I have composed just two entries for my Walter Benjamin radio diary, and already I am getting lots of mail.
First came a friendly missive from Nick During, publicist at the New York Review of Books classics department. “We actually have a Walter Benjamin book coming up,” Nick wrote, “that is a collection of his writings that show how he got to the ideas found in his famous essay ‘The Storyteller’ and includes one radio piece, ‘The Lisbon Earthquake’. Would you like to see our book?”
Well, yes, I replied. So the publisher sent it to me.
The little tome in question is called The Storyteller Essays, edited and introduced by Samuel Titan and translated from German by Tess Lewis. It assembles various Benjamin texts that provide context for his famous thought piece “The Storyteller.” I do not want to say much about this essay right now, but “The Storyteller” provocatively contends that a story is best told without an explanation for its events.
“Every morning, news reaches us from around the globe. And yet we lack remarkable stories. This is due to the fact that no incidents any longer reach us not already permeated with explanations. In other words: almost nothing occurs to the story’s benefit anymore; instead, it all serves information. In fact, at least half of the art of storytelling consists in keeping one’s tale free of explanations.”Titan, The Storyteller, p. 54.
What purpose does this omission of explanations serve? It allows story tellers and listeners to own the tale, to see it as organic to their very specific and individual lives. “The storyteller,” Benjamin concluded, “is the figure in which the righteous man encounters himself.” When I discuss his Lisbon earthquake radio talk in an upcoming post, I will try to show how these arguments come to life.
Then I received some correspondence from radio producer Toby Kaufmann-Buhler.
“I just found your blog posts on the Radio Survivor site about Walter Benjamin and his radio work,” Kaufmann-Buhler wrote.
“Over the past 8 months or so I’ve produced one of Benjamin’s radio plays, ‘Lichtenberg: A Cross-Section’. This is from the translation in the Radio Benjamin book; this play was never originally broadcast as he finished writing the commission just as broadcasting was taken over by the Nazi regime.
We produced this originally for an exhibition this past May at a sound art gallery in Indianapolis, Listen Hear, which also houses the LPFM station WQRT 99.1. The play aired on WQRT several times; as far as I know this was the first radio broadcast of the play in English, and possibly in any language (could be wrong, but this is based on my research). The play has also been broadcast more recently in New York’s Hudson Valley on Wave Farm’s experimental station.”
Here is my favorite moment from the play, which focuses on a committee of Moon beings’ efforts to engage in “Earth research”:
“The samples taken over the last millennia have not yielded a single case in which a human has amounted to anything. Taking this established scientific fact as a basis for our investigations, our meetings from now on will deal solely with proving that this is a result of the unhappy human condition.”
To help with this task, the committee gloms onto to the research of the German writer/humorist/scientist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, with whom Benjamin was apparently quite taken. But that is as far as I will go with this script. You will have to listen to the radio play to learn more.
Finally, Patricia Flanagan brought this BBC Wireless Nights sound essay to my attention. Pulp stalwart Jarvis Cocker takes us on a sultry tour of contemporary Berlin, laced with tales of the Cold War era. Not exactly a Walter Benjamin piece, but quite beautiful. I recommend a listen.
That’s my Walter Benjamin mail so far. Drop me a line at hybridhighbrow<AT>radiosurvivor.com and your Benjamin related work may wind up in my next mailbag dispatch. Thanks in advance!
The National Association of Broadcasters has released a list of the stations and personalities who made the cut as finalists for the 2019 NAB Marconi Radio Awards.
The prestigious broadcast award program has added two new categories “Legendary Manager of the Year” and “Best Radio Station Podcast” and also rechristened the “Noncommercial Station of the Year;” the category’s new name is “Best College Radio Station of the Year.”
