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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 23, Issue 229, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Monday Morning November 27th, 2006

TVBR Observation

Growth or Cut and Run?
"We believe that in our business we can never save ourselves into prosperity. We must manage expenses, but the only road to success is to raise revenues through the culture and system we describe." That is one of the 10 commandments of the Cherry Creek Radio sales culture included as a sidebar to our profile of Joe Schwartz and his new company in the December issue of RBR/TVBR Solutions Magazine. Joe and his team at Cherry Creek - with Arbitron market #202, Richland-Kennewick-Pasco, WA, as their largest of 17 markets - have been regularly growing revenues 10-11% year-over-year, and this year is no exception. What do they know that the people running the largest broadcasting companies in America just can't grasp? Another of those 10 commandments notes that "when you turn out the lights, the assets go home" - in other words, growth is based on recruiting and holding onto good employees. Meanwhile, the largest radio company in the country and one of the TV big four have been trying to save themselves into prosperity by ditching their most valuable assets. Clear Channel Radio has been axing on-air and support staff nationwide (again and which seems an annual event), including last week all local hosts who had been carried on News/Talk WGST-AM Atlanta, once a highly competitive and successful station. No doubt payroll reductions will help in the short-term to pay down the massive debt being taken on as the Mays family and their new private equity partners take Clear Channel Communications private for 26.7 billion bucks, but will fewer staffers and an already under-staffed company be able to build future revenues? Will over-worked and under-appreciated managers continue to seek opportunities elsewhere? Meanwhile, NBC Universal has been doing the same thing with a reorganization dubbed NBCU 2.0. Or would it be better called NBCU -5% for the 700 people being cut from the workforce? The problems at NBC stem almost exclusively from its weak primetime lineup, so how does it make sense to cut employees at profit centers such as the "Today" show? As the saying goes - The Lights are On - But thinking short-term may help Clear Channel and NBC pay the light bills in 2007 - But is anyone at either company looking ahead to 2008 and beyond?

Editor's note: Have a comment let us know and send a photo to [email protected]

TV News ®

FCC gives itself some homework
As a part of its ongoing look into media ownership regulation, the FCC is putting together ten new related economic studies, using an authorship brew concocted of FCC staffers, members of the academic community, with private corporations Nielsen and CRA International chipping in on one each. The titles include How People Get News and Information; Ownership Structure and Robustness of Media; Effect of Ownership Structure and Robustness on the Quantity and Quality of TV Programming; News Operations; Station Ownership and Programming in Radio; News Coverage of Cross-Owned Newspapers and Television Stations; Minority Ownership (two studies); Vertical Integration; and Radio Industry Review: Trends in Ownership, Format, and Finance (click below for details on each). Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps accompanied announcement of the projects with his own skeptical comments. He said, "Any FCC decision that could fundamentally reshape the nation's media environment must be reached through a process that is open and transparent to the American people." He said this project was overly generalized and questioned the process for choosing outside collaborators.

TVBR observation: Whenever there has been a judicial review of FCC numerical ownership limits, almost without fail, the words "arbitrary and capricious" have been cropped up in the court's opinion. That goes both for when it seemed to think that the FCC didn't loosen the rules enough or when it seemed to think that the FCC went too far. We wish them all the luck in the world as they make yet another attempt to find the elusive economic and statistical underpinnings that make sense to the judges.
| See study descriptions, full Copps comments here |

Time brokerage agreement needed a paper trail
This one dates back to 10/10/04, or rather for about five years prior to that date, when the FCC received a complaint about KHMB-FM in Hamburg AR. The station, in the unrated southeast corner of the state, was said to be under the care and feeding of R&M Broadcasting Inc., headed by Jack Reynolds and Dennis Maxwell, for those five years. This was a no-no since the licensee of the station was and remains Kenneth Wayne Diebel. In addition to running what the FCC called an "oral time brokerage agreement," the station was operating from a main studio other than the one on record. In order to save "the significant expenditure of public and private resources," the FCC, Diebel and R&M have elected to handle this as a consent decree. Under the terms, Deibel and R&M admit they committed the violations, and the FCC will take enforcement no further. Both TBAing parties will donate 20K to the US Treasury (40K total), and Diebel will be required to inspect the station with an independent engineer to make sure it is in compliance with all FCC regulations.

