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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 104, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning May 26th, 2005

TV News®

DC stations want LPM halted
There are two very different views of how Local People Meters (LPM) are working in the Washington, DC market. "Nielsen's numbers are wrong, because the new Local People Meter System is not counting lots of people," said Allbritton Communications Sr. VP Jerry Fritz in a telephone news conference. "The faulting rates are simply off the chart. Nielsen won't fix them before it launches the new service and we don't like that." Specifically, Allbritton, Gannett, News Corporation and Tribune, which collectively own five of the six major commercial stations in the DC market, want Nielsen to put LPMs on hold until it corrects what they identify as problems and get Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for the LPM service. That's not likely to happen. "The sample is right on," said Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus. "The meter is accurately showing that, particularly African-Americans are watching a lot of different channels, as well as a lot of viewers are watching a lot of different channels," he said, disputing claims that LPMs undercount minority viewing. As for the fault rates, Loftus said they are on par with the National People Meters, which have been in use since 1987. He says fault rates are higher in homes with more TV sets. "It's a factor of size of the home. It has nothing to do with race," he insisted. In Nielsen's view, LPM is better than the meter/diary system that it is replacing. "I'm kind of surprised that WJLA is complaining, since their numbers are up," Loftus said of the Allbritton station. But Allbritton is objecting in DC, along with Gannett and two other broadcasters who have had previous experience with LPMs and been steadfast in their objections - - News Corporation and Tribune. During the news conference, TVBR asked whether they had seen any improvement over time in those other LPM markets. "The answer is no. We've been very reticent to publicly engage in this fray, but our frustration is so palpable, that's why we're on this call," said Tribune VP Shaun Sheehan. As it happens, Nielsen is meeting today with its client station groups to go over the latest data from the LPM markets. It's likely to be a lively session.

TVBR observation: Little noticed, Nielsen last week got MRC accreditation for its San Francisco LPM system, the second market to earn that distinction after the original LPM market, Boston. But there are still issues to be resolved in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. We find it interesting that no one in Philadelphia has asked for an LPM delay, although News Corp. and Tribune both have stations there as well. The LPM opponents know that DC is not just another market - - the Senators and Congressmen who write the laws, as well as their families, watch WJLA, WUSA, WTTG, WDCA and WBDC. They are going to hear the complaints about LPMs. And while Allbritton insists that it doesn't want government regulation, but rather for the TV industry to resolve this within the family, News Corp. has been pressing, and pressing hard, for Congress to get involved. We have warned that this is a dangerous and stupid move by Rupert Murdoch - - and that he'll hurt himself and every other broadcaster if he succeeds - - but he knows that DC is the place to fight this battle. Nielsen had better wise up and marshal its own forces on Capitol Hill.

Dubow gets Gannett top job
It's another case of a broadcaster getting the top job at a traditional newspaper company - - in this case, the largest newspaper company in the world. Craig Dubow has been named President and CEO of Gannett Company, effective July 15th, moving up from his current post of President and CEO of the Gannett Broadcasting Division. He succeeds Doug McCorkindale, who will continue as Chairman under his employment agreement that runs through July 1, 2006. "Craig has all the skills a 21st Century media CEO should have, from highly successful management experience and broad-based knowledge of the digital world to the vision and energy of a top-notch leader. He represents all the best of Gannett and is the perfect choice to be the company's new CEO," McCorkindale said in announcing the choice of his successor. For his part, Dubow said he is excited to lead Gannett in this time of transition into the "new, digital world."