Without further ado…LEGENDARY STATION OF THE YEAR
KCBS(AM), San Francisco
KNX(AM), Los Angeles
KRTH(FM), Los Angeles
WBAP(AM), DallasLEGENDARY MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Ben Downs, Bryan Broadcasting, College Station, Texas
Charlie Morgan, WQHT(FM), WBLS(FM) and WLIB(AM), New York
Dan Seeman, Hubbard Twin Cities and Hubbard North, St. Paul
Mark Anderson, WBZZ(FM) and WDSY(FM), Pittsburgh
Nick Martin, Big River Broadcasting, Florence, Ala.NETWORK/SYNDICATED PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Bob Lacey & Sheri Lynch, Now Media
Elvis Duran, Premiere Networks
Rickey Smiley, Reach Media, Inc.
Rush Limbaugh, Premiere Networks
Ryan Seacrest, Premiere NetworksMAJOR MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Ebro Darden, WQHT(FM), New York
Ellen K, KOST(FM)/KBIG(FM), Los Angeles
Felger & Massarotti, WBZ(FM), Boston
Preston & Steve, WMMR(FM), Philadelphia
The Musers, KTCK(AM), DallasLARGE MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Crisco, Dez and Ryan, KSTP(FM), St. Paul
Jack Harris, WFLA(AM), Tampa, Fla.
Mercedes Martinez, KMXB(FM), Las Vegas, Nev.
Mike Calta, WHPT(FM), St. Petersburg, Fla.
Mojo, WKQI(FM), DetroitMEDIUM MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Brent Lane, WYCT(FM), Pensacola, Fla.
Buzz Jackson, KIIM(FM), Tucson
Harlen The Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob, KYKX(FM), Tyler, Texas
Jeff and Amanda, WKRZ(FM), Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Mike Street, WBTJ(FM), RichmondSMALL MARKET PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Brent Carl Fleshman, WHUB(FM), Cookeville, Tenn.
Chris and Rosie, WUSQ(FM), Winchester, Va.
Glenner Anderson, KXLR(FM), Fairbanks, Alaska
Scotty and Catryna, KCLR(FM), Columbia, Mo.
Shags & Trevor, KCMG(FM), Columbia, Mo.MAJOR MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR
KIIS(FM), Los Angeles
WWPR(FM), New York
WYCD(FM), DetroitLARGE MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR
KSTP(FM), St. Paul
KQMV(FM), Bellevue, Wash.
WMTX(FM), Tampa, Fla.
WXTB(FM), Tampa, Fla.MEDIUM MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR
KIPR(FM), Little Rock
KRMG(FM), Tulsa, Ola.
WHKO(FM), Dayton, Ohio
WSSL(FM), Greenville, S.C.SMALL MARKET STATION OF THE YEAR
KFGO(AM), Fargo, N.D.
KROX(AM), Crookston, Minn.
KWYO(AM), Sheridan, Wy.
WNDH(FM), North Canton, Ohio
WXLP(FM), Davenport, IowaBEST RADIO PODCAST OF THE YEAR
“Behind the Song,” WDRV(FM), Chicago
“Denied Justice Podcast,” WCCO(AM), Minneapolis
“Garage Logic,” Hubbard Radio, St. Paul
“On the Table,” NET, Lincoln, Neb.
“What Had Happened Was,” WHIO(FM), Dayton, OhioAC STATION OF THE YEAR
KODA(FM), Houston, TX
KRWM(FM), Bellevue, Wash.
WMAG(FM), Greensboro, N.C.
WSHE(FM), ChicagoCHR STATION OF THE YEAR
KRBE(FM), Houston, Texas
KTXY(FM), Columbia, Mo
WKZL(FM), Greensboro, N.C.
WQHT(FM), New York
WWPW(FM), AtlantaCLASSIC HITS STATION OF THE YEAR
WMJI(FM), Cleveland, Ohio
WMMO(FM), Orlando, Fla.
WXGL(FM), St. Petersburg, Fla.COLLEGE RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR
WHPC(FM), Nassau Community College, Garden City, N.Y.
WMSC(FM), Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J.
WRCC(FM), Rider University, Lawrenceville, N.J.
WRHU(FM), Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.
WSOU(FM), Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J.COUNTRY STATION OF THE YEAR
KUBL(FM), Salt Lake City
WQHK(FM), Fort Wayne, Ind.NEWS/TALK STATION OF THE YEAR
KTMY(FM), St. Paul
WDBO(FM), Orlando, Fla.
