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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 194, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Tuesday Morning October 4th, 2005

TV News®

GAO gives thumbs down to pay for say
The Government Accountability Office has issued a ruling which found the Education Department pay-for-say contract with Armstrong Williams and an unlabeled video news release (VNR) produced at ED's behest to be illegal. A third transaction - - involving Maggie Gallagher's work to promote marriage, was cleared. Conservative pundit Williams picked up 186K to promote No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in print and during broadcast appearances. The problem is that the transaction between ED and Williams was not disclosed. Similarly, a VNR touting an ED tutoring service under NCLB was found to be improper because ED was not identified as the source. In both cases, the lack of sourcing rendered to arrangements acts of covert propaganda. The Gallagher arrangement, on the other hand, was cleared - - she worked on a presentation for the Administration for Children and Families and helped with brochures, among other things, but did not directly tout administration policies in any media as a result of receiving administration payment. The incidents occurred under the watch of former Secretary of Education Rod Paige. His successor, Margaret Spellings, maintains that such practices have been completely halted.

Rep asks FCC to can Bennett
US Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) has joined the chorus of voices calling for the scalp of former Secretary of Education William Bennett after his statement on abortion, crime and African Americans. "I am outraged and appalled at William Bennett's recent comments suggesting the aborting of black babies would reduce the crime rate in this country," she said "His comments were deplorable and undeniably racist. Mr. Bennett owes this nation an apology and I expect the FCC to take swift action in removing his show from the air."

TVBR observation: Once again, we're astonished at the lack of appreciation some elected officials have for the First Amendment and the role of the FCC. Tubbs Jones may as well ask the FCC to remove the spots from a leopard. She can try to ram through some new legislation - - say, "The Stamping Out of Ill-Advised Broadcast Commentary Act of 2005" - - but we'd venture to guess that the most myopic 8th grade civics student would be able to spot the constitutional problems with such a bill from clear across the multipurpose room. Freedom of speech comes with the risk of foot-in-mouth disease built in. And in a way, Tubbs Jones should secretly be thrilled with Bennett's use of his constitutionally-guaranteed freedom - - she and countless others have gotten tons of media play out of this handed to them free of charge by Bennett.

Mays calls for more radio dereg
While critics in Washington say radio ownership deregulation has gone too far already, Clear Channel Communications CEO Mark Mays used a speech yesterday at the Progress and Freedom Foundation to call for further deregulation so broadcasters can more effectively compete with satellite radio. Specifically, he called for Congress to allow a single company to own more than the current limit of eight stations in the largest markets - - 10 in markets with at least 60 stations and 12 in markets with at least 75 stations. "Free radio is struggling. The cost of competing with new technologies and increased listener choice is staggering and profits are down. Specifically, free radio needs Congress to relax outdated restrictions on our operations," Mays said. Then he added, "Free radio is not asking for much more room." The CCU CEO also declared that there was no "train wreck" coming as the FCC investigates allegations of payola brought to light by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Mays said 4-6 employees who were investigated were bad actors, but most radio programmers are abiding by the law.


CBS & ABC burst out of the gate
Nielsen's ratings for the second week of the new TV season are due out today, with CBS hoping to defend its #1 finish in Households for week one - - an HH rating of 8.3 and a 13 share, followed by ABC at 8.0/13, NBC 6.6/11, Fox 4.1/6, UPN 2.7/4, WB 2.2/3 and I (formerly Pax) 0.4/1. ABC, though, led the 18-49 demo, followed by CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN, WB and i. UPN, however, is going strong with African-American viewers. The premiere of "Everybody Hates Chris" drew the network's biggest audience ever, although that still left the show at #64 in the overall HH ratings, due to UPN's limited distribution compared to the big four nets. "Chris," however, was the #1 show with African-American viewers, according to Nielsen, leading a UPN lineup that claimed eight of the top 10 shows for primetime viewing by African-Americans. The other two were ABC pro football broadcasts.

