Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 59, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning March 24th, 2005

TV News®

Panel calls for LPM changes
The long-awaited report on Nielsen's ratings practices from an independent panel is in and the ratings company says it will begin work immediately to implement many of the recommendations. However, some others will require consultation with Nielsen's clients and/or approval by the Media Ratings Council. One of the recommendations is that Nielsen oversample minorities in its Local People Meter markets.

TVBR observation: This is the proper way to approach problems and disagreements when it comes to broadcast ratings - - not running to Capitol Hill and calling for new government regulation. Broadcasters, agencies and advertisers can work with Nielsen and Arbitron (or any other ratings company) to deal with issues of accuracy and methodology. Getting the government involved would just add a layer of political bureaucracy - - and just look at the mess we already have at the FCC! | More... |

Final shoe falls in CBS News scandal
The third and final news executive that Viacom Co-President/COO Les Moonves had asked to resign back in January (1/11/05 TVBR #7) has now done so. Josh Howard, who had been executive producer of "60 Minutes Wednesday," had been the last holdout from the four CBS News staffers saddled with most of the blame for a report on President Bush's Air National Guard service that relied on documents which likely were fakes. Howard reportedly agreed to a cash settlement of his contract and CBS confirmed that he had resigned in a terse statement: "Mr. Howard served CBS News with distinction for more than 20 years in a variety of roles, most recently as executive producer of '60 Minutes Wednesday. We recognized Mr. Howard's many contributions to CBS News during his tenure, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors." Case closed? Maybe not. Mary Mapes, the only person outright fired for her role in the debacle, has signed a book deal with St. Martin's Press to tell her side of the story. "She will chronicle what really happened at CBS and reveal the corporate, political and ideological agendas that threaten the integrity of journalists and the news," the publisher said.

Idol screw-up leads to re-vote
Fox is blaming a graphics error for displaying incorrect phone numbers for voting on Tuesday's edition of "American Idol." As a result, all of the votes from Tuesday were thrown out and the remaining 11 contestants were to have their fate this week rest on viewer votes only from last night. However, Fox said it would keep the phone lines open for two hours last night so everyone would have a chance to vote. Based on that voting, someone will be sent packing on tonight's edition of "Idol."

Media giants prepare
to take on Google

If you're a regular user of Google News, you've probably noticed that Google doesn't actually produce any news - - it just helps you find material produced by thousands of newspapers, radio and TV stations, wire services and other sources. Now three companies that actually produce lots of that news are trying to get a piece of the news search engine action. Gannett, Tribune Company and Knight Ridder have each purchased a 25% stake in Topix.net, with the startup's founders retaining the other quarter. Terms weren't disclosed, but the investment is rumored to be only a few million bucks each - - pocket change compared to the three billion in revenues that Google raked in last year, largely from advertising. Rather than grabbing material willy-nilly from the Internet, Topix.net has partnership deals with thousands of content sources, as well as agreements with Website operators to use content organized by Topix.net's NewsRank technology. Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse (the French equivalent of the AP or Reuters) sued Google this week, claiming that Google's news search engine infringes on AFP's copyrights. Google will argue that its compilation of links to news stories and photos qualifies as fair use of AFP material posted on the Internet by various news outlets.

TVBR observation: A battle is brewing over ownership rights to material posted on the Internet. Does Google or any other search engine have the legal right to link to anything it finds on the Web? If Google has to pay for content, as Yahoo! does for its primary news sources, there could be a windfall for news organizations and a sharp decrease in profits for Google shareholders. Now that Gannett, Tribune and Knight Ridder own a competitor, you can bet that their lawyers are hard at work figuring out just what US laws to cite in cease and desist letters advising Google to steer clear of their content - - or meet them in court.

Defamation suit:
Journal out, Emmis still in
Authorities in Wichita, Kansas declared the decades old "BTK" serial killer case closed in January with the much publicized arrest of Dennis Rader. But there's another case still making its way through the local courts on the civil docket. Roger Valadez had sued three news outlets after he was arrested in December on outstanding warrants for trespassing and housing violations in the midst of the BTK investigation. His home was searched and authorities took a DNA sample, but Valadez was never charged with any crime connected to the killings. Afterward, Valadez sued the Associated Press, KFDI-FM and KSNW-TV, claiming that they had defamed him by their coverage of his arrest. The AP was dropped from the case after it showed that its coverage had never identified the man by name. Likewise, KDFI, which is owned by Journal Broadcast Group, got off the hook a few days ago because it never named him either. That leaves only Emmis' KSNW, the local NBC affiliate, which maintains that it only reported the facts of how Valadez was arrested by police and later cleared of any involvement in the BTK case.

Gene DeWitt opens DeWitt Media Options
DeWitt Media/Optimedia founder and former SNTA President
Gene DeWitt has opened DeWitt Media Options, a strategic media consultancy after taking a year off and settling a lawsuit with the SNTA. His new office is in Rockefeller Plaza, NYC. In addition to offering advice on new business pitches, DeWitt Media Options also provides media and marketing analyses, assessments of media budgets, plans and presentations.