WINS(AM), New York
WKXW(FM), Trenton, N.J.RELIGIOUS STATION OF THE YEAR
KKJM(FM), St. Cloud, Minn.
KNWI(FM), West Des Moines, Iowa
KPWJ(FM), College Station, Texas
WRVL(FM), Lynchburg, Va.ROCK STATION OF THE YEAR
KISS(FM), San Antonio, Texas
WPLR(FM), New Haven, Conn.
WRIF(FM), DetroitSPANISH STATION OF THE YEAR
KLNZ(FM), Los Angeles
KLZT(FM), Austin, Texas
WOJO(FM), San Diego, Calif
WYUU(FM), Tampa, Fla.SPORTS STATION OF THE YEAR
WXYT(FM), DetroitURBAN STATION OF THE YEAR
KBLX(FM), San Francisco
WBLS(FM), New York
WHQT(FM), Hollywood, Fla.
The winners will be recognized Sept. 26 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show, held during the Radio Show in Dallas.
The post NAB Announces New Marconi Categories, 2019 Finalists appeared first on Radio World.
Sage Alerting Systems has announced a free firmware update for its ENDEC model 3644.
Firmware Version 36-44 “addresses a changed requirement in the FCC EAS rules, Part 11.33(a)(10), which affects how the valid time frame of an alert is determined.” That modifies the current method of frame validation, according to the company.[Check Out More Products at Radio World’s Products Section]
The company adds, “This release does not affect the ENDEC’s reception and relay of the scheduled Aug. 7, 2019 National Periodic Test. Whether your ENDEC is running version 89-30, 89-32, or this new version 89-34, your ENDEC will relay the NPT.”
Go here for more information or to download the update.
Perhaps larger than this specific update is a notice from Sage of an upcoming September update that will address changes to the IPAWS server. That update will be a paid update. More information on that coming.[Subscribe to our newsletter and get it delivered right to your inbox.]
Big radio group owner iHeartMedia supports “targeted reform” of local radio ownership rules in the United States, including eliminating the limits on common ownership of AM stations or, at a minimum, removing AM subcaps. But the company told the FCC that it should reject an “exceedingly aggressive” proposal from the National Association of Broadcasters regarding limits on FM station ownership.
The following are excerpts about the latter from iHeart’s reply comments, filed in May as part of the commission’s quadrennial regulatory review. In sections preceding this excerpt, iHeart argued that the broadcast radio market is the relevant one for determining the need for modifying local radio ownership rules and that the FCC should reject the NAB’s “radical redefinition” of the relevant market.The Record, Taken as a Whole, Demonstrates That the NAB’s Overly Aggressive FM Local Radio Ownership Proposal Attempts to Address a Competition Problem Beyond the Relevant Market and Would Be Ineffective in Doing So
The NAB’s proposal to eliminate the local ownership limits on FM stations in all markets below the top 75 and permit common ownership of eight FM stations (up to 10 with Incubator-related waivers) in the top 75 markets is designed to address a competition problem in a market consisting of broadcast radio, non-broadcast audio services such as satellite radio, and digital media platforms such as Facebook and Google. It makes no pretense of attempting to remedy competition problems within the relevant broadcast radio market. …
iHeart contends that the NAB’s prescription is not a solution for the competitive disparity between AM and FM stations, the only relevant market, but actually worsens that competition problem. Moreover, even assuming for the sake of argument that it might be proper to consider the broader audio ecosystem, there is a disconnect between the NAB’s solution that rests on cost efficiencies and economies of scale flowing from increasing the number of stations under common ownership in a market and what might be sufficient to enable broadcasters to meet the larger competitive challenge posed by digital media giants.[NAB to FCC: Revise Ownership Rules to Support Radio]
Many commenters share iHeart’s view that the relevant market is broadcast radio and radio broadcasters simply do not compete in the same market as Internet-based platforms such as Facebook and Google. In its comments, NABOB quotes at length from an August 2, 2018, article by Eric Rhoads, a recognized expert in the radio and network radio business, owner, operator and programmer for 30 years, and chairman of Radio Ink:
“The FCC is made up of very smart people who, hopefully, understand that giving more radio stations is not going to solve the Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat problem. I dare say that ship has sailed and that radio’s ability to compete with the Internet isn’t going to be impacted one ounce by having more stations per owner. … The only similarity between Google/Facebook and radio is that we are all in the advertising business. That’s where it stops. Their approach to advertising is so utterly different that no one is going to spend more in radio because Company A or Company B has more stations.”
