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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 92, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Tuesday Morning May 10th, 2005

TV News®

Odd quiet after SNL F-bomb
The 5/7/05 "Saturday Night Live" featured an unbleeped F-bomb, courtesy of the band System of a Down. For some reason, despite the supercharged atmosphere surrounding the broadcast decency controversy, the usual suspects seem to be oddly silent this time around. The obvious reason to leave the incident alone is that it occurred after midnight, well into the programming safe harbor which begins at 10PM. A relatively recent SNL precursor to System of a Down was Motley Crue, which dropped a legally untouchable F-bomb of its own on New Years. An FCC spokesperson told TVBR that it was too early to determine if the 5/7 incident has inspired a wave of complaints.

Disney war: Round two
Roy Disney and Stan Gold aren't taking the selection of Bob Iger as Disney's CEO-to-be as a done deal. They've sued the company's management and directors, claiming that they defrauded shareholders by claiming they were going to conduct a broad search for a successor to Michael Eisner - - then anointed his chosen heir without ever seriously considering any other candidate. The suit claims that Disney's board of directors deliberately delayed naming Iger until after this year's annual shareholders meeting because of a threat from Roy Disney and Stan Gold to run a competing slate of directors. According to the two dissidents, they and other shareholders were deceived by the board's public statements that it would run a bona fide CEO selection process. Now they want the Delaware Chancery Court to void this year's directors election, order a new election "after full disclosure about the CEO selection process" and bar the company from making any change to the contract or compensation of either Eisner or Iger. There was no immediate response from the company - - but you can bet it won't agree with any of the claims in the lawsuit.

TVBR observation: If Disney and Gold or anyone inside Disney could get a team of creative writers together they would have a fall hit sitcom on their hands. We are talking 'Desperate' here and ABC to announce next week to their TV affiliates their fall line up... wonder if a new sitcom called Roy and Stanley from Hollywood is in the Almost Broadcasting Company (ABC) plans? Sad part is ABC has the opportunity to become the almost come back network but not with this kind of material of infighting.

Hicks, Muse exiting Clear Channel - - fast!
We suggested yesterday that it might take a while for Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst to monetize its entire stake in Channel Communications (5/9/05 TVBR #91). Nope - - it's dumping and running. Not only is the Dallas-based investment firm selling back 5.7 million shares to Clear Channel, it's also selling 16.8 million to Citigroup and then distributing what's left of its 37.5 million-share stake to the investors in the various Hicks, Muse funds to do with them as they wish. It's a good bet that a lot of them will soon be sold.

TVBR observation: What's truly amazing is that the Hicks, Muse exit has had very little impact on Clear Channel's stock price. It fell 2.5% on news of the 5.7 million share sale back to the company. But after news that Hicks, Muse was exiting entirely appeared in Monday's Wall Street Journal (and over the weekend in the San Antonio Express-News), CCU stock was up a tiny bit from the opening bell on Monday. The eventual sale by Hicks, Muse had been anticipated for over a year after Tom Hicks retired from the investment firm and then resigned from the Clear Channel board. Beyond that, the stock price had already been beaten down so much that traders must believe it is as low as it can go. If so, it appears Hicks, Muse may be selling at the bottom and taking a loss of about 1.65 billion from what its Clear Channel stake was worth in 2000 when it merged AMFM Inc. into the company - - a 58% drop in value. Ouch!

FAM affair:
Congressional media caucus meets
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), the chair of FAM - - the Future of American Media Caucus - - will host the group's first public outing Thursday 5/12/05. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps will join Hinchey as the Caucus looks at the upcoming update of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Also on the bill are Peter Pitsch of Intel Corporation and Gene Kimmelman fron the Consumers Union. FAM currently has 18 members of Congress on board. Its stated goal is to educate other members about issues such as indecency, media ownership, the DTV transition, broadcast, cable access and other issues. The focus of the 5/12/05 event is to allow the assembled panel of experts discuss "what steps, if any, Congress should take to ensure that Americans have access to vibrant, diverse, and high-quality sources of news and entertainment."

