Media Briefing for Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Consolidation of radio station ownership has brought a decline in localism and diversity, reports a new study being released today. The Los Angeles Times reports.
The general manager of WKRN-TV channel 2 Nashville, Tennessee where the FCC held a hearing Monday on consolidation of media ownership, says he was surprised at the intensity of opposition to consolidation shown by citizens who spoke. G.M. Mike Sechrist reports this in his WKRN channel 2 Nashville blog.
On the issue of radio and TV consolidation, a group of small broadcasting companies is asking the FCC for the same more lenient consolidation rules that govern major markets. TV Newsday reports.
The subject of radio station consolidation brought an on-air clash in Nashville between a Clear Channel Communications radio host and the wife of Country Hall Of Fame singer George Jones, reports, the Tennessean of Nashville.
Despite recent concerns raised about TV advertising contributing to childhood obesity, the number of ads aimed at children is continuing at the same level, according to sales executives, though they say the advertisers are policing themselves. Media Week reports.
The art of making cheese in Wisconsin is the subject of a documentary being presented Sunday on Chicago’s PBS station WTTW channel 11, It is entitled Living On The Wedge, reports the Chicago Tribune.
The TV networks, led by Fox, are expected to file comments in court this week opposing the FCC’s current crackdown on indecency, according to Broadcasting & Cable magazine,
A fundamentalist Christian video game is being criticized as one that glorifies violence against non-Christians. Liberal groups are calling on Walmart to withdraw it from its shelves, but the makers of the game are defending it, reports the Associated Press.
MIT has developed a new software program that allows friends to know their locations, and at the same time protecting the information so big brother does not know, according to the Boston Globe.
IBM and Yahoo are teaming up to challenge Google, reports Associated Press.
Sales of Apple’s iTunes took a 65% dive in the first half of this year, according to a just-released report, says Seattle Times.
Smilebox of Washington state is getting together with Hallmark Cards to offer a new service in which people can insert digital photographs into online postcards, and also add music beds, according to the Seattle Times.
NBC Dateline‘s Perverted Justice episodes are the most highly rated for the show. Dateline cooperates with a citizen group known as Perverted Justice to lure adults via the web to houses, to engage in sex with underaged children. In one recent taping a man who came to a house committed suicide. Critics say the show is entrapment, and defenders say it is providing a great service, capturing adults who are trying to have sex with children, reports the New York Times.
A photographer working for Associated Press in Iraq has been shot to death while having his automobile repaired, according to AP
The ratings for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric are down, but her predecessor Bob Schieffer and two other journalists are urging patience, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Chandler family which sold the Los Angeles Times properties to the Chicago Tribune several years ago, is unhappy with the Tribune’s management and is trying to raise the money to buy at least part of the Tribune Company, reports the New York Times. The Times says that Tribune has received no offers or interest since being put up for sale, except for Gannett.
In Philadelphia, where a local group came forward to buy the Inquirer and Daily News this year, a tentative contract agreement has been reached with the largest union there. A union official describes the pact as a disappointing, giveback agreement, according to the Associated Press.
Clear Channel Communications dropped liberal talk on its 50,000 watt clear channel station in Cincinnati, Ohio WCKY 1530, for an all sports format, and there was hardly a ripple of comment. But when Clear Channel did the same thing on a radio station in liberal Madison, Wisconsin, there was a major backlash, reports the Associated Press.
In Washington, DC, the demise of classical music on WGMS 104.1 is imminent, while the other station that had offered classical music, public WETA-FM 90.9, dropped it in February 2005, reports the Washington Post. The Post recalls the WETA-FM switch also brought a strong backlash.
A detective from Oregon has contacted the PBS show History Detectives for help in determining if a rare typewriter at Indiana University once belonged to World War II reporter Ernie Pyle. Associated Press reports.
Bob Flowers, the chairman of the board of Seattle PBS station KCTS channel 9, has been named to the national PBS board, reports the Seattle Times.
The “buck stops here” was the famous phrase of Harry Truman. Now, Emmis Communications chief executive Jeff Smulyan has cut his pay from more than $800,000 a year to $1, so cutbacks could be achieved, and he reports there will be few cuts of personnel at his company, according to Associated Press. The Emmis FM stations in New York City are WQHT 97.1, WRKS 98.7 and WQCD 101.9. Smulyan launched the first local all-sports radio station in 1987, New York City’s WFAN.
A joke by Conan O’Brien led to 3,000,000 hits on the web. The joke involved a manatee, according to the International Herald Tribune.
Media Briefing for Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Some 400 people turned out at an FCC hearing in Nashville, Tennessee Monday, students, journalists, concerned citizens and media managers. Most of them were there to protest the negative effects of consolidation of ownership of radio and TV stations and other media. Songwriters from Nashville complained that consolidation has severely damaged their ability to get their songs on the air. The FCC has changed the rules already, to allow one company to own up to 8 radio stations in a market, and up to 2 TV stations, and wants to relax the rules even further. The Tennessean of Nashville reports.
Top country and western songwriters and artists based in Music City blasted consolidation, reports the Hollywood Reporter.
“Open up the airwaves” was the message from most speakers, reports Associated Press.
Local media and political representatives also spoke at the hearing, one of six the FCC is holding nationwide on the issue of consolidation, reports the Tennessean.
Some of the comments were captured by and published in the Tennessean.
What are the current rules on ownership of radio and TV stations, and what is being proposed? The answers are provided in a rundown in the Tennessean.
Meanwhile, a New York state congressman is calling for an investigation into what he says was a supression of studies and information related to the issue of consolidation. U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey, an Ulster County Democrat, is demanding a formal probe, according to Associated Press and WNBF 1290 Binghamton, New York
The owner of the football Redskins is planning to silence the Washington, D.C. area’s only classical music radio station. The Washington Post looks at why, and the implications.
