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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 184, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning September 20th, 2007

TV News ®

Rather sues CBS for 70M
Former anchor Dan Rather has sued CBS for 70 million bucks, the New York Times first reported. The lawsuit filed in a New York state court alleges that the network made him a scapegoat to try to pacify the White House after CBS News was unable to verify the authenticity of documents used in a "60 Minutes II" report voiced by Rather in which the National Guard record of President George W. Bush was questioned. The lawsuit charges that CBS commissioned a biased investigation of the broadcast which damaged Rather's reputation. At one point, the lawsuit says a CBS VP of Radio News Harvey Nagler admitted to Rather that his radio commentary was being pulled because of "pressure from the right wing." Rather's suit charges that after he stepped down as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" CBS News violated his contract, with a six million annual base salary, by giving him little "60 Minutes" airtime and little staff support. The Times says he is seeking 20 million in compensatory damages and 50 million in punitive damages. In addition to CBS itself, the lawsuit also names as defendants Viacom, CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves, Sumner Redstone (Chairman of both CBS and Viacom) and Andrew Heyward, former President of CBS News. "These complaints are old news and this lawsuit is without merit," CBS spokesman Dana McClintock told TVBR.

TVBR observation: Gee, do you suppose Rather looked at the payoff Don Imus got for threatening to sue CBS over his firing and said, hey, why don't I deserve some of that?

One word, one fine
Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) has joined with three other House members to introduce the Protecting Children from Indecent Programming Act, a bill which would clarify the FCC's ability to fine a broadcaster for an act of indecency no matter how fleeting it may be. The bipartisan roster of co-sponsors includes Jim Matheson (D-UT), Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA). "As the father of five sons, I have a vested interest in what broadcasters present over the public airwaves. We do not want our children to grow up with the mindset that certain behavior and language is OK," Pickering said. "I speak for our families in Mississippi, as well as across the country - we deserve a peace of mind when watching television with our family and expect a level of decency in our programming." The bill is basically a response to a court ruling earlier this year that shot down the FCC's assertion that it could ignore its own age-old requirement that an indecency offense must be more than a fleeting, unintentional event to warrant punitive action. "We can continue to raise our children as respectable, responsible, and honorable individuals - who know right from wrong, and who know once is enough," Pickering concluded.

TVBR observation: With all the things that are going on in the world at any given moment, and we're old enough to know if it isn't a million things, it's a million other things, it never ceases to amaze us that politicians have time to fret about the possibility that somebody might hear: a word. And frankly, we're sick of politicians telling us they're doing it to protect our children. Should we take Pickering at his word and believe that our children are NOT growing up to be "respectable, responsible, and honorable individuals" because of this allegedly poisonous media atmosphere? Maybe we should start taking statements like Pickering's as a personal insult, because our children are doing just fine without his help. We don't want Congress spending any more time on this idiotic speech-chilling windmill tilt.

Kohl's law will aim
at analog TV seniors

Herb Kohl (D-WI), chair of the Senate Select Committee on Aging, says he is going to introduce a bill which will coordinate the DTV education of consumers, particularly senior citizens. NAB EVP Marcellus Alexander assured the committee that NAB is doing what it can to move the ball forward. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein also testified at the hearing and agreed that the FCC, NTIA, Administration on Aging, state and local governments, stakeholders and watchdogs all need to participate in the process. He said, "The consequences of failing to mount a more aggressive outreach, awareness, education, and assistance campaign would be disastrous, so I applaud your leadership on the Aging Committee for focusing us on the need to activate now." Marcellus told the panel, "I have managed television stations in Baltimore and Philadelphia, and I can tell you that broadcasters do not want to lose any viewers - period. And, they will do what it takes to ensure they don't. Local broadcasters have a social and community responsibility to ensure that television viewers understand what they need to do to continue to receive their local television. It also makes good business sense. Let me be clear - DTV consumer education is the number one priority of NAB's Television Board."

TVBR observation: It is a good thing that a lot of nerves are on edge inside the Beltway right now. Federal education and outreach funding has been decidedly on the cheap side thus far, and if it makes Washington nerves a little less jangly to up the federal ante, that certainly can't hurt anything. But advertising is what broadcasters do for a living, and we are confident broadcasters will do a comprehensive job getting the word out about DTV, to seniors and anyone else who needs to know. We suspect broadcasters would probably request that most of the federal cash be kept ready to assure a steady flow of digital-to-analog converter boxes to the citizens who need them, including a ready supply of boxes on hand for that small minority of the population who somehow, some way will miss the message no matter what anybody does.

