Media Briefing for Friday, December 1, 2006

staff | December 1st, 2006

For those concerned about the erosion of personal privacy, there is a new reason to be worried starting today. The Seattle Times has published an AP story reporting that new federal rules took effect today requiring companies to keep track of all emails and instant messages sent by employees of their firms.

A new worldwide study shows that young people are abandonjing TV for the internet. The study also reports that radio listening is increasing, because of the internet, according to a report from Reuters.

Most parents think they’re strict when it comes to regulating their children’s video game playing. But the Hartford Courant says the children tell a different story. Meanwhile a watchdog group has criticized 10 video games as being too violent for children and teenagers. Associated Press reports the games include one featuring a chainsaw wielding killer and another a bloodstained shooting scene.

Weekly newspapers have always experienced difficulty in distributing their newspapers in New York City, experiencing difficulty getting the papers to the stands on local streets. Now, a West Bronx community which never had its own newspaper now has one, and its owners have found a way to avoid this barrier. The New York Times reports the Mount Hope section of the Bronx has its own paper being distributed via the internet.

As newspaper circulation drops, advertising will be shifting. The chief executive of a top media buying firm in New York says those advertising dollars from retailers will be moving over to radio. He is quoted in INQ7.net

A parade of Washington state residents, some prominent and some not so well known, testified at a Seattle forum last night to oppose further consolidation of media. The Seattle Times reports among those present and opposing further consolidation, were 2 of the 5 FCC commissioners, the 2 Democrats, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps.

ABC and CBS are now offering all network programming in HDTV, and their local stations in the top 5 markets are now providing local news in HDTV. TV Newsday reports local news in HDTV is now available on at least 2 stations in the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia markets.

Investigative reporting sometimes uncovers serious problems and brings major responses. Associated Press reports the nation’s largest drug store chains are acting to better ensure the privacy of customers after an Indianapolis TV station found sensitive files on thousands of pharmacy customers in trash bins across the nation. AP reports WTHR channel 13 Indianapolis inspected 300 trash bins and found sensitive files on 2,400 customers.

NBC has asked the FCC to take a Spanish language UHF TV competitor in the Los Angeles market off the air. NBC claims TV Azteca, the owners of the station, KAZA channel 54, are corrupt, and asks that its license not be renewed. This is the first challenge of a TV license on character grounds since 1979, according to the Los Angeles Times which has a full report.

Mel Gibson says he feels Michael Richards’ pain. Both have been ensnared in controversy after making bigoted slurs this year. AP says Gibson makes the comments in the December 8 issue of an entertainment magazine.

Chicago columnist Phil Rosenthal comments on a recent University of Wisconsin study that found that local TV newscasts devoted twice as much time to political TV ads than to actual issues. Rosenthal examines specific examples on Chicago TV in his column in the Chicago Tribune.

ABC is giving its newsmagazine Prime Time a multi-week run starting this coming Wednesday at 10 p.m., a slot it will occupy for the next 5 weeks. The theme of the show will be “Basic Instinct” and will focus in its first episode on, among other things, a bigoted cab driver, and unruly misbehaved children, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

CNN’s Lou Dobbs and his segments on the “War On The Middle Class” which he says is being waged by the Bush White House, and the Republicans and Democrats in Congress, are driving up CNN’s ratings. At the same time, Fox News Channel’s ratings are shrinking, according to New York Magazine which says CNN is foxifying itself.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is returning to the radio next year. The CSO concerts will be sponsored by BP and the concert broadcasts will be coordinated by Chicago classical music FM station WFMT 98.7, according to the Associated Press.

Great Britain has an advertising watchdog agency which keeps track of offending ads. And the agency has just ruled that an ad showing Prime Minister Tony Blair with an Adolf Hitler-style mustache is not offensive, according to a report in Silicon.com.

The New York Post will start distribution in the San Francisco area starting next week. This will bring the Post’s tabloid style news, gossip and right wing politics to the progressive Bay Area, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

If you are stuck with a cellular telephone contract and want to get out of it without paying a big fee. there may now be a way. A new website has been created in which people wishing to end their cell service can sell it to another person who desires it, thus avoiding the large termination fee, according to the Wall Street Journal.