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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 198, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Monday Morning October 10th, 2005

TV News®

Mullen out at Tribune Broadcasting
After several quarters of soft revenues for its TV group, which the company has been blaming on Nielsen's Local People Meters (LPM), Tribune Company announced late Friday that Pat Mullen had resigned at President of Tribune Broadcasting. Mullen had been head of the broadcast group since January 2003 (1/8/03 TVBR #6), having joined the company in 1998 when Tribune acquired WXMI-TV Grand Rapids, where he was VP/GM. Exactly what led to Mullen's departure wasn't disclosed. He told RBR/TVBR: "It's time for a change for me and I'm sincerely happy and looking forward to the next chapter in my life. Lot's of possibilities and I'll take time to consider all options." Coincidentally, Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded Tribune Company's issue default rating to A- from A and said the company's outlook is negative. Fitch noted Tribune's higher debt level, resulting from payment of an 800 million payment to the IRS for a tax bill that the company is still fighting in court. Tribune Broadcasting owns 26 TV stations, WGN-AM Chicago, WGN Superstation and the Chicago Cubs.

TVBR observation: Pat Mullen has been one of the most vociferous opponents of LPMs. He wrote the May letter co-signed by 16 other TV groups (6/1/05 TVBR #107) which succeeded in getting Nielsen to temporarily delay its LPM rollout in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, although not in getting the ratings company to put the entire project on hold until it got all of its LPM markets accredited by the Media Rating Council (MRC). Mullen also testified on Capitol Hill against LPMs and in favor of Sen. Conrad Burns' (R-MT) to make MRC accreditation mandatory for any TV rating service (7/28/05 TVBR #147). It will be interesting now to see if Tribune continues to be a leader in the campaign against LPMs, or if Mullen's successor - - yet to be named - - will decide to deal with the new ratings currency as a fact of life.

Broadcast stocks still in doldrums
Three quarters of the way through 2005, investors remain sour on radio and TV stocks, with very few exceptions. The way to make Wall Street happy, it appears, is to sell assets. Of the 35 TV stocks that TVBR follows, a grand total of four were in positive territory for 2005 through the end of September. The big mover was Emmis, which rose 15.2% - - all quite recently - - not because of its operating performance, but because it bought back a huge chunk of its stock and sold off most of its TV group (with the rest of the sell-off coming soon). Likewise, Liberty Corporation jumped to a 6.7% gain after it agreed to sell its entire TV group to Raycom. The other two are up for reasons having nothing to do with their TV holdings - - Scripps because of its fast-growing cable networks business and McGraw-Hill because of its education business. Ominously, two TV stocks have fallen into penny stock hell this year (below five bucks a share) - - ACME and Young - - with Nexstar in danger of joining them. For yet another quarter, read 'em and weep.
| View the Numbers |

FCC's indecency education site may build posse
The Federal Communications Commission has put together a new user-friendly website designed to educate the public about the "...laws governing the airing of obscene, indecent and profane material." It will also provide a history of the FCC's enforcement activities and include a section addressing frequently asked questions. Finally, it will explain in full how to go about filing a complaint, and will further explain what happens to it once filed, and how to track its progress through the Commission. While at one time citizen complaints tended to get hung up on lack of evidence in tape or transcript form, the FCC makes it clear such evidence is no longer necessary, although still recommended. The site says, "The key is to provide enough information for staff to determine both the specific content of the complained-of material and the context in which it was broadcast."

TVBR observation: Complaints in 2005 have been down compared to 2004, and dropped drastically in Q2 of 2005. Let's see if this ratchets them back up again. We don't think it will. The key to getting a huge windfall of complaints is getting a campaign organized by the groups which do that sort of thing. There likely will never be a huge windfall of originally-written and submitted complaints. Still, it only takes one...


