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Perspectives on the Media from New York Public Television

Media Briefing for Friday, February 1, 2008

staff | February 1st, 2008

Media Briefing for Friday, February 1, 2008

Microsoft has made an unsolicited $44.6 billion offer for Yahoo, the Internet icon and one the best known Web portals, in a move to boost its competitive edge against Google in the online services market. The unexpected announcement today came as Yahoo and Microsoft have fallen behind Google in the race to capture online advertising dollars. The deal could also give lift to the entire technology market, says Associated Press. The purchase would be made with a mix of cash and stock, says the New York Times. The Microsoft statement is in the Wall Street Journal. The Microsoft-Yahoo combination would make a significant competitor for Google, says the Washington Post. The bid was unexpected, says the San Jose Mercury News.

A national Latino group says it is fighting back against what it considers to be ?hate speech? that has emerged from the debate over immigration. National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguia has announced plans to pressure television network executives and candidates seeking their parties? presidential nominations to clamp down on such remarks. The group launched a Web site to counter the speech, <a href=http://www.wecanstopthehate.org,We Can Stop the Hate.org, with clips of what it considers offensive comments on television as well as a tracking of hate crimes. Associated Press reports.

V-Me, the new national Spanish language network partnered with public TV, is working with the New York Times News Service to bring the newspaper’s content into the Hispanic television market for the first time. The two will collaborate on a new weekly program called Paginas del New York Times. Media Daily News reports.

In Florida, there is a statewide fight to stop cable companies from pushing government channels to the higher reaches of their digital-channel lineups. Theresa Jacobs, head of the Florida Association of Counties, wants her group to battle a national trend of moving public channels into what critics call the ‘second class? tier of the dial. Orange TV in the Orlando area, which airs county, city and School Board meetings, moved from channel 9 to 199 earlier this month on Bright House Networks. The change was part of a programming shuffle taking place, says Orlando Sentinel.

Amazon.com, which has been rapidly adding digital downloads to its vast Web store, has agreed to buy Audible, the largest online seller of audiobooks, says the New York Times. The price is $300 million, says PC World.

Google says its advertising growth continues to be strong, reports the New York Times.

Google seemed to lose some of its sheen yesterday, after the company posted financial results indicating the online advertising market may be starting to slow. The search engine said profit increased 17 percent in the fourth quarter, but that result disappointed Wall Street and prompted analyst speculation that problems in the economy may be taking their toll. This report is from the Washington Post.

Google has succeeded in its push to force the winner of airwaves being sold by the FCC to open its network to any mobile device. One bidder offered $4.71 billion for the biggest set of airwaves being auctioned, surpassing a $4.6 billion threshold that triggered open-access rules, the FCC said on its website. The agency did not reveal which company made the bid, says Bloomberg News. The winners of the auction so far are yet being revealed, says Associated Press.

No matter who winds up winning a large chunk of the public airwaves, consumers aching for wireless choice won’t be on the losing end. When a $4.7 billion bid came in for that swath yesterday, it effectively kicked open the gate on beachfront wireless property, allowing consumers to come in and use any cell phone or service they want on the resulting network. Associated Press reports. The winner is the consumer, says the Los Angeles Times. The winning bidder will build a mobile device network, says the Washington Post.

The United Kingdom Defense Ministry may be selling some radio spectrum space, reports Reuters.

The Mediterranean Sea cable rupture that disrupted Internet service in the Middle East and India was caused by a ship’s anchor snagging the cable, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

After the incident, the World Wide Web wasn’t so worldwide, and the disruption is seen as a wake-up call, say Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

Internet capacity in India is back at 80 percent after the cable break, says Reuters.

Sales of domain names on the Internet are more respected, gaining investor acceptance more than before, says the New York Times.

In the middle of the biggest-ever ?Cyber Storm? war game to test the nation’s hacker defenses, someone quietly targeted the very computers used to conduct the exercise. The surprising culprit? The players themselves, the same government and corporate experts responsible for detecting and fending off attacks against vital computer systems, according to hundreds of pages of heavily censored files obtained by The Associated Press. Perplexed organizers sent everyone an urgent e-mail marked “IMPORTANT!? instructing them not to probe or attack the game’s control computers, says Associated Press.

Online schooling is growing, setting off a debate, says the New York Times.

With super Tuesday coming up, the political ad wars are going national, says the Wall Street Journal.

As Barack Obama undertakes a 24-state blitz in anticipation of super Tuesday, the GOP hopefuls are reining in ad spending, says the Washington Post.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, presidential candidates would buy half-hour or hour-long blocks of time on TV to make their cases. In modern times, most political advertising on TV and radio has been in the form of :30 and :60 second spots. But now Hillary Clinton has purchased a one-hour slot, on Monday evening, Super Tuesday eve, on the Hallmark cable TV channel, says Media Daily News.

CNN has scheduled two more presidential debates for later this month, says Broadcasting & Cable.

A federal grand jury has issued a subpoena to a reporter of The New York Times, apparently to try to force him to reveal his confidential sources for a 2006 book on the Central Intelligence Agency, one of the reporter’s lawyers said. The subpoena was delivered last week to the New York law firm that is representing the reporter, James Risen, and ordered him to appear before a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, on Thursday, reports the New York Times.

Even if the writers strike ends soon, the fate of many TV shows remains uncertain, says the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette.

With the writers strike continuing, the American networks are finding Canadian shows ready for prime time, says the Hollywood Reporter.

The amount of local programming on radio stations continues to decrease, with efforts to slash expenses to increase profit margins. Seattle’s 50,000-watt clear channel AM radio station KIRO 710 has dropped three more local talk shows, replacing them mostly with nationally syndicated programming, says the Seattle Times.

The National Association of Broadcasters and HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital Corporation are leaning on the FCC in an effort to increase the broadcast power of FM HD Radio stations to 10 decibels, significantly increasing stations? coverage while improving the reception for those already receiving the signals with higher-quality digital sound and all new programming., says Radio & Records.

The number of student-run college FM radio stations has been declining in recent decades, as more of them become NPR affiliates or have administration-run operations. Now, in Maryland, there is concern that WMUC 88.1 College Park, the all-student-run station of the University Of Maryland, operating with 10 watts, may be blasted off the dial when another station on the same channel, WYPR 88.1 Baltimore, increases power from 10,000 to 15,500 watts. Diamond Back On Line reports.

One year from now, on February 17, 2009, all full-power broadcast TV stations will broadcast in all-digital and discontinue analog broadcasting. But low-power TV stations may continue broadcasting in analog, and the National Association of Broadcasters is asking the FCC to act to ensure converter box for analog sets allowing them to convert to digital, also accommodate the analog low power TV stations. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

The ad revenues for broadcast TV after this year – after the elections and the Olympics – are sobering, and TV stations are no longer the hot commodities they once were, says TV Newsday.

WCBS-TV channel 2 New York news anchor Steve Bartelstein has been told his cancer is gone, reports the New York Daily News.

The theft at Leslie Stahl’s Manhattan apartment was pulled off by a burglar posing as a construction worker, says Associated Press.

Nearly nine of 10 on the Internet have purchased something online, says E-Marketer.

Former NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright has joined Lee Equity Partners, a private-equity firm founded by Thomas H. Lee, as a senior adviser. The Los Angeles Times reports.

When a recession hits, local advertising feels it first, before national advertising, says Forbes magazine.

TV talk show host Montel Williams, whose talk show is ending after 17 years, is remembered by the San Francisco Chronicle.

TV commercials are becoming more risque, says the New York Daily News.

Media Briefing for Thursday, January 31, 2008

staff | January 31st, 2008

Media Briefing for Thursday, January 31, 2008

Neal Shapiro takes over as CEO of the Educational Broadcasting Corp., operator of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW21, on Monday. He took the reins as president last February, and among the initiatives he has launched so far are more online and interactive programming. His predecessor, Dr. William F. Baker, becomes president emeritus. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

ABC News will broadcast five hours of live primary coverage on Super Tuesday as voters in nearly half the country go to the polls next week. The ABC television coverage starts at 8 p.m. EST and runs until 1 a.m., with affiliates given the chance to break for local news at 11 p.m. Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor. CBS is devoting two hours of prime-time coverage, and NBC has not yet divulged its plans, says Associated Press.

There may be no better predictor that NBC News is about to declare an election’s winner than the face of political director Chuck Todd. Twice in two weeks, Todd was brought onto MSNBC to explain why NBC News hadn’t declared a winner in a presidential primary when other news outlets had – only to be interrupted by the network making its projection. Associated Press reports.

For the first time, Caroline Kennedy is appearing in a TV ad – on behalf of the campaign of Barack Obama, says Associated Press.

What’s needed in politics is not less marketing but better marketing: focusing on current and emerging customer needs, developing product and service solutions, informing interested citizens about them and making them easily accessible. Leonard Marsh, one of the three founders of Snapple, explaining the brand’s success, said “We never thought of ourselves as any better than our customers.” Politicians need to view citizens not as occasional voters, donors and taxpayers but as their customers, says Business Week.

Author Pope Brock’s new book Charlatan, is an account of the rise and fall of the all-American radio quack “Dr.” John R. Brinkley, who offered over the air goat gland operations to cure cancer, and goat testicle transplant operations to cure impotence. He owned KFKB Milford, Kansas and then after he was shut down by the Federal Radio Commission, opened a high power station across from Del Rio, Texas, XER in Acuna, Mexico. Newsweek reports.

The conservative Parents Television Council is praising the FCC for levying $1.4 million against ABC stations for a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue that depicted a woman’s backside.

Confusion reigns over the transition to all digital TV broadcasting and the end of analog broadcasting, in February of next year, says Associated Press.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing is laying off employees in Boston and other offices as it consolidates some of its operations in the wake of its $4 billion acquisition of Harcourt Education, Harcourt Trade and Greenwood-Heinemann from Reed Elsevier. The company completed the acquisition in December. Due to the integration of the businesses, layoffs have occurred in departments and offices across the country, spokesman Richard Blake said. Currently, the company has about 900 employees in Boston and 200 in Wilmington, Blake said. About 6,000 total work for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, says the Boston Globe.

Yahoo is being urged to put up a fight, says the Baltimore Sun.

Young people are sharing technology with older people, sometimes grudgingly, says Associated Press.

In a telephone glitch, 2,000 parents in Medford, Massachusetts were erroneously told their children were absent from school, reports the Boston Globe.