Entravision refinances
Entravision announced a deal with its bankers to replace its current 400 million senior secured credit facility with a new 650 million facility consisting of a 500 million term loan for 7.5 years and a 150 million revolver for 6.5 years. Entravision said it had also successfully completed a tender offer for 225 million face value of its 8.125% senior subordinated notes due 2009. The buyback of 1,057.61 per one thousand face value included a consent payment of 20 bucks each, bring the total payout to 238 million, made under its new credit facility.

Will Billboard go on the block?
VNU, parent company of Nielsen Media Research, is facing a revolt by major institutional shareholders over its pending seven billion bucks deal to buy IMS Health. One possible outcome, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that VNU may look at selling its trade publishing unit, including Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. VNU continues to insist that there are good strategic and financial reasons for acquiring IMS, which it described as "the global leader in information and consulting solutions for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries" when the deal was announced in July. Under the stock and cash merger, IMS CEO David Carlucci would become Deputy CEO and COO of VNU, with Rob van den Bergh continuing as CEO. Also, VNU's stock, which currently trades only on the Amsterdam exchange, would be listed on the NYSE as well. But while VNU contends that the deal will be accretive from the get-go, institutional shareholders owning more than a third of VNU's shares are balking - - concerned about the risk of adding the healthcare data business to VNU's existing businesses in collecting data about media and consumer packaged goods. As for the possibility of selling the trade pubs to raise cash, it is a business which has been quite challenging in recent years (don't we know it!). Just yesterday Primedia completed its exit from the biz by closing the 385 million bucks sale of its Business Information unit to PBI Media Holdings, a new private company backed by a couple of big venture capital funds. That sale included such varied titles as Broadcast Engineering, Radio Magazine, National Hog Farmer and Concrete Products.

TVBR observation: Will Perry Partners step up to bid for Billboard to combine with Radio & Records? Or has Rick Perry had enough of the trade publishing business? We also have to shake our heads at 7 billion as this is a heavy price to pay for a seat at the NYSE. The entire VNU company has a lot a risk going into 2006 and our recommendation to VNU bosses - Do not wear rose colored glasses because with out focus no company can have clear vision.


Adbiz©

Folgers to air campaign paying tribute
to New Orleans employees

Procter & Gamble's Folgers brand launched a 30-second TV spot thanking consumers for their support and paying tribute to the Folgers employees working to make its New Orleans manufacturing facilities - - home to their largest coffee plant in the world - - operational again following Hurricane Katrina. The company notified retailers earlier this month that there may be temporary supply restrictions resulting from the impact of Hurricane Katrina and that Folgers coffee may be temporarily unavailable or appear on-shelf in different packaging. "We've been in New Orleans for over 50 years and are strongly committed to staying here," said Max Rangel, Marketing Director, Folgers. "This commercial is our way of explaining to consumers why they may not find their favorite Folgers varieties in their stores, and thanking them for their patience as we restock the shelves. It is also our way of thanking retail partners and our employees for their patience and assistance during this difficult time." The campaign will run for two weeks, airing on a broad mix of network and cable programming, and will alert consumers to changes in Folgers packaging resulting from hurricane damage to the New Orleans facilities. Additionally, a special Folgers Katrina Relief metal can will begin appearing on store shelves in November. The packaging will feature a letter from Plant Manager, Emory Zimmer, thanking consumers for their support and inviting them to join Folgers in the hurricane relief effort by donating to the American Red Cross. To date, P&G has donated more than 9 million in cash and product to the relief effort. Filmed in a documentary style at the time of the plant's post-hurricane re-opening, the commercial is narrated by Plant Manager, Emory Zimmer, with New Orleans native and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend, Allan Toussaint, performing the soundtrack. Saatchi & Saatchi NY handled.

