The world of radio continues to give beautiful and incredible stories, such as the one starring Giancarlo Guardabassi, publisher of Radio Aut Marche. After 43 years of activity, the business goes into crisis. The frequencies are sold and broadcasting ends on 31 December, 2019. But two days later the publisher and presenter turns the transmitter back on and starts again, calling himself a “pirate”.
Article (In Italiano)
Il mondo della radiofonia continua a regalare a storie belle e incredibili, come quella che vede come protagonista Giancarlo Guardabassi, editore di Radio Aut Marche
La nascita delle radio libere italiane è stata un’epopea: dal 1975 si andava letteralmente all’arrembaggio dell’etere. Niente regole su frequenze e potenze, finché nel 90 la legge Mammì mise fine al far west. Nel frattempo i giovani pionieri venivano progressivamente sostituiti da editori o fagocitati dai network, e la concorrenza spietata sui prezzi della pubblicità iniziava a minare le basi di sussistenza. Con gli anni sarebbero subentrate la stanchezza e la crisi.
Tra i pionieri c’era anche un conduttore affermato della Rai, Giancarlo Guardabassi, cantante, autore, che nel 1976 decise di aprire la sua emittente. Aveva appena presentato il Festival di Sanremo ed era al culmine del successo, ma decise di fare la sua radio nelle Marche. Dopo 43 anni sono state vendute le frequenze e successivamente è arrivata la chiusura. Un percorso comune a piccole e grandi emittenti (Radio Aut Marche aveva una copertura regionale). Ma dopo la trasmissione di addio, il 31 dicembre 2019, Giancarlo Guardabassi ha riacceso il trasmettitore: il 2 gennaio 2020, sull’unica frequenza non ceduta, i 100.5 di Francavilla d’Ete, ha ripreso a trasmettere, come lui si definisce, da “pirata” solitario.
Il profilo di Giancarlo Guardabassi pubblicato sul sito della radio. La storia invece si può leggere qui.
The famous aggregator will have to turn off more than 90% of the audio streamsit hosts to prevent UK users from listening to foreign broadcasters. It has in fact lost the lawsuit filed in 2017 by Sony and Warner, two big names in the music business (together they control 43% of the global market). The High Court of Justice has recognised that TuneIn has violated the record rights because it is not a simple intermediary (which publishes only the links) but also inserts advertising. In the UK, therefore, those who want to listen to a foreign broadcaster will have to search the web for the address of the radio and streaming site (or change aggregator). The ruling protects radio stations (TuneIn places advertisements into their programming) and other countries may comply with the decision of the English High Court. But in perspective it calls into question one of the pillars of the web: the ability to listen to radio stations around the world. So far, record companies have considered foreign listeners to be marginal to the web, but now music could change.
The economic crisis generated by the pandemic is also making itself felt in Australia: Southern Cross Austereo restructures and cuts 38 jobs. The company’s revenues fell by 18.2%. Details in the article on the ABC website.
The move comes on top of others already announced: News Corp announced in May that 100 regional and local newspapers would close the print edition and continue as digital edition, and thirteen newspapers will merge with others.
The Ten television network will produce the news in its Sydney and Melbourne offices, with a number of prestigious news signatures. Weather forecasts will no longer be made on a regional basis but will be unified into a single national bulletin. As far as jobs are concerned, the extent of the cuts has not yet been announced because negotiations with staff are ongoing.
In order to compensate for lower advertising revenues caused by the pandemic, the large networks are making savings like this: Altice has closed down the TV channel RMC Sport and laid off a third of its personnel, RTL has dismissed well known radio hosts and television presenters and NRJ has sold a stake to increase liquidity
In June 2020 the French subsidiary of the Altice group (a multinational with headquarters in Holland), presented a plan to the unions ‘in order to save the media group’. This involved all the divisions in the NextRadioTV group, including channels BFM TV and RMC. The goal is to streamline both organisation and programming by axing between 330 and 380 full-time staffers in addition to 200 freelancers. According to the union representing the employees at Altice CGT (Confederation generale du travail) ‘This drastic cut in personnel is incomprehensible for a profitable group in constant growth, which had a turnover of € 120 million in 2019, a 300% increase in 5 years’.
Unions jump into action
Following a number of strikes and union action, the company softened its stance on June 29th, 2020. It undertook to ‘offer voluntary redundancies to a maximum of 330 staffers and not proceed with layoffs until November 31st, 2021’. It will also try ‘to find alternative employment for staffers who cannot be placed in other positions inside the organisation and find a solution for freelancers’.
Capital gain of € 300 million in 2018
Up to a short time ago the group was flourishing to the point that the owner, Patrick Drahi, and Alan Weill, the Chief Executive Officer of NextRadioTV, made €300 million gross from the capital gain on the sale of some buildings. These four towers, located in the 15th arrondissement in Paris, are the headquarters of SFR (Societe francaise du radiotelephone, the second largest mobile communications company), BFM TV and the daily newspaper Liberation. The 85,800 square metres of floorspace accommodates 7,000 employees. Apparently in 2018 Drahi and Weill bought the buildings in their own names to then resell them to the group at a higher price.
RTL dismiss well known radio hosts and television presenters
The RTL group’s accounts for the first quarter this year closed with a fall of 3.14%. Two months later, the French headquarters announced the dismissals of a number of well known television presenters and radio hosts, the departure of the head of the political service and a cut in the budget of the correspondent in the United States. Details can be found on Jean Marc Morandini’s website
NRJ sells a stake to increase liquidity
Despite its leading position in the French market, NRJ is also feeling the pinch. On June 24th, 2020, NRJ sold a 5% stake in Euro-Information Telecom for €50 million. The company stated that the sale proceeds ‘will be used for the needs of the group’s business‘. See details here