Federal Communications Commission member Robert McDowell says that he does not think there should be a hard date for allowing unlicensed devices to use the so-called white spaces between digital-TV channels. The FCC is in a second round of testing on the devices, and McDowell pointed out that the first round didn’t go very well. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

The Federal Communications Commission has topped the $10 billion it needs to collect from its 700 megahertz spectrum auction, although it still needs to meet its floor prices for each block of spectrum before that number becomes official. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

Concern about the wireless auction has risen as some airwaves have languished, says theWashington Post.

Public safety airwaves have just one suitor, says the Washington Post.

A goal had been set in 2004 that all Americans should have affordable access to high-speed Internet service by 2007. A report to be released today says it has succeeded – mostly. Networked Nation: Broadband in America is an upbeat assessment of the administration’s efforts to spur growth and competition in the high-speed Internet market. Critics said the report’s conclusion is too rosy. The Washington Post reports.

Apple is delaying new Apple TV software, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

TV ads for Sunday’s football Super Bowl telecast are targeting specific audiences, but at the same time must appeal to the general audience, says theBoston Globe. This year’s ads will be gentle and sweet, says the New York Times. How can advertisers be sure viewers see their ads on the Super Bowl? The Los Angeles Times reports.

An office tower will be rising on 125th Street in Harlem for baseball’s TV network, which will begin telecasting next year, says the New York Times.

Recent moves by the Writers Guild are rattling the contract talks, says the New York Times.

The president of NBC says the long writers strike could benefit TV, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A news anchor at CBS-owned KYW-TV channel 3 Philadelphia who was fired after allegedly punching a New York City police officer in the face is now suing the station, says Associated Press.

A real estate investment firm has purchased the original Warner Brothers studio for $125 million from the Tribune Company, according to the Tribune-owned Los Angeles Times. Hudson Capital bought the historic Hollywood studio complex, the firm’s managing partner Victor Coleman told the Los Angeles Times in a story posted on its Web site. Associated Press reports.

The Montel Williams TV talk show is ending – and being replaced by a younger version of himself, says Associated Press.

In San Jose, California, organizers of the Cinequest Film Festival have turned to file-sharing in an effort to attract a broader array of participants. But the software they chose also enables illegal sharing of movies, music, software and other content. Associated Press reports.

eBay’s outgoing president is considering running for governor of California as a Republican, says the Los Angeles Times.

A news story about medical marijuana that will air on KCNC channel 4 Denver is drawing protesters – before it has even aired, says the Denver Post.

In Pennsylvania, a man has been spared from jail time for trying to have sex with a 14-year-old girl after concerns surfaced about the way he was arrested. The man, Matthew Dale, 21, of Bear Creek, Pennsylvania, was arrested during a sting set up by police and WBRE-TV channel 28 Wilkes-Barre to nab people trying to use the Internet to hook up with minors. That, Dale’s attorney, John Pike, said, created concerns because it turned out to be more of a media event than a police investigation. “That made it more of a sensational type of arrest, which could jeopardize the rights of the accused,” Pike said. Pike’s concerns resulted in prosecutors dropping felony charges that carried jail time. Dale entered Luzerne County, Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program on a misdemeanor count of criminal attempt to corrupt a minor. Dale will spend one year in the program, perform 25 hours of community service, refrain from drug use and pay an assessment fee. If Dale successfully completes the program, the arrest will be erased from his record. This report is from the Wilkes Barre Times Leader.

The Manhattan apartment of Leslie Stahl of CBS was burglarized, reports the New York Press.

User generated video is expected to bring 34 billion views during 2008, says Media Post.com.

The CBS mobile chief says the wireless industry is overwhelming consumers, reports the Media Post.com.

Under Rupert Murdoch, the Wall Street Journal is adding a sports page, says Media Post.com.

Is radio the new “newspaper” industry – with slow or no growth ahead? Media Post.com reports.

Media Briefing for Wednesday, January 30, 2008

staff | January 30th, 2008

Media Briefing for Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Neal Shapiro, president of Thirteen/WNET, and who also becomes CEO Monday, is seeking a ?heightened sense of urgency? at the station, including the ability to produce programming more quickly, reports The New York Times. His predecessor, Dr. William F. Baker, assumes the role of president emeritus Monday.

More firms are sharing personal data online. For example, earlier this month, Sears Holdings Corporation let people type anyone’s name, phone number and address on a Web site to learn about their Sears purchases. The Wall Street Journal reports.

China is stepping up its Internet video control, says Associated Press.

An Iraqi television cameraman has been killed, says Associated Press.

FCC Republican chairman Kevin Martin has provoked the animosity of liberals for his efforts to bring more consolidation of ownership of broadcast stations. And now he is alienating conservative Republicans by becoming one of the most regulatory FCC chairmen in decades, says TV Newsday.

U.S. broadcast TV is getting ready for the death of analog telecasting one year from now, on February 17, 2009, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Veteran CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, host of Face The Nation since 1991, is retiring after the inauguration of the new president, reports Associated Press.

CBS 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace is recuperating from triple bypass surgery. He is 89. Associated Press reports.

CBS affiliate WUSA channel 9 Washington and Defense News, a weekly defense newsmagazine, are joining forces to produce a weekly TV program concentrating solely on national and international defense and military issues. The two partners are owned by the Gannett Company. This Week in Defense News with Vago Muradian will debut at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 2, on the station and online at defensenewstv.com (available immediately after show airs). TV Newsday reports.

The Wall Street Journal is getting ready to say goodbye – and “good riddance” – to Wall Street, as it moves to mid-town Manhattan, says the New York Observer.

In a first-in-the-nation program, riders of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains in San Francisco can pay for their fares by waving their cellphones, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Thirteen/WNET is joining fellow public TV stations in San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C to offer free, educational multimedia, including high-quality video clips and other educational resources, on iTunes U, a dedicated area of the iTunes Store showcasing educational content. It is available in the Beyond Campus section of iTunes U. The initial online offerings include educational video clips, lectures, interviews, and teacher’s guides. DCRTV.com reports.

The New York Daily News will offer free music downloads for its readers.

The Wall Street Journal is making stories available to Facebook members, says Associated Press.

With a 23 percent drop in profits during the final quarter of 2007, Yahoo is laying off 1,000 employees, report Associated Press, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News.

Taxpayers should ignore any e-mails telling them they are due a federal tax refund and need to disclose personal information so the money can be claimed, federal and state officials are warning. The e-mails are a scam. Thieves are trying to get people to reveal their social security numbers and bank account numbers. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service does not use e-mail to notify people they?re getting a tax refund, says Dianne Besunder, an IRS spokeswoman in New York. The Hartford Courant reports.

Vendors who sell their goods on eBay are scratching their heads after the company unveiled a new fee structure in effort to boost listings and maintain its share of the online auction market it helped start a decade ago, reports Associated Press.

There is a Republican presidential debate from California tonight at 8 on CNN, and a Democratic presidential debate tomorrow evening at 8, also from California.

Two years after Comcast shrank its ambitious plans to build creative, original programming for English-speaking Asian American audiences, the cable giant is shutting down the network. AZN’s last day will be April 9. Is this a wake-up call for Asian American media – or a last gasp? The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Executives at talk radio station WRKO-AM 680 Boston are reviewing their options after being blindsided by news that morning drive-time talk show host Thomas M. Finneran is opening a Beacon Hill lobbying firm, a move that has spurred questions about the former Massachusetts state House speaker’s credibility on the airwaves. One local authority on journalism said Finneran’s radio role comes with ?a responsibility to operate at a higher level, without financial conflicts.” Finneran’s bosses at the radio station were surprised to read in the Boston Globe that Finneran is opening a lobbying practice and has already signed up clients, including the union representing state troopers, said a station spokesman, George Regan. The Boston Globe reports.

WCRB 99.5 Lowell/Boston marks 60 years on the air providing classical music to listeners. WCRB began in 1948 as a 1,000-watt daytime only AM station at 1330 on the dial, reports the Boston Globe.

Clear Channel Communications investors are fretting about the buyout plan to take the company private, says the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required).

The FCC has issued three proposals aimed at reining in the spiraling costs of the Universal Service Fund, a subsidy program that provides affordable phone service to people who live in rural areas, says Associated Press.

Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast will draw America’s attention as much to its $2.7 million, 30-second ad spots as it will to the undefeated New England Patriots. So it only makes sense that a new, all-commercial Web site and TV show would plan its first major marketing push by creating a contest around the ads. Firebrand.com’s ad campaign – noticeable on VH1, MTV and the Sci Fi channel, as well as on YouTube, MySpace and Facebook – will culminate on ?Firebrand Monday,” when the site will show commercials broadcast the previous evening on Fox, the network broadcasting the Super Bowl. The Baltimore Sun reports.

McCain does it again, says Washington Post media columnist Howard Kurtz.

President Bush’s State Of The Union speech on Monday night was the least watched of his presidency, says Associated Press.

In apparent fallout from the red ink at Young Broadcasting’s KRON-TV channel 4 San Francisco, which is up for sale, the staff at co-owned WTEN channel 10, ABC in Albany, has been slashed. Ten people including some reporters have been let go, says the Albany Times Union. Young-owned WKRN channel 2, ABC in Nashville, has eliminated its weekend morning newscasts and has cut staff, says the Tennesseean.

It is the 1970s again on San Francisco’s Castro Street, where a movie starring Sean Penn about the life of the first openly gay politician Harvey Milk is being filmed. The San Francisco Chronicle says it will be released next year.

CBS news staffers have ratified their new Writers Guild of America contract, says Associated Press.

As the TV and film writers strike drags on, one striking writer is going to the Ukraine for work, says the Los Angeles Times.

Media Briefing for Tuesday, January 29, 2008

staff | January 29th, 2008

Media Briefing for Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Apple’s Steve Jobs is quoted as saying ?people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.” Advertising Age reports.

Two big New York Times shareholders say one area where the Times must move more quickly is the ?redeployment of capital? to acquire more digital assets, including content and distribution platforms, reports Media Daily News. “The greatest threat to The New York Times is the continued diminution of its business model and destruction of shareholder value,” wrote Scott Galloway, founder of Firebrand Partners, in a letter filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “We believe a renewed focus on the core assets and the redeployment of capital to expedite the acquisition of digital assets affords the greatest shareholder appreciation and creates the appropriate platform to compete in today’s media landscape.” The Boston Globe and Washington Post report.

