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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 168, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Friday Morning August 26th, 2005

TV News®

Mega-merger in the Southeast:
Raycom buys Liberty Corp.
In a deal announced after the stock market closed on Thursday, privately-owned Raycom Media is buying Liberty Corporation for 987 million bucks. The addition of Liberty's 15 stations will expand Raycom to 52 stations. Under the buyout agreement, Liberty Corp. shareholders will be paid 47.35 per share and Raycom will assume 110 million in debt. Liberty's stock closed Thursday at 37.45, up 70 cents for the day. "Broadcasting has been essential to the success of Liberty Corporation for 70 years of the century we've been in business. The transaction we announce today is testimony to the exemplary reputation we've built as both a standard-bearer in the industry and a champion of each community in which we serve. In Raycom, we have found a company whose stellar record of public service and commitment to local news and information mirror our own. This transaction will afford our employees the opportunity to flourish within a company dedicated to the television broadcasting business, and enable our shareholders to realize full and fair value," said Hayne Hipp, CEO of Liberty Corp. Raycom, headed by CEO Paul McTear, is based in Montgomery, AL. It is employee-owned, with financial backing from the Retirement Systems of Alabama and Wachovia Bank. The stations moving to Raycom in this deal include eight NBC affiliates, five ABC and two CBS. | View the Chart |

FEC redefining "electioneering"
The Federal Election Commission has opened a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on the legal definition of "electioneering communications," prompted by a decision in the US District Court for the District of Columbia in the Shays v. FEC case. Interested parties: Start your essays now. Here's how the FEC sets up the issue: "Electioneering communications are broadcast, cable or satellite communications that refer to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office, are publicly distributed within 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary election, and are targeted to the relevant electorate. Such communications carry certain reporting obligations and funding restrictions. The proposed changes would modify the definition of 'publicly distributed' and also the exemptions to the definition of 'electioneering communication.'" The NPRM will consider retaining or narrowing the 501(c)(3) exemption for tax exempt groups, as well as the state candidate exemption, or perhaps repealing all such exemptions. It will also consider "...replacing all the current exemptions with a broad new exemption covering all communications that do not promote, support, attack, or oppose a federal candidate." Comments are due 9/30/05, and a hearing on the topic is scheduled for 10/19/05.

NYT tells the government to stay out of ratings biz
In the midst of the annual August Congressional doldrums, the New York Times has decided to focus its editorial spotlight on pending legislation which would create a government advisory board to oversee the television ratings business. The Times take: What a crazy idea. For starters, NYT is surprised that the impetus for government intervention has been championed by Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp./Fox empire - - an organization known more for espousing the very solutions NYT thinks would be far more appropriate in this instance. It wrote, "Television ratings would seem to be a perfect place to encourage the market to work its magic - - one of the favorite tenets, by the way, of the New Corporation's media voices on Fox News." NYT acknowledges that no ratings system can ever be foolproof. "But it would be better to find a more workable system to compete with the people meters instead of creating a new government power."

TVBR observation: There are some small companies out there trying to bust into the ratings business. That's a task easier said than done, and the dusty trail is littered with the bleached out bones of the many companies which have tried and failed to accomplish that daunting task. And maybe there are problems with the current system. We simply fail to see what the government can bring to the table that can ease new entrants into the business or improve the refinement process of constantly evolving audience measurement systems. The New York Times isn't exactly shy about advocating aggressive use of the tools of government to solve a particular problem. The fact that even NYT thinks this is not an appropriate place for government intervention is particularly telling.


Bad news about military news
A poll put together by the McCormick Tribune Foundation and Gallup has found erosion of the public trust in both the military's provision of reliable information to the public, and the media's reporting of reliable information about the military. In 1999, over three-fourths of Americans (77%) thought the military kept them well-informed; now that number is just over half (54%). Confidence in the military press has similarly declined - - positive assessments came from 79% in 1999, but have now dipped to 61%. The failure to adequately inform Americans during the run-up to the war in Iraq was a major contributor to the drop. 68% said the military did either a fair or poor job. 61% said the same of the media. Worse yet, 77% think the military occasionally distributes false or misleading information on purpose. Still, parents would encourage their own children to enter into either a military or journalistic career if that's what they wanted, although that two has eroded. 62% of parents would approve of entry into the military, down from 71% in 1999. Pursuit of a career in journalism fared better, with 80% of parents expressing approval compared to 85% in 1999.7

