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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 152, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning August 4th, 2005

TV News®

ABC, NAB kiss and make up
Walt Disney/ABC is back in the National Association of Broadcasters. It joined the other major networks in exiting the industry's major trade organization during the height of the dispute over the national audience reach cap. Michael Powell's FCC was pushing to up it from 35% to 45%, a move enthusiastically seconded by the majors and opposed by many smaller entities in the television universe. NAB sided with the smaller companies and the majors went on their way. The issue has been rendered moot by an act of Congress which has set the limit at 39%. ABC's Preston Padden said, "ABC believes that the best interests of our industry, our company and ultimately the viewing public can be promoted by returning to the NAB at this time. With policy differences now behind us, ABC and NAB are once again in a position to work together towards our important common goals." NAB President/CEO Eddie Fritts enthusiastically welcomed ABC back into the fold, saying, "This is great news for NAB, ABC and the entire broadcast industry. There is no denying that we are stronger as an industry when we are united."

TVBR observation: With the audience cap now, to borrow a phrase being bandied about in an entirely different Washington theater, a matter of settled law, there is no point to any intramural squabbling when broadcasters - - especially TV broadcasters - - face a common foe. All broadcasters want their full digital signal, whether its high-def or multicast - - to be carried on its allotted cable system bandwidth as a matter of national policy. Cable wants one signal as a matter of national policy, and others at its own but there is a great deal of sentiment for the broadcast position on Capitol Hill. It is an especially important moment in time for broadcasters to put forth a united front.

Gray spinning off newspapers
First it was Viacom, then Clear Channel. Now it's Gray Television splitting itself into two companies. Gray, which had previously changed its name from Gray Communications, announced that it is spinning off its non-TV businesses - - its five daily newspapers and Graylink Wireless - - into a new company to be called Triple Crown Media. Immediately after the split, Bull Run Corporation - - a sports marketing company that used to be Gray's main shareholder - - will be merged into Triple Crown Media. Current Gray shareholders, both common and Class A, will receive one share of Triple Crown common stock for every 10 Gray shares they own. Bull Run shareholders will receive 0.0289 Triple Crown shares for each Bull Run share. J. Mack Robinson is Chairman and CEO of Gray and Chairman of Bull Run. When the spin-off takes place, Triple Crown will distribute 40 million in cash to Gray, which Gray will use to reduce its outstanding debt. Bull Run shareholders still have to vote on the deal, but Gray says no vote by its shareholders is required. The spin-off will be discussed in Gray's quarterly conference call next week (8/8).

| For now, here's how Gray says it will all work out |

TVBR observation: Gray Television's five daily newspapers are well run and produce decent cash flow, but, let's face it, Wall Street doesn't really care. It treats Gray, with its 31 TV stations, as a pure play TV company. It makes sense to send the newspapers off on their own with the paging business and Host Communications, Bull Run's sports marketing business, to tell their own story to investors.

Christian sees TV-cable showdown in Joplin
Can a cable company keep subscribers without being able to offer ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox? That's what Saga Communications CEO Ed Christian is hinting could happen next year in Joplin, MO, where Cox Communications is already without the two network affiliates owned or managed by Nexstar because Cox refused to pay cash for retransmission consent - - and the retransmission consent agreements for the two Saga stations are coming up for renewal next year. Saga has been supportive of Nexstar CEO Perry Sook's hard line on cash compensation and Christian says his stations haven't tried to take advantage of Nexstar's audience declines with Joplin advertisers. Besides, he notes, the audience numbers are coming back as consumers move to satellite TV - - held back only by Dish Network not having enough installers to meet demand in the Joplin area. According to Christian, the Cox cable system is suffering "a tremendous number of disconnects." Meanwhile, the Saga CEO says some other cable systems in the area have been trying to game the system by trying to get the DMA changed so they can carry an NBC station from Tulsa, OK rather than make retransmission consent payments to Nexstar.


