Breaking News - September 24, 2003

Powell Says He Will Stay Until End Of Bush’s Term

Michael Powell
FCC Chairman Michael Powell is shrugging off recent reports that he plans to exit the commission, telling the Associated Press, "I intend to stay and lead the commission until the end of the president's administration." Powell did not discuss the possibility of serving another term, but did say that he plans to head the FCC "at least until the (presidential) election and we'll see what the results of the election are."

Just two days ago, Powell voiced his frustration with his position, and seemed to suggest that recent criticism regarding the ownership rules had made him think about leaving (FMQB 9/23). "I've gone through various moments about wanting to leave," Powell told the New York Times. "It's not necessarily that much longer. There is an election ahead."

Kazaa To Labels And Studios: Right Back At You!

In a strange legal twist, Kazaa has decided to turn the tables on the major record labels and movie studios by filing suit againt them. The irony of the lawsuit is that the file-sharing service is suing for - of all things - copyright infringement.

Kazaa’s distributor, Sharman Networks Ltd., was sued last year by the labels and studios for providing software that facilitates the illegal downloading of music and movies. This week, Sharman counter-sued, claiming that the entertainment companies used unauthorized versions of Kazaa to track and identify file sharers. They are also claiming that the entertainment companies have violated antitrust laws by stopping Sharman and its partner Altnet Inc. from distributing legal files to its subscribers, and that executives at Universal Music Group, Time Warner and Warner Music Group have refused to permit their titles to be distributed via Altnet.

The RIAA has responded by questioning Sharman’s respect for copyright laws. "Too bad this self-serving respect stops at its headquarters' door in Vanuatu, and doesn't extend to preventing the rampant piracy on its networks or lifting a finger to educate its users about the consequences of illegal file sharing," an RIAA spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.

UMG Backs Down On Specifying CD Prices

Only a few weeks ago, Universal Music Group announced that beginning in the fourth quarter, they will eliminate the $16.98, $17.98 and $18.98 Manufacturer Suggested Retail Prices on CDs, in favor of $12.98 (FMQB 9/3). Yesterday, the label bowed to pressure from retailers worried about profits, and announced they would not specify any prices. Believing that retailers will price the CDs near $13, UMG will now sticker the products with an announcement that they are now "priced lower," without mentioning a specific list price.

"While delivering a great value to the consumer is the primary goal behind JumpSTART, we believe that, at this time, the goal can be reached without including the MSRP [manufacturer's suggested retail price] in the sticker we plan to put on our product," UMG said in a letter to retailers, according to the Washington Post.

There were several reasons that retailers opposed UMG’s original plans. Mainly, retailers who are concerned about their profit margins may want to have the flexibility to charge more than $12.98 for certain titles.

Viacom Cuts Profit And Revenue Forecasts For ’03

Citing a slower local advertising market, Viacom cut its profit and revenue forecasts for ’03, lowering its projected mid-teen percentage growth to low-to-mid teen. The earlier forecast of high single digit growth for revenue, and double-digit growth for operating income, have been both lowered to mid-to-high single digit growth, reports Reuters. However, the company said it is still expecting a record year in revenues and earnings per share in’03, as well as strong growth in ’04.

Changes At Harrisburg's Kiss: Michael McCoy Named PD

WLAN/Lancaster, PA PD Michael McCoy adds PD duties at Clear Channel sister CHR WHKF in nearby Harrisburg. McCoy replaces Jason Barsky, who steps down but remains with the company. Look for an announcement regarding Barsky's new duties shortly.

In Brief

Steve Bartel has resigned from his PD position at Cox Broadcasting's WPYO/Orlando and is moving to Dallas as APD/MD/middays of "Texas' Party Station" 106.7 KKDL. He'll work under Entravision OM Dean James. His last day at ‘PYO will be October 3… Clear Channel promotes Detroit GM Earl Jones to VP/Market Manager for the Louisville cluster… Entercom Rock KISW/Seattle fills its APD and midday vacancy with the hiring of WZTA/Miami APD/afternoon jock Ryan Castle, effective October 15… Citadel Dance CHR WYIL/Knoxville PD/afternoon jock Darren Stephens has left the building and can be reached at (504) 909-7335… At Modern Rock KWOD/Sacramento, morning co-host "The Dave" and night jock Capone have exited. PD Ron Bunce is looking for their replacements, and for the night gig, strong imaging skills are preferred… There have been a few changes at the syndicated Kid & Ruben show, which originates from KZZP/Phoenix. Producer/co-host Heather Larson exits to complete her degree. Corina Dotson will take over her on-air seat, while voicetracking middays and Director of Affiliate Relations Chris Pantier is promoted to Executive Producer. Outside Phoenix, the show is also airs on KOHT/Tucson and KTBT/Tulsa… Infinity Classic Rock WARW/Washington hires Kenny Hobbs for Imaging/Production Director duties. Hobbs previously has worked at KDGE and KZPS/Dallas… Hot AC WWWM/Toledo welcomes WLEV/Allentown morning jock Jeff France for similar duties. He replaces Brian Casey who exits…A recent Arbitron/Edison Media Research study reports 50 million Americans used Internet audio or video in August… The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, as WCKG/Chicago welcomes Matt Dahl for weekend duties. Matt’s Dad is legendary Chicago air talent Steve Dahl, who hosts afternoons on ‘CKG… Label veteran Harvey Rosen launches 441 Records, a label featuring Jazz, Blues, R&B, Dance and Electronica artists.