Anti-smoking campaign upheld by DE court
Lorillard Tobacco Company has failed in an effort to stop the American Legacy Foundation from continuing its truth(r) anti-smoking advertising campaign, which strives to keep children from using cigarettes. Lorillard was arguing that the ads "vilify" tobacco companies and their employees, and that they were in violation of a 1998 settlement between tobacco companies and the state of Delaware. The Delaware Chancery Court held that Lorillard's case was without merit. ALF went beyond claiming victory, calling for the tobacco industry to cease their own youth anti-smoking campaign, "...which offer no reason not to smoke and portray smoking as an acceptable adult habit, thereby making it appealing to kids striving to appear more adult." The American Public Health Association also applauded the decision, saying the truth(r) cut the total number of teenage smokers as measured in 2002 by some 300K.

TVBR observation: So there you have it. Two health organizations say that certain tobacco industry PSAs are actually generic pro-tobacco advertisements in disguise, aimed at children, no less. Plug them into your schedule at your own risk.

TiVo hits black ink, but cautions investors
Fiscal Q2 (May-July) marked a milestone for TiVo Inc. The company posted a profit of 240,000 bucks. That doesn't even work out to a penny a share, but it was the first time that the company ever posted a positive number on the bottom line. Even so, CEO Tom Rogers was guarded about the future. "While it is encouraging that we hit break- even this quarter, it is clear TiVo faces a number of significant challenges. In directly facing those challenges there is considerable long-term potential that can be realized. To that end, we have begun to aggressively attack a number of critical issues in sales, marketing, and distribution," he said. With DirecTV preparing to market its own digital video recorder, TiVo is going to have to face the future without what had been the source of its biggest subscription base. Rogers acknowledged that TiVo is going to have to increase spending on marketing, so he's dropped short-term efforts to remain profitable. For Q3, TiVo is projecting a loss of 20-25 million.


Adbiz©

ABCRN to develop electronic
traffic, reporting system
And the accountability train just keeps on chuggin': ABC Radio Networks announced an agreement with software developer Spot Buy Spot to create and deploy an e-business solution to track commercial airplay across ABC Radio Networks programs. This new state-of-the art system is being developed exclusively for ABC Radio Networks and is scheduled to be operational by the end of Q1 '06. The reporting system will enable affiliates to quickly and efficiently process network traffic orders and return commercial clearance logs to the net. The automated process will reduce the need for manual data entry by the affiliate traffic department while ensuring accurate and timely information management. "Providing accurate reporting to our advertisers has always been of paramount concern for ABC Radio Networks and we are very excited to be able to announce this e-business endeavor to our advertising and affiliate partners," said John Rosso, ABCRN SVP/Affiliate Relations and Business Administration. "This tracking system will produce detailed reports with valuable information for our advertising partners. This is a major step forward and significantly improves communication between ABC Radio Networks, our affiliates and advertisers." Spot Buy Spot will oversee the creation, and support of the system including training for ABCRN affiliates.

Cold-EEZE taps Merkley + Partners
The Quigley Corporation has chosen Merkley + Partners NY as its AOR to handle all creative. The two companies, in conjunction with buyer Nail Advertising, will launch a national effort including television, print and web-based interactive programs to further increase consumer awareness for the Cold-EEZE brand.

Help-Wanted Ad Index increases
The Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index -- a key measure of job offerings in major newspapers across America -- edged up in July. The Index now stands at 39, up from 38 in June. It was 38 one year ago. In the last three months, help-wanted advertising increased in five of the nine U.S. regions. Largest increases occurred in the East South Central (4.7%), Pacific (4.7%), and West North Central (2.7%) regions. Online want-ad volume does not show a markedly different pattern. The Conference Board Help-Wanted Online Data Series shows that the number of new online job ads fell slightly to 1,970,000 in July from just over 2 million in May and June. However, the latest figure is still almost 10% higher than the 1,799,000 new online jobs posted in April. The Conference Board surveys help-wanted print advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month.


