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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 175, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning September 7th, 2005

TV News®

Shapiro out at NBC News
Ending months of speculation,
Neal Shapiro has announced that he is stepping down as President of NBC News. "I've concluded that it's time to move on to a new challenge," Shapiro said in a memo to staffers. Although Shapiro had been praised for overseeing the smooth transition of the "Nightly News" from Tom Brokaw to Brian Williams, he had lately been under pressure to halt the audience erosion from "Today" as rival ABC's "Good Morning America" threatened to take over the #1 spot in morning television. NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker named Steve Capus as acting president of NBC News until a permanent replacement for Shapiro is named.

Wall Street analyst lowers broadcast estimates for 2005
Harris Nesbitt analyst Lee Westerfield has cut his forecast of US ad spending for this year, including reductions in his expectations for radio and television - - both network and local. "Automotive and retail continue to slip, rather drive growth for broadcasters,' Westerfield told RBR/TVBR. In fact, weakness in broadcast advertising is the reason for the analyst lowering his overall ad spending forecast to a gain of 4.4% this year, down from his previous 5.4%. He notes that Internet advertising is expected to grow 32% in 2005, but with still only less than 4% of the total ad pie, that online strength isn't enough to counter the drag from TV and radio. But he says that new media growth is coming at the expense of broadcasters and other old media. "Said plainly, Internet growth continues to drain off half of the normal cyclical recovery for traditional media," Westerfield said in his analysis. In his view, radio today is best viewed as two separate entities: Clear Channel Radio, where he expects revenues to be down 6% this year as the company stands firm on its Less is More initiative; and the rest of radio, which he expects to be up 2%. But CC Radio is so big that it drags down the average dramatically. After figuring in the 2% drop for July reported Friday by RAB, Westerfield now expects 2005 to be up only 0.3% - - a drop from his previous estimate of 1.5%. In television, Westerfield's big concern is the automotive advertising sector, which remains soft. He's lowered his expectations for both the network business and station operators. His forecast is now for network revenues to be flat overall for 2005 and that spot TV will be down 5% overall, with local up 1% and national down 12% (down 3% excluding political). He'd previously looked for network to be up 4% and spot down 1%. The good news there, he notes, is that "approximately 950 million of political dollars will arrive in next year's midterm election year with their usual resuscitative effect."

Princely backing for Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch may be watching warily as Liberty Media's John Malone sits pat with his 18% stake in News Corporation - - after talks aimed at reducing that stake via some sort of asset swap failed. But Murdoch appears to have an ally in Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the world's fifth richest man and an active investor. His Kingdom Companies now boosted its stake in News Corporation to 5.46% of the voting shares and reiterated his support for Murdoch. "The Kingdom companies now own a significant interest in News Corp. voting shares and may purchase more if the situation warrants. Last November I said that I had the utmost confidence in Mr. Murdoch and his succession planning, and that if necessary the Kingdom companies would replace their non-voting shares with voting shares and potentially purchase additional shares in support of Mr. Murdoch and his plans,'' Alwaleed said in a statement. The American-educated prince may have been born with a small fortune, but he's grown it into a big one. He's a major investor in Euro Disney and is heavily invested in luxury hotels - - including 50% ownership of The Plaza in New York. According to his website, he owns 5.4% of, 5% of Apple Computers and 4% of Citigroup, plus he has much smaller stakes in a number of other US companies, including Time Warner,, eBay, Ford, Motorola, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Saks 5th Ave. and Disney.

Commissioners vow to continue Katrina relief
The four sitting FCC commissioners issued a joint statement thanking members of the communications industry for tireless effort to get their respective piece of communications infrastructure back into working order. More importantly, they vowed to do whatever is necessary on their end to expedite the restoration. The FCC was quick to grant regulatory relief to the stricken area last week, from quickly turning around requests for STAs and extending CP completion deadline, to allowing AM stations to broadcast at higher daytime levels at night and noncommercial stations to carry advertising when passing along vital information from a commercial source.
| Read the commissioners' joint statement in its entirety |

TV phones by next fall?
It is only a matter of time before the next generation of cell phones - - one that is capable of showing television programming - - is upon us. And it might not be all that far away. How about Fall 2006? That's the target date for commercial applications of a system being developed by Qualcomm. The biggest hurdle, according to Reuters, is developing the spectrum infrastructure, which will have to be a separate one-way path from the two-way path used by the phone part of the phone - - and it will also have to manufacture phones capable of using the service. The second part will be finding distributors. Qualcomm reportedly will try to license the service to existing cell providers as an add-on service. Finally, it will have to have programming. Qualcomm is said to be well into negotiations with providers such as MTV, CNN, ESPN and Comedy Central.

