Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 21, Issue 242, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Tuesday Morning December 14th, 2004

TV News®

November up big for Scripps
Broadcast television played a part, but its cable TV networks continue to be the big growth driver for E.W. Scripps Company. Revenues for Scripps Networks were up 26% in November to 67.9 million, with ad revenues up 20% and affiliate fees up 58%. Revenues for the Scripps broadcast TV group rose 8% to 30.6 million. That includes 1.8 million in political advertising, vs. 300K a year ago. Not including political, local ad revenues were up 4.6% and national 1.3%. Revenues for the company's Shop at Home network, which is reported separately, were up 34% to 25.4 million and newspaper revenues dropped 5.3% to 62.6 million (with one less Sunday than a year ago). All in all, November revenues for E.W. Scripps Company rose 12% to 197 million.

Stevens/Inouye to compete with Copps/Adelstein?
The Senate Commerce Committee may have lost one born-again regulator with the exit of Ranking Member Ernest Hollings (D-SC), but the rereg flag appears to have been picked up before it ever hit the ground by his likely successor, Daniel Inouye (D-HI). In fact, a highly unusual cross-party alliance is being assembled in Commerce, which is already one of the more bipartisan groups in Congress. The state Inouye represents shares new-kid-on-the-block, noncontiguous status with Alaska, the home of likely committee chair Ted Stevens (R-AK). An article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin goes so far as to call the pair allies. Inouye told the Star-Bulletin that he thinks Telecom 1996 is sorely in need of review, and media ownership is a prime area to be considered in that review. Inouye supported the Byron Dorgan (D-ND)/Trent Lott (R-MS) repudiation of the FCC 6/2/03 media ownership rulemaking. In fact, Inouye and Stevens are said to be planning a telecom roadshow of their own, with six stops at as-yet-undisclosed locations during the months of January and February.

TVBR observation: A Stevens/Inouye road show would probably have a broader playlist than has been the case with the Michael Copps/Jonathan Adelstein FCC road shows, which pretty much have focused on ownership consolidation to the exclusion of even other broadcast concerns, such as the DTV conversion. Look for DTV to be a big topic, as well as telephony, broadband and homeland security issues.

Did FCC set 'em up to knock 'em down?
That's what Peggy Charren of Mediachannels.org and Action for Children's Television is saying. Her argument is that media ownership consolidation is the cause of indecency programming. So when FCC Chairman Michael Powell resorts to extreme punishments for purveyors of indecency, he's going after the very same people he empowered in the first place.

TVBR observation: Charren says Powell is inflating the complaint total. At the same time, PTC's Brent Bozell says he's under-reporting complaints. If we can't even agree on the basic 1st grade arithmetic of indecency, how close do you think we are to an overall solution? | More... |

Broadcaster/cablecaster lock horns
Forget must carry. Nexstar Broadcasting is telling Washington Post Company's Cable ONE that it can't carry unless it comes up with some cash. Nexstar wants 1.3M over four years in return for allowing Cable ONE systems to carry NBC KSNF-TV and ABC KODE-TV in the Joplin MO-Pittsburg KS DMA and NBC KTAL-TV in Texarkana. Unless the situation is resolved, the stations will have their final day on the cable systems 12/31/04. The cable operator is arguing that Nexstar benefits from the viewers who watch it over cable, and might not do so if over-the-air reception is their only option. Further, the cable systems buy a significant amount of commercial time on the stations. Cable ONE says it is trying to avoid a 2005 rate increase, a move which capitulating to Nexstar would make impossible. Further, it said Nexstar is going to seek even more compensation when it is able to offer HDTV programming.

Grading the guru: How'd Bob Coen do?
Much attention was paid last week to the annual forecast of next year's advertising spending by Universal McCann forecasting guru Bob Coen (12/7/04 TVBR #237). But before we embrace his 2005 projections, shouldn't we take a look at his track record for 2004? As Coen noted, he did pretty well - - underestimating overall national ad spending a bit, while being a bit too bullish on local. The total increase in ad spending now projected for 2005 is now 7.4%, outpacing his forecast of 6.9% a year ago, but up only one tenths of a point from his June revision. His worst call, though, was radio, where he held onto his bullish belief that the impact of political spending would be much greater than what materialized. Instead of 7%, national rose only 2%. Local gained 4% instead of 6%. He was much closer to the mark on TV, with national spot, syndication and local all coming in even a bit better than Coen's forecast. Our chart gives you all of the numbers to compare. | More... |

People want news to go global locally
The Radio Television News Directors Association has completed a study which shows just what you'd expect - - the public's interest in international affairs and news has increased since 9/11 - - and local broadcast news outlets responded. However, it says newscasters are slipping back into pre-9/11 habits, for the most part sticking to stories close to home. However, the study, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, showed that the public still has a thirst for more coverage, especially if there is a local angle to the story. 64% of local news directors say they incorporate world news into their programs; 61% rely on network feeds for global coverage; and 24% of the stories pertain to Iraq.


