Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 3, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning January 5th, 2005

TV News®

Nielsen withholds ratings
for 12 markets

Citing "an unusual set of hardware failures," Nielsen Media Research says local ratings information for 12 western markets is being withheld for Friday, December 31st while the company determines whether the data can be recovered and reprocessed. The markets affected are Los Angeles, Los Angeles Hispanic, San Diego, Denver, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Phoenix, Seattle, Las Vegas, Albuquerque and Portland, OR. What happened? Nielsen says the hardware failures disrupted the calling-in process from sample households in the 12 markets. Not all households were able to call in with their viewing data for December 31st. As a result, all 12 markets had insufficient in-tab samples for Nielsen to release ratings data. The problem affected Local People Meter (LPM) data from LA, LA Hispanic and San Francisco and data from Set Meters in the other nine markets. Homes in the National People Meter (NPM) sample from LA and San Francisco were also affected, but the in-tab sample size did not fall below Nielsen's minimum for NPM. Nielsen said there were no problems after December 31st and that data reporting was normal for January 1st and 2nd.

TVBR observation: Well, that's on advantage that old-fashioned diaries have over their high-tech successors. Unless, of course, they're lost in the mail.

Broadcasters raising funds for tsunami victims
Radio and TV stations across the country are teaming with relief agencies to raise funds to aid survivors of the tsunami that claimed over 100,000 lives in Southern Asia. In one of the largest efforts, NBC Universal announced plans to air a live benefit special across all of its networks on Saturday, January 15th. The relief special, beginning at 8:00 pm (ET), will air on NBC, USA, Bravo, Trio, SciFi, MSNBC and CNBC. Clear Channel has signed on as radio partner to promote the fund-raising telecast. Clear Channel also announced its own effort to raise funds to support the United States Fund for UNICEF in aiding tsunami victims. CC Radio's 1,200+ radio stations have begun airing PSAs recorded by several UNICEF "celebrity ambassadors" soliciting donations. In Los Angeles, Viacom's radio and TV stations are soliciting tsunami aid donations for the American Red Cross. The joint effort by Infinity Radio's eight LA stations, KCBS-TV (Ch. 2, CBS) and KCAL-TV (Ch. 9, Ind.) is being called the "Southern California Tsunami Money Drive."

They said it in 2004: April
As the old year exits stage right and the new year makes its way to center stage, we thought we'd string together a compendium of quotes which appeared in RBR/TVBR during the past year. Today: April 2004 and as Nielsen just decided to withhold ratings here is one quote on Nielsen that you have to scratch some body part to figure out - "It isn't the People Meter itself. It's not the People Meter. It's how they got to the People Meter." OK, who's on first? | More... |

Supreme test on FCC rules unlikely in 2005
A second extension has been granted to the DOJ as requested, giving it more time to mull a possible challenge in the Supreme Court on behalf of the FCC of the Third Circuit ruling which slammed put the brakes on most of the FCC's 6/2/03 media ownership rulemaking (12/22/04 TVBR #248). The upshot is that it severely limits the possibility of a 2005 Supreme Court decision on the matter. The DOJ Solicitor General decision was originally extended to 1/3/05, a deadline moved on this occasion to 1/31/05. According to SCOTUS watchers cited in The Deal, the extension - - assuming an appeal is filed and the Court agrees to consider it - - most likely will move arguments to autumn, which would in turn result in a court decision returned sometime in 2006.

