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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 189, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Tuesday Morning September 27th, 2005

TV News®

TV sticks for sale,
get 'em while they're hot

The FCC is putting 11 full-power television CPs on the block. Television Auction No. 64 will be held 3/15/06. Comments on the auction are being taken by the Commission through 10/14/05, and reply comments are due by 10/21/05. Ten of the CPs are open to all comers. The eleventh, for Channel 51 in Jackson MS, will resolve an allotment that's been pending for quite some time - - it's open only to applicants who filed before 7/1/97, and they must let the FCC know by 11/16/05 that they're still interested. The bidding unit/upfront payment/minumum bid for the station (all three numbers are the same) is 295K. The eligible group includes Edward I. St. Pe, Fant Broadcasting Development, George S. Flinn Jr., KB Communications, KM Communications, Marri Broadcasting, Natchez Trace Broadcasting, United Television and Winstar Broadcasting. The other ten stations are in various locations, with minimum bids ranging from 705K to 80K. The minimums listed are not set in stone - - that's one of the items for which the FCC is soliciting comments. A handful of applicants are already signed up - - Zavaretta Broadcasting for a Pueblo CO stick, Humberto Lopez for one in Victoria TX, and Davis Television for sticks in Duluth MN and Topeka KS.
| The FCC TV Shopping List |

GM Planworks taps Rosen, Shaw;
launches "Video Investment Group"

We told 'ya so (8/3 TVBR #151): GM Planworks, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group and the media planning, buying and research unit dedicated to General Motors (GM), named Mike Rosen its Chief Investment Officer. Rosen will oversee investment in network, broadcast, cable and nationally-syndicated television and radio. Jennifer Shaw will also join the agency as SVP/Managing Director of the new Video Investment Group (VIG) unit, reporting to Rosen. Curt Hecht, formerly SVP/Managing Director, GM Planworks, will be EVP and Chief Digital Officer. They will operate out of GM Planworks' new offices in New York City, which will officially open on 10/3, when GM Planworks takes over responsibility for GM's entire media management services.
| Read More... |

FCC repeats its expeditious
hurricane response

The FCC is treating Hurrican Rita just as it treated Hurricane Katrina. It's pulling overtime at its DC digs to provide assistance to communications companies in the path of the storm, and its greasing the wheels to help those companies return to operational status. The FCC said, "In light of the possible extensive damage to businesses and homes in the Gulf Coast region, and the essential need for broadcast services to the residents of the region, the FCC will provide additional assistance on an expedited basis to MVPDs and broadcast stations in order to get the systems and stations back on the air as quickly as possible."
| List of FCC Emergency Provisions |

FTC smacks down
absurd Ab Force claims

The FTC likes to warn consumers that if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Existence of an electrical stimulation belt which supposedly could produce sixpack abs is one such claim. The belt was touted on a series of multimedia advertisements. The FTC has issued a C&D. "This is a case about firm abs and phony ads. It illustrates how false and unsubstantiated claims can be communicated indirectly but with utter clarity - - to the detriment of consumers and in violation of the laws this Commission enforces." Charged in the case are Telebrands Corporation, TV Savings L.L.C., and their principal Ajit Khubani, which collectively reaped 19M in ill-gotten gains. In this case, Telebrands et al admitted it knew the product didn't do anything. From December 2001 through at least April 2002, it used four media venues to make its claims, including television, radio, the Internet, and print. Telebrands argued that it made no specific claims, but FTC disagreed, saying the TV ads in particular were suggestive enough, showing robust men and women, some relaxing with Ab Force, other strenuously working out, strongly implying Ab Force produced effortless results. FTC did not impose any monetary punishment, but did order a cease and desist and "...fencing-in provisions to prevent a recurrence of the same or similar violations."

Newspaper bucks concentrated within top companies
A report from Research and Markets (R&M) notes that there are some two thousand newspaper companies operating in the US, combining for about 50B in annual revenue. However, the lion's share - - 30B - - goes to the top 20 companies. The biggest companies are Gannett, Knight Ridder, Advance Publications, Tribune Company, Washington Post and New York Times. Gannett and Washington Post also have television properties, while Tribune and NYT have both television and a toehold in radio. R&M notes that 70% of the business revenue comes from advertising, and 20% from subscription and single copy sales. A handful of dailies - - Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and New York Times, are said to reach 1M people a day, but most newspapers - - 85% - - have circulation of 50K or less.

