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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 141, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning July 20th, 2005

TV News®

Scripps blows 'em away
TV was soft, but its cable network business was so strong in Q2 that Scripps beat the Thomson/First Call consensus by six cents per share, coming in at 59 cents. In his conference call with analysts, CEO Ken Lowe was ecstatic about the recent cross-network success of Food Network star Emeril Lagasse appearing on Shop At Home to sell kitchen products (and won the company a front page story in Monday's Wall Street Journal). "Emeril accounted for about 20% of the airtime at Shop At Home this past Saturday, but he drove 45% of the sales for the day," Lowe crowed. More than once during the call, Scripps executives suggested that they'd like to have Emeril on Shop At Home 24/7. But the master chef is carefully protecting his image. He'll appear in person on the shopping channel only once each quarter, but will have hand-picked chefs appearing at other times on a series that will carry his name. For Q3, Scripps is expecting more of the same from its cable nets, with revenues expected to rise 25-30%. But broadcast TV is expected to have another tough quarter - - dropping 8-10%, although the company says that would be a 5-7% increase if you don't count the 10.2 million in political revenues last year. Q3 newspaper revenues are expected to rise 6-8%.

Hearst-Argyle lowers expectations
Hearst-Argyle Television (and two radio stations) has told Wall Street it will report Q2 results on July 28th - - and that they won't measure up to previous guidance. Rather than being off only a low single digit percentage from last year, the company now says revenues will be down 4.8% to 188.5 million. It noted, though, that the figure is still up 4.9% from Q2 of 2003, the previous year without a federal election. Due to a tax settlement with the IRS, Hearst-Argyle expects to report Q2 earnings of 63 cents - - nearly double last year's 37 cents. However, absent that tax benefit, earnings will be 30 cents - - a bit below the previous guidance of 31-33 cents issued on April 29th.

Reynolds exits Viacom
You can forget about the rumors that Viacom TV stations Group President and CEO Fred Reynolds would return to his former CFO post when CBS (radio, TV and outdoor) splits off from the rest of Viacom next year. In a surprise move, he's left the company to become President, CEO & CFO of Evercore Partners - - a 1.25 billion bucks private equity and venture capital firm. "Evercore presented a uniquely appealing situation. I enjoyed every bit of my almost twelve wonderful years [at Viacom], as well as great relations with so many people who will continue to make Viacom the terrific company it is," Reynolds said. Prior to becoming CFO of Westinghouse in 1994 (which then merged with CBS and then Viacom), Reynolds was CFO at various units of Pepsico.

TVBR observation: When it looked like Reynolds was going to be the odd man out in the Viacom-CBS merger, he emerged as Mel Karmazin's surprise pick to run the O&O TV group, despite the fact that he'd never managed a TV station. But Reynolds did a great job of implementing a more sales-focused culture at the CBS O&Os in particular, demonstrating just why the Zen Master had picked him for the post. Now Reynolds has delivered his own surprise. We can only guess that Evercore is likely to add some media investments to its portfolio with him at the helm. Based on the portfolio of companies listed on its Website, Evercore's only media investments today are American Media (National Enquirer and related titles) and a cable/Internet/telecom company in the Netherlands. But with Reynolds exiting, it appears Les Moonves will now be searching for both a TV group head and a CFO for post-split CBS.

PTC takes aim at Fox
The Parents Television Council says at least 500K children were in the audience when Fox Network program "The Inside" explored raunchy sexual themes. It filed a indecency complaint with the FCC since the program aired at 9:00 PM Eastern/Pacific and 8:00 PM Central, well before the onset of safe harbor. PTC enumerated a range of sexual themes as being present in the program, as well as images of dismemberment and mutilation. As is frequently the case, PTC named one of its hometown Washington stations in the complaint - - this time it was Fox's own O&O WTTG-TV Channel 5. "Graphic scenes of forced sodomy and S&M fetishes are not appropriate for family audiences, and Fox should know better. This episode will fill young minds with horrific images and warped views about sexuality and human relationships, said L. Brent Bozell, president of the PTC. "This is yet another prime example of why Congress needs to pass the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, because with the threat of higher fines for indecent content, millions of children could be spared from viewing sexually graphic shows like The Inside because the consequences would hopefully cause Fox to think twice before airing such content."

