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  1. #1601
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    Mexican Radio Host's Resignation Highlights Ties Between Government and Media
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/07/w...ef=todayspaper

    By AZAM AHMED and PAULINA VILLEGAS OCT. 7, 2017

    Photo: The radio host Leonardo Curzio during a lecture at the Universidad del Valle de Mexico in February. Mr. Curzio quit in protest over demands to fire his colleagues. Credit Lucia Godinez/Associated Press

    MEXICO CITY -- Last Thursday, as it has for nearly a dozen years,
    Leonardo Curzio's radio show delivered lively debate. This time around, his team of analysts harshly criticized a pair of policy initiatives floated in recent weeks by, among others, the political party of Mexico's president, Enrique Pena [sic] Nieto.

    The timing of the proposals -- one to route public campaign funds to
    the victims of last month's earthquake and the other to eliminate
    party-appointed representatives in Congress -- seemed suspect to them.

    The measures "are absurd, populist and cheap, and they demonstrate
    their eagerness to gain an easy round of social applause," said Maria
    Amparo Casar, a co-host of the show and a respected political
    scientist, taking aim at a battery of initiatives, including those
    proposed by the president's party, the Institutional Revolutionary
    Party, which is expected to face a tough fight in next year's
    presidential election.

    Ricardo Raphael, Mr. Curzio's other co-host, was even more direct, a
    risky approach in a country where the media depends on advertising
    bought by the government. "I think it is vile that apropos of the
    national emergency, they are trying to get ahead politically," he said.

    The response came quickly. The next day, Mr. Curzio was called before
    his radio station's president, Edilberto Huesca, who demanded that Ms.
    Casar and Mr. Raphael be fired.

    The reasons given for the termination by NRM Communications, which owns the station, were low ratings and budget cuts. But Mr. Curzio, who developed a reputation as an esteemed newsman during his 18 years at the company, scoffed at that explanation.

    He suspected the real reason was the denouncing of the government by
    his co-hosts, an accusation the government has denied. Mr. Curzio
    refused to fire his colleagues, and then took an exceptional step in
    Mexico's troubled media landscape: He quit in protest.

    "I don't have any evidence that the government asked for their firing
    or to end the show, but I was deeply surprised that they would ask me
    to stop broadcasting a political panel that enjoys wide approval in
    terms of ratings during an election year," he said on Friday. "It's
    like being asked to get rid of a sports show during the World Cup."

    Mr. Curzio's resignation has roiled Mexico's media and political class, and he and his co-hosts denounced the government's influence over the media in the country in interviews this week.

    In Mexico, the government accounted for 38 percent of the spending on
    TV advertising in 2016, and more than 16 percent of radio advertising,
    leaving many media companies highly dependent on official money.

    Advertisements in the nation's media paid for by federal, state and
    local authorities totaled about $2 billion from 2013 to 2016, the first three full years of Mr. Pena Nieto's administration, according to data provided by the government.

    This money, say critics, is one of the most severe restrictions on the
    media's freedom of expression here, often subjecting reporters and
    editors to government influence, with overtly critical journalists
    fired, negative stories censored and investigative reporting thwarted.

    "The ties between government and media is like diabetes: It's a disease that stops you from leading a normal life," Mr. Curzio added. "It generates such an alarming feeling that that this is how the
    establishment works."

    The government denies wielding such control.

    "The federal government fully respects and values the freedom of
    expression that characterizes Mexican democracy and, for that reason,
    does not intervene in any way in the labor relations or editorial
    policies of the media," according to a statement from the president's
    office.

    The statement noted that the office of social communication and the
    spokesman of the president valued the professional contributions of Mr. Curzio, Ms. Casar and Mr. Raphael, and welcomed their critical
    viewpoints in various media, including on a state-owned channel where
    they all continue to contribute.