Media Business Report
Six Flags board bows
to Red Zone pressure
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and former ESPN EVP of Programming Mark Shapiro are off to a pretty good start in their new line of work as corporate raiders (8/19/05 TVBR #163). The first move by their new entertainment company, Red Zone LLC, had been to announce a proxy fight to throw out the management of Six Flags Inc. so they could take over and reinvigorate the amusement park company. Now, the board of Six Flags has voted to put the company up for sale - - inviting Red Zone and others to submit bids. Lehman Brothers and Allen & Company have been retained as financial advisors by Six Flags.


Washington Beat
AK-HI multicast hinges on the letter "s"
The FCC's decision to mandate carriage of the full digital output of broadcast television stations over DBS in Alaska and Hawaii (8/25/05 TVBR #167) hinges on the precise wording of Congress. That language stipulates that DBS providers must carry all of the broadcasters' signals - - not signal - - and the FCC took that to mean it is the intent of Congress that the "s" means Congress wants all multicast channels carried, at least in these two states. Thanks to Bob Thompson of law firm Smithwick & Belendiuk for putting the magnifying glass to the FCC's reasoning in this matter.


Programming
O'Hurley dances to MC gig
The increased public recognition that John O'Hurley gained on this summer's big hit "Dancing With the Stars" on ABC has landed him a gig. O'Hurley has been signed to host the 29th annual "Mrs. America" competition, airing September 14th on the WE cable network. Helping O'Hurley get the backstage dish on all 51 contestants will be NBC "Apprentice" alum and former Mrs. District of Columbia, Omarosa Manigault- Stallworth. The panel of judges is a diverse bunch: actress Connie Stevens; Jessica Lynch, the first POW rescued from the Iraqi war; swimwear designer Carol Wior; motivational speaker Jim Walkow; and Dr. John Mahlmann, Executive Director, The National Anthem Project.

Mary Tyler Moore in guest shot
Mary Tyler Moore, who played a TV news associate producer in her own long-running series, is scheduled to play a TV newscaster as she guest-stars in three episodes of "That '70s Show" on Fox. Her character is a beloved local icon, who turns out to be less loveable off camera. The shooting brought Moore back to the original soundstage, Stage 2, on what was formerly named the MTM Studio lot, where "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was filmed. "That '70s Show" is a Carsey-Werner production created by Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner and Mark Brazill. Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Dean Batali, Rob DesHotel and Mark Hudis are executive producers.

More "Buzz" for Viacom
The Viacom O&O group has signed a deal to carry "The Daily Buzz" on WSBK-TV Boston, WUPA-TV Atlanta and WKBD-TV Detroit. That brings to 11 the number of Viacom-owned UPN stations carrying the morning news program produced jointly by Emmis and ACME. In all, they say "The Daily Buzz" is now airing (or set to air) on 140 markets, clearing more than 41% of the country.


Ratings & Research
Houston is again a top 10 market
Nielsen Media Research announced population, household and demographic figures to be used for the upcoming 2005-2006 TV season. The first nine markets remain in the same order, but Houston has moved into the top 10, bumping Detroit to #11. The total number of households is estimated at 110.2 million, up 0.5% from the previous season.

| Here are the key demos |

LPM: More 18-34s tuning into
local Summer TV

Nielsen Media Research reports that considerably more Adults 18-34 are watching local television during the 2005 summer season than had previously been reported. The info is available for the first time in markets where Nielsen has introduced Local People Meter service since last year, and shows similar trends to what the company recently reported seeing among teens in those same markets. Earlier estimates were based on a combination of Set Meter and Diary samples, which were available only during the sweep month of July. LPM data for the summer months reveals that the number of viewers 18-34 in the six major TV markets has increased in almost all time periods. Direct comparisons are based on July 2005 vs. July 2004 since comparative adult viewing was only available for the July 2004 sweep month. However, an analysis of June and August viewing levels-to-date confirm these overall upward trends, says Nielsen.

| Key demo data: |


TVBR Stats
TV markets: By the numbers
The most notable move is by Houston, which moves into the top 10 markets for the next TV season. But there are plenty of other changes. Tampa-St. Pete and Phoenix also moved up, displacing Seattle-Tacoma and Minneapolis-St. Paul, respectively.
| View the Numbers |


Stock Talk
A nearly flat day on Wall Street
Oil prices retreated only slightly and stock prices were little changed on Thursday. The Dow Industrials managed to edge up 16 points to 10,451.

