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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 145, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Tuesday Morning July 26th, 2005

TV News®

African-American leaders oppose Burns bill
In advance of Tomorrow's hearing on Sen. Conrad Burns' (R-MT) bill to regulate TV ratings, Nielsen is making its own lobbying push. Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had previously endorsed Local People Meters (LPM), has released a letter opposing the Burns bill, co-signed by a number of African-American TV producers and other civil rights leaders. "We are disappointed that Senator Burns has introduced this bill because it will harm the audiences of color," said the letter, addressed to the top two members of the Senate Commerce Committee, Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Vice Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI). The letter noted that with LPMs, "programs produced by or featuring people of color that appear on smaller and newer networks - - especially on cable TV - - are showing up in the local ratings for the first time." It went on to accuse "some corporate interests in the media business" of pushing the Burns bill to "keep more advanced technology out of the market. In addition to Jackson, the letter was signed by Dorothy Height, Chair, Executive Committee, National Council of Negro Women; Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, Debra Lee, President and COO, BET (although Viacom's O&O TV group has publicly expressed concerns about LPMs); Johnathan Rodgers, President and CEO, TV One; Don Jackson, Chairman and CEO Central City Productions, Inc.; Byron Lewis, Chairman and CEO, Uniworld Group; and independent filmmaker Warrington Hudlin.

| Read it here |

TVBR observation: As we noted yesterday, the Burns bill is anything but "FAIR" and won't do anything to make TV ratings more accurate (7/25/05 TVBR #144). Yes, there are concerns about the sample composition and fault rates for LPM - - and broadcasters should hold Nielsen's feet to the fire until those issues are resolved. The Burns bill won't fix any of those things, but it will result in needless costs for broadcasters and make it more difficult than ever to improve TV ratings going forward. Contrary to what we're hearing from a few of you, TVBR is not opposing the Burns bill to help Nielsen or attack the NAB - - we're opposing the Burns bill because it is bad for broadcasters. In fact, we took our position in strong opposition to the legislation before either the NAB or Nielsen announced their positions. We still hold out hope that the NAB will rethink its stance and help to stop this misguided effort to put another layer of federal regulation on the shoulders of America's broadcasters.

Sinclair off the hook for "Stolen Honor"
The Federal Election Commission did not buy charges from the Democratic National Committee that the airing of a pre-election special program looking at the Vietnam service record of Democrat constituted a "corporate funded electioneering communication and in-kind contribution." A big reason - - the documentary never aired. Plans to put it on came to light in October about a month before Election Day - - and not via an announcement by Sinclair, which claimed it had never made a final decision on airing it. Instead, Sinclair told the FEC, "...a number of Sinclair's stations aired an internally produced news program." Sinclair declared that since "Stolen Honor" never aired, the DNC charges were moot. FEC said, "The Commission found no reason to believe that [Sinclair] violated the laws because the FEC's media exemption applies.

All quiet on the SCOTUS front
President Bush's selection of John G. Roberts as nominee for the opening left on the Supreme Court bench by the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has had an unexpected repercussion - - a silent one. Will political groups avoid pulling the trigger on earmarked campaign armories? It appears that if indeed Roberts is a controversial choice, nobody knows that for sure yet. For one thing, Roberts has not made a habit of taking stances on the issues publicly. Without a known and unacceptable policy position to attack Democrats have reacted calmly and quietly. For the most part, they have promised to try and draw Roberts out during confirmation hearings - - which they say will be conducted by the dignified way requested by Bush. We are unaware of any talk of a filibuster - - Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), one of the centrist senators which crafted the filibuster-preserving compromise earlier this summer, has said that there is nothing in Robert's background which would trigger Democratic use of the tactic, in his understanding.

TVBR observation: What this means for broadcasters is the failure of a windfall crop of issue advertising to materialize. Although some advertising is moving ahead, it seems that a lot of interested organizations are content to stick with press release and Internet campaigns to make their opinions known. Watch out, however, if the heat builds during hearings.