Goodmon logs more frequent pre-emptor miles
Jim Goodmon has testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on the network/affiliate relationship, particularly regarding his desire to keep the programming on his own station responsive to his perception of the local audience's values. That desire has led him to black out another Fox Television reality offering on his WRAZ-TV in Raleigh. At issue was the 1/3/05 airing of "Who's Your Daddy." An adopted woman was required to guess who her birth father was from a group of men, a premise which drew the ire of a number of watchdog groups. During his Congressional appearances, Goodmon has testified to the difficulty faced by local station owners when they feel the need to drop programming sent to them by the network. He noted that Fox had a three-strikes policy - - three unapproved preemptions of network offerings and your affilation days are over. An earlier preemption was eventually excused under the community standards clause of the contract, but Goodmon said it took a lot of work to make that happen (5/15/03 TVBR #96). According to the Associated Press, Fox said "Who's Your Daddy" had been thoroughly reviewed and cleared by its standards and practices department. Apparently, WRAZ-TV was the only affiliate out of over 180 to axe it.

Clear Channel contest condemned
"The Breast Christmas Ever" has put Clear Channel back in the news. A contest which will award breast implants to women contestants was run on four stations, including WKQI-FM Detroit, WFKS-FM Jacksonville, KSLZ-FM St. Louis and WFLZ-FM Tampa. The National Organization for Women has been leading a campaign protesting the contests. "In an appalling effort to grab attention and raise ratings, radio stations owned by conservative media giant Clear Channel are promoting potentially dangerous plastic surgery and marketing unrealistic and unhealthy images of women," wrote NOW. NOW encouraged an email campaign directed at both CCU CEO Mark Mays and the FCC. According to reports, Clear Channel HQ disavowed any knowledge of the contest, saying such decisions are made by local programmers.

TVBR observation: NOW managed to mangle the facts in its characterization of Clear Channel. It repeated the charge that CCU banned the Dixie Chicks - - which is simply incorrect. Individual Clear Channel stations may have banned the group, but no directive to do so ever came down to the stations from HQ. Cumulus Media is the only group to take that action that we know of. However, it also seems that the local decision alibi is a little weak when such a distinctively entitled contest shows up in four very different, geographically diverse cities. Maybe this contest didn't originate in San Antonio, but sure doesn't look like an entirely local operation, either. Executives at CCU's HQ - the word the industry would speak is not called Disavowed - but called Accountability.

Clear Channel HQ swears
it didn't know anything

About the "The Breast Christmas Ever" that ran on four different stations in four different markets. RBR/TVBR observation: seems that the local decision alibi is a little weak when such a distinctively entitled contest shows up in four very different, geographically diverse cities.

Do you believe Clear Channel's brass
on the alibi that they?
1 - Didn't know a thing on the contest
2 - Knew well in advance about the contest
3 - Just hoped it wouldn't get caught


Q Television Network rolls out million dollar effort
Gay/Lesbian cable net Q Television Network says will commence a million dollar ad program tomorrow that focuses on national pubs such as The USA Today, as well as many gay and lesbian publications across the U.S. This campaign is geared towards generating new customers, as well as creating a greater awareness of Q. The network is also concentrating on becoming well known in its industry by becoming a sponsor at the Q Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival. "Thanks to the hard work of our production crews, Q is inches away from its goal of having 25% original programming, and, we will begin a million dollar advertising campaign in an effort to maximize our exposure to the public," said Frank Olsen, President and CEO of Q Television Network. "I am very excited about the progress we are making at the network, and believe this year will hold much promise for us."

WOR Radio Network reduces inventory on Jim Cramer
And the spillover from Clear Channel's "Less is More" initiative begins: WOR Radio Network announced a reduction in commercial inventory for Jim Cramer's Real Money program. After a soft launch in December 2004, the new program clock reduces the overall commercial content of the daily Jim Cramer Real Money program by two minutes. The two minutes will be used for program content. "This inventory reduction strategy is part of our ongoing commitment to improve the overall program content of Jim Cramer's Real Money while serving the needs of our loyal affiliates. We appreciate their commitment to carrying Jim's show and look forward to continuing our affiliations with them," states Chris Thompson, Executive Director of the WOR Radio Network. The WOR Radio Network has also reduced the commercial inventory in the daily Jim Cramer Real Money Minute and Real Money Market Wrap from :60-seconds to :30-seconds.