Ian Rowden named
Wendy's new EVP/CMO
Ian Rowden has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Wendy's brand starting yesterday. He'll oversee all of Wendy's brand marketing strategies and initiatives, and will manage advertising, research, product marketing and field marketing functions. Rowden formerly led global marketing and advertising at Callaway Golf Company and The Coca Cola Company.

Pfizer shifts 75 million to Wunderman from Carat
Pfizer has quietly shifted an estimated 75 million in direct response TV buying duties from Carat USA unit to WPP's Wunderman Media, according a story from MediaPost. Other than the direct response assignment, the relationship between Carat and Pfizer--the media shop's largest media buying client, with roughly 1 billion in U.S. billings--is relatively unchanged. "This is a small piece of business relative to what Carat handles," said one exec, noting that Carat handles media buying and planning, interactive, and corporate brand experience for the drug company. Nevertheless, other sources noted to MediaPost that Pfizer could be using the Wunderman assignment as a test to determine whether to diversify the handling of other media duties in the future.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
Satellite radio stocks added to Nasdaq 100
As if their high-flying stocks needed any further lift, both XM and Sirius Satellite Radio are being added to the Nasdaq 100 stock index, which is likely to give both stocks a boost as mutual funds linked to the index (and the QQQQ exchange-traded shares) rebalance to reflect changes in the makeup of the index. Both satellite radio companies are being added to the index next Monday, December 20th. The Nasdaq 100 is comprised of the 100 largest non-financial companies by market capitalization. Most of the index components are tech companies, although EchoStar (satellite TV) and Lamar Advertising (outdoor) are included.

Washington Beat
Taking the TX out of Commerce
According to pollster Jeff Montgomery of Montgomery and Associates, the door is wide open for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to take a political job a little closer to home than is currently the case. Despite the fact that there is an incumbent Republican governor in the state - - Rick Perry - - Montgomery says Hutchison would be a shoo-in for the 2006 nomination in a two-candidate Republican primary, defeating Perry 59.5%-31.6%. Perry handily defeats all other comers. Hutchison is a prominent member of the Senate Commerce Committee. She has joined with outgoing Committee chair John McCain (R-AZ) in opposing much of the FCC 6/2/03 media ownership ruling.

Regis rockin' on New Year's Eve
With perennial TV/radio host Dick Clark still hospitalized from the mild stroke he suffered last week, ABC has tapped Regis Philbin to be fill-in host for "New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005." Singer Ashlee Simpson will co-host from the West Coast. "I'm so glad that Regis hadn't yet made any New Year's plans," Clark said in a statement released by his publicist. "It'll feel strange watching it on TV, but my doctors felt it was too soon. I'm sure Regis will do a great job, and I'm thankful that he was able to step in on such short notice." Clark had hosted the annual New Years Eve bash for 32 years straight and had intended to be back on his feet for #33 until his doctors said otherwise. "It's the greatest 'temp job' in the world. I just hope I can uphold the standards Dick Clark has set for this annual event, and I look forward to his return next year," said Philbin.

Desperate year for Golden Globes?
"Desperate Housewives" scored big for ABC, winning five Golden Globe nominations, including best comedy or musical series. The Golden Globes awards will be handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at a nationally televised awards ceremony on NBC on January 16. Here's the list of TV nominees. | More... |

CC Entertainment TV to co-produce
"Def On Demand Live!"

Def On Demand, a subsidiary of Simmons Lathan Media Group (SLMG), a leading producer and distributor of urban/hip-hop themed media content, and Clear Channel Entertainment Television, a division of Clear Channel Entertainment announced a deal to co-produce twelve music and fashion related events per year under the new banner, "Def On Demand Live!" These productions will be distributed via television, VOD, and DVD. The companies are developing entertainment events and properties to produce over the two-year agreement. "We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Clear Channel, a world leader in the production of live entertainment events," said Will Griffin, president/CEO of Def On Demand. "With our focus in urban entertainment, and our ability within Def On Demand Live! to draw on the creative experience of our co-founders Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan, we look forward to our partnership with Clear Channel and believe that together we can continue to develop and produce the compelling live events for which we are known." "Def On Demand comes from a long tradition of developing intelligent, timely, and award winning entertainment for the urban/hip-hop focused consumer market," said Joe Townley, President of CC Entertainment Television. "Through this partnership, we seek to combine knowledge of the urban market with Clear Channel Entertainment's capability for producing and delivering quality live entertainment events to diverse consumer groups, by driving existing and new audiences toward these VOD and DVD events."

GM Talkback
How has the Sarbanes-Oxley Act affected the accounting routine at your station(s)? By the end of the year, publicly held companies have to be in compliance (billing systems). When they file reports at end of Q4, they have to tell them exactly what they've got. No fudging.

Dave Pugh, CC Radio RVP/Michigan:
We have always had strong financial checks and balances in place, locally and corporate-wide, and we are all working together to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley. The current policies that we have in place at the local level have made this a very easy transition for us.

Tony Bonnici, VP/GM, Lotus Broadcasting:
My understanding of Sarbanes-Oxley is, it applies to public held companies and we are not a publicly held company. However, we do follow the spirit of Oxley, even though we aren't required to. We are also in the process of instituting internal audit procedures.