Among the big 3 network early evening newscasts, people of color prefer ABC News with Charles Gibson, while NBC Nightly News is last among blacks, according to an analysis of the ratings reported by the Maynard Institute.
While other financial cable networks are struggling, CNBC has struck gold, according to Newsweek magazine.
Political campaign ads brought in $2.25 billion for the nation’s television stations this past election season, but are the ads good for the U.S. political system? No, and there is a better alternative, says the Baltimore Sun.
The major networks are trying to figure out how, in the internet age, to get their shows on the internet, and do so profitably. As the year 2007 begins the networks have installed top executives to make it happen, reports Associated Press.
The rise of the citizen photojournalist, with citizens taking video of news events, and TV stations and networks then using the video, may portend the eventual end of the professional photojournalist, according to the Center for Citizen Media blog.
In one municipality in Ontario – Vaughan – patrons of the city’s 8 libraries may download TV shows and videos from home or anywhere in the world, and libraries all across Canada are embracing cyber technology, meaning patrons no longer have to go to the library in person, reports the Globe and Mail of Toronto.
“Google 2.0: from Search Engine to Media Powerhouse” – is a take on Google’s rise, presented by the San Jose Mercury News.
Searching for a specific moment in a lengthy video can be frustrating. Now, a Woburn, Massachusetts firm, Gotuit Media Corporation, has come up with a device that indexes on-line video. The software generates moment-by-moment indexes of movies and videos, reports the Boston Globe.
The Netherlands has pulled the plug on free analog TV and gone all-digital, the first nation to do so. The U.S. will do the same in a little more than 2 years, in early 2009. Associated Press reports. Few Dutch TV viewers noticed the switchover, because most receive their stations via cable television, says the
Globe and Mail of Toronto.
An Azerbaijan independent TV station that was taken off by the government earlier this year, has returned to the air, but the government says it will have to undergo a license renewal proceeding next year. The shutdown of the station this year resulted in strong criticism in the United States and Europe, according to Associated Press.
NBC, CBS and Fox are working to come up with a website that would serve as a destination for their shows. The service would compete with YouTube, reports TV Week.
Keith Olbermann’s political commentary and sarcasm are helping boost MSNBC’s ratings, reports the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
In the wake of the meltdown for comedian Michael Richards after he was captured during a standup routine using the “n” word in screaming at some heckling audience members, comedians are cleaning up their acts. Shock comedy shows such as South Park and shock humor from standup comedians have become the rule more than the exception in recent years, but that is changing dramatically, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Los Angeles public FM radio station KCRW 89.9 is ending its annual Hanukkah show. KCRW is available nationally online. The Los Angeles Times reports. XM satellite radio is offering a 24-hour-a-day Hanukkah music station, which was reported earlier, and now Associated Press has a major story.
Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby are once again getting airplay on the FM radio dial. There are now 399 radio stations in the United States playing all-Christmas music, reports Associated Press.
This week it was reported that a Key West low power station would go nationwide in offering a gay TV service. The Miami Herald is offering a major story looking at the station, WGAY-TV, and other national gay channels.
The FCC is holding a formal public hearing at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee today and tonight on the issue of media consolidation and the local daily newspaper The Tennessean frames the issue as one about free expression. The Tennessean further says the hearing is one pitting David vs. Goliath.
The Seattle Times says FCC chairman Kevin Martin is trying to get another commissioner to compromise himself, by having him vote on the AT&T/BellSouth merger now before the FCC. Here is the Seattle Times editorial.
Eleanor Schano was a pioneer in television, rising from a being “weather girl” in the 1950s to television anchor, to the host of LifeQuest on Pittsburgh’s PBS station WQED channel 13, a program for seniors. At one point when a serious news position opened, she was told not to bother to apply, since there were already 28 men who had applied. Her life story and the difficulties of being a woman in television, are told in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
TV Land’s top 100 all-time quotes from television shows includes 96 from men and just 4 from women, so the Boston Herald offers its top 10 quotes from women.
Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell says that as good as the Post’s columnists and opinion writers are, there is a strong need for columnists who are women and who are minorities. She says women and minorities want to see themselves represented. She makes the comments in her ombudsman column in the Washington Post.
When it comes to color, CBS News pales, according to the Saint Petersburg Times, which says CBS News has only one black television news anchor left.
With TV inundated with what critics say is a staggering number of commercials these days, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams conducted a test last week: a newscast with only a single sponsor, and with a greatly reduced spot load. More than 4,000 viewers sent email messages thanking NBC, according to USA Today.
Former FCC chairman Newton Minow, who famously described television as a “vast wasteland” in the 1960s, says his daughter goes to Harvard Law School, and when the students in her class were asked how many of them read print newspapers, not one hand went up. The students all said they read online to keep informed, Minow says in a piece on newspapers in a time of change, in the Chicago Tribune.
Sometimes political talk radio is better off when the opposition is in power, so it can have plenty to criticize. The Washington Post is asking whether liberal Air America is in the “throes of victory.”
Clear Channel is introducing a new menu of specialized radio formats, including ones aimed at gays and at auto racing enthusiasts, according to Market Watch.
A low power TV station in Key West, Florida, WGAY, is launching a national gay TV service, according to Broadcasting & Cable magazine.
Washington is awash in leaks. The leaks are providing the public with information on what is really going on in the federal government, behind the official statements, says Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post.
