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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 220, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning November 9th, 2005

TV News®

Alarcon skewered for move into TV
Spanish Broadcasting System CEO Raul Alarcon remains upbeat about his decision to purchase the company's first TV station (7/14/05 TVBR #137), but investors are more skeptical. More than once during yesterday's quarterly conference call the move into TV was criticized for dragging down the company's stock price. One irate money manager suggested that SBS should walk away from the 37.5 million bucks purchase, saying it had cost the company some 300 million in market capitalization on Wall Street. "You've gone in my book from a free cash flow generator after your refinancing really to an entity with unknown spending habits and potentially more spending down the road - - a real black hole," the investor said. "I would say you should either take the company private or cancel your TV deal and use the money you'd earmarked for that to buy back stock at these very depressed levels or remove the two-class share structure and either put the company up for sale or pair up with a much larger entity and then you could get the valuation you deserve," he continued. Alarcon's response: "I'll take all of your comments under advisement." But earlier in the call he had hailed the pending TV deal, which is expected to close in December, as a good move for SBS in its home market. "We know this market better than anyone," he insisted. Alarcon said programming would be revealed later, with a launch set for January. He also said the SBS Miami sales team had signed its first advertiser for the TV project - - the Toyota Distributors of South Florida.

TVBR observation: "...unknown spending habits and potentially more spending down the road - - a real black hole," Ouch! - That had to hurt. Trust SBS's solid board will deliver the guidance to Alarcon before he has to report his fourth quarter earnings as the words said above by financial critics will be even harsher. Next year is the year that Wall Street will also have to be held accountable - time to get tough.

Q3 uptick in indecency complaints
Over 26K complainants contacted the FCC in Q3 2005 regarding alleged indecent or obscene broadcast programming. The vast bulk of the complaining was done in July, when over 23.5K of the total came in. Still, these numbers pale in comparison to those put up earlier. The four-quarter trend going back to Q4 2004 is 317.8K to 157.7K to 6.2K - - so Q3 represents a slight increase over Q2 and does not even approach the totals of the prior two quarters.

TVBR observation: The big surprise is the latest complaint report is that there were only 13 complaints received concerning accessibility issues - - and only six of those came in September, when all the hurricane activity was wreaking havoc on broadcasting operations in the Gulf Coast area. The FCC is looking into expanding EAS requirements to make sure that non-English-speakers and disabled individuals are reached during emergencies. The lack of activity in this category is another indication that broadcasters once again did their level best to serve their communities in a time of crisis.

Fox hit with EEOC suit
Fox News Network will be heading into the US District Court in Manhattan after being named in a sexual harassment suit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of an ex-employee. According to the Associated Press, a number of problems were cited, including the use of obscenities by an FNN exec when discussing women, and an alleged statement in a staff meeting that men were preferable hires than women because the latter are likely to get pregnant and exit. EEOC also charges that women tended to be placed by FNN in free-lance positions, which provide less benefit and less opportunity. FNN says the allegations have already been dealt with internally, and the suit is without merit.

Young Broadcasting likes Sex
The San Francisco market continues to be soft - - although "it's less weak than it was" Young Broadcasting CEO Vincent Young told analysts - - so Young Broadcasting is being heavily impacted by having its largest station, KRON-TV (Ch. 4, Ind.) in the City by the Bay. But the company notes that ratings have been "dramatically higher" for "Sex and the City" than the programming it replaced, so it expects to attract more advertising in primetime as the market recovers. Meanwhile, Young is looking forward to the 2006 election season. There will be both a gubernatorial and senate election in California, the same in New York, an open senate seat in Tennessee (where Young has two stations) and an open race for governor in Iowa. Meanwhile, Vincent Young says the company's "third leg" sales initiative to expand the local advertiser base in each market has been producing good results. Local revenues at the company's network affiliate stations were up 9.5% in Q3.

Stevens on the hunt for a fifth
The FCC comes under the watchful eye of the Senate Commerce Committee, and according to Reuters, its head - - Ted Stevens (R-AK) is getting ready to do what the White House has not - - find a candidate to fill the fifth seat on the Commission, a piece of Republican furniture which has been empty since Michael Powell vacated it last spring. It is not unusual at all for legislators to put forth names for such positions. Both Democrats on the Commission were suggested by senators, Michael Copps by now-retired Ernest Hollings (D-SC) and Jonathan Adelstein by defeated former minority leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). Although several possibilities have surfaced on the rumor wire since last spring, there have been none lately, and the Republicans really need to find two warm bodies, since Kathleen Abernathy has made no secret of her desire to exit as soon as possible.