TV stocks were mixed. Liberty Corp., whose sale to Raycom was announced after the closing bell, had been up 1.9% for the day. Nexstar was the day's top performer, up 4%.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Thursday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

4.07

+0.35

Media General

MEG

64.32

-0.63

Belo

BLC

24.46

+0.12

Meredith

MDP

49.71

-0.09

Clear Channel

CCU

33.40

+0.05

News Corp.

NWS

17.23

+0.03

Disney

DIS

25.20

-0.20

Nexstar

NXST

5.53

+0.21

Emmis

EMMS

23.42

-0.25

NY Times

NYT

31.89

+0.06

Entravision

EVC

7.76

-0.09

Paxson

PAX

0.58

unch

Fisher

FSCI

45.75

-0.18

Saga Commun.

SGA

13.64

-0.01

Gannett

GCI

72.79

-0.23

SBS

SBSA

7.71

unch

Gen. Electric

GE

33.50

-0.04

Scripps

SSP

50.08

-0.72

Granite

GBTVK

0.32

-0.03

Sinclair

SBGI

9.45

-0.04

Gray

GTN

11.61

+0.06

Time Warner

TWX

17.64

+0.09

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

10.59

unch

Tribune

TRB

37.75

-0.32

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

25.69

+0.15

Univision

UVN

26.48

-0.25

Jeff-Pilot

JP

49.83

+0.40

Viacom, Cl. A

VIA

34.07

-0.02

Journal Comm.

JRN

15.85

+0.09

Viacom, Cl. B

VIAb

34.00

+0.04

Liberty Corp

LC

37.45

+0.70

Wash. Post

WPO

819.34

+4.28

LIN TV

TVL

14.37

-0.08

Young

YBTVA

4.94

+0.04

McGraw-Hill

MHP

48.12

+0.02

-

-

-

-

-


Bounceback

Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you.

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

Regarding channel IDs for HD Radio (8/25/05 RBR #167).

The International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) has been asking in all its comments to the Commission, and to as many manufacturers of HD units as possible that this new class of radio be consumer friendly... and accessible. Our 120 member-stations provide reading services over FM-SCA to millions of Americans who can't read because of vision loss. We know first-hand that a radio that is overly complex won't be accepted in the home of a retiree whose vision has deteriorated from macular degeneration or diabetes. The new class of HD units must be accessible to people with low-vision, those who are legally blind, and those who cannot read any of the controls or displays at all. In this case, no matter which numbering system is adopted, if more than 3.2 million Americans (National Eye Institute estimates of blindness and low vision in the US) can't make out what the display says, the unit won't sell.

According to the US Census Bureau the US population is skewing towards seniors, not teens with the latest version of an MP3 player. In fact, by the year 2025 all our "baby-boomer" generation will be 65 or older. Age related eye diseases will follow that trend. The technology we pick today will shape how our parents and then we will be able to gather information in our retirement years. Today's seniors now did not grow up with technology like laptops and palm units. If it is in their car or on the table at home the technology has to be accessible, useful, and easy to understand. Pick a numbering scheme that is simple and accessible. Who cares what we used to have? IAAIS agrees with you that "we in radio are only going to get one shot at the HD future". Let's make it work for all.

David W. Noble
Chairman, Digital Radio Subcommittee
International Association of Audio Information Services


TV Media Moves

Todd rises in Phoenix
Scripps has promoted Janice Todd, removing the "Acting" from her Acting GM title to become VP/GM of KNXV-TV (Ch. 15, ABC) Phoenix. Todd joined Scripps in 1985 as an AE at KJRH-TV Tulsa and had been General Sales Manager in Phoenix since 1999.


