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Posts Tagged ‘Eric [Spitz’

From Howard Stern Intern to CBS Radio Exec

RadioInkCover_March10_2014There’s a fun passage in Radio Ink ‘s cover story about Chris Oliviero, executive vice president of programming at CBS Radio. It concerns his mid-1990s career start.

Prior to interning with The Howard Stern Show, Oliviero tried to get a similar position at his favorite radio station, WFAN. He was rejected. Eric Spitz, the guy who turned Oliviero down – and who now also just happens to work at CBS Radio as director of sports programming – gamely revisited that decision for Radio Ink:

“Yes, I did reject Chris when he first applied for an internship at WFAN,” Spitz says. “Apparently, when Michael Jordan was a high school sophomore, he was cut by the varsity basketball coach. Mistakes happen. Both Chris and Michael used these rejections as motivation to excel in their respective fields — and can now both say that they have graced the cover of a magazine.”

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Newspaper Exec: Print Media Gave Away the Cheeseburger

MashableLogoThings sometimes have a funny way of working out on a media blog. This morning, we told you about the appointment of two new EICs at Fashionista. This afternoon, it’s time to highlight one of the final contributions to Mashable by Lauren Indvik, one of those capable incoming individuals.

Right now in the U.S., three of the most intriguing newspaper concerns are Robert Allbritton‘s Capital New York (to go along with Politico), Jeff BezosWashington Post and Aaron Kushner/Eric Spitz‘s Orange County Register. Indvik’s Q&A with Spitz covers some by-now familiar Register territory, although he starts off with an analogy that we had not previously heard:

“The key decisions [the newspaper industry] made — and they were the worst decisions anyone has made in my memory — they made 20 years or so ago. They took their core product, the news, and priced it at free.”

“If you are McDonald’s, you can give away straws, napkins, Wi-Fi and really nice TV sets that everybody can watch, but you can’t give away cheeseburgers.”

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Freedom Communications President Points to Pair of Shining Newspaper Examples

It’s another momentous day at the Santa Ana, CA headquarters of the Orange County Register. The Eric Spitz-Aaron Kushner regime is celebrating the launch of the Long Beach Register, a new daily newspaper going head-to-head in that region with the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Spitz is very clear about his belief in website paywalls. He made his case for valuing digital news content alongside Kushner in a recent one-year anniversary Q&A and restates those same basic principles today via Wall Street Journal op ed:

I know of only two major newspaper companies that have not seen significant declines in their subscriber bases in the past decade: The Wall Street Journal and Groupa Reforma, the largest newspaper company in Mexico. The former has never given away its digital content, and the latter erected its first paywall in 2002.

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Report: Bay Area Media Mogul Set to Add Non-Controlling Interest in GLBT Weekly

In case you hadn’t noticed, a fascinating newspaper rivalry has teed up in San Francisco. One that is about to become even more clearly, solidly delineated.

As we recently reported, Hearst has enlisted a couple of major execs  to try and re-invigorate San Francisco Chronicle print-digital operations. The daily will be vying for readers alongside a range of properties controlled by Todd Vogt‘s San Francisco Newspaper Company.

This morning, SF Appeal reporter Max A. Cherney updates a recent announcement that Vogt is about to add a stake in the Bay Area Reporter, a 42-year-old LGBT-focused print weekly. From Cherney’s report:

In a letter of intent, inked in April, Vogt and SFNC CFO Patrick Brown made clear their plan to acquire a minority stake in the Bay Area Reporter – independently of the SFNC.

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OC Register Ramps Up Newport Beach, Costa Mesa Coverage

How do you entice more people to subscribe to a metro newspaper daily print edition? Well, one way that sounds pretty logical to FishbowlLA is to zero in on affluent zip codes and expand the local-section insert from once a week to every weekday.

That’s what the Orange County Register will do starting this Monday, May 6 for the regions of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. Instead of just Fridays, The Current section will now appear in local editions Monday through Friday. From the recent announcement:

“The essence of a truly indispensible community newspaper is its ability to be interesting first, then relevant, finding its way to important and ultimately becoming an essential part of people’s daily lives,” said Eric Spitz, owner and president at Freedom Communications. “The investments we’re making into The Current not only provide significantly more value to subscribers in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, but we hope it will redefine expectations of what a vibrant hometown newspaper should look like and accomplish in the communities it serves.”