TVBR observation: Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has managed to push through a certain amount of his agenda despite the 2-2 vote he faces on contentious issues. The problem is, he's running out of those kind of issues. To say that polarized positions have already been staked out on the upcoming court-ordered reconsideration of media ownership rules would be the understatement of the new millennium. One final note to Senator Stevens - - is it healthy to throw yourself into FCC staffing recommendations? Hollings recommended a commissioner, and Daschle recommended a commissioner, and now both are out of work. Hmmmmm.....

Perhaps the FCC doth want you to protest too much
The creation of a special FCC complaint form just to handle indecency broadcasts, along with the efforts to highlight its existence while a more general complaint form stays largely in the shadows, has raised the eyebrows on at least one Washington legal eagle. Attorney David D. Oxenford of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, noting the spotlight in FCC Form 475B, specifically for indecency, and the background role assigned to the general purpose FCC Form 475, said, "Thus, the Commission seems to have focused its electronic broadcast complaint process on this single issue - - though, of course, complaints on other issues can be filed without using the form. Links to the Form 475B are already active on the FCC Homepage from any number of Consumer and Complaint headings on that page. Together with the webpage that the FCC announced last month, outlining for the public the elements of obscene and indecent speech, this action makes clear the FCC's continuing interest in, and focus on, broadcast indecency. Imminent Commission action on a multitude of pending indecency complaints is rumored, as is further Congressional action to raise the penalties for such speech. Thus, the broadcaster should beware.

Conference Calls 2005
Young down double digits in Q3
With little in the way of political ads this year and a struggling market in San Francisco dragging on its largest station, Young Broadcasting reported that Q3 revenues were down 12.2% to 47.5 million. Although few analysts cover the penny stock company these days, the single analyst who reports to Thomson/First call had been expecting a 10% decline. Although Young did some cost-cutting, broadcast cash flow declined from 10 million a year ago to less than four million. The company reported a loss from continuing operations of 21.2 million, up from a loss of 12.1 million in Q3 of 2004.

SBS below expectations
Spanish broadcasters continue to outpace their English peers, but Spanish Broadcasting System posted Q3 growth of only 5% to 43 million bucks, missing Wall Street expectations by a percentage point. Much of that growth was due to the addition of KRZZ-FM San Francisco, which added 1.3 million in revenues for the quarter. Same station revenues were up 3%. Looking to the current quarter, SBS said Q4 revenues should be up in the low single digits. Meanwhile, SBS expects to receive an additional 20 million installment from Styles Media on its pending sale of KZAB-FM & KZBA-FM in the LA and Riverside-San Bernardino markets. That will make a total of 55 million in non-refundable payments from Styles. Alarcon told analysts he remains confident that Styles will be able to complete the 120 million purchase, but he noted that there are other would-be buyers interested if not, or that SBS itself could again program the stations itself.

ACME up in Q3, but warns of Q4 decline
With an 18.5 million bucks sale of KUWB-TV (Ch. 30, WB) Salt Lake City to Clear Channel pending, that station's loss is being treated as a "discontinued operation" by ACME Communications, enabling the company to show a 7% gain in net revenues for Q3 to 10.1 million. That came from a 4% gain in station revenues and a whopping 186% increase in revenues from the syndicated "The Daily Buzz," which ACME owns 50/50 with Emmis. Broadcast cash flow for the quarter decreased slightly to 580K from 642K a year earlier. But Q4 is looking tougher. With national business soft, ACME says to expect Q4 revenues to be down 3-6% and BCF to drop by about half. "Looking ahead, we are encouraged by the quality of The WB's new programs this fall and remain hopeful the network will return to a positive rating trend this season. The WB will reprogram weekday afternoons starting in January 2006 with shows targeting adult demographics. The Kids WB! Block has become a drag on station revenue and ratings as the cable networks have taken control of that business. The new schedule is a growth opportunity for ACME. We remain committed to exploring all strategic options that are available to the Company with regard to monetizing our assets and unlocking value for our shareholders," said CEO Jamie Kellner.