TMP Worldwide tapped by BK for recruitment effort
TMP Worldwide Advertising & Communications, a leading global HR communications and solutions provider, today announced it will serve as the primary recruitment advertising agency for Burger King worldwide. TMP Worldwide will help BK develop its employment brand and implement a global recruitment marketing campaign to increase awareness of the career relevance and positive attributes and qualities of being a BK employee. Efforts will also focus on key online recruitment initiatives, including the deployment of specialized Internet-based research tools and technology to help target, identify and recruit highly qualified candidates.


Media Business Report
Back in the black in August
Radio was flat in June, dropped a deuce (-2%) in July, and picked the deuce back up (+2%) in August, making it, on final analysis, an essentially flat summer, on even footing with the three summer months of 2004. According to figures from Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. as reported by the Radio Advertising Bureau, local was in the driver's seat this time around, picking up 3% worth of steam, while national was flat and non-spot revenue suffered a 5% decline. YTD, the chart could well be an example of binary computer language - - it's all ones and zeroes. Local and national revenue are up 1%, and non-spot is flat, making for a 1% gain overall through eight months.

MBR observation: Remember the Clinton years, which featured month after month of boring 8%-12% gains? Then there was the big boom just before the dot-com bubble burst, as dot-coms started spending like the desperate mortally-fearful characters many of them in fact were. Then there was the equally deep valley after the bubble burst. Now were in a stretch that would make Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats proud. Emmis just reported that radio pacings seem to be picking up, but if that's true generally, it will fly in the face of the hurricanes which surely will toss the effects of millions in lost revenue into the averaging pot from September on, so even if Emmis is right, it may not show up in the numbers in the near future. We therefore suggest keeping the salt shaker handy when ready the revenue numbers for the next couple of months.


Washington Beat
FDA looking into drug deals
Should there be any incentive to get a prescription drug other than to cure the appropriate ailment for which the drug should be prescribed? That's a question the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be looking into, spurred by complaints from Ralph Nader's Public Citizen watchdog organization. PC is concerned about ads for a prescription anti-acne drug, Differin, which ran on broadcast, cable and Internet outlets, according to Reuters. It offered free music downloads to patients who procured initial prescriptions and refills of the drug. A spokesperson for PC said that bribing physicians is illegal, and that this practice - - which he characterized as bribing children to convince adults, is essentially the same thing.


Programming
Former "Idol" signs with ABC
Former "American Idol" contestant Constantine Maroulis confirms on his personal website that he has signed a development deal for a new sitcom with ABC and Kelsey Grammer's Grammnet Productions. Maroulis finished sixth in the most recent season of "Idol" on Fox. In addition to singing, he has an acting background, having studied theater at the Boston conservatory. While the current plan is to cast Maroulis in a sitcom, which is in the very early stages of development, his contract also gives ABC the option of casting him in another comedy or drama project.

WB combines programming departments
David Janollari, President/Entertainment of the WB Network announced plans to blend its comedy and alternative programming departments into one entity, Comedy and Alternative Programming Development. The new department will be helmed by two WB development veterans, Tracey Pakosta and Keith Cox, each with the title of Executive VP/Comedy and Alternative. Director of comedy development Tal Rabinowitz, along with Eliot Goldberg, vice president, alternative programming, and Jennifer Levi, director, alternative programming, will also be part of the realigned unit. Rabinowitz, Goldberg and Levi will report to both Cox and Pakosta. "As we've seen first hand with 'Beauty and the Geek' and elsewhere on the TV landscape, there's a fine line between comedy and reality programming, and melding these two departments will create more opportunity for us to find big, funny hit shows, whether they're scripted or not," said Janollari.


Ratings & Research
Nielsen Outdoor to be new currency in South Africa
Nielsen Outdoor announced it has been awarded the contract for measuring South African outdoor advertising ratings by the world-recognized South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) - the advertising industry sponsored body that controls advertising audience research in South Africa. Harnessing the power of GPS through the Npod device (Nielsen Personal Outdoor Device), Nielsen Outdoor will provide demo information plus reach, frequency and outdoor ratings data, to all SAARF stakeholders - - advertisers, agencies and outdoor media companies. Outdoor media buyers and sellers in South Africa will be able to use audience measurements that are similar to traditional ratings data used to plan radio, TV and print. The South African service will roll out nationwide from 2006 to 2008, covering key metros as well as smaller urban and rural areas.


