Bill Baker's Blog

Perspectives on the Media from New York Public Television

Media Briefing for Thursday, November 16, 2006

staff | November 16th, 2006

Political ad spending this election season nearly was double the amount of the last mid-term elections, in 2002, representing $1 billion more than in 2002. Media Week reports.

Every political junkie has seen the 1990s TV ad for former Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, in which a white job applicant has the paper for a proposed job pulled from him by a black hand, with the announcer saying, ?You needed that job.” Now presidential hopeful, Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has hired the consultant who created that ad which critics called racist. The Boston Globe says the consultant is known for his ‘tough? TV ads. But the Hartford Courant says that in Connecticut this year, negative TV ads did not work. The Courant says so in an editorial.

Clear Channel Communications, which owns 1,200 of the most powerful FM and AM radio stations and also a group of TV stations, has agreed to a buyout of nearly $19 billion. AP reports.

The family of Lowry Mays of Clear Channel Communications stands to gain a possible payout of $1 billion in the Clear Channel buyout, according to reports. MSNBC reports.

The Radio Television News Directors Association has sent a petition to the FCC challenging the FCC’s opposition to Video News Reports televised on local TV newscasts, reports created by corporations, with their sources often not identified on the air. The RTNDA site has details.

Can journalists keep a secret? A dozen of them did, on election night, operating in a secret exit polling unit called the Quarantine Room. New York Observer reporter Rebecca Dana has the story.

Local groups either have or are proposing to buy out the local daily newspapers in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and other cities, from large publicly traded corporations, thus freeing them from the tyranny of having to meet Wall Street projections of ever greater profits every quarter. But the Christian Science Monitor says this could be a double edged sword, since local ownership may compromise editorial independence, with a much increased threat of owners meddling in daily local news coverage. The Christian Science Monitor editorializes.

The Wall Street Journal examines Google’s entry into a wide range of new areas. The Wall Street Journal reports.

After many false reports of imminent service this year, Al Jazeera finally launched its English language service Wednesday, 10 years after launching its Arabic all news channel. AP’s Jim Kranegives a description of what’s on the first day.> McClatchy newspapers say Al Jazeera avoided fireworks on its launch. McClatchy reports. The New York Times says Al Jazeera is ?not coming to a channel near you.” The Times says this is unfortunate for viewers.

Some think the internet is flooded with pornography. Not so, says a study submitted in a major federal court case on this issue. The San Jose Mercury News reports that the study found only 1% of internet pages had porn or explicit erotica.

Is it OK to satirize the pope on television and radio? The Pittsbugh Post Gazette reports that the Vatican thinks not, and is critical.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s it was common in smaller TV markets for stations to have 2 or even 3 network affiliations, and then cherry-pick the best shows. Now, a Louisiana TV station, using digital technology, will present the full schedules of both CBS and NBC. Broadcasting & Cable says the service begins in January.

An activist group is hailing the rerelease of the classic PBS series Eyes On The Prize. The Washington Post reports.

Keeping Score, the acclaimed PBS series aiming to engage new listeners in the enjoyment of classical music, is reviewed by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Post Gazettecolumnist Andrew Druckenbrod notes the series was created by a Leonard Bernstein prot?g?. Sister newspaper Toledo Blade also reviewed the telecast. The Toledo Blade review was published on the first of the month.>

Not all public TV viewers enjoy the lengthy pledge weeks on PBS stations. In the 1980s, a creative director named Caroline Collins, conceived of a way for viewers to avoid the usual August pledge week on PBS’s WGBH channel 2 Boston. The Boston Globe reports she launched a ?pledge free? campaign running in the weeks before August, advising viewers to pledge ahead of time, to avoid pledge week telecasts.

Fox News is denying it paid $2 million to free 2 Fox newspeople from Palestinian terrorists. The Drudge Report> has posted an internal memo from the Fox News operation. WorldNetDaily Editor Joseph Farah stands by the report, saying it is 100% accurate.

Media Briefing for Wednesday, November 15, 2006

staff | November 15th, 2006

TV advertising has been blamed at least partially for the epidemic of obesity in children. Now a group of major companies is rewriting the rules covering advertising aimed at children. AP reports the companies include McDonalds, Coca Cola and Campbell’s Soup. The Washington Post reports ads will get tight scrutinty and promote healthier diets. But critics assail the moves as too limited, the New York Times reports.

Blogging now begins young. USA Today reports online writing encourages students to organize and share their thoughts.