In its comments, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council quotes at length from Ronald Gordon and Ed Cherry’s op-ed in the July 25, 2018, edition of Radio World:
“How would buying an additional four or five stations in a market allow a broadcaster to take on Google or Facebook? Individually, these big tech companies dwarf the annual revenues of the entire radio industry combined. How exactly would gutting the radio ownership rules drive advertising money away from tech and into radio industry’s pocket? To the advertiser, what difference does it make who owns the station? Horizontal deregulation just shuffles the deck in favor of the big guys; it does nothing to improve radio’s ability to compete with big tech.”[NAB Urges Forward Thinking for Ownership Reform]
Other broadcasters supportive of the NAB proposal make the same point as the NAB that non-broadcast audio and digital platforms compete for audiences and advertising revenue in a fragmented marketplace. They rely heavily on a study by Borrell Associates, “documenting the commanding position of digital advertising giants in today’s local advertising marketplace.” Like the NAB, they conflate the advertising market with the audio services market and even within the advertising market fail to differentiate among the different purposes and inherent capabilities of broadcast radio advertising and digital media advertising. …
[B]roadcast radio focuses on the top of the advertising funnel, reflecting its strengths in reach and branding. In essence, this strength of broadcast radio reflects the fundamental nature of the medium; it distributes content on a one-to-many basis. Digital media, such as Facebook and Google, are sought by advertisers because they focus on the bottom end of the advertising funnel where the vast amount of individualized data they collect from users gives them direct and often instantaneous impact on a one-to-one basis with prospective purchasers.
Moreover, digital platforms are the recipients of promotion from broadcast radio, further illustrating their complementary relationship. These fundamental differences between broadcast radio and digital media in advertising utility … are why broadcast radio and digital platforms are not substitutable even from an advertising perspective, much less from a holistic perspective.[NAB Presses FCC to “Modernize” Radio Ownership Rules]
As so much of the focus of the NAB and its broadcaster supporters is on competition for advertising revenue, one would expect that its justification for lifting the ownership caps would address specifically how its proposal would strengthen broadcasters’ ability to recapture lost advertising revenue to digital competitors.
Therefore, it is revealing that the BIA Study relied upon so heavily by the NAB to support its contention that radical reform of the ownership limits is necessary to compete for advertising revenue against Google and Facebook does not even attempt to quantify the purported impact of the changes it proposes on broadcast radio advertising revenue: “To err on the conservative side, however, we do not assume in our financial models below any increase in revenue per station resulting from the proposed combinations …”
Although the BIA Study characterizes its reluctance to assess the impact of increased common ownership as “conservative,” it also may be understood as an implicit admission that there is no evidentiary basis for concluding that lifting the ownership limits will enhance the broadcast radio industry’s ability to compete against digital platforms for advertising revenue.
In fact, power ratio studies performed by iHeart provide further strong evidence that more stations in a cluster does not increase a radio broadcaster’s ability to attract additional advertising revenue in that market. Power ratios are an accepted industry measure of how a radio station is converting its ratings into advertising revenue.