TVBR suggestion: With respect to the special needs of senior citizens, local television stations may want to organize a posse of civic-minded regular viewers via PSAs and the station website who can volunteer to assist seniors who need help picking up and installing new digital equipment or getting a converter box hooked up properly. We'd bet a large number of viewers would be happy to donate the small amount of time this will take, and it will look fabulous in the outreach portion of your public file.

CNBC launching HD+
As News Corporation launches Fox Business Network next month, CBNC is firing back with a new service of its own: CNBC HD+. The new hi-def version, slated first for DirecTV, will feature additional data on the wide screen and a secondary video window with its own audio channel. That will allow viewers, if they wish, to watch live events, such as testimony, press conferences and such, without switching away from the main CNBC screen. "CNBC HD+ was a natural decision for CNBC as our viewers expect the best from us. To serve our viewers, the most affluent audience in cable television, we took a non-traditional approach to HD leveraging larger screen real estate, sharper images and our existing world class data, news gathering and production capabilities," said Steve Fastook, Vice President of Technical Operations, CNBC. Among the new features available with CNBC HD+: lists of market performers by category, index charts and statistics, and detailed information regarding companies - including a "revolutionary" new charting tool and deep drill-downs on company fundamentals, price performance, earnings, competitors - and more. The HD+ content will also be specially programmed and linked to on-air discussions. CNBC HD+ also highlights an improved ticker and index panel, which retains the same format, but enables high definition viewers to track more companies and market data at the same time.

Double-digit drop for Journal's TV group
Radio revenues were flat - actually up 1.8% on a same station basis - but TV plunged 13.7% and newspaper revenues from continuing operations fell 6.9%. All in all, Journal Communications reported August revenues down 7.5% to 37 million bucks. TV's tough showing was largely due to political advertising dropping sharply from a year ago and softness in national sales. The 13.7% decrease brought TV revenues to 9.3 million for the month. With two fewer stations than a year ago, radio revenues were flat at 7.2 million. But if you factor out those two stations which were sold, the remaining radio stations at Journal Broadcast Group improved revenues by 1.8%. Publishing revenues from continuing operations fell 6.9% to 20.4 million, with the flagship Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posting a 6.5% drop in ad revenues.

TV revenues up at Media General
That's right, up. Broadcast revenues increased 0.1% in August at Media General to 29.5 million, despite the absence of 2.5 million in political revenues a year ago. "Our Broadcast Division experienced sharply increased National time sales, primarily the result of higher spending in the telecommunications and automotive categories. WFLA benefited from airing four pre-season Tampa Bay Buccaneers football games this August compared with only three last August," said CEO Marshall Morton in announcing the company's monthly figures. The story was not so rosy for the newspaper side. Publishing revenues fell 6.2% to 40.9 million, with most of the shortfall attributed to the Tampa market. For all Media General newspapers, classifieds plunged 18.5%, national was down 8.6% and retail was up 3.7%. Interactive Media revenues, still a small part of the total revenue pie, shot up 29.3% to nearly three million bucks.

Ad Business Report TM

NBC and Nissan extend
giveaway promo for premiere week

NBC and Nissan have expanded their partnership in launching "Heroes" with a multi-platform, interactive promotion that will encompass all five nights of NBC's premiere week beginning 9/24. Each night (M-F, Sept. 24-28), NBC will be giving away a 2008 collector's edition Nissan Rogue SL signed by "Heroes" creator Tim Kring. Starting in the 8 p.m. hour, NBC will air a custom snipe alerting viewers of their chance to win the car as it "drives" across the screen. During the 9 p.m. hour, viewers will watch for a pod buster promo spot which introduces a trivia question about the show they are watching-"Heroes" (Monday), "The Biggest Loser" (Tuesday), "Bionic Woman" (Wednesday), "The Office" (Thursday) and "Las Vegas" (Friday). Viewers will be instructed to go online to to answer the question and enter to win the car. The Rogue giveaway will also be promoted in TV spots and in print and radio advertising. Each pod buster trivia question will be immediately followed by a Nissan commercial. In addition, Nissan is sponsoring the season premiere of "Heroes," (Monday, September 24, 9-10 p.m. ET), with limited commercial interruption. The Rogue will be featured in the premiere episode.

