Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gadgets Get Around Communications Block

Egyptians armed with low-tech electronic gadgets like dial-up modems, landlines and old-school satellite phones are finding ways to get their message out, despite efforts by the teetering government to block communication, reports Diane Macdeo at

Those who had been using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to distribute images and video to the outside world have had to come up more creative ways to communicate after the Egyptian government blocked Internet and cell service, a move that many are calling unprecedented.

"The Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet,"

Renesys, a U.S. Internet monitoring firm reported, on its blog. "…every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world."

Vodafone also issued a statement saying, "All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it."

"This is a completely different situation from the modest Internet manipulation that took place in Tunisia, where specific routes were blocked, or Iran, where the Internet stayed up in a rate-limited form designed to make Internet connectivity painfully slow," the Renesys blog said. "The Egyptian government's actions tonight have essentially wiped their country from the global map."

Chris Weber, managing partner at Casaba Security, called the Egyptian government action "pretty scary," but says there are things even they can't block.

"If Egypt's shut down their main pipeline to the Internet, the Internet is designed in such a way that it's a mesh, so even if the main pipeline is down there are still other ways to get in," Weber told
One way: Satellite phones that communicate directly with satellites rather than cell towers.

Read more here.

Charlie Sheen Checks Into Rehab

'Two and a Half Men' on hiatus,
Defends partying with porn stars

Fresh off an epic bender, actor Charlie Sheen is going to rehab - and his hit sitcom is going on hiatus, according to

TV's highest-paid star "has voluntarily entered an undisclosed rehabilitation center," said his spokesman, Stan Rosenfield. "He is most grateful to all who have expressed their concern."

While a porn star dished about Sheen freebasing cocaine and guzzling vodka, Rosenfield said the actor "asks that his privacy be respected at this time."

His top-rated CBS show "Two and a Half Men" - which had been scheduled to resume shooting Tuesday - was placed on immediate production hiatus Friday.

"We are profoundly concerned for his health and well-being, and support his decision," said a statement from CBS.

Shortly after the rehab announcement, Sheen sent a text to gossip site brushing off the hubbub surrounding his partying ways.

"People don't seem to get it. . . . Guy can't have a great time and do his job also?" the website reported.

When Sheen ended up in the hospital, his camp insisted the cause was "severe abdominal pain." One friend improbably suggested the actor aggravated a hernia - by laughing at a television show.

Initially, Sheen, 45, indicated he planned a return to the set for business as usual when the show resumed filming next week.

Instead, after a hospital visit from his parents and ex-wife Denise Richards, Sheen went into rehab - again. Dad Martin Sheen was "worried Charlie is going to kill himself," a source close to the family told

Read more here.

The Saturday Aircheck

Yvonne Daniels, 89 WLS July 12, 1975


Known as “The First Lady of Chicago Radio,” Yvonne Daniels was an African-American broadcast pioneer. Her soothing voice and knowledge of jazz made her a favorite with listeners throughout America’s Midwest.

The daughter of jazz singer Billy Daniels, she began her radio career at a Jacksonville, Illinois, rhythm and blues station. Later she joined WYNR/Chicago, where her jazz show competed with popular disc jockey Sid McCoy on WCFL. At McCoy’s urging, WCFL eventually hired Daniels and soon the team was heard in 38 states, thanks to the 50,000-watt power of WCFL.

From 1964 to 1973, Daniels worked at WSDM/Chicago, the nation’s first all-female radio station. Her program Daniels’ Den consistently won its time slot.

In 1973, she moved to WLS/Chicago, another 50,000-watt powerhouse, where she became the station’s first female disc jockey.

During the 1980s, Daniels worked Chicago morning shows on WVON, WGCI and eventually on “Smooth Jazz WNUA.” During her 30-year career, Daniels is credited with paving the way for future generations of female radio personalities.

Yvonne Daniels died on June 21, 1991.

Friday, January 28, 2011

CBS Radio Takes Fresh Approach in ChiTown

Looks to jump-start stalled stations

You don’t survive at the top of Chicago radio as long as Rod Zimmerman has by shooting your mouth off with predictions that could come back to haunt you.

So when Robert Feder at tried to press the man who has headed the CBS Radio money machine here for 13 years to speculate on the long-term prospects for his two most troubled stations — classic hits WJMK-FM (104.3) and adult-contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9) — he politely but unequivocally refuses to take the bait. “I’m not going to make any forecasts,” he says. And that’s that.

As senior vice president and market manager of the seven-station CBS Radio cluster, Zimmerman probably would prefer to keep the focus on his group’s much more successful properties — rhythmic Top 40 WBBM-FM (96.3), all-news WBBM-AM (780), sports/talk WSCR-AM (670), country WUSN-FM (99.5) and adult rock WXRT-FM (93.1). But it’s the two weak links in the chain that competitors are watching (and listening to) most closely. Jack FM and Fresh, as WJMK and WCFS are known, ended the year dismally, finishing 20th and 23rd, respectively, in Arbitron’s December survey of adults in the “money demo” between the ages of 25 and 54.

In an effort to jump-start the two underperforming stations, CBS Radio conducted marketwide music testing and a perceptual study that pointed the way to adjustments in their formats and playlists. Here’s how Fresh alerted listeners earlier this week on its website:

Read more here.