Swanson called likely
successor at Viacom
Is Dennis Swanson in line to run the Viacom O&O TV group, following the surprise departure of Fred Reynolds? (7/20/05 TVBR #141) That's what's being reported by Crain's New York Business. It also makes a lot of sense, since Swanson is currently the #2 executive for the O&O group, as Executive Vice President and COO. He likely would have been a top candidate for the post if Reynolds had stayed on and moved to a top corporate post next year when CBS (radio/TV/outdoor) is split off from Viacom into a separate company headed by Les Moonves.

Telecom slowdown on Hill means more focus on DTV
The prospects of Congress getting down to brass tacks on an update of the Telecom Act of 1996 appear to be waning, according to a Reuters report. The issues involved include creating a federal regulatory regime to replace a patchwork quilt of local regulation and a easing of other restrictions to speed up deployment of high speed Internet service. Broadcast issues are not a big part of the Telecom debate. Another communications issue, however, appears to have beaten Telecom out for a place on the front burner - - the DTV transition. That project has a moral imperative tied to it - - the provision, as soon as possible, of communications spectrum for America's first responders. Perhaps even more important, however, is the government's anticipated deficit-busting payday when returned TV spectrum is returned and auctioned off for alternative utilization. Those two motivations should be enough to keep DTV at the head of the legislative line.

RBR/TVBR Poll Results
We asked: Do you think mandatory MRC accreditation will make TV ratings any more accurate?
It appears that most of our readers agree with the RBR/TVBR assessment that the legislation by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) to regulate the TV ratings business is a waste of effort and won't accomplish anything. The results...

RBR readers

TVBR readers







Not Sold Either Way



A few of you also sent along comments...

No...but LPM methodology is a flawed system that must be addressed at some level.
Bob Sliva
VP Sales
Scripps Television

I vote NO.
Mandatory accreditation will not make the ratings more accurate or better in any way.
Patricia Liguori
VP, Research
ABC Television Stations

The tech solution is out there to supercede the archaic Arbitron diary method or the Nielson methodology. I'd bet on Naviguage or another such firm that will eliminate the need for sample weighting and other techniques that are used in statistical slight-of-hand, to the detriment of advertisers and owners alike.
Tom O'Connor, Account Mgr/ Problem Solver
KOMO 1000 News, Hot AC STAR 101.5,
Classical KING-FM & Fox News/Talk 570 KVI Seattle


Jordache rides
back into advertising
Once a hot designer brand in the 1970s, Jordache jeans is trying to revive its image with a new series of celebrity ads. First to mount up, literally, is actress Brittany Murphy. The new print ads shot by Patrick Demarchelier pick up on the Jordache logo of a horse head by picturing Murphy, whose film credits include "8 Mile" and "Sin City," riding bareback, hugging the neck of a horse. You won't find any Westerns, though, on her cinemagraphic resume and the 27-year-old actress told Jordache executives she'd never ridden before.

TVBR observation: We can remember when Jordache was a heavy broadcast advertiser. (Boy, does that date us!) Here's hoping that the glossy magazine campaign will be successful enough to make Jordache move to a full-scale multi-media effort to promote its brand.

KP duty: To help consumers "Thrive"
Kaiser Permanente is taking its message down a myriad of media routes in an effort to promote its health care services to Californians. It has new creative for year two of its "Thrive" campaign, which encourages citizens to take responsibility for their own physical well-being in partnership, it hopes, with KP. Radio, television, magazines and billboards all figure in the media mix, which includes an Hispanic version - - "Viva Bien" - - as well. According to KP, the campaign has proven to create a positive reaction among viewers, and has been successful in transferring that feeling over to KP itself. KP says it has reinforced the perception of KP as "being serious about proactively keeping people healthy, and making you feel secure that your health care needs will be met." Campbell-Ewald is KP's ad house for the campaign.

Neslund running the show in Chicago
MindShare Worldwide has tapped Scott Neslund to be Managing Director of MindShare Chicago, succeeding Bruce Smith, who has left the company. Neslund was previously the head of StarLink Worldwide, part of the StarCom MediaVest Group. MindShare is owned by WPP Group, while StarCom MediaVest is a Publicis Groupe unit.