Siemens and Disney sign sponsorship deal
Siemens and Disney worked a 12-year alliance expanding the technology infrastructure they already share to include marketing and promotional rights, attraction sponsorships and a promotional presence that features Siemens products and services at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California. As part of the deal, Siemens will sponsor several rides and attractions at Walt Disney World Resort including the Epcot icon, "SpaceShip Earth," the nighttime Epcot fireworks show, "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth," as well as new attractions that will be incorporated into Innoventions both at Epcot and at Disneyland Resort. The Sylvania lighting division of Siemens will sponsor Disney-MGM Studio's holiday light show -- "Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights," as well as "Disney's Electrical Parade" and "Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams" at Disneyland. Siemens also will build on its existing relationship with Disney Media Network's and ESPN by sponsoring ABC's video board at Times Square.

"Blind Date" deal struck with Sony Ericsson, Bally's
NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution's "Blind Date" is partnering with Sony Ericsson and Bally's Total Fitness to kick off the November Sweeps with "The Ultimate Blind Date Mobile Match-Up," announced today by Betsy Bergman, Vice President, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution Marketing. The campaign will take place across the nation in 15 top markets including Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco. It kicks off with the show's new dating scenario, "Project Blind Date." Viewers will be able to watch five select daters (three women and two men) on their dating journeys as they come closer to finding their perfect Blind Date each week. The interactive dating events allow singles to record their own on-site video bios and share them with other potential daters at the events. Each person will also be given a coded lanyard, which they will use as a guide to finding matches by sending pictures or videos of themselves to other participating singles. In addition to these exciting and interactive dating events, there will also be a national in-show sweepstakes in which viewers will be directed to enter the contest on the show's website, The grand prize consists of his and hers W600 Walkman Phones with 2 months pre-paid service on each phone, a six-month membership to Bally's Total Fitness and a trip for two to Florida. The contest will also be promoted at all Bally's Total Fitness locations nationwide.

Media Business Report
Circulation of U.S. weekday newspapers takes 2.6% hit
The average weekday circulation of U.S. daily newspapers fell 2.6% in the six months that ended in September, led by a 16.6% drop for The San Francisco Chronicle. The figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which certifies the accuracy of sales figures, continues a long-term trend of flat to sinking readership, reported The Chronicle. The average Sunday circulation for U.S. dailies fell 3.1%, compared with September 2004, according to an analysis by the Newspaper Association of America. The Chronicle said its paid Sunday circulation declined 13.5% to 467,216 copies. On Monday through Saturday, it averaged sales of 400,906 copies during the six-month period. Chronicle Publisher Frank Vega said the newspaper's circulation declines - - nearly 80,000 weekday papers and just over 73,000 on Sunday - - were owed almost entirely to a deliberate strategy of trimming promotional distributions and giveaways. "We cut a lot of what you would call unprofitable circulation around the first of the year,'' Vega said. "We made a decision that we want quality, profitable circulation that better serves our advertisers." Among the nation's largest newspapers, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Boston Globe each reported weekday circulation declines in excess of 8%.

MBR observation: Remember the thrilling days of yesterday when radio and TV both said Newspapers are the enemy because that is where the big ad dollars were going? Time to take this excuse off the table and time to think new business development for 2006 as newspapers have earned the titled of news and life printed yesterday. It is time to think of a possible joint Sales Management conference between RAB and TVB.

Washington Beat
Senate plans decency forum
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) announced that the Full Committee is planning to hold an "Open Forum on Decency" on November 29, 2005. A specific time and location will be announced at a later time. According to the announcement, "representatives from wide variety of groups, including cable, broadcasting, and other content industries, are expected to attend to discuss the many issues surrounding decency." The forum will be open to the public and the press.

TVBR observation: Stevens has been a key proponent of extending the FCC's regulation of indecency to basic cable channels as well as broadcast channels. That sort of level playing field appeals to many broadcasters, who think they're being unfairly held to a different standard than cable, even though most consumers don't recognize any difference in the types of TV delivery. Sen. Stevens is at odds with some others on Capitol Hill, who are also opposed to broadcast indecency - - and want to raise fines dramatically - - but fear that if cable is thrown into the mix, the courts might just strike down the indecency law altogether. We note that would also create a level playing field.

RTNDA goes to Hill to open SCOTUS
The ongoing battle to allow electronic coverage of federal court proceedings, including in the Supreme Court, goes into its next round before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Although the idea is not popular with some of the justices - - Antonin Scalia is against it and David Souter has said it will only happen over his dead body - - newly-installed Chief Justice John Roberts has indicated that he's open to the idea. The Radio-Television News Directors Association has long pressed for cameras (and mics) in the courtroom, and President Barbara Cochran will be on hand to testify to that effect at the invitation of committee chair Arlen Specter (R-PA). She will be on the session's third panel, along with Brian Lamb of C-SPAN, Henry Schleiff of Court TV and representatives of the legal and academic communities. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is soloing as Panel 1, and a pair of judges make up Panel 2. Grassley is co-sponsor of a Specter bill to open the courtrooms, along with Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Russ Feingold (D-NY), Charles Schumer (D-NY), John Cornyn (R-TX) and George Allen (R-VA).