Assange "elusive, manipulative, and volatile"

The New York Times doesn't think too highly of Julian Assange, writes Ujala Sehgal at

Bill Keller, executive editor of the NYT, penned a blockbuster essay for this Sunday's Times Magazine, where he calls Assange "elusive, manipulative, and volatile... and ultimately openly hostile,"

Apart from his sharply unflattering portrait of Assange, here are the key points Keller makes about the NYT's entire WikiLeaks deal:
  • Aside from a (commonplace) embargo on when the NYT could publish articles on leaked documents,imposed no conditions on what the NYT wrote about them.
  • Assange asked Guardian not to share its third WikiLeaks dump with the NYT (after things got rocky) but due partly to rogue leaks, Guardian concluded it could share the cables anyways.
  • The Obama administration condemned WikiLeaks, but did not seek an injunction to halt publication. There has been no serious talk of pursuing news organizations in courts.
  • The NYT tried to excise information that might harm people, but largely dismissed U.S. government concerns about information that might just embarrass people.

Read more here.

Beck: The Most Poisonous Show In America

A Big Boost for National Emergency Network

The Obama administration will press Congress to allocate a coveted block of wireless telecommunications airwaves for the building of a nationwide emergency communications network, administration officials said Thursday, a reversal that is likely to cement support for an issue that has been the subject of disputes since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a story by Edward Wyatt at

Ever since the attacks exposed the inability of fire, police and rescue departments to talk to one another via radio in an emergency, public safety officials have pushed for the allocation of additional airwaves, also known as spectrum, for their dedicated use.

But Congress had mandated that the wireless spectrum at issue — a prime block of airwaves known as D Block — be auctioned off to a commercial wireless company, which would raise money that could then be used to help build a public safety network.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations had supported auctioning the spectrum, as had the Federal Communications Commission. Last June, the F.C.C. published a white paper saying that a better public safety communications network could be constructed at lower cost by using airwaves already dedicated to public safety, supplemented by the right to essentially take over commercial networks in an emergency.

Read more here.

Egypt's Web, Mobile Communications Severed

The Eygptian government's crackdown on protesters intensified Fridaym reports,  with access to most forms of mass communication, including the Internet, mobile and SMS down, even as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that "freedom of expression should be fully respected."

As the country braced for huge antigovernment protests on the traditional day of prayer, the government appeared to have unplugged most means of communication—including social network Facebook and Twitter—that activists had been using to coordinate action across the country. Landline calls placed from outside the country, however, were connecting.

In a blog, U.S.-based Internet intelligence firm Renesys recorded how late Thursday it saw "the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet's global routing table," in what it called "an action unprecedented in Internet history."

It contrasted the scale of the crackdown with the "modest Internet manipulation that took place in Tunisia, where specific routes were blocked, or Iran, where the Internet stayed up," but download times were slowed. Facebook and Twitter weren't immediately available to comment on what is happening in Egypt.

Read more here.

Zucker-Katie Redux

Buzz has ex-NBC big 'perk'olating a Couric talker

Former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, expected to set up shop Monday on Park Avenue, is already lining up his next gig -- he's talking about starting a syndicated talk show featuring CBS News anchor Katie Couric, according to a posting at

Word of a possible Zucker-Couric venture comes as the 54-year-old anchor nears the end of her five-year contract that will pay her $15 million this year.

Couric, whose contract expires in May, recently rebuffed approaches from several parties who wanted to work with her, these sources said.

Couric told them she already has Zucker lined up, the sources added.

The two have a long working relationship that began at NBC's "The Today Show."

Zucker, who will turn 46 this spring, is expected to hang out his shingle at 299 Park Ave., home to investment bank UBS.

The two have been putting their heads together to create a new show format that could potentially replace the recently ended program of reigning talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, sources tell The Post.

Zucker closed out his 25-year NBC career this week in Miami at NATPE, a television industry conference where producers shop their syndicated-show concepts to station groups.

Read more here.

CA Senator Advocates Limbaugh Boycott

Legislator Got Threatening Faxes

According to, California State Senator Leland Yee – also a candidate for mayor of San Francisco – says he’s received threatening faxes since criticizing Rush Limbaugh for mocking the Chinese language on his radio show during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the U.S. Yee says the faxes contain explicit language and threats against African-Americans and Asians, including a drawing of a black man’s head in a noose and appear to come from a Limbaugh supporter.

Yee says he also received a threatening fax in April of last year after questioning how much Sarah Palin was paid for speaking at a public university. Yee told KTXL-TV, Sacramento, “It can happen, but sometimes you kinda scoff at these threats. But given the Gifford shooting I think all of us take these threats a little more seriously.”

Read more here.

Charlie Sheen Hospitalized


Actor Charlie Sheen has left a Los Angeles hospital where he was being treated for severe pain related to a hernia, his representative told CNN Friday.

Sheen left Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Thursday night after being rush to the facility that morning, representative Stan Rosenfield said.

"Charlie has had a hernia condition for some time," Rosenfield said. "I was told by the person who made the 911 call that it was hernia-related."

CBS' "Two And A Half Men" star Charlie Sheen was admitted to Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Thursday reportedly after a night of wild partying. K-CAL 9's Stephanie Abrams reports.

Charlie Sheen may have set a new record for debauchery with an epic party that reportedly started with porn stars and a briefcase of cocaine and ended Thursday in an ambulance.

The reports, in an amped-up replay of his fall meltdown at New York's Plaza hotel, the TV megastar hosted five beauties at his $8 million Beverly Hills pad and wound up in the hospital, entertainment websites said.

A Sheen spokesman said "severe abdominal pains" prompted the 911 call, and a pal told "Extra" he aggravated a hiatal hernia by laughing too hard at the TV.
"I'm not dying," Sheen told the friend, who denied that drugs were involved. reported that Sheen, on hiatus this week from the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men," began partying Tuesday.