Navic Networks
introduces "Admira"

Navic Networks has introduced Admira, a media placement service that optimizes television advertising by using census-level set-top box measurement data to increase the value of inventory. Efficiently matching advertisers' desired target audience criteria with media owners' inventory, Admira simplifies the buying process while maximizing targeted impressions and providing advertisers with measurement and accountability. Admira places relevant video across multiple programs and markets within linear or addressable programming, switched broadcast, VOD or during DVR playback. Said Tim Hanlon, SVP at Denuo, the media futures practice of Publicis: "Nowhere is this more necessary than in the fast-niching realm of television, where hundreds of digital channels and countless hours of time-shifted and on-demand content offer seemingly infinite opportunities for advertisers. Admira is a long-overdue solution that gives video advertising planning and buying professionals a fighting chance to keep pace with television's explosive changes by providing a powerful targeting system that helps lift the effectiveness of increasingly complicated video ad campaigns." Admira is currently undergoing commercial trials across multiple major markets.

Media Markets & Money TM
Two stations, three companies, new foursome
Barrington Broadcasting had a 10M deal in place to acquire two stations in the wide-ranging Traverse City-Cadillac MI DMA: ABC 29 WGTU-TV in Traverse City and, across the lake, ABC 8 WGTQ-TV in Sault Ste. Marie. It already owns NBC 7 WPBN-TV Traverse City and NBC 4 WTOM Cheboygan in the market. With possible cap problems looming, the new buyer has stepped in, Tucker Broadcasting of Traverse City, headed by Benjamin W. Tucker. Barrington will keep its hand in via a pair of agreements, a joint sales agreement (JSA) and a shared services agreement (SSA), and will also plunk down 5.5K for a purchase option on WGTU & WGTQ running for eight years with extension options. The seller is a subsidiary of Max Media LLC.

Washington Media Business Report TM
Congressional calendar
heating up

Bobby Rush (D-IL) finally has his Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection session on stereotyping on the schedule, and it still features a prominent former radio star in the title. "From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images" will be held in the Rayburn House Office Building next week, Tuesday 9/25/07 at 10AM. We note also that the parent committee of this subcom, Energy and Commerce, now has a DTV conversion feature prominently displayed on its home page. It includes a collection of related news releases from the committee and directs interested parties to the FCC, NTIA, NAB and NCTA for further information. Finally, the Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday 9/27/07 entitled "Congestion and Delays: The Impact of Travelers and Possible Solution."

TVBR observation: Some may be wondering why we included information on that last hearing, but if you're in radio you think about it for even a second, you know why. When someone mentions congestion and delays, you're all for it. Congestion and delays equals TSL. We hope the NAB Radio Board was able to get a witness onto the panel for this one.

Entertainment Media Business Report TM
Return engagement for Jimmy Kimmel
Dick Clark Productions announced that Jimmy Kimmel, host and executive producer of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," will return to host the 2007 American Music Awards. You've probably guessed that the awards show will be broadcast live on ABC, airing Sunday, November 18th at 8:00 pm ET/PT. "I am thrilled to return as host of the 2007 American Music Awards. This is my fourth time hosting. My intent is to break Glen Campbell's all-time record of five. And his hip," Kimmel quipped. Nominees for the 2007 American Music Awards will be announced on Tuesday, October 9th.

CBS Mobile Network unveils lineup
The CBS Mobile Network unveiled its 2007-2008 season program lineup to appear on V CAST Mobile TV from Verizon Wireless, a service of MediaFLO USA. CBS's Mobile Network streams programming on the cell phone 24/7, 365 days a year, featuring simulcasts and time-shifted offerings of popular shows on the CBS Television Network and CSTV.

The lineup includes: Rules of Engagement, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Kid Nation, Viva Laughlin, Moonlight Shark, The Price is Right, Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CSI, CSI: NY, CSI: Miami, The Unit, Numb3rs, NCIS, The Young and the Restless, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, CBS Evening News With Katie Couric, 60 Minutes, 48 Hours Mystery, Afternoon Rewind block of after school programming including "StarTrek" and "Brady Bunch", Wallstrip, CBS Made-for-Mobile News Breaks, Classic programming from CBS's vast library including "I Love Lucy," "MacGyver," "Gunsmoke" and "Have Gun, Will Travel", amd Comprehensive college football and basketball coverage from CBS Sports and CSTV.

