Media Briefing for Wednesday, January 3, 2007
As promised, the FCC has released to the public 88 studies on the issue of media ownership. These studies are being used by the FCC in its deliberations regarding whether to relax even further rules that would allow more consolidation of media. A decade ago the FCC and the Congress with its Telecommunications Act of 1996 changed the rules to allow companies to own as many as 8 radio stations in a market. Now giants such as Clear Channel own 1,200 of the most powerful major market AM and FM radio stations, and consolidation is also underway in TV, with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox owning 2 of the 6 commercial VHF stations in New York City, WNYW channel 5 and WWOR channel 9. The studies may be found at the FCC website. There is a story in Media Daily News.
The American Masters documentary Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens debuts tonight on most PBS stations across the nation. She is the most celebrated American photographer today, after 40 years of taking pictures, notes the Boston Globe. Annie Leibovitz, who was born in Westport, Connecticut, took a striking photograph of ex-Beatle John Lennon nude, wrapped around his clothed wife. This was just hours before Lennon was assassinated, reports the Hartford Courant. The documentary is a reminder of how much America values branding, and not just in software, congressional candidates and hamburgers, says the New York Times. In its review, the McClatchy newspapers recall the phrase “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.” Here is the McClatchy review. The documentary captures some of Annie Leibovitz’s essence, says AP.
Chef Todd English needs no introduction in food circles, a veteran of PBS’s Cooking Under Fire and the WGBH Boston series Hot Off The Grill. Now he has a new show, Food Trip With Todd English, reports the > Boston Globe.
Tavis Smiley has a daily PBS television talk show as well as one on Public Radio International. Smiley, marking 15 years on the air, also has a best-selling book, reports Associated Press.
Rocky Mountain Newscolumnist Dusty Saunders has praise for Jim Lehrer as both a PBS television news anchor and as an author.
The fast food industry has known for decades that children respond to their advertising. Now, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are saying that children also respond to ads that promote having them engage in more physical activity. Medical News Today reports.
The grainy videotape of the hanging of Saddam Hussein over the weekend and that appeared on cable TV network Al Jazeera and many internet sites is being criticized around the world, from the Vatican and Italy to Iraq itself. In Iraq, Sunnis are demonstrating in the streets, and the government is trying to learn who made the videotape and released it. Associated Press reports. Meanwhile an advisor to the Iraqi government is quoted as saying an official who supervised Hussein’s execution has been arrested and is being investigated in connection with the videotaping, according to Associated Press.
A new study of 75 metropolitan areas in the United States showed that only six received high marks in communications — the ability of emergency teams to contact and speak with eachother during a major disaster. Communications breakdown contributed significantly to the disaster of the World Trade Center in Manhattan in 2001, and this report says New York City still has problems in its communications system, according to the Associated Press.
Cuts at newspaper newsrooms continue. The Philadelphia Inquirer, taken over by a group of local businessmen 7 months ago, is expected to announce today new layoffs that will cut 17% of its newsroom, reports the New York Times.
A different kind of cutback has hit The Wall Street Journal. Its width has been reduced by 3 inches, which will save $18 million a year and allow it to be published in more locations, according to n Associated Press.
One of the biggest victors in the November election was so-called Net Neutrality. The Democrats are planning to pass legislation that would preserve the current system on the internet, in which all items posted move at the same speed. Cable and telephone companies have been proposing that two lanes be created, one fast lane for those paying hefty fees, such as major corporations, and one slow lane that would relegate ordinary people to slow callup. The Democratic plan is one that would protect internet democracy, says the New York Times in an editorial.
In the world of the internet, there is a hidden gender gap in entrepreneurship and especially in engineering, according to Venture Beat.
Online security experts are issuing warnings about organized internet crime efforts. Hackers with infections are slithering onto web sites, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Sports events are usually watched live, while upscale TV shows and shows in competitive time slots are often recorded, and watched later, sometimes as long as 7 days later, according to Media Daily News.
A few years ago it was widely believed that Dell and other computer giants would be changing the TV world, including integrating it with the internet. But as it turns out, it is small compnaies that are changing TV, reports CNET.com
Gays and lesbians are more likely to use the internet for social networking, reports Gay News.com. Meanwhile in Turkey, the government has begun the trial of the publisher of a newspaper that argues for gay civil rights. The publisher is charged with violating Turkey’s strict morality laws, according to SX News.com of Australia.
Another look at U.S. Census figures recently released that show Americans spend more than 9 hours a day on technology, reveals that Americans spend 2 months a year just watching TV, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Sirius satellite radio increased its subscribers by 82% during the year 2006, and for the final quarter of the year, had its first-ever profitable quarter, according to Bloomberg News.
Geico Insurance’s gecko – the big lizard with the down-under accent – has shaken up the insurance company advertising world. Gone are the days the insurance companies ran staid, boring ads, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Network correspondents and technicians were on their “best behavior” for the Tuesday broadcast of Gerald Ford’s funeral service, according to TV columnist Tom Shales in the Washington Post. TV reporter David Bauder says the correspondents showed utmost respect in their coverage, in his column on the Associated Press newswire.
CNN has apologized for a mistake by its graphics department on a story about the ongoing search for Osama Bin Laden. The story, on Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room featured the visual; headline “Where’s Obama?” The office of Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama says the senator has accepted CNN’s apology, according to the Associated Press.
Time Warner Cable has announced it will carry Fox News’ new business channel when it launches. Time Warner, which covers much of New York City, has a total of 23 million subscribers nationwide. The Time Warner announcement is significant because Fox has said it will not launch its business channel without 30 million subscribers lined up, reports Broadcasting & Cable.
On his 700 Club television program, the Rev. Pat Robertson says God has told him there be a mass killing in the United States in a terrorist attack late this year. Associated Press reports.
Recently Air America and liberal talk disappeared from the radio dial in Boston. WKOX 1200 Framingham and WXKS 1430 Medford, which had been carrying it, both switched during December to an all-Spanish format. Now a group has formed in Boston, Save Boston Progressive Talk, to challenge the decision by Clear Channel, according to the Boston Herald.