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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 234, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning December 1st, 2005

TV News®

Hearst-Argyle renews CBS affiliations;
Network comp to end

Most Hearst-Argyle stations are ABC affiliates, but it also has representation from the other networks as well. The company has now renewed the affiliation agreements for its two CBS affiliates - - KCCI-TV (Ch. 8) Des Moines, IA and WLKY-TV (Ch. 32) Louisville, KY. As is the case with many group owners, Hearst-Argyle is seeing its network comp payments fade away in the new 10-year deals. For WLKY the payment for the current year (through next June) will be 660K, followed by 330K the next year and then nothing for the remainder of the affiliation agreement though June 30, 2015. For KCCI the network comp payment is 726K this year, 363K next year and also nothing for the remaining eight years.

TVBR observation: Glad this is on the record as TVBR has spoken little about the network compensation this year. Not a new trend but it is here to stay from all the networks. The next phase in maybe three years or even less - reverse compensation - like the affiliates paying the networks for their content. Do not be surprised at this statement as Content is King. TV is going through pains as radio has over the past few years and this pain will not end in the near future.

Emmis TV deals
waved through over radio protest
Broadcast Company of the Americas (BCA) does not think Emmis Communications should be allowed to sell TV stations to LIN or Journal. It doesn't object to the sale of the stations per se, it objects to the fact that Emmis is an adversary in a pending international incident involving BCA's Baja California FM. In that case, Emmis has joined with Lazer Broadcasting to protest irregularities in the transmitter location of XHBCE-FM. BCA says Emmis has no standing in the case in the first place, and is merely acting to protect the signal of its KPWR-FM in Los Angeles. And while BCA admits that Emmis's charge that the station's tower was constructed on incorrect coordinates, it says that Emmis's wording implies that the irregularity is worse than it is in fact - - impugning Emmis's character and worthiness to be a licensee. For its part, Lazer was worried about interference to its KXRS-FM in Hemet CA (Riverside-San Bernardino market). The FCC said that the matter is unresolved and under consideration by the International Bureau, so it will not be considered in regard to the television sale, and anyway, since BCA outright admitted that it's tower WAS in the wrong place, it appeared Emmis had a legitimate complaint. BCA's petition is denied. The sale of KGUN-TV Tucson AZ and WFTX-TV Cape Coral FL to Journal is granted, as is the sale to LIN of KRQE-TV Albuquerque NM, KBIM-TV Roswell NM, KREZ-TV Durango CO, WALA-TV Mobile AL, WLUK-TV Green Bay WI and WTHI-TV Terre Haute IN. The sale of WBPG-TV Gulf Shores AL to LIN is held up pending action on its license renewal application. Emmis announced late yesterday that its sales to Gray and LIN, a total of six stations, had closed, with the sale of two to Journal expected to closein the next week.

TVBR observation: A station booming in from Mexico has the potential to interfere with a Los Angeles FM, and the Mexican owner questions the standing of the American broadcaster to defend his contour? Is Emmis supposed to wait until a foreign entity comes over the border and sets up a jamming station on the Santa Monica Freeway? Duhhhhh.

Gray sets newspaper spinoff
Gray Television says the spin-off of its newspapers to merge with Bull Run Corporation and create Triple Crown Media will take place December 30. The deal was announced in August (8/4/05 TVBR #152) and will create a new company consisting of the five former Gray daily newspapers, its paging and wireless business and Bull Run's sports marketing business. Gray shareholders will get one share of Triple Crown for each 10 shares of Gray that they own. Triple Crown will trade on Nasdaq with the symbol "TCMI."

All talk, nothing but talk at Commerce
The fact that nothing actually happened beyond hours of testimony at Tuesdays' Senate Commerce Committee "Open Forum on Decency" has led Bear Stearns analyst to report that "...not much changed yesterday on the indecency issue." However, he took note of Chairman Ted Stevens' (R-AK) announced intention to hold another hearing 12/12/05, and suspects that by then he may have some actual draft material to begin looking at. Miller notes that Stevens seems to favor a voluntary ratings system for cable that would mirror that put in place long ago by the motion picture industry. In fact, he suspects that "...the FCC and Congress are looking for pressure points that would convince the cable network programmers that they should voluntarily adopt indecency standards similar to those imposed on broadcasters." That includes threats of unwanted regulation in the form of mandated a la carte or family-tiered channel options.

