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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 104, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Tuesday Morning May 29th, 2007

TV News ®

Tribune tally: More sellers than the buyer can handle
As we predicted, the Tribune Company tender offer for 126 million shares at 34 bucks each was waaaaay oversubscribed. The company says 224 million were tendered, which is 92% of all of the Tribune shares that exist. So, most of the shareholders who tendered will get to sell only about half of their shares - unless and until the FCC approves the license transfers and accompanying waivers of the crossownership rule so Sam Zell and a new Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) can complete their buyout of the public shareholders. For now, Tribune says those tenders of odd lots, less than 100 shares, will be accepted and all others will be pro rated. Payment for the shares accepted will be made no late than June 5th. Meanwhile, Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons has sent staffers a memo to clear up what he says are "misperceptions" about the going private deal. "Many people seem to think that Sam Zell has already acquired or will acquire Tribune Company later this year-that is not accurate. What is accurate is that Sam will sponsor, through his investment in Tribune, a going-private transaction. When the transaction closes, expected in the fourth quarter of 2007, Tribune will be owned entirely by an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The ESOP will own 56.5 million shares of Tribune stock, which will be 100% of the outstanding shares at that time. Last month, Sam made an initial investment of 250 million in Tribune. Upon closing, his investment will increase to 315 million and he'll become chairman of Tribune's board of directors. I will remain as CEO and as a director. Following the close, Sam also will hold a warrant to acquire 40% of Tribune's common stock at any time within the next 15 years," FitzSimons explained. The CEO also defended the role of the new ESOP's trustee, GreatBanc Trust Company, in representing the new employee investors. "On behalf of the new Tribune ESOP and its participants, GreatBanc negotiated for and acquired its shares of Tribune stock at 28, which compares favorably to the 34 price paid by Sam Zell to purchase his shares," he noted.
| Read the entire memo |

TVBR observation: This notion of "going private," while it clearly has some advantages, is not as easy as it might look. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Tribune's sale of more than seven billion in new debt was a tough sell and the company had to pay higher rates than expected, with some of the debt coming due in only two years. Meanwhile, the company is lobbying hard in Washington to build support for the crossownership waivers it needs to maintain its newspaper/broadcast combinations as it changes ownership. Until it succees on that front, phase two of the buyout can't go to closing and Tribune will remain in its current state of being about half owned by Zell and the ESOP and about half by its previous shareholders, including such dissatisfied shareholders as the Chandler family.


FCC back at it this week
Nothing like waiting until the last minute. The May FCC Open Meeting will be held at 9:30AM on Thursday, 5/31/07, literally on the last possible day available. The agenda is not quite as jam-packed as it has been of late as Chairman Kevin Martin engaged in a docket-cleaning kick this spring, but it still has six items. Three may be of interest to broadcasters. The first will be on interest in a general sense - it is entitled "Recommendations of the Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks," and is being held under the auspices of the Bureau of Public Safety and Homeland Security. Item #3, "Review of the Emergency Alert Systems (EB Docket No. 04-296); Independent Spanish Broadcasters Association, the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc., and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, Petition for Immediate Relief" would appear to be about, or to at least touch on the provision of emergency information in languages other than English. Item #6 is called "Amendment to Broadcast Carriage Rules for Cable Operators and Satellite Carriers," and is said to be about "market modifications for purpose of satellite and cable carriage of television broadcast stations."

TVBR observation: The FCC's continued study of the Katrina aftermath is commendable, particularly since it was one of the few federal agencies widely praised for its effective and timely response to the emergency. Of course, the FCC's role was secondary to that of others, but it went into high gear quickly and stayed there as long as was necessary. In the case of broadcasters, its main role was to quickly grant STA authority as needed; we would suspect provisions for such authorizations will be part of any comprehensive emergency package going ahead.