As the internet becomes more dominant, more are seeing it as a major news source. Now, in Baltimore, a veteran newspaper reporter and a public radio host are teaming to start an online news service, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Google is helping revitalize the sales of radio advertising. The Washington Post reports Google is taking the complications out of buying radio ads, making it much easier for small businesses to get on radio.
Bands and musicians have always had a hard time getting exposure because they needed to get record companies to accept them and their music. This often meant the artists had to compromise to accommodate a mainstream audience. But now, as with so much else, the internet is changing everything, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Things look far less rosy for satellite radio than they did one year ago. The Wall Street Journal says “what a difference a year makes.”
YouTube allows viewers to comment on video clips, but sometimes the comments can be unpleasant, so to be a little kinder, YouTube is retaining the comments, but placing them in a separate section, says the New York Times.
Telephone giant Verizon is offering television service, and cable TV giants like Comcast and Cablevision are offering phone service. It’s a wiring war among giants, reports the New York Times. Phone plus cable plus internet plus cell phone equals fierce competition, says the Boston Globe which gives its take on Comcast entering the phone business and Verizon entering TV.
Would the advertiser lines “Set It and Forget It” or “Leave The Driving To Us” apply to a new service allowing automatic buys and sells on the stock market by investors? Reuters is offering a new service that, among other things, makes automatic buying and selling on the stock market, tied directly to developing news events, reports the New York Times.
The phenomena of MySpace and YouTube and their strong popularity among teens and young adults are examined in a major story in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Google’s online AskJeeves search engine to answer questions from the public is gone. So now the Chicago Tribune examines where on the web people can go to find answers to questions.
Discovery Communications says it is now providing videos and educational materials to 70,000 schools. Now, Discovery Communications has cut 84 positions, leaving it with 200 employees, reports the Washington Post.
As reported last week, PBS has gotten together with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in a fund-raising promotion. The has this story on the new coffee blend known as PBS Blend.
FCC Plays Nashville
by Bill Baker
The FCC road show pulls into Nashville today as the commission holds the second of its planned series of public hearings designed to involve the public in the 2006 Quadrennial Broadcast Media Ownership Review as mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
The issue of media ownership continues to generate intense controversy, as it has for the past several decades. The central question is whether broadcast companies should be bound by limits on the number of stations they can own in a particular market and the number of people they reach with their programming.
The origins of the debate date back to the days when there were only three big networks, plus public television and a few small local broadcasters. In those days, the limits on ownership ensured that no one company monopolized the public airwaves. In the interest of free speech and a competitive marketplace of ideas, it was deemed essential that Americans have the opportunity to choose among sources of television and radio.
Since the mid-1990s, a laissez-faire sensibility has come to guide federal regulatory policy with regard to telecommunications. The deregulatory philosophy has complemented the emergence of new technologies, which have dramatically expanded the media choices available to Americans, especially those with access to cable and satellite services.
While the so-called 500-channel universe would seem, at first glance, to offer significantly more choice than the what was available in the previous era, the diversity among ownership is much narrower, as many corporations own multiple channels streams. Many critics believe that, because of this, deregulation has given rise to a degradation of quality and a narrowing of the marketplace of ideas. For example, some argue that profit-conscious corporate parents have been downsizing their stations? news staffs and consolidating newsrooms across their holdings, leading to a reduction in the quality of news reporting.
Back in 2003, under then chairman Michael Powell, the FCC attempted to remove a raft of regulations still on the books. However, a national grassroots campaign sued to stop the policy. In the decision, Prometheus vs. The Federal Communications Commission, the Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals held the FCC’s hand.
The outlook for the future remains unclear as factions on both sides of the fence, and within the FCC itself, promote their vision of the present and future of media regulation.
Saying that, rarely do we do as good a job as you do,” “the FCC’s Robert McDowell told Wall Street analysts last week that ‘there is still plenty of regulatory underbrush to be cleared.”
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators has written a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin urging him to delay any revision of media ownership rules until after the FCC finishes its review of the relationship between local ownership of media outlets and the content those outlets provide. “The FCC must first establish that there are sufficient mechanisms in place to ensure that broadcasters are serving their local communities before considering any changes to the ownership rules,” the senators — all members of the Senate Commerce Committee — wrote.
I would add that the current regulatory environment has created an unlevel playing field. The FCC regulates only a small percentage of all channel owners — namely, the over-air-broadcasters. The regulations need to be rationalized for all content providers across all distribution platforms — broadcast, cable, satellite, IP, etc — for them to be meaningful.
But local community service, like the kind that public television provides, is clearly a priority. When I was a young man growing up in Cleveland and starting my career in radio, there were 25 radio stations and 25 owners. In those days, when it rained in Cleveland, every one of those station owners got wet. Today, when it rains in Cleveland, no station owners get wet. None of them live in Cleveland.
It’s an issue that demands attention. A generic, one-size-fits-all media is not in the public interest and we can hope that safeguards remain in place to ensure that the public airwaves continue to offer relevant, responsive programming to America’s diverse communities.
Public opinion can and should play an important role in the future of shape of American media. As the FCC continues to solicit feedback in communities across the nation, we should take great interest in hearing what ordinary citizens think about media ownership, federal communications regulation and the role of the media in our lives today.
WGBH channel 2 Boston president Henry Becton Jr. who oversaw the growth of WGBH into a national programming production powerhouse, is stepping down, and is being replaced by Jonathan C. Abbott, reports the Boston Globe. Henry Becton tells the Boston Herald that he intends to stay on as a parttime senior editorial advisor.
Is PBS about to give Starbucks a run for its money? In cooperation with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, PBS has begun offering PBS Blend coffee, according to Media Post The Green Mountain Coffee Roasters website has details. Even though conservatives for decades have pushed PBS to find private funding and not rely on government funding, the conservative Boston Herald says WGBH is bring criticized for the commercialization of public TV in this fund-raising coffee venture. The Herald in its headline asks if the coffee deal is “grounds for censure.”