A la carte attracts comments
Bear Stearns analyst Victor Miller says that the cable industry is not going to be very happy with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's practical endorsement of a new a la carte channel selection system - - a safe observation since at the same session, NCTA's Kyle McSlarrow called any such mandatory regulation unconstitutional. Although Miller thinks establishment of such a thing is beyond the FCC's scope, he said it may provide cover to legislators who could make it a matter of law. Meanwhile, Consumer Union's Gene Kimmelman came out in favor of the concept, while BuzzMachine blogger Jeff Jarvis attacked it, kind of. Jarvis notes the argument made by NCTA and by new entrants to basic cable such as Radio One's Television One - - that channel bundling is necessary to preserve diversity and give new entrants a chance to get established - - but he seems to think that on-demand is the new wave and it'll change the whole ballgame regardless of how the current skirmishes turn out.
| For more reporting on their comments, please have your mouse burrow here |


Arbitron, Nielsen set date
for second Apollo Pilot Client
Advisory Group meeting

Arbitron and VNU's Nielsen Media Research have picked 1/11 as the date for the second meeting of the Project Apollo Steering Committee. Representatives of advertisers, agencies and market research firms will gather again in New York City to continue the work of the Committee as it sets the direction for the pilot test of Project Apollo, the Arbitron/VNU single-source market research service. The first meeting of this group took place in New York on 10/19. "Over the past few weeks, we have been able expand the number of participating advertisers on the committee. These are companies who have signed or are working to sign an agreement for the Project Apollo pilot test service that we are launching in the beginning of the year," said Dave Thomas, SVP/Strategy and Business Development for Nielsen. "The six major advertisers who sit on the Project Apollo Steering Committee spent an estimated 6.1 billion dollars in advertising on measured media in the United States last year." So far Arbitron has only announced that Proctor & Gamble and SC Johnson have signed contracts to participate. We assume the other four are planning on signing as well. Arbitron and VNU are deploying a pilot panel for a national marketing research service that will consist of approximately 14,500 participants in 6,250 households. Dubbed "Project Apollo," the service would collect, for the first time, multi-media exposure and purchase information from a common sample of consumers. These individuals will carry Arbitron's PPM to collect exposure to broadcast television, cable and network radio. Consumer exposure to other media such as newspapers, magazines and circulars would also be collected through additional online surveys.

Norwegian Cruise Line moves
planning, buying to GSD&M

Norwegian Cruise Line has awarded buying and planning GSD&M, Austin, Texas, its creative AOR. The move comes in advance of its brand re-launch next year. The move came without a review. The media account is now at JL Media, Union, NJ.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
More moola for Gray
Fresh from announcing a couple of acquisitions, Gray Television has bumped up its senior credit facility from 400 million to 600 million bucks. Gray said some of that expanded facility might be used for its 186 million acquisition of WSAZ-TV (Ch. 3, NBC) Charleston-Huntington, WV from Emmis, which closed yesterday. Just this week Gray also announced an 85 million deal to acquire WNDU-TV (Ch. 16, NBC) South Bend, IN from the University of Notre Dame (11/38/05 TVBR #213). The new credit was arranged by Wchovia Bank, with Bank of America, Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Allied Irish Banks, KeyBank and Goldman Sachs Credit Partners as participants.