In a drab office building on Main Street in the Boston suburb of Waltham, Terry McKiernan and Anne Barrett Doyle are quietly amassing a vast archive of abuse: thousands and thousands of documents chronicling the sprawling crisis that has confronted the Catholic Church. The site, BishopAccountability.org, is growing fast, says the Boston Globe.

The American Civil Liberties Union has lashed out at the FCC for its $1.4 million in fines for a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue on ABC that showed the naked buttocks of a woman, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

TV Newsday provides a video clip of the NYPD Blue scene.

A new rule has been adopted by the FCC mandating that, during their license renewals, TV and radio broadcasters demonstrate that their ad practices are nondiscriminatory on the basis of race and gender. Radio Ink reports.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) wants the federal shield law for journalists brought to a full Senate vote. The NAB’s president/CEO David Rehr has sent a letter supporting the proposed new shield law to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). In the letter, Rehr voices the organization’s backing of S. 2035, the ?Free Flow of Information Act,” asking Senator Reid to bring the bill protecting reporters from having to disclose their sources to the Senate floor for a vote. “This bipartisan legislation strikes a careful balance between ensuring citizens stay informed and honoring the public interest in having reporters testify about their sources in certain carefully defined situations,” writes Rehr. ?By passing S. 2035, Congress has the ability to craft important ground rules balancing the need for compelled disclosure from reporters in limited situations with the need to encourage individuals to bring forward information on matters of public concern.” All Access reports.

Will the Wall Street Journal leave Wall Street for the midtown offices of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation? The New York Times and Associated Press report.

In New Jersey, the student government at Montclair State University has frozen the funding for the student newspaper, the Montclarion, to silence the paper’s criticism of the student government, reports the New York Times.

Conservative talk radio host Michael Medved is criticizing other conservative talk hosts. “The big loser in South Carolina was, in fact, talk radio: a medium that has unmistakably collapsed in terms of impact, influence and credibility because of its hysterical and one-dimensional involvement in the GOP nomination fight.” What Medved was referring to is the top talkers? obsession with bashing John McCain, the winner in the conservative southern state’s primary, and Mike Huckabee. While they may appeal to conservative voters, neither is the right kind of conservative for the mainstream talkers, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. While Medved’s show is not on a metro New York station, it may be heard in central and southern New Jersey weekdays 3 to 6 p.m. on WNTP 990 Philadelphia.

Conservative radio talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham are lambasting John McCain on their broadcasts, says Associated Press.

Mike Wallace of CBS’s 60 Minutes underwent triple bypass surgery over the weekend, reports the New York Post.

An episode of the Thursday evening ABC series Eli Stone that links autism and vaccinations will go on despite objections by doctors, report the New York Times and Reuters.

The Jewish TV network Shalom is going national, on Time Warner in New York and New Jersey and on all Comcast cable systems nationwide starting Friday, reports the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.

It’s coming soon to a computer screen near you – KoldCast TV, an Internet TV network with a lineup of short, high-energy shows geared to young adults, such as videos featuring Crusty Demons, Randy Couture and No More Kings. If none of those is appealing or familiar to you, KoldCast TV’s demographic target is probably somebody other than you. That could change, though, if the network expands its target audience and rolls out the financial news channel it’s considering. This report is from the McClatchy newspapers.

Best Buy says converter boxes for analog TV sets so they receive digital TV signals will be on the shelves of all stores by February 18. This is one year before analog TV broadcasting ends in the U.S. on February 17, 2009. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

Cellphone and Internet service are the profit centers of Verizon, while old line wired telephone service is a drag on the company, says the New York Times.

Say goodbye to touch-screen voting in Florida after today’s primary. The Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale reports.

eBay is cutting its listing fees by half, says Associated Press.

In today’s Internet world, two out of five retailers do not have a store, reports Media Post.com.

By 2013, roughly 70 percent of U.S. consumers will have the ability to watch TV shows and Web video on the same device, but it’s not cable companies or telecoms that are best poised to take advantage of this development, according to Business Week.

Communications lawyer Michael D. Berg examines some of the issues facing TV and radio stations amid the busy political primary season in TV Newsday.

The alternative TV channel Current TV, operated by Al Gore, is seeking $100 million in an I.P.O., says Associated Press.

PBS is airing adaptations, old and new, of all Jane Austen’s novels on Masterpiece, Sunday evenings at 9 on Thirteen/WNET. Associated Press reports.

The Arizona Republic has named an openly gay editor, Randy Lovely, to be the newspaper’s top editor.
The move makes Lovely the only openly gay top editor of a major U.S. newspaper. He has been a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association since 1999, reports Editor & Publisher.

The Eastern Long Island gay group EEGO is angry with a column in the weekly newspaper owned by Jerry Della Femina, The Independent, that refers to Hillary Clinton as a ?lesbo,” reports Newsday.

Sirius satellite radio is hosting a gay presidential caucus, reports Street Insider.com.

The anti-Iraq War group Answer.org is planning a demonstration outside Thursday evening’s Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles. The debate airs Thursday 8 to 10 p.m. (ET) on CNN.

Jay Kernis is leaving NPR to oversee content development at CNN, says the Baltimore Sun.

How can Republican candidates criticize the ?culture of Washington? when George W. Bush is in the White House and delivering the State Of The Union speech, asks Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz. Television coverage of the State Of The Union speech is reviewed by the Post‘s Tom Shales.

NPR’s Garrison Keillor has dropped charges against a fan after she agreed not to contact him again, says Associated Press.

Liberty Media, the entertainment and Internet retailing company, is suing to oust Barry Diller from the board, reports Associated Press and Bloomberg News. Liberty Media’s bid is being called ?preposterous,” says CNN.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports on the ?winners? in the lengthy TV writers strike.

The writers strike could throw a monkey wrench into the fall season, says Advertising Age.

With the arrival of HDTV, the medium has truly become the message, says the Denver Post.

The arson that damaged the studios of the noncommercial variety formatted KOOP 91.7 in Austin, which put the station off the air in January, was allegedly set by a station volunteer who was angry that his playlist for an overnight show was changed. Paul Webster Feinstein faces second degree felony arson in the fire, which caused $300,000 worth of damages, and could get up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the incident. Police say Feinstein quit the station five days before the January 5 fire and came back to set the station on fire. This report is from the Austin American Statesman and All Access.

Media Briefing for Monday, January 28, 2008

staff | January 28th, 2008

Media Briefing for Monday, January 28, 2008

President Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community’s role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies? computer systems. The directive, whose content is classified, authorizes the intelligence agencies, in particular the National Security Agency, to monitor the computer networks of all federal agencies – including ones they have not previously monitored. This report is from the Washington Post.

The White House has warned Democratic leaders that President Bush will veto a proposal to extend an expiring surveillance law by 30 days, saying that Congress should quickly approve a Senate bill favored by the Bush administration. The move is aimed at forcing Congress to renew and expand the Protect America Act – which is due to expire at the end of the day Thursday – and escalates a national security showdown between Democrats and the White House just before the president’s annual State of the Union address. The Washington Post reports.

Are we moving more and more toward a Big Brother world? Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items – and, by extension, consumers – wherever they go, from a distance, says Associated Press.

After a brief lull, the FCC resumed its battle against provocative television shows late Friday, proposing a $1.43 million fine against ABC and its affiliates for a February 2003 episode of NYPD Blue. The agency proposed the highest fine possible for the broadcast, which briefly showed the side and back of a naked woman getting into a shower. ?Although ABC argues, without citing any authority, that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, we reject this argument, which runs counter to both case law and common sense,” the FCC said. The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required) reports. The ABC affiliates being fined are all in the central and mountain time zones, in so-called red states, plus stations in Illinois (including Chicago), Wisconsin (including Milwaukee and Madison) and Minnesota (including Minneapolis), according to the FCC. The FCC fine totals $1.43 million, say the Washington Post and Associated Press. ABC will challenge the fines, reports Bloomberg News.

Media Institute president Patrick Maines sees a critical mass of threats to the First Amendment and is advising media companies that they are not doing nearly enough to repel them. The institute is essentially the First Amendment policy advisor to a group of major media companies including Time Warner, Gannett, Tribune, News Corp., The Washington Post, Viacom, NBC Universal and Belo. Maines? advice to all media companies is that they need to step into the breach before it gets any worse. In a stinging analysis posted on the organization’s Web site, Maines said freedom of speech ?is in tatters,” and it will take more than ‘sunshine weeks? and First Amendment coloring books to mend it. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

Gay groups are upset about Fox News Channel anchor John Gibson’s comments about the death of actor Heath Ledger last week, reports the Los Angeles Times.

A dozen protesters marched in front of ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut on Friday, calling for the firing of on-air personality Dana Jacobson for comments she made at a recent roast. The conservative Christian Defense Coalition wants ESPN to release a videotape of a drunken, vulgar diatribe that Jacobson made against Notre Dame during the network roast. Sports blogs this week were buzzing over a rumor that she cursed the school, its famous “Touchdown Jesus? mural and Jesus himself during the speech. “ESPN has a tape, but it refuses to release it. We want to know exactly what [Jacobson] said,” said Patrick Mahoney, the director of the Christian Defense Coalition. The Hartford Courant reports.

MTV and others are weaving and embedding commercials into programming to keep viewers from tuning out, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The program reporting requirements in the FCC’s new ?enhanced disclosure? rules are ?more substantial than…ever required of broadcasters?far more detailed than the information broadcasters were required to gather prior to the deregulation of the 1980s,” says the Broadcasting Law Blog.

FCC Democratic commissioner Michael Copps voted in favor of Clear Channel Communications? buyout plan but says he has mixed feelings. On the one hand, it will bring some ?deconsolidation? with 42 of the radio stations in top 100 markets being sold off, but on the other hand, Standard & Poors has given the company ?junk? status which creates problems. Media Channel.com reports. In Connecticut, one station to be sold is WURH 104.1 Waterbury/Hartford, which covers most of Connecticut and much of Long Island as well as parts of western Massachusetts, according to the WTNH News Web site.

Team Obama is courting everyone except the press, says the Washington Post.

The legacy of Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich’s campaign may be the legal issue of networks controlling which candidates may appear on their televised debates, says Associated Press.

The media shutout has silenced Kucinich, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann discusses why he focuses so much on Fox News Channel’s Bill O?Reilly in a video interview with the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, posted on YouTube.

For anyone wondering, most text messages disappear rather quickly, reports Associated Press.

Shows from WSBS ?Mega 22?, a Spanish language station in the Miami market, are going national, says the Miami Herald.