Broadcasters get support from Digital TV Coalition
An organization of organizations calling itself the Smart Digital TV Coalition went to Capitol Hill last week to push for resolution of three critical issues pending in the DTV transition: set-top box compensation, multicast must carry and consumer education and outreach. The group is comprised of labor, rural, religious and minority organizations. Groups like the NAB will be particularly pleased by the coalition's stance on multicast, which it says will bring, "...local news and weather, foreign language and other quality programming to viewers across the country." It argues that a multicast mandate is critical to make this programming a reality. "Inclusion of multicast must carry language in final bills will prevent cable from stripping out valuable multicast programming and will ensure that elderly, rural and minority residents will not be deprived of access to vital information," said Larry Mitchell, spokesperson, for coalition member Alliance for Rural Television. The group further argues that set-top boxes and consumer education must be taken into account. "Rural residents, minorities and elderly Americans will be disenfranchised and disproportionately affected if these issues are not addressed," said Manuel Mirabal, Chair of the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership.
| see coalition members listed here |

News Corp. sued over poison pill
A group of investors, mostly from Australia, sued News Corporation in Delaware Chancery Court on Friday, seeking to negate the poison pill provision that the company's board of directors extended in August. The shareholder lawsuit claims that News Corp. management acted fraudulently by extending the poison pill measure, after publicly stating that it would not be extended without a vote by shareholders. The company insists that the lawsuit is "frivolous." Meanwhile, though, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which advises big investors on proxy votes, urged its clients to vote against the reelection of all four News Corp. board members on the ballot this month, including President and COO Peter Chernin, because of the poison pill extension. ISS called the poison pill extension "a breach of trust between the board and its shareholders.

TVBR observation: Maybe the FTC should get involved with a "false advertising" investigation. After all, News Corp. and every other company that's ever adopted a poison pill has fraudulently labeled it a "shareholder rights" provision. In fact, it is the opposite - - a provision to entrench management to the detriment of shareholders. So what is News Corp. management afraid of? It has not been able to come to terms with John Malone over Liberty Media's 18% stake in News Corp., second only to the 30% voting stake held by Rupert Murdoch and his family. Under the poison pill, News Corp. would issue additional stock to every shareholder except Liberty if Malone were to increase his stake without approval from the News Corp. board.

Allbritton leaving Allbritton
Don't get excited. Joe L. Allbritton has relinquished his last remaining titles at Allbritton Communications (Chairman of the Executive Committee and a director), but he'll still be Chairman of the Board of Directors of Perpetual Corporation, the ultimate parent of Allbritton Communications. There are still two folks with Allbritton as their last name on the TV company's board: Robert L., who's Chairman and CEO, and Barbara B. The only other director remaining is Frederick J. Ryan Jr.


Adbiz©

More buyers on dealing with Katrina's aftermath
In our November RBR/TVBR Solutions magazine, we ask stations (including Entercom New Orleans Market Manager Phil Hoover and WWL-TV GM Bud Brown), engineers, agencies and rep firms about life during and after Katrina. In our AdBiz section, agencies and reps speak about how Katrina affected marketing, planning and buying for clients. How are media agencies working through this? More excerpts:

Matt Feinberg,
SVP/National Radio, Zenith Media Services:

"We couldn't even get in touch with anybody. Some of the station group owners were telling us they were sending people down there to find out what was going on. So we've been actively trying to put out public service-type messages to people in the area. It wasn't easy and the issue wasn't completely resolved."

Pat McNew, PHD EVP/Local Media Network (LMN)
Director of Operations:
"At this point we are taking it client by client, particularly on the automotive side of the equation. Chrysler/Jeep and Dodge cut back on schedules and moved start dates further back into October. Much of the situation depends on how many dealerships are operative, how much inventory is available, and how extensive the damage has been to each location."

Jon Mandel, Chairman/MediaCom US and Chief Global Buying Officer MediaCom Worldwide:
"Everybody tried to do the right thing. I've got to say the broadcast community stepped up big-time for their communities. This is something the broadcast community should be very proud of, and way to show why we need to have a free over-the-air broadcast system in this country.

Their full thoughts in our November issue.

RDS creates P.R.I.A. new business development system
Emmis Communications' Revenue Development Systems (RDS) announced the release of the P.R.I.A. New Business Development System to increase local, direct revenue for media companies. The system, developed with input from radio and television sales managers, focuses on the customer-focused sales process: Prospecting, Research, Ideas and Appointments. According to Elaine Clark, General Manager for RDS, "The RDS P.R.I.A. system pulls research tools, coaching, promotional ideas, and appointment steps into a single, strategic and customer-focused approach. The outcome is that sellers spend more time in front of clients and less time in the office. Other services offer research services or training. But the RDS P.R.I.A. system is the only product that incorporates all of these elements into a cohesive, structured program." Enhancements are scheduled to be released in the coming months. Among the new features are MarketPro! online research tool and The One Minute Revenue Generator.