Reco for adding ads into the mix
A result of the recent Arbitron/Edison Media Research study of spotloads was a series of recommendations based on the results of the survey. A key finding in this period when broadcasters are increasingly facing competition from subscription-based services, is that over 80% of Americans agree that watching or hearing commercials is a fair exchange for free programming. However, there is no denying that clutter is driving more and more of them to satellite and pay cable services. Here are ten ideas from the two companies who crunched the numbers. The reco is tailored to radio, but affects TV, so we are publishing it here. | PD's Read the 10 recommendations point 6 is for you |

Conference Calls Q1 2005
Revenues up for DG Systems
Digital spot and programming distributor DG Systems reports that Q1 revenues were up 17% to 15.7 million and EBITDA grew 9% to 3.6 million. "DG entered into several ground-breaking agreements during the 2005 first quarter that extend DG's leadership position in electronic ad delivery. In February we formed a partnership with ConfirMedia to bundle third-party airplay verification and advertising campaign reconciliation services with our spot distribution service. This innovative service offering streamlines the workflow between advertisers and media outlets while offering advertisers, agencies and media outlets real-time access to airplay data. This unique service is available today, and we are realizing significant benefits from this exclusive arrangement," said CEO Scott Ginsburg.


Chase launches new branding combining Bank One, Chase brands
JPMorgan Chase launched a multi-million dollar national campaign designed to establish Chase, its consumer brand, as the company that provides customers with flexibility and choice throughout all stages of their lives. Created by mcgarrybowen NY, the campaign reintroduces the trademark Chase octagon as a portal for customers to "look" into the world of Chase and see the financial solutions Chase can provide. The campaign was launched nationally yesterday during the Today Show on NBC. With the tag, "Your Choice, Your Chase," the ads equate the Chase brand with empowering moments of opportunity. Each commercial uses popular musical hits to set the tone for individual stories. Set to the music of "Wind Beneath My Wings," one ad tells the story of a young woman preparing for her wedding day. Throughout the advertisement, her father flashes back to the memories of her childhood years, the deep relationship he has with his daughter and how Chase has been there at every important moment as the v/o states, "Be prepared for life's most important moments. Chase gives you everything you need to be the hero." Another ad follows a young man from college graduation through to retirement, to the music "100 Years." Another features a young woman depositing her first paycheck as the theme song, "Love Is All Around," plays in the background. Throughout the advertisement, the young woman uses a variety of Chase products and services, including free checking, debit cards, email alerts, ATMs and online banking services. Chase has begun to rebrand retail branches in 17 states from Bank One to Chase, which will be completed by Spring '06. In preparation for the creation of the campaign, Chase conducted extensive testing across the country to gain consumer insight. The campaign solidly positions Chase as a brand that empowers consumers and helps them respond to life's changes through its presence, innovation, customization and service. Television placements include primetime spots on ABC, CBS and NBC during "Lost," "Survivor," and "Will & Grace." National print advertising includes placement in Time, People, U.S. News & World Report, Rolling Stone and Fortune, among others.

ABC, WorldNow form online network
for national advertisers

WorldNow and the ABC O&O Division announced the formation of "Local Media Network," an aggregated online ad network that will be one of the largest news and information networks in the US. Launching with 147 local TV station websites with combined monthly traffic of more than 20 million unique visitors, the "Local Media Network" (LMN) will compete with the news sections of YAHOO!, MSN, AOL and Google for advertiser dollars but with the advantage of enabling advertisers to target by market or by region through the power of local media brands. The network of participating websites will feature unique content such as health, automotive, finance, entertainment, travel, and lifestyle stories, classifieds and shared video. Among the ABC stations participating in LMN ( WABC New York, KABC Los Angeles and WLS Chicago. In addition to the ABC station properties, LMN will include a consortium of websites from many broadcast groups such as Lin, Dispatch, Raycom, Liberty, Meredith, New York Times, Landmark, Schurz, and Young. In the coming year LMN will expand the network with additional groups and stations. LMN will offer advertisers a variety of ways to reach their target audiences from online video to behavioral targeting, from audience dayparting to contextual advertising. WorldNow is a leading provider of Internet technology, revenue and content solutions for more than 200 local media sites including broadcast TV, newspapers and cable.