The Washington Post has started an online magazine for blacks, The Root, says the New York Times.

Video on the Internet has gone from being the next big thing to the current big thing, says Associated Press.

U.S. Internet users are glued to video, says E-Marketer.

Major record companies may be considering deals with Qtrax to allow music lovers to listen to any tune, anytime, free of charge, reports the Los Angeles Times.

TiVo is more famous than it is rich, says the Los Angeles Times.

The networks are pondering a post-writers strike landscape, says the New York Times.

Some $100 million in advertising could be shifted from network TV to movie theatres due to the ongoing writers strike, says Advertising Age.

Will the broadband ?heavyweights? be forced to go on a ?diet?? E-Marketer reports.

Microsoft has won the right to deliver advertising on Viacom’s network of Web sites for the next five years. This is the latest in a series of deals demonstrating the software titan’s willingness to spend heavily to establish itself as a major player in online ads, says the Los Angeles Times.

Yahoo’s global reach still exceeds its grasp. Eclipsed by Google, it struggles to convert a vast user base into potent profit growth. The Los Angeles Times reports.

A new Web site has launched today that serves as an information center for Boston, Boston Knows.com. The site was founded by Stephen Warley, who asks, ?So what makes BostonKnows different? Anyone is allowed to post a story, link, piece of information, or tidbit right on the homepage of BostonKnows for all to see. You are the editor! You can also vote and comment on each tidbit, so you are able to see what everyone else on BostonKnows thinks is the most important information, instead of small group of editors calling all the shots.”

Many college and university presidents have a flair for blogging, finding the medium suits them, says the Hartford Courant.

Many older workers are retiring to Web careers, with older entrepreneurs starting Internet businesses based on leisure activities, says the Charlotte Observer.

Wi-Fi is getting a trial run on commuter trains, says the Boston Globe.

A disabled spy satellite may crash into the Earth next month, says Associated Press.

There is a coming wave of gadgets that listen and obey, reports the New York Times.

The digitization of the book is certain to have its day soon. Printed books provide pleasures no device created by an electrical engineer can match, but digital books are on the way, says the New York Times.

Despite the housing slide, real estate Web sites are thriving and selling houses, reports the New York Times.

A recession would compound the problems for network TV, already affected by the ongoing writers strike, says the New York Times.

Direct-to-DVD releases are shedding their loser image, says the New York Times.

One week after Warner Brothers Entertainment announced that it is abandoning its support for the next-generation HD DVD format in favor of the Blu-ray high-definition format, consumers abandoned HD DVD, reports the New York Times.

A TV series about lie detectors, Moment of Truth on the Fox network, has a big opening, says Associated Press.

Peter J. Mroczyk, 60, a Polish radio and TV broadcaster who was active in the Solidarity movement and later worked with Voice of America, has died of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at a Warsaw, Poland hospital. He lived in Falls Church, Virginia. After graduating from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, he began working with the Polish national radio and TV networks. He primarily delivered English-language broadcasts about events in Poland and around the world, says the Washington Post.

Automobiles and trucks are stalling within a five-block radius of the Empire State Building at 350 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and some are wondering if it has to do with the 13 TV and 19 FM transmitters atop the building. The New York Daily News reports. The building’s top has been the host to multiple FM and TV antennas since the 1950s and before, but only in recent decades have automobiles been computerized.

In San Francisco, the 68 surveillance cameras perched above the city’s toughest street corners have been under fire in recent months for failing to provide evidence leading to arrests, and one of the reasons may be simple: Choppy video. Run on a modest budget, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s surveillance camera program has produced footage that is disjointed and less clear than the nearly seamless and sharp quality of video that the devices are capable of delivering, a San Francisco Chronicle review has found.

Three-fourths of TV viewers channel surf or chat during commercials, according to a study. Media Post reports.

A video tour of the charred remains of the building housing CBS affiliate KREX channel 5 Grand Junction, Colorado, which burned down January 20, has been posted on YouTube. A space heater has been found to be the cause, says the Grand Junction, Colorado Daily Sentinel.

In California, nearly 80 companies have displays at the tech show Demo 08, which opened today. The conference for new tech products runs today through Wednesday in Palm Desert, where companies will unveil new products and services, says the San Jose Mercury News.

In the state of Washington, a public agency that insures cities apparently has been intimidating those it insures to be less open with the public. Last week, Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson wrote about the Washington Cities Insurance Authority’s threat to terminate the city of Monroe’s liability insurance. The city’s crime? Its council members were trying to provide citizens with easier access to its public records, even waiving attorney-client privilege to release records. This report is from the Seattle Times.

Ed Crane from WCBS 880 New York is the new morning co-host on KFBK 1530 Sacramento, says the Sacramento Bee.

AT&T is now offering TV service in the Chicago suburbs, says the Chicago Tribune.

Yahoo News is the most visited Internet site for news, says Lost Remote.

The launch of the Hulu Web site, offering video and owned by NBC and Rupert Murdoch, is set for late March, says Lost Remote.

Media Briefing for Friday, January 25, 2008

staff | January 25th, 2008

Media Briefing for Friday, January 25, 2008

In a victory for the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. Senate yesterday blocked legislation that would have cleared the way for lawsuits against phone companies that have cooperated with the warrant-less wiretapping program authorized by Bush. The vote moves the Bush administration closer to its goal of providing retroactive immunity to telephone companies and Internet carriers that are facing multimillion-dollar lawsuits for giving U.S. spy agencies access to international calls and messages streaming across their networks. The Los Angeles Times reports.

Nearly half of all public service announcements are running between midnight and 6 a.m., according to a new study. The Boston Globe reports. They are heard of, but rarely heard or seen, says Media Daily News.

The death of actor Heath Ledger has resulted in a postponement of the War On Drugs advertising campaign by the George W. Bush administration, reports the New York Daily News.

Why did it take so long for the mainstream media to cover the Jena, Louisiana racism story last year? The American Journalism Review reports.

The FCC wants local advisory boards and tougher license renewals for broadcast stations, reports Radio-Info.com. The 98-page report fleshes out the December FCC proceeding on “localism” and says “some licensees strive to actively ascertain the needs and interests of the communities they serve” – but “there is some question as to whether these practices are widespread.” And there’s a definite move – spurred by Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps – to tighten up the rules for license renewal. The full report, which will be studied closely by owners, activists and communications attorneys, is on the FCC Web site.

A psychologist with the Nickelodeon cable TV channel says adults should speak up when racist comments are made in front of the children, but should be very careful how they respond. “It definitely needs to be addressed,” says psychologist Lawrence Cohen, who writes parenting articles for Nick Jr.com, the website for the children’s television network. But it’s important to do so in a way that doesn’t upset the child. “Don’t start hurling nasty names or the child will be very confused,” said Cohen. “If we’re hostile and angry, they’re not going to learn very well.” The Denver Post reports.

Charter Cable accidentally emptied the email accounts of 14,000 customers scattered around the 29 states where Charter provides service, says Associated Press. Charter is offering $50 credit to each customer affected, reports the Saint Louis Post Dispatch.

Poor service by a satellite TV provider – in this case DirecTV – is discussed by the Saint Louis Post Dispatch.

For those interested in broadcasting history, there is a new online station, Rainier Radio.com, which resurrects Seattle’s rich radio tradition, says the Seattle Times.

The Utah Supreme Court has adopted a reporter’s shield rule that creates a near-absolute privilege for confidential sources, according to the Utah chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

A book publisher is suing radio host Don Imus for $4 million for calling its book on former president Gerald Ford “cheesy,” report Associated Press andReuters.

Hearst officials say the San Francisco Chronicle is losing $1 million a week. Now, the top editor, Phil Bronstein, is leaving after eight years in that post, and taking a new position with Hearst, says the New York Times.

Readership of newspapers online increased 7% during 2007, reports Associated Press. Online readership is at record levels, says Media Daily News.

Despite recent speculation that it might drop its charges, the Wall Street Journal will continue to charge for viewing most of its stories online, says the New York Times. Rupert Murdoch says some Wall Street Journal features might become more expensive.

Congress is stepping up the pressure on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the Lipitor TV ad campaign, reports Advertising Age.

Is Fox-owned WNYW channel 5 New York crossing the line between journalism and advertising with one of its news reporters? The New York Daily News reports.

An ad from Pepsi Cola will feature 60 seconds of total silence during the Super Bowl football game, reports Associated Press.

Despite the on-going TV writers strike, marketers have stuck with the networks – so far. The New York Times reports.

The Associated Press provides an update on where things stand in the writers strike.

Mike Huckabee has found money to run a TV ad in Florida, in advance of the Republican presidential primary Tuesday, says Associated Press.

A liberal advocacy group is planning an anti-George W. Bush advertising campaign, says Associated Press.

YouTube is making its video library available to mobile users, says Associated Press.

Microsoft is delivering strong financial growth, and the future looks “sunny,” reports the New York Times. Fear can’t rattle its Windows, says the Los Angeles Times.

AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless probably will dominate the bidding in the U.S. government auction of mobile-phone airwaves that started yesterday, and spend less than investors anticipated, says Bloomberg News.

AT&T is downplaying the damage from the economic slowdown, says the New York Times.

Smart telephone maker Palm is closing three dozen retail stores, says the San Jose Mercury News.

There is a new kind of social networking sites on the Internet: shopping with others has become a Web hit, says Associated Press.

The magazine started by Andy Warhol, Interview, has named new editorial directors, says the New York Times.

To gain approval of its plan to go private, Clear Channel Communications has agreed to sell 48 radio stations in 42 regions, all in the top 100 markets, says Associated Press. Clear Channel has received FCC approval but still needs U.S. Justice Department approval, says Reuters. In New York City, Clear Channel owns FM stations WHTZ 100.3, WKTU 103.5, WAXQ 104.3, WWPR 105.1 and WLTW 106.7.

The best experiences for reporters covering the presidential races are in Iowa and New Hampshire, because people get to meet the candidates close up, says the Washington Post.

The National Association of Black Journalists has pledged $60,000 for its annual scholarship program.

Bidders put up a total of well over $2 billion yesterday in the opening rounds of the FCC’s auction of federally-owned airwaves. Reuters reports.

The deal to construct a new $144 million Washington, D.C. headquarters for Radio One, the nation’s largest black owned radio broadcasting group, has been completed, reports the Washington Post.

The Fox affiliate in Connecticut, WTIC-TV channel 61, has launched a live morning show, reports the Hartford Courant.