TVBR observation: Time brokerage agreements, joint sales agreements, shared services agreements and other forms of local marketing agreements are becoming more common in the television world. It is instructive to note that without the consent decree, this would have been considered an unauthorized transfer of control. It looks like it's nothing more sinister than a common LMA, and simply filing the paperwork and doing the necessary minimum to make it clear that Diebel is ultimately responsible for the station would have saved the two broadcast companies their money.

Once upon a time...
In our foraging for news, we came across something called MiltBlog, from Milt Shook, which on 11/15/06 was looking at the radio scene in Madison WI. Particularly, it was looking at Clear Channel's decision to flip WXXM-FM from Progressive Talk to Sports when the calendar is flipped to 2007. The piece says that at first glance, it seems Clear Channel is trying to undermine Progressive Talk, but the real problem is that the station is doing too well, too well in fact to keep. Better to go with high school volleyball and other such fare, and get the numbers down, because the "Communications Act of 1996" took away station ownership limits, "...but in a ridiculous attempt to pretend to instill a competitive atmosphere, Congress limited audience size per company." So Clear Channel, apparently bumping up against the audience size limit, must find programming which will attract a smaller audience.

TVBR observation: Huh? On relatively rare occasion, the FCC used to take a gander at in-market numbers when assessing a consolidation deal, but almost invariably it assessed revenue figures, not ratings. We haven't seen one of those types of studies for years. The only audience cap we're aware of is the national potential audience reach cap regulating broadcast television groups. There is a Communications Act of 1934, not 1996 - the 1996 Act starts with the word Telecommunications. So we can stack this commentary in the pile alongside the erroneous claims that Clear Channel banned the Dixie Chicks. Bottom line: You can argue for or against media consolidation, but to do so effectively, we'd ask that you stick to the facts. Anything with this much fiction in it should begin with the words "once upon a time."

Times Co. rejects bid for Globe
Former GE CEO Jack Welch made good on his plan to offer a bid to buy the Boston Globe (10/26/06 TVBR #209), but it doesn't look like he'll be getting into the newspaper business. According to a report in the Boston Globe itself, Welch and his associates - including ad agency veteran Jack Connors, co-founder of Hill Holiday, and Boston concessionaire Joe O'Donnell - were turned down flat. Welch reportedly sent a letter to New York Times Company CEO Janet Robinson asking for exclusive rights to negotiate with the company to buy the Globe. The newspaper says she wrote back that she had taken the proposal to the board of directors, but that the company had no interest in pursuing the proposal.

TVBR observation: Buy high, sell low is not the way to make money. It looks like the NY Times Company will come out with a modest profit from selling its TV group. We've heard that lots of private equity-backed entrepreneurs and Hearst-Argyle have been kicking the tires. But the Times Co. paid about 1.1 billion for the Globe and JP Morgan Chase, which has been advising the Welch group, has reportedly valued it at 550-600 million in today's market. The powers that be at the NY Times Co. believe the severe slump that has hit the newspaper business in New England - even worse than what is being experienced elsewhere - won't last and that owning two of the largest newspapers in the United States will still be a good business in the long-run.

FYI: Why PPM wasn't approved by MRC
Still more delays for an improved ratings system for radio: At a recent MRC meeting and vote on approving Arbitron's PPM system (11/13/06 RBR #221), the thumbs up was not given for two issues that required more inspection, according to TVBR sources. They related to the compliance issue of those people, who for whatever reason, did not carry the meter every single day that they were supposed to. There was a situation about needing to understand how these people that didn't carry PPM were different than the people who did abide by the carriage guidelines. The other issue had to do with the docking and the undocking of the meter-when it was docked, when it was taken out of the dock as it related to all media exposure. As well, to better understand listening behavior related to differences in morning drive with PPM vs. the diary. The vote, along with the letter, went to Arbitron, citing these two issues. Arbitron then has to respond back to the committee on said issues. Arbitron will likely respond within a few weeks to a month. Then another vote will be set, based on Arbitron's results.