Paxson fires back at NBC;
Again denies all-infomercial rumors
Paxson Communications Corp. (PCC) has come up with an end-run around the arbitration demand that NBC Universal filed earlier this month (5/16/05 TVBR #96), claiming that Paxson was breeching its contracts with NBC and its O&Os by changing its programming and ending local ad sales. Now Paxson has gone to the FCC, seeking a ruling that NBC is stepping over the line of being a non-attributable investor and seeking to illegally take control of Paxson via the arbitration process. In a letter sent to Chairman Kevin Martin, Paxson asked that the FCC's Enforcement Bureau begin a proceeding to "immediately halt and permanently prevent NBC from taking illegal control of PCC through the subterfuge of a binding arbitration." It also asks that the FCC fine NBC an unspecified amount. Meanwhile, PCC is again insisting that it has no plans to go all-infomercial, as has been suggested in several press reports following NBC's public complaints about PCC's programming plans. "There have been several reports in the press that the company is dropping or reducing entertainment programming. Those reports are totally incorrect. The company will continue to offer the same or an increased amount of entertainment programming than it has in the past. However, as we approach the new fall season, the entertainment programs on our schedule may change to allow the company to give its shareholders a better return on their investment," said CEO Bud Paxson in a statement.

TVBR observation: Interesting game of chess. Bud Paxson has successfully used the FCC once before to get NBC off his back. That was when the Commission ruled that NBC having three directors on the PCC board of directors gave it an attributable interest in PCC, which would put NBC way over the national ownership limit. NBC still can't legally acquire PCC or have an attributable interest in it, so Bud is once again trying to get the FCC to tell NBC to back off.

No eye to eye between journalists, public
The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 673 journalist and 1.5K members of the general public, asking a variety of questions about the way news is reported. According to former Washington Post ombudsman Geneva Overholser, "This study reveals a worrisome divide between the public's view of journalism and the journalist's' own views of their work." For starters, 86% of journalists believe news orgs get it right, but only 45% of the general public agreed. Flipping it over, 11% of journalists thought that news orgs are often inaccurate, while 48% of the general public expressed the same view. Should the government be able to "limit the right of the press to report a story?" 44% of journalists said never, 48% said rarely and 6% said sometimes. The general public numbers, in the same order, were 29%, 17%, and 37% - - and on top of that, 14% said the government always has that right. 74% of journalists said errors were quickly corrected, but only 30% of the public thinks likewise. The study also revealed the press to be somewhat to the left of the general public. Press numbers were 31% liberal, 49% moderate and 9% conservative, compared to the general public's 24%-33%-38% split. "If journalists do indeed believe that what they do is valuable, fair and ethically sound, it's past time they began to put that case more effectively to the public," concluded Overholser.

Staff cuts at "Gray Lady"
The broadcast division is being spared the knife, but with ad sales still soft, the New York Times Company is reducing staff at its two big newspapers - - The New York Times and The Boston Globe. In all 190 positions are being eliminated, with approximately two-thirds of the cuts coming at the Times. The company says fewer than two dozen of the jobs are being cut out of the Times' newsroom, "where a voluntary reduction program will be in effect." The staff reduction, which comprises less than 2% of the company's total workforce, is to take place at the end of August, in accordance with the waiting periods required by some of its union contracts. "Earlier this year, we began rigorously evaluating our operations to determine how we could further streamline them to improve efficiency and lower costs. Given the current challenges in the advertising at the Times and the Globe and the cloudy economic outlook for the remainder of the year, we believed it was prudent to accelerate these ongoing cost control efforts," Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and CEO Janet Robinson said in a memo to staffers.

New team at
Urban TV Network Corp.

Jacob R. Miles III has been brought in as the new CEO at Urban Television Network Corporation, a penny stock company that trades on the OTC Bulletin Board and operates the Urban American Television Network (UATV). He was formerly head of operations for Tonka Toys/Hasbro. "Urban American Television is uniquely positioned; it has a solid broadcast distribution infrastructure in place to reach the urban marketplace populated and lead by African-Americans and English speaking Hispanics. We intend to capitalize on that distribution infrastructure with unique programming that ingratiate leading corporations and their brands to our viewers," said Miles. Three other top executives have been named as part of Miles' new team - - Sandra Pate, formerly Manager of Current Programming at Fox, is Executive VP of Programming and Development, Ed Maddox, formerly with BET, is President of National Sales, and Bruno Olivieri, formerly with Florsheim Group, is Executive VP of Affiliate Operations. UATV currently claims approximately 70 affiliates, mostly LPTV and cable outlets, covering 22 million households. One Media Group, which is affiliated with the Redeemed Christisian Church of God, acquired a 57% stake in Urban Television Network Corporation last December for seven million (12/20/04 TVBR #246).