International

700 Club reaches
the Finnish line
It's curtains for "The 700 Club." It's been dropped from the schedule. In Finland. According to the Associated Press, the sole religious TV service in the Scandinavian nation has elected to get rid of Pat Robertson's show in the wake of his comments regarding the potential assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. A spokesperson for the channel said they regretted the Robertson's practice of mixing religion with politics. Calls in the US for Walt Disney's basic cable ABC Family Network to drop the program have not been honored. According to reports, ABCFN is contractually bound to carry the program.


RBR - Radio News

Analyst cuts
radio forecast
That's becoming the all-purpose headline of 2005. In the latest move by a Wall Street analyst to ratchet down their outlook for radio, Marci Ryvicker at Wachovia Securities has dropped her July forecast to flat from her previous expectation that radio revenues would be up 2%. Her estimate for full year 2005 growth is now an anemic 1.5%. "We continue to believe that the radio industry is in a transition phase that is likely to last another 6-12 months as operators reduce inventory, implement iPod-like format changes, and upgrade to HD Radio. We believe that radio will resume mid-single-digit top line growth once it cycles through its many changes, likely in 2007," she told clients.

RBR observation: Ryvicker may be slightly below the Wall Street consensus at this point, but we won't be surprised to see other analysts lower their projections yet again, particularly if the RAB's monthly report for July, which should be out in a few days, shows another flat or near-flat month. With radio revenues up only 1% for the first half of the year, there's no way that 2005 is going to turn into a stellar growth year.


August Digital Magazine
Now Available


Engineered For Profit
Entercom VP/Engineering Marty Hadfield tells it like it is

Legal Ease
Conversion from Analog to Digital. Little Less Taxing. This is free legal advice so take it.

Media, Markets & Money
Happy days in the wheel of deal fortune ... Or are they really there? With station Trading the Action.


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

Foot in the door for
multicast must-carry?
The FCC, by a three-one vote, has approved special rules governing the relationship between satellite TV distribution services and local television broadcasters in Alaska and Hawaii. According to the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004 (SHVERA), the DBS services must carry local analog signals by 12/8/05. The FCC says local broadcasters have until 10/1/05 to assert this right. TVBR observation: How hard do you think the NAB is going to work to extend this policy to the other 48 states, and to cable? Short answer: VERY HARD. 08/25/05 TVBR #167

Another Media General TV/paper combo attacked
As is its practice, Media Access Project (MAP) is objecting to yet another Media General Inc. (MGI) in-market television/newspaper combination on the occasion of the TV's application for a license renewal. This time, the market is Tri-Cities TN-VA in Nielsen DMA terms. It's known to radio folks and Arbitron as Johnson City-Bristol-Kingsport. The station is CBS Channel 11 WJHL-TV, which MGI owns in conjunction with the Bristol Herald Courier, which according to BIAfn is one of the top two newspapers in the far-flung market, and which reported the MAP action. TVBR observation: We've said it before and we'll say it again. The Third Circuit specifically said it had no philosophical objection to broadcast and print outlets being locally co-owned, and went so far as to note that in many cases such combinations provided the market with its leading news organization. What the Court objected to was the evidence provided as a foundation for numerical cross-ownership media limits. MAP has argued that owners of such combinations knew they were taking a risk as to whether or not there would be timely regulatory relief. However, since the objection is not to cross-ownership itself, just where the number line should be drawn, it is patently unfair to force a company to divest itself of a valuable media property under fire sale conditions while bureaucrats fiddle with slide rules. If in the end the ruling goes against the Media Generals of the world, le! t the sell-off begin. Until then the FCC should declare a temporary waiver for all existing cross-media combinations until such time as the issue is resolved. 08/25/05 TVBR #167

Analysts up estimates
for Emmis TV sell-off
After seeing the numbers for the first nine TV stations sold by Emmis Communications, Wall Street analysts are upping their projections of the total take. At Bear Stearns, analyst Victor Miller has increased his estimate by 100 million - - to a range of 1.25-1.35 billion. At Goldman Sachs, analyst Mark Wienkes also notes that the first round of sales at Emmis amounts to about half of the TV group's EBITDA, so he expects the total to come in around 1.3 billion - - up from the Wall Street consensus of 1.2 billion. 08/23/05 TVBR #166


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