The news department of KREX channel 5 Grand Junction, Colorado which was destroyed by fire Sunday, is moving to Western Colorado Community College, says KREX.

The FCC has fined Telemuno’s WNJU channel 47 New York, and a station in Oklahoma City, for violation of rules about maintaining public files, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

The Man Who Would Not Shut Up is a new book about Fox News Channel’s 8 p.m. talk show host Bill O’Reilly, by formerNewsday TV reporter Marvin Kitman. The Saint Louis Post Dispatch reports.

The Los Angeles Times looks at the Jane Austen marathon on Masterpiece Theatre, airing Sunday evenings at 9 on Thirteen/WNET.

The PBS cooking show Check, Please! from PBS station WTTW channel 11 Chicago, is reviewed by the Miami Herald. The Chicago Sun Times says the show is also offering a “second helping” on its Internet site, Check Please.TV.

The National Hurricane Center, which provides bulletins, warnings and reports to the media, including TV and radio stations, has a new director, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

The Italian Trade Commission is releasing a “Made In Italy” advertising campaign in the U.S., according to IDEX Online.com.

National Association of Broadcasters chief David Rehr is urging retailers to ensure that converter boxes, to enable analog TV sets to pick up digital broadcast signals, are on the shelves and displayed so customers can easily find them, reports Broadcasting & Cable.

Media Briefing for Thursday, January 24, 2008

staff | January 24th, 2008

Media Briefing for Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who decides who will be allowed on televised presidential debates? Democrat Dennis Kucinich and Republican Ron Paul, who have sharply differing views from the other candidates in their parties, are frequently being excluded. The San Francisco Chronicle examines this issue.

There is a Republican presidential debate tonight at 9 from Boca Raton, Florida, on MSNBC, says Blog 4 President.US.

Some in the Democratic party are bristling at the Hillary Clinton ads attacking Barack Obama, fearing they may fracture party unity for the general election in November, says the Washington Post.

With so many primaries in so many states in such a short time, TV and radio ads are key in reaching voters, and while some campaign organizations on the Republican side are running perilously low in funds, Mitt Romney’s wallet will keep him the race until the end, says the Wall Street Journal.

An terrorism investigation has shown the reach of the Web for extremist networks, says the Washington Post.

The FCC has added to its official record the ownership studies used in determining whether to allow more consolidation of ownership of broadcast stations. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association is asking the D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals to stay the Federal Communications Commission order dealing with exclusive contracts with owners of apartments and condominiums. Broadcasting & Cable reports.

The editor of a Newark, New Jersey Brazilian community newspaper is suing the police department, saying that his rights were violated when police officers demanded that he hand over photographs of a crime scene and handcuffed him to a bench when he refused. New York Times. The editor of the Portuguese language Brazilian Voice sued Newark police yesterday, accusing the department of violating his constitutional rights by arresting him and demanding he not publish photos from a crime scene. Associated Press reports.

Accusations of racial discrimination are at the heart of a suit by a former host at CBS-owned WZMX 93.7 Hartford. Ratings soared when WZMX Hot 93.7 switched from “dancing oldies” to an edgier hip hop, but behind the on-air banter racial tensions were rising among the stars at WZMX. Wendell “JD” Houston, the show’s black host, says a figure depicting the lynching of a black man was left dangling from his microphone and racist posters were hung at the station. He says the station hired him in 2000 under pressure to diversify, but denied him promotional appearances and favored his white co-host when the pair clashed. “The defendants wanted an Uncle Tom, a black person who would remain behind the radio microphone and be heard but not seen,” Houston’s attorneys wrote in a federal racial discrimination lawsuit that is heading to trial in Hartford. Associated Press reports. WZMX has a strong signal covering most of Connecticut, much of Long Island and western Massachusetts.

A journalism student in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death for distributing from the Internet an article that described the Prophet Mohammad as a killer and an adulterer, says the New York Times.

The Chinese government has slammed a Chinese province for allowing TV programming it considers too sexually explicit, says Reuters.

The death of actor Heath Ledger provided fodder for comments by Fox News Channel anchor John Gibson, who made light of the actor and his appearance as co-star in the movie Brokeback Mountain about a gay love relationship. Digg.com provides audio of John Gibson’s comments.

NBC affiliate WHDH-TV channel 7 Boston sent a local reporter to Manhattan this week to cover the death of actor Heath Ledger, star of Brokeback Mountain, says the Boston Herald.

A panel analyzing the current status of media – appearing on Colorado Public Radio – said the picture is not pretty, and one of the most serious problems is that newspapers have not found a way yet to make money on the Internet, reports the Denver Post.

User-generated videos posted online brought 22 billion viewings last year. Who is watching these videos? E-Marketer reports.

AT&T says it’s offering free access to more than 10,000 hot spots to its DSL broadband customers. The telecom company said more than 10 million DSL customers who pay for 1.5 megabit per second DSL service or faster will have access to AT&T’s hot spots around the country. The offer, which saves existing customers $60 a year, is good at hot spot locations like McDonalds, Barnes and Noble and destinations like the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, says the San Francisco Chronicle. This starts early next week, says the Associated Press.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are testing on-flight wi-fi, says Computer World.

YouTube is expanding its video mobile service, says Associated Press.

EBay’s new leader is moving swiftly on a revamping, says the New York Times.

Growing online, the BBC is joining with Rupert Murdoch’s social networking site MySpace, reports the New York Times. The BBC and MySpace had been archrivals, says TV Week. Associated Press also reports.

YouTube has launched a Korean-language site, says the New York Times.

Best Buy stores sold digital picture frames during the holidays that harbored malicious code able to spread to any connected Windows PC, the big box retailer has confirmed. It is not recalling the frames, says Computer World.

CBS will be making its Internet music unit more like radio, says the New York Times.

If Rupert Murdoch makes the online content of the Wall Street Journal free, it would endanger Yahoo Finance, says Business Week.com.

Motorola’s profits are dropping, without a sequel to its hit Razr, says the New York Times.

Cellular telephones and flat screen TV sets are sparking the earnings of LG Electronics, says Associated Press.

So far, the decade-long transition to digital broadcasting has mostly been about pain. Beginning today, the public will start to see the gain. That’s when the government – the FCC – will begin auctioning off the airwaves that are being made available thanks to the transition. The auction will raise billions for the U.S. Treasury and the transition will free up badly-needed space for emergency communications. It’s “probably the most important auction we’ve had to date and the most important one we’re going to have in the foreseeable future,” because of the quality of the spectrum, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin told Associated Press.

The FCC auction is expected to help set the future course of the U.S. telecommunications business, says Reuters.

A little more than a year from now, analog TV broadcasting will end for full power TV stations in the U.S., and they will begin transmitting in digital only. One half the people in the U.S. do not know about this transition yet, says the New York Times.

To cut costs, NBC Universal is ending pilots of TV shows, says the New York Times. NBC is not canceling previously ordered pilots, says Variety.

The on-going writers strike is sending viewers to the Internet, says the Hollywood Reporter.

The losses from the on-going writers strike could total $3 billion, says Variety.

The Metropolitan Opera has canceled plans to offer performances through on-demand television, a rare miscalculation in its march to show operas on screens of all sizes. The Met is scheduled to transmit eight operas live to movie theaters worldwide this season. Thirty days after each broadcast, the performance was to have been made available through on-demand services provided by cable television companies, says reporter Dan Wakin of the New York Times.

The radio station group owner Entercom is dropping paper diaries and will use the Portable People Meter to measure listenership at its stations, says Philly Inc.Biz and Media Daily News.

An ESPN anchor has been suspended for one week after delivering an expletive-filled speech at a roast, reports Associated Press.

A lawsuit is providing details on the elimination of a talk show with an African-American host at a Baltimore FM station WEAA 88.9, owned by Morgan State University, reports the Baltimore Sun.

The restless right in the Republican party is in a fight over the soul of the Republican party, says the Washington Post media reporter.

A study shows print inserts influence purchasing decisions more than TV ads, reports Media Post.com.

A major round of layoffs of newsroom employees is taking place this week at the Chicago Sun Times, and they are being notified by telephone, says the Chicago Tribune.

The students at the newspaper at Colorado State University, the Collegian, are concerned about a possible takeover of the paper by Gannett, says the Denver Post.

USA Today is building an interactive Web site, says Media Daily News.

The fire that destroyed the studios of KREX-TV channel 5 Grand Junction, Colorado Sunday is stirring strong memories of decades past, says the Granite Springs Daily Sentinel.

A woman is suing Dannon Yogurt, challenging certain claims made about some Dannon products, says the Los Angeles Times.

The future of the TV ad market is a great deal like the future of online advertising, says Online Daily Media.

Hollywood Hamilton, afternoon personality at New York FM station WKTU 103.5, says Howard Stern now has the freedom to say whatever he feels on the air because he is now on Sirius satellite radio, and because he is no longer pushing the envelope with the threat of FCC fines, the former edginess is gone. The interview is in the Hudson County, New Jersey Current.

In Florida, NBC broadcast stations are carrying the MSNBC Republican presidential debate tonight at 9, and one station, WESH channel 2 Daytona Beach/Orlando, is moving Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice to Saturday afternoon at 2, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

In Milwaukee, radio icon Mel Karmazin’s son Craig Karmazin is an AM radio station owner. He owns the ESPN affiliate, WAUK 1510, which operates only during hours of daylight, so at night, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., Craig Karmazin buys 12 hours of time nightly to air ESPN on another station, WMCS 1290. Now, he is buying the station at 540, WRRD, where it can broadcast around the clock, says the Milwaukee Journal.

The 30-year-old Craig Karmazin, Mel’s only son, is living his dream, owning eight radio stations with his firm, Good Karma Broadcasting, says On Milwaukee.com. Mel’s only son has big goals in mind, says the Wisconsin State Journal.

Media Briefing for Wednesday, January 23, 2008

staff | January 23rd, 2008

Media Briefing for Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations has found that George W. Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, reports Associated Press. A total of 935 false statements were made, says the San Francisco Chronicle. There is also a report from the New York Times. The study was conducted by the Center For Public Integrity and the Fund For Independence In Journalism.

Senate Democrats concede that they probably lack the votes needed to stop a White House-backed plan to give total immunity to telephone utilities that helped the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping, and they are seeking to put off the vote for another month. The New York Times reports.