Donchin on the upfront
Andy Donchin, Carat Americas Director of Broadcast Buying, tells RBR/TVBR buyers and sellers are still in the talking phase right now, for the most part. However, he thinks it will be heating up any day now: "Right now, we're just feeling each other out. Some deals have been done, it's moving along and everybody is still measuring out the market. I think it's on the light end."

So the market isn't in any rush?
"No. It's at a do-able pace and everybody is just figuring out where they want to go and what's important. They really want to do their deals, and I think some [significant] things probably have been done. A lot of people are talking and I think it will heat up soon."

Any programs out there getting your attention?
"No. I'm still definitely a believer in broadcast television, but support cable in a big way, and syndication. There's really not to say right now, as I said, we're still feeling each other out and talking-kicking the tires.

How would you compare the upfront at this point in time vs. the last couple years?
"There seems to be more supply than demand, and we're trying to get a grasp of the marketplace based on that."

Starcom MediaVest CEO:
Print needs more online, wireless delivery
Speaking at the International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) conference in NYC this week, Starcom MediaVest Group CEO Renetta McCann said print publishers are falling behind other types of media in their ability to deliver content over broadband and wireless. McCann predicted consumers will "engage with content primarily onscreen and not on the printed page," and print publishers must adapt or face the consequences.

Publisher note: Agree with Renetta 100% that is why RBR & TVBR stopped printing weekly and deliver content with solid presentation and interaction with our colleagues via this morning e-paper. Others just don't get it. Plus, Radio & Television Business Report - The First Monthly Business Magazine - was the First to go Digital 2 years ago with audio and video capabilities. Only problem is not all consumers, including the media, understand Rich Media and digital publishing. If you want to learn to maximize and get familiar with digital - see our June issue soon.

Jack Morton Worldwide looks at
marketing event influence

Live event marketing experiences where consumers interact with products, brands or "brand ambassadors" face-to-face are more effective ways to influence coveted consumer audiences, versus TV advertising, Internet advertising and other marketing tactics, according to results of an extensive survey released today by Jack Morton Worldwide. Comprising an online survey of 2,574 consumers, ages 13-65, in the top 25 US markets, the results confirm that this increasingly important marketing medium resonates strongly across demographic and product categories, with especially high influence among key groups such as women, young people and Hispanics. | More... |

Washington Beat
Martin thinking about cable content options
A national watchdog group met with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, and reports that he is seriously considering policies which could affect the way cable channels are offered to subscribers, as well as looking at regulating content delivered via other wireless means. The group is the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. The focus of concern discussed with Martin and members of the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau was the possibility of objectionable material making it to the eyes of children via "cell phones, PDAs, iPods, Game Boys and other emerging technologies. The meeting also touched on similar issues with cable television and satellite radio and TV. NCPCF President/CEO Rick Schatz said, "Chairman Martin recognizes this is a serious problem. Not only are these communication vehicles unregulated, but also network TV continues to push the envelope of sexual content and language in order to compete." Martin was said to be contemplating the leveling of the decency playing field between broadcast and subscription services. He is also considering "unbundling" cable, allowing parents to pick and choose channels, or the creation of family-friendly tiers which would exclude channels, with MTV and FX being put forth as examples.

Adelstein deputizes America
to catch undisclosed ad placements
FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein wants private citizens to begin recording any instance they encounter in which they suspect that a product or service is being advertised on the sly via product placement or pay-for-say. At a Media Institute event yesterday, he said, "Earlier this month, I spoke before 2,500 engaged citizens at the National Conference on Media Reform. I asked them to hit their record button when they saw what appeared to be an undisclosed product placement, a video news release or a news segment that looks like an advertisement. I promised to insist on an investigation of any serious problems they raised. I will continue to call on all viewers and listeners in this country to act as watchdogs for the FCC." He is particularly concerned when "experts" are paid to positively review a product or service in the course of a "news" segment. He said they " not always disclose their financial interest in the products they promote." He said, "Undisclosed promotions are not just wrong - - they are payola, and they are illegal. That applies to product placements, paid VNRs, or anything for which payment is made but not disclosed." | View the full text of Adelstein's prepared comments |