NAB wants to free the info
The National Association of Broadcasters is pressing its case to see filings from XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio concerning terrestrial repeaters which were not built as licensed, and concerning satellite receivers not built to specification. It has requested the information from the Enforcement Bureau under the Freedom of Information Act, and made the request via the services of someone who knows his way around that Bureau very well, its former Chief, David H. Solomon, now an attorney at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP. The satcasters have objected to the request, but NAB argues that it is in the "compelling public interest" to shine the light of day on the information to fill the record as the two companies pursue a proposed merger. The FCC wants to see "the scope, nature and degree" of the violations. The terrestrial repeater network has long been an area of concern for broadcasters, as has the receiver issue. The latter was thrown into stark relief by a recent Sirius SEC filing in which it admitted that "certain Sirius personnel requested manufacturers to produce Sirius radio that were not consistent with the FCC's rules." The NAB argues that even if the merger overcomes significant antitrust hurdles, the two companies seem to have engaged in "...a persistent corporate (if not industry) circumvention of the FCC's regulations," as NAB President/CEO David Rehr put it, calling in to question how the two would behave as a single merged entity.


TV's history through
Ralph Baruch's eyes

To say that Ralph Baruch has led an interesting life is an understatement. As a child, born into a Jewish family in Germany, he had to escape Hitler's Nazi onslaught twice, first from Germany and then from France, carrying his grandmother on his back over the Pyrenees Mountains into Spain. As a young man in the US, he entered the new industry called television, starting at DuMont and then moving to the "Tiffany Network," CBS. For readers too young to remember those earliest days of television, Baruch's autobiography, "Television Tightrope: How I Escaped Hitler, Survived CBS and Fathered Viacom," provides lots of historical and behind-the-scenes info about the business in its infancy and the personalities, some more noble than others, who helped it grow. It's not clear that William Paley was doing Baruch any great favor when he was chosen to lead the FCC-mandated spin-off of CBS' syndication business in 1971 into what was named Viacom. As Baruch tells it, the terms were so lopsided that it appeared some at CBS wanted to strangle the offspring in its crib. Instead, Viacom under Ralph Baruch thrived and found growth in the new field of cable television, which it helped grow into a viable competitor to broadcasters. There was more intrigue later when his senior subordinate teamed up with private equity in an attempt to buy out public shareholders on the cheap and push Baruch aside - only to have a white knight appear in the form of a theater company owner that no one in television had ever heard of, Sumner Redstone. It was sweet revenge then for Baruch in 1999 when Viacom came back and bought its former parent, CBS. "Televison Tightrope" is published by ProbitasPress and available from Amazon.com.

TVBR observation: A gripping tale and a real education for those of us who, if we were even born yet, were acquainted with TV in the 1950s only as viewers of "Captain Kangaroo." The more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same. We were surprised to find a current name in the news - Los Angeles' Chandler family - pop up in the early days of television, before the LA Times owner sold its TV station, got back in via Tribune, and is now desperately trying to exit again. Some of the villains in Baruch's book, co-authored with veteran writer Lee Roderick, may have their own version of the events he describes, but we found it all intriguing, with a lot of the suspense of a mystery novel. More telling than our read of this TV insider's tale is the fact that the wife of TVBR's Executive Editor, who has never herself worked in broadcasting, has been reading the book and also found it engrossing - not just the part about escaping the Nazis, but the drama of the TV corporate battles as well.

Iraq dominates Q1 news coverage
The Project for Excellence in Journalism has tallied up its totals for the first three months of 2007, and it is clear that the Iraq conflict is the number one story in the US. Not only did coverage earn the number one slot on the PEJ top ten chart, but two other takes on the subject made the list as well, producing a total which dwarfs all other topics. PEJ notes that the affect of the war on the US is the key - the debate over Iraq policy was the #1 story, claiming 12% of the newshole. #6 was the Iraq homefront at 3% (dominated by the scandalous conditions at Walter Reed Hospital). Actual happenings in Iraq itself was good for #3 with 7% of the newshole. Combining the three, Iraq claimed almost a quarter of available news time and space with 22%. The 2008 campaign, off to an unusually early and vigorous start, was #2 with 7%. Other stories on the list were the fired US attorneys at #4 (4%), #5 Iran (3%), #7 CIA leak/Plame case (3%); #8 Anna Nicole Smith (2%), #9 Democratic Congress (2%) and #10 severe weather stories (2%). A break-down of Iraq coverage by medium is under the click below. PEJ notes that on the 2008 campaign front, Democrats are getting the lion's share of coverage 61% to 24%, with a lot of the attention focused on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It also faults the media for already putting the focus on campaign tactics/horse race stories rather than on candidate policy proposals, voting records, or other substantive reporting.
| Iraq coverage by medium |