Conference Calls Q4 2004
Q4 a down quarter for Block's TV group
Net revenues were up 3.6% to 116.7 million in Q4 for Block Communications, but its TV group was a drag on the results. TV revenues were down 2.9% to 10.9 million. The company said both local and national ad sales were down, while political was up. Cable revenues were up 8.2% to 31.1 million and publishing revenues were up 3% to 69.7 million. Block's TV group, known as Independence Television Company, consists of two stations in Louisville, KY, and one each in Boise, ID, Lima, OH and Decatur, IL. Block is privately owned, but has public bonds.


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Motorola places part of account in review
Motorola has placed the digital and relationship marketing portion of its 100 million global account into review. The review covers Motorola's global interactive marketing strategy, online and relationship marketing. The incumbent, OgilvyOne, Wunderman, and Havas' Euro RSCG 4D are reportedly participating.

Same-sex marriage pushed ad spend
in gay media to four-year high
Same-sex marriage might have polarized lawmakers, but it has galvanized advertisers in the gay press, according to a closely new survey. Overall ad spending in gay and lesbian publications in 2004 reached 207 million, an increase of 28.4% over the year before, according to the 2004 edition of the Gay Press Report, the annual survey produced by Prime Access and gay media repe firm Rivendell Media. "The findings in this report represent the biggest increases in spending for the gay press since 2000," said Howard Buford, Prime Access President. | More... |

GM may phase out a car line
GM, which issued a shock profit warning last week and has been losing market share, may phase out one of its weaker car brands if sales fail to meet projections, Reuters reported Vice Chairman Bob Lutz as saying. GM's Buick and Pontiac are both "damaged brands" due to lack of investment over the years, and GM is working to correct that with an array of new vehicles coming to market, Lutz told a Morgan Stanley automotive conference in NYC. But if some of its brands fail to meet sales projections, "then we would have to take a look at a phase-out. I hope we don't have to do that." Financial analysts have said for years that the world's largest automaker has too many brands to support, even with the gradual phase-out of the Oldsmobile brand a few years ago, particularly with its weaker US sales. Sales for both Pontiac and Buick have lagged in recent years. But GM is in the midst of a 3 billion investment in new vehicles for Buick, and Pontiac showrooms and they will have four new vehicles this year, including the Solstice roadster, Torrent SUV and the G6 mid-size coupe. GM, which last week cut its earnings outlook for 2005 by as much as 80%, posted a 6% drop in U.S. sales for the first two months of the year. GM's U.S. market share fell to about 25%, far below its share of 27.5% for all of 2004.

New Hispanic agency opens in Tampa
A new full-service Hispanic marketing company opens its doors in Tampa, to provide a higher level of Hispanic marketing advice to companies throughout Florida. Berrojo Rhoads - http://www.berrojorhoads.com -, a division of The Rhoads Group, is already serving seven Bay-area clients, including real estate, law firms, banks, and automobile dealerships. "The need is great and we are able to deliver the Hispanic market to those attempting to reach out to this growing, affluent and often forgotten consumer segment," said Joseph Berrojo, President of the newly-formed agency. "Make no mistake; the Hispanic market has very specific touch points. The family relationship, for example, is crucial. Hispanics are very close knit. Knowing what we know allows us to help clients shape and disseminate their print and broadcast messages to the heart of the Hispanic audience."

Jaguar chooses Euro RSCG after review
Jaguar has reportedly chosen Euro RSCG to handle global ad duties for its brand after a review that included JWT and Berlin Cameron/Red Cell; Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, M&C Saatchi and Leagas Delaney. The incumbent was Y&R, Irvine, CA.

MTV wants more P. Diddy
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs goes back a long way with MTV, from trying to get his videos played to producing programming for the Viacom cable outlet. Now he's signed a new production deal with MTV, which will likely include more reality series (he's already involved with "Making the Band 3" and "Run's House"), situation comedies, documentaries and concert specials. In addition to the new first look production agreement that Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment has with MTV for TV programming, he's heading for the big screen as well, with a movie under development about an urban heist. His partner for that is MTV Films.

Fox picks up 3rd season of "The OC"
The young-skewing drama "The OC" is coming back for a third season on Fox. "The show has performed exceptionally well, achieving hit status on a highly competitive night and giving us a solid anchor on Thursdays for the first time in years," said Gail Berman in what may prove to be her last announcement as Fox Entertainment President as she heads off to Paramount Pictures. "The OC" had been a notable success from Berman's strategy of launching new shows throughout the year, rather than only in the fall.

TVBR Ratings
TiVo users prefer Idol, of course
With Fox's "American Idol" narrowing down the cast of contenders, you just know that TiVo owners aren't going to miss a second of the competition. The two nights of Idol took the top two places in the most recent week's ratings reported by the digital video recorder service.
| More... |

Stock Talk
More inflation worries
A bigger-than-expected rise in the government's Consumer Price Index renewed inflation fears, but the market weathered the news fairly well. The Dow Industrials slipped only 14 points to 10,456 and other major indices were barely into positive territory for the day.

TV stocks were mixed. Paxson rose 5.2% and Young fell 4.6% as the best and worst performers.