At one point, a designer briefcase containing "bricks" of cocaine was delivered to the house, the site said.

Read more here.

Culture Shock Likely as Comcast Takes Over NBC

From  Meg James,

In the NBC sitcom "30 Rock," the self-absorbed television chief executive, played by Alec Baldwin, obsesses over what will happen to his career when his company — NBC — is taken over by Kabletown, a fictional cable systems operator from Philadelphia.

On Friday the real-life cable company from Philadelphia — Comcast Corp. — assumes control of NBC Universal, the real-life entertainment colossus that is featured in the show. And while Steve Burke, the new chief executive of NBC Universal, is a fan of "30 Rock," one of his priorities will be to reform the NBC Universal corporate culture, one that has condoned politicking and aggrandizement, the very workplace parodied by the sitcom.

"Doing the right thing and treating people the right way. We think integrity and honesty are the foundation of a productive working environment," says the Comcast credo distributed to NBC Universal's nearly 30,000 employees Thursday. "We take our business seriously, but do not take ourselves too seriously."

Even before Comcast's official takeover Friday several key NBC executives were shown the door, including former Chief Executive Jeff Zucker. The face of MSNBC, anchor Keith Olbermann, found himself without a job too, just days before the new owners arrived. Although Comcast says it did not instigate Olbermann's ouster, his departure served as a warning that people who spar with bosses won't be tolerated.

Infusing Comcast's and Burke's management approach, one that encourages teamwork and takes a dim view of office politics, into the sprawling NBC Universal could take years.

But Burke, 52, has been in training for the job nearly his entire life. He spent his early career at Walt Disney Co., working in theme parks, retail stores and the ABC broadcast network, before joining Comcast in 1998. His father, Dan Burke, confronted a similar challenge a quarter-century ago when his Capital Cities Communications acquired the larger ABC network, which had fallen to third place, and cut layers of management and clamped down on a perks-laden culture.

Now it's up to Steve Burke to fix the once-invincible NBC, ramp up revenue at the Universal Pictures studio, elevate the Spanish-language Telemundo network and navigate a new digital world where profits remain elusive.
Read more here.

NPR Intrigue: Review of Leadership

Fascinating behind-the-scenes account

Schiller, Weiss
When Vivian Schiller became NPR's chief executive in early 2009, she knew enough to know that she didn't know very much about producing radio news. For that, Schiller, who formerly headed the New York Times' cable and digital businesses, relied on Ellen Weiss, NPR's top news executive. A savvy veteran, Weiss had worked her way up NPR's ranks from the bottom, spending her entire 29-year career at the organization.

By all accounts, the two women worked well together, write Paul Farhi at  While Schiller devoted her attention to reorganizing NPR's management and successfully closing a budget gap, Weiss concentrated on building audiences for NPR's audio programs and online news.

And then, all at once, the relationship was no more. On Jan. 4, nearly three months after Weiss had made a fateful phone call to fire analyst Juan Williams for controversial comments he made on a Fox News Channel program, Schiller met with Weiss and made a stunning demand: Resign or be fired. Two days later, NPR announced, without elaboration, that Weiss had quit.

The resignation stupefied staffers at NPR; many believed that Weiss had been pushed out to appease critics livid about the firing of Williams. Williams's firing had reignited Republican calls to eliminate federal funding for NPR, PBS and their affiliated stations. Insiders also linked Weiss's fate to a bad moment for Schiller: Weiss's departure came on the same day that NPR announced that its board of directors had voted to sanction Schiller for the Williams debacle by stripping her of her 2010 bonus.

Read more here.

Fox Sports Calls on O'Reilly

Commentator will interview Obama during pregame show
As producer of Fox NFL Sunday, it is Scott Ackerson’s job to keep you riveted to the screen for four-plus hours of pregame folderol leading up to the kickoff of Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6.

According Dave Barron at, his list of attractions will include the mundane (the tired “celebrities walk the red carpet and spout inane platitudes”), the whimsical (a TMZ-themed feature on Super Bowl week in the Metroplex) and the imaginative (enlisting Fox News host Bill O’Reilly for the obligatory presidential interview).

Using an opinion show host for the Super Sunday interview is something of a departure from form. Katie Couric of CBS and Matt Lauer of NBC have conducted previous interviews, so protocol would hold that Shepard Smith, anchor of the network’s nightly news show, should be Fox’s man to interview President Barack Obama.

Ackerson, in consultation with Fox Sports Media Group chairman David Hill, decided otherwise.

“I remembered that before the (2008) election, Bill O’Reilly had done an interview with Obama, and so I figured they had some type of history,” Ackerson said Thursday. “Secondly, I did want to have it a little different than the news anchor doing it.

“I believe Bill is going to do a different job with the interview and take a different tangent than Matt and Katie took with their interviews. That was my hope going into it, and I’m looking forward to seeing that.”

Read more here.

Rabbis Target Fox News

Rabbis make use of Murdoch's other media

A coalition of rabbis wants Fox News chief Roger Ailes and conservative host Glenn Beck to cut out all their talk about Nazis and the Holocaust, and it's making its views known in an unusual place.

Paul Farhi at reports, the rabbis have called on Fox News's owner, Rupert Murdoch, to sanction his two famous employees via a full-page ad in Thursday's editions of the Wall Street Journal - one of many other media properties controlled by Murdoch's News Corp.

The ad is signed by the heads of the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements as well as Orthodox rabbis.

The rabbis were prompted by Beck's three-part program in November about liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros, whom Beck described as a "Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps" during World War II.