Washington D.C. apparently will soon be losing its last all-classical music radio station. The owner of the football Washington Redskins is buying WGMS 104.1 and will turn it into an all-sports station, according to the Washington Post.
Great tragedy visited Jonestown in the northern South American nation of Guyana in November 1978. Nine hundred and nine followers of a religious cult committed suicide. A documentary has been created on the life of the Rev. Jim Jones, who led the cult, and who directed his followers to take their own lives by taking a poison drink. The Baltimore Sun reports the documentary was made for the PBS series American Experience.
Garrison Keillor of NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion is ushering New Year’s on a special on PBS television. AP reports.
The FCC is holding another of its public hearings on proposals to further ease ownership rules and allow greater media consolidation. The hearing is Monday at the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. There is detailed information about the issue at the official FCC website. Meanwhile, the Seattle Times concludes after last week’s non-official forum on media consolidation, that foes of consolidation make wonderful bedfellows.
Meanwhile, in the AT&T – BellSouth merger case now before the FCC, freepress.net is saying that FCC chairman Kevin Martin may be giving the most massive giveway to corporations, at the expense of the public interest.
XM and Sirius satellite radio services each offer hundreds of channels. Now, executives of Sirius are speaking openly about the positive effects of a possible merger of the two, reports the Washington Post.
Google has come up with new software that helps radio stations sell advertising. Google’s goal is to make money beyond the web, according to Bloomberg News.
Nielsen ratings will be offering minute-by-minute ratings for television. The Nielsen service, which begins April 24, 2007, will also provide data on DVRs and playback, according to Media Week. At the same time Media Daily News says Madison Avenue has lost its bid to have ratings for specific TV ads.
Civil rights groups are saying that progress is being made in the visibility of minorities on network TV, but more remains to be done. Associated Press reports.
FreePress.org is reporting that jazz and black entertainment gained their first conduit with the advent of the phonograph record, and then radio. Those in the New York may remember the 1966 sign-on of all-black jazz WLIB-FM 107.5, but the radio tradition goes back decades before that, reports FreePress.org
Fully one-third of the journalists in jail for their work around the world had their work published on the Internet, according to a new study. The study says authoritarian governments are determined to crack down on and control the Internet in their countries, according to the Associated Press.
Comedian George Carlin, whose so-called “Seven dirty words” on a 1970s radio broadcast resulted in the FCC adoption of indecency rules, is warning against group-think, in an interview in the Miami Herald.
While computers are an major part of the lives of both baby boomers and teenagers, there is one big age divide on the web. The Chicago Tribune reports that teenaged users live by instant messaging, while baby boomrs couldn’t care less about IM-ing.
Many video games feature graphic violence. A group is suggesting that parents check their ratings of video games for their children. Entertainment Software Ratings Board says it has distributed public service announcements to 800 broadcast and cable TV stations to promote its ratings, reports the Associated Press. Meanwhile, there is a media guide for parents that offers reviews of TV shows, movies, websites and books, without the soapbox and posturing and moralizing. The guide is offered by San Francisco’s Common Sense Media, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Various health groups are calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to patrol health claims made by food companies in their advertisements, reports Advertising Age magazine.
It may seem like Walmart CEO Lee Smith is running for office. It’s because Walmart has hired a P.R. firm to remake its image, in a campaign called “Candidate Walmart.” The Wall Street Journal reports. Meanwhile the New York Times reports Walmart has dismissed its marketing star, and also many of the ad agencies she brought in.
The departing chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, Republican U.S. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, says the news media has been alarmist about global warming. Inhofe says the media have been hyping the idea that human beings are respoonsible for the global warming of recent decades, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The departure of Lloyd Braun from Yahoo signals a change in direction at Yahoo, away from producing costly original video. Associated Press reports.
Hewlett-Packard has agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle lawsuit brought by the California state attorney general. The suit charged unfair business practices in HP’s crusade to unmask the source of leaks from the HP board room to the news media. The AP and New York Times report.
Cable TV rates have shown the smallest increase in years, during the past year. The Wall Street Journal reports this is because of increased competition from satellite and other technology.
Is it because the baby boomers – that big bulge in the overall population – are getting older? While the circulation of traditional newspapers is declining, the circulation of AARP magazine continues to leap upward. This is happening as the nation’s population grows older, according to Media Buyer Planner magazine.
The Philadelphia Inquirer calls it the open-and-shut case that won’t close: the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia policeman and the widely criticized conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is in prison in western Pennsylvania while his conviction is being appealed. This is the 25th anniversary of the policeman’s killing, and the Inquirer story notes that Abu-Jamal was a news reporter for a time with WHYY-FM 90.9 Philadelphia, and also produced a radio series of reports from prison that were to have run on NPR. The project was shelved after an outcry from police and conservative organizations, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, which also gives a <a href=http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/news/local/16195145.htm timeline of the case.
Route 66, the great east-west trans-America highway celebrated in movies, on television and in music, is now the subject of a PBS documentary that debuts this month. The Mother Road will debut on many PBS stations on Monday, December 18. The Washington Post reports.
Leaning left? Leaning right? The channel or station or newspaper or magazine does so in taking its cues from the customers. The New York Times reports.
The FCC is defending its indecency crackdown on broadcasters, saying broadcasters have only limited First Amendment protections, and that the V-Chip has proven ineffective, Broadcasting ^ Cable magazine reports. But Hollywood Reporter Washington correspondent Brooks Boliek questions the authority of five unelected FCC commissioners – no matter how intelligent – to impose their indecency standards on the whole nation.