Graham developing with NBC Uni
"Gilmore Girl" mom Lauren Graham has signed a one-year exclusive talent and development deal with NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. "I cast Lauren on 'NewsRadio,' '3rd Rock from the Sun' and 'Seinfeld' early on in her career. I've been pursuing her aggressively for the past several years after her outstanding work on 'Gilmore Girls.' She truly is a gifted television comedy star and we are thrilled to have her back on NBC," said Marc Hirschfeld, Exec. VP, Casting, for NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. Graham is represented by ICM and manager John Carrabino, who will also serve as a producer on series developed for Graham.

Internet Media Business Report TM
Google AdWords introduces "Google Gadget Ads"
Google announced the introduction of Google Gadget Ads, a new interactive ad format that is currently in an expanded beta with a select group of AdWords advertisers worldwide. Gadget ads-non-traditional ad units with interactive, rich media capabilities--enable advertisers to target audiences via regular updates within the ad unit and allow users to engage more completely with ad content. Gadget ads can incorporate real-time data feeds, images, video and much more in a single creative unit and can be developed using Flash, HTML or a combination of both.

TargetSpot partners with three for in-stream advertising
TargetSpot, a streaming media ad company, announced a partnership with Beasley Broadcast Group, Rubber City Radio Group and Haystack Media. TargetSpot's in-stream advertising service is also now open for advertiser business. The three groups are the latest to partner with TargetSpot, which went live this month, and will soon be available on over 400 stations nationwide. TargetSpot allows businesses of all sizes to create, buy and place their own ad messages within streaming media.

Ratings & Research
Another win for Judy
The battle for #1 in syndication continues to be between "Wheel of Fortune" and "Judge Judy." For the most recent week, the report from the Syndicated Network Television Association (SNTA), based on data from Nielsen Media Research, puts Judge Judy on top.

Syndication: 9/03/07-9/09/07

# Live



HHLD Rtg. Live













































Source: SNTA; Nielsen Media Research data

Stock Talk
Stocks rise again
Fed euphoria continued on Wall Street, despite another government report showing a drop in home construction. The Dow Industrials rose 76 points, or 0.6%, to 13,816.

TV stocks were up again as well. Nexstar gained 6.9% as the top performer. Saga and Entravision were each up 3.6%.


Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change





Lincoln Natl.






















Media General




Clear Channel












News Corp.
















Ion Media




Equity Media EMDA 3.09 -0.01

Saga Commun.




















Gen. Electric








Google GOOG











Time Warner




Gray, C1. A












Wash. Post




Journal Comm.









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Below the Fold

Ad Business Report
Navic Networks introduces
Admira a media placement service that optimizes TV ads by using census level set-top box...

Media Markets & Money
Two stations, three companies
New foursome as Barrington Broadcasting had a 10M deal in place but w/ possible cap problems looming guess what...

Entertainment Media
Business Report
Return engagement for
Jimmy Kimmel to host the 2007 American Music Awards...

Graham developing with
NBC Uni a 1-year exclusive talent and development deal...

Stations for Sale

Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.

June Barnes
[email protected]

TV Media Moves

Stafford goes local
WMAQ-TV (Ch. 5, NBC) Chicago announced that Rob Stafford will join NBC5 News as weekend anchor and general assignment reporter, beginning September 23rd. For the past 11 years, Stafford has been the Chicago-based correspondent for "Dateline NBC."

Three for FBN
Jeff Flock, Shibani Joshi and Connell McShane have been named reporters for Fox Business Network when it launches next month. Flock comes from CNN, Joshi News 12 Westchester and McShane Bloomberg Television.

BMI Promotion
Mason Hunter has been promoted to Senior Director, Media Licensing. He will be based in Nashville and report to Dan Spears, Assistant Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Media Licensing. Hunter previously was Director of the Eastern Region for the BMI Media Licensing department.

Joining HDNet
Veteran cable executive Sue Ann Hamilton is joining HDNet as a strategic consultant. Most recently, Hamilton served as Executive Vice President, Programming, for Charter Communications.