Martin may be a backer of a la carte
There weren't many surprises for regular readers of these pages in the recent Wall Street Journal interview with Kevin Martin. The biggest non-surprise is that Martin is hamstrung by the current two-two voting scenario on the FCC's 8th Floor, reducing his actions to pretty much to bland, mundane and otherwise non-controversial agenda items. However, he did indicate a willingness to at least listen to arguments about imposing a system allowing a la carte basic cable menus, which will be music to the ears of some, including John McCain (R-AZ) and a alarm to others, like NCTA. The a la carte comments grew out of commentary on indecency. Martin noted that pay services such as HBO were beyond the reach, and rightly so, of indecency regulation since their presence on an individual's channel lineup is a paid-for option. However, he offered that he saw no reason why consumers shouldn't be given a thumbs up or down option on all cable offerings. McCain has long ridiculed the CATV industry for force-feeding unwanted channels on subscribers, and making them pay while doing so. The concept has backing from indecency and consumer watchdogs. However, the cable industry has countered that a la carte menus would actually force increases in overall subscription prices, and others - - like radio group and basic cable entrepreneur Radio One - - have argued that a la carte would make it extremely difficult for new channels to gain a foothold.

Asian-American broadcaster opposes Burns bill
KTSF-TV San Francisco, owned by Lincoln Broadcasting Company, has sent word to Capitol Hill that Congress should reject Sen. Conrad Burns' bill (S.1372) to regulate TV ratings because it could stifle recent advances for stations aimed at ethnic audiences. KTSF, which targets Asian-Americans, recently signed up for Nielsen's Local People Meter service in the San Francisco market. "Instead of spurring the growth of ethnic television, we believe this (legislation) would diminish entrepreneurial opportunities by creating unnecessary and contentious procedures for determining ratings. KTSF believes that if federal legislation created mandatory ratings accreditation we would not have been able to get the kind of creative response from a media research entity to serve our immediate needs. With respect to the oversight of television ratings, we agree with the FTC when it said earlier this year that: 'well-constructed industry self-regulatory efforts can be more prompt, flexible and effective than government regulation'," said KTSF General Manager Michael Sherman in a letter sent to key Senators.

Conference Calls Q2 2005
Scripps Networks leave broadcast TV in the dust
The cable network business is doing so well at E.W. Scripps Company that you can almost forget that it's also a newspaper and broadcast TV owner. Powered by Scripps Networks, Q2 revenues shot up 15% to 627 million. That double-digit gain was the result of the cable business - - with ad revenues up 28% to 202 million and affiliate fees up 18% to 39.6 million, producing a 41% gain in profits to 123 million. Shop At Home, which is reported separately from the ad-supported networks, saw revenues rise 31% to 86.9 million, although it still posted a seven million loss for the quarter. Without last year's political ad spending, broadcast TV revenues fell 4.8% to 83.2 million. Broadcast profits fell 4% to 27.1 million, including a 1.8 million insurance settlement from last year's Florida hurricanes. Newspaper revenues rose 3.4% to 181 million, with ad revenues up 4.5%, while newspaper segment profits rose 9% to 63.8 million.


Radio buyer gets into creative
How involved can a buyer be in aiding creative? Quite a bit. Kim Vasey, Senior Partner/Director of Radio, mediaedge:cia, tells RBR/TVBR she has been busy taking creative seminars for radio spots and touring some of the radio groups, sharing what she's learned. Point being, with shorter spots getting such a push, creative has to get better for effectiveness. Says Vasey: "I really am a strong believer in the power of the shorter message. I went to Roy Williams' seminar in Buda, TX - - the full version he personally hosts. One day we spent almost the entire day doing writing exercises. From having gone through that process, and how much it has helped me in talking to the clients and helping them get a perspective on how to say something more effectively with radio, I came back from that seminar and put a presentation together based on learnings from that program. I've been sharing that presentation, at the Cox Broadcasting managers meeting with their salespeople in Atlanta last week; the week before last with 45 Emmis NY salespeople; some of the Greater Media stations in New Jersey; some of the Interep salespeople; the WOR salespeople. It's all about the creative messaging - - using effective audio and how to write and say something better."