DirecTV launches effort
promoting DVR

DIRECTV is introducing a 30 million-dollar effort today to promote its new digital video recorder. The campaign, via BBDO Worldwide NY, explains the benefits of DirecTV's new DVR service in language easily understood by people who are not early adopters of technology. "We've taken everyday real situations, and are balancing people's passion for TV with their passion for their families and other things in their lives," Al Merrin, vice chairman and executive creative director of BBDO NY, told the NY Times. A print ad shows the roof of a house against a starry night sky; one arrow in the sky points up to the DirecTV satellite that "broadcasts the amazing hole in one" of a golf game while another arrow points down to the DirecTV DVR in the house that "lets you watch it over and over without missing the next hole." The ad also describes features including the ability to record a whole season of shows, and to pause and rewind live TV. One TV spot depicts a child asking his father, who is watching a football game on TV, to read to him; the father can do this and record the game simultaneously, thanks to his DVR. In another spot, a teacher asks a student to name her favorite person; the student says it is her "daddy, because he lets me watch cartoons all the time, even during the game." The tag reads, "Somebody up there loves you, DirecTV." The campaign is running on network and cable shows like "Desperate Housewives," "CSI: NY" and "SportsCenter," and in magazines like Entertainment Weekly, Men's Journal and Cargo. Ads will also run on radio and in newspapers in the Top 20 markets. DirecTV plans to spend 30 million on the DVR campaign in Q4, says The Times. According to TNS Media Intelligence, ad spend has increased annually since 2001, growing from 175 million that year to 237 million last year.


Media Business Report
Susquehanna Radio
headed to Cumulus?

Even the New York Times is now in on the speculation about bidding for the Pfaltzgraff radio empire, pegging the price at north of 1B (sure better be!). Cumulus is said to be working with Bain Capital and Blackstone Group (the latter of which was just in on the fourth Emmis television station deal). Cable assets are said to be headed to Comcast. Caution: The writing is still in pencil - - there was said to be ample opportunity for either deal to fall apart, or for new 11th hour bids to emerge. Citadel is the only company mentioned to be on the outside looking in at this point. A formal announcement is said to be coming this week.

MBR observation: The Cumulus rumor had already been widely reported here and elsewhere in the trade and financial press. Maybe the deal is at hand now that the "Gray Lady" has even heard about it. Adding impetus to the focus on Cumulus is word received by RBR that UBS asked for additional bids on just Susquehanna's Kansas City stations - - the one market where a Cumulus-Susquehanna combination would run afoul of the FCC's ownership limits. Susquehanna's 30-station portfolio would definitely upgrade Cumulus' presence in the top 50 markets, and would give the group's HQ staff its first opportunity to tune in an O&O from corporate headquarters in Atlanta. We are hearing some concerns from Wall Street though about whether Lew Dickey can devote proper attention to running both a public company, Cumulus, and a private one in which Cumulus would have only a minority stake.


Washington Beat
RTNDA reiterates call
for SCOTUS cameras
The Radio-Television News Directors Association has wasted no time bending the ear - - or more technically, the eyes - - of Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts. The association wants radio and television admitted into the court to cover its proceedings. Wrote RTNDA president Barbara Cochran, "Just as the public is given meaningful access to an overwhelming number of state courts through audiovisual coverage, it should be given meaningful access to the arguments made before this Court, many of which involve profound social, political and legal issues. Chief Justice Rehnquist recognized the merits of allowing the citizenry to witness the events taking place inside the Court when, in response to requests from RTNDA and others, he released audiotapes of the oral arguments in Bush vs. Gore." Cochran called for immediate audio releases on courtroom proceedings, while calling for full electronic access to the court. "In the present day, however, meaningful access necessarily means televised proceedings - - only television has the ability to provide the public with a close visual and aural approximation of actually witnessing judicial proceedings without physical attendance. When electronic coverage is banned, the public is forced to depend on secondhand accounts filtered by the perceptions of reporters, which necessarily limits their understanding of the judicial process." A bipartisan bill to get cameras into SCOTUS has been introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), and co-sponsored by Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Russell Feingold (D-WI), John Cornyn (R-TX) and George Allen (R-VA).