FCC appointments: Whole lotta nuthin' goin' on
You can tell when Washington is in the throes of the August doldrums. That's when the annual stories about how nothing is happening start to appear. The topics change - - you can never tell in what particular area or over which particular issue nothing is happening. But the nothing part is the glue which binds such stories together. And this year, one such story concerns vacancies on the 8th Floor of the FCC. The Washington Times came out with the latest. It repeated the names considered to have the inside track to commission seats, Richard Russell and Deborah Taylor Tate. It noted that most of Congress and the President are out of town. It noted how anxious members of the broadcast ownership class are for reinforcements to push ahead the deregulatory policies put in motion by Michael Powell and handed off to Kevin Martin (and derailed by the Third Circuit Court). However, WT speculates that naming names with Congress out of town, at a time when Washington beat reporters are generally idle, will do nothing but provide a four-week window for muck-raking and dirt-digging.

TVBR observation: The rumors last week naming names may have been well-founded, but the parts saying that the public naming of names was imminent are rapidly losing credibility as time passes. Some thought they the announcements were coming as early as 7/29/05, and if not then, early this week. Hump time (lunch on Wednesday) has come and gone with no names named. Unless President Bush miraculously unearths a candidate while clearing brush down on the ranch in Crawford TX, we may not have an answer until September.

New guidelines suit pharmaceuticals
Drug manufacturers enthusiastically took to the PR wires in support of the new voluntary direct-to-consumer advertising guideline put forth by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). According to AdAge, TNS Media Intelligence puts the total amount of advertising on pharmaceuticals in 2004 at 4B, while PhRMA says its members spent another 38B on R&D. Among those supporting the new guidelines was William C. Weldon, Chairman/CEO of Johnson & Johnson and PhRMA Board Chairman, who said, ""These Guiding Principles will make Direct-to-Consumer advertising across the pharmaceutical industry more helpful for patients and health care professionals, and better for our healthcare system. The Principles are an important step toward harnessing DTC advertising and putting it to work to educate consumers." Other companies enthusiastically backing the new guidelines included Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer HealthCare, Lilly, Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc./Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Wyeth.

Sinclair revamping news operations
Sinclair Broadcast Group says it remains committed to news, but it's making some modifications. The News Central product on its WB affiliates is being reformatted, effective the week of August 22nd, to run a half hour daily, instead of a full hour, giving local stations an additional half hour of entertainment inventory to sell. Also, in Greensboro, NC, Sinclair is pulling the plug on its local news operation after the newscasts launched on its ABC and UPN stations failed to compete effectively with the established market leaders.


Conference Calls Q2 2005
Sinclair saw revenues decline in Q2
Net revenues from continuing operations were down 2% to 163.1 million at Sinclair Broadcast Group, although operating income rose 10.5% to 52.3 million. "We continued to deliver operationally during the second quarter despite the challenging national advertising environment. Our stations once again reported very good ratings results in the May sweeps, our new business initiatives helped to offset the absence of political advertising revenues, and our disciplined approach regarding costs allowed us to reduce station operating expenses by 3.3% as compared to the same period last year," said CEO David Smith. Sinclair booked the sale of KOVR-TV Sacramento to Viacom in Q2, resulting in a huge jump in net income to 142.6 million, vs. 20.2 million a year ago, with 128.5 million of this year's earnings attributable to the station sale. Thus, earnings per share shot up to a buck-67 this year, against 22 cents a year ago. EPS from continuing operations, however, fell four cents to 15 cents. Calling automotive spending "sluggish," Sinclair is being cautious about projections for the rest of 2005. "Given that this is a non-election year, it should be no surprise that the third and fourth quarters are expected to be down over last year's levels due to the absence of political revenues. Although automotive and national advertising revenues are in a much steeper decline than we anticipated earlier in the year, we are encouraged by our new business initiatives and by our ABC and FOX stations' performance in the May ratings sweeps. We continue to be diligent about our cost controls and, as the case was in the first half of the year, expect station expenses to continue to decline in the second half of the year," said CFO David Amy. Sinclair is projecting that Q3 revenues will be down 5.6-6.3%.

Saga sees improvement
in August
Saga Communications reported that Q2 revenues rose 6.9% to 37.6 million, but operating income declined 6.2% to 8.6 million. On a same-station basis, the company said net operating revenues rose 2.4% and operating income decreased 8%. After seeing the RAB report June flat for the industry, Saga CEO Ed Christian said July looks much the same, but that august is currently pacing ahead. Saga is projecting that Q3 revenues will be up 1-3%. At the local level, Christian said merchants have been skittish, but are now becoming more confident. Saga's radio revenues were up 7.2% in Q2 to 33.6 million, but that gain was only 2.1% on a same-station basis. TV revenues rose 4.9% to 3.9 million.