Meghan O’Sullivan, former deputy national security adviser to George W. Bush, wanted her public lecture at Indiana University to be off-the-record, but the Indiana Daily Student said it wouldn’t honor her request. Tuesday’s talk was canceled after O’Sullivan fell ill and the question was raised about an off-the-record speech in a public venue. The Indiana Student News reports.

The new head of the Tribune Co., Sam Zell, has ordered the removal of Internet filter devices which restricted Web content that could be viewed by employees, says Romenesko.

Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. have suspended TV ads for Vytorin, a week after a study revealed the cholesterol drug is no more effective than a high dose of one of its components available generically at a third of the cost. Vytorin, developed by Merck and Schering-Plough, is a combination of Zetia and Merck’s Zocor, which lost patent protection in 2006. Associated Press and Advertising Age report.

A TV news bureau in Santa Barbara is being closed down by NBC affiliate KSBY channel 6 San Luis Obispo, says the University Of California’s Daily Nexus.

Are senior citizens prepared for the transition to all digital TV broadcasting February 17, 2009? The Seattle Times reports.

The Seattle Times answers questions about the transition to digital TV, and the end of analog TV broadcasting next year.

Former FCC chairman Michael Powell is heading an effort to educate the public about digital TV, says Broadcasting & Cable.

Despite Wall Street’s woes, people who work in the financial industry continue to dig deep for political donations to Republican and Democratic candidates for president, says the Wall Street Journal.

The political candidates still favor the old media over the new media, says Media Week.

Monday night’s combative Democratic presidential debate was a hit with viewers, says Associated Press. It was the most watched presidential debate in cable TV history, say the Hollywood Reporter and Broadcasting & Cable.

For the second straight year, ABC led nominees for awards from an organization that monitors depictions of gays and lesbians in the media. The network landed nine nominations from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, while CBS garnered three nods, NBC two and Fox two. ABC’s nominated shows include Brothers & Sisters, Ugly Bettyand Desperate Housewives. Among cable networks, Logo received five nominations, CNN four, Bravo three and ABC Family two. Associated Press reports.

The News At Eleven on the New York City cable news channel New York One is one year old, says the New York Daily News.

The Orange County Register is ditching its daily business section, and will run business stories in the main section.

Metro International is shaking up its struggling Metro Boston newspaper, with the abrupt departure of the paper’s publisher and staff cuts planned at the free daily, according to several Metro employees briefed by company officials yesterday. Metro Boston will eliminate its GameDay Sox section, a sports editor, a listings editor, and about eight sales positions, said the employees. The Boston Globe reports.

By now, the script at the Los Angeles Times has become as familiar as a bad low-budget movie. A new editor is brought in, promises of journalistic excellence are made, financial reality intervenes, and before long the editor is banished, leaving behind a stunned newsroom. The firing of Jim O’Shea last weekend is the third time in three years that a highly regarded Los Angeles Times editor has left in a clash with the paper’s parent company in Chicago, says the Washington Post. Tribune’s new chairman Sam Zell says he fully backs the publisher, reports Associated Press.

There will be informal talks in the TV and film writers strike, starting today, says Associated Press.

The writers strike could affect the telecast of the Academy Awards February 24 on ABC, says the Boston Globe.

HBO is rolling out a new service to allow subscribers to the premium cable channel to watch HBO programs, movies and sports shows on their computers. The service will be offered first in Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin, says Associated Press.

The automobile is losing its outdoor whip antenna, with only about half the new vehicles having them, says Associated Press.

Apple computers sees success ahead, but Wall Street sees something else, says the San Jose Mercury News and Los Angeles Times.

The joke is on the cellphone users. Customers are complaining about charges for unwanted text message services such as those offered by Jokemobi, says the Los Angeles Times.

EMC Corp., the world’s biggest maker of storage computers, introduced Tuesday a service that lets companies back up information on their personal computers over the Internet. EMC is pushing into software and services and away from reliance on less-profitable storage computers to spur growth. Chief Executive Joseph Tucci has spent $8 billion buying software companies in the last four years. The service uses software from Berkeley Data Systems, which EMC bought in October. Bloomberg News reports.

France’s Publicis and Web search engine giant Google have revealed they are combining their expertise to expand in the fast-growing digital advertising market, say Reuters and the New York Times.

The chief of eBay is expected to retire, say the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, and Associated Press.

A prime piece of invisible real estate is going up for auction by the FCC this week, and the winners of the $10 billion virtual land grab have the potential to shake up wireless communications in the United States. The property in question is a sizable swath of the country’s radio spectrum that television broadcasters are returning to the government as they convert from analog to digital systems, says the Baltimore Sun. The auction is tomorrow, says Reuters.

Three companies are working to create Internet Protocal television service in South Korea, says Associated Press.

The Spanish language Univision TV station in New York, WXTV channel 41, won the 6 and 11 p.m. ratings in key demographics, reports TV Newsday.

Jay DeDapper, the political reporter for WNBC-TV channel 4 New York, was mugged by three teenaged ruffians after doing a report for the station, says the New York Daily News.

NBC has purchased 26% of a major television company in India, reports Variety.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has named Matthew Berry as general counsel. Chairman Martin also announced that Ajit Pai will serve as deputy general counsel, says TV Newsday.

For decades after it signed on in 1964, Rockland County was served by a radio station that provided strong local news and talk coverage for the county. Then in the mid 1990s, the station, WRKL-AM 910 New City, was sold, and began broadcasting a national all Polish language format. The FCC has renewed the license of Polnet’s WRKL-AM (Polskie Radio New York) over the objection of Robert Schore, who complained that the station aired no current issues and events programming or emergency weather reports and, with its proximity to the Indian Point nuclear reactor, should air some programming in English for local residents. The FCC noted that it does not get involved in programming decisions and that no evidence of failure to observe EAS rules was submitted. All Access.

In the wake of the fire that destroyed the TV station in Grand Junction, Colorado, viewers on DISH satellite are still without CBS and Fox network programming, says the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. The Sentinel offers 11 photographs of the aftermath of the KREX channel 5 fire.

Ringo Starr is known for being the amiable Beatle, but the rock star showed his tough side when he walked off the set of Live With Regis and Kelly rather than cut short one of his songs. Starr didn’t realize the performance had to be 2 1/2 minutes or less, his publicist said. Associated Press reports.

The Broadcasting Foundation of America has named its Pioneer Awards after longtime WGN-AM 720 Chicago VP/GM and WGN Continental Broadcasting president Ward Quaal. Quaal, who started as an announcer at WGN-AM in 1941 and was the first voice heard on WGNB (FM) 98.7 (now classical music WFMT), served as chairman of the board for both the Broadcasters Foundation and its predecessor, the Broadcast Pioneers, retiring as a director of the organization in 2003. He also served as president of Crosley Broadcasting in 1952 through 1956. (In 1952 Crosley Broadcasting owned WINS 1010 New York, selling it in 1953 to J. Elroy McCaw.) All Access.

Former WCBS-AM 880 New York and Radio Luxembourg general manager John Catlett has been named chief operating officer of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, effective in February. Catlett has been working on developing new stations in Europe since 1984 and introduced private radio to India. RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin said, “These senior appointments will ensure RFE/RL continues to provide high-quality independent news and information to countries and regions where free media is limited or nonexistent. Our new colleagues come to RFE/RL with impressive experience in their respective fields, and we look forward to welcoming them in Prague very soon.” In addition, RFE/RL has named former PBS affiliate WETA-TV channel 26 Washington VP/News and Public Affairs Ricki Green as senior editor. All Access reports.

Media Briefing for Tuesday, January 22, 2008

staff | January 22nd, 2008

Media Briefing for Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In this age of electronics and technology, the daily lives of children have changed dramatically. In the 1970s they were still playing outdoors, but today they are mostly staying indoors, focusing on computers and other technology. Their former haunts outdoors are overgrown and unvisited. A researcher from the City University of New York had visited a small town in Vermont in 1972 to chart the geography of children and their play time, and more than three decades later returned to the same town to research today’s child. He is recording his findings in a new film and book. The Boston Globe reports.

There was a shy young teenaged girl who had trouble making friends. Then at age 14 she re-imagined herself online as Autumn Edows, a goth artist who modeled for provocative photographs. She said “I didn’t feel like myself, but I liked the fact that I didn’t feel like myself.” Tonight’s Frontline episode, Growing Up Online, at 9 p.m. on Thirteen/WNET, examines her story and those of other children as they create very private worlds online. It has received major nationwide press, including reviews in Free Press, Variety, the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, New York Times, Morris County Daily Record, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Louisville Courier Journal, Daily Herald of suburban Chicago, Denver Post and San Diego.com.

The fastest-growing segment of cellphone users is ‘tweens and young teens. In 2007, 38 percent of 12- and 13-year-olds had their own cellphones, according to Jupiter Research in Manhattan. Growth in the 8- to 12-year-old cellphone market will outpace growth in the overall U.S. population in the next few years, the research group predicts. Newsday reports.

To all those traditional developmental stages in a child’s life, like learning to walk, talk and read, we can now add technological milestones like using a mouse, downloading music and surfing the Internet. The New York Times reports.

Children under 10 — including a large number of pre-schoolers — are listening to music on iPods, says the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The top editor of the Los Angeles Times has been forced out for resisting newsroom budget cuts, executives at the paper say, marking the fourth time in less than three years that the highest-ranking editor or the publisher has left for that reason. The New York Times reports. Editor James O?Shea had been ordered to carry out $4 million in budget cuts, says the Los Angeles Times. The firing took place after a confrontation between O?Shea and his boss, reports Associated Press. This is the second time in 15 months, says the Chicago Tribune.

In his farewell speech in the Los Angeles Times newsroom, the editor fired a parting shot, says the Times.

At age 76, Dan Rather of HD Net is a man on a mission, focusing on being the best journalist he can be while at the same time pursuing his suit against CBS, says the Houston Chronicle.

Conservative radio talk show hosts are upset about Radio & Records magazine’s decision to withdraw an award it had planned to present to Bob Grant of WABC 770 New York, known for his anti-black, anti-Latino and anti-gay comments on the air. Some conservative hosts are talking about boycotting Radio & Records annual radio talk conference in March, reports the Washington Post. Grant has slammed the magazine on the air, says the New York Post. A 1995 Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting article by Jim Naureckas, titled ?50,000 Watts of Hate,” quoted Mr. Grant as referring to Haitian refugees as ?maggots? and calling for policemen with machine guns to show up at a gay pride parade.