TVBR observation: Phone TV figures to be most used away from home. We reported on a pilot program in Finland that found a primary user group among mass transit commuters. Favored programming was short-form fare, news and sports. We just hope the tens of thousands of our closest friends who share I-95 with us will not have their "phone" on while they're trying to drive. They already have enough trouble talking and driving. In other words, we all know Hollywood loves massive car crashes - - let's hope Hollywood does not suddenly become the leading cause of them. All beltway jokes aside we once again remind all of the Class of 2009 and the tool or toys they were raised with - cell phones, laptops, video remotes, cable known as just TV. Ask the Class of 2009 "What are Rabbit Ears?" The answer is - 'Whatever.' So lets pour a little more lighter fluid on the flame - How are you going to measure this audience TV/Cable? The diary as it will be emailed in? The world is moving and the diary is stilling on the corner of the kitchen sink or mail box with the rest of the junk mail.

Did ABC gyp an Egyptian?
Essam Mohamed Aly Deraz is suing ABC News for repeated use of footage of Osama bin Laden back in the 80s. The film, which shows bin Laden in battle against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, was used by ABC back in 1998. Deraz said he was paid 15K, and the usage was supposed to be limited. He claims that ABC has continued to use it without permission, and worse, has passed it along to CNN and the BBC without giving Deraz either credit or payment. The suit is being filed in Denver.


US advertising grows 4.5% in first half
Total US ad spend for the first half of 2005 increased 4.5%, compared to the same period in 2004, to 70.5 billion, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The 4.5% first half growth follows a first quarter increase of 4.4%, indicating that the advertising market is maintaining spending. "The first half ad expenditure numbers demonstrate sustained momentum from the first quarter of the year," said
Steven Fredericks, TNS CEO. "The 4.5% growth rate for the period is slightly higher than our forecast of 4.1% issued earlier this year. The advertising market continues to outperform the general economy but the third quarter will be a much more difficult comparison period because of last year's stimulus from the Summer Olympics and national elections."
| View Media Dollar Chart |

MEC taps Bruce Jay Cohen
Mediagedge:cia has named media vet
Bruce Jay Cohen as managing partner, director of national broadcast. He will oversee all buying duties for Campbell's, Toys "R" Us and Mattel accounts. Before joining MEC, Cohen was a consultant to Masterfoods, where he managed the company's brand budgets, the relationship with their media buying agencies, and their branded entertainment assignments. Cohen had previously spent 20 years at MediaVest.

Volkswagen chooses
Crispin Porter + Bogusky

Volkswagen has named Crispin Porter + Bogusky Miami to handle creative in the US and Canada, after a review. Arnold here had previously handled the account. VW spent 345 million on advertising last year.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
Entravision in major refi
Entravision Communications announced that it is in the midst of refinancing its debt. It anticipates replacing its current 400 million facility with one for 650 million, consiting of a 7.5 year term loan for 500 million and a 6.5 year revolver for 150 million. The Spanish radio and TV specialist will use the new facility to refinance its bank debt, its 225 million in outstanding 8.125% notes and for other corporate purposes.

Washington Beat
NAB keeps pouring on the multicast heat
The National Association of Broadcasters is locked in a pitched battle with the cable industry over rules of the road for the upcoming digital television revolution. So far, it's been using print displays in Capitol Hill news publications to drum up support for a legislative multicast must-carry mandate. Now its using a surgically-precise video flight aimed at the tiny demographic with a say in the matter - - the 535 senators and representatives on Capitol Hill, and their staffs. A good, old-fashioned TV commercial on the subject went to email boxes all over Capitol Hill, extolling the virtues of multicast - - if legislators make it possible. The commercial shows a citizen watching a wall consisting of six video screens showing six types of local programming which will be possible in a multicast environment. As a voiceover discusses cable's attempt to thwart multicast, the screens start to go blank - - hey, why are we trying to write a description when you can just see it for yourself.
|View the Video |

FCC melts portion of Snow Hill fine
Snow Hill Broadcasting's (SNB) WQMR-FM, operating on the outskirts of the Salisbury-Ocean City market in Snow Hill MD, was hit with a 10K fine for failure to maintain a complete public inspection file. Unlike many similar instances leading to a fine, the station did have a file. However, it was missing several components, including a political file, its "The Public and Broadcasting" manual, and a public correspondence file. SNB followed the footsteps of countless broadcasters in asking for a reduction because the error was not willful, and remedial steps were taken. As the FCC has pointed out countless times, willful failure does not mean station management said something like, "We're just not going to do that political file thing." It means that station management did not willfully do the opposite - - assure that the file is in fact in place as it should be. And remedial action is something to be expected, not rewarded. Pleas of inability to pay were also determined to be groundless, based on submitted documentation. However, SNB was given credit for at least having a partial file, and taking that and similar past situations into account, the FCC knocked the fine down to 4K.