    Mr. Raphael, for his part, says the reasons for the ouster do not make
    sense. He and Mrs. Casar made just $1,500 a month for their
    contribution to the show, not the kind of money that would make a
    difference for a large radio station.

    According to data compiled by Fundar, a nonprofit research group, NRM
    Communications received about $7 million in government spending on
    advertisements in 2016.

    "This was a message to every other analyst," said Mr. Raphael, a
    well-known journalist and writer, who described the former show as
    being politically centrist.

    All three of the former employees said they had no hard evidence the
    government was behind the cancellation of the show. But it is not the
    first time their work has run afoul of the government.

    Ms. Casar, for instance, is the co-founder of Mexicans Against
    Corruption and Impunity, a nonprofit group that has taken aim at
    government misconduct in many forms. The president himself has tried to pressure her co-founder, Claudio X. Gonzalez, to ease off the
    criticism.

    The government has also initiated a half-dozen audits of various
    nonprofits and organizations that Mr. Gonzalez is associated with,
    including Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity.

    The president's office rejected assertions that it had tried to
    intimidate the Gonzalez family, or any critics in Mexico.

    While Ms. Casar emphasized that she could not prove there had been
    coercion or pressure from the federal government, she added that "it
    does sound like censorship."

    "The whole issue has to do with the unbalanced relationship between
    power and the media in Mexico, where most media depends and lives off
    of official publicity," she said. "We are a nation that has failed to
    cultivate the virtues of democracy, which are freedom of expression,
    debate and public deliberation."

    A version of this article appears in print on October 8, 2017, on Page
    A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Radio Host's Resignation Shows Ties Linking Mexican Media to Government (via Mike Cooper, DXLD)

  2. #1602
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    Yeah, the circumstances around Curzio's firing are generating a very Carmen Aristegui-esque reaction.

    Government spending in broadcasting (both at the state and national levels) has had a real distorting effect on the industry, and there is no guarantee that it will be at a certain level. Thus, it serves as a carrot to control broadcasters. What's more, this president has spent at unprecedented levels on advertising and PR, and states like Colima have tripled their spend in recent years.

    México Evalúa places the 2016 spend on advertising at 9.585 billion pesos, or $507 million. It's only going to be larger this year and as we head into the next election.

    Especially in broadcasting, where stations are required by law to set aside time for the government, this should be illegal. It's a waste of public money and further serves to erode trust in government.
    Este programa es público, ajeno a cualquier partido político. Queda prohibido el uso para fines distintos a los establecidos en el programa.

    Read the Mexico Beat | Download Mexican FM Station Coordinates v2 | View my HD Radio in Mexico map

  3. #1603
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    It's October, and Día de los Muertos is right around the corner. So let's look at some...dead radio stations!

    We've had ghosts before, but these are from a much older time.

    XEQZ - Chetumal, Q. Roo

    The first radio station in Quintana Roo, this provisional concession was awarded in February 1945 and, according to DOF records, voided in 1947 for failure to transmit since February 15, 1946. Ramón Zamora Manjarrez was listed as the concessionaire.

    Interestingly, an Informativo Turquesa (that Turquesa, of course) piece not only says XEQZ was the first radio station with calls in the then-territory, but that it was operated by Roque Salvatierra from 1948 until Hurricane Janet destroyed its facilities — and all but four buildings in Chetumal! — in 1955. (Janet was a category 5 and its name was promptly retired.)

    XEQZ's frequency is not available in any sources.

    XEGA - San Andrés Tuxtla, Ver.

    XEGA was to be owned and operated by Miguel Ángel Lara Manitas, and would have broadcast on 1300 kHz with 500 watts. In 1962, Lara Manitas attempted to move XEGA to Alvarado, from where it presumably would have entered the Veracruz Puerto radio market. Given the 11-year gap between responses in the case, and the apparently incomplete nature of some of the paperwork filed in 1973, the SCT proceeded to void the concession five years later.

    XERAA - Atoyac de Álvarez, Gro.