Consolidation of broadcast media continues to be a major issue and the FCC has scheduled the second in a series of public hearings to gain input. TV Newsday reports the hearing will be December 11 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Media consolidation and ownership will be the topic of a public meeting featuring U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey in Dutchess County, N.Y. next week. Northeast Citizens for Responsible Media is holding the hearing Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at the Wallace Center in the FDR Center in Hyde Park, N.Y.

An FCC commissioner wants to investigate the practice of some TV stations using corporate reports in their newscasts, presenting them as news, without identifying the sources. A study shows 46 stations in 22 states have used these ?reports,” the San Francisco Chronicle says. The Boston Herald reports a local station is cited in the study. Media Daily News reports fines of $35,000 to $350,000 could be imposed on stations.

Silence is not golden for a broadcaster. Al Jazeera’s English service has begun. And And AP reports a ‘silent start? for Al Jazeera, without a single cable or satellite system carrying it in the U.S. Al Jazeera reporter and former WCBS-TV and ABC television network reporter Dave Marash says being “fenced out? of the U.S. is a drag. The Washington Post reports on ?why? Dave Marash decided to become the face of Al Jazeera English. USA Today reports Al Jazeera expects scrutiny. USA Today also reports Al Jazeera aims for ?no accent.Gooood Morning, America! USA Today editorializes that Al Jazeera should be welcomed. It is already detested in some circles,the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The CEO of Yahoo says potential advertising revenue from the Internet is being underestimated. Reuters reports. Media Daily News reports online ad spending has surged 33% Meanwhile DC Style magazine ceases its print magazine in December and is going online only.

Seattle is getting free internet access. It is available without wires. The Seattle Times reports it eliminates the need to install anything. Satellite dishes are bringing internet service to rural areas, beyond the reach of wires. The New York Times reports.

Clear Channel reportedly has received bids in its quest for investors. AP reports there are at least two bids. Radio and Records also reports. The New York Daily News reports nighttime announcers have been eliminated at the Clear Channel stations in New York. Radio and Records surveys Clear Channel cuts in many markets nationwide.

Katie Couric says the most difficult aspect of her job is finding the delicate balance between young and old viewers. After 2 months on the job, she tells the Los Angeles Times about concern about turning off older viewers.

The Washington Post newsroom will be shrinking. Editor and Publisher reports on the details and the repercussions. Mediabistro’s Fishbowl DC quotes the lengthy memo given by management to Post newsroom staffers.

The conservative for-profit website WorldNetDaily reports $2 million was paid for the release of the 2 Fox journalists held by Palestinian terror groups this year. The money was used for more attacks against Israel, WND says.

A just-released study says the media are portraying minorities negatively. AP reports the study shows minorities are portrayed as criminals, and whites as victims and law enforcers.

Kenneth Tomlinson has been renominated to head the government’s overseas broadcasting operations. AP reports on Tomlinson, whose career included a stormy tenure at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The rule of journalism in the U.S. is that a journalist cannot libel a public official unless the journalist exhibits reckless disregard for the truth, or displays malice. Now a jury has found a columnist acted with malice. The New York Times reports the verdict in Illinois has broad implications for press freedoms.

Media Briefing for Tuesday, November 14, 2006

staff | November 14th, 2006

The television industry is planning tougher standards for TV ads aimed at children. Broadcasting & Cable reports this is in response to the epidemic of obesity in children.

In the Middle East, young Arabs are sidestepping repressive regimes with blogs and the internet. The Washington Post reports this is the new source of free expression in the region.

This week’s Nova on PBS provides an exploration of the issue of genetics.The Boston Globe reports Nova found a family walking on all fours to tell the story.

Frontline’s look at the sting operation in Spokane, Washington is reviewed by the New York Times.The Times says the PBS telecast affirms that the scars are permanent.

Can iPod be challenged? Microsoft this week unveiled its new Zune as a direct challenge to Apple’s iPod. There is wide news coverage. The New York Times says Zune offers a new twist.The Wall Street Journal. The Associated Press. <a href=http://www.boston.com/ae/games/articles/2006/11/14/microsoft_sees_video_sharing_in_zunes_future/<bloomberg News. And Microsoft’s hometown Seattle Times says Microsoft’s new product has ?many miles to go.

Tivo will be offering Internet video.The New York Times reports. AP reports. Reuters reports. USA Today has an interesting breakout.

Cable TV is now in the cellphone busness. USA Today reports.

Podcasts converted to search can help significantly. AP examines podcast searching.

Podcasters and bloggers traveled to Pittsburgh for a major meeting. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette was there.

NBC puts Meet The Press and NBC Nightly News on iTunes. The Hollywood Reporter has details.