"Singing with the Stars" set for Emmy broadcast
If you just can't get enough of
William Shatner's singing, be sure to tune into the September 18th Emmy Awards broadcast on CBS. He'll be paired up with opera great Frederica von Stade to sing the theme from "Star Trek" (yes, it does have words, written by Gene Roddenberry, no less) in a duet competition that's being called "Emmy Idol." They'll be up against Megan Mullally from "Will & Grace" and Donald Trump of "Apprentice" to sing the "Green Acres" tune and the duo of Gary Dourdan from "CSI" and R&B artist Macy Gray with their rendition of "Movin' On Up" - - the theme from "The Jeffersons."

TVBR observation: In some ways, this is more like "Dancing with the Stars" than "American Idol," since the duets team up a singing pro with a celebrity amateur. In addition to being an actress, Mullally has her own band and tours with a one-woman music review that has to be scheduled around taping of the series. But we wonder, does "The Donald" secretly possess a rich baritone singing voice just dying to be revealed to the public?

Sundance Channel gets 12 films from festival
Sundance Channel announced the acquisition of the pay television rights to 12 films (features, documentaries, and shorts) from the 2005 Sundance Film Festival:
Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin; Adrienne Weiss' Love, Ludlow; Mercedes Moncada Rodríguez' El Immortal; Vicente Ferraz's I am Cuba, the Siberian Mammoth; David Redmon's Mardi Gras: Made in China; Jun Ichikawa's Toni Takitani; Stephen Marshall's This Revolution; Tim Kirkman's Loggerheads; Simone Bitton's Wall; plus the short films Susan Kraker and Pi Ware's The Act and Miguel Arteta's Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?. The films are scheduled to premiere on Sundance in 2006. Also acquired and previously announced, is the American Dramatic Competition Grand Jury winner Ira Sach's Forty Shades of Blue.

News Analysis
RBR observation - Close-Up First
Clear Channel preparing HD Radio multicast Consortium
See the attached PDF, the PowerPoint presentation does a good job of laying out the pros and cons of each possibility. While it may seem arrogant to some to propose that Clear Channel and Infinity manage a national partnership, don't forget that the two already supply lots of programming to everyone else in radio, and even to each other, via Westwood One and Premiere Radio Networks. But would an industry-wide coalition pass muster with the DOJ's antitrust watchdogs? That question is raised in the document, but, at this point, not answered. It's clear that most radio companies don't have the resources to fund, launch and market dozens of new programming services for channels which will, for the first few years, be available only to a minoritEnlarge This Charty of the listening public. Talks have been taking place for months among various groups to figure out how to move radio into a multi-channel digital world. We applaud all of the creative thinking being devoted to this. If everyone works together, radio can and should get this right. If nothing else, terrestrial radio can learn from the expert PR efforts that the satellite radio guys have orchestrated over the past few years. While their audiences remain miniscule, they've created the public impression, however false, that XM and Sirius have become major players overnight and taken significant market share away from terrestrial radio. Broadcasters have to work together in each market to build "buzz" for HD radio and promote their HD2 channels. Make people believe that HD receivers are the latest, hot thing and you should be able to build market demand that will make HD quickly surpass the level of satellite radio receiver penetration. After all, unlike satellite PAY radio, HD is going to be advertiser-supported and free to the consumer. That's an easy choice for people to make. Space is open in RBR for any and all to participate with your BounceBack to [email protected] including Hogan and Hollander.

Stock Talk
Stocks jump as oil spigot is opened
Wall Street cheered as the major industrialized nations said they would release 60 million barrels from their oil stockpiles because of the damage to the US oil industry by Hurricane Katrina. The Dow Industrials shot up 142 points, or 1.4%, to 10,589.

TV stocks also got a boost. Entravision led the way, gaining 2.5% as it announced a loan refinancing. News Corp. gained 2.3% as a Saudi prince increased his stake in the company.


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]

On how to market HD Radio
(8/25/05 TVBR #167).