Monday Morning Makers & Shakers

Transactions: 8/29/05-9/2/05
Another piece of the Emmis televsion sell-off hit the memory banks of the FCC, and another smaller deal was announced for a pair of small-market Nebraska televison stations. One radio deal of note hits the database as well, adding up to a fairly hefty pricetag for what was otherwise an extremely quiet week.

8/29/05-9/2/05

Total

Total Deals

9

AMs

4

FMs

6

TVs

5
Value
272.58M
| Complete Charts |
Radio Transactions of the Week
MainQuad segues to Main Line
| More...
|
TV Transactions of the Week
Emmis sell-off continues
| More...
|


Transactions
9.5M KHAS-TV Lincoln-Hastings-Kearney (Hastings NE) & KNOP-TV North Platte NE from Greater Nebraska Television Inc. (Cynthia S. Walker) to Hoak Media of Nebraska LLC (James M. Hoak, Eric D. Van den Branden). 475K escrow, balance in cash at closing. Deal includes six LPTVs, including one carrying Fox in the North Platte DMA. KHAS is an NBC affiliate on Channel 5; KNOP is an NBC affiliate on Channel 2. [File date 9/2/05.]


Stock Talk
Stocks edge up on jobs news
A slightly better than expected jobs report from the Labor Department gave stocks a modest nudge on Friday. The Dow Industrials rose five points to 10,292.

TV stocks were a bit higher as well. Fisher rebounded 3.6% from the previous day's decline. Entravision rose 3.2%.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Friday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

3.90

-0.15

Media General

MEG

57.12

+0.15

Belo

BLC

22.68

+0.25

Meredith

MDP

50.56

-0.34

Clear Channel

CCU

31.61

+0.07

News Corp.

NWS

15.82

-0.14

Disney

DIS

24.10

+0.01

Nexstar

NXST

5.30

-0.04

Emmis

EMMS

20.86

+0.14

NY Times

NYT

28.92

+0.12

Entravision

EVC

8.05

+0.25

Paxson

PAX

0.44

+0.02

Fisher

FSCI

45.77

+1.58

Saga Commun.

SGA

13.21

-0.10

Gannett

GCI

67.13

+0.03

SBS

SBSA

7.00

+0.03

Gen. Electric

GE

34.22

+0.63

Scripps

SSP

49.31

-0.21

Granite

GBTVK

0.32

+0.02

Sinclair

SBGI

8.61

+0.16

Gray

GTN

10.05

-0.19

Time Warner

TWX

18.01

+0.09

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

9.78

+0.02

Tribune

TRB

33.44

+0.01

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

25.32

-0.06

Univision

UVN

25.99

+0.09

Jeff-Pilot

JP

50.79

-0.40

Viacom, Cl. A

VIA

31.99

+0.25

Journal Comm.

JRN

14.51

-0.10

Viacom, Cl. B

VIAb

31.89

+0.21

Liberty Corp

LC

46.81

+0.08

Wash. Post

WPO

775.50

-11.75

LIN TV

TVL

13.22

+0.12

Young

YBTVA

3.07

-0.16

McGraw-Hill

MHP

47.04

+0.19

-

-

-

-

-


Bounceback

Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you.

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

More feedback on
numbering HD Radio


Hi Folks,
Your proposal for FM HD Radio multichannel numbering is going to cause significant consumer confusion. There isn't any way we could promote 2070 as a number that any of our listeners could understand. We can use 89.3 HD-2 and 89.3 HD-3 and 89.3 HD-4 as this reinforces our main frequency position (which our analog listeners understand) and those with HD Radios will understand. We are using the 89.3 HD-2 numbering system and will not use any other system.

Mike Pappas
Chief Engineer
KUVO Jazz 89
Denver-Boulder, CO

Interesting concept. However, in consideration of the HD Radio FM band plan, I am surprised that the RBR's *marketing* minds did not first conceive of the importance of retaining the original frequency in modified form to preserve the station *brand* This is why the engineers involved in HD Radio's development elected to formulate the current multicast ID method - - in an effort to think like marketers, not engineers.

Paul Christensen
Law Office of
Paul B. Christensen, P.A.
Jacksonville, FL


TV Media Moves

KMEX: One upped,
one added

Ingrid Luquetta has been promoted to Executive Producer of the 6:00 pm newscast at Univision's KMEX-TV (Ch. 34) Los Angeles. She had been Sr. Producer. Andres Angulo joins the station as Executive Producer of the 11:00 pm newscast. He had been News Director of Entravision's KPMR-TV (Ch. 38, UNI), Santa Barbara.