Stock Talk
A mixed Monday
Stock prices were mixed on Monday, with investors encouraged by lower oil prices, but concerned about a negative report that showed a sharp rise in prices that manufacturers are paying for raw materials. The Dow Industrials fell 33 points, or 0.3%, to 10,535. The S&P 500 was down slightly, but the Nasdaq Composite up slightly.

TV stocks were also mixed. Media General had the best day, up 1.3%. The worst performer was Nexstar, down 3.3%.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Monday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

3.95

+0.06

Media General

MEG

58.75

+0.74

Belo

BLC

23.19

+0.33

Meredith

MDP

49.81

-0.08

Clear Channel

CCU

32.89

unch

News Corp.

NWS

16.29

-0.21

Disney

DIS

24.01

-0.12

Nexstar

NXST

5.54

-0.19

Emmis

EMMS

21.92

-0.18

NY Times

NYT

29.28

-0.47

Entravision

EVC

7.79

-0.08

Paxson

PAX

0.44

-0.01

Fisher

FSCI

47.00

+0.44

Saga Commun.

SGA

13.36

+0.06

Gannett

GCI

68.62

-0.21

SBS

SBSA

7.27

+0.09

Gen. Electric

GE

33.23

-0.44

Scripps

SSP

50.29

+0.32

Granite

GBTVK

0.36

-0.03

Sinclair

SBGI

8.84

-0.03

Gray

GTN

10.40

-0.19

Time Warner

TWX

18.06

-0.05

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

9.92

+0.02

Tribune

TRB

33.97

+0.08

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

25.76

+0.14

Univision

UVN

26.55

+0.02

Jeff-Pilot

JP

51.36

+0.19

Viacom, Cl. A

VIA

33.17

-0.05

Journal Comm.

JRN

14.93

+0.03

Viacom, Cl. B

VIAb

32.98

-0.03

Liberty Corp

LC

47.05

+0.16

Wash. Post

WPO

806.50

+4.00

LIN TV

TVL

13.97

+0.02

Young

YBTVA

3.63

+0.14

McGraw-Hill

MHP

47.55

-0.49

-

-

-

-

-


Bounceback

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


TV Media Moves

Berg upped at Fox
Sharri Berg has been promoted to Sr. VP of News Operations for the Fox Television Stations Group. She'll continue to head news operations for Fox News as well. In her new role, Berg will work on ensuring production and operation synergy between the Fox stations, Fox news and Twentieth Television. She will report to Jack Abernethy, CEO of the Fox Television Stations Group.


International

Canada's CBC, unions reach a deal
The Canadian Broadcast Corp. has reached a tentative deal with its main union to end a seven-week lockout that had kept most television and radio shows off the air. Although managers are maintaining a reduced news service, most regular programming has been replaced by repeats. The union said members would keep on picketing CBC buildings until a deal could be struck on returning to work. The CBC, which barred 5,500 Canadian Media Guild members from going to work in August over a contract dispute -- said in a statement on its website that the agreement still had to be ratified. CBC locked out the employees after the union rejected a contract offer that it said would boost the number of temporary employees. CBC initially said the original offer would make the company more efficient. The deal was struck after the government, under increasing pressure from the public and its own legislators to end the lockout, last week asked both sides to meet in Ottawa for continued negotiations, reported Reuters. One important consideration was the start of the regular ice hockey season this week.