Time Warner posts Q2 loss
Time Warner reported that revenues fell 1% in Q2 to 10.7 billion. The company announced that it was making a reserve of three billion to settle shareholder lawsuits resulting from its merger with America Online - - a disaster that Time Warner management is now trying to relegate to the history books. For Q2 overall, the company posted a net loss of 321 million, or seven cents a share, against a profit of 777 million, or 17 cents a share a year earlier. Revenues for the movie and TV division fell 15%, while cable TV revenues increased 11%. Excluding the AOL settlement and other one-time charges, Time Warner posted earnings of 18 cents per share - - a penny shy of the Thomson/First Call consensus estimate.

DG Systems reports Q2 revenues of 15.2 million
In DG Systems' Q2, ended 6/30, the spot and content delivery provider reported revenues of 15.2 million, compared to 14.9 million in the year-ago Q2. The year ago Q2 included over 400,000 in revenue from political advertising and approximately 625,000 of deferred revenue in the company's StarGuide division, which did not recur in the Q2 '05. Q2 revs were impacted by a more competitive rate environment and a decrease in distribution volume by current and ongoing customers. The company improved the percentage of electronic delivery volume over its digital network to 87% in Q2 '05 vs. 76% in Q2 '04. DG finished Q2 with net debt of 19.4 million, comprised of debt totaling 22.5 million and cash of 3.1 million.

Entravision beats its own guidance
Once again, Spanish media was a hot place to be for Entravision in Q2. Net revenues rose 9% to 75.1 million and broadcast cash flow gained 11% to 32 million. "Our results for the second quarter once again outperformed the industry, as all three of our business segments exceeded our guidance and recorded solid top and bottom line growth. Operating fundamentals across our asset base remain strong as more advertisers see the value of Spanish-language media, and, as we continue to generate ratings increases, we are effectively converting these gains into additional advertising revenues," said CEO Walter Ulloa. For the quarter, TV revenues were up 8% to 38.8 million, radio up 10% to 27.2 million and outdoor up 12% to 9.1 million. Looking ahead, Entravision is projection that TV revenues will be up 5% in Q3, with radio up 11-12% and outdoor 12-13%.


Adbiz©

GM extends employee pricing after all
General Motors did an about face by extending its employee discount sales program through 9/6, a day after the wildly successful promotion was scheduled to end. GM had said it would not extend the program after it expired yesterday and instead would announce this week "value pricing" for 2006 models. The move came a day after Ford extended its own version of the incentive pricing program. GM said the discounts would continue on all 2005 models except the Chevrolet Corvette, Hummer H1 and Pontiac GTO, which are virtually sold out. GM said it sold 530,027 cars and trucks, up 20% compared with 7/04. Chrysler also said it will extend its employee-pricing program indefinitely on 2005 models, excluding the Chrysler 300/300C, Dodge Sprinter, Dodge Viper and all SRT vehicles.

TVB welcomes new drug ad guidelines
As we reported yesterday, new ad guidelines being adopted by the pharmaceutical industry will include a requirement that televised commercials clearly present drug risks and promote conversations with doctors. The new industry code guidelines say that to foster communication between patients and health care professionals, companies should spend an "appropriate time to educate health professionals" about new treatments before beginning DTC campaigns. It also said ads should be targeted to avoid audiences that are not age-appropriate for the spot. The TVB announced that targeting for audience and age appropriateness is a great boost for local television, as TVB has been talking to drug companies and their agencies for some time about spot's targeting attributes. Said spokesman Gary Belis: "Local broadcast television is uniquely positioned to help pharmaceutical manufacturers implement the targeting guideline, and we look forward to working closely with them."

GM ends LA Times boycott
GM has resumed advertising in The Los Angeles Times after a boycott began in April sparked by editorial that bashed the automaker. GM, its regional dealer associations and dealers spent 61.5 million to advertise in The Times last year, The paper this week printed a full-page ad for the '06 Pontiac Solstice.