A consortium of 30 group broadcasters has asked the FCC to loosen ownership regulations. They include Clear Channel, Gannett, the major networks, and others, reports Media Week.
The publisher of ColorsNW, aimed at people of color in the Seattle region, says that ethnic media must be kept thriving, because of its great importance to ethnic minorities. He says ethnic media must be kept independent as well, in remarks prepared for a forum on media consolidation held last week at the Seattle downtown public library, reports the Seattle Times.
What’s black and white and not red all over? Media Daily News says that in their advertising and revenue forecasts for 2007, newspapers have guarded optimism.
More than a half century ago, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, television was all the rage, but stations and networks had difficulty getting ads. The surge of ad money into TV was delayed until the mid 1950s. Agencies weren’t yet comfortable with making TV ads. So it is today, apparently. An ad tracking study shows the top 50 advertisers are not yet spending large amounts of money on web ads. The top 50 advertisers actually are spending more on traditional TV, while the growth in web advertising is coming from small and medium-size companies, according to LostRemote.com
Video advertisements are being made for as little as $300 per ad. The fee from a startup company called TurnHere includes the cost of editing, according to LostRemote.com
Sirius Satellite Radio plans to offer TV service for the automobile. Sirius will offer three video channels for television in the car next year, according to Bloomberg News.
The FCC may make it easier for AT&T and Verizon to sell television service, FCC chairman Kevin Martin says. The FCC votes December 20 on allowing the telcoms to sell TV, according to Bloomberg News.
Apple’s iPod has received wide positive coverage, with its exploding popularity. But now, owners’ gripes over breakdowns of iPods are increasing, reports the Wall Street Journal. The iPod competitor, Microsoft’s Zune, is hoping to sell one million of the devices by June, but faces a long road in doing so, says the Seattle Times.
Simply deleting an email does not erase it from your hard drive. However there are programs available that allow you to scrub your hard drive clean, according to the Washington Post.
Even though cellphones have much to offer senior citizens, many seniors are intimidated by the technology, or turned off by the tiny keypad and supersmall screen. The Jitterbug cell phone may be the answer, reports the Hartford Courant.
YouTube.com is not just providing entertainment. Resumes from job-seekers are now being posted on the popular site as well, reports the Wall Street Journal.
CNN reporter Anderson Cooper makes his debut on CBS’s 60 Minutes this Sunday. His segment will be on the whistle-blower who exposed the torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to the New York Daily News.> The CBS News.com website welcomes Cooper with a biography.
NBC’s Meet The Press is being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall Of Fame. Meet The Press is the longest-running program on television, reports Broadcasting & Cable.
The private radio stations in the African nation of Chad are planning a three-day protest of government censorship. The stations are upset about censorship of coverage of unrest in the eastern portion of the nation, according to the Associated Press.>
France 24, a French version of CNN, is now available in parts of the nation, including on some cable systems in the Washington D.C. area. It will offer different perspectives on world events, according to the D.C. Examiner. There are more than 500 kinds of French cheese and more than 360 types of French wine, so why shouldn’t there be one French news channel, asks the Washington Post.
TV icon Dick Clark has sold the original microphone he used when he began American Bandstand, which originated at WFIL-TV channel 6 Philadelphia and was fed nationally on the ABC television network. The mic was just one of a number of items that Clark, a self-described pack rat who has 28,000 square feet of memorabilia from his career, sold off. The microphone, which he started using in 1956, went for $33,000 according to Associated Press.
Bill Proenza is not yet a household name, but by next year at this time, he may well be. He has been named director of the National Hurricane Center, and if there are hurricanes threatening the U.S. next year, he will become a familiar face on news and weather channels, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
In one of its last acts under Republican control, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure condemning a French city for naming one of its streets after Mumia Abu Jamal, who is appealing his conviction of murder in the killing of a Philadelphia policeman. Abu Jamal, for a time a public radio news reporter and whose case became a cause celebre, is now in a western Pennsylvania prison, appealing his conviction, according to the Associated Press>
Even in this cyber age, there is still a great deal of money in printed magazines. Primedia today announced it is selling 17 magazines, including Guns & Ammo and Florida Sportsman, for $170 million, reports Reuters.
Unlike the period of the 1996 Telecommunications Act which allowed individual companies to own as many as eight radio stations in a market, and when there was virtually no public debate, there is vigorous discussion now that the FCC is proposing even further relaxation of the rules on ownership of radio and TV stations. Thanks to the 1996 Act, for example, five of the 11 high powered 40-mile radius commercial FM stations in the Hartford-New Haven market are owned by Clear Channel Communications of Texas, and another three of the 11 are owned by CBS Infinity, which also owns Connecticut’s only clear channel 50,000 watt AM station, WTIC 1080. Clear Channel also owns 5 of the 16 full power 50,000 watt FM stations in New York City, while CBS Infinity owns 3 of the 16 FM stations, and both all news AM stations WCBS 880 and WINS 1010, plus all sports WFAN 660. Unlike any other business, such as banks, no new radio channels can be created in Connecticut or New York City, because of the limited spectrum space of radio.
The FCC is holding another forum on the issue of further media consolidation, this coming Monday on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The three major network affiliates in Nashville will be among those testifying, according to TV Newsday. Meanwhile, North Dakota’s Democratic U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan has asked the FCC to complete its localism proceedings, including more hearings on that issue, before reaching any final decisions about media consolidation, reports Broadcasting & Cable magazine.