Regarding what to call HD multi-cast channels; in your observation you suggest that the radio industry should think long and hard about how to approach this. I agree whole heartedly, however, this is a marketing issue and not a broadcasting issue.
| More... |

Russ Oasis

More News Headlines

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

Freefone and Verizon's nationwide Joint Marketing Agreement
Freefone, the public courtesy telephone and digital advertising system, and Verizon announced a nationwide joint marketing agreement that will establish a network of Freefone terminals in leading colleges and universities across the US. Under the agreement, Freefone terminals will be installed at various Verizon Public Communications locations offering ad-subsidized free calling to customers. Freefone offers targeting and marketing capability for advertisers, who can run existing TV creative with no additional production charges.
TVBR observation: Think of the Class of 2009 those college Freshmen/women were born in 1987 and to them what they see today is a mobile device driven society. No books but hand devices, laptops, etc is where it is today. Forget the '20s, '50s or in some of our era of the '60s by asking this class about that time, events because if you do you get their reply - "Well - whatever." Now we still have TV execs fighting over various issues and let's say it - Nielsen and the LPM. How do you think you are going to capture the class of 2009 with something like Freefone and other technology the Class of 2009 are using to communicate and educate? This not only applies to TV but radio as well.
09/06/05 TVBR #174

How much is that Mousy
in the Window?
Walt Disney is still looking to sell off its radio assets but, according to a Reuters report, has slowed the process since its initial asking price of 3B or more failed to cause any potential buyers to reach for their checkbooks. A powerful threesome is said to be in on the negotiations, including Emmis Communications, which is flush from the recent sale of about half of its television portfolio. The other two are Citadel and Entercom. The emergence of ABC as a possible seller is said to have slowed down the previously announced sell-off by Susquehanna - - which is being shopped pretty much to the same group of customers (with the possible addition of Cumulus Media). Speculation is that the ABC stutter step may have moved Susquehanna back to the front of the line. TVBR observation: Look at the buzz Disney has caused as first Susquehanna is expecting bids to close within the next two weeks for their radio and cable operations. Citadel is said to be pursing Susquehanna's radio in which they may have their fingers crossed that Susquehanna will see a nice bid for the cable spin off separately and leave radio to their potential rumored offer. But as RBR mentioned as the talk of Disney consistently shopping ABC Radio just seems to slow all progress forward and ABC has some real plums of facilities and many want to spend their borrowing cash smartly. And do not count out Susquehanna managements' bid for the combined cable and radio as they are backed said to be backed by real money players like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. who we believe once back Herb McCord's radio operation. Do not count out last second largest radio group in number and that would be Cumulus Media which is also said they too may lob a bid in to the total mix. Our only issue is if Disney is going to sell this time - do it and move forward as your employees need to know and plan their lives.
09/06/05 TVBR #174

Broadcasters nationwide
aiding hurricane victims

From coast-to-coast, radio and TV stations are spearheading efforts to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina and the devastating floods which followed the storm. RBR/TVBR will stay with our broadcast coalition as RBR/TVBR will stay with this issue of aid and let all know what is going on day to day. Numerous radio and TV stations have told RBR/TVBR of their relief efforts. 09/02/05 TVBR #173

John Maher Fires back at Jon Mandel Director of Planning U.S.
International Media John Maher took exception to Jon Mandel's bounce back and stated "I had to read Jon Mandel's response twice before I realized it wasn't a joke. What an incredibly namby-pamby, sniveling, mealy-mouthed reply. Besides foisting an answer that's woefully out of place, the oft-quoted U.S. Chairman of the world's 8th largest "media agency" seems to have been out sick or behind a door for the last 20+ years...As long as the industry continues with a Three Stooges approach to resolving this, we'll have Nielsen and their lousy methodology as a monopoly." 09/02/05 TVBR #173

Jon Mandel
Chairman MediaCom U.S.
Fires back to WGN-TV's Dominic Mancuso, Mr. Mancuso that the reason Nielsen is a "monopoly" (which it really isn't as there are other research companies) is that stations, in a bid to save money, stopped buying both Arbitron and Nielsen ratings. The problem is not the rating company, it is the programming. 09/01/05 TVBR #172

Nielsen Monitor-Plus looks at creative in first half
Ad spending for the first half of 2005 rose 5.7% over the same period last year, due to gains across major media, according to figures released. There were 15,798 different creative used on national television in the first half of the year, airing over 4.8 million times, and accounting for 25.4 million. Each creative aired an average of 307 times. The large majority of the commercials were placed on cable television. TVBR observation: Key word why cable had the most - creative since the watchdogs are not always nipping at their private parts. Creative was the big issue this past February at the 4A's and clients demanding better creative to brand their goods. Free media like Radio and TV can't take or will not accept certain creative so you lose and cable wins. End of story as broadcasters can only change their policies or lose more money next year. And, do not blame Nielsen - they are just providing the data - they are not making this stuff up.
08/31/05 TVBR #171

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