Media Business Report
Clear Channel denied sovereign immunity
Clear Channel Entertainment is battling a lawsuit in Tampa, FL accusing it of violating local noise ordinances with concerts at the Ford Amphitheatre. But the company had claimed it did not have to comply with those local rules under sovereign immunity - - because the concert venue is on the Florida State Fairgrounds and CC Entertainment leases it from the Florida State Fair Authority, which has sovereign immunity to local laws. But a Hillsborough County judge ruled yesterday that the state agency's immunity doesn't extend to CC Entertainment. She also ordered lawyers for CC Entertainment, the county Environmental Protection Commission (which filed the lawsuit) and the State Fair Authority to try to resolve the suit in a mediation conference, saying that if it isn't settled soon the only winners will be the lawyers collecting their fees.

Radio & Television Business Report

Radio's Important September Face Off
UpFront 2005 - will radio face the mild reception as Network TV? Top media agency buyers and network radio sellers participating so far: Kelly Cadotte, Natalie Swed Stone, ,Irene Katsnelson, Chris Fontana,Rich Russo, Matt Feinberg, Matthew Warnecke, Kim Vasey, and Lisa Opensky Greenberg.

And we go One on One with
Charles Courtier, Executive Chairman of Mediaedge:cia

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Media Markets & MoneyTM
Gray bags a GA TV
WVAG-TV Valodosta GA is going from Paul Shok's P.D. Communications to Gray Television, getting the small-market telecaster into its third Georgia market. The Channel 44 UPN affiliate is in the Albany GA DMA. Shok will get 3.75M cash for the station. Gray also operates CBS WRDW-TV in Augusta GA, and state border straddling CBS WCTV-TV Thomasville GA, part of the Tallahassee FL-Thomasville GA DMA.

Washington Beat
Copps preps AFTRA for media fight
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps spoke at the 60th Convention of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists last week, and essentially girded the talent union for battle. He said the parameters of the FCC's re-examination of media ownership rules would be unveiled in one or two months. And when that happens, he exhorted the union to be ready to fight against further relaxation of ownership rules, particularly when they allow more media consolidation and/or vertical integration. He considered the remanding of the rules to the FCC by the Third Circuit, and the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of that decision to be victories. On the topic of indecency, he also said that the FCC's job was not to go after performers, it was to go after licensees.

RBR - Radio News
Sony BMG in
10M payola settlement
Citing "outright bribes to radio programmers" and using independent promoters as "conduits for illegal payments to radio stations," New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that Sony BMG will pay 10M bucks to be distributed to non-profit organizations in New York, pay 100K to cover the costs of the investigation and change its practices to settle the payola allegations. The case is expected to be the model for other record labels, and Spitzer made it clear he's also going after radio stations. "The radio stations should be on notice. We have jurisdiction, and we will be taking a hard look at their behaviour," he said, adding that he'll be urging the FCC to revoke some licenses. But the AG's announcement also includes references to practices not previously called illegal, such as a label providing contest prizes for stations to give to listeners. In some cases, Sony BMG admitted that representatives of its labels had gotten radio programmers to provide phony names and social security numbers for winners of big ticket prizes, such as vacation trips and flat screen TVs, while the prizes were actually given to the programmers in exchange for airplay of songs being promoted. But the AG's settlement also claimed that big prizes which were actually given away to listeners in contests still amounted to payola, because they were supplied in return for guaranteed airplay. Want to know what new rules your radio station is facing, particularly if you are located in the State of New York? Read the settlement here:

| Part 1 | Part 2 |

RBR observation: Nobody is more opposed to payola than we are. RBR early on called for the radio industry to quit dealing with the indie promoters and we think the business is better off now that they are all but gone. But Spitzer seems to have gone overboard in his effort to erect a high wall between radio stations and the record labels. Here is one provision of the "reforms" that Sony BMG has agreed to: "Sony BMG shall not give, offer, arrange for or provide cash, gift cards, or any monetary payment to a radio contest winner." That bars the label from a common practice which is legal and aboveboard under the federal payola law. And when providing other types of prizes for on-air giveaways, the settlement requires the station owner or GM to certify in writing that the prize is not being provided in exchange for airplay and that the prize will not be awarded to a station employee. There are also restrictions on how many CDs or concert tickets the label can provide for use by station employees and requires on-air disclosures greater than those required by the FCC if the label buys advertising time to broadcast one of its songs. In fact, New York State has no payola law of its own, but Spitzer has stretched to make his case on the basis of general business laws. He is, after all, running for governor and battling for headlines. What's next? Spitzer has already been conferring with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein to push for a federal payola probe.

Sony BMG settlement spells out radio group involvement
It's not yet clear whether New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer will seek cash settlements from broadcasters in his payola probe, or just the record labels. But the settlement with Sony BMG spells out several incidents of radio station employees being involved in the alleged misconduct. One case involved Dave Universal, who was fired in January as Program Director of Entercom's WKSE-FM Buffalo. (1/13/05 RBR #9). The paper trail was not on paper, but rather in an email that one promotion executive at Sony BMG's Epic Records sent to a colleague:

| More... |

Stock Talk
An up and down day ends down
Stock prices rose Monday on news that July home sales were strong, but then fell as oil prices moved higher and Xerox delivered a disappointing earnings report. The Dow Industrials closed with a loss of 55 points, or 0.5%, at 10,596.

TV stocks went with the flow. LIN fell 3%, Entravision fell 2.4% and Belo dropped 2.2%. But there were also gainers, with Nexstar up 3.4% and Emmis 3.3%. Also notable in yesterday's trading: Someone is buying up Granite stock. The penny stock shot up 52% for the day, or 13 cents.


Here's how stocks fared on Monday

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]

I was at the Forrester presentation done by
David Pearlman. David presented research and he did it without bias or opinion. He was excellent. (7/21/05 TVBR #142)

The system we have now was created to measure 15 minute network radio shows - - when there were 15 minute soap operas. The dayparts don't even reflect the reality of two income households. Anyone who has done a diary review in person, sat and looked at thousands of diaries from their market would have no hesitation about adopting a new system. In fact, if you haven't done a diary review, you can't make a fully educated opinion about the PPM. The diary is not filled out in cars, in the gym, the shower or usually at work. It's usually filled out at night in front of the TV. The PPM is the best thing that could happen to radio.
It will show that radio is more than a morning drive medium. It will show that radio has much larger audiences than currently reported. It will give programmers a great tool for tracking changes the next day rather than next year. If it works technically, there is no downside.

Walter Sabo
Sabo Media


Televisa sets its
sights on the sky

No, we're not talking about satellite television - - the giant Mexican broadcaster is already in that business. Rather, Televisa has announced plans to get into the airline business. It will take a 25% stake in a new low-cost airline to be launched next year in a partnership with the Central American airline Grupo Taca and some private investment funds. Somewhat more in line with its traditional business lines, Televisa said it expects the new airline to be a major advertiser on its TV and radio stations. And it likely won't be the only one. Mexico is preparing to privatize and separate its two government-owned airlines, Aeromexico and Mexicana, opening the way to competition in the domestic airline market. At least two other companies have already announced plans to launch new airlines in Mexico.

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

TVBR observation, Part 1
Sen. Burns bill and the four Amigos!
Missing the Point
TVBR is on the record stating: "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." Here is the kicker to the TV owners that have cross ownership with radio or wish to be in the radio business: Never count out that radio too could get sucked into this the same issue in a couple of years o! r if not sooner. That sooner will depend on what wild hair a Senator(s) is festering at the time. The fact is Bill S.1372 won't do a thing to change LPMs or deal with the real problem - The difficulties all survey firms face in getting cooperation in the young demos, particularly young males. Rather, the bill will lead to frivolous lawsuits and hurt all broadcasters - even the ones who are foolishly supporting this bad legislation. What's Congress going to do about the growing difficulty of the younger generation and possibly minorities just not wanting to participate? 07/25/05 TVBR #144