Dan Rather is rarin? to go on his new broadcast. The Philadelphia Inquirer has the story. Dan Rather questions the power of the major networks, as he begins his broadcast on HD Net, not yet widely available in the U.S. The Saint Petersburg Times says he?d rather burn out than rust out.

With consolidation, NBC Telemundo’s local newscasts in San Jose, Phoenix and Las Vegas will actually originate in Fort Worth, Texas. The Los Angeles Times reports.

Meanwhile 40 staffers are to be cut from NBC News, according to a report. The Los Angeles Times has this story.

Ad executives see TV advertising budgets moving to the online world. Media Life reports.

Interactive advertising, tested in upstate New York and Hawaii, is coming to New York City. Media Life has the story.

The Tribune Company apparently has 6 bidders. Bloomberg News reports. Meanwhile the Los Angeles Times? Chandler family is split over what to do about Tribune.

Media Briefing for Monday, November 13, 2006

staff | November 13th, 2006

?Gotcha? journalism is pervasive at this time in history. PBS’s Frontline Tuesday night looks at the coverage of former Spokane, Washington Mayor Jim West was outed as gay and found to be using his city hall computer to contact young men, including teenagers. The local newspapers even had someone pose and contact the mayor, who was disgraced, and subsequently died. The gay community was unsympathetic to the mayor because he was closeted and virulently anti-gay in his political stands, apparently as a ruse. The Boston Globe reviews this Frontline telecast.

Recently a Texas assistant district attorney committed suicide as an episode of NBC Dateline’s “To Catch A Predator? was being videotaped. The New York Times reported on the suicide.

A Pittsburgh pastor committed suicide after a Pittsburgh TV station televised a news promo showing him entering an adult book store. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette provided details.

A Texas weekly newspaper outed a gay bed-and-breakfast owner for ?living the gay lifestyle? with an adult partner, and he took his own life. ConsumerAffairs.com says the victim was outed for no other reason than he was gay.

CNN’s Larry King Live interviewed Bill Maher, in which Maher named names about the sexual orientation of certain Republicans, but then deleted that portion in rebroadcasts of the show. The New York Times reports

Too little classical music on the radio, specifically NPR? Yes, says a new study. The Washington Post examines the study.

Former Beatle Paul McCarthy’s choral composition will be broadcast on NPR Tuesday night.
The NPR website provides details of the works being performed.

Antiques and auctions are associated with PBS stations — on air — but the Springfield, Massachusetts PBS station is holding a tag sale at its building — off the air for local residents – offering videotapes and other equipment. The media blog www.radio-info.com has a posting about it.

Time keeps slipping into the future? Ratings service Nielsen is redefining ?live viewing? to mean anything watched with 25 seconds of when it is televised. Media Daily News reports.

Car makers are targeting the children in their marketing, to get them brand loyal early. The Wall Street Journal reports car makers hope the children will influence parents.

Teenagers need less multitasking and more down time, says a Philadelphia therapist featured weekly on NPR’s WHYY-FM 90.9. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the doctor says teens drastically need more time.

A high school student sounds off in the newspaper saying the FCC has created indecency policy that is impossible for broadcasters to follow. The teen says the FCC is trying to be a lapdog.

Kermit the frog is caught saying things he wouldn’t say on TV. But the New York Times caught him and the famous Henson puppets.

Al Jazeera, reviled by George W. Bush and by mideast dictators alike, is going global. The New York Times reports.

CNN’s Lou Dobbs has a new book that echoes his nightly CNN newscast at 6 p.m., his blistering attacks on the War On The Middle Class. Mr. Dobbs, a Republican, excoriates both the Republicans and Democrats.

NBC Dateline lays off 17, as part of the wide ranging layoffs now going on at NBC. Variety reports the 17 being cut does not include buyouts.

Billionaires are now vying to buy the Tribune Company. The Associated Press says they include some famous names.

Newspaper giant Gannett is among those interested in Tribune. The Chicago Tribune reports on its own company.

Tribune’s big city TV stations WPIX channel 11 New York, KTLA channel 5 Los Angeles and WGN-TV channel 9 are for sale.
Tribune’s Los Angeles Times is following this part of the story.

Radio’s largest company, Clear Channel, is also seeking buyers. Media Daily News reports on Clear Channel, owner of 1,200 of the most powerful FM and AM stations in the country, plus TV stations as well.

The black community is concerned that black sitcoms are being given low priority.The Detroit News says that with the merger of UPN and WB into one network, CW, all black sitcoms have been relegated to one night: Monday.

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