Real women take center stage
in new Slim-Fast campaign
Slim-Fast Foods has launched a new campaign with Slim-Fast dieters and their personal weight loss success stories. The ads are part of an integrated marketing campaign to support the new Slim-Fast Optima Diet, a practical approach to weight management based on the latest results from obesity and weight loss research. In addition to the ads, Slim-Fast will revamp its website -- slim- fast.com, promote the new Optima products via retail store demos and a multi-city event tour, introduce "The Little Book of Weight Loss Success" and continue to offer free support and advice from registered dietitians both online and through a toll-free number. The women featured in the ads were selected from thousands of dieters who wrote into Slim-Fast sharing weight loss success stories. Heather Moore, 31, from Indianapolis, IN, lost 78 pounds and has kept it off for more than a year and Andrea Robinson, 37, from Santa Fe, NM, lost 70 pounds and dropped from a size 22 to a size 10-dress size. Both women speak candidly about their weight loss and how reaching a healthy weight has significantly changed their lives.

Leo Burnett signs six-month, 100 million contract
with US Army

The US Army has signed a new, six-month contract with Leo Burnett USA effective 12/31/04, estimated at 100 million. This new, short-term contract was in the best interest of the U.S. Army as it continues ongoing global military operations while maintaining recruiting-advertising efforts to publicize the range of career opportunities and skills the Army offers potential recruits. This interim action also extends for up to six months the competition process for the U.S Army Recruiting and Advertising Program for active-duty Army and the U.S. Army Reserve under a Request For Proposals.

Payless puts account in review
Payless ShoeSource has placed its 60 million North American account under review. The incumbent is Barkley Evergreen & Partners Kansas City. A decision will coincide with ads that need to be produced in time to air and publish in the fall timeframe. The review does not include buying, Hispanic advertising, PR or international assignments. Payless tapped Joanne Davis Consulting NY to handle the closed review.

February Radio & Television Business Report

"The Pros and Cons of Nielsen's Local People Meter and Arbitron's proposed Portable People Meter service"
After a rocky start, it's roll-out time of LPM & PPM. Will there be cooperation or more talk?

Engineered for Profit: "New tower standards coming: are you ready?" Did you know existing standards is currently in the midst of the biggest revision in years?

GM talkback: "How has LPM ratings changed selling in your market?" TV GMs say what they think-the good, bad and the ugly.

Media, Markets, and Money: Only one place tells it like it is with a run-down and overview of the biggest quarterly Radio and TV deals and outlook to 2005.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
SEC charges fraud at TV Azteca
Shares of Mexican TV group owner TV Azteca, which trades on the NYSE as TZA, fell more than 9% yesterday after the US SEC charged company Chairman Ricardo Salinas Pliego, director Luis Echarte Fernandez and former CEO Pedro Ladillo Longoria with fraud in a scheme that allegedly produced 109 million bucks in undisclosed profits for Salinas. Echarte agreed to settle the charges without admitting guilt and will pay a 200K fine. TV Azteca disclosed last October that the SEC and Mexican authorities were investigating the company's transactions involving Unefon, its cellular telephone subsidiary. TV Azteca is one of Mexico's largest TV group owners and has moved into the US market with its Azteca America network.

Washington Beat
Tampa Fox O&O under attack
A petition to deny has been filed with the FCC, targeting Fox Television O&O WTVT-TV in Tampa. The petition comes from a pair of former reporters, who claim they were fired for refusing to falsify a news story in 1997, and that the station subsequently falsified news reports in their absence. The reporters - - Jane Akre and Steve Wilson - - and the station have already tangled in court in a wrongful firing case. Akre was awarded damages in 2000, only to lose them on appeal in 2003. Wilson was found not to have been wronged. The duo says claim that the court case appeal pivoted on the fact that there is no specific law against falsifying the news in the state of Florida. They feel they have a federal case, however, and have had to wait for the renewal cycle to run its course before taking their current action. The station plans to defend itself, saying the reporters are merely trying to find a new forum for a case they've already lost.

