal formula that allows Spanish citizens to appeal to the supreme court when they believe constitutional norms have been violated. Giving an accurate picture of the situation is the magazine Panorama Audiovisual, which reconstructs its evolution since 2018 when broadcasters began turning to autonomous communities to apply for authorizations. Since some regions have refused, despite having an obligation to grant them, even though they did not proceed with the allocations, a law firm has recommended appeals to the Constitutional Court. Will they be upheld? Let’s keep our fingers crossed! (Written by Fabrizio Carnevalini)

ANGOLA: NATIONAL RADIO TO BE UPGRADED

Founded in 1977, two years after the end of the civil war for independence, Radio Nacional de Angola is based in the capital Luanda
Founded in 1977, two years after the end of the civil war for independence, Radio Nacional de Angola is based in the capital Luanda
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The Angolan government has earmarked USD 40 million to modernize Rádio Nacional de Angola (RNA), which will enable it to complete its coverage of the territory (currently 52.77%) to 95%. The announcement was made by Pedro Afonso Cabral, chairman of the public broadcaster’s board of directors, on the occasion of the station’s 45th anniversary, celebrated on October 5, 2022. The station, said Cabral in an interview with the Jornal de Angola, spends 98% of its state funding on staff salaries (1795 people) and has not received investment support for eight years. The broadcaster operates national radio stations (Canal A, Ngola Yetu, Rádio Cinco, and Rádio Cultura, three regional, 18 provincial, and seven municipal. It has 29 production centers and 80 repeaters throughout the country.

JAPAN: MEDIUM-WAVE RADIO STATIONS WILL MIGRATE TO FM

MEDIUM-WAVE RADIO STATIONS WILL MIGRATE TO FM
The image of the advertising campaign informs of the switch from medium waves to FM
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Within six years, more than 90% of Japan’s commercial stations (44 out of 47) will leave medium-wave to switch to frequency modulation. In September 2028, only three stations will remain active in northern Japans Hokkaido and Akita Prefecture. But the airwaves will begin to empty from next year: the first channels will be turned off in the fall of 2023. The advertising crisis has prompted broadcasters to ask the communications ministry to migrate to FM to reduce operating costs: AM systems are energy-intensive, maintenance expenses are high, and antennas at least 100 meters high are needed to transmit. The last to leave the airwaves will be three Tokyo-based broadcasters-TBS Radio, Nippon Cultural Broadcasting and Nippon Broadcasting System-and some will continue to keep AM transmitters on after 2028. In Japan, the FM band goes from 76 to 95 MHz because the higher channels, before the digital switchover, were occupied by television.
Written by Fabrizio Carnevalini

COSTA RICA: AN FM LICENCE COSTS THE SAME AS A PIZZA

In Costa Rica, an FM licence costs the same as a pizza. The list published on the Costa Rican magazine's website shows for each frequency the name of the concessionaire, the licence and the fee paid in 2021
The list published on the Costa Rican magazine’s website shows for each frequency the name of the concessionaire, the licence and the fee paid in 2021
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It was the El Guardián, a newspaper in Costa Rica, that shed light on the amounts paid to the state by radio stations as frequency licence fees. It wrote to the press office of the Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT), which provided the list of stations with the relevant amounts in Costa Rican colón (it takes 667 for one US dollar, at the current exchange rate). The amounts are small, considering that the annual average income in 2020 was USD 12,076.81 and the monthly minimum wage USD 402. FM stations pay an average of 6,000 colóns per year (about 9 US dollars); 1,000 to 2,000 for medium-wave broadcasters (1.5 to 3 US dollars) and 1,500 to 5,000 for transfer bridges (2.25 to 7.50 US dollars). Here is the list of broadcasters, whose names are listed in the concession.