Why Do We Bring
TV & Radio Together?

Right this minute Radio & TV are more closely tied together than ever before. Both regulated by the FCC, we are being Challenged by New forms of Media from the likes of: iPods, Mobile Services and do not forget internet giants like Google and Yahoo. Contact & Discuss how you can Partner with TVBR in the January report.

June Barnes: 803 731-5951
Carl Marcucci: 703 492-8191 ext 202
Jim Carnegie: 813 909 2916

January 2007 report:
Media Association Presidents Forecasting '07: 'What does it mean to your business?
* TV & Radio Business News: Google: threat, savior or non-issue

Ad Business Report TM

Ford to boost and diversify spend
Speaking at a Bank of America auto conference last week John Felice, Ford brand's general marketing manager, said marketing spend will increase in 2007, but will be devoted more to emerging media/technology. Spending increases in both 2006 and 2007 are part of FoMoCo's "Way Forward" plan, he told attendees. Increases encompass the Lincoln Mercury brand as well. Felice also mentioned the media mix today isn't so reliant on TV: "You have to look much more broadly ... the days of running a 30-second commercial on three major networks are over," AdAge quoted him as saying. "It's still a very important element of your marketing mix, but it's much more broad, much more deep, much more integrated and experiential. Having alliances that make sense for that target consumer and activating those alliances is all part of the marketing platform."

Chrysler pitching 2007
Sebring to Asian customers

The Chrysler brand is courting Asian American car buyers in LA, San Francisco and NYC with a pilot campaign for the all-new 2007 Chrysler Sebring. The campaign -- which is directed at Chinese, Korean and Asian Indian consumers -- kicks off today. The centerpiece of the campaign is the 30-second TV spot, "Photo Album." There are three versions: in Mandarin dialect using Chinese talent, in Korean using Korean talent and in English using Asian Indian talent. The spots will run on Chinese, Korean and Asian Indian cable and network stations. A Chrysler Sebring print ad in all three languages will run in Asian American newspapers and magazines. "In today's world, diverse markets require specific marketing strategies," said Dave Rooney, Director - Chrysler Marketing and Global Communications. "Because our consumers are using an ever-expanding array of media, we are making a direct effort to reach out and communicate with them in venues they find most comfortable. This campaign for Asian American consumers does that in a very natural and respectful way." The "Photo Album" spot is based on the importance of family. In all three versions, the new owner of a Sebring demonstrates the vehicle's MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System to a friend. The ads will run on Chinese TV networks airing on KTSF in San Francisco, KSCI in Los Angeles and WMBC-TV in New York; Korean network stations KTSF in Los Angeles and WMBC-TV in New York; and Asian Indian TV networks SET Asia, ZEE TV and Z Cinema. The print ad will run in China World Journal, Sing Tao, and China Daily News; Korea Central Daily News, Korea Times, Korea Sunday News, and Daily Sports Seoul; India Abroad and India West. The magazines are India Today and Indian Life & Style.

Wal-Mart sees weaker sales this month
Wal-Mart predicted a rare decline in monthly sales on Saturday, even as shoppers packed the stores at the start of the holiday shopping season. The retailer estimates November sales fell 0.1% at its U.S. stores open at least a year, a closely watched retail figure known as same-store sales. This would mark Wal-Mart's first monthly same-store sales decline since April 1996, according to Reuters. The retailer will provide a final monthly sales report on Thursday. Wal-Mart had expected same-store sales to be flat compared with the same period last year. Wal-Mart's November sales period (four weeks) ended last Friday.