The parent company of Golfweek magazine on Friday fired the editor who approved this week’s cover image of a noose. The noose was for an article about the Golf Channel cable TV network host Kelly Tilghman’s use of the word ?lynch? to describe how young players could challenge Tiger Woods. The New York Times reports. The formerly bucolic world of golf is in a tizzy these days over the unlikely subject of lynching. The racially charged controversy began with a slip of the tongue and has now resulted in the suspension of Golf Channel anchorwoman Kelly Tilghman and the firing yesterday of the editor of Golfweek magazine, Dave Seanor. It began on January 4, when Tilghman was chatting on-air with Golf Channel analyst Nick Faldo about up-and-coming challengers to superstar Tiger Woods, son of a black American father and an Asian mother, and the golfer who has dominated his sport for a decade. The Washington Post reports.

Joseph Cooke, for four decades the publisher of the Washington Sun, which served the Washington Afro-American community, has passed away, reports the Washington Post.

The FCC auction for rights to a highly valuable swath of the nation’s airwaves will begin Thursday and is expected to include multibillion-dollar bids from the nation’s two biggest wireless phone companies, Verizon and AT&T, as well as Google, says the New York Times.

Federal regulators said they will try again to test prototypes on Thursday for transmitting high-speed Internet service over unused television airwaves. Late Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission said the devices – developed by Adaptrum Inc., Microsoft Corp., Motorola Inc. and Philips Electronics North America Corp. – will be tested in laboratory and real-world conditions. The FCC said the testing will take three months and issue a report about six weeks after the testing ends. Associated Press reports.

Writers strike: talks could resume this week. Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times report.

Even with the writers strike, the TV networks have hundreds of new episodes of TV shows to roll out in the coming months, reports Associated Press.

Freedom House has accused the president of Slovenia of putting indirect political and economic pressure on journalists and engaging in censorship, reports the New York Times.

Pakistan’s most popular private television network, Geo TV, went back on the air yesterday after signing a government code of conduct that critics say is muzzling independent media before parliamentary elections next month. Associated Press reports. Geo TV has lost its bite in the region, says the New York Times.

Two old record stores in Harlem, Bobby’s Happy House and the Harlem Record Shack, are going of business and will close within several weeks of each other. The closings come as Harlem continues its uneasy transition from being a haven for some of the city’s poorest residents to a place where apartments selling for $1 million and tripling commercial rents have become unremarkable occurrences. Bobby’s Happy House, on Frederick Douglass Boulevard near 125th Street, is closing today, the birthday of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Harlem Record Shack, nearby on 125th Street, has been given until the end of March to vacate its store, reports the New York Times.

Sean Penn has sent a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle criticizing a parody about him. His letter was in response to a recent satirical article, “A Modest Proposal for Celebs on the Skids,” which suggested that stars in decline associate with ?notorious dictators and other authoritarian figures,” like Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. Penn said that Ch’vez, with whom he recently spent time, ?was democratically elected and that dictators don’t lose constitutional referendums,” as Mr. Ch’vez did, adding that he was visiting Venezuela as a journalist. Then he got personal, calling readers and editors ‘small-minded cowards and former writers of substance.” The New York Times reports.

Met At The Movies is drawing big crowds, says Associated Press.

On the birthday of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., WBAI 99.5 New York offered a 17-hour day of special programming devoted to his life. The New York Daily News reports.

A film and presentation about safe sex and the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, introduced by two Philadelphia FM radio personalities, has been yanked by a Catholic high school in the Philadelphia area, says the Philadelphia Daily News.

The looming national recession will never be the top story on Plum TV. The cable network serving the most affluent segment of the population in storied resort towns is more likely to feature wine tastings, restaurant openings and art shows. Plum TV is a network for the super-rich who spend leisure time in enclaves like Aspen, Colorado and the Hamptons of Long Island. The Denver Post reports.

Today, even the best TV show will flop without online connections and extensions, says the New York Times.

U.S. video game industry sales rocketed to a record high 17.9 billion dollars in 2007, with Nintendo reigning as champion of the console battle with Microsoft and Sony, according to research group NPD. The French Press Agency (AFP) reports.

Yahoo’s turnaround plan is said to include major layoffs, note the New York Times, Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News.

The chairman of the FCC is turning up the heat on Comcast and cable TV, say the Newhouse newspapers.

Google, owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, lost market share last month for the first time since June, according to Nielsen Online. Google’s share of U.S. Web queries fell to 56.3 percent in December from 57.7 percent the previous month, Nielsen said Friday in a statement. Yahoo dropped to 17.7 percent from 17.9 percent. The companies lost market share to Microsoft, which upgraded its search engine in September to include shopping, health, map and entertainment options. The Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft captured 13.8 percent of searches, up from 12 percent in November, says Bloomberg News.

A Web cartoon is bolstering visits to the site of the Long Island daily newspaper Newsday, says the New York Times.

The venerable magazine The Atlantic is energizing its Web site, says the New York Times.

Under Rupert Murdoch, the social networking site MySpace is expanding rapidly, now operating in 15 countries and soon to be in 24. MySpace is also turning to media deals, reports the New York Times.

The Chinese government says China’s Internet population has soared to 210 million people, putting it on track to surpass the U.S. online community this year to become the world’s largest. The official China Internet Network Information Center, also known as CNNIC, said the online population grew 53 percent, from 137 million reported at the same time last year. Associated Press reports.

The CEO of Cisco Systems is predicting an Internet revolution, saying that transformational change is rippling through the high-tech industry at an extraordinary pace. The San Jose Mercury News reports.

Could the new Apple products have a greater long-term impact than initially thought? Apple is looking far ahead with its new products. The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

With credit more difficult to obtain at traditional banks and financial institutions, person-to-person loans are booming on the Internet, says the Washington Post.

Amid the Facebook craze, the social networking software maker Slide has raised $50 million from investors, says Reuters.

Cellphone sales pitches – on the cellphone – are on the horizon. Retailers are trying to find ways to turn mobile devices into indispensable shopping aid for consumers, reports the Washington Post.

Analog cellphone users are about to lose the signal, says the Washington Post.

Sprint Nextel’s announcement on Friday that it is losing customers more rapidly than expected is making investors nervous about a weak economy’s effect on other wireless companies. Stock shares of Sprint fell $2.87, or 25 percent, to $8.70 after it said that it planned to lay off 4,000 workers and close stores to trim costs as its customer base shrinks. The New York Times reports. Sprint Nextel lost 683,000 customers during the last three months of 2007, more than three times the 200,000 it expected to lose, says the Los Angeles Times.

Five new ways to use wi-fi are examined by PC World.

Texas Instruments is betting on a rear projection TV with a bright future, says the New York Times.

TiVo will be evolving with the industry, says TiVo’s CEO. The Los Angeles Times reports.

A California report on Internet service is providing a model for other states. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Broadband Task Force, which released the report, found that 96 percent of Californians have access to broadband, but speeds vary significantly region to region. Only about 54 percent of Californians have access to 10Mbps (megabits per second), and about 56 percent of the state’s residents subscribe to broadband service, the report said. PC World reports.

A veteran 89-year-old instructor of dance is now giving lessons via the Internet, says the New York Times.

Mobile banking in India isn’t quite as simple as getting an ATM card and using it at the grocery store. It requires not only a new high-tech ID system, but also house calls, says the Boston Globe.

Social networking on the Internet is not lagging in China. It’s just innovating differently, says Newsweek.

In Japan, novels are being introduced on cellphones and then going on to be best-sellers as hard cover books, says the New York Times.

In a loss for wireless communications providers, the U.S. Supreme Court today let stand a lower court ruling preventing the industry from listing taxes and other government fees as separate line items on consumers? bills. Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA, which is owned by Deutsche Telecom, asked the justices to overturn the ruling. Sprint and T-Mobile said in court papers that state and local governments try to ?hide? taxes and fees by barring carriers from listing them as separate items, requiring the companies instead to fold them in with the rest of their charges. Associated Press reports.

A new political site, Political Base.com, is following the money in politics and is expected to thrive even after the election season, says the New York Times.

In Iraq, a blogger is covering the war through a soldier’s eyes, says the New York Times.

Internet ads will double by 2011, says Online Media Daily.

Some ham radio enthusiasts are back on the air in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein’s rule, ham radio operators in Iraq had to report to government-sanctioned clubs, where minders listened in on their conversations. Since the dictator’s ouster, they have faced suspicion from U.S. troops and the Iraqi government that their transmissions are a tool of the insurgency. Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, fewer than 50 of 150 or so ham radio enthusiasts who operated primarily in Baghdad have returned to their stations. There is now a small group trying to revive interest in the hobby and keep it alive, reports the Baltimore Sun.

The top reporters on all the major TV networks asked the presidential candidates 2,679 questions during the past year, and only 3 were about global warming, according to the liberal group Moveon.org, which is asking for citizens to sign a petition calling on top TV reporters to ask the candidates about the issue.

Freedom’s Watch, which has been a staunch supporter of George W. Bush and the Iraq War, is now taking on many issues and is being called the Moveon.org of the right, says the Washington Post.

Oliver Stone is planning a movie about the Bush administration slated for release in 2009, reports Variety.

Viewership for the presidential debates this cycle are far higher than in 2004, says the Boston Globe.

This time John McCain was able to defuse conservative attacks, including a week of relentless attacks from radio host Rush Limbaugh, says the Washington Post.

In another presidential primary year, South Carolina has once again been inundated with smear campaigns and tactics, reports the Boston Globe.

A pro-confederate flag group ran radio ads in South Carolina praising Mike Huckabee ahead of the primary there, reports the Associated Press. Huckabee came in a strong second in South Carolina with 30 percent of the vote to winner John McCain’s 33 percent.

The state editor for Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post is New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s nemesis, says the Wall Street Journal.

Newspaper advertising is still effective and a Norwalk, Connecticut firm is thriving placing newspaper ads for clients, reports the Stamford Advocate.

David Simon, a Baltimore Sun reporter from 1983 to 1995 and creator of HBO’s The Wire, takes a look at the future of print journalism and of the Sun itself in the Washington Post. Simon laments a dying craft, says the New York Times. The man behind the show is profiled by the Atlantic Monthly.

HBO is putting shows online at no additional charge, says the New York Times.

It’s a most popular marriage: Jane Austen and PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre, Sunday evenings at 9 on Thirteen/WNET, says the New York Times. There is also a report from the Los Angeles Times.