The newest member of the FCC says he sees no need to require cable TV systems to sell channels a la carte. FCC commissioner Robert McDowell feels the current system of channels in bundles is fine, according to the Associated Press.>
60 Minutes’ Andy Rooney is the victim of a vicious internet hoax. Rooney says there is a racist commentary being falsely attributed to him, that is being circulated on the internet. He says he has nothing to do with it, according to the Associated Press.
The Metropolitan Opera broadcast is flourishing. The Met will be expanding its live performance broadcasts, according to the Boston Globe.
Public television will be offering a new food series. The program, featuring celebrated chef Todd English, will start in January, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Norwegian broadcaster NRK says it has developed a new system of advertising that is a first in the world. Video ads will be aimed at holders of mobile phone TV receivers, with the ads based on interests, gender and location. NRK has developed the program with a major Swedish wireless company, according to the Associated Press.
The companies that produce cellphones and other technology projects are paying strong attention to women. Women outspend males 3 to 2 in the purchase of technological items for the family, according to the Washington Post, The makers of portable technology devices are touting their music and video features. The Associated Press reports the devices allow people to carry thousands of songs in their pockets.
There is no cancer risk from using cellphones, according to a major study from Denmark. The study tracked 420,000 Danes using cellphones, reports Associated Press. While there may be no cancer risk, the use of technology devices can be hazardous to one’s health in other ways. Some studies have shown the use of cellphones by drivers of automobiles to impair their driving even more than being drunk. Now, the Washington state patrol is blaming a major chain-reaction multi-vehicle accident on Interstate 5, the major artery in the Seattle area, on a minivan driver using his Blackberry to text message. The Seattle Times reports.
Several hundred visitors got a glimpse of the future of video transmission on the Internet. They were in a Chicago ballroom, and were able to view a crystal-clear transmission via Internet2 from New York. Internet2 links colleges and high schools in the United States, according to the report in the Chicago Tribune.
In the cyber world, “spam” refers to unsolicited email featuring advertising messages. The New York Times reports a sharp increase in the number of spam transmissions, which now represent 9 of out of 10 email messages sent on the web.
The popular MySpace.com website is developing technology to block convicted sex offenders from the site, according to the Associated Press.
There’s a new player in Hollywood. Yahoo is seeking the spotlight in Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles Times.
There’s good news for satellite radio. General Motors is increasing the number of vehicles that will be equipped with XM satellite radio receivers, according to the Associated Press. There will be XM receivers in 1.8 million GM vehicles in 2007, reports Reuters. There is also bad news for satellite radio, as sales of receivers for both XM and Sirius are down, according to Media Daily News. Chicago Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal says satellite radio is being forced to face reality, and this may mean a merger of XM and Sirius. Here is his column in the Chicago Tribune. Meanwhile, in Canada, satellite radio is just getting off the ground, with what the Globe and Mail of Toronto calls the battleground for your dashboard.
Interactive TV is coming to Canada, and Canadians may soon be able to host their own cooking, gardening, and home improvement shows on the websites of the Food Network, HGTV and other channels, according to the Globe and Mail of Toronto.
Is forcing a captive audience to smell something as part of an advertising campaign too much of an intrusion? A “Got Milk?” ad campaign in San Francisco in which pictures of cookies in city bus shelters were accompanied by an odor of cookies, has been pulled after just one day. The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
For the first time in its 37 year history, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams was sponsored by a sole advertiser, Philips, with a much lower amount of time devoited to advertising. The MSNBC.com website reports the response to the Monday evening broadcast was very positive,
An Islamic civil rights group in the U.S. wants a columnist removed from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. The Islamic group is targeting Dennis Prager, who also has a radio show, because of his remarks about the use of the Quran by an Islamic congressman in his swearing-in ceremony, according to the Associated Press.
The head of the investigative unit at ABC television news, Brian Ross, says he got fired from a job early in his career at a local TV station in Iowa because of his coverage of a controversy involving a proposed highway, Ross tells USA Today that he told himself if he could survive this, he would become successful. Now he heads the ABC investigative unit, which among other stories, uncovered the Congressman Mark Foley scandal.
Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly is demanding an apology from Dan Rather for comments that Fox on-air reporters use talking points provided by the government. In his Fox News website column, O’Reilly says he defended Dan Rather in the George W. Bush national guard service story, and endured much criticism for doing so.
Jerry Springer, best known for his “trash” talk TV show, is ending his morning liberal talk radio show. Springer says his schedule has become too busy to continue it, according to Associated Press.
Iran has banned the popular video-sharing website YouTube.com. Dominated by religious archconservatives, Iran has a strong culture of censorship, reports Associated Press. In Canada there is a different form of “censorship.” The public will be unable to see various documentary film and video because of the huge cost of rights fees, reports the Globe and Mail of Toronto, which says the documentaries are headed “back to the vault.”
Ellen Wartella has devoted her entire career to fighting violence on TV. She is an expert on the effects of media on children, including the negative effects of violence, and she was a prominent researcher in the National Television Violence Study of the 1990s. Now she has just been named to a new position. She is currently a co-principal researcher in the Children’s Digital Media Center, and has just been named a fellow at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media in the Pittsburgh area, according to Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
In a move to combat crime and improve security, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is placing streaming video cameras and transmitters on city buses, so the insides of the buses may be monitored visually all the time. The streaming video will be transmitted to computers in CTA offices and security vehicles, allowing them to respond quickly, reports the Chicago Tribune.
There is a troubling forecast for advertising for 2007 for the old-line media, but not for the on-line media, reports the New York Times.
The line is blurring between television and the internet. The Washington Post reports the two are converging.
NBC has introduced a new daytime show that began this week allowing viewers to be interactive. SF Gate.com says the show, iVillage Live, is being seen in select cities, including San Francisco, and allows viewers to post photographs and videos so they can be seen on television.