Stock Talk
Big merger boosts stocks
Stock prices edged upward on Monday, boosted by an agreed merger of People Soft into Oracle, following a long and stormy courtship. The Dow Industrials rose 95 points, or 0.9%, to 10,638.

TV stocks joined the up trend, boosted by a government report of a slight November rise in retail sales. Young rose 3.7%, Nexstar 2.9% and Time Warner 2.4%.


Here's how stocks fared on Monday

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








Viacom, Cl. B




Journal Comm.




Wash. Post




Liberty Corp












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November Digital
Solutions Magazine

Cutting inventory and the effects--GM Talkback
Larry Wert,
Pres/Gm NBC's - WMAQ-TV,
Tom Bender,
GM Greater Media/Detroit,
Mike Mazursky,
GM 4M Communications
page 6

IF your were in Radio
When it Worked

page 8

Laying the Hits down -
Boom Boom Boom
Listen to past great air checks of
George Michael
Fred Winston's classic
NewYears Day Hangover Club &
Bob DeCarlo with Tommy Turntable
page 12

November Zinio Solutions Magazine
Read RBR 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 Radar 2004
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Caution trumped optimism
at investor conferences

National radio to be up 5.2%, local radio 5%, national spot TV down 1% and local TV up 2.5%. Most broadcasters aren't yet to the point of giving guidance for full-year 2005. They're standing by their Q4 guidance - - and a couple of TV companies have recently increased their guidance because political was even better than they'd expected (Salem alone in radio has increased guidance, but it is a one-of-a-kind company) - - but nobody is going out on a limb about '05.
12/13/04 TVBR #241

A vulture's eye view of Citadel
When thinking of the many legendary companies that have sizzled the American airwaves with news and entertainment, the name of Citadel Broadcasting owner Forstmann Little is not likely to come up. It doesn't have broadcasting in its blood - - its m.o. is to take a stack of dollar bills and turn it into a bigger stack. TVBR observation: There is no room for Citadel in the Clear Channel portfolio, but for three of radio's other mega-groups - - Viacom/Infinity, Disney/ABC and Cumulus - - it would make a very snug fit. This would present an opportunity for any number of TV groups seeking to enter or, for companies like GE/NBC, Sinclair or Gannett, re-enter, the radio business. As for Farid we don't believe he ever made the statement he was in this operation to wait and receive a gold watch.
12/13/04 TVBR #241

What's Citadel worth?
CEO Farid Suleman hung a "for sale" sign on the company at last week's UBS Securities conference, but will there be any takers? For sure Forstmann Little would want to get at least the IPO price of 19 bucks a share. Including debt, that's a price tag of nearly three billion. Frankly, we think Ted Forstmann is going to be a broadcaster for longer than he'd planned. RBR observation: As for Farid we don't believe he ever made the statement he was in this operation to wait and receive a gold watch. 12/13/04 RBR #241

2005: CFOs put the bull in the barn
Finding are more interesting than from CEO's or COO's because these CFO know where the money is and coming from. They have the trends and they are less bullish about the economy in 2005. Widespread concern - rising health care, federal budget deficit, rising energy costs and interest rates. Worries of domestic terrorism have a dampening effect on overall business results. A quarter ago, CFOs were looking for a 3.1% increase in hiring for '05 but that number has dwindled into fractional territory, to 0.8%. Outsourcing is expected to increase. Cap-ex is also expected to be flat. The 3.8% growth rate is said to represent only replacement level spending. And on an ominous note for readers of TVBR, expectations for advertising expenditure have been more than halved, down to only a 2.3% increase for the year. CFOs also lowball economic gains compared to Wall Street. They are looking for a 2.8% increase in GDP, compared to a 3.3% consensus forecast on The Street. Despite all this, the CFOs are expecting their own companies to fare OK, with an expected earnings increase of 11%. TVBR observation: Want the true then go where the money is not just More talk from CEO's or COO's. The CFO is the one that is truly in control of operations today and we all know it. Now, CFO's get out from the behind your numbers at get to the front lines where the real fighting is going on. Go to key events besides banker crap. Attend the RAB, TVB, 4A's conferences and go where the real street action is. 12/10/04 TVBR #240

Cable penetration hits 10-year low; satellite continue surge
More American TV households are receiving cable programming via an alternate delivery system (ADS/satellite) than ever before while wired cable lost 300,000 subscribers and saw its penetration percentage hit a 10-year low, according to a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research data for November 2004.
TVBR observation: If you track or pace the process then click and print the charts. We do to follow the trend. Worth tacking in your programming and sales department and put in your media kits. Again we recommend print out the charts to develop your own pacing trends. Do not rely on any trade association to do your job. 12/10/04 TVBR #240

Arbitron claims PPM recruiting success in Houston
Over 52% of the households targeted for the first wave of PPM recruitment agreed to participate. The company says fault rates are also low. Response levels had been a big concern during the initial PPM test in Philadelphia, but Arbitron thinks it's got the problem licked. Look for the test to start churning out data come July. 12/09/04 TVBR #239

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