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Orange County Register Adds the Angels to Its Membership Rewards Program

Ken Doctor, a media expert often quoted in other people’s articles, has gone long-form this week at Nieman Lab about the topic of the Orange County Register‘s ongoing bold experiment. His article is a worthwhile read for anyone closely following the paper’s fortunes.

Next Tuesday, some of the fans sitting inside Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the mighty team’s home opener will be doing so for free, courtesy of the paper’s seven-day subscriber membership rewards program. In this particular case, all at the behest of newspaper president Eric Spitz and CEO Aaron Kushner:

The Register approached the Angels, located 10 minutes away, with the idea of better using the empty seats the Angels couldn’t sell. The Angels found themselves sitting on almost 600,000 empty seats last year over 81 games. Put another 7,000 butts in those seats each night, even without getting paid for the ticket, and the club is pulling in another 10 bucks or so on Chronic Tacos, garlic fries and overpriced Corona.

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Orange County Register Adding D.C. Bureau

It’s truly remarkable how the hits just keep on coming at the Orange County Register. The latest is one of the highest-profile moves yet by the very active regime of Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz.

Starting April 2, longtime former Register staffer Cathy Taylor (pictured) will be back in the fold as head of the paper’s new Washington D.C. bureau. From today’s announcement:

Taylor served as a reporter, editor and columnist supporting the Register’s business coverage, and joined the Opinion and Commentary pages in November 1996. She was a member of the Register’s senior leadership team as vice president of Opinion and Commentary before leaving the company in November 2011 to accept a position at Washington, D.C.-based Eagle Publishing as editor of Human Events, a national weekly publication.

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Change in OC Register’s Political Advertising Policy Raises Eyebrows

We’re not trying to take Aaron Kushner‘s side here. But we do applaud the fact that this particular media company owner replied to a hot-potato-topic query from Voice of OC reporter Adam Elmahrek:

Kushner, who responded by email within hours, acknowledged that the Register recently adjusted its policy regarding political advertising. He said, however, that the policy was changed because “we don’t like negative political advertisements,” not out of support for Anaheim’s council majority.

“It was brought to our attention that the Register has had an inconsistent process for reviewing political advertising, which we are working to address and make more systematic,” Kushner wrote. “This is not a comment or endorsement of any particular politician or political cause but a systematic review of our process as we strive to better serve Orange County in everything that we do.”

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OC Register Reviews Prospective LA Times Buyers

Orange County Register reporter Mary Ann Milbourn didn’t have to go very far to talk to the potential LA Times suitor who has been most explicitly vocal about their interest in the property. That’s because it’s her bossAaron Kushner (pictured):

“We do think of the Los Angeles Times as an incredibly important institution,” Kushner said. “We would be honored to acquire the Los Angeles Times if they successfully are able to come out of bankruptcy.”

He said the other Tribune newspapers play a similarly important role in their communities and are the kinds of media properties that interest his investment group. Kushner has hired Morgan Stanley as a financial adviser to help with his acquisition plans. The publisher, however, declined to say where funding would come from for a Tribune purchase.

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Incoming OC Register Publisher Envisions Paywall, Increased Print Circulation

We give freshly minted Orange County Register publisher Aaron Kushner full points for the way he has so far handled the communication aspects of the job. The day after his company 2100 Trust LLC took official ownership of the paper July 25, he held an employee town hall meeting. The following week, he sat down with reporter Mary Ann Milbourn for an extensive interview.

Two of the most interesting takeaways are: 1) He expects readers of the Register to “ultimately” have to pay to access the paper online, though Kushner is not yet sure exactly when and how; 2) He feels his Sunday subscribers are the ones who can best be leveraged for an increase in overall print circulation:

The idea, he said, is to get Sunday-only subscribers to buy a weekend subscription and those buying the paper’s weekend package to pay for additional days and for them ultimately to be converted to seven days a week…

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