More "Survivor" for CBS
Noting that "Survivor" is only the sixth show in the history of television to rank in the Top 10 in every season it's been broadcast, CBS announced that it has ordered two more editions (#13 & 14) of the reality series for the 2006-2007 season. "'Survivor' is that rare television breed - - a show with seemingly endless audience appeal," said Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment. "Part of that is testament to a concept with inherent drama that features different faces and places; the other part is the ability of Mark Burnett and his talented team to inject new ideas and new wrinkles to keep the format fresh," she said. "Survivor" is produced by S.E.G. Inc. Mark Burnett and Tom Shelly are executive producers.

Ratings & Research
The battle for the 18-49 demo
With a perfect record of household wins for the seven-week old season, CBS is now poised to take the lead in the 18-49 demo as well. It won the demo for the most recent week and is now tied with ABC season-to-date at 4.0/11, with ABC still holding a small lead in total audience 18-49. The most recent week's HH win saw CBS with an 8.7 rating and 14 share, followed by ABC at 6.9/11, NBC 6.5/10, Fox 4.5/7, WB 2.2/3, UPN 2.1/3 and i 0.4/1. CBS's "CSI" was again the #1 show, followed by ABC's "Desperate Housewives."
| View the Chart |

2006 budgets and capital expenditures:
VPs/Engineering discuss, Part I

In this two-part yearly RBR/TVBR series (from our September and October RBR/TVBR Solutions Magazine), we ask top engineers at the radio groups where 2006 budgets and capital expenditures are heading. What's tops on the list for projects and new equipment? This year, we asked the following:

Glynn Walden, Infinity SVP/Engineering
Milford Smith, VP/Engineering, Greater Media
Cris Alexander, Director of Engineering/Crawford Broadcasting
Norman Philips, VP/Director of Engineering, Susquehanna Radio
Steve Davis, CC Radio SVP, Engineering & Capital Management

| Read More... |

Stock Talk
Housing warning takes Toll on stock prices
Wall Street traders were unnerved by a 2006 sales forecast from home builder Toll Brothers, which sent stock prices skidding. The Dow Industrials dropped 47 points, or 0.4%, to 10,540.

Most TV stocks joined the retreat. Spanish Broadcasting System plunged 9.4% as the market expressed discontent with its Q4 guidance. Media General was off 3.7% and Gray Television dropped 3.1%. Meanwhile, Paxson rose 14.9%, which brought its price up to an even buck after this week's big changes at the company.

Note: Due to a production error, the stock prices in Tuesday's issue were incorrect.


Here's how stocks fared on Tuesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change





Media General












Clear Channel




News Corp.
















NY Times
















Saga Commun.












Gen. Electric




















Time Warner




Gray, C1. A




















Viacom, Cl. A




Journal Comm.




Viacom, Cl. B




Liberty Corp




Wash. Post






















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TV Media Moves

TV One expands
sales team

TV One has expanded its ad sales team with a promotion and the addition of two. Lisabeth Hayes, based in TV One's Chicago office, has been promoted from regional vice president to SVP/Advertising Sales and Marketing, adding official oversight of the New York Sales team. Elverage Allen has been named senior account director of Ad Sales in Chicago. He joins TV One from BET. Daisy Hernandez-Beharry has been named director of ad sales research, based in TV One's New York office. She joins TV One from Telemundo.

FOX News names Mike Mandelker VP/Eastern Sales
Mandelker replaces Kevin Brown and will report directly to Mike Rittenberg, SVP/Ad Sales, FOX News. He will assume his new role on 11/14, overseeing all eastern regional sales for the network, supervising the New York sales staff and their outside territories, direct response sales and new business development. Before joining FNC, Mandelker was EVP/Network Sales for UPN.

Below the Fold

Ratings & Research
The battle for the 18-49 Demo
The winner of the perfect record of household wins for the seven-week old season...

Washington Beat
RTNDA goes to Hill
to open SCOTUS
Ongoing battle to allow electronic coverage of federal court proceedings...

2006 budgets and
capital expenditures
What's tops on the list for projects and new equipment..