Media Business Report TM
Cracker Barrel launches
new outdoor campaign

1,500 billboards will showcase bold images & "Comin' right up" messaging. Beginning this month, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store will have a fresh look on the nation's interstates as the company unveils a new outdoor campaign that communicates the brand's experience. The new "Comin' right up" campaign reflects Cracker Barrel's authentic country heritage and comfortable image of America's home-away-from-home. As part of a new ad strategy, Cracker Barrel will refresh the look of its outdoor ads through color photography of its signature food and retail items. Created by The Buntin Group, the fresh design marks the first time in six years that Cracker Barrel has changed the look of its outdoor advertising. Cracker Barrel's shopping experience will be illustrated through images of peppermint sticks, checkerboards and the company's exclusive CDs. There will also be a billboard in each Cracker Barrel market that recognizes Cracker Barrel for being voted "Best in Family Dining" for 16 consecutive years in the annual Consumers' Choice in Chains poll conducted by Restaurants & Institutions magazine. The new campaign will keep the signature extension logo, and clear directional copy. Under the direction of Buntin Out-of-Home Media, nearly 1,500 billboards will feature the new creative by March 2007.

Washington Media Business Report TM
If you Build it, They'll Tune In
The total of FCC licensed broadcast facilities continues to grow. In the period from 6/30/06 through 9/30/06, 51 additional radio station licenses came into existence, most of which were noncommercial FMs, which accounted for 30 of the total. They were joined by seven AMs and 14 commercial FMs. The total number of television stations was almost flat, on the other hand, with a pair of new UHFs, one commercial, one not, and one less commercial VHF included in the FCC's tally. An increase in LPTV outweighed a slight drop in the similar Class A TV service, and 25 new LPFMs entered the fray.
| View the Chart |

Cable Business Report TM
Comcast, Disney announce
new carriage deal

Comcast and have entered into new long-term comprehensive distribution deals that will extend their relationship into the next decade for the 10 ABC O&O stations and a Disney's networks and services, including Disney Channel, ABC Family, Toon Disney, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN HD and increased carriage of SOAPnet. Additionally Comcast will launch ESPN Deportes, a stand-alone Spanish language sports network, and the companies formalized their ESPN2 HD agreement. As part of the new deal, Comcast has acquired Disney's 39.5% ownership stake in E! Networks. Following the acquisition, E! Networks, which includes E! Entertainment Television and Style Network, is now wholly owned by Comcast. The purchase price was 1.23 billion. The companies have also agreed to add primetime programs, cable network shows and Disney movies to Comcast's On Demand service. Marking the first time ABC programs will be available on VOD by any cable company, several ABC primetime series will be offered by Comcast in ABC O&O markets. Beginning with the Fall 2007 season, on-demand episodes of "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and two new yet-to-be determined primetime series will be available the day after their network broadcast to Comcast consumers in the same owned-station markets. "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" also will be available in HD VOD for Comcast customers with HD service. Also available in the same markets will be "ABC's World News with Charles Gibson," "Nightline" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." Comcast also plans to add certain shows from Disney Channel, SOAPnet, Toon Disney and ESPN libraries to its On Demand lineup in markets where those channels are offered. Under the movie VOD agreement, Comcast Digital Cable customers will be able to order movies newly released on VOD from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone and Miramax for 3.99 each, while library titles will be available for 2.99 each.

Internet Media Business Report TM
MSN partners with Pandora for radio;
Ad sales go in-house
MSN will no longer have a radio product of their own, instead they are partnering with, a site that does not currently sell audio advertising. If you go to MSN Music, indeed, the way to access entertainment now is via an account with Pandora. Ronning Lipset may not be representing MSN for ad sales when the contract runs out. Said Eric Ronning, Managing Partner, Ronning-Lipset Radio: "Our contract runs for a while, so we represent the MSN Radio properties until told otherwise-or until the contract runs out. We're doing upfronts, we're selling stuff. If for some reason they choose not to have audio advertising through whatever relationship they have through MSN, those impressions allocated to them would be absorbed easily into [our] network." He adds, "Our network continues to be vibrant and grow, and the business is built to anticipate the ebb and flow of radio stations and to continue growing with partners that are currently in radio and getting into the online space." Said Cheryl Lucanegro, Pandora VP/Ad Sales: "MSN came to us because they wanted to introduce Pandora's online music discovery experience to MSN radio listeners. The collaboration will be fully realized in January 2007 and we're currently developing custom ad products for the service. Pandora will be charged with selling all of the advertising for the co-brand, MSN Radio, powered by Pandora."

