Media Briefing for Tuesday, November 21, 2006

staff | November 21st, 2006

This week’s episode on Frontline on PBS is entitled ?Living Old.” The Boston Globe says it presents a brutal, relentless picture of what happens to those of us who are not wealthy when we become old, focusing particularly on the burgeoning population of the very old. The Globe notes that Americans over 85 are, as a percentage, the fastest-growing group in the country.>The New York Times also reviews Frontline. The Times says the program focuses on the suffering that awaits us all if we grow very old.> The Philadelphia Inquirer also looks at the telecast. The Inquirer uses a quote from the show: ?old age is for the birds.”> The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reviews the show. The Post-Gazette reports that most TV shows are light and escapist, but once in awhile a show is unpleasantly realistic.

Allbritton has tapped two Washington Post political editors/reporters for its new political news venture, according to Broadcasting & Cable, which says they will also get exposure on CBS TV via an exclusive deal with the network. Broadcasting & Cable identifies the reporters as Post editor John Harris and Post national political editor Jim VandeHei.

Just hours before it was to begin, ABC pulled the plug on an advertising campaign on its giant sign at Times Square in Manhattan. The sign was to advertise messages from the Assemblies of God. The Lexington, Kentucky Herald-Leader quotes an ABC spokesman as saying ABC has a rule against accepting advertising for religion, and this agreement was probably the result of a salesman who wasn’t aware of the rule.

Earlier this year a Staten Island man was arrested on charges of offering a service to viewers who could pay to receive satellite telecasts from the radical Islamic group Hezbollah from Lebanon. Now a second man, a New Jersey resident, has been charged. Larry Neumeister of the Assocated Press reports.

In Iraq, a banned insurgent channel is finding a way to broadcast, even though Iraqi government officials had thought that they pulled the plug earlier this month. The McClatchy newspapers report that the channel, al_Zawraa, reappeared two weeks later. The channel is known for broadcasting live from what is calls ?occupied Baghdad? and declared Saddam Hussein’s death sentence ?a sad day for Iraq.”

Arbitron, the radio ratings service, is delaying for now the listing of non-commercial FM and AM radio stations in its books around the nation. Radio & Records points out that this is only a delay, and that the non-commercial stations know they will be listed, in the future.

In poor taste? A convicted murderer is voicing a radio spot to promote a radio show on an Oslo, Norway station. United Press International reports the person — an actual convicted murderer — tells listeners to tune in an afternoon show on the station, or “I will kill you.”

Major internet sites are showing a strong interest in the advertising business, according to the New York Times, which says Google is leading the way. The Times reports traditional ad firms are starting to get worried.

Some are making huge riches in the web world. The New York Times reports that in the web world, the rich now envy the superrich.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on an internal memo within Yahoo. The Chronicle reports the memo states Yahoo is unfocused and needs to slash jobs, among other things.

People who claim they were libeled online cannot sue the internet service provider that carried the message, under a ruling by the California state supreme court. The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

A new study shows web users are more likely to stream video than to download it. Media Daily News reports.

Webroot is offering a product that allows parents to check on their children’s internet use. Associated Press reports the device allows parents to limit where the children go, and how much time they spend online.

Michael Richards, who played Kramer on the NBC Seinfeld comedy show, stunned a live audience when during a stand-up show, using racial slurs repeatedly. AP reports.

ABC primetime shows are headed for on-demand status. TV Newsday reports.

HDTV sets — High Definition Television sets — are becoming more and more affordable. The San Jose Mercury News reports.> Meanwhile buyers should be aware that the full HDTV sets are suitable only for DVDs and video games. The San Francisco Chronicle says they are not suitable for broadcast TV.

The Tribune Company is selling its CW network affiliate in Boston, WLVI channel 56, to Sunbeam, owner of NBC affiliate WHDH channel 7, thus creating a television duopoly in Boston. The Boston Globe reports the FCC has cleared the way.

Historians are resurrecting the use of cartoons to convey medical messages to the general public, according to the New York Times. The TImes reports that one example is a cartoon featuring a mosquito named Malaria Mike who prepares to dive bomb a soldier named Private Snafu. The Times reports the show, featuring animated public health films from the 1920s through the 1960s, was presented at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.

Fox cancelled its planned telecast with O.J. Simpson and parent News Corporation is cancelling O.J.’s book. The New York Times says Fox did so under pressure from inside and outside Fox.>The Times also lambastes Fox for the way it handled the whole matter. The Times has an editorial in which it details how the affair was handled.>The Los Angeles Times has a major story. The Los Angeles Times reports.>This is also front-page news in the Boston Globe. The Globe has this story.> The Washington Post quotes Fox owner Rupert Murdoch as saying the entire project was ill-considered.>

In Spokane, Washington, a new magazine has begun, aimed at young disabled people. The Spokane Spokesman Review reports the magazine is named Logan, after a disabled young woman who inspired the magazine.>Another type of specialist magazine, gay magazines, are experiencing an ad downturn. Media Daily News reports this is happening after 2 years in which gay magazines outperformed general magazines, in advertising sales.

Did CNN’s Nancy Grace’s tough interview of a Florida mother whose young son was missing, push too hard? The woman ended up committing suicide. WKMG channel 6 Orlando says the parents of the woman are suing Nancy Grace, claiming the interview pushed their daughter over the brink.>

Fox has agreed to pay a fine for failing to transmit tornado warnings to hearing-impaired viewers, on its broadcast channels. Broadcasting & Cable reports Fox has agreed to pay $12,000.>