Ad Business Report TM

Wienermobile awaits
Idol runner-up

Oscar Mayer brand announced its official partnership with FremantleMedia for sponsorship of American Idol Season 7. Meanwhile, Season 5 finalist Elliott Yamin will help the Oscar Mayer team kick-off the search for the wiener company's next jingle stars on June 13, along with the "Hotdoggers" who drive the company's Wienermobiles, in the Central Courtyard at the Hollywood & Highland Center, just steps away from the Kodak Theatre where the season finale of American Idol took place this week. The hot dog company will use the Idol partnership to support its "Sing the Jingle, Be a Star" promotion via broadcast and online advertising, on-pack, and online at SingtheJingle.com. Now in its second year, the Oscar Mayer Sing the Jingle, Be a Star contest invites eager songsters to see if they can cut the mustard by singing their own unique rendition of one of the iconic Oscar Mayer jingles. Whether rapped, yodeled or sung in three-part harmony, interested hopefuls are encouraged to put their own relish on the Oscar Mayer Wiener Jingle, the Bologna Song, or an Oscar Mayer Spanish Jingle. Solo artists and -- new this year -- duos and groups of up to five people -- can enter from May 24 to October 31, 2007. As part of the promotion, the American Idol name and imagery will be featured on 250 million packs of Oscar Mayer lunch meats, hot dogs, corn dogs and bacon. The search will continue throughout the summer, as the Wienermobiles cruise the country hosting open casting calls to give Oscar Mayer fans the opportunity to enter the contest.

The downside of product ubiquity
When I was a kid, we didn't eat gelatin, we ate Jell-O. In my earliest office environments, we didn't make a copy, we made a Xerox. To this day, even though I have no brand soft drink brand preference, and still catch myself ordering a Coke, even when I know I'm in a place that doesn't serve Coca Cola. McDonald's has achieved this kind of identification with its product. But apparently the burger giant has decided that not all publicity is good. It is now in the position of attempting to change the Oxford English Dictionary, of all things. The reason? There is a word in there, McJob, which according to PR trade Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog, is defined as "an unstimulating low-paid job with few prospects." McDonald's finds it insulting to its workforce, and claims its role as a first-time employment portal is valuable and important.

TVBR observation: The point is, the definition of McJob didn't have to mention McDonald's for everybody to know what they were talking about. And this wasn't even in the US - this particular flap was took place in Great Britain and was reported by the BBC. We'd guess that a lot of rival fast food services wouldn't mind having to deal with a McProblem like this.

Roehm fires back at Wal-Mart
Former Wal-Mart marketing executive Julie Roehm, fired after only nine months on the job for alleged ethical violations, has fired back with her own accusations of improper conduct at the highest levels of Wal-Mart. In a court filing related to her lawsuit for unlawful dismissal, Roehm accuses Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott and other top execs of accepting trips, concert tickets and other gifts from company vendors. In particular, she charged that Scott used private airplanes provided by financier Irwin Jacobs, whose companies do business with Wal-Mart, and received a discount from Jacobs on the purchase of an expensive diamond ring. Spokesmen for both Wal-Mart and Jacobs quickly denied the allegations and the lawyer for Jacobs threatened to sue Roehm unless she recants.