Trajectory Sports names
ABC Television Sales exclusive rep

ABC Regional Sports Sales, a unit of ABC National Television Sales, has been appointed the exclusive national television sales rep for Trajectory Sports & Media Group, the NYC-based international media and management company. ABC Regional Sports Sales now handles inventory and sponsorships for a wide range of sports programming distributed in the US by Trajectory. This content includes live coverage of the entire Canadian Football League season, the official weekly programs of FIBA World Basketball, ATP Tennis and ICC Cricket World, as well as soccer, auto racing, horse racing, boxing, sports inspiration, bloopers/sports comedy, and documentary series leading up to the Soccer World Cup. Trajectory utilizes a national television net to provide master control functions, satellite distribution, commercial integration and traffic management for its lineup of sports programming. CFL and other programs are distributed on a national non-wired system comprised of 15 regional sports networks and other broadcasters, which provides access to 70 million television households in large, medium and small markets.


Media Business Report
Gannett switching Detroit fish wrappers
A complicated series of transactions announced late yesterday will have Gannett buying the Detroit Free Press from Knight Ridder and selling the Detroit News to MediaNews Group. The two new owners will continue to have a partnership manage the business operations of the two Detroit dailies, with Gannett as the general partner and MediaNews as the limited partner. Under the reorganization, the News will become a morning paper, both papers will publish Saturday issues, but the Free Press will be the only Sunday paper. Currently the two publish joint Saturday and Sunday issues. In addition, Gannett is acquiring the Tallahassee Democrat from Knight Ridder in a swap to add to its Florida holdings. Knight Ridder will receive the Idaho Statesman in Boise and two Washington papers, the Olympian in the state capital and the Bellingham Herald. Gannett will also receive an as-yet-undisclosed cash payment.


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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Washington Beat
FCC to put buildout enforcement on autopilot
When your new station is built, inform the FCC immediately. If you need more time, get it promptly. Either way, beginning this fall, if the deadline for construction comes and the FCC hasn't heard anything, the license will simply disappear. "If a licensee fails to construct a frequency, fails to construct a locations, or fails to meet a coverage requirement, the frequency, location or license terminates automatically on the date of the construction or coverage deadline pursuant to 47 C.F.R. Section 1.946." Licensees that have successfully completed construction have 15 days after the construction deadline to so notify the FCC. Noting that the new policy is scheduled for implementation in the fall of 2005, the FCC says, "Prior to implementation of this automated feature, licensees are encouraged to review their licensing records to ensure the proper construction notifications have been filed. Licensees that have timely met their construction or coverage requirement, but have not yet filed the required notification, should immediately file FCC Form 601, Main Form and Schedule K, with a waiver request of the rule section that requires timely notification." Thanks to Gregg Skall and John Garziglia of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC for calling this matter to our attention.

Judges should judge and legislators should legislate
Supreme Court nominee John Roberts sent written comments to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which had requested his views on the topic of judicial activism and court intrusion into the territory of other branches of government. While saying that it was entirely appropriate for a court to exercise its constitutional charge to overturn executive or legislative actions when brought properly before the court, it was not the court's prerogative to make policy. He wrote, according the Associated Press, that, "...judges must be constantly aware that their role, while important, is limited. They do not have a commission to solve society's problems, as they see them, but simply to decide cases before them according to the rule of law..."

TVBR observation: The problem with the recent judicial flaps over since the enactment of Telecom 1996 hasn't been so much the court stepping on the toes of the other two branches of government per se. It has come down to how an expert bureaucracy, the FCC, has interpreted the intentions of Congress, which did not include the kind of detail necessary to come up with a workable body of rules. At issue has been where the line is between honoring the deregulatory bent of Telecom 1996 while protecting the public interest. That last sentence sounds exactly a dialogue between Michael Powell and Michael Copps, doesn't it? Can there be any more concise nutshell to describe the general tenor of the judicial proceedings? While we would expect Roberts to tend toward the Powell position, given his background, there is nothing in his latest remarks indicating one position or another on this type of interpretive case.


Programming
Stern strikes SVOD deal
You read it here yesterday (8/4/05 RBR #151), and now it's confirmed by none other than the "King of All Media." Howard Stern has entered into an agreement with iN DEMAND Networks to provide a new TV home in a VOD subscription-only format, televising Stern's upcoming Sirius Satellite Radio show. The three-year deal also grants iN DEMAND the rights to Stern's remaining shows while he's still on terrestrial radio. iN DEMAND has reached agreements with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox that allow their operating divisions to offer the service on their VOD platforms. E! announced recently it was discontinuing "The Howard Stern Show," and a deal with Spike TV fizzled. Said Rob Jacobson, president and CEO, iN DEMAND: "The production baton for Howard's show has been passed from a traditional linear basic cable environment, to iN DEMAND, where Howard's viewers have more control over the content in their homes. With VOD, users can fast-forward, rewind and pause, and view a show at any time and as often as they want. By providing Howard Stern's show in a subscription VOD format, this content will be available to only those viewers that make an affirmative decision to view it, with the benefit of parental controls tools from their television provider."

