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Media Briefing for November 27, 2006

Monday, November 27th, 2006
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Ken Burns, creator of the acclaimed PBS series on the Civil War, is now creating a series on World War II, which ended more than 61 years ago. Burns says he undertook the project after finding how little younger people know about this war, according to an interview in the Valley News of New Hampshire. Burns focuses on four veterans from World War II, in telling the story, Associated Press reports.

Children are growing up faster than ever. An Associated Press report asks whether that is a good thing. It says marketing campaigns including TV ads aimed at children are part of the reason. AP reports that among other things, a group has set up a website to oppose marketing campaigns aimed at children, http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org

Three of the four major television networks are arguing that the Federal Communications Commission has overstepped its bounds in its new indecency rules, and are asking a court to put a halt to it. The Los Angeles Times has a full report. Associated Press also reports on the networks? conention that the indecency crusade is a gross intrusion that is seriously damaging creativity in television.

In deliberating the issue of allowing more consolidation for television and radio, the FCC is planning to use 10 economic studies. Broadcasting & Cable reports FCC Commissioner Michael Copp, a Democrat, is not comfortable with the use of these studies. Consolidation of media is silencing local voices, according to critics who appeared at a forum in Dutchess County, N.Y. sponsored by Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey. Some 300 people attended the forum sponsored by Hinchey at the FDR Center in Hyde Park, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. Meanwhile, two of the five FCC commissioners, the two Democrats, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copp, are holding an unofficial forum on the issue Thursday evening at 6 at the Seattle Downtown Public Library, according to the Seattle Times. There is a new movie called “When The Music Died?. The Washington Post says it even has a fictional Clear Channel executive ordering that music playlists be rigid and only include songs that will increase ratings and not drive anyone away. The management at the radio chain will not allow audiences to hear any unproven music.

Native American journalist Jodi Rave said that there is a serious need for more Native American reporters and journalists in the United States. They are needed to provide coverage of the underreported native community in this country, she said. Jodi Rave, who covers stories on a national level, spoke over the Thanksgiving Weekend at the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University, according to a report in the newspaper Indian Country Now.

CBS television networks affiliates are disappointed that they are restricted from posting clips from shows on YouTube for at least 24 hours, but the CBS network itself has no restrictions. Lost Remote has the story.

A major Swedish firm is predicting that mobile TV will be reaching the masses of population soon. Associated Press reports the firm says this will happen by 2008.

Everything keeps expanding and changing rapidly as broadcasting and the internet converge. In France, the operator of an internet hip hop radio station, is expanding in a major way. The New York Times reports he will expand the station into a major blog operation in 4 languages that will offer a wide assortment of programming and information.

The use of iPods in the country is rising. However, Associated Press reports the rise is small, and people with iPods are not using them daily.

Entertainer Michael Richards, known as Kramer on the old NBC Seinfeld show, and who was videotaped using harsh racial slurs during a standup comedy show last week, is the latest in a group of diverse public figures caught on video after making major gaffes. The Baltimore Sun says video-posting on the internet is the ?new grapevine.” Michael Richards has hired a public relations firm. Associated Press reports this is part of Richards? attempts at damage control. Meanwhile two men in the audience are seeking an apology from Richards. Associated Press reports. Now, Jesse Jackson invited Michael Richards as a guest on his national radio show. Associated Press quotes Jackson as saying Richards underwent what he called a public meltdown.

And on the broadcast, Associated Press says Richards stated that he is ‘shattered? by the comments he made.

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, the humiliation of a woman apprehended by police was captured on video. The Washington Post reports the video has created a major stir in the Islamic country.

Viewers have made the Saturday night block of British comedies the most-watched evening for public TV station WEAO channel 49 in the Cleveland/Akron market. Now the station is asking viewers for their opinions on which British shows to add. The Plain Dealer reports viewers are invited to come to a public forum and vote this Saturday afternoon 1 to 3 p.m. at the Sheraton Suites on Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

John R. Pepper II, who brought the first black oriented format to radio in the nation, on WDIA-AM Memphis, has died at the age of 91. Many black musical stars got their start on WDIA, according to Associated Press.

At a time when big city newspapers are struggling for advertising, with the advent of internet advertising alternatives, college newspapers are doing quite will. The Baltimore Sun reports college newspapers have become a major source for advertisers.

Canadians are still restricted from watching premium American cable channels such as Home Box Office and Showtime and Nickelodian. The Wall Street Journal reports this is to protect Canadian writers and artists and television broadcasters. Even so, the Journal says 700,000 Canadians are receiving the programming illegally.

Also in Canada, major commercial TV networks wish to start charging cable TV systems and satellite companies for their programming. The Globe and Mail reports the cable and satellite industries say this proposal would destroy television in Canada. And CBC also wants carriage fees, according to The Globe and Mail

The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Seattle Times have all done major pieces recently on PBS and NPR broadcaster Tavis Smiley. Now another newspaper named the Times — the Saint Petersburg Times in Florida, has a major piece. The Saint Petersburg Times says Tavis is on TV, on the radio, speaking in person, and is everywhere.

Columnist David Broder says he got a peek look at an upcoming PBS documentary on economist Milton Friedman. The Washington Post columnist says the documentary, “The Power of Choice?, will air on PBS next year, and Broder reveals that Milton Friedman was able to see it before he passed away.

Soprano Rene Fleming is appearing on two PBS specials in December, ?Sacred Songs? and the ?Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Special.” Associated Press has an interview with Rene.

The Washington Post has lost two of its top political reporters to a new web-based news service. Both Washingtonian magazine and Slate.com say the losses substantially weaken the Post’s position as the leader in political news coverage.

Internet sites such as YouTube and My Space are feeding an explosion of what the San Francisco Chronicle says is a ?Look At Me? sensation. The Chronicle says it is partly the result of the society in which we live, which focuses on putting glamorous people center-stage.

Azerbaijan has shut down an independent television station. Associated Press reports.