Soros was a young teenager in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the war and hid with a Christian family to escape the Holocaust. He once described accompanying his surrogate father while he confiscated property from Jews deported by the Nazis.

The Jewish Funds group has received financial support from Soros's Open Society Foundations.

Read more here.

Peek: New Image Promos For KTVT News

New image spots for Dallas/Fort Worth station KTVT, CBS11.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sam Zell: Optimist

"I just don't need to be the media's bitch anymore."

Eric Millette photo
Undaunted by his Tribune debacle, Sam Zell is now cutting a bold path in emerging markets.
A piece profiles Zell and what's on his  mind this year?

He's not saying. But one of Zell's overriding themes each year is the importance of happiness, good health, prosperity and optimism. "Have you ever met an entrepreneur who wasn't an optimist?" he asks. "A true entrepreneur doesn't have the word ‘failure' in his lexicon. Maybe [a venture] doesn't work out. But no failures."

Zell, 69, has good reason to expect things to work out. He has made most of his fortune buying distressed real estate during America's darkest economic hours. He has also shown an uncanny knack for selling at the top, as he did in unloading Equity Office Properties onto Blackstone for $39 billion in 2007.

Things didn't work out quite so well with Zell's acquisition of Tribune Co. The media outfit is now mired in bankruptcy court and a slew of related lawsuits. Zell doesn't rue the economics of the Tribune deal. It's the unflattering glare of the spotlights that he regrets.

"The media loves nothing more than to cover the media," he says. "That's fine for the media. . . . I just don't need to be the media's bitch anymore."

Read more here.

CC's WLIT Plummets After Christmas Music

Robert Feder at asks:  So what’s all the celebrating about at Clear Channel Radio?

Wednesday’s news reports and blog posts on the just-released Arbitron survey covering the four weeks from Dec. 9 to Jan. 5 touted the sensational performance of the “Holiday Lite” Christmas music format on adult contemporary WLIT-FM (93.9). “Chicagoans really loved holiday music format,” read one headline. “That Holiday Punch Is Pretty Powerful,” read another.

True enough, Lite FM nearly quadrupled its overall audience share in just two months — skyrocketing from 10th place with a 3.6 percent share in November to first place with a 12.1 in the so-called holiday book. Credited with “the steepest trajectory of any big-market Christmas station, percentage-wise,” Chicago’s Clear Channel outlet exceeded its own performance last year when it jumped from a 3.2 to a 10.2.

But look a little closer at the numbers and you’ll find the harsh reality: The moment Lite FM turns off the “Holiday Lite” and resumes its regular adult-contemporary format, those Christmas visitors vanish.

In the final week of the Portable People Meter survey, the station dropped a full 10 share points — plummeting from a 14.7 to a 4.7. In terms of cumulative weekly audience, that represented a net loss of 1,992,400 listeners.

Read more here.

ESPN Set Arrives At Super Bowl Site

ESPN, on next week's Super Bowl coverage:

Many of "ESPN's television and radio programs will originate from Sundance Square in Ft. Worth ... Super Bowl-related content will be available across 18 different ESPN platforms, including more than 90 hours on domestic television and 55 hours on ESPN Radio. ... More than 30 ESPN commentators will be in Texas, ... including Chris Berman and the Sunday NFL Countdown crew; Monday Night Football's Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski; ESPN Radio hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, Colin Cowherd and Scott Van Pelt; plus Michelle Beadle, Suzy Kolber, Hannah Storm, Trey Wingo ... Last year's Super Bowl-winning head coach, Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints, will also join ESPN for three days as a guest analyst, including Super Bowl Sunday. Some of the shows that will originate from Texas ... include Jim Rome is Burning, NFL Live, NFL Matchup, SportsCenter, SportsNation, and Sunday NFL Countdown."

A Mother's Plea: Go Back To Rehab

Julia Williams says she's broken-hearted but not surprised that her newly famous son, Ted Williams, the man with the golden voice, has left rehab in Texas after barely two weeks.

"I'm very sorry that he left, and I'm very upset," Williams, 90, tells PEOPLE. "Certainly I want him to go back. He needs help."

Julia says she heard from family that Ted went to California, perhaps to Hollywood, to record children's books. She says she's optimistic he'll keep busy and not return to a life on the streets, but doesn't think he can stay sober without professional help.

"I know he doesn't stick at things for long. Whatever it is, he soon tires of it," she says. "He thinks he can make it on his own, without rehab. And I'm sure he can't."

She adds: "It's a very sad story."

A family friend told UPI that Williams was disturbed by the sight of cameras at the Origins Recovery Center, by a medication regimen so heavy that "when he wasn't in [therapy] class, he was asleep," and by more interview requests from Dr. Phil McGraw, who had convinced him to enter rehab in the first place.

Read more here.

Stores 'Protect' Family From Elton John

Harps Stores Shields 'Us Weekly'

Harps – a grocery store chain in Arkansas – appears to have censored last week’s Us Weekly Magazine cover featuring Elton John and David Furnish’s new baby, according to

Numerous calls to the chains PR rep apparently are unawsered.

TV Anchor Swallows Fly On Air

Hulu Reworks Its Script as Digital Change Hits TV

Just as the digital wave transforms the television industry, Hulu, a pioneer of Internet TV, is in internal discussions to dramatically transform itself.

The free online television service has become one of the most-watched online video properties in the U.S. and a top earner of web-video ad dollars since its 2008 launch.