CBS moves Rock Star Monday show to VH1
After finding it to be a ratings flop, CBS announced it is moving its Monday edition of reality series Rock Star: INXS off the network and onto sister Viacom-owned VH1 effective 8/7. The Monday edition features the interaction among the singers and song selection. The Tuesday performance show and Wednesday elimination edition will reportedly remain on the Tiffany net.


Ratings & Research
Big Brother is being watched
By TiVo owners, that is. CBS' "Big Brother 6" claimed the top two spots in the weekly TiVo ratings, showing once again the tendency of the company's DVR owners to watch reality shows. | Tivo Top 25 |


Stock Talk
Stocks gain a bit (but not TV stocks)
It was nothing to write home about, but stocks managed modest gains by the closing bell on Wednesday as oil prices eased a smidgen. The Dow Industrials rose 14 points, or 0.1%, to 10,698.

TV stocks, however, were down on continuing worries about ad sales for the rest of this year. Saga reported its Q2 results and fell 4.8%. Sinclair was flat after its earnings report. Gray Television's common stock fell 2.2% after it announced that it would spin off its newspaper and wireless operations. Gray's Class A stock fell 0.6%.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

4.20

unch

Media General

MEG

67.54

-0.51

Belo

BLC

24.18

+0.04

Meredith

MDP

49.27

+0.05

Clear Channel

CCU

33.70

+0.10

News Corp.

NWS

17.22

-0.08

Disney

DIS

25.77

+0.21

Nexstar

NXST

4.93

-0.06

Emmis

EMMS

21.26

-0.44

NY Times

NYT

31.34

+0.32

Entravision

EVC

8.61

-0.12

Paxson

PAX

0.61

+0.01

Fisher

FSCI

46.48

-0.52

Saga Commun.

SGA

14.76

-0.74

Gannett

GCI

72.00

-0.27

SBS

SBSA

8.23

-0.02

Gen. Electric

GE

34.21

-0.04

Scripps

SSP

50.34

-0.21

Granite

GBTVK

0.33

-0.01

Sinclair

SBGI

9.10

unch

Gray

GTN

13.20

-0.30

Time Warner

TWX

17.27

-0.15

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

12.08

-0.07

Tribune

TRB

36.59

+0.17

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

25.06

+0.20

Univision

UVN

28.73

+0.45

Jeff-Pilot

JP

50.48

+0.20

Viacom, Cl. A

VIA

33.75

-0.14

Journal Comm.

JRN

16.00

-0.13

Viacom, Cl. B

VIAb

33.58

-0.18

Liberty Corp

LC

38.10

-0.28

Wash. Post

WPO

891.51

+12.51

LIN TV

TVL

14.30

-0.05

Young

YBTVA

3.98

-0.02

McGraw-Hill

MHP

47.13

+0.55

-

-

-

-

-


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Upped & Tapped

Rogala to Nexstar
Former Tribune/ Indianapolis GM Rick Rogola, most recently President of his own consulting firm, has been named VP/GM of Nexstar's KARK-TV (Ch. 4, NBC) Little Rock. He'll also oversee KFTA-TV (Ch. 24, NBC) Ft. Smith-Fayetteville AR and KNWA (Ch. 51, NBC) Rogers, AR.

GM gets entire state
Univision has named Jose Luis Padilla to the position of General Manager of Univision Television Group's Arizona stations, effective immediately. Univision Television Group's Arizona stations include KTVW-Channel 33 and KFPH-Channel 35 in Phoenix, KTVW-Channel 6 and KFPH-Channel 13 in Flagstaff, and KUVE-Channel 42, KUVE- Channel 38 and KFTU-Channel 34 in Tucson, and KFTU-Channel 3 in Douglas.