Upped at Scripps
Adam Symson, who has held a variety of leadership positions within The E. W. Scripps Company since 2002, has been named VP/Interactive for the company's Television Station Group. In this new role, Symson will lead the TV Station Group's strategies and initiatives across the Internet, wireless, secondary digital channels and other new media.

More News Headlines

Another equality award for Clear Channel
Already this week Clear Channel was given a 100% score by the Human Rights Campaign for its treatment of LGBT employees (9/19/07 TVBR #183). Now it has been named the 2007 recipient of the Trevor Hope Award by the Trevor Project, which operates a suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth. The other major honoree at the organization's 10th annual Cracked Xmas Event will be Ellen DeGeneres, receiving the Trevor Life Award.

RBR - Radio News

PPM heads to Broadway
Today's the day. Arbitron's Portable People Meter (PPM) begins pre-currency radio listening data gathering in the biggest US market, New York, after launching previously in Houston and Philadelphia. Arbitron had long been planning a client call for the NYC introduction and has now announced a press call as well to discuss the launch in market #1. Anxious to avoid the in-tab shortfalls encountered recently in Houston and Philly, Arbitron over-installed the New York metro. As of September 13th, it reported 3,938 installed panelists, which is 105.9% of the target of 3,720. The New York launch also includes the embedded Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island, NY) and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (suburban New Jersey) markets. In Nassau-Suffolk, 1,540 panelists were installed, 106.9% of the 1,440 target. In Middlesex-Somerset-Union, 961 were installed, 103.9% of the 925 target. While Arbitron will begin generating PPM data in those markets today, the big date is going to be November 15th, the date that data gathering begins for the actual buying and selling of radio advertising in New York. The first release of PPM data as ratings currency is set for New Year's Eve, December 31st.

TVBR Radar 2007
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Big future seen
for Dow Jones assets
At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XVI Conference in New York, News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch said people thought he was an idiot for starting Fox News Channel and buying MySpace, so it's no wonder they think he's an idiot for buying Dow Jones & Company. He sees a big future in demand worldwide for financial information as more and more people come out of poverty and begin to participate in world economic markets.

TVBR observation: Rupert would do well to look at the history of CNBC if he thinks "Main Street" consumer news is the way to go with FBN. That was the original plan for CNBC - Consumer News and Business Channel. If failed miserably. NBC only made CNBC a success by throwing out all of its research on what consumers supposedly wanted, buying its spunky chief rival, Financial News Network (FNN), which didn't have the money for fancy research, and substituting the successful FNN format for the original failed CNBC format. People will tell researchers they want "consumer information." In truth, there is plenty available and they don't watch it. The stock market addicts watch CNBC religiously.
09/19/07 TVBR #183

Nielsen getting into
spot monitoring biz for radio
The Nielsen Company is launching a new spot monitoring system for radio called Nielsen SpotScan. It's an entirely new and separate product designed for local radio. SpotScan provides detailed ad tracking reports at the market and radio station level and offers exclusive expenditure data by specific advertisers; including the number of spots aired in each market, total ad spend across media (radio, local TV and newspaper), market share information, and month-by-month trends.

RBR observation: One thing for sure about Nielsen they believe in Technology and are the King of media research. Data is valuable and SpotScan will be strong Sales, Marketing, and Programming tool.
09/19/07 RBR #183

Will Tribune wrestle
baseball over Cuban?
Major League Baseball is a relatively closed society, and 23 of the 30 owners must give thumbs up to anyone wishing to join. Tribune Company, on the other hand is, for now, a publicly-traded company with a duty to maximize value for its shareholders. These conflicting platforms may butt heads as Tribune shops the Chicago Cubs franchise and an associated cable network. A problem may arise if NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proves speculators who think he may be a serious bidder correct. He has been known to butt heads with NBA management, and LAT speculates there may be more than a little sentiment among MLB owners to steer the team to somebody else, regardless of how much mon! ey Cuban puts on the table. Uncertainty on numerous fronts puts in doubt the ability to put a deal for the team together by year's end.

TVBR observation: Kinda makes you appreciate the FCC's fact-based system for approving transactions. It doesn't look at a prospective owner and determine if he works and plays well with others. In fact, in a way a competitive cuss is desirable: Competition, along with localism and diversity, is one of the nominal attributes the FCC looks to protect. If the stations counts work and the buyer has standing to be a licensee, it pretty much clears any hurdles the FCC has built into the approval process.
09/18/07 TVBR #182


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