Media Business Report TM
Newspaper sale called off
We were right with our call that Tribune Company would not be completing its 73 million bucks sale of two Connecticut newspapers to Gannett anytime soon, after an arbitrator ruled that Tribune could not close the sale unless Gannett assumed the existing United Auto Workers union contract for employees at the Advocate of Stamford, CT. In fact, the deal is not going to close at all. Gannett has refused to do the deal if it has to accept the union contract, so the companies announced Friday that the deal has been terminated. Tribune says it will seek another buyer for the Stamford daily and the Greenwich Time.


Media Markets & Money TM
LPTV brings 6.65 million
Meredith Corporation is selling its LPTV Fox affiliate in Bend, OR, KFXO-LP (Ch. 39), to in-market competitor News-Press & Gazette. According to the FCC filing, the price tag is 6.65 million. This deal will not only give News-Press & Gazette a duopoly with its full-power KTVZ-TV (Ch. 21, NBC), but a triopoly, since it also runs the local CW affiliate as a DTV multicast of KTVZ. "The decision to sell KFXO supports our strategy to focus on larger markets, as well as markets where we have or can create duopolies," said Meredith Broadcasting Group President Paul Karpowicz. Meredith will still own Oregon's largest Fox affiliate, KPTV-TV (Ch. 12) Portland.


Washington Media Business Report TM
Key reps want to see FCC DTV plan
When John Dingell (D-MI) and Ed Markey (D-MA) have a concern about the broadcasting matters these days, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and colleagues Michael Copps (D), Jonathan Adelstein (D), Deborah Taylor Tate (R) and Robert McDowell (R) can be sure that they'll hear (or read) about it. The two key members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are concerned about the DTV transition, and in particular, "...the present lack of leadership, direction and focus at the Federal level [which] is jeopardizing the transition," which is how they put it in a letter to all five Commissioners. They said they were glad the FCC is requiring warnings about the imminent demise of analog-only televisions at retail outlets, but are concerned that there is no "...articulation or movement toward a comprehensive consumer education program, with a unified message, a clear chain of command, concrete and measurable goals, and mechanisms for oversight and accountability." They note that in Germany, the city of Berlin alone spent nearly 1M to educate 3M citizens. They wonder how the FCC proposes to accomplish the feat of educating 300M geographically-diverse citizens with only 1.5M. They want an outreach plan on these and other issues by 6/11/07 complete with an implementation date and detailed plans, including a full accounting of how it will spend its 1.5M.

TVBR observation: We predicted at the beginning of the year that the new Democratic Congress may well want to spend much more than 1.5M on consumer DTV outreach. And we have to say, it's not very often that a bureaucrat is chastised for not requesting enough of the taxpayer's hard-earned cash. This will be interesting to follow. It is, of course, in broadcasters' interest to get as much help from the FCC as possible in educating the public about the big change.


Entertainment Media Business Report TM
Video debut for Noory
George Noory, host of Premier Radio Networks' "Coast to Coast AM," has been booked for a late-night video special on NBC Universal's SciFi cable channel. "Into The Unknown with George Noory," will air Wednesday, June 13 at 11:00 pm (ET/PT). For years Noory has riveted radio listeners with his discussions of paranormal phenomena, time travel, alien abductions, conspiracies and all things curious and unexplained, but this will be his first TV special. In the 30-minute show, taped in front of a live audience, Noory interviews actor Gary Busey about the star's own near-death experience and his claims that angels spoke to him, changing his life forever. Noory also examines a report from Florida in which the sound of a dead woman's singing has been recorded on tape and interviews paranormal expert Joshua P. Warren about the Paranormal PC - a computer designed specifically to record ghostly activity. Executive producers are Scott Hallock and Kevin Healey.


Monday Morning Makers & Shakers

Transactions: 4/9/07-4/13/07
Was this an unlucky week? There were 13 transactions, for 13 stations. Five of them are DIY CPs, none were on the television side. One of them, however, by itself was worth more than all 13 of the transactions filed during the first week of April, making the second week of April the fifth consecutive week in which the amount of total trading value increased over the week preceding it. The fact that the total wasn't too far beyond 37M tells just how slow it's been.