But, report Sam Schechner and Jessica E. Vascellaro at,  its owners—industry powerhouses NBC Universal, News Corp. and Walt Disney Co.—are increasingly at odds over Hulu's business model. Worried that free Web versions of their biggest TV shows are eating into their traditional business, the owners disagree among themselves, and with Hulu management, on how much of their content should be free.

Fox Broadcasting owner News Corp. and ABC owner Disney are contemplating pulling some free content from Hulu, say people familiar with the matter. The media companies are also moving to sell more programs to Hulu competitors that deliver television over the Internet, including Netflix Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc.

And in what would be a major shift in direction, Hulu management has discussed recasting Hulu as an online cable operator that would use the Web to send live TV channels and video-on-demand content to subscribers, say people familiar with the talks. The new service, which is still under discussion, would mimic the bundles of channels now sold by cable and satellite operators, the people said.

Read more here.

Also read here:

Netflix Beats Expectations With a Rush of Subscribers (

Netflix Takes Aim at the Cable Guys, With a Promise to Start Firing (Mediamemo-Peter Kafka)

Howard Stern: The Comic (Book)

Coming to a comic stand near you
The radio shock jock will see his life story play out in the pages of a comic book from Bluewater Productions that will come out in April, the company said on Wednesday, according to

The comic book, which will retail for $3.99, will chronicle Stern's rise to fame, and the unique and no-holds barred style he brought to broadcasting, as well as his move to Sirius satellite radio in 2006.

The comic is titled "Orbit: Howard Stern," Bluewater Productions said. The company plans other biography comics under the "Orbit" title.

Stern, 57, describes himself as the "king of all media" for his work outside radio, which includes TV shows, books and appearing as himself in the 1997 movie "Private Parts".

Read more here.

Bristol Talking About Phoenix Radio Gig

Bristol Palin has been offered a morning co-hosting job at an Arizona radio station, according to reports.
The daughter of former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin met with management at Mix 96.9 FM in Phoenix last week, according to a story at

Current morning host Mathew Blades, who would work with Bristol on his show, told the broadcaster that the "ball is in [Bristol's] court" but suggested that she had seemed "interested" in the opportunity.

Clear Channel Program director Ron Price also spoke about the job offer with MyFox Phoenix on Tuesday, pointing out Bristol's background in public speaking, adding: "I think she could hold her own on the radio."

Bristol bought a property in Maricopa, AZ last year, sparking rumors that she was planning to move from Alaska with her young son Tripp. She separated from his father Levi Johnston for a second time last year.

She recently told Alaska's The Bob & Mark Show on KWHL that she was "thrilled" with her new town, and confirmed in the same interview that she had been offered a job with Mix 96.9. She has yet to comment on whether she will accept.

Tom's Take: Do you think Bristol realizes her possible job means Clear Channel will probably force Clear Channel to institute more reduction-in-force cuts nationwide?  :) Probably not and she doesn't care..and neither does CC care.

Tom Joyner Lands In NYC

After an eight year absence, WRKS “98.7 KISS-FM” in NYC is bringing back Tom Joyner for mornings.  The Emmis-owned station previously air Joyner 2001-2003.  It is dropping a local morning show for Joyner starting February 7.

Joyner will be up against Steve Harvey on rival 107.5 WBLS.  Joyner fills the hole in AM drive created when WRKS and D. L. Hughley last August.

Alex Cameron, Emmis Communications’ SVP, Market Manager, says, “2011 marks 30 years for KISS FM as a dominant and trusted voice reflecting the tri-state’s African American adult community.  In celebrating that, we are happy to welcome Tom Joyner to KISS FM with a show that shares the values of family and community.  Our program director, Jill Strada, will have the ability to work directly with Tom and The Morning Show staff to collaborate on locality and music that directly affects and influences the KISS audience.

Another CHR Bites The Dust

Citadel CHR “93.1 Hit Music Now” KZMG Boise has flipped to Sports simulcasting 1350 KTIK, reports

The new “93.1 The Ticket” has assumed the KTIK-FM call letters. KTIK airs the bulk of the ESPN Radio lineup in addition to a local afternoon show, “Idaho Sports Talk” hosted by Jeff Caves and Mike Prater.

KZMG had been the heritage CHR in the market before being dethroned by Peak Broadcasting’s “103.3 Kiss-FM” KSAS and Impact Radio Group’s “Wild 101” KWYD.

The former “Magic 93.1” relaunched as “Hit Music Now” in October 2009. In the Fall 2010 Arbitrons, KZMG registered a 1.9 share, while KTIK was at a 4.4.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jimmy Buffet Rushed to Hospital

UPDATE: After Falling Off Stage

One minute he was strumming and singing. The next he was unconscious, reports
Jimmy Buffett, 64, had just finished crooning, "It's been a lovely cruise, I'm sorry it's ended," when he fell off the stage at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday night and was rushed to hospital with a head injury.

He is in stable condition at St. Vincent's Hospital, reports

Officials at the concert at the Hordern Pavilion asked audience members to leave the auditorium as Buffett stayed on the floor in front of the first row of seating waiting for paramedics and an ambulance to arrive.

An audience member told the Daily Telegraph of Sydney that it appeared Buffett struck his head and was bleeding.

Another audience member in the front row told TMZ that Buffett was unconscious for five to 10 minutes and that he had a gash on his head. Paramedics arrived 15 minutes later.

Read more here.

Stripper's Act Lands Female TV Exec In Slammer

According to at the West Palm Beach Post, one of the top managers at WPEC-Channel 12 was arrested Sunday night for allegedly acting like a drunk stripper in a Delray Beach, FL restaurant.