Media Business Report
Circulation newspapers
takes 2.6% hit
MBR observation: It is life printed yesterday

More "Survivor" for CBS
Affiliates should be very happy as editions #13 & 14 ordered for 2006 and 2007 season...

More News Headlines

Clarification: CBS VOD will have spots
The deal that CBS has cut with Comcast for video on demand of certain CBS shows (11/8/05 TVBR #219) will include commercials. NBC's VOD deal with DirecTV does not.

November RBR/TVBR Digital Magazine

Franklin Raff, Radio America Executive Producer HR - Guerilla tactics for finding the right people, what can and can't be taught. New hiring challenges facing radio execs and how to get around the problem so you get the right people, for long term HR efficiency.

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

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

VNU trying to get out of IMS merger
Has finally confirmed what we reported several weeks ago - the seven billion bucks acquisition of IMS Health is likely not going to get to closing. TVBR observation: While it's pretty clear that the transaction is on life support with no hope of recovery, the debate now is about how to pull the plug. Once the planned merger is officially terminated, VNU will have to deal with a remaining problem - - dissatisfied shareholders and those major shareholders are likely to continue their united front and demand changes at VNU - - either a big stock buyback, sale of the publishing division or even putting the entire company up for sale.
11/08/05 TVBR #219

Comcast, CBS; NBC Universal, DirecTV strike VOD deals
for hit shows
Beginning in January, Comcast Digital customers will be able to view episodes of key programming for 99 cents. And you thought ABC and iPod had a deal. TV networks learning out of the mother of invention to get some ROI on their programming. But this is not without down falls. The 99 cents with no advertising is not real clear.
TVBR observation: Note there are no opportunities for commercials. Asked Jon Mandel, Chairman/MediaCom US his thoughts - "Here's the problem - - anybody who has studied pricing theory knows to jump to 99 cents with no advertising is either a badly-written press release or they didn't do enough study in pricing theory..."
11/08/05 TVBR #219

Paxson exits Paxson as
NBC Uni seeks new partner
Years of legal battling has come to an end and now an agreement. NBC Uni will get custody of the Paxson network and stations, but only after it finds a new partner who is able to do what it cannot - - hold the FCC licenses of the 60 stations covering some 83% of US television households. TVBR observation: Long suffering Pax shareholders finally have something to cheer about.
11/08/05 TVBR #219

Nexstar settles with another MSO
Just a few weeks after settling its 10-month stand-off with Cox Communications, Nexstar has announced the signing of another multi-year retransmission consent agreement with another MSO - - Insight Communications.
TVBR observation: Clearly Nexstar is finding new ways to come to terms with the cable MSOs, but hasn't succeeded in its original objective of being paid a fee of a penny a day per subscriber by the cable companies. We wonder now whether CBS Corp. CEO-to-be Les Moonves is really going to lead the charge to make cable companies pay straight up for broadcast TV retransmission consent.
11/07/05 TVBR #218

VNU sale or get some Street Smarts
The unpopular move by VNU management has motivated the big investors to demand change at the company, so pressure is on - either buy back stock, sell off assets or sell the entire company to the highest bidder. TVBR observation: In either an asset sale or breakup scenario, it appears the piece of VNU most likely to be in play. Big investors don't see the division as a major growth vehicle and would be happy to see it sold off. Publisher observation: Big investors do not see it because they only see the color of money and do not plan a business model that brings synergy to a gorilla size companies. It takes street smarts to fix and improve valuable brands not a calculator
10/27/05 TVBR #211

UMC's Jean Pool
discusses clutter, PI problem
EVP/Director of North American Operations, Universal McCann and Chairman of Media Policy at the AAAAs. Most everyone realizes clutter is a big problem. While broadcasters have said they would take steps to reduce it, some have and some have not. What some may not realize, however, in the days of iPods, video iPods, satellite radio and Internet streaming and downloads, clutter reduction is more important than ever.
11/04/05 TVBR #217

Entercom has his eye on ABC Radio
CEO David Field is making no bones about wanting ABC Radio and spelled out in his quarterly conference call...but only if the terms and conditions of the deal make sense for our shareholders. Kicker: if there's no ABC deal, would he look at taking Entercom private? Field said management is looking at all options. RBR observation: Come on this barn door has been swinging so long and so hard it is about to fall off the frame. For the life of us, we can't see any reason for Iger to even consider selling or merging ABC Radio in such a soft market.
11/07/05 RBR #218

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