Washington Beat
Upton applauds decency
stirrings in Senate

Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's influential Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, welcomed the all-day session held by the Senate's Commerce Committee on the topic of broadcast decency. Upton is the House sponsor of the "Broadcast Decency Act" of 2004 and 2005 - - that legislative body has passed it twice only to watch a Sam Brownback (R-KS) companion bill run out of steam in the Senate. "I am pleased that decency legislation seems to be gaining steam in the Senate," said Upton. "The public is on our side, and so is the law. My bill does not alter current decency standards - - the laws for indecency have been on the books for decades and they have been upheld in the courts. By increasing the fines for indecency to 500K, the fines will be at a level where they cannot be ignored. The current cap for fines is 32.5K - - to put that into perspective, a 30-second commercial aired during this year's Super Bowl cost 2.4M - - that's 80K a second! With passage of this legislation, I believe that broadcasters will think twice about pushing the envelope. I look forward to working with the Senate, and I am confident that at the end of the day we will be able to deliver something of real value to American families." Upton's bill also puts broadcast licenses into play and includes the possibility of 11K-500K fines against performers.

Mullally adds markets for new Talker
"Will & Grace" co-star Megan Mullally has added more markets for her new syndicated Talk show, set to debut this fall. "The Megan Mullally Show," which will originate from LA, has been sold to KTVK-TV Phoenix, KARE-TV Minneapolis, WISH-TV Indianapolis and WBAL-TV Baltimore. That's in addition to the previously announced plans to air on other stations, including four NBC O&Os in New York, LA, Chicago and San Francisco. Although best known for her role on the "Will & Grace" sitcom, Mullally is also a Broadway veteran and lead singer of her own band. "The Megan Mullally Show" is from NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

Journal Editorial Report moves to FNC
The Journal Editorial Report, a production of The Wall Street Journal, will move to Fox News Channel beginning in January. The Journal Editorial Report was launched 9/04 on PBS. Hosted by Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul A. Gigot, the weekly half-hour program features members of the Journal editorial page staff, as well as other experts debating the major economic, political and cultural issues of the day. The program will make its final appearance on PBS on 12/2.

American Idol keeps the slot
The saying, ‘Don’t mess with success’ stands true with Fox as it will not move ‘American Idol’ and will stay put on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for the balance of the fifth season staring Jan. 17. Current Tuesday 8pm slot of ‘Bones’ will move to 9pm Wednesday after ‘Idol’ and ‘House’ will also stay as is on Tuesday at 9pm. The talk of challenging CBS for Thursday seems someone had a cooler head not mess with ‘Idol’ success. Last, Simon Cowell will stay with ‘Idol’ by siging a 5 year deal with Fox.

RBR - Radio News

October no treat for radio
Crystal ball gazers had been predicting that October would be a tough month for radio, and they were right on target. Radio Advertising Bureau reports a loss of 7% compared the same month in 2004, which it blames on tough comps caused by last year's high political spending in battleground areas. The critical local category was only down 2%, meaning most of the serious hurt was in national - - it didn't just hit a pothole, it fell in with a 19% loss. Even non-spot revenue was down, dropping 7% to match the total spot shortfall. The disappointing results flattened out YTD comps, bringing the first 10 months of 2005 to par with the 2004 to this point. Local is up 1% YTD, counterbalancing similar 1% downfalls in both national spot and non-spot revenue. RAB works with accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase & Co. to arrive at its totals.

RBR observation: Can this really all be blamed on the political category? While political results are a prominent topic at the average television group quarterly conference call, it's usually only mentioned in passing, if at all, in a radio revenue session. The other big factor, of course, is Clear Channel's Less is More initiative, which has the industry giant lagging the rest of radio as it works to get its house back in order. If political punched a big hole in October 2005, we can expect it to play the opposite role in 2006 - - particularly since there will be more of a local emphasis in the absence of a nationwide presidential election. With much of the action focused on the battle for the US House of Representatives, radio's efficiency and local orientation should make it an attractive tool for campaign managers.

Stock Talk
Strong economy weakens stocks
The government reported that GDP growth for Q3 was at an annual rate or 4.3%. While that's good news for the nation, it made Wall Street traders fear further rate hikes by the Fed, so stock prices fell. The Dow Industrials were down 82 points, or 0.8%, to 10,806.

TV stocks followed the trend lower. The biggest movers were two Spanish specialists. SBS (a radio company still in the process of buying its first TV station) was down 2.6% and Entravision fell 2.2%. Univision, however, rose 0.2%.


Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

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

Capus gets
NBC News helm

Steve Capus has been named President of NBC News, removing the "Acting" from the title he'd held since September when Neal Shapiro resigned (9/7/05 TVBR #175).

Zenkel makes
the Olympics

Gary Zenkel has been promoted to President of NBC Olympics after serving as Exec. VP of NBC's Olympics unit since 2001.

Three get promotions
"Access Hollywood" has promoted the trio of Adam Jordan, Mike Marson, and Ryan Patterson, who were all on the original team that launched the entertainment magazine 10 years ago, to Supervising Producers. All will continue to report to Executive Producer Rob Silverstein. "Access Hollywood" is produced by NBC and distributed by NBC Universal Television Distribution.

Below the Fold

Ad Biz
Arbitron, Nielsen set date
2nd Apollo Pilot Client Advisory Group meeting...

Washington Beat
Upton applauds decency
stirrings in Senate
Bill does not alter current decency standards...

Media Markets & Money
More moola for Gray
Senior credit facility from 400 million to 600 million bucks...


French International News Network set for 2006 launch
France is set to launch its global French-language satellite TV news channel by the end of next year. Communication Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres said leading private and public TV channels signed a contract on the creation of the new channel-French International News Network (CFII). It has already been nicknamed "CNN a la francaise". CFII will begin before the end of 2006, reported The BBC. The new net will be owned by commercial network TF1 and the state-funded company France Televisions. Employing around 240 staffers, it will produce programing initially beamed to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. CFII will broadcast news around the clock in French, with a four-hour slot of programs in English. There are plans to add programs in Arabic and Spanish.

More News Headlines

WNYW-TV chopper first in NYC with HD
WNYW-FOX5 NY announced the addition of the SKYFOX Eurocopter ASTAR B2, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and high-definition capabilities, including the Cineflex HiDef HD camera system and multiple band microwave abilities. The HD capabilities resulting in increased detail up to three times that of standard broadcast resolution and increased news coverage. "The innovative multi-format design of this helicopter and new HD capability from the Cineflex camera system will serve as a vital bridge that will allow us to provide improved service to our standard definition viewers while offering unequaled quality for those with HD receivers," said Lew Leone, VP/GM of WNYW.

December '05 RBR/TVBR Solutions Magazine

As a Professional courtesy and your convenience we have produced our December Solutions Magazine in PDF Format to Save on your Desk Top to archive. This requires version 6.0 or later of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Update your Acrobat ReaderUse this button to update today and look for Santa on Tuesday December 6th.

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

"Idol" price tag growing for Fox
What's a hit franchise worth? Fox has signed up for up to six more years of "American Idol" in a deal with Simon Fuller's FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, now owned by Bob Sillermans's CKX Inc. - - but it won't come cheap. The license fee for Idol 5, which should begin airing in January 2006, will cost 18 million bucks. TVBR observation: Can you imagine what it's like to sit across the negotiating table from Bob Sillerman and Simon Cowell? We wonder if the folks at Fox are now trying to come up with a competitor to NBC's "The Apprentice" so Sillerman can show Donald Trump how business deals are really done.
11/309/05 TVBR #233

Senate decency bill
literally put on hold
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) said some think it goes too far, others not far enough. Given that concern was coming from two opposite directions, Stevens did not think he had the 60 votes necessary to force action. TVBR observation: We call it Beltway BS.
11/309/05 TVBR #233

Reese makes the case
for broadcasters
Bruce Reese took exception to the apparently widespread belief that broadcasters are filling the airwaves with filth. "To begin," he said, "it may be useful to remember that the vast majority of broadcasters have never had the FCC take any action against them on the indecency issue." Read Reese's full testimony here
11/309/05 TVBR #233

Wide open "Open Forum
on Decency"
A lot of ideas were put forth at the special session of the Seante Commerce Committee put together by Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK). While it can probably be said that all in attendance believe that it is important to protect children from objectionable material that is pretty much where the consensus ended. Comments on decency read here
11/309/05 TVBR #233

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