Stevens looking at downconverter
subsidy alternatives
In a session with the National Spectum Managers Association its 2005 conference, Senate Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) indicated that as far as he is concerned, the DTV transition is a pressing issue, but as yet all is still on the table. He refused to give thumbs up or down to a House proposal to set a hard deadline of 12/31/08 as the last day of analog video transmission. He also expressed a great deal of concern for making the transition to digital as painless for American citizens as possible. Asked about subsidizing the acquisition of digital-to-analog downconverters to households which would otherwise lose service when analog is turned off, he said it was a possibility, but there are others. What he'd like to do is put the burden on set manufacturers, which he noted are all based on foreign shores. "I'm also toying with the idea that those who manufacture analog sets after a certain date, must provide a box with it. I don't know why these foreign manufacturers shouldn't shift over to digital and if they don't, they should give us a box. I'd like to avoid the subsidy and let the buyer have the full value of going to digital and if they want to buy analog now, it ought to transition into the next generation of digital. I'm not sure I'll win on that, though."

Sue me, Crue me
Can a network be held liable for damages to a Rock group for not booking it? In this case, Motley Crue is holding that NBC is discriminating against it simply because one of the band members dropped an f-bomb on the network's New Year's Eve program. Although the incident occurred safely within the confines of safe harbor time (after 10PM, before 6AM), the band apparently hasn't been included in any subsequent network programming. According to the New York Times, it is suing on grounds that its free speech rights have been violated and its recording sales weakened.

TVBR observation: Hey, our free speech rights are being violated, too. We were in a band, and we didn't get to be on NBC or any other network - - the best we did was a local college noncom FM. Whaddaya say, Your Honor - - our rights have been violated and a huge settlement in our favor is warranted. RIGHT. This is one lawsuit on the road to nowhere.

Beat the Boss' Spencer Cohn to appear on Leno
Syndicated "Beat the Boss" Executive Producer Spencer Cohn tells TVBR he's scheduled to appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" this Friday night, May 27th. Beat the Boss ( is a comedy/drama based on re-enactments of actual unemployment appeal hearings. The new TV series chronicles what happens when employees challenge their former bosses in unemployment court, a subject that was a reality for 19 million Americans last year.

CBS unveils "Fire Me...Please"
"Fire Me...Please" is a new four-episode, one-hour reality series that follows two people starting new jobs on the same day, with the goal of intentionally being fired as close to 3:00 PM as possible. The hidden camera series will premiere Tuesday, June 7 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS. Dave Holmes ("Total Request Live") will host. Participants begin jobs at the same time in the morning with the goal of getting fired as close to 3:00 PM as possible. The one getting fired closest to 3:00 PM without going over wins the cash prize. Contestants are not allowed to ask to be fired, break the law or say they are on a game show. As participants push the envelope to earn their pink slip, hidden cameras capture the action as they drive their managers and co-workers crazy with outrageous behavior. Eric Schotz ("Kids Say the Darndest Things") and Bill Paolantonio ("Kids Say the Darndest Things") are the executive producers for LMNO Productions and Magic Molehill Productions in association with BBC Worldwide. Colin Davis and Robin Meltzer are executive producers for BBC Worldwide.

Stock Talk
Oil prices send stocks lower
Oil prices surged on Wednesday, sending stocks lower. The Dow Industrials lost 46 points, or 0.4%, to close at 10,458.

TV stocks fell with the market. Young fell the most, 3.3%. Saga was down 2.3%. One of the few gainers was Journal, up 3%.


Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change













Media General




Clear Channel












News Corp.
















NY Times
















Saga Commun.




Gen. Electric




















Time Warner




Gray, C1. A




















Viacom, Cl. A




Journal Comm.




Viacom, Cl. B




Liberty Corp




Wash. Post













Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you.

This is your column, so send your comments to [email protected]

This reader agrees that
Paris Hilton's burger spot is soft core porn
(5/25/05 TVBR #103).

