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Archives: October 2009
The Wall Street Journal
Randall Mays, president and chief financial officer of CC Media Holdings Inc.’s Clear Channel Communications, is stepping down, according to an announcement sent to company employees late Tuesday.
Since the financially challenged San Antonio, Texas-based radio and billboard giant was taken private last year, many key strategic decisions have been made by the private-equity companies that spearheaded the privatization: Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.
A company spokeswoman said Randall Mays wasn’t available for comment.
Randall Mays’s position became “less of a strategist job and more operational,” says a person familiar with the situation. Mr. Mays’s elder brother, Mark Mays, is to remain Clear Channel’s chief executive, the internal announcement said, and will add president to his title, as well.
The younger son of Clear Channel founder and Chairman Lowry Mays, Randall Mays joined the company in 1993 as vice president and treasurer. The company plans to keep him on as vice chairman until 2013, when his employment contract expires. More…
News Corp. and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. are the frontrunners in bidding for the Travel Channel with offers of about $800 million, according to four people with knowledge of the situation.
The cable channel’s owner, Atlanta-based Cox Communications Inc., may select one party for exclusive negotiations as early as today, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because discussions are private.
The offers exceed the $600 million to $700 million that Hale Holden, a credit analyst at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York, estimated Travel Channel Media was worth after Cox said in June that it had received unsolicited inquiries for the unit. Cox, the third-largest U.S. cable company, hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to evaluate its options.
“It’s clearly a global franchise,” News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said in an Oct. 21 interview. News Corp. is “uniquely capable to really develop it.” More…
The New York Post
Cops were called to the Carters’ Rockland County house four times in the last two years for domestic disputes, police records show.
The most violent incident–in which Carter, 46, was arrested for assault–occurred Oct. 22, 2008.
That night, Marilyn told cops, Dominic twice punched her in the face, “causing a swollen bottom lip,” and grabbed her around her throat, “causing scratches and minor bleeding from behind her left ear,” police records show.
Marilyn Carter, 52, in recent days moved out of the couple’s Pomona home, sources said. They also said Dominic Carter is scheduled to appear today in Rockland County Family Court. More…
The New York Times
While much of the focus about NBC’s decision to move Jay Leno to prime time has centered on Mr. Leno’s ratings in the 10 p.m. hour, the move has clearly had fallout in the area Mr. Leno vacated, the perennial late-night leader, “The Tonight Show.”
The new “Tonight” host, Conan O’Brien, has been lagging behind his CBS rival David Letterman in recent weeks, but a more telling comparison may be the difference between the performance of “Tonight” this year and last year when Mr. Leno was still the host.
The simple conclusion: Mr. O’Brien is down from Mr. Leno across the board. The more complicated question is why:
The reasons range from a surge for CBS’s rival late-night star, David Letterman, to the diminished audiences that are now being delivered to “Tonight” from both the 10 p.m. hour on NBC and the local newscasts that start at