The power ratio is calculated by dividing a station’s share of the total ad revenue in a market by the station’s overall audience share. The higher the power ratio, the better the station is performing against expectations based upon audience share. For example, a power ratio of 1.0 would indicate that a station is performing consistent with expectations, whereas a station with a power ratio of 0.75 would be underperforming.[iHeart to FCC on Local Ownership Rules: Do No Harm]
iHeart examined stations it licenses in 29 markets where common ownership of five FM stations is allowed under current law, compared to 25 markets where only four FM stations under common ownership is allowed. In the 29 markets where iHeart licenses five FM stations, the average power ratio decline between the top performing FM station and the least performing FM station was approximately 57%. However, that same measurement in markets where iHeart owns only four FM stations yielded a decline of only 42%. Marketwide, the results suggest a better average power ratio performance where iHeart licenses four stations as opposed to five. In fact, the markets in which iHeart licenses five FM stations exhibited a 0.15 comparative power ratio dilution compared to those markets where only four FM stations are licensed.
This power ratio study is compelling evidence that adding a sixth, seventh or eighth FM station to a cluster in a top 75 market, as NAB proposes, will do little to nothing to enable radio broadcasters to compete more effectively for advertising dollars. This confirms the long-held view that station rank within a market and pricing are the dominant factors in attracting local advertising dollars, and demonstrates the disconnect between the remedy advocated by the NAB and the competition problem, albeit not in the relevant market, that it seeks to ameliorate.
Having failed to link its proposed remedy directly to enhanced ability to attract advertising dollars, the NAB falls back on the contention that allowing more consolidation will create cost efficiencies and economies of scale that will free up more resources to compete with non-broadcast media and digital platforms. Yet, even here the BIA Study upon which the NAB relies suffers from obvious inadequacies.[19 Ways to Make the FCC Rules Better]
For example, it fails to consider the costs necessarily incurred in the acquisition of new stations and their integration into existing operations. Based on its extensive experience, iHeart is very familiar with such expenses, including legal fees, due diligence and financing. Such costs also could include new construction or expansion of facilities, additional management personnel, and relocation and moving expenses. Such omissions from the net impact of consolidation are equivalent to a balance sheet showing only assets and no liabilities. They overstate the net benefits of the efficiencies and economies of scale that would flow from increasing the limits on FM stations or eliminating them altogether.
The BIA Study examines the extent to which AM stations are at a significant, indeed, distressing competitive disadvantage relative to FM stations. Its conclusions mirror those reached by iHeart. The BIA Study also recognizes that FM stations constrained by the current local radio ownership rules are far more numerous than AM stations and therefore the effect of eliminating or significantly relaxing those rules likely will be disproportionately felt in the FM band. However, the BIA Study fails to analyze the differential ramifications of that outcome. Had it done so, it should have concluded, as has iHeart and other commenters, most notably Salem Media Group and Crawford Broadcasting Company, that the NAB’s proposal regarding FM stations would lead to a further weakening of the AM band and the possibility of mass migration from AM to FM.Adoption of the Overly Aggressive NAB Proposal for FM Stations Would Harm Competition in the Relevant Broadcast Radio Market and Would Not Be in the Public Interest
Many commenters express profound concern about the negative effect of adoption of the NAB proposal on the public interest. A subset of these commenters join iHeart in focusing on the harm to AM radio stations and the consequent harm to competition in the broadcast radio market, localism and diversity were the NAB proposal on FM station ownership reform accepted by the commission.
Salem Media Group, the nation’s largest religious broadcast radio group, opposes any deregulation of local radio ownership limits. Its rationale focuses squarely on the likely harmful impact on AM stations:
“Salem believes that a devaluation of the AM band could result if the commission were to deregulate subcap limits. This is because the possible resulting migration of leading radio brands to the FM band could accelerate a departure of the AM audience. Moreover, because the AM signal is far more amenable to wide area coverage, a policy decision that encourages station owners to consolidate their holdings in the FM band could leave many listeners disenfranchised, potentially eradicate certain formats, and increase risk in times of crisis.”
Salem’s comments delve into multiple major markets where sharp shifts in audience listening away from leading AM stations to sister FM stations have occurred. Salem describes the implications:
“If the AM band continues to be a ‘less traveled’ destination for listeners, diminishment would certainly result for popular AM brands. Should this occur, the AM band, instead of being a treasury of quality news and religious talk, sports and ethnic programming, will lose its audience appeal. The final result could be an asset devaluation of companies with sizeable AM radio station ownership.”[NAB Argues for “Economies of Scale”]
Crawford Broadcasting Company articulates the same deep concern about the ramifications of removal of the FM subcaps on AM stations. Crawford observes that
“[I]t is only the existing subcaps holding some licensees back from acquiring many more FM signals. We have no doubt that if the subcaps are removed, existing independently-owned FM stations will in short order be sold to larger groups that will move lucrative talk formats from existing AM outlets to those FM stations.”