42-year-old Randy Goldklank, who was hired by the CBS affiliaye as an advertising executive two years ago after another booze-fueled scandal in Boston, end up in jail after being charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. She was released on her own recognizance.

According to a police report, Goldklank was 'touching herself, removing her top and dancing on a pole like a stripper." Restaurant staff asked her to leave but call police because she wouldn't.

Read more here.

Sexy News Anchors Distract Male Viewers

New research finds when a female news anchor’s sexual attractiveness is played up, male viewers retain less information, according to a posting at

Scholars, critics and viewers have noted that some TV newscasts can be momentarily mistaken for Victoria’s Secret specials. In an apparent attempt to capture channel-surfing male viewers, stations have hired attractive female anchors, often outfitting them in attire that emphasizes their sexuality.

This strategy may boost the ratings, but in terms of the programs’ purported purpose — informing the public — recent research suggests it has a definite down side. Males may be drawn to those alluring anchors, but they may not remember what they were talking about.

Two Indiana University scholars report that, for male viewers, “emphasis on the sexual attractiveness of female news anchors distracts from memory formation for news content.” They found that “men’s cognitive mechanisms favored visual over verbal processing,” which is a delicate way of saying their focus — and subsequent memory — are more on the broadcaster’s appearance than on the material she was delivering.

The researchers found the men recalled “significantly more information watching the unsexualized anchor deliver news than her sexualized version.” For women, the opposite was true, but the effect was far less pronounced.

Looking at the data a different way, when the anchor had a desexualized appearance, men retained more of the information she presented than women. But when she was dolled up, the men’s retention level dropped to the point where the two genders retained the same amount of content.

The study provides evidence for a basic theory of evolutionary psychology: When it comes to processing information, visual tends to trump verbal.

Read more here.

SOTU: CNN’s Jeanne Moos Finds The Humor

SOTU: CNN, Fox wisely cover Tea Party, Bachmann

From David Zurawick, Z On TV, Baltimore Sun:
How to cover the Tea Party?

That's been a question challenging the media for quite a while, and Tuesday night was no exception with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann offering a Tea Party response to President Barack Obama's speech following the official GOP response from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

Frankly, I was surprised to see that CNN was the only cable or network channel to offer live coverage of Bachmann's response. At least, that's the best I could determine with my channel hopping and calls to network and cable publicists afterward.  Not even C-SPAN seemed to be offering live coverage of this unprecedented response-beyond-the-response.

While I have been critical of some of CNN's recent political and breaking news coverage, I think this was an excellent call by management. Bachmann did a better job that anyone else Tuesday night of giving voice to the pain still felt by many in the nation who lost jobs or saw the value of their homes drop dramatically, and CNN made sure she was heard. Good for CNN.

Fox News didn't carry Bachmann's response live, but it did stream her words live on and then offer excerpts shorty after 11 p.m. on a telecast from the Capitol anchored by Van Susteren. And I thought Van Susteren was excellent in re-capping what had happened during the evening, and then offering informed and sound interviews with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.

Van Susteren and Fox News were exemplary in bringing varied points of view into its discussion of the speeches -- and treating all sides with respect. Fox News would not exactly be considered the friendly confines for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, but she was treated as respectfully by Van Susteren as any GOP or Tea Party conservative. Good for Fox News and Van Susteren.

On the other hand, and again I was channel hopping, but I didn't see any coverage of the Tea Party response on MSNBC. Nor, in fact, did I see any conservatives period on the MSNBC coverage anchored by Rachel Maddow.
Read more here.

Elton Doesn't Expect Royal Wedding Invite

Elton John may have been very close to the late Princess Diana, but the singer says he's not counting on getting an invite to her son William's upcoming wedding.

"I think because of my relationship with Princess Diana, people automatically think I'm going to be invited," John told Reuters in an interview at

Prince William is due to marry long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton on April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London.

"I just wish them the happiest of lives together," said John of the couple. "They seem very happy. He's a really terrific man, William, and he's going to be a great king."

John sang a rewritten version of his hit song "Candle in the Wind" at Princess Diana's funeral in 1997 after her death in a Paris car crash.

But he said he did not know her sons William and Harry well. "I'm not invited to the wedding, I would not expect to be invited to the wedding," he said.

Read more here.

Also read here:

Osteen on Piers Morgan: Homosexuality is a sin, Elton John a sinner (Houston Chronicle blog)

Steve Harvey Attacked By Ex-Wife on YouTube

Comedian Mary Harvey wants the world to know why her marriage to Steve Harvey failed.

The Hollywood Reporter/Reuters reports, in three separate videos -- totaling 25 minutes -- posted on YouTube over the weekend, Mary, who split from Steve in 2005, rants, "He turned my son against me, had me evicted from our house. I woke up, and everything was gone."

She then accuses the syndicated morning radio and "Family Feud" TV host of infidelity from their meeting in the mid-1990s until the time they split.

Mary says she's speaking up because her ex is currently suing her in Texas, and she keeps coming up in interviews, including in Essence magazine's January 11 cover story.

"In Steve's opinion, I was responsible when Oprah did not give him a TV show," she says. "I'm being sued for that. That is why I'm saying what I have to say…. To keep seeing my name referenced when talking about his life - that part of it, I don't understand."

Steve married Marjorie Bridge -- whom Mary claims was his mistress -- in 2007, and went on to write several relationship advice books.

Read more here.

'Skins' Audience Sinks 51%

The controversy surrounding MTV's racy teen show "Skins" failed to attract new viewers Monday. Instead, the show lost half its audience, according to a story by Lauren A. E. Schuker and Sam Schechner at

The second episode of "Skins"—which chronicles the fictional lives of a group of teenagers as they delve into sex, drinking and drugs—drew 1.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen Co. That was down 51% from last week, when 3.3 million people tuned in to the premiere.