A Japanese group has asked YouTube to stop uploading videos of copyrighted works, reports Associated Press.
Millions of cellular telephones are pouring into India and Southeast Asia, reports the San Jose Mercury.
Veteran sound engineer Tony Bongiovi for decades was disappointed with the quality of sound coming from speakers. Now he has created a chip that provides very high quality sound for listening to music, and it is featured in the JVC car stereo system, according to Associated Press.
While reality shows have faded somewhat in popularity among adults, they are still the favorites among 2 to 11 year olds. Shows such as Dancing With The Stars, Survivor and American’s Funniest Home Videos are among the most popular for children 11 and under, according to Media Life Magazine.
The FCC is holding another of its public hearings on media consolidation, this coming Monday, in Nashville, Tennessee. The hearing will feature testimony from a number of country and western music singers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. While many are expressing great concern about the negative effects of media consolidation, one Washington-based think tank is calling for the elimination of all government rules on media ownership. An executive of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank in Washington, wants an end to all regulation, as stated in his opinion piece in Denver’s Rocky Mountain News. But the Seattle Times editorial page disagrees, saying a strong message was sent at last Thursday’s open forum on media consolidation held in Seattle. The effects are negative, says the Seattle Times.
Doctor Nicholas Perricone’s Seven Secrets To Beauty, Health and Longevity are featured in a PBS special. Bloomberg News says the telecast is here just in time for the holidays.
Austin City Limits, a fixture on PBS for more than three decades, is getting a new studio. Willy Nelson will be a partner, a aprt-owner of the new studio which opens in 2010, according to the Associated Press.
Changes at the top at C-SPAN have been announced, but Brian Lamb, just turning 65, remains on board, according to the Associated Press.
Rene Syler, a member of the four-person anchor team for the CBS Morning News , is leaving the ratings-challenged broadccast. Rene will depart later this month, just before Christmas, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile the Today show marked its 11th consecutive year as the number one network TV morning show. That’s 572 weeks, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Why is NBC challenging the license renewal of Spanish language KAZA channel 54 Los Angeles? It is the culmination of a long-simmering bitter rivalry between NBC, owner of Telemundo, and TV Azteca, the Mexican based owner of KAZA, reports the Miami Herald.
AskCity is a new website just launched by entertainment magnate Barry Diller. It features directories of information, maps and events calendars for major U.S. cities, according to Lost Remote.com
FM stations across the nation are running a format of all Christmas music until Christmas day, including New York’s top-rated WLTW 106.7. Now, XM satellite radio is running an all Channukah music channel, according to DCRTV.com
Baltimore’s CBS-owned WJZ-TV channel 13 is red faced over a report about Michael Richards appearing in blackface. The Baltimore Sun reports the station ran a news promo that erroneously stated that Richards, recently captured on a video using the “n” word at a standup comedy routine, had appeared in blackface at a celebrity roast for Whoopi Goldberg.
Howard Stern’s touted move to Sirius satellite radio brought a spike in sales of Sirius radio receivers earlier this year. But now sales have leveled off, and sales for the holiday season which began Thanksgiving weekend are lower than had originally been projected, report Reuters and Bloomberg News.
ESPN is buying a London-based sports channel to, among other things, bring more American sports to television in Europe, reports the Associated Press/
Bill Baker’s Weekly Column for Monday, December 4, 2006
A Real World Online
Is the virtual world becoming more important than the real world?
That may sound like a question for philosophers, but it’s actually an idea suggested by a study just released from the USC-Annenberg Digital Future Project.
The Digital Future Project surveys 2,000 people across the country on an annual basis to chart the affects of digital technology on Americans. For its 2007 survey, the project looked at the impact of the Internet on social and personal interactions, with an emphasis on
the prominence of “online communities.” (The study defines an
“online community” as “a group that shares thoughts or ideas, or works on common projects, though electronic communication only.) In its headline finding, the study discovered that “43 percent of Internet users who are members of online communities say that they ‘feel as strong’ about their virtual community as they do their real-world communities.”
It’s a remarkable finding — especially when you consider that the World Wide Web first became available to the public just a little over a decade ago. But it makes sense when you look at the statistics.
According to the Digital Future Project:
? 77.6 percent of Americans over 12 are Internet users;
? 68.1 percent of Americans use the Internet at home (up from 46.9)
percent in 2000;
? Americans spent an average of 8.9 hours per week online, one hour
more than in 2005.
Clearly the sheer amount of time that people are spending on the Internet is beginning to give the virtual world the kind of significance and prominence in our lives that we traditionally associate with real-world experiences.
The study also found that 56.6 percent of online community members log into their community at least once a day, and 70.4 percent “sometimes or always” interact with those communities. According to the study, online activities also lead users to engage in a range of behaviors off line, including social activism in the real world
So, whether Americans are chatting with fellow hobbyists, discussion politics, meeting new people on social and dating sites, or posting photos and videos to sites like Flickr and YouTube, the Internet appears to be on its way to achieving a degree of influence that no other medium in history has ever had.
Another study out this past week looks at the decline in the number of people who are watching television — especially among the young. According to Reuters, the worldwide study by Ofcom, found that ?around one-third of consumers with broadband access watch less television.”
In addition to spending more time with interactive media, such as social networking sites, the study found that people are using the computers and the Internet to watch both traditional television channels as well as videos uploaded by users, as they ?ditch old-fashioned sit-and-watch viewing habits.”
But — and here’s a big but — a recent report by Nielsen Media Research showed that the time the average viewer spent watching television in America had actually climbed during the 2004-05 season to a record high of 4 hours and 35 minutes a day, an increase of 3 minutes a day from the previous season.