Ratings & Research
Scripted hits beat dancing finale
TiVo owners like "Dancing With the Stars," which won the week's Nielsen ratings, but they like a couple of other ABC shows even more. "Desperate Housewives" was #1 among TiVo users, followed by "Grey's Anatomy" and then the final night of the dancing competition. The crowing of Emmitt Smith as winner of "Dancing With the Stars," which had been the #1 Nielsen show, was back at #5 in the TiVo list, behind the Sunday night NFL game on NBC. Check out the chart.
| Tivo Top 25 |

Holiday poll finds Americans spending strong, but buying cheaper
The latest global GMI Poll, which surveyed 14,201 consumers in 15 countries from 10/30 through 11/7, found that while 78% of Americans expect to spend the same or more on holiday gifts this year, many are choosing to buy cheaper. The poll, powered by global market intelligence solutions provider GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.), revealed that 64% of U.S. respondents selected 'discount stores' as their first or second stop when purchasing holiday gifts, whereas less than 6% chose luxury shops. For the second year in a row, GMIPoll results show that a majority of U.S. consumers will shop online again this holiday season, with nearly 80% of respondents choosing it as a destination and 39% of those consumers selecting it #1. However, many Americans wish gift giving wasn't so popular: the study found that 66% of Americans find gift-giving expectations to be the most annoying aspect of the holidays. Of the 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed, 60% said that a recommendation from a friend influenced their purchasing decisions, beating out regular advertising and in-store displays by 14% and 13% respectively.

Monday Morning Makers & Shakers

Transactions: 10/9/06-10/13/06
Was there a broker purge prior to the election? Were all the M&A attorneys sent underground? For the second week in a row, station trading ground to a near halt, with only one transaction accounting for almost all of the trading value. This time, with TV taking a break, and the week was saved by the Beasley Wilmington buy detailed below. The lone top 50 transaction was Cumulus recouping a Kansas City FM from a trustee due to market station fluctuation favorably lifting the their station cap.



Total Deals







| Complete Charts |
Radio Transactions of the Week
Where there's a will, there's Wilmington
| More...
TV Transactions of the Week
Come back some other week

Stock Talk
Not much excitement on Friday
The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally a slow day on Wall Street and Friday was no exception. The market seemed to have a mild case of indigestion, as traders shied away from making commitments, despite evidence of a strong start to the holiday retail season. The Dow Industrials fell 47 points, or 0.4%, to 12,280.

TV stocks were mostly lower. The biggest news over the Thanksgiving period was completion of the previously announced payout of a four bucks per share special dividend by Emmis Communications. Adjusted for that payment, Emmis was up 2.6% on Friday, although its actual stock price was lower than the Wednesday close. Saga fell 2.1% and Time Warner was off 1.3%.


Here's how stocks fared on Friday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change




















Media General











Clear Channel




News Corp.
















NY Times








Ion Media








Saga Commun.












Gen. Electric




















Time Warner




Gray, C1. A
















Journal Comm.




Wash. Post




Lincoln Natl.









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TV Media Moves

Pulitzer stepping down
Hearst-Argyle Television announced that Michael Pulitzer has decided not to stand for re-election to the board of directors when his current term expires in May 2007. Pulitzer has been on the Hearst-Argyle board since March 1999, when the nine former Pulitzer TV stations were acquired by Hearst-Argyle. He retired from the newspaper business in 2005 when Pulitzer Inc., where he had been Chairman, was sold to Lee Enterprises.