Nick secures ad deal
with Chevrolet for Uplander
Nickelodeon has partnered with Chevrolet in a multi-million advertising and promotional multiplatform deal. The agreement was announced by Jim Perry, SVP/Nickelodeon Ad Sales and Craig Scruggs, Chevrolet Uplander Marketing Manager. "We are thrilled to welcome General Motors to Nickelodeon as an advertiser," said Perry. "This partnership highlights the ubiquity of our brand, particularly for non- traditional advertisers, and will give Chevrolet and its new Uplander buyers the ability to connect with the Nickelodeon audience on a multiplatform level." The partnership is part of GMs' efforts to target families in its Chevrolet Uplander campaign. The 2005 Chevy Uplander sport van combines the bold styling of an SUV with the versatility of a van. Uplander is the first vehicle to offer factory installed "PhatNoise," a 40 GB portable digital entertainment system which stores and plays audio, video and games. The buy will be divided between several Nick platforms including Nickelodeon Television, specifically the Nick Jr. block, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. Magazines, and The deal includes dedicated :30 spots on Nick Jr. generating awareness of PhatNoise technology. Nickelodeon will supply in-vehicle content for the Uplander and other GM family vehicles equipped with portable digital entertainment systems that contain PhatNoise technology. Properties that will be provided include SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Blue's Clues, as well as several Noggin and Nicktoons properties. Consumers can visit the Nick Jr. ( website to test the PhatNoise technology. While visiting the website, consumers also have an opportunity to win a vacation at the first-ever Nick Hotel, the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn (officially opening Memorial Day Weekend) and a brand new Chevrolet Uplander LT.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
Newspaper to take a peek at Topeka
Free State Communication, owner of the Lawrence Journal-World, is planning to acquire the ABC affiliate in Topeka KS, which it says is in territory which borders, but does not overlap, the Lawrence market despite appearances. The seller, Northeast Kansas Broadcast Service, is due to receive 6.2M dollars for KTKA-TV (Ch. 49). The buyer, headed by Dolph Simons Jr., says that although the predicted Grade A contour for the station covers Lawrence, terrain factors actually prevent such coverage, and presented evidence assembled by engineer John F.X. Brown showing that the station's Grade A signal does not make it from Topeka into Lawrence proper - - the point being that crossownership restrictions do not apply in this case.

Washington Beat
Forever to Forever deal shot down
The four principals of Forever of PA LLC cannot transfer a group of stations to themselves under the slightly different licensee name of Forever Broadcasting LLC, according to an FCC ruling. Three of the four stations are in the Altoona PA market, and include WFBG-AM/WFGY-FM Altoona, WLTS-FM State College PA and WRKY-FM Hollidaysburg. WLTS is not part of Altoona. Forever Broadcasting already has WVAM-AM/WWOT-FM Altoona and WALY-FM Bellwood in the market, which BIA reports with a total of 14 stations. One more and there wouldn't be a problem, but the cap at 14 allows for only a five station cluster with a max of three in either band. Forever asked for a waiver or grandfathering to keep the cluster intact, saying that the stations are already essentially co-owned, and that "...the sole purpose of the to simplify the organizational structure of the individuals' ownership for tax purposes." The FCC denied on the basis of changing voting percentages: Kerby Confer going from 24.6% to 40%, Donald Alt from 24.4% to 40%, Carol Logan from 38.3% to 15% and Lynn Deppen from 12.7% to 5%. It wrote that Forever failed to satisfy "...the burden to show that the public interest would be served better by waiver than by strict application of the rule."