TVBR observation: We attended a session on competing with newspapers at the NAB Radio Show 2005 last week in Philadelphia. Radio Advertising Bureau sales gurus George Hyde and Lynne Anderson noted many of the ways newspapers distort their effectiveness - - our favorite was getting to report their own circ figures to the ABC, or Audit Bureau of Circulation. As Anderson said, wouldn't you like to tell Arbitron (or Nielsen) what your ratings are? Anderson was also delighted that stories about newspapers abusing ABC are usually broken in: newspapers. A brilliant piece of advice from Anderson was this: The newspapers will be very happy if you'll agree to run an ad for your station with them. So invite the paper over to make a presentation. Once you learn their pitch, and be able to better prepare your own counter-pitch.


ABC Daytime Direction Network wins RADAR 86
ABC's Daytime Direction Network has taken the top crown, scoring the highest rating P12+. Arbitron released RADAR 86 with the highest sample ever for a RADAR survey (90,032) and the most networks ever reported (51). RADAR 86 includes the first Hispanic targeted network, ABC Hispanic Advantage Network. In addition, Premiere FOX News also makes its debut in RADAR 86. Overall, network radio as a whole remained flat in terms of gross impressions (-1.5%). The only dramatic changes were mostly at Westwood One that had the network with the largest percentage increase and eight of its networks experiencing double-digit decreases.
| View the RADAR 86 Charts |

Stern accuses K-Rock GM
of hiking rates, slashing commissions

Apparently, the ad department at WXRK-FM NY has been doing great business in the months before the King of All Media bolts for Sirius Satellite Radio. Howard Stern on-air last week accused his K-Rock WXRK-FM NY GM Tom Chiusano of jacking up its ad rates and slashing commissions at the same time: "I heard the sales department here are ready to revolt against Tom. Evidently, business has been so good this quarter. I'm not going to say we're all the reason, but we're all the reason. So the sales people went out and sold so much time...Evidently, Tom called them all into a meeting and said, 'I'm cutting back your commission' - like less of a percentage. Can you do that? That seems really wrong," reported The NY Post. Chiusano admitted to Stern on the air that it was his idea to cut the commissions. "There's a business reality here," he said.

TVBR observation: Got to say it TVBR has heard these rumors like many others on Infinity cutting sales commission but never getting it confirmed over the air and by 'The Howard' himself. We also have heard various other rumors but until those go from speculation to confirmation we say - keep talking Howard.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
Journal puts itself on the schedule
If you're looking for a one-stop-shopping experience for a pulse-taking of the financial well-being of American media, it's hard to do better than listen in to the Journal Communications quarterly conference. The company has a major daily newspaper, over 90 smaller papers, seven television stations and 38 radio stations. They're set to confab with analysts and other interested parties 10/18/05 at 11:00 AM to go over Q3 results. As usual, we'll tune in so you don't have to.

Washington Beat
FEC Nader nadir? Not
The Federal Elections Commission has cleared all involved in efforts to get presidential candidate Ralph Nader on various state ballots for the 2004 election. For a change, campaign finance or advertising are not at issue - - instead, the FEC was fielding complaints that groups hoping to re-elect Republican George W. Bush were collecting ballot petition signatures on Nader's behalf in hopes his presence would draw support away from John Kerry. Many believe this was a factor in the 2000 Bush v. Gore election, particularly in the hotly-contested Florida situation. Whatever one might think about such an effort, the fact is that it simply is not against the law.

Nicktoons Network
launches with rebranding

Nicktoons, Nickelodeon's 24-hour animation network, flipped the switch to become Nicktoons Network 9/23. The net, which recently became ad-supported, will remain committed to being kids' favorite channel for animated hits showcasing a variety of quality animation all day and night. Targeting kids 6-14, Nicktoons Network features programming that's 75% exclusive to the channel. In addition to a new name and logo, Nicktoons Network has unveiled new packaging both on-air and on the network's new website, Nicktoons Network's home base will be the Nicktoons Studio (formerly Nick Animation Studios). Located in Burbank, the studio will be showcased in the network's new on-air packaging. In addition, the network's website will echo the new design.

In 2006, Nicktoons Network will launch three new series:
* Skyland -- a sci-fi action adventure series set in the year 2251 that follows a heroic young brother and sister team searching for their parents in a new world order.
* Kappa Mikey -- a parody that centers on an American actor named Mikey who inadvertently becomes a huge star in Japan after joining the cast of a struggling Japanese anime series.
* Shuriken School -- produced by Xilam Entertainment -- a quirky comedy with a martial arts twist about a boy's adventures at Ninja school.