CRN launches radio effort for Sara Lee Deli
CRN International announced a radio campaign for Sara Lee Premium Quality Deli Meats and Cheeses designed to drive brand awareness, increase market share and develop strong trade partnerships. This consumer and trade radio campaign utilizes the reach and intimacy of local radio to deliver the brand messaging. The approach combines an integrated strategy utilizing contests, "FSI Madness" (Free Standing Inserts), fixed position radio-personality endorsements, "30/30 Plus" trade marketing, sponsorships and brand and product mentions. "The Sensational Deli Sandwich Contest" will leverage the buzz around National Sandwich month and drive consumers to the Sara Lee website, to submit their deli sandwich recipes featuring Sara Lee Deli Meats and Cheeses. A grand prize of 5000 bucks will be awarded to one national winner with additional runner up prizes.

Project on Government Oversight
criticizes Army ad procedures

The Army's most recent extension of Leo Burnett USA's recruiting ad contract (7/12 RBR #135) is drawing criticism from watchdog group Project on Government Oversight over the fact this is the fourth contract extension for Burnett, which initially won a maximum four year contract for Army advertising 7/00. The extensions added a year and a half on the original contract. By law, government contracts are required to be bid competitively to keep costs down. So the Project on Government Oversight says these extensions mean the Army may not be getting the best price, and that the contracting system is ripe for abuse. Agencies involved in the canceled review this time around McCann Erickson Worldwide, Y&R Advertising, Ogilvy & Mather and Grey Worldwide.

Media Business Report
Schwarzenegger puts the cap
on supplements
California Gov. and real-life strongman Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to sever his relationship with magazines Flex and Muscle & Fitness - - and a reported five year, 8M dollar consultancy with publisher American Media. Schwarzenegger had come under fire for a perceived conflict of interest. The magazines rely heavily on food supplements to add page count to their advertising efforts. Schwarzenegger ran afoul of watchdogs when he vetoed a bill which would have discouraged high school students from dabbling in such substances. "This is one of the most egregious apparent conflicts of interest that I have seen," Larry Noble of the Center for Responsive Politics told Associated Press. Schwarzenegger's staff defended the arrangement at first, noting that it was in part an ongoing 30-year relationship, and that all aspects of it were fully disclosed. Nonetheless, in a statement Schwarzenegger said, "I don't want there to be any question or doubt that the people have my full devotion. Therefore, effective today [7/15/05], I will relinquish my title as executive editor and forego any compensation from the magazines."

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Media Markets & MoneyTM
Close encounter in Washington DC
Broker Greg Guy of Patrick Communications tells us that a TV deal in the nation's capital has come to a close. 975K is the price, and if you're scratching your head wondering how a TV deal in a top ten market came in under your radar, no less with a sub-million dollar pricetag, please be advised that it's one of those low power varieties. WDDN-LP goes out to a limited portion of Washington from its modestly-powered digs on Channel 23. Marcus Lamb and his Word of God Fellowship are the new proprietors. Capital Media, headed by Bart Fisher and Patrick Dowd, were the sellers.

Washington Beat
Debt reducers reduced by FTC
Two related firms, Briggs & Baker and Debt Resolution Specialists, took to the radio airwaves and the Internet, claiming that anyone who signed on as a client would benefit from their ability to amazingly lower their consumer debt load. You'll never in a million years guess what their technique was, so we'll just quote the FTC. "The FTC alleged that, once consumers signed up for these programs, Briggs & Baker and DRS told consumers to end all contact with their creditors and stop making payments on those accounts." Of course, ending all contact with creditors is easier said than done, and many of these clients only found themselves even deeper in debt. The companies, now bankrupt, are bared from any further advertising, and the FTC holds an unsecured claim of nearly 9M, which is the total amount of consumer injury caused by the firms.

Gore vows balance for new net
With Current - - the remake of Newsworld International - - set to launch August 1st, co-founder Al Gore, formerly Vice President of the United States, told TV critics this week that the young-skewing news and information channel won't be partisan. Rather, he says, it will focus on programming to draw in 18-34 year olds who don't watch older-skewing news channels. "I consider myself a recovering politician," Gore said as he assured his audience that the new network won't have a political slant. Current will launch in 20 million homes and the five-year plan calls for it to reach 50 million.