Sony scraps Robin Quivers' TV show;
Sony-Tribune may resurrect
Sony couldn't get enough clearance for her daytime talker starring the Howard Stern sidekick. But Robin Quivers may get a second chance, as Tribune and Sony are joining forces to develop and produce first run syndicated programming. A meeting at NATPE between Sony and Tribune execs who were interested in the show led to a larger discussion of what the two might do together. The co-venture has so far committed to debut a daytime program on Tribune stations in fall '06. They'll alternate selling the strips they agree on and handling the barter ad sales. Quivers' talker will be among the projects Tribune and Sony are discussing for a fall '06 launch. Tribune O&Os 26 stations concentrated in major markets, as well as WGN Superstation. The group's combined reach is more than 80% of U.S. TV households.

Ratings & Research
Arbitron says cell phone-only folks can be counted...
...but it isn't easy. With three studies under its belt, the ratings company concludes that it is possible to reach the growing number of people who don't have a land line phone. The best guess is that about 7% of American households have gone wireless for their phone service - - but that balloons to 20% for the 15-24 age group. Arbitron says its research so far shows that it is possible to reach cellular-only homes, including all age groups and ethnic demos. However, the studies also found that consent rates are lower than for Arbitron's traditional recruiting of households via telephone. Coming this summer is a fourth study. This time, once consent is given, diaries will be sent out and processed just like the usual ratings diaries. Arbitron will then compare results from the cell-only group to see whether their listening patterns are different from the households in the normal sample.
| Read the cell phone progress report from Arbitron. |

Stock Talk
Stocks get a merger boost
Another big corporate merger - - this time combining Duke Energy and Cinergy in the power industry - - gave stock traders something to cheer about. The Dow Industrials rose 39 points, or 0.4%, to 10,384.

TV stocks were little changed. Only two stocks moved 2% or more - - both to the up side. Sinclair gained 2.3% and Liberty Corp. was up 2.1%.


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




Journal Comm.




Viacom, Cl. B




Liberty Corp




Wash. Post













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Upped & Tapped

Shuffling at Sinclair
KOVR-TV (Ch. 13, CBS) Sacramento is no longer part of Sinclair Broadcast Group, having been sold to Viacom at a handsome profit, but GM Dan Mellon isn't leaving the company. He's been reassigned as GM of WSYX-TV (Ch. 6, ABC) Columbus, OH, with additional oversight of time-brokered WTTE-TV (Ch. 28, Fox). He succeeds John Quigley, who has been promoted to Group Manager and Director of Station Affairs, responsible for oversight of Sinclair's stations in the Asheville, NC-Greenville, SC and Springfield-Champaign, IL markets, as well as special projects.

Addition at CobbCorp
Former Deutsche Bank investment banker Daniel Graves has joined CobbCorp as a Managing Director. With 40 billion in transactions under his belt, he'll be focusing on investment banking and M&A at the media brokerage firm. "We are delighted to welcome Dan Graves to CobbCorp. His unique talents will enable us to serve our clients as they expand into other media," said CobbCorp President and CEO Brian Cobb.

RBR - Radio News

Entercom chief sees trend to shorter spots
Clear Channel may have been the first to make a religious conversion to 30-second spots, but Entercom CEO David Field is out preaching the new gospel to Wall Street. In his Q1 conference call, Field praised Clear Channel for leading the industry charge to shorter spots. He said Entercom is having success in promoting :30s to advertisers and that :30s are now approaching 10% of sales on some of its FM stations. The trend, he said, is toward shorter and fewer spots. "I think that by 2007 or 2008 it is not unlikely that we will see FM radio stations in this country programming seven minutes of commercials an hour, consisting principally of 30-second spots, with an improvement in the business model," Field told analysts.

RBR observation: Does length matter? Some groups, such as Cox continue to sell units, so the advertiser pays the same for a :30 as a :60 - - a big market practice that continues to amaze street sellers in smaller markets, where :30s have always been the norm for local retail accounts. There's some truth to the view that an interruption is an interruption, but we think listeners also have to be aware of length. David Field is correct in his view that good creative can tell any advertiser's story in 30 seconds, with the exception of those who are required by regulations to include lengthy legal disclaimers. The best case scenario would be for :30s to become the normal unit. Then if a Cox station carried 10 units in an hour, all :30s, they'd have only five minutes of commercials, which should mean higher ratings and higher rates - - and their sales people could claim that a competing Entercom station is cluttered because it carries 14 units (seven minutes).