Below the Fold

Ad Business Report
Ford to boost and diversify spend
Marketing spend will increase in 2007, But Radio & TV coming up shy as Ford is not so reliant on TV ...

Cable Business Report
Comcast, Disney
As you know the new carriage Deal so review the details ...

Ratings & Research
For your Sales - Holiday polling
Finds Americans spending strong, but buying cheaper...

Shakers & Makers
Was there a broker purge prior to the election?...

Stations for Sale

South Georgia
Includes 25kw FM
Zoph Potts @ (252) 940-1680
[email protected]

New York City
2 LPTVs for Sale

Price Reduced-both for $9 mil
Washington DC - $5 mil
Philadelphia - $2.5 mil
Atlantic City - $1 mil
[email protected]
Kozacko Media Services

Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.
Contact June Barnes
[email protected]

More News Headlines

Richards apologizes on Jesse Jackson's show; Sharpton rejects earlier apology
Actor/comedian Michael Richards, "Kramer," said anger fueled his recent racist outburst at an LA comedy club, and that he was not a bigot. Richards apologized yesterday on Rev. Jesse Jackson's "Keep Hope Alive" syndicated radio show. "I need to get some help-drop down and get my things together...I was brought up in a black neighborhood where some of my best friends were Black." He had mentioned some of his routines included "talking jive" in the past, but this one went too far. He plans to meet with the two men he offended in LA during the now-infamous comedy routine.Meanwhile, Rev. Al Sharpton rejected the apology Richards made on David Letterman's Late Show last week. The National Action Network President and current host of three hour Syndication One-syndicated talk show, "The Rev. Al Sharpton Show," wants Richards to specifically apologize to Black America, stating Letterman was an unacceptable venue for an apology. Said Sharpton: "Before any apology should even be considered, Michael Richards should apologize to the people to whom his remarks were directed and most offended. In all due respect to David Letterman, it seems strange that one would insult African Americans in a long tirade and then go on a white television show with a mostly white studio and viewing audience to make a statement of apology. If Mr. Richards has something to say, he should say it to us, and let us respond to him." Sharpton said he will make his own talk show available if Richards is sincerely seeking a dialogue with those he offended.

CW ratings up from WB
Nine weeks into its first TV season and more than half-way through the November sweeps, The CW is claiming ratings success by outperforming the former WB in the target demo of Adults 18-34. Through 17 days of the November 2006 Sweep (11/2/06-11/19/06), The CW is delivering sweep-to-sweep growth over The WB by 7% in adults 18-34 (1.6/5) and matches The WB in women 18-34 (2.0/5), the new network noted. For the season to date, The CW Network is up over The WB a year ago in the network's target demos of adults 18-34 (1.7/5, +6%) and on par in women 18-34 (2.1/6). The CW was on par with UPN, which programmed three fewer primetime hours, in adults 18-34, it added.

RBR - Radio News

Disney agrees to
Citadel modification

CEO Farid Suleman and his shareholders at Citadel Broadcasting has something to be thankful for as, just before the Thanksgiving Holiday, the company announced an agreement with Disney to modify the terms of the merger of ABC Radio into Citadel. The revised agreement reduces by 300 million the potential payment to Disney for the ABC Radio group and network. A modification of the original contract had been sought by Citadel after its stock price declined, which Suleman blamed on underperformance by the ABC stations, but which also triggered an increase in the amount of Citadel stock that was supposed to be paid to Disney shareholders in the merger. In an SEC filing Wednesday, Disney said the sale of ABC Radio is now valued at approximately 2.5 billion bucks, down from the original 2.7 billion. Here is how Citadel explained the changes: "Under the Amendments, the potential amount of cash retained by Disney has been reduced by 300 million in the aggregate, 100 million of which is an outright reduction in the cash to be retained and 200 million of which will be taken into account in determining an increase in Disney shareholders' equity ownership in the combined business going forward. The additional 200 million of Citadel common stock will be priced as follows: (i) 100 million of Citadel common stock at a price expected to be between $10.89 and $14.51, determined during a pre-closing measurement period based on a formula in the merger agreement and (ii) 100 million of Citadel common stock at 10.40, both subject to adjustment for the special distribution expected to be paid by Citadel to its pre-merger shareholders. Under the Amendments, Disney shareholders' equity ownership in Citadel after the merger will increase from approximately 52% to approximately 57%. The companies now say the merger, which had originally been expected to close before the end of 2006, is not expected to close prior to May 31, 2007.