"Skins" likely suffered at least in part from a weaker lead-in show. The Jan. 17 show was plumped by fans tuning into a special episode of reality hit "The Jersey Shore" in the previous hour.

This Monday, "Skins" followed a "Jersey Shore" rerunthat had originally aired last Thursday. That episode, "Free Snooki," drew a record 8.87 million viewers when it first aired last Thursday, but captured only 1.2 million viewers on Monday night before "Skins."

A spokeswoman for MTV said the lead-in show could continue to shift in coming weeks.

The pressure to attract viewers has escalated after a raft of national advertisers fled "Skins," scared off by its depiction of teen sexuality and drug use.

Eight companies that advertised on the first episode, including L'Oréal SA and Foot Locker Inc., have backed out after being targeted by the Parents Television Council watchdog group, which dubbed "Skins" the "most dangerous television show for children that we have ever seen."

National advertising on the second episode appeared to be dominated by movie studios
Read more here.

Report: Pandora Radio App Cruises Into Cars

Before the iPhone, Pandora was a struggling Internet radio service fighting to stay alive.

Thanks to the iPhone, writes Jefferson Graham at, Pandora's audience doubled in a year, and now, with 80 million listeners, it's by far the largest and fastest-growing Internet music service.
Founder Tim Westergren's next horizon: the car.

By tapping into the Internet from the iPhone (and, in some cases, Android and BlackBerry phones) Pandora now can be played in many cars with special dashboard controls, including Ford Fiesta, new Minis and most new Mercedes-Benzes. Coming this year: Pandora in the new Toyota Prius V, Hyundai Veloster, new BMWs and Buick Verano.

In some cases, the phone connects directly through a jack to the car audio system, in others via Bluetooth. Prices for the feature range from $299 to $2,000.

To bring Pandora to older vehicles, auto stereo manufacturers Alpine, Pioneer, JVC and Kenwood are offering car radios that can connect to the smartphone for Pandora integration at prices ranging from $199 to $1,200.

Westergren's goal: Pandora in every vehicle.

"We think that 50% of music listening is done in the car," he says. "That's a huge market that we haven't been able to be part of."

Read more here.

Christmas Music Is Magical In PPMs

Many holiday music stations show spectacular gains

Arbitron Tuesday started releasing The Holiday Book which accounts for listening December 9 through January 5.  And many of the Holiday music stations have recorded some spectacular Total Persons 6+ shares.

                                                              Nov  Dec    Holiday

For example:  New York City  WLTW       5.9     8.4    12.3

                      Los Angeles       KOST      4.6     6.6      9.3

                      Chicago             WLIT        3.6    8.9    12.1

                      Philadelphia       WBEB       7.1  11.7    15.6

                      San Francisco    KOIT        4.8    7.3      9.0

                      Washington DC WASH       6.1    9.9   12.9

                      Dallas                 KVIL        4.0    5.8     7.2

                      Houston              KODA      6.7   9.2   12.7

These stations ranked #1 in their market.  To see the latest ratings, click here.

NYC:  In the all-important 25 to 54 demo, WLTW blew away all comers with an 11.8. Number two was WKTU with a 5.4, number three went to WHTZ with a 4.9, WCBS FM pulled a 4.7 for fourth place, WWFS finished fifth with a 4.2, in sixth place was WAXQ with a 3.9, WQHT finished seventh with a 3.8, eighth place went to WSKQ with a 3.7, WWPR finished ninth with a 3.5 and 10th place went to WFAN.

WLTW even dominated to 18 to 34 demo with a first place finish with a 9.9. Number two was WQHT with an 8.1, WHTZ finished third with a 7.7, fourth place went to WWPR with a 7.2, WKTU finished fifth with a 6.9. (

LA:  "I think now KOST is branded as the holiday music station — if you go to KOST, it's Christmas," said Stella Prado, the station's program director. She said she heard the station being played at malls, gas stations and more public places than she was used to. "We were the soundtrack to the season."

KIIS had dominated the local radio ratings throughout 2010, leading the pack from January to November. It had been the only station in Los Angeles and Orange County to top 4 million in average audience — the number of listeners who tuned in for at least five minutes in a given week — peaking at 4.16 million in August. But during the holidays, KOST tallied an astonishing 4.9 million. (LA Times)

Chicago:  The dominance of WLIT’s holiday music in all time periods also pushed top-rated WTMX-FM (101.9) morning drive hosts Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart into second place.

Though WLIT pummelled all contenders in the holiday book, the station, as expected, began to fall fast from its top rung as soon as the holiday music ended immediately after Christmas. As recently as the November book, WLIT was in ninth place, while the station tied for 11th place in the rankings in the October book. (Sun-Times)

Tom’s Take:  Competitors will make noise about the special nature of the ratings and surely all holiday stations will settle back to earthly shares.  But smart DOSs will plan ahead to cash-in December 2011.

Mourners Gather on the Web

In an age of commemorating birthdays, weddings and anniversaries on Facebook and Twitter, it was perhaps inevitable that live Web-streaming funerals for friends and loved ones would be next.

It is no surprise that the deaths of celebrities, like Michael Jackson, or honored political figures, like the United States diplomat Richard Holbrooke, are promoted as international Web events. So, too, was the memorial service for the six people killed Jan. 8 in Tucson, which had thousands of viewers on the Web.

But now, reports the,  the once-private funerals and memorials of less-noted citizens are also going online.