Crawford then describes the foreseeable, indeed, probable consequences:
“The result will be much to the detriment of AM radio. With a drop in demand and an increase in supply, the value of AM stations will significantly drop, in many cases to less than the value of the land on which their antenna sites are built. That will in turn lead to stations going dark. In short, we believe that removal or easing of FM subcaps will do far more harm to AM radio than all the good the commission has so far achieved in its AM revitalization efforts. This will be a tremendous loss, one that could well start the short countdown to the end of AM radio as a viable medium.”
In reply comments, Crawford reiterates these concerns, explicitly agreeing with iHeart about the risk of harm to AM radio that likely would result from adoption of the NAB proposal regarding ownership limits on FM stations.[Associations Tell FCC Its Numbers Are Messed Up]
The MMTC also embraced the views of iHeart regarding the potentially devastating impact that adoption of the NAB’s proposal regarding FM ownership could have on AM stations. Quoting from the writings of African American broadcaster, Glenn Cherry, and Latino broadcaster, Ronald Gordon, the MMTC explained that greater FM common ownership would eviscerate “AM station asset value and marketability, and even repair-ability.”
In sum, there is abundant support in the record of this proceeding for the position expressed at length in iHeart’s comments that the risk of harm to AM radio and all of its public interest benefits, specifically advancing localism, diversity and national security, militate against adoption of the NAB’s overly aggressive proposal regarding FM ownership limits.
Podcast #202 – Small Boosts Proposed for LPFM & Why Aren’t There College Stations on the Dial in San Diego?
The FCC just proposed a series of changes to help make it easier for low-power FM stations to move their transmitters and to fill in weak signal areas. We review this proposal along with a suggestion from the Commission to whittle away at protections for the few dozen remaining analog low-power TV channel 6 stations, often called “Franken FMs” or “Back Door FMs” who’s audio can be heard at the far left end of the FM dial.
Jennifer reports back from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters conference in San Diego where she presented on future trends in community and college radio. She highlights some current stations that exemplify these trends.
Then she shares a few tours of college stations in the San Diego area, none of which have broadcast licenses, despite being around for decades. We explore this interesting niche of radio history.Support Radio Survivor, Get Our ‘Zine
We’re publishing a ‘zine and you can get one when you support our work at Radio Survivor via our Patreon campaign. Everyone who supports us at a level of $5 a month or more will get a print copy of Radio Survivor ‘Zine #1.
Your contribution will help us continue to spread the word of great radio and audio, and allow us to embark on celebrating the 20th anniversaries of Indymedia and LPFM by documenting these important histories. We need 100 Patreon supporters by August 1, 2019 to start this work.
Not coincidentally, that’s the deadline to sign up to get your ‘zine. Everything in the ‘zine will be print-exclusive – learn more here.
- FCC: Amendments of Parts 73 and 74 to Improve the LPFM Radio Service Technical Rules
- REC Networks: My thoughts on the LPFM NPRM
- San Diego City College – SDS Radio
- Grossmont College – Griffin Radio
- San Diego State University – KCR
- UC San Diego – KSDT
To use the English phraseology, “The INOmini is dead. Long live the INOmini!”
Inovonics has announced that it has completed a transition to the new INOmini line of monitor/receivers.
The company points to recently introduced models: 661 (DAB+), 673 (FM), 674 (AM), 676 (NOAA), and 679 (HD Radio — pictured) with new or improved features such as larger LCD displays, red alarm messages, independently adjustable analog and digital audio outputs, additional metrics and field upgradable firmware via USB.
According to INOvonics preceding INOmini models 633, 634, 636, 639, 660 are no longer available.