If the FCC or someone doesn't take action on this spot, or if Carl's Jr. doesn't voluntarily drop it, then this whole indecency debate is clearly aimed unfairly at the networks only. No prude here, believe me, but I agree with those who say, this is "laddie mag" stuff...I used to sneak out behind the barn to look at pictures like this...there's gotta be a better way to sell a 1,000 calorie burger.

Gary Lico
CABLEready Blog

This reader disagrees with our take on advertisers pulling ads when they get bad press (5/25/05 TVBR #103).

This issue is not new. For years publishers have stated that "...advertising and editorial don't mix..." But let's get real. If I, as an advertiser, am spending millions of dollars each year in a specific publication, see my company as the subject of criticism by that publication's editorial staff, what's my incentive to continue contributing to their salaries? Surely, the word "masochistic" lurks in my mind. "Freedom of speech" is not the issue here...paying someone else to criticize your company is! Say what you's your privilege in America. But I do not have to support your efforts.

Donald Emanuel, President
Continental Marketing LLC
Colorado Springs, CO

Upped & Tapped

Ogden gets
Gannett post
With Craig Dubow moving up to the top job at Gannett (see TV News), Roger Ogden has been named President and CEO of the Gannett Broadcast Division, effective July 15th. He is currently Sr. VP and President and GM of KUSA-TV (Ch. 9, NBC) Denver.

Broomstad heading NBC Studio
After a year of sharing the top job at NBC Universal Television Studio, Angela Bromstad has been named President of the studio. Her former Co-President, David Kissinger, departs to become President of Conaco, Conan O'Brien's production company. "Angela has proven herself time and again as a savvy, progressive and imaginative leader who has earned her stripes among her industry peers. We won't miss a beat with this promotion and the studio's thriving future under her guidance has never looked better," said Jeff Zucker, President, NBC Universal Television Group.

TVBR Radar 2005
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Jon Mandel on the upfront
Chairman/MediaCom US and Chief Global Buying Officer MediaCom Worldwide - Indeed, the 2005-2006 upfront isn't starting off with a rush or panic, as in recent years. Mandel's observation - "There's that, and also, if you're going to do the job right, you take the time to do the estimates properly; you take the time to watch every single pilot; you take the time to talk to the producers about where the shows are going. You don't just go and buy based on two-minute clips. People that do that aren't doing a good media job. They're just buyers. The reason why clients get crazy at the business is because they feel that people don't give it the proper thought. And you can talk strategy all you want, but when you go and do conceptual deals without having watched the shows and matched the shows, the audience and the brand you're advertising, then you're doing a disservice to your client and you're doing a disservice to the industry." 05/25/05 TVBR #103

Some real ad nauseum
Energy company BP has joined Morgan-Stanley in instituting a policy in which any magazine advertising they may have booked is to be pulled if the magazine contains any editorial the company feels is negative or otherwise objectionable. The BP directive asks that publishers notify both their sales and editorial staffs about the policy.
TVBR observation: Editorial department here. We note this because this type of thing is just as applicable to radio and TV advertising. We dearly love our sales staff, especially on payday, but it is absolutely critical that we have an arms-length relationship when it comes to content. Without editorial integrity, there would be no point in reading us, nor would there be any point in advertising with us. Our sales staff has yet to be granted editorial privileges, just as our editorial staff has no say in what ads are sold, what they say or what they look like. Advertisers, if you want to control editorial in the magazines you advertise in, we suggest you do what Clear Channel did: Buy one.
05/25/05 TVBR #103

Big 3 TV nets see revenue drop
That's according to Broadcast Cable Financial Management (BCFM), which tallies revenues for the network TV business. Q1 revenues for ABC, CBS and NBC combined were down 2.07% in Q1 to 2.88 billion. However, note that Fox does not participate in the BCFM revenue gathering, and it had the Super Bowl this year. Thus, sports revenues for the big three dropped 21.35% to 545 million. Chart worth a print out. 05/25/05 TVBR #103