RBR observation: As with most deals, a little give and take on both sides. Citadel had blamed underperformance by ABC Radio for the decline in the stock price for Citadel, which triggered an increase in how many shares would be going to Disney shareholders in the merger. Disney agreed to give up some, but not all of that bonus which would have been due under the original contract.

TVBR Radar 2006
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Voicing Out
Your conclusion to the OJ
Cancellation piece that: "We wonder why [the Powers That Be at Fox] didn't see this coming when they decided to publish the book and create the TV special to go with it" seems so naive...Rather, it takes months of intensive, coordinated planning by dozens of creators and decision-makers, all of whom are awash in ratings data and craft their product carefully to fulfill known audience expectations. Surely they were all keenly aware of the reaction their concept.. Peter Gutmann of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, Washington, DC

TVBR note: We want to hear from you. This is your column, so send your comments and a photo to [email protected]
11/22/06 TVBR #228

Third Circuit is
malfunction junction

Viacom's CBS is not giving up its challenge of a 550K fine leveled against it for the airing of the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl halftime show back in 2004. Neither is the FCC giving any ground. CBS says that the Commission has failed to produce any evidence whatsoever that anybody at CBS had any knowledge of the incident beforehand.

TVBR observation: Hey, there may be millions of Americans who were highly disturbed by the wardrobe malfunction, but there are no doubt also millions of Americans (though very few, evidently, in Congress) who think that the incident was no big deal.
11/22/06 TVBR #228

Fox cancels OJ special
Bowing to public outrage and affiliate worries,

TVBR observation: We foresaw the public outcry against the program last week when we said it was "just sick" (11/16/06 TVBR #224). Apparently a lot of people agreed. News Corporation is now in damage control mode as the result of some poor decision making. Yes, it probably would have been big numbers for a sweeps month, but with a worse backlash from the public and advertisers. We wonder why they didn't see this coming when they decided to publish the book and create the TV special to go with it. The only answer that comes to mind is greed and now all networks learn and talk to your Affiliates before anyone pulls an OJ like programming stunt again.
11/21/06 TVBR #227

TVBR observation:
Just wishful thinking
Had Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays talked to his lawyers before he was interviewed by David Lieberman of USA Today about the management-backed plan by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital to buy out the public shareholders? Time for a reality check
11/21/06 TVBR #227

Clear Channel deal
requires creativity
Private equity funds are moving into broadcasting in a big way, but they have to dodge some landmines at the FCC. Thomas H. Lee Partners already has a 23.3% attributable interest in the group buying Univision and both it and Bain Capital hold 25% attributable ownership stakes in Cumulus Media Partners, so it is going to take a creative ownership structure to make their 26.7 billion buy of Clear Channel comply with the FCC's ownership rules. No one is saying yet how the ownership issues will be dealt with, but it has already been worked out.

TVBR observation: Lowry Mays and other folks have dealt with this issue before, so they know how to solve FCC attribution problems. As the headline stated the deal required creativity and to view the shrewd details see
11/20/06 TVBR #226

Still no accreditation for PPM
Wednesday's meeting, 11/15/06, of the super-secretive Media Ratings Council (MRC) still left Arbitron's Portable People Meter without MRC accreditation. Arbitron says PPM still has to answer MRC concerns in two areas, but doesn't say what they are.

RBR note: The entire statement by Arbitron and what you need to know is in this issue in our Ad Business Report section.
11/17/06 RBR #225


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