TVBR Ratings
CBS wins again, but ABC strong
Even with its hit "Desperate Housewives" taking the week off, ABC managed to hang onto 2nd place in the primetime Nielsen ratings, keeping NBC back in 3rd - - both overall and for the key 18-49 demo. CBS won the week with a 6.6 rating and 11 share, followed by ABC at 6.2/11, NBC 5.6/10, Fox 3.4/6, UPN 1.9/3, WB 1.5/3 and Pax 0.4/1. Here are the top 20 primetime shows for the week of 12/27/04 through 1/2/05. | Chart |

Stock Talk
Inflation fears sink stocks
When the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee met last month, Wall Street took little notice, since the Fed did what was expected - - raise rates a quarter point. But minutes of the meeting released yesterday indicated growing concern about inflation among the committee's members, sparking fears on Wall Street that the Fed will start pushing rates up faster. That sparked a selling spree that sent the Dow Industrials down 99 points, or 0.9%, to close at 10,631.

TV stocks joined the retreat. Sinclair fell 3.6%, ACME 3.2% and Young 2.9% as the big movers to the downside. Paxson, however, jumped 35%, although that's only 53 cents.


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








Viacom, Cl. B




Journal Comm.




Wash. Post




Liberty Corp












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Upped & Tapped

Pierre is
Arbitron has named Pierre Bouvard as President, Portable People Meters and International, putting him in charge of promoting PPM to the radio, TV, cable and advertising industries in the US, as well as his previous duties marketing PPM abroad. Jay Guyther, Sr. VP of domestic PPM marketing, will now report to Bouvard. Prior to his new appointment, Bouvard had been heading Arbitron New Ventures, creating the company's new Outdoor division, and its Custom Research division, both of which will now be integrated into US Media Services, under Owen Charlebois, President.

More News Headlines

RBR - Radio News

2004: Tough year
for radio stocks
If you bet on a long-awaited revenue recovery to boost radio stocks in 2004, you may want to look into getting a new crystal ball. As we all know now, the tough times continued and investors turned away from radio stocks in droves. RBR's Radio Index fell 20% for the year and virtually all pure-play radio stocks finished 2004 down from where they began the year. The only exceptions were Beasley, which rose 6%, and Spanish Broadcasting System, which edged up less than 0.1%. Most multi-media companies also saw their stocks decline, although Disney rose 19% as ABC Television finally found a couple of hits and Michael Eisner announced plans to leave Disney following an unsuccessful hostile takeover bid by Comcast and a shareholders revolt which saw a 43% vote against Eisner. Meanwhile, satellite radio companies were Wall Street darlings as auto dealer sales boosted their subscriber numbers and both companies announced hundreds of millions in programming deals. Sirius shot up 141% for the year and XM 43%.

RBR observation: This is not a pretty sight. Worth saying again - tough times continued and investors turned away from radio stocks in droves. See the charts and hold on to your hair because if there is a reason to Go Private the numbers do not lie.
| More... |

Competing Media

Globe partners
with freebie

The New York Times Company, which owns the Boston Globe, is now an investor in Metro Boston - - a free daily newspaper targeting "well-educated young professionals." The Times Co. bought a 49% stake in the freebie paper from Metro USA for 16.5 million. Metro USA will continue to own the other 51% and manage the newspaper. The Boston Globe newsroom will not be involved in editing Metro Boston. The free daily, which debuted in 2001, claims to have 300,000 daily readers and generated approximately 10 million in revenues in 2004.