Cumulus Media, Inc. does as it says
Set a 30-day deadline on May 4th, to make a change either Interep's Cumulus Radio Sales will adopt that types of new business initiatives and accountability that Cumulus has adopted for its local sales, or Cumulus will take its national business elsewhere. They go across the street to Katz Media with their 310 stations. RBR observation: Said it before but worth repeating. It's not that they were anxious to jump to Katz as Citadel did rather he was complaining that the national rep business isn't structured for growth. True, in reality they are not but one would have to examine future growth. Cumulus also felt both rep companies are too focused on continuing business from existing national advertisers, rather than working to expand the mix of advertisers and build new business. Again we have to say True to some extent. Now the reality of losing the second largest in number radio group is a blow to the Interep ego but in dollars, approximately give or take 3 million, is not a large hunk of business in green backs and the capital expenditure in developing those dollars for 310 stations in mid to small markets is costly. It is called cost effectiveness as it takes the same dollar to pay the same person to sell etc a cluster in market 20 as it does in market 150. Time is money and the key for a small firm is to concentrate on quality of their clients giving more time to allocate the people expense over from market 150 into new business development. Seems both sides win on this deal - Interep will be able to redeploy people resources and focus more time on the major clients they have. Cumulus wins as Katz Media has the financial resources to spread the goodwill value of their sales effectiveness that Cumulus stations need as Clear Channel owns a bunch of small market stations. Meanwhile, Guild will have explaining to do this morning as he has to keep his current clients content while he fends off a bidder in Oaktree and seeks to recapitalize with Allen & Co. Interep you have one good opportunity to redeploy but it has to be executed this year as many firms will face the question soon: Can you compete in 2006 and beyond by doing business that same ol same ol?
05/24/05 TVBR #102

Product placement in
Neil Simon Broadway play
As part of a product placement campaign in Broadway's Sweet Charity, playwright Neil Simon approved a script change to promote Jose Cuervo's Gran Centenario tequila. Sweet Charity stars Christina Applegate. Simon approved a script change to incorporate the brand into the dialog. The brand logo will also appear in set and ads will be placed in the playbill. NY-based Bridge to Hollywood/Broadway put the deal together-it previously brokered product placement deals for appearances in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Raisin in the Sun.
05/24/05 TVBR #102

Is deconsolidation
just part of a cycle?
That's the theory put forth by Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Gordon Hodge in a research note on the current wave of media companies spinning off units or selling assets. After a boom-bust consolidation period in the late 1980s, the Telecom Act of 1996 propagated another consolidation wave, which rolled through the Internet bubble and then crashed into the breakers of recession, antitrust concerns and 9/11. We are living in the aftermath of that wave. TVBR observation: Reminds us of a Yogi Berra quote on his hitting, "Slump? I ain't in no slump ... I just ain't hitting." Well same with many companies they just ain't hitting because as Berra would say - "90% of the game is half mental." Think about it because Hodge and Berra are both correct either a slump of the sum of their parts. Key for all media companies is your business plan and execution of the plan. If you didn't see it coming after 9/11 and the '02 recession which is still alive then you best get your house in order now or you will find it very difficult to compete in 2006. 05/23/05 TVBR #101


Ptak acq location
WMGZ-FM, which is being acquired by Paul Stone along with WKGQ-AM, is not located in Eatonville GA, as we reported, but in Eatonton GA, as was pointed out by alert reader Larry Fuss. Thanks.

Local Sales Manager
LIN TV, one of the premiere operators, needs a leader at WOOD-TV8, NBC affiliate, in Grand Rapids to take charge of the Sales Team. Revenue successes with Marshall Marketing, NSI Stellar data and Eckstein Summers projects required. Knowledge of VCI and One Domain a plus.

GSM Opportunity with Emmis
Legendary KSHE-95 St Louis needs a strong GSM with minimum 5 years battle experience and NTR skills a plus. Generous benefits and compensation await. Are you ready for this challenge!

Broker Opportunity
Established in 1979 we've conducted over 1 billion in transactions and seeking just one executive that desires to learn and become a player in the investment media station brokerage business. First quality in our firm - Integrity. - See TV Careers

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