BURKINA FASO: A RADIO FOR THE YOUTH OF THE SAHEL

RJS will be broadcast on FM in five countries in the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad) and online (internet, app).  It will offer programs in French and in the main languages of the region (Mooré, Bamanakan, Hausa, Arabic and Peul)
RJS will be broadcast on FM in five countries in the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad) and online (internet, app).  It will offer programs in French and in the main languages of the region (Mooré, Bamanakan, Hausa, Arabic and Peul)
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In sub-Saharan Africa, the focus is on radio to educate young people about active citizenship and how to deal with the challenges they face, such as idleness and unemployment. Choosing the airwaves to dialogue with young people are the heads of state of the G5 Sahel, an organization that since 2014 has brought together Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad to unite efforts in the fight against terrorism. The initiative was also created with support from the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) and the European Union. Radio Jeunesse Sahel will begin FM operations on October 1 from Ouagadougou, where the last staff training courses are being held: 26 media professionals deployed between headquarters and national branches. The editorial and administrative directors are both from Niger. Aimed at the audience between the ages of 15 and 35, it will have six hours of programming in French and the main languages of the region, with repeaters in each country.

ITALY: A MAP SUMMARISES CHANGES IN THE RADIO AND TELEVISION SECTOR SINCE 2017

A MAP SUMMARISES CHANGES IN THE RADIO AND TELEVISION SECTOR SINCE 2017
Events in the radio sector started in 2017, a year of important acquisitions (Mediaset Radio took over the superstation Radio Subasio) and ended in 2021 with RTL 102.5’s acquisition of Radio Freccia, which went from being a community radio station with hourly advertising limits to a commercial radio station
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The study office of Confindustria Radio Televisioni, the association representing the main Italian commercial radio and television networks, has published a chrono table with the significant events in the radio and television sector. The graphic formula is interesting: it represents, divided by year, the main events in the sector: industrial operations, commercial agreements (from the launch of new national broadcasters to acquisitions or sales of shareholdings involving national radio networks). Regulatory or normative interventions in the sector in recent years are also mentioned, including (in the lower section) on-demand streaming services.

Similar work has been done for television, always respecting the scheme mentioned for radio
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UKRAINE: THE MEDIA CONFLICT/PART 3 (26-28 FEBRUARY 2022)

ADN-Kronos agency reports on the blocking of media that depend on the Russian government
ADN-Kronos agency reports on the blocking of media that depend on the Russian government
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February 26: Social networks react

After Facebook, Meta extends profile protection to Instagram; YouTube blocks some Kremlin-run media (preventing ads and revenue generation) and puts videos at the bottom of the recommendation list. Twitter restricts access to major telecom providers.

February 27: After Facebook, it’s Twitter’s turn. The EU takes the field and shuts down state media

Without making official announcements, activity on Twitter is slowed down, as Netblocks, which does global-scale monitoring of how the Internet works, notes. Users can get around the obstacles by masking their identity by accessing from a VPN network (which by preventing localization ensures privacy). European Union blocks Russia Today and Sputnik: the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, during a press conference in Brussels announces that Russian state-controlled media and their subsidiaries will no longer be allowed to broadcast their lies. YouTube also blocks Russia Today and prevents it from monetizing content globally.

February 28: Foiled by social hacking of Ukrainian public figures

Facebook removes fake accounts activated by Russia and Kyiv to target public figures in Ukraine. Twitter suspends more than a dozen accounts and blocks the sharing of several links.

UK: NO FM SWITCH-OFF UNTIL AT LEAST 2030

 NO FM SWITCH-OFF UNTIL AT LEAST 2030
In the media ministry’s report on new rules for smart speakers, the future of radio is also discussed with predictions for the next ten years
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In the UK, frequency modulation will not be switched off, at least not for the next ten years, media minister Julia Lopez said a few days ago. Although it is estimated that analogue radio will only account for 12 to 14% of all radio listening in 2030, FM remains popular with many listeners, particularly the elderly or vulnerable, who drive older cars or live in areas with limited DAB coverage. The fate of mediumwave broadcasters is sealed: with 3% of all listeners, they will have to plan to switch off, to reduce the costs of a substantially duplicated network. There are currently more than 300 analogue stations operating in the UK and over 570 in DAB. Sixty percent of all listening comes from DAB or other digital platforms. Programme offerings are expanding as new franchises in DAB are giving many small local stations the opportunity to broadcast.

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.

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