And The Winner Is...
Radio winners and losers, anti-trust madness in the US and a step in the right direction for RTE Radio 1
Radio ga ga
This is the first year the PPI Radio Awards allowed entries from all 32 counties, allowing McClean's Country from BBC Radio Ulster to win in the specialist music category. Fifteen awards went to local stations. RTÉ won four out of 27 gongs; with Today with Pat Kenny as best current affairs programme, Philip Boucher Hayes as news broadcaster of the year and Des Cahill as sports broadcaster of the year. Newstalk won overall station of the year, with that station's sports show Off the Ball deservedly winning for the second consequtive year. Today FM also won four awards in the music special, light entertainment and breakfast shows, with Ian Dempsey's show picking up a second award for his Gift Grub entertainment inserts. Of the panel of 45 judges, 35 came from the radio industry, a change from the usual media types.
Bending the Rules
The head of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington has mooted plans to change media ownership rules to allow more concentration of ownership by individuals or companies. Currently there is a rule that forbids a company owning both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city. The proposals would benefit moguls like Rupert Murdoch who has lobbied against the rule for years so that he can continue controlling both the New York Post and a Fox television station in New York. But many lawmakers on both sides of the political divide in the US are concerned about news outlets being controlled by too few companies.
In Ireland, rules relating to media ownership come under the Competition Act 2002, whereby the Competition Authority/Minister has to approve all purchases, taking into account ‘‘relevant criteria'' such as (a) the strength and competitiveness of media businesses indigenous to the State, (b) the extent to which ownership or control of media businesses in the State is spread amongst individuals and other undertakings, (c) the extent to which ownership and control of particular types of media business in the State is spread amongst individuals and other undertakings, (d) the extent to which the diversity of views prevalent in Irish society is reflected through the activities of the various media businesses in the State, and (e) the share in the market in the State of one or more of the types of business activity falling within the definition of ‘‘media business'' in this subsection that is held by any of the undertakings involved in the media merger concerned, or by any individual or other undertaking who or which has an interest in such an undertaking.
Village is thoroughly enjoying the Whistleblower series on RTE Radio 1. Listeners are treated to personal recollections by Irish and international whistleblowers who in the face of cover-ups and vested interests uncovered crimes and conspiracies often risking limb, if not life. Compelling listening, if anyone can be compelled by anything at the unfeasible hour of 10.30am on a Sunday morning. The inside story of America's Unabomber and gender discrimination in Ireland's defence forces. The most recent show was on the famous Frank Serpico, the ex-New York cop who exposed corruption in the police force, earning him the hatred of his colleagues and a deliberate attempt to kill him in during a drug bust. This is the first interview Serpico has given for many years. RTÉ has shown they can make quality programming such as this, but why put it on when people are half awake or at mass? Dedicated mass-goers can download each programme from the series from www.rte.ie/radio/.