TVBR observation, Part 2
Sen. Burns bill and the four Amigos!
Do we need a federal law
What's Congress going to do about that? Do we need a federal law to mandate participation in media ratings surveys? Should we revoke the driver's licenses of young males who forget to punch their button on a set-top box? How about a weekend of home detention? Such ideas are ridiculous, but no more ridiculous than thinking that turning the MRC into a federal ratings cop will boost ratings for the News Corporation and Tribune TV stations. That, after all, is what this is about. Those two companies, in particular, have seen ratings go down for shows targeting younger African-American viewers on their stations in LPM markets. 07/25/05 TVBR #144

Publisher Perspective
Accountability is for all during 2005
You can not change the ratings game if you do not know the history and in this case the history was just weeks ago. TV execs you may say to yourself, 'Hey not my problem' but the old saying is 'What runs down hill?' Yep somewhere along the this long gray line inside the beltway when Senators begin to hold hearings everything from the past of the 1996 Telecom Act to the kitchen sink is going to be brought up. Why? Each of these ill educated and ill advised Senators want their opening statements on the congressional record. Now get involved and - Read, Learn just the recent history events. 07/25/05 TVBR #144

NAB adds its fire to Burns MRC bill
President/CEO Eddie Fritts fired off a letter to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) expressing the organization's support for legislation which would strengthen Media Rating Council (MRC) oversight over TV ratings companies. Fritts noted it was an unusual stance given the NAB's general preference for "voluntary inter-industry cooperation."
TVBR observation: To say the least, we are very disappointed by this NAB move. This legislation to inject federal regulation into the TV ratings business is bad for every broadcaster and every NAB member. Those broadcasters, led by News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch (not even an NAB member, by the way), who are now foolishly backing the Burns bill will someday regret their actions. If this bill becomes law it will add needless delay and cost to future attempts to upgrade and improve TV ratings - - and likely be expanded someday to include radio in the mess. It the short-run it will hurt broadcast stations and cable networks targeting ethnic audiences, in particular, because Nielsen would have to shut down such offerings as the Nielsen Hispanic-American Television Index , which doesn't even qualify for MRC accreditation. ! Disputes about LPM can and should be dealt with inside the industry. The NAB has wandered off course and needs to get back to defending the free marketplace. Don't believe us read the letter Fritts sent 07/22/05 TVBR #143

Swords remain sheathed,
but pens unholstered
Reaction to news of the NAB/Fritts letter to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) was swift from the principals involved in the dispute. Both sides seemed surprised by the development, with Nielsen literally saying as much. The reactions were, of course, completely opposite. Comcast has also weighed in, on Nielsen's side. Here they are and in a word - Ouch 07/22/05 TVBR #143

Not a broadcaster, nor does
he work for Nielsen

Terry Baker of Brooksville, FL contacted TVBR after sending a brief note to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) asking him to withdraw as a co-sponsor of S. 1372 to regulate the TV ratings industry. You got to read this to believe it a consumer fighting for your TV business against Sen. Martinez. Baker makes sense where TV has clouded vision.
07/22/05 TVBR #143

TV-Ratings task force
opposes Burns bill
Sen. Conrad Burns' (R-MT) bill to regulate TV ratings is drawing fire from the Independent Task Force on Television Measurement that was set up to deal with allegations of minority undercounting by Nielsen. Although the Burns bill to make Media Ratings Council accreditation mandatory for TV ratings services was prompted by allegations that Nielsen's Local People Meters undercount minorities, the Task Force says the legislation would hurt minority programmers and ad agencies. The Task Force, which was chaired by former Rep. Cardiss Collins (D-IL), says such regulation would impair Nielsen's ability to introduce new services for stations and networks aimed at minority communities. TVBR observation: Don't know what it is going to do to convince broadcasters especially local TV GM's to see that Burns and crew are shut down. We as broadcasters at TVBR and some with media research experience see bright lights of trouble for local TV if this is not stopped and now.
07/20/05 TVBR #142

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