TVBR observation: Wasn't the whole idea of this new network to be a liberal counterweight to Fox News Channel? We would note that Gore grew up in partisan politics and his co-founder, Joel Hyatt, is married to the daughter of a former Democratic Senator. Somehow, we doubt that they're going to let their new cable net promote any conservative Republican causes in an attempt to be fair and balanced. (Oops, that slogan's already taken.)

Reality TV heads to the gridiron backroom
You might say its "Jerry Maguire" turned into a reality TV series - - "Super Agent." Spike TV is set to air an eight-part series chronicling how Detroit Lion's 2nd round draft pick Shaun Cody did his own picking - - of an agent to represent him in negotiating a multi-million bucks NFL contract. Taking a cue from Donald Trump, Cody dumps one of nine competing sports agents at the end of each episode. "Super Agent" premieres Friday (7/22), just as NFL training camps open and fans began preparing for the new season ahead.

Ratings & Research
For summer fun, check out a crime scene
Now that ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" has run its course, summer reruns of CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" are back on top of the weekly Nielsen ratings. The Eye net also won the ratings race with a 4.6 rating and 8 share, although Fox won the 18-49 demo. Second place overall went to NBC at 4.3/8, followed by ABC at 4.1/7, Fox 3.9/7, UPN 1.7/3, WB 1.3/2 and Pax 0.5/1. ABC got a solid #4 showing for the debut of "Brat Camp." | View the Chart |

Stock Talk
A rebound day
Investors regained a little confidence yesterday as such companies as Merrill Lynch and IBM posted strong Q2 results. The Dow Industrials rose 72 points, or 0.7%, to 10,647.

TV stocks went along for the ride. Scripps shot up 3.4% on its strong earnings report. Media General rose 2.2%.


Here's how stocks fared on Tuesday

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]

So the PTC is pissed-off again because ABC's broadcast of "Live 8" allowed one instance of the F-word to slip through. Big f***ing deal! Get over it. There are far bigger problems in the world today than worrying over whether or not our kids heard some rock star utter a profanity. As
George Carlin once said, "it's only a word."

Larry Fuss, President
Contemporary Communications LLC
Las Vegas, NV

Upped & Tapped

Hemmer jumps to Fox
After 10 years as a key anchor and correspondent at CNN, Bill Hemmer has jumped to rival Fox news Channel as a weekday anchor and correspondent. "Bill is a journalist of great integrity and his strong reporting and anchoring skills will prove beneficial to the entire Fox News team," declared Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

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

ZenithOptimedia downgrades
ad expansion
Advertising prognosticator and scorekeeper has revised downward its most recent prediction for worldwide advertising sales growth. It had been looking for a global increase of 5.4% as of last April, but now expects the year to end only 4.7% to the good. The culprit? US network Television.
TVBR observation: prognosis for 2006, taking it from a 6.5% increase down to 6.1%. The charts take into account most forms of advertising, including television, radio, newspaper, magazine, cinema, outdoor and Internet. View the charts. 07/19/05 TVBR #140

Cable competition bill
back on track in Texas
While it had appeared earlier that legislation to make it easier for phone companies to compete with cable MSOs in video distribution was dead for this year in Texas, a special session of the state legislature has breathed new life into the effort. the Texas House voted 135-6 on Sunday to approve a bill which would let phone companies roll out Internet-based digital TV services without having to win franchises from each local government in the state. 07/19/05 TVBR #140

TiVo launches
interactive ad technology
Its next generation interactive advertising technology solution with campaigns from GM and The WB. The new features include interesting data see 07/19/05 TVBR #140

Prediction: 46.8M
satellite radio subs by 2014
No RBR but Kagan sees satellite radio subscriptions will hit 46.8 million by 2014, generating 7.6 billion in revenues. That's still just a fraction of what terrestrial radio does, but impressive nonetheless if it proves to be true. Basing its latest estimates on recent programming deals announced by the two satellite services, and especially their deals for factory installs by auto makers - - not the least of which is the Hyundai deal to install XM receivers in 100% of its vehicles. Kagan is projecting that XM will turn cash flow positive in Q3 of 2007 and Sirius sometime in 2008. RBR observation: Hey, wait a minute - - hasn't XM been promising shareholders it would be cash flow positive in Q3 2005? That will be its first quarter with more than four million subscribers for the entire three month period - - the supposed magic number. At least Kagan has figured out that that's not going to happen. 07/19/05 RBR #140