4/9/07-4/13/07

Total

Total Deals

13

AMs

3

FMs

10

TVs

0
Value
37.36M
| Complete Charts |
Radio Transactions of the Week
Niche AM leads the pack
| More...
|
TV Transactions of the Week
TV takes another week off



Transactions
1.255B WXXA-TV Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY (Albany NY, Fox); KGET-TV Bakersfield CA (NBC); KVOS-TV Bellingham WA (indy); WIVT-TV Binghamton NY (ABC); WKRC-TV Cincinnati OH (CBS); WETM-TV Elmira NY (NBC); KMTR-TV, KMCB-TV, KTCW-TV Eugene-Springfield OR (Eugene, Coos Bay, Roseburg OR, NBC); KTVF-TV Fairbanks AK (NBC); KGPE-TV Fresno CA (CBS); WHP-TV Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York PA (Harrisburg PA, CBS); WJKT-TV Jackson TN (Fox); WTEV-TV/WAWS-TV Jacksonville FL (CBS, Fox/MNT); KLRT-TV/KASN-TV Little Rock AR (Fox, CW); WPTY-TV/WLMT-TV Memphis TN (ABC, CW); WPMI-TV, WJTC-TV Mobile AL/Pensacola FL (Mobile AL, NBC, Pensacola FL, indy); KION-TV Monterey-Salinas CA (Monterey, CBS); WHAM-TV Rochester NY (ABC); KTVX-TV/KUCW-TV Salt Lake City UT (ABC, CW); WOAI-TV San Antonio TX (NBC); KFTY-TV San Fransico CA (Santa Rosa CA, indy); KCOY-TV San Luis Obispo-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo CA (Santa Maria CA, CBS); WSYR-TV Syracuse NY (ABC); KOKI-TV/KMYT-TV Tulsa OK (Fox, MNT); WWTI-TV Watertown NY (ABC); KSAS-TV/KMTW-TV, KOCW-TV Wichita SK (Wichita, Hoisington KS, Fox, MNT, Fox) from Clear Channel Broadcasting Inc. (Mark Mays) to TV Acquisition LLC, a subsidiary of Providence Equity Partners Inc. (Jonathan M. Nelson, Glenn M. Creamer, Paul J. Salem et al). 30.625M escrow, balance in cash at closing. LMA in Harrisburg with WLYH-TV (CW); in Monterey-Salinas CA with KCBA-TV (Fox). Deal also includes numerous LPTVs and Class A TVs. [File date 5/7/07.]


Stock Talk
Stocks gained ahead of holiday
Friday's trading was mostly about adjusting trading positions ahead of a long holiday weekend, and since the rest of the week had been mostly to the down side, Friday say gains in the stock market. Even a report of slow April housing sales from the National Association of Realtors failed to inject too much negativity into the market. The Dow Industrials finished the day up 66 points, or 0.5%, at 13,507.

TV stocks went along for the ride. Gray Television's lightly traded Class A stock was the day's top performer, up 2.3%. Emmis, which has only one TV station remaining in its mostly-radio portfolio, rose 2%.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Friday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

5.25

+0.09

Lincoln Natl.

LNC

72.59

+0.44

Belo

BLC

20.62

+0.10

LIN TV

TVL

19.30

+0.03

CBS CI. B CBS

33.65

+0.61

McGraw-Hill

MHP

70.19

+0.18

CBS CI. A CBSa

33.61

+0.62

Media General

MEG

35.69

-0.35

Clear Channel

CCU

38.24

-0.06

Meredith

MDP

61.28

+0.31

Disney

DIS

36.03

+0.19

News Corp.

NWS

23.82

+0.43

Emmis

EMMS

10.48

+0.21

Nexstar

NXST

14.62

+0.13

Entravision

EVC

9.35

+0.09

NY Times

NYT

25.00

-0.19

Equity Media EMDA 1.43 unch

Ion Media

ION

1.43

unch

Fisher

FSCI

49.33

+0.26

Saga Commun.