Here's how stocks fared on Tuesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change













Media General




Clear Channel












News Corp.
















NY Times
















Saga Commun.




Gen. Electric




















Time Warner




Gray, C1. A




















Viacom, Cl. A




Journal Comm.




Viacom, Cl. B




Liberty Corp




Wash. Post












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This is your column, so send your comments to [email protected]

Bob Iger may have gotten the nod to succeed Michael Eisner as CEO of Disney, but Roy Disney and Stan Gold aren't the only shareholders who want a do-over.

As a long time dissatisfied Disney stockholder I have wanted Eisner removed. Roy and Stan did the impossible by stripping him of half his titles and ultimately reaching this point. Bob Iger is a very talented leader, but I will join any effort to reopen the interviews to other candidates without Eisner present. This is an outrage to the company and stockholders that two very qualified and talented leaders did not even apply because Eisner was part of the interview team. This problem is far greater than just broadcast, it speaks to the corporate governance of a global corporation. And I feel strongly that the next CEO needs to have compensation tied far more closely to the bottom line.

Carter Crawford
GCI Cable
Fairbanks, AK

Upped & Tapped

Goodman back to private practice
Jack Goodman exits the NAB as Sr. VP and General Counsel to join the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in its Communications and E-Commerce Department. Goodman had been at NAB for 14 years.

Joanne Burns upped at 20th Television
Joanne Burns has been promoted to the newly created position of executive vice president, sales marketing, research and new media, of Twentieth Television, effective immediately. In her new role, Burns will oversee all first-run and off-net program research activities, be heavily involved in the development and creation of program sales marketing initiatives and identify new media opportunities on behalf of the company.

RBR - Radio News

XM to be standard in Hyundai cars
Hyundai Motor America and XM Satellite Radio announced that Hyundai will be the first automaker to include a satellite radio receiver as standard, factory-installed equipment in every vehicle across its entire model line-up. Starting in 2006, XM will be factory-installed in many Hyundai models, beginning with the Sonata, Santa Fe, Elantra, and the upcoming replacement for the XG350 premium sedan. By year-end 2006, 75% of Hyundai's sales volume will be XM-equipped, with the remaining models following quickly thereafter, totaling well over 500,000 units by 2007. "Including XM as standard equipment in all of its vehicles makes this one of the most aggressive automotive rollouts of XM Satellite Radio ever," said Hugh Panero, XM CEO. "Hyundai is one of the fastest-growing automakers in the world today, and it has earned outstanding ratings for quality, reliability, and safety. We know that Hyundai customers are going to love XM's award-winning programming as they travel from coast to coast."

RBR observation: One thing we found interesting about the Hyundai agreement is that only three months of XM service is being rolled into the sticker price. A few years back both XM and Sirius were pushing for three year subscription packages with the automakers, but the standard ended up being one year. By our reading of the churn rates for both satellite companies, about 30% of the people who buy satellite-equipped new cars are letting their receivers go dormant rather than pay for the monthly service once the initial year is over. It'll likely be even tougher for XM to convert Hyundai owners to paying customers after only three months. Local radio guys, this is not hard to figure out. Be local with a capital L - it's not rocket science.

March Digital Print Magazine Now Available

2005 Technology Odyssey...
The Changing Landscape
Ipods up to 4M sold over Christmas and radio doesn't have a problem?

Perry Sook goes exclusive One-On-One and is very vocal on why he is standing alone and tall against the Cable MSO's.

Brace yourself as media top gun
Irwin Gotlieb tells all Radio & TV what he really thinks and if you don't like it - "Then change careers."

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

Jury slaps down
Clear Channel for 90M
A federal jury in Chicago has slapped a 90 million bucks verdict on Clear Channel Entertainment, ruling that the company interfered with a competitor's agreement to promote dirt-track motorcycle racing. The jury found that CC Entertainment's improper conduct cost JamSports 17 million in profits - - then tacked on 73 million in punitive damages. Critics of Clear Channel were quick to leap on the verdict as evidence that the company engages in unfair business practices - - and that such conduct should weigh against renewal of its broadcast licenses.
TVBR observation: Clear Channel would do well to take a page from Sumner Redstone's playbook and spin CC Entertainment off into a separate public company. That would be a clean and efficient way to get rid of a bad investment in a lousy business. Learn your lesson: The emphasis CCU is on Clean and Efficient in all your business practices. 03/23/05 TVBR #58

Tribune faces court order
to sell station
Don't look for anything to happen quickly, but Tribune Company is now under a federal court order to sell WTXX-TV (Ch. 20, WB) Hartford-New Haven. A federal judge in Hartford agreed with a lawsuit brought by the owner of the Journal Inquirer daily newspaper in Manchester, CT that Tribune's ownership of the Hartford Courant, which it acquired as part of Times Mirror in 2000, puts it in violation of the crossownership rule. Tribune got two waivers from the FCC to continue owning the newspaper, WTXX and WTIC-TV (Ch. 61, Fox), but the most recent one expired in August 2002. The FCC has not acted on Tribune's request for a permanent waiver. 03/23/05 TVBR #58

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