American Idealist: the Story of Sargent Shriver tonight at 10 on Thirteen/WNET is reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

Those automated political telephone calls aren’t just annoying: recorded messages are illegal if not preceded by a live voice. But that law isn’t enforced, says the Los Angeles Times.

To avoid a possible conflict, NBC Entertainment co-Chairman Ben Silverman has agreed to sell his production company, which makes The Office and Ugly Betty, to a London-based firm owned by Elisabeth Murdoch for at least $125 million, says the Los Angeles Times.

A tenant who wanted to install a satellite dish at his apartment has been kicked out by the landlord. The San Francisco Chronicle explains the FCC rules about allowing antennas and satellite dishes.

Out-of-home TV: it’s everywhere, from the doctor’s office to tire stores to Wal-Mart, says Broadcasting & Cable.

Fire has destroyed an institution in a small town in western Colorado: the local TV station. The CBS affiliate in Grand Junction, Colorado, KREX channel 5, was knocked off the air over the weekend after a fire ripped through its building, says the Denver Post. The firefighters were forced back by explosions, says the Rocky Mountain News. The fire burned all day, says the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. The fire appears to have started accidentally, says the Sentinel. It will bounce back stronger than before, says the general manager, quoted in the Sentinel.

KREX employees were not injured but are heartbroken about their loss, says the Grand Junction Sentinel. The station manager says the staff will be taking on new roles, according the Sentinel. Fire officials say the station was totally destroyed, and the $6 million loss is probably the most significant monetarily ever in Grand Junction, notes the Sentinel. The blaze adds a new chapter to a long history. The flames claimed years of local history captured on tape by the station, says the Sentinel.

An independent TV station, WCIU channel 26 Chicago, is obtaining ratings with counter-programming and unique programming, says TV Newsday.

A major printer in Canada that prints a wide variety of magazines including Time and Parade has filed for bankruptcy in Canada and the U.S., reports the New York Times.

Prices for cable TV and satellite TV service are rising steeply in Massachusetts, says the Boston Globe.

Check, Please, a program about restaurants distributed to PBS stations nationwide by WTTW channel 11 Chicago, is reviewed by the Chicago Sun Times.

Media Briefing for Friday, January 18, 2008

staff | January 18th, 2008

Media Briefing for Friday, January 18, 2008

Personal information on about 650,000 customers of J.C. Penney and up to 100 other retailers could be compromised after a computer tape went missing. GE Money, which handles credit card operations for Penney and many other retailers, said last night that the missing information includes Social Security numbers for about 150,000 people, says Associated Press.

Telephone provider Sprint Nextel is cutting 4,000 jobs and closing 125 stores, reports Associated Press.

Lost in the uproar over FCC changes to media ownership rules last month was another proposal, voted on the same day, that could actually have bigger implications for radio station operators and listeners. Unfortunately, few people outside the FCC’s five members know exactly what it was the commission approved December 18 regarding local content and operation of radio and television stations. The FCC release mentions only a proposal that radio stations set up permanent community advisory boards and that the commission adopt “renewal application processing guidelines that will ensure that all broadcasters provide some locally oriented programming.” The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports.

While the American FCC is easing rules on consolidation of media ownership, Canada is going in the opposite direction. Canada’s communications regulator imposed new rules on Tuesday, restricting cross-media ownership and setting limits on broadcasting mergers to ensure diversity in programming, reports Reuters. The new rules apply only to private broadcasters and to future deals. This is All Access.

FCC Democratic commissioner Jonathan Adelstein says the FCC will be focusing more this year on video news reports, reports created by corporations which are embedded in newscasts, without the true source of the report being identified to viewers. Broadcasting & Cable. reports.

In Everett, Washington, a teacher at Cascade High School who was fired after helping some students produce an underground newspaper, could also lose her teaching license. After terminating Kay Powers in November, the Everett School District filed a report with the Washington state Office of Professional Practices, which could lead to the revocation of her teaching credentials. Union officials said the district went too far. The Everett, Washington Herald reports.

A survey of teenaged Web surfers aged 14 to 18 shows they find reading news sites on the Internet to be stressful, because the news reports are often about dangerous or bad events, reports Northwest University.

Over 1,000 magazine titles are being yanked from the shelves at Wal-Mart stores, including Ladies Home Journal, Business Week, Forbes, Fortune and many others, reports the New York Post.

Robert Jarvik, the inventor of the artificial heart, is at the center of a congressional investigation into his credentials and his role as pitchman for the top-selling cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Despite his famous medical breakthrough, Jarvik ended his training after medical school, instead of completing a medical internship. He can’t legally prescribe medicine to anyone and he is not licensed to practice medicine, reports ABC News.

The American Medical Association is running a $15 million ad blitz, in a campaign for the medically uninsured, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The new ownership of the Tribune Co. newspapers and TV stations, including WPIX channel 11 New York and Newsday on Long Island, has published an employee handbook which calls for cooperation but also competition.

The use of the “f” word by an actress who was a guest on ABC’sGood Morning America has added fodder to the debate about what measures networks should take to prevent expletives from going over the air. The Los Angeles Times reports.

LIN TV Corporation today announced the launch of local political websites in each of the company’s 17 television markets, including Buffalo, where LIN owns WIVB channel 4 and Connecticut where LIN owns ABC affiliate WTNH channel 8 New Haven. The company says the political Web sites were designed to be a community hub and primary resource for news and in-depth coverage of local, regional, and national political races. TV Newsday reports.

Link TV, the nonprofit, 24-hour channel that brings satellite news from around the world to American households, is profiled by the New York Times.

The Black Entertainment Television (BET) Honors are being presented in the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. this year, says the Baltimore Afro American. The taping is this weekend, and the ceremony and show airs on BET Friday February 22 at 8 p.m.

On his daily talk show, conservative Rush Limbaugh is giving strong support to Mitt Romney, and criticizing the other Republican hopefuls, says the Boston Globe. Here are Limbaugh’s comments on the various candidates, compiled by the Boston Globe.

Hillary Clinton’s appearance Sunday brought the highest ratings to NBC’s Meet The Press in three years, says the Huffington Post.

Bob Johnson, founder of the Black Entertainment Television cable channel, has apologized for remarks he made about Barack Obama last weekend, reports the Chicago Tribune. His comments got him into “hot water,” says the Baltimore Afro American.

Republican Mitt Romney got into a tiff with an Associated Press over his statement that there are no lobbyists running his campaign, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Former president Bill Clinton had a heated exchange with a reporter from ABC-owned KGO-TV channel 7 San Francisco, reports Associated Press.

A spot running in Florida for Republican Mitt Romney is analyzed by Associated Press.

Conservative talk shows are upset that the trade publication Radio and Records has withdrawn the Lifetime Achievement Award it had been planning to give to conservative talk show host Bob Grant of WABC 770 New York. A 1995 Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting article by Jim Naureckas, titled “50,000 Watts of Hate,” quoted Mr. Grant as referring to Haitian refugees as “maggots” and calling for policemen with machine guns to show up at a gay pride parade. The Washington Times reports.

The family of New York governor Eliot Spitzer help pay off the campaign debts of Mark Green, who ran unsuccessfully for state attorney general in 2006. Mark Green is now president of Air America, the liberal talk radio network. In New York the Air America affiliate is WWRL 1600. The New York Times reports.

Hollywood directors have reached a tentative contract deal with the studios, a development that could turn up the pressure on striking TV and movie writers to settle their 2-month-old walkout that has crippled the entertainment industry. Associated Press reports. The writers strike is now in its 11th week, says Reuters.

The prices of flat screen TV sets are expected to drop 15%, says TV Predictions.

E-Marketer says a study of the one-quarter of the U.S. population that does not have access to the Internet, tend to be less affluent and less educated.

The president of France is proposing eliminating commercials on state-run radio as well as state-run television, reports Reuters.

An updated George Of The Jungle premieres tonight at 7:30 on the Cartoon Network, say the Boston Globe, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Tampa Tribune, USA Today, and Los Angeles Times.

A Navy plane struck a 971-foot TV tower in the Corpus Christi, Texas area, killing three. The tower housed the antennas for the PBS station KEDT-TV channel 16 and NPR station KEDT-FM 90.3. Associated Press and the Corpus Christi Caller Times report. The crash knocked the KEDT signal off the air for 12 hours, says KRIS-TV channel 6 News. Investigators are trying to learn why the crash occurred, says Associated Press.

Charlie Rose of PBS will also be a correspondent for 60 Minutes on CBS. He will continue his late night talk show weeknights on PBS. Associated Press and TV Week report.

WCBS-TV channel 2 New York anchor Steve Bartelstein remains upbeat, despite concerns that his cancer is spreading, reports the New York Daily News.

The morning local meteorologist at NBC affiliate WPTV channel 5 Palm Beach, Dean Tendrich, is leaving to join his father’s real estate development business in Florida, in the Palm Beach Post.

A French journalist is under arrest in the West African coastal nation of Ivory Coast, reports Associated Press.

A weekly newspaper in military-ruled Myanmar, the Myanmar Times, skipped publication this week on government orders after flouting censorship rules, its publisher said. The government’s Press Scrutiny Board ordered the Myanmar-language edition of the Myanmar Times not to publish this week for having run a story earlier that was not approved, said Ross Dunkley, editor in chief and CEO of Myanmar Consolidated Media Limited. Associated Press reports.

Craigslist, one of the sites on the Internet that has changed communication and commerce in the modern world, is donating $1.6 million to the University of California, Berkeley to create the first endowed faculty chair in “new media.” The Bay Area News Group reports.

WXRK 92.3 “K-Rock” New York general manager Tom Chiusano is relinquishing his role as general manager of the station. Contrary to reports elsewhere, Chiusano told FMQB he is not retiring from the station and will stay on with CBS Radio in a consulting capacity until “at least June.” In the meantime, the WXRK management icon is heading out for a vacation before he resumes his duties with the company, says FMQB>FMQB.

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey being presented on Masterpiece Theatre on Thirteen/WNET Sunday evening at 9 is reviewed by the New York Daily News.

Radio listeners in northwest Washington state will soon lose the ability to hear CBC Radio One on 50,000 CBU 690 Vancouver when it moves from the AM dial to the FM dial. A public hearing has been set by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission for February 26 in Vancouver to consider the CBC’s applications to move its CBC Radio One affiliate CBU to 88.1 FM in Vancouver and 98.7 FM for the Sunshine Coast. The CBC is also applying for a transmitter to serve Nanaimo with the CBC Radio One programming of CBCV 90.5 Victoria, reports All Access.