Several software companies have created easy-to-use programs to help funeral homes cater to bereaved families. FuneralOne a one-stop shop for online memorials that is based in St. Clair, Mich., has seen the number of funeral homes offering Webcasts increase to 1,053 in 2010, from 126 in 2008 (it also sells digital tribute DVDs).

During that same period, Event by Wire, a competitor in Half Moon Bay, Calif., watched the number of funeral homes live-streaming services jump to 300 from 80. And this month, the Service Corporation International in Houston, which owns 2,000 funeral homes and cemeteries, including the venerable Frank E. Campbell funeral chapel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said it was conducting a pilot Webcasting program at 16 of its funeral homes.

Traveling to funerals was once an important family rite, but with greater secularity and a mobile population increasingly disconnected from original hometowns, watching a funeral online can seem better than not going to a funeral at all. Social media, too, have redrawn the communal barriers of what is acceptable when relating to parents, siblings, friends and acquaintances.

Read more here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Murdoch: 99 Cents Per Week 'Makes Sense' For 'Daily'

Watch live streaming video from dldconference at

Nerws Corp.'s James Murdoch told the audience at the Digital, Life, Design conference in Munich, Germany, that the 99-cent price for the company's new iPad-only newspaper The Daily is a "very good price that makes sense," and that "pricing models for apps and paid journalism in general is developing."

O'Reilly: MSNBC A 'Failure'

Comments on Keith Olbermann's departure without using KO's name.

SiriusXM Wants to Raise Basic Subscription Rate

Sirius XM Radio Inc., the U.S. satellite radio broadcaster, wants to be free to raise its basic monthly subscription price from $12.95, reports

Sirius, which reported 19.8 million customers at the end of the third quarter, told the Federal Communications Commission in a Jan. 20 filing that the agency shouldn’t extend a price freeze negotiated as part of the 2008 merger that formed the company.

Sirius, the New York-based company created by Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.’s purchase of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., didn’t say in the filing whether it wants to raise rates.

Sirius and XM agreed to hold the basic subscription price unchanged for three years after the closing of their merger, an anniversary that falls on July 28, Sirius said in its FCC filing. It asked the agency to take “no steps” to extend or modify the rate cap.

Sirius said it faces a “robustly competitive” market with consumers able to choose terrestrial radio and Internet music services such as Pandora and Rhapsody, while carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. offer ways to access Web- based entertainment in their cars.

Read more here. 

GOP Loses Local Radio Voice In Seattle

In its heyday, Seattle talk station KVI-AM was a powerful engine

"Talk radio is to a large degree the base of the Republican Party in the way labor is the base of the Democratic Party," Chris Vance, former chairman of the Washington Republican Party tells Jim Brunner at "You could go on those shows and you could communicate to the Republican family. It's how Republicans got motivated and organized," he said. "Now it's gone, and it's a very big deal."

As a virtual arm of the Republican Party, 570 AM KVI for years gave GOP politicians a platform free from what they viewed as liberal bias elsewhere in the Seattle-area media landscape. In 2000, KVI even produced the Republican nominee for governor in Carlson, who lost to Democrat Gary Locke. (KVI recently flipped from talk to an oldies/classic hits format).

While another local station, 770 AM KTTH, fills the Seattle-area conservative-talk niche, its schedule is dominated by national hosts such as Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

"What's been lost is the local part," Vance said.

KTTH's sole local show host, David Boze, recently saw his program cut to one hour, down from three. The other two hours were given to an expanded Hannity show.

"Right now, I feel very privileged to be the last man standing," said Boze, who grew up listening to KVI.

For Democrats and liberals, the end of KVI's conservative talk can't be a cause for tears. The station's hosts were sometimes accused by critics of improperly crossing the line into political campaigns and spreading lies about Democrats.

Read more here.

Chicago's Battle For a 4-Share

Imagine, writes Robert Feder at, starting a war when you have no ammunition:

That’s what Emmis Communications did in Chicago over the weekend when it abruptly switched the format of WLUP-FM (97.9) from hard rock to classic rock. Loop listeners woke up Saturday morning to hear Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner and Journey in place of AC/DC, Metallica, Rush and Ozzy Osbourne. Overnight “Chicago’s Rock Station” had rechristened itself “Chicago’s Classic Rock.”

"It’s no coincidence that the move came just three days after Bonneville International announced the sale of Chicago’s leading classic rocker, WDRV-FM (97.1), in a package deal with hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9), adult contemporary WILV-FM (100.3) and 14 other stations to Hubbard Broadcasting for $505 million. The blockbuster transaction only served to underscore how much less the Loop and Emmis’ other distressed properties are worth these days.

I hate to break the news to them, but if the folks at Emmis think they have a prayer of mounting any real challenge to the Drive, they’re delusional.

After 10 years of refining and perfecting its format, the Drive is so well-programmed, so well-promoted and so well-managed that it’s folly to think it could be vulnerable to a pale imitator. In terms of air talent alone, it’s not even fair to compare the Drive’s lineup of Steve Downes, Bob Stroud, Bobby Skafish and Phil Manicki with the Loop’s Pete McMurray, Pat Capone, John “Byrd” Kempf and Walter Flakus.

Under current management, the Loop and Q101 have become mere echoes of their past glory. Throughout all of the 1980s and much of the ’90s, they were two of Chicago’s hottest and most influential radio brands. Today, they’re a couple of also-rans — ranked 17th and 18th, respectively, in the December Arbitron survey among listeners in the 25-to-54 age demo that defines success in the industry."
Read more here.