Media Briefing for Monday, July 6, 2009

staff | July 6th, 2009

For Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow, Russian TV is muting rants at United States. (New York Times)

Barack Obama and the TV networks have a symbiotic relationship. (Associated Press)

Many churches are trying to embrace social networking media. (New York Times)

Customers unhappy with service often get surprisingly quick response with the social network Tweet. (New York Times)

Staying interactive with viewers at Boston ABC affiliate WCVB channel 5 is ikey. (Boston Globe)

Spinning the Web – public relations in and for Silicon Valley. (New York Times)

How much did Michael Jackson rock the Web? (New York Times)

The Walkman is 30. (New York Times)

The rise of Web video – beyond 2 minute clips. (New York Times)

The Washington Post apologizes, for seeming to sell access. (New York Times) (Washington Post) (Politico)

Andy Warhol’s portrait of Michael Jackson from 1984 is up for auction in East Hampton, Long Island. (New York Daily News)

Maryland prison officials are seeking authorization to jam the signals of inmates’ cellular telephones. (Washington Post)

U.S. government guidelines to spend $4 billion to expand broadband access to underserved areas across the United States may go beyond current laws, a broadband industry group says. (Reuters)

Did Sarah Palin get tired of the full-court press? (Washington Post)

Meet The Press remains # 1 but its margin is narrowing. (TV Newser)

The ratings of Bob Schieffer’s Face The Nation on CBS are rising. (Washington Whispers)

In New York, Fox-owned WWOR channel 9 is cutting its evening newscast in half, and eliminating weekend news. (New York Daily News)

The FCC is being asked to ban the word midget. (Associated Press)

A portrait of Michael Jackson from 1984 by Andy Warhol is being auctioned off in East Hampton, Long Island. (New York Daily News)

Radio stations step up to battle the Radio Performance Act. (Los Angeles Times)

Some free speech is freer than other free speech, according to an HBO telecast. (New York Tinmes)

Lew Wiley, executive editor of PBS’s Frontline, is retiring. (TV Newser)

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs makes $172,000 a year. (White House.gov)

Michael Jackson’s music changed the complexion of black radio. (Washington Post)

With all the problems involving DTV, the FCC is now con sidering requiring a DTV after-action report. (Broadcasting & Cable)

With DTV here, some rural areas of Colorado no longer receive any TV channels. (Denver Post)

Coming: a surge in DVR ad skipping. (Media Life)

Study: TV ads more effective than Web ads. (Advertising Age)

The ad industry has tightened standards for tracking Web surfers. (New York Times)

Debt heavy Univision is surviving the punches – at least for now. In New York the Univison station is WXTV channel 41. (Los Angeles Times)

Free email programs are usually the best way to go. (San Francisco Chronicle)

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York has set the “due diligence and bidding deadline” for companies interested in purchasing Young Broadcasting’s assets for Friday, July 10…the end of this week. Stations include Albany ABC affiliate WTEN channel 10. Young filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 13, listing $846,416,746.54 in secured and unsecured debt….and $1,625,801,970.71 in assets. The company has been ordered to sell its assets to pay its debt. If qualified bids are not received, an auction will be held Tuesday, July 14, at 10 a.m. The court will decide whether to break up the assets or sell the corporation as a single entity. The company owns 10 full-power and four low-power TV stations. Chairman Vincent Young is still hoping to save the corporation and emerge from the Chapter 11 process with new financing and a fresh start. In a letter to employees last Friday, he said, “We believe that there will be an active and robust process on July 14 resulting in the improved capital structure the Company needs to complete its restructuring.” Others aren’t so sure. In a credit-tight market, they believe the company is worth more in pieces. Insiders say Oak Hill Capital Partners, the private equity firm behind Local TV LLC, is aggressively pursuing KRON channel 4-MyTV in San Francisco (Market #6), which could become a lynch pin in the group’s rapid expansion. Local TV bought the nine-station New York Times group in 2007 for $575 million and eight stations from Fox for $1.1 billion in 2008. Silver Point Capital, a hedge fund specializing in takeovers of companies in financial distress, has also been buying up Young debt and could be a major player in next week’s proceedings. White Knight Broadcasting and Communication Corp were both rescued from bankruptcy in 2007 by Silver Point. Since then, news departments have been shuttered and staff has been laid off. KRON is considered Young’s most valuable property. It was bought in 2000 for a record $825 million but could bring as little as $90 million at auction. WKRN-channel 2-ABC in Nashville (Market #30), WTEN-channel 10-ABC in Albany, NY (Market #56), WRIC-channel 8-ABC in Richmond (Market #58), and WATE-channel 6-ABC in Knoxville (Market #59) are also seen as valuable assets. (Newsblues) (paid subscription)