More News Headlines

RBR - Radio News

RBR Observation: More on numbering HD Radio
We've been gratified at the feedback we're getting from readers on how HD Radio should be numbered - - our proposal (10/4//05 RBR #194), the Cox Radio proposal or some other option. While one reader suggested that no numbering system was needed at all and that HD multicast channels should be promoted by name, much like cable TV networks, that's really not going to be possible anytime soon. That would require HD receivers to have some sort of mini-browser. Maybe a good idea for the distant future, but for the roll-out of HD some sort of channel numbering system will be essential, just as it still is for cable TV. If we want to watch TNT down here in Bradenton, Florida, we have to know to go to channel 33. So, if you name an HD programming service "The Big Whammer-Jammer," you're still going to have to put some sort of channel number on your billboards to tell potential listeners how to find it. How would the Cox proposal work? We've run the numbers.
| Read More... |


October RBR/TVBR Digital Magazine

GM Talkback
TV and Radio GM's talk about Local auto dealer ad dollars and what trends they see.

One on One with Julie Roehm,
Chrylser Group's Director of Marketing Communications


Read RBR/TVBR in 2 simple steps:
1.Create a simple account with Zinio and download the Zinio Reader.
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October Issue of RBR/TVBR


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

Fox poaches Swanson from CBS
Having been passed over for the top TV O&O group job at the new CBS Corp., Dennis Swanson has been lured away by News Corporation to become President of Station Operations, Fox Television Stations Group. He'll report to work today, reporting to Jack Abernethy, CEO, Fox Television Stations Group.
TVBR observation: Rather than sitting back for a while and then drawing a retirement check from CBS (to go with the one he already gets from GE/NBC), Swanson was ready to take on a new challenge. Swanson was asked during the TVB conference this year when he would retire and his answer was, "When I stop having fun." This statement makes for one dangerous man as he feels no pressure and with the experience plus having fun is a pure formula for success.
10/07/05 TVBR #197

Stevens: Four goals of DTV bill
They include increasing public safety, advancing service to the American consumer, advancing the transition to DTV and finding a way to pay for it all. On the we-all-can-take-a-deep-breath-and-relax-a-little-bit front, Stevens noted that there was a certain futility to calls for move the hard deadline for the transition significantly forward.
TVBR observation: If 10/19/05 is going to be the big day, the Committee still has much to accomplish. One of the first things Stevens mentioned to MSTV was multicasting. One of the last things he said was that there was much he could not yet discuss - - including multicasting. That gives NAB and NCTA two more weeks to lock antlers.
10/06/05 TVBR #196

Mandel comments on Apollo issues
I think that the Apollo Project is a great idea. It's something that advertisers want. It will be, ideally, multimedia. And ideally, these things are paid for by the advertisers and the media companies and the advertising agencies - - all of the people that would use the information. And everybody has to put in equally. Everybody has the potential to get a benefit out of Apollo, so everybody should have some skin in the game..."
TVBR observation: One thing we respect about Mandel puts his money where his mouth is - period - and you always know where you stand when you go toe to toe with him.
10/05/05 TVBR #195

Consumer Reports gives
thumbs up to HDTV
Are all but unanimous in their praise of high-definition television." But what about consumers? The answer - - they too are all but unanimous. Only issue with consumers - Not enough programming content.
TVBR observation: All in all, this is good news for HD Radio as well. If people like what they hear, they will want to move from analog to digital. But the content has to be compelling. The biggest complaint that came up in the Consumer Reports survey was the lack of high-def programming for people to look at on their HDTV screens. Remember Content is King.
10/05/05 TVBR #195

VNU is in a Dizzy -
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 is that VNU may look at selling its trade publishing unit, including Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter.
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.
10/04/05 TVBR #194


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Keep Your PC Clean

With the ever growing importance of computers in our daily lives and our businesses, it is important to remember that software and hardware often need attention too.
Rules For The Road To 2006:

1. Windows Update
(run it every two weeks)
2. Microsoft is putting out "critical" updates every month. Turn Auto-Update On. When it asks you to install the new updates - say Yes!
3. Virus Protection (make sure your system is up to date) Norton, McAfee - all flavors of the same ice cream. We like ice cream right?
4. Application Updates - Office - Lotus Notes, all software typically has updates, make sure you update your software once per month.


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