Radio & Television
Business Report
The First Real Monthly
Business Media Magazine

'05 Clock is Ticking -
Heading for Closure

June Magazine
National Sales:
EDI - Electronic Data Interchange, sometimes synonymous with Electronic Invoicing
Kathy Crawford, MindShare President, Local Broadcast, speaks her mind on EDI, specifically stating what solutions she needs from the software and keying entries to get stations faster payment in an exclusive column. States straight up, "Lest you should all think that our work is done in the world of EDI. Think again!" EDI- the focus of the future of national spot dollar. Who is and who isn't involved. From the rep firms to the software companies, we get answers. The Clock is ticking on EDI. Closure in '05?

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

Young Broadcasting
pushing local sales
Despite a soft national ad market, Young Broadcasting reported that strong local sales in Q1 gave it an overall revenue boost of 1.5% to 49.6 million. It's continuing to push on the local front, where sales are expected to be up 15-20% in Q2 at its nine core network affiliate stations. What's driving Young's local sales growth is its "Third Leg Program" (local and national revenue from long time customers being the other two legs). The Third Leg sales initiatives are primarily focused selling events that attract new advertisers to television and increase the spending of current accounts. 05/09/05 TVBR #91

FCC flagged for digital flag rules
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has sent yet another FCC regulation down in flames - - this time it is a ruling which would have permitted use of a flag by content producers to prevent consumers from copying broadcast programming and resending it over the Internet. The American Library Association led a host of organizations in the successful challenge of the FCC's rule. The FCC had been joined in defending it by the Motion Picture Association of America. The court said that the FCC lacked the authority to make the ruling, explained in an opinion by Judge Harry T. Edwards.
TVBR observation: Did the courts back in the 1600s and 1700s hold that merchant seamen had to put a "Pirates, help yourselves" sign on the treasure chests they were transporting? This will very much be a sticking point in getting the DTV transition completed, and Congress should give it immediate attention. That said, it seems you could make quite a comfortable living in Las Vegas betting against the FCC in court, if you could find an oddsmaker unaware enough to accept the bet. 05/09/05 TVBR #91

Hicks, Muse reducing
Clear Channel stake
As CC is buying back 5.7 million shares of its stock from one of its largest shareholders. The buyback price was fixed at Wednesday's (5/4) close of 31.63 per share, so the repurchase of 5,690,800 shares will total 180,000,004 bucks. That's a far cry from the 430,395,204 they were worth on August 30, 2000, the day Hicks, Muse received them by merging AMFM Inc. into Clear Channel - - a decline in value of more than a quarter billion just for these shares. Based on SEC filings, Hicks, Muse will still have nearly 32 million shares of Clear Channel stock in the portfolios of its various investment funds after this buyback takes place. TVBR observation: This had pretty much been expected since March of last year when Tom Hicks announced his retirement as CEO of Hicks, Muse and less than two months later also resigned as a director of Clear Channel. But radio seems to be no longer a hot place to invest, so it's not surprising that Hicks, Muse is trying to cash out. However, dumping all of its stock at once would disrupt the market, so it's going to have to be patient. It will take quite a while to get completely out. By the way, Hicks, Muse is also a major stockholder of LIN Television and there has been talk that it also wants to monetize that investment. 05/09/05 TVBR #91

More digital duops planned at Gray
Many broadcasters may be trying to decide what to do with their extra digital channels, but Gray Television has found a profitable use that it's implementing across several of its markets. Gray has now rolled out UPN affiliates on its digital spectrum in four markets - - with another six in the pipeline. He's gung-ho and notes that the most recent UPN launch, in Tallahassee, was cash flow positive in the first month. 05/06/05 TVBR #90

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