RBR Radio News

RBR Observation:
HD Radio needs creative thinking
HD Radio is a marvelous opportunity for radio to re-brand itself. While we applaud Cox Radio for taking the initiative to survey consumers on what sort of numbering system for HD Radio they'd be most comfortable with (9/30/05 RBR #192), we hope the folks at Cox will expand the range of options beyond those which begin with the current mHz designations for the FM band as a base. The current system was designed by engineers, not marketers. It is cumbersome and not consumer-friendly. HD Radio presents broadcasters with an opportunity to start over with a better branding approach that doesn't use a "point-anything" or tack on letters A, B, C, D, which infer that anything besides "A" is a step-child channel. We at RBR have come up with a proposal which uses consumer-friendly numbers and allows for future multicasting expansion by giving each current licensee a range of 10 channel numbers to use. It would keep AM HD pretty much in line with the current numbering scheme, dropping the kHz designation, to have HD Channels 530 through 1709. FM HD would then begin at HD Channel 2000 and run through 3009. These designations would avoid duplicating channel numbers already widely used by TV and satellite radio. People can easily remember four-digit numbers, just like their phone number or ATM pin. In fact, we believe it is easier to remember "Channel 26-80" (people will remember it as a pair of two-digit numbers) than one-oh-one-point-five. A consumer will find it easy to remember that their favorite stations are "Today's County 23-10," "Country Giant 27-20" and "Classic Country 27-21," that the local weather is on 29-41 and that they also like "Rob and Laura in the Morning" on "Q-670." That's our suggestion and you can see the whole thing here.

| View the List |

We'd like your feedback - - or maybe you have an even better idea. We want to hear from you by email via [email protected]. This is an important crossroads for radio and some creative thinking is needed.


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

Rehr-ing to go?
Advertising, particularly as it relates to the beer industry, has been a prime area of concern for National Beer Wholesalers Association President David Rehr, as TVBR reported first last Thursday, is widely expected to take over the office of Eddie Fritts at the National Association of Broadcasters. This is at least one area of overlapping concern from between the two associations, and Rehr's position at NBWA should dovetail easily with that commonly held by broadcasters - - that advertising is a form of free speech and should be under as little restriction as possible. TVBR observation: Broadcasters key inside edge as one result of BCRA is that Rehr spent much of the 2003 Republican National Convention holding parties and tapping kegs for one group of convention attendees or another, according the USA Today. He complained that there was little else he could do with his "soft" money. Rehr's ties to the Republican Party are indeed extensive, and the roots run deep. According to New Republic, he was very much involved in the Tom Delay (R-TX) strategy to fill Washington's unofficial Lobbyist Row, otherwise known as K Street, with Republicans, and further achieved Pioneer status with the campaign of George W. Bush for bringing in 100K in contributions. For NAB an entirely red president could pose a problem - - red can be good for issues on the business side of the equation, but the blue, or Democratic side, is often necessary to when other issue! s, like free speech and reasonable indecency standards are on the table.
10/03/05 TVBR #193

Local Sales Edge
Top Ten searches in Yellow Pages

Restaurants, physicians, automobiles and lawyers are among the Top Ten categories searched by Americans when accessing the print and online Yellow Pages, according to research announced today by the Yellow Pages Association.
MBR observation: OK here is your local sales edge - If you were looking for local ad sales leads and did not know where to start the Yellow Pages Association just did the work for you so now use their findings against them. Gather your data or a marketing presentation and then get the client on your website. Always mention in the spot where to find out more about the advertiser, such as your stations website, used properly it brings the consumer in to get the information they want and need.
10/03/05 TVBR #193

RBR Poll result – TV Learn
Convention Needs or Melt Down

The RBR staff and attendees returned from NAB 2005 Philly with mixed emotions and questions on the future and direction of the radio business. In short - No time to either sing praise or be critical but the time is now to think the balance of the decade as 37.5% of RBR readers see a stronger need for a pure radio convention than the 16.9% of an NAB and R&R joint convention.
TVBR observation: Lesson here for TV and ad agency associations because radio usually is the first to screw up and then try to undue a mess. Learn from it now and not make the same mistake yourself. Consolidation in all areas will continue and in some cases is necessary but the key is to find the right partner before you get engaged.
10/03/05 RBR #193


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