More News Headlines

ADS penetration
hit 20.3% in July

American subscription-TV households continue to migrate to alternate delivery systems (ADS) while wired cable penetration is at an eleven-year low, according to a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research data for July 2005. According to Nielsen NTI data, national ADS penetration reached 20.3% in July 2005, up from 18.9% in July 2004. Over the same period, wired cable penetration fell from 66.9% to 65.8% - the last time wired cable was any lower was in December 1994, according to TVB. The number of wired cable subscribers dropped to 72.1 million in July from 72.5 million a year earlier. ADS now represents 23.9% of subscription television customers (those paying for video delivery). Meanwhile, Springfield MO, which in May became the first DMA with more ADS than wired-cable subscribers, is no longer alone. Idaho Falls-Pocatello, Missoula MN, and Twin Falls ID are now majority-ADS markets.

Dr. Phil signs with
King World through 2013-2014

Dr. Phil has extended his contract with King World for another five years, taking the show through the 2013-2014 season. King World also announced renewals for Dr. Phil through 2010-2011 on 15 Viacom stations, including WCBS New York, KCBS LA, WBBM Chicago, KYW Philadelphia, WBZ Boston, WWJ Detroit, KTVT Dallas, WCCO Minneapolis, KDKA Pittsburgh, KCNC Denver, WJZ Baltimore, KUTV Salt Lake City, KMAX Sacramento, WGNT Norfolk, VA., and KEYE Austin.

BCFM/BCCA seminar addresses ratings, accountability
Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association (BCFM) and its Broadcast Cable Credit Association (BCCA) subsidiary have lined up experts from the advertising, audience measurement and media auditing sides of the industry to address the latest developments in the media planning process. The half-day seminar, "Ratings and Accountability," will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on 9/13, at the New York Athletic Club. Panels and confirmed speakers for the seminar include: The Current state of Accountability:

* A research presentation by
Steven J. Farella, President & CEO, TargetCast TCM

* Trends in Agency-Client relationships:
Eric W. Leininger, SVP - Global Business Research, McDonald's Corporation; Steven J. Farella, President & CEO, TargetCast TCM; (additional speakers TBA)

* Recent Developments in Ratings Measurement:
Pierre Bouvard, President-Personal People Meter, Arbitron; (other speakers TBA)

* Media Audits Practices & Industry Perspective:
Ed Rosenthal, Partner, Hawk Audits; Charlie Collier, EVP Ad Sales, Court TV; Peter Dunn, President, Viacom Television Stations Spot Sales.

* Closing Session - Putting It All Together: all panelists

WAZE-TV automates with VCI's STARS II+; ups billing 50%
Video Communications, Inc. (VCI), supplier of integrated media solutions to the broadcast and cable industry, announced WAZE-TV (WB) Evansville, IN has implemented its SalesDesk sales module as their sales force automation system. Used in conjunction with the station's use of VCI's STARS II+ flagship product, WAZE integrated VCI technology across all of their business operations, including sales, traffic and accounting. As a result, WAZE said VCI software helped to improve station billing by almost 50% in 18 months, selling out all key time periods at competitive CPPs, and growing pacing to +15% above the remainder of the market.


RBR - Radio News

Neil wants electronic measurement, but not PPM
Long-time PPM critic Bob Neil was back at it in yesterday's quarterly conference call for Cox Radio. Neil continues to want nothing to do with Arbitron's Portable People Meters and dismissed the recent Forrester Research study on the potential economic impact of PPM (7/21/05 RBR #142), saying the study commissioned by the RAB (but paid for by Arbitron) Audio Link was tainted by leading questions. Is there anything out there that will do what Neil wants an electronic audience measurement system to do, but PPM doesn't? The Cox Radio CEO says he doesn't know yet, but he's anxious to see what systems are submitted to the pending request for proposals by Clear Channel, which will be evaluated by representatives of numerous radio groups. Asked about specific problems with the PPM technology, Neil said women are likely to put the devices in purses, which will prevent them picking up audio encoding from stations. He also noted that Arbitron is putting landlines into cell-only households for its Houston PPM test and questioned how broadcasters can afford to pay for millions of dollars worth of phone lines. Arbitron VP Thom Mocarsky was quickly on the phone to reporters to throw water on those flames from the Cox Radio CEO. Mocarsky insisted that PPMs work fine from inside purses and that there had been no problems with the devices failing to register listening in the earlier Philadelphia test. As for the cell-only households, Arbitron doesn't plan to install its own landlines in the future because it has now developed a PPM docking station that has its own wireless phone built in to upload data.