Nicktoons Network will also premiere a new programming block entitled, "Three-Headed Monster" which will run every weekend, from Friday through Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to midnight ET beginning 9/23.

Touchstone strikes production deal
with Steven Bochco

Touchstone Television has signed producer Steven Bochco to a multi-year overall production deal with the studio, where he will be developing and executive-producing a multitude of projects. The deal was announced by Mark Pedowitz, president, Touchstone Television and EVP/ABC Entertainment Television Group. "Steven Bochco's talents in creating groundbreaking, innovative, appointment television are unparalleled. We look forward to him continuing his amazing track record of critically-acclaimed hit series with our team at Touchstone Television," said Pedowitz. Bochco's latest series and first cable venture, the military drama "Over There," is currently airing on FX.

Stock Talk
All quiet on the Wall Street front
Stocks were said to be up modestly even though oil went back up in the wake of Rita, and modest was the word of choice to describe the ups and downs of broadcast issues. Radio companies tended to go up slightly, balanced by TV plays which dropped a bit.


Here's how stocks fared on Monday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change





Media General












Clear Channel




News Corp.
















NY Times
















Saga Commun.












Gen. Electric




















Time Warner




Gray, C1. A




















Viacom, Cl. A




Journal Comm.




Viacom, Cl. B




Liberty Corp




Wash. Post






















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More News Headlines

Sherman Kizart
receives IBBA 2005
Leadership Award

Interep recently announced that Sherman Kizart, SVP/Director of Urban Radio for Interep, received the International Black Broadcaster Association's (IBBA) Leadership Award. The award was presented at the 5th Annual IBBA Convention held in Memphis on September 16th and 17th. The International Black Broadcasters Association is an inclusive organization for all members of the Urban radio and television community. Their goal is to promote excellence and profitability among broadcasters serving the Urban community in the U.S. and abroad.

September Digital Magazine Now Available

Media House 2005
Churn, baby, Churn - An inside look at the churn of satellite radio

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

Verizon unveils FiOS TV
unveiled its competition to satellite DBS and digital cable, FiOS TV, " to residents Keller, TX (30 miles west of Dallas). "This is not cable TV. This is not satellite. This is FiOS TV," said Bob Ingalls, president of Verizon's Retail Markets Group. "Customers who liked what FiOS did for their Internet connection will love what it does for their TV. We've harnessed the speed and capacity of broadband with the power of broadcast to create a revolutionary, new entertainment experience." FiOS TV is delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises network. TVBR observation: Technology waits for no one and again consumers will engage and embrace it. Now will TV executives still want to measure their viewers with a diary? Again, Technology waits for no one.
09/26/05 TVBR #188

Last of the true Road Warriors:
Gary Fries delivers State of the Industry speech
"There are lots of positives in our business," In his first public speech since announcing he would not be seeking renewal of his contract at the end of 2006, Fries outlined a radio business that is on the precipice of a "repositioning" that could propel the medium forward into the future - if the industry acts. Electronic measurement a key topic in Fries' agenda, but he stressed that this was not an endorsement of any one device. "I don't care what it is," he said, "but we need electronic measurement and it must be right." TVBR observation: Fries took on the EDI project in 2002 and this is one issue that needs addressed as we close out this first half of this decade. Agree 100 percent with Fries as 'Technology waits for no one.'
09/26/05 TVBR #188

Viacom to buy VOD firm iFilm
A move that would give it new distribution channel for content. Viacom will pay about $50 million for the privately held company. The buy shows the growing importance of the Internet as a distribution channel for video content and that content owners are becoming more comfortable with the Internet, as broadband numbers continue their march upward. TVBR observation: Advertisers are supporting more and more content found in the online and VOD spaces-each year the numbers go up geometrically. And as Carat Americas CEO David Verklin has told us that because of it, the television upfront marketplace is going to change dramatically-if not in 2006, then 2007. Companies like Viacom are chomping at the bit to be able to offer their content across multiple platforms-to continue to be the one-stop shops for media planners and buyers. Let's face it-entertainment is less and less about sitting in front of a TV screen and more and more about viewing and listening when and where consumers want-and on what devices they want them on. Viacom sees this future and is acting on it. Now will you still measure TV with the diary? Technology waits for no one.
09/26/05 TVBR #188

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