Publisher Perspective
Foolish All are with Bill S.1372
Senators involved: Conrad Burns (R-MT) Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) and George Allen (R-Va.). None of which have a clue what they are about to undertake and the potential problems all broadcasters and total media will face if this gains more speed. Why? What happens with bills? How much pork will be added to the belly. Our recommendation is these fabulous four should do a bus trip to Tampa, FL and take a tour of the Nielsen technology plant and talk with the 4,000 plus employees working on the issue at hand to find the pros and cons, especially Martinez. Hey Sen. Mel there are over 4,000 voters there you have done POed.
07/18/05 TVBR #139

Eddie Fritts fires letter to
Congress on WCS-XM deal
Wrote members of Congress 7/14 claiming XM Satellite Radio's deal to buy WCS Wireless and its licenses is "part of a longstanding pattern of deception by the satellite radio industry." satellite companies have "proven once again they simply cannot be trusted." He asks the legislators to support the proposed H.R. 998 bill to solidify a prohibition against local content on satellite. TVBR observation: We applaud Fritts and the NAB's efforts to initiate some way to make XM and Sirius follow the rule of their licenses, even though the entity that issued those licenses-The FCC-isn't. Please send your comments on this issue to [email protected] Your fellow broadcasters thank you.
07/18/05 TVBR #139

SBS to launch cable net too?
May be a bigger deal than anyone thought. This may be an entrée into a new national TV network for the broadcaster. What may help get it off the ground, so to speak is the SBS/Interep Hispanic Radio Network, which is already in the minds of broadcast buyers around the country. Not to mention the cross-promotional benefits already in place with the SBS radio stations across the country. The demand is definitely there for another national Hispanic TV net. Getting carriage is less and less a problem in the digital cable world. 07/18/05 TVBR #139

They can't be serious
about Sirius/ABC
We thought we made a strong case that there wasn't even much excuse for any smoke, much less fire, when it came to rumors about a Sirius Satellite Radio/ABC Radio betrothal. But the rumors just don't want to go away. 07/18/05 TVBR #139

Tribune banks better net
despite revenue drop
Honcho Dennis FitzSimons cited advertising weakness on both the newspaper and television sides of Tribune's multimedia operation (the company also has one radio station - - a big one, full-throttle clear station WGN-AM Chicago). A loss of 40M in revenue still translated into a big gain in net income - - largely due to losses related to circulation scandals last year. On the TV side, Tribune also pointed to Nielsen's LPM as a source of trouble.
TVBR observation: Go ahead do as all the rest in putting the blame. First its was no political ads, then tough comps, now Nielsen with LPM. How about fixing the internal problems of content and remember the consumer is in control. All ad agencies want is a better way to read the temperature so they can create and deliver a better message for their clients ring cash registers. It this so hard to understand? 07/15/05 TVBR #138

FCC can't agree on how
to even discuss new rules
The kickoff of the re-visitation of media ownership rules was yanked from last weeks FCC Open Meeting. What was supposed to be a non-controversial enumeration of issues remaining from the 6/2/03 rulemaking after court and congressional intervention bogged down in controversy over how much time to allow for public comments, how many public meeting to hold and how much money to spend on independent studies. TVBR observation: In the first go-around, former FCC Chairman Michael Powell made it to two public forums on the rules, one of which was set up by the FCC itself. That was deemed insufficient by the two Democrats, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, who embarked on numerous public forums. Powell pointedly refused to provide any extra funding over and above their standard travel allowances. The current controversy is almost certainly along similar lines - - the Republicans would like to do this as quietly as possible, or at the very least find little use for the public hearings (which have tended to be repetitive and one-sided, as people without an axe to grind don't bother to show up).The Democrats want the process to be as noisy as possible. All we know for sure is that this isn't going to be over any time soon. 07/15/05 TVBR #138

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Univision and TeleFutura TV stations 4-6 years broadcast research required in medium to Top 10 market. Bachelor degree required. EOE. No phone calls, please. See TV Careers

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