RBR observation: For the competing electronic measurement systems that we're aware of, the basic difference is in whether they use encoding or audio recognition, but none have a way to overcome Neil's objections that they don't measure all listening, such as from the time people get out of bed until they have showered, dressed and are ready to head out the door. Short of human implants, we wonder how would you deal with that?


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

Nexstar sees 05 down, upbeat 06
CEO Perry Sook expects his full year 2005 revenues to be down in the high single digits, due to the lack of political revenues and softness in the auto sector. Nexstar's stations booked three million in new local direct business in Q2 tying the company record which held the revenue decline, not including political, to 1%. There was a "spate" of auto business cancellations in June, and although some of that business was just moved to July, it's made him cautious about projecting where the auto sector is going. Upbeat about 2006, where his stations are already marketing the Super Bowl and the Olympics - - not to mention another round of elections. Also, he notes, his 13 NBC affiliates are going to again have NFL football to sell. Last, nothing new to report regarding the Cox and Cable One systems which are not carrying Nexstar's stations on cable due to a retransmission consent dispute - - except, he says, those markets are becoming more normal each week for Nexstar's ad sales.TVBR observation: Always upbeat with you have Content to sell. Again, content is king. Wonder how the MSO's will feel without NFL / NBC football. 08/03/05 TVBR #151

SBS's defends move into TV
Raul Alarcon said SBS would be vindicated by showing how valuable the TV station will be for cross-promotion - - something several other players in Spanish media are already able to do. Alarcon also denied that he had decided to get into TV because multiples aren't attractive in radio. Alarcon left unanswered is SBS looking to make other TV acquisitions? Meanwhile, Alarcon expressed confidence that Styles Media will be able to make its delayed closing on two of SBS' Los Angeles stations for 120 million. Asked if he'd considered just keeping the 20 million non-refundable deposit and remarketing the stations after Styles couldn't close on time, Alarcon said it would not have been in his company's best interest to blow up the deal. 08/03/05 TVBR #151

GM Planworks to announce
new appointments soon;
National staying in NYC
GM Planworks CEO/President Dennis Donlin tells RBR/TVBR that after Starcom officially gets GM's buying from GM Mediaworks come 10/1, all national broadcast buying will be staying in NYC. Some had speculated it would move to Chicago or Detroit. We hear Mediaworks' Michael Rosen and his team including Suzanne Irving will be staying on board there as well. Editor's note: Be sure to read our One On One interview with Dennis in our August Radio & Television Business Report magazine. 08/03/05 TVBR #151

Zen Master raises
Sirius expectations
Sounding just like the Zen Master from his Infinity days and crowing about his company's rapid growth and predicting great things ahead after beating Q2 expectations. Karmazin has raised the subscriber goal for Sirius to three million by year-end marking the third time this year that Sirius has raised its subscriber estimate. Also expects to be free cash flow positive for all of 2007 and maybe even in Q4 of 2006. Sirius is now shopping only for programming to round out its current offerings at reasonable prices.
RBR observation: Hello again we say Content is King and Sirius can't build from one self proclaimed King in Stern. Zen Master already said Don Imus is out to expensive. Martha is nice but now comes the true test as any station today - Content, structure, hot clocks, and the talent to entertain. Where oh where is that quality talent to be found? Again, Local broadcasters our recommendation is cultivate your Local talent and treat them good cause it is your one key strength. 08/03/05 RBR #151

WMAL puts Graham on ice
President/GM Chris Berry, said that Talker Michael Graham crossed the line when he suggested all Muslims are terrorists on his show Monday 7/27/05. "We do not condone his position and believe his statements were irresponsible." Graham hinted on his website that the action came down to the station from corporate. "My radio station, 630 WMAL, has publicly announced that I've been suspended by ABC (no doubt Ted Koppel and Peter Jennings are thrilled) and I am 'under investigation' for my discussion on Islam and the tragedy of its current links to terror. What exactly is I'm being 'investigated' over, I have no idea. After all, everything I do, I do on the air in front of thousands of people. What's to investigate?"
TVBR observation: Chris Berry took the proper course of action no matter what today's tense environment is with world issues at hand. There is no place in the business of radio, TV, or any media for this type of action and putting the license care taker in harms way. Michael Graham while on vacation we suggest a career change like enrolling in an 18 wheeler truck driving school. 08/02/05 TVBR #150


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