SGA

9.33

-0.10

Gannett

GCI

58.64

+0.56

SBS

SBSA

4.69

+0.08

Gen. Electric

GE

37.56

+0.18

Scripps

SSP

44.77

+0.34

Google GOOG

483.52

+9.19

Sinclair

SBGI

15.60

+0.27

Granite

GBTVK

0.16

unch

SWMX

SWMX

0.25

+0.01

Gray

GTN

10.32

+0.02

Time Warner

TWX

21.51

+0.20

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

10.65

+0.24

Tribune

TRB

32.14

-1.06

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

26.06

+0.50

Wash. Post

WPO

764.28

-0.66

Journal Comm.

JRN

13.85

+0.04

Young

YBTVA

3.80

-0.02


Bounceback

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Below the Fold

Ad Business Report
Roehm fires back
At Wal-Mart with her own accusations of improper conduct at the Highest Levels...

Media Business Report
Newspaper sale called off
We were right with our call that Trib would Not be completing...

Media Markets & Money
LPTV brings 6.65 million
Meredith Corporation is selling its LPTV Fox affiliate in Bend, OR...

Washington Media Business Report
Key reps want to see
FCC DTV plan, Dingell (D-MI) & Markey (D-MA) have a concern...




Stations for Sale

Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.

Contact
June Barnes
jbarnes@rbr.com


TV Media Moves

Heading to Belo HQ
R. Paul Fry has been named Vice President/Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for Belo Corporation. Fry, who assumes the new job next month, has been in various corporate finance and operating roles at Belo since 1990, most recently as President and General Manager of KGW-TV (Ch. 8, NBC) Portland, OR.

Congratulations
To RBR/TVBR IT advisor Steve Kyler and wife Julie as the Kyler family has a new addition - Ian Kyler, 8 pounds 4 ounces. Everyone is happy and healthy.


More News Headlines

Rosie exits "The View"
Rosie O'Donnell has left "The View" nearly a month before her contract with ABC was due to expire. ABC confirmed Friday that O'Donnell would not be coming back after a heated on air exchange Wednesday with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. O'Donnell had called Hasselbeck "cowardly" for not defending her from conservative talk show hosts who had accused O'Donnell of calling US troops in Iraq terrorists. O'Donnell denies doing so. Her comment on air the previous week was "655,000 Iraqi civilians have died. Who are the terrorists?"

TV and diabetes linked?
No, there are not fat waves emanating from the television screen. But one of the keys to helping your body manage sugars is exercise. Researchers in Norway have now produced a study showing that children and adolescents who watch the most TV are the most likely to have trouble processing glucose. Average blood glucose is recommended to be at 7%; children/adolescents watching TV less than one hour a day already exceed that at 8.2% over time. It went up from there. Two hours/8.4%; three hours/8.7%, four hours/8.8% and over four hours/9.5%. Scientists said the lack of exercise is a factor, and it's aggravated by the tendency to snack while watching TV.

Fire knocks ABC flagship off air
A studio fire Sunday evening forced WABC-TV (Ch. 7, ABC) New York off the air for about two hours as staffers were forced to evacuate the building in Manhattan. The blaze began behind the new main HD "Eyewitness News" set as anchors were on the set just minutes before the start of the 11:00 pm news - a newscast that never aired. After firefighters extinguished the flames and declared the building safe for staffers to return, engineers and technicians worked throughout the night on repairs to be able to resume local news broadcasts on Monday morning.

Reilly on the bubble?
Both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times report that NBC Universal is about to oust Kevin Reilly as NBC Entertainment President and bring in someone new in an attempt to revive NBC's struggling primetime schedule. Reilly just signed a new three-year contract in March, but both reports said negotiations were underway Sunday on a severance package to terminate that three-year contract in just three months.