    Rubén Arizpe Alemán gave his initials to this station which would have operated on 1240 kHz with 500/250 watts (and was given the general green light in 1967), but he apparently lost interest, failed to respond to SCT correspondence and the concession was voided in 1978.

    These last two unbuilt stations continued to haunt the IRCA log, into the 21st century.

    There's also...a dead television station!

    XHUF-TV 13 - Ciudad Delicias, Chih.

    The original channel 13 in Delicias was XHUF, owned by Televisora de Chihuahua, S.A. This company got the go-ahead in 1968 and merged with another company, Impulsora de Televisión, in 1970. In 1973, the SCT ordered the merger undone because it had been done without its approval.

    Longtime readers might recognize our applicant for channel 13 — and the party it merged with. These were the original concessionaires of XHCH and XHIT in Chihuahua Capital. XHIT went off the air for the first time in December 1972, as the affiliates of Tele-Cadena Mexicana found themselves slowly squeezed over the course of the 70s and eventually primarily nationalized. (If it were built and thus around today, XHUF would be a TV Azteca station, no doubt about it.) This proceeding opened in 1980, shortly after the SCT evidently wanted to clear its books in 1978.

    Channel 13 in Delicias was eventually awarded to Radiotelevisora de México Norte in the 62-station concession of 1994 and began broadcasting as XHCDE-TV.
    Este programa es público, ajeno a cualquier partido político. Queda prohibido el uso para fines distintos a los establecidos en el programa.

    Read the Mexico Beat | Download Mexican FM Station Coordinates v2 | View my HD Radio in Mexico map

  4. #1604
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    It's a combo no more in Coatzacoalcos.

    XEZS/XHZS said goodbye to the AM band after 57 years last night, with one final transmission of the Himno Nacional. You can watch the transmitter be turned off for the last time here.

    XEZS-AM signed on March 18, 1960 and is one of the Combos of '94, not beginning FM transmissions until 1996. For its part, Radio Hit claims the move to shut off XEZS, which evidently could broadcast in AM stereo (!), was made for technical reasons and to focus on the digitalization of the station (HD Radio, perhaps?).

    What is interesting is that the article says it was the final AM station in Coatzacoalcos. Both XHZS going all-FM and this detail are highly unusual activity with regard to the Combos of '94. Coatzacoalcos also has XECSV/XHCSV broadcasting on 1000 kHz and 93.1 MHz, another combo of the same vintage, and in nearby Minatitlán (and not being considered for this piece, I'd imagine) is XHMTV 100.9/1260.

    What just happened may also be illegal. The reason is that the FMs were licensed as additional frequencies to the AM. Let's read this over. It's from the 2004 concession renewal:

    "Que la Secretaría, mediante resolución administrativa de fecha 4 de noviembre de 1994, autorizó a Emisoras Mexicanas de Veracruz, S.A., la modificación de la Concesión, para la operación comercial como parte del canal concesionado, de la frecuencia 92.3 MHz, en la banda de frecuencia modulada, con ubicación del equipo transmisor en Coatzacoalcos, Ver., distintivo de llamada XHZS-FM y demás características asentadas en la misma" (emphasis mine)

    For a selection of the Combos of '94, but not XHZS, we have the original authorization that was made. Here is the one for XHMEX. Aside from specifying that XHMEX-FM is licensed to repeat XEMEX-AM, the authorization also required:

    "La programación que se difunda en la frecuencia modulada deberá ser en todo momento la misma de la señal de la frecuencia de amplitud modulada."

    If the AM is silent, so too must the FM, unless the IFT has consented to the closure of XEZS-AM.

    I have reached out to the station for comment and will update if I hear back from them.
    Este programa es público, ajeno a cualquier partido político. Queda prohibido el uso para fines distintos a los establecidos en el programa.

    Read the Mexico Beat | Download Mexican FM Station Coordinates v2 | View my HD Radio in Mexico map

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