So, what does it all mean? Well, the verdict is still out, and it probably will be for a long time. Some say that the Internet is eating into traditional viewing habits while others believe that the broadcast industry remains as strong and influential as ever. I lean toward the latter camp.
Any way you look at it, though, one thing is undeniable. The media are playing an ever-more-powerful role in our lives. So we should pay great attention to what is happening to it, how we use it, and how it affects us on a day-to-day basis, and over time.
Doctors are asking for a crackdown on ads aimed at children. The American Academy of Pediatric says inappropriate ads contribute to many childhood ills including obesity, anorexia, and drinking alcohol, and Congress should act, according to Associated Press.
Children are not getting the building blocks of life from high technology play, according to a group that has created a list of toys that help build human communication in children. A group known as TRUCE, Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment ( http://www.truceteachers.org ) says children involved in high tech only are suffering from compassion deficit disorder, according to a report in the Boston Globe. But computers continue to be a major part of children’s lives, and Google is now giving away spreadsheets and programs that allow certain desktop computer functions to be done easily. Google is targeting children from kindergarten through high school age, according to the Associated Press.
Cellphone technology is overtaking the computer for teenagers. Cellphone technology is allowing teenagers to notify friends exactly where they are, and to socialize in many ways, according to the Boston Globe. At the same time, despite spending billions of dollars, the cell phone companies are not delivering reliable service, according to the San Francisco Chronicle which says dropped calls are still a major problem.
As online viewing is booming, amateurs are now able to become broadcasters themselves, challenging the media titans. No multimillion dollar FCC broadcast license is required, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
Steven Spielberg spoke out to the board of the International Emmys that networks need to be more cautious about presenting graphic violence in prime time when children are watching, saying “I’m a parent who’s very concerned.” Now there are TV shows that are non-violent and family friendly, and at the same time are not sugar-coated and too sweet, according to the Boston Globe.
While some in the media have compared NBC’s decision to redefine the Iraq War as a civil war as bold, similar to Walter Cronkite’s description of the Vietnam War as unwinnable after the Tet Offensive in 1968, New York Times columnist David Carr takes pause and says, in effect, “not so fast.” The mainstream media have been willing to redefine terminology and coverage of the war only after the George W. Bush administration suffered a major setback in the November election, Carr says in today’s Times.
This past Friday, some 900,000 customers of the Dish satellite TV service lost their ability to tune in so-called distant TV stations. Viewers in White River Junction, Vermont, for example, could no longer tune in to watch the local news on WMUR channel 9, the ABC station in Manchester, New Hampshire, because that channel is considered “distant.” Dish Network was flooded with calls, according to the Boston Globe which reports this end of service – leaving many rural viewers without access to full major network programming – is the result of a 9-year-long legal battle.
The Spanish language TV network in the U.S., Telemundo, owned by NBC, was forced to terminate its election coverage of the Venezuela presidential election – won handily by President Hugo Chavez. The broadcast was interrupted when individuals identifying themselves as being from a Venezuelan state regulatory agency ordered the Telemundo crew to stop telecasting from the South American nation, according to Associated Press.
Two former FCC officials say the current indecency censorship crusade of the FCC is illegal. Broadcdasting & Cable reports.
Thanks to XM and Sirius satellite radio, it is possible to gain airplay for music and songs that are not classic hits, which traditional AM and FM radio stations play over and over again, to the exclusion of non-hits. Offering hundreds of music channels, the barrier that had existed for all but the most popular songs has been lifted, according to the New York Times.
A new survey of Internet users shows that conservative Republican web browsers tend to click on right wing political sites such as Rush Limbaugh’s site and that of the Weekly Standard, while Democratic Web browsers go – not to left wing sites – but to non-political ones, cultural sites such as black-oriented Web sites. The New York Times says Democrats are going to sites for communities that are heavily Democratic. One analyst says “I don’t know whether this tells us that Democrats haven’t figured out how to make politics entertaining.”
Reuters and Yahoo are hoping to turns the millions of people with cameras and video phone recorders into photojournalists. They are establishing a site that will feature photographs submitted by people in the general public, according to the New York Times.
The future of Internet advertising is in the United Kingdom. Web advertising is soaring there, and anyone interested in seeing how it works should travel to Britain, according to the New York Times.
Thanks to sharp-edged hosts such as former prosecutor Nancy Grace, and conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck, primetime ratings for CNN’s Headline News channel are spiking, according to the New York Times.
The Wall Street Journal has been expanding over the past several years, adding new sections and launching a Saturday weekend edition. But now the Wall Street Journal is shrinking – in a different way, according to the New York Times.
The Washington Post Sunday Magazine is 20 years old, and to mark its anniversary interviewed prominent people in D.C., including Larry King, current CNN host and former Mutual radio network host. Here is the Washington Post story.
CBS is tweaking the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, injecting a more aggressive approach, the Washington Post reports.
CNBC today relaunches its Web site, focusing on additional video and more investor tools, according to Reuters.
The TV news industry Web site Newsblues.com has issued a list of best radio and TV news Web sites. The Web sites cited by Newsblues include national sites such as one listing salaries of TV news anchors, and local ones such as Tampa, Florida and Asheville, North Carolina.
When new local owners took over the Philadelphia Inquirer there were sharp cutbacks, and the union has threatened a strike. But a tentative agreement was reached today on non-wage issues, which reduces the possibility of a strike, according to the Inquirer.
The celebrated chef Jacques Pepin is featured in a published interview today, discussing his life and career. Pepin has hosted no fewer than 13 PBS TV shows, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Verizon has agreed to carry PBS Kids Sprout on its television service, according to a story on the fierce competition between Verizon and Comcast, in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.