RBR - Radio News

ABC Radio
will be June bride

The nuptials are set for June 12th to unite ABC Radio with Citadel Broadcasting, joining the 22 big market ABC stations and ABC Radio Networks with Farid Suleman's Citadel Broadcasting to create the third largest US radio group in terms of billings, behind Clear Channel and CBS Radio. The parent of the bride, Disney, will not exit radio completely with this 2.7 billion bucks divestiture, since ESPN Radio and its O&Os and Radio Disney and its O&Os will remain with the company. Disney has set June 6th as the record date for shareholders to receive shares of ABC Radio Holdings, which will be spun off to merge with Citadel, with closing expected on June 12th. Meanwhile, Citadel's board of directors declared a special dividend of 2.46 per share, a whopping 30% of Friday's closing stock price, to be paid to shareholders of record on the second trading day prior to closing. With closing expected to be Tuesday, June 12th, the likely record date will be Friday, June 8th. To comply with FCC ownership limits, Citadel will be divesting 11 stations. Those are going into the Last Bastion Station Trust, with veteran broker Elliot Evers as trustee (3/7/06 RBR #46), to be sold off.

RBR observation: Why the huge dividend to Citadel shareholders? It's not because Farid Suleman has more money lying around than he knows what to do with. For this deal to be tax-free to Disney shareholders, they must end up owning more than 50% of the merged company. To balance the relative values of Citadel and the ABC Radio holding company, Citadel must take on more debt and make the payout to shareholders so that its total equity is slightly below that of the ABC Radio entity. Citadel's share price should drop in relation to the payout, but we and everyone else will be watching to see if that price moves back up quickly as Citadel becomes a much bigger player in the radio business, particularly in larger markets, and continues to pay a hefty regular dividend.




TVBR Radar 2007
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Tribune completes
phase one of buyout
Yesterday was the deadline for shareholders to tender their shares for 34 bucks each in cash, a total of 4.3 billion, in phase one of the plan to take Tribune Company private. Phase two, which will result in a complete change of ownership transferring 100% of the company to Sam Zell and a new Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), is awaiting FCC action on license transfers and requests for crossownership waivers.

TVBR observation: It is virtually guaranteed that the initial tender for 126 million shares will be oversubscribed. That's all that Zell and the ESOP can acquire until the FCC acts, so it is likely that many shareholders will have part of their tendered stakes cashed out, but remain Tribune shareholders for a while longer with the remainder of their shares.
05/25/07 TVBR #103

Is it "game over"
with PPM winning?
That's the view from CL King analyst Jim Boyle, now that long-time critic Bob Neil at Cox Radio has signed a contract with Arbitron for PPM (5/24/07 RBR #102). "It appears in our view that the long struggle between Arbitron, the near-monopolist in radio audience research with its new, higher-priced electronic measurement, and the radio station groups is 'game over.' With most of the influential radio groups signed up, including the two largest, it seems effectively over,"
05/25/07 RBR #103

Broadcasters gear up
for violence defense
Harvard Law School constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe is on the case. According to reports, a loose consortium of broadcast networks and media associations has hired him to mount a defense if need be. And the case is the potential First Amendment attack which may be coming from Congress on the issue of broadcast violence.

TVBR observation: We don't believe Congress can successfully define violence - note that the FCC didn't even try, and since there is no smoking gun evidence, it would appear that Rockefeller faces an impossible task. But that probably won't stop him from trying, and neither will it stop a lot of other politicians from signing on to "protect our children." Stay tuned.
05/25/07 TVBR #103

TV revenues dropped in Q1
No surprise, since there were no Winter Olympics this year, nor federal elections. TV station revenues were down 3%, syndicated TV 5.9% and network TV 6.5%. All in all, the industry was down 5.3% to 11.75 billion for the quarter, according to data gathered for TVB by TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Among local broadcast television's top 10 advertising categories, the picture was mixed. The biggest category of all, Automotive, was down 8.9%. Restaurants, Telecommunications, Financial and Schools/Colleges/Camps were up. Car & Truck Dealers, Furniture Stores, Insurance/Real Estate, Leisure Time Activities/Events and Government & Organizations (which includes political) were down.

TVBR observation: To view the 1st quarter 2007 summary - Local Broadcast: Top 100 Markets see this issue of TVBR.
05/24/07 TVBR #102


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