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

2004: Tough year for TV stocks
Political and Olympic revenues filled the coffers of TV companies in 2004, but investors are always trying to look ahead, so most TV stocks fell in 2004 as Wall Street anticipated slower growth in the future. Of the 35 TV stocks in TVBR's daily chart, only 11 were up for the year and not one of them was a pure-play TV group owner. Michael Eisner announced plans to leave Disney - Don Cornwell sought to reorganize the company's holdings - Paxson struggled to find a new buyer to replace NBC and to win digital must carry, Paxson Communications fell 64%.
TVBR observation: See the charts and hold on to your hair because the site is not a pretty one as this year someone best order from e-bay an extra supply of life vests.
01/04/05 TVBR #2

Radio's JSAs have a
short while to file
The Third Circuit, while at the very least delaying most of the FCC's 6/2/03 ownership ruling, did allow a few things to go into effect. One such new rule is making radio station joint sales agreements (JSA) attributable when calculating allowable cluster size caps in Arbitron-rated markets. The FCC is now calling in the paperwork on such agreements. All contracts concerning JSAs must be submitted to the Media Bureau by 2/22/05, where it will be placed in the appropriate license files.
RBR observation: If you snooze you loose. 01/04/05 RBR #2

They said it in 2004: March
And you just thought kids only said the silly things. This one was not said by either Rodney Dangerfield or Red Buttons - "I think Michael Eisner did some great things for the company, but there are some not so great things." 01/04/05 TVBR #2

TiVo goes mobile
Digital video recorders are no longer confined to home viewing. TiVo has announced new software - - TiVoToGo - - which allows users to take video programs with them on their laptop computers. There is no additional charge to subscribers for the new software. TVBR observation: Here's another reason why TV executives are anxious to see Nielsen move to a passive portable meter for ratings, such as Arbitron's Portable People Meter. But this is also merely another step toward the day when wireless broadband will make programming available just about anywhere - - making every Internet video site a competitor to local TV stations. Get ready. Change is coming fast. 01/04/05 TVBR #2

They said it in 2004: February
Old year exits stage right with a compendium of quotes here's one to ponder "I'm sure in some way it was planned, because somehow it really seemed that way...."
TVBR observation: Can you really believe people said this stuff.
01/03/05 TVBR #1

Senate Dems look to
assert themselves in 2005
Faced with breaking in a new leader in the wake of the election defeat of Tom Daschle (D-SD), and they'll be doing so with the smallest contingent in decades. Only 44 Democratic senators will be facing 55 Republicans. Dissatisfied with Republican oversight of the Bush administration, the Dems have vowed to conduct oversight hearings of their own as they feel the need. Here is where it gets interesting for broadcasters. One of the go-to senators on this project is the very active Byron Dorgan (D-ND). "The Congressional watchdog remains fast asleep, and we intend to wake it up," 01/03/05 TVBR #1

They said it in 2004:
Special Super Bowl edition
Nipplegate incident immediate aftermath of Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction.
TVBR observation: TA DUM with words of wisdom pour from mouths like - "I am outraged - I am shocked - We were extremely disappointed - CBS deeply regrets", and RBR loves this one - "If you sleep with dogs you'll get fleas." Wow, see what we have to look forward to in a few weeks with Super Bowl 39. Hey, who won Super Bowl 38? DA?
12/29/04 TVBR #251

They said it in 2004: January
Joel Hollander, David Kantor, Natalie Swed Stone, Gary Fries, Mark Mays and Michael Powell had interesting quotes in January 2004. They spoke their peace and we shall see the pattern evolve into what is faced in 2005 as this quote is one of many - "I just don't see it as a significant threat to what we do." - - Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan discussing satellite radio.
12/28/04 TVBR #250

Nielsen changes DC, Philadelphia LPM intro dates, still no Houston engagement
it will launch its local people meter service in Philadelphia and DC on 4/7/05, operating in conjunction with the current meter/diary service until 6/2/05 when the LPM will take over in both markets. That's months before it previously announced the dual service would begin and weeks before a subsequent announcement said the dual service would commence. TVBR observation: Nielsen is in control of its own direction and Houston market is vital but a no go. This will be a game to say focused on this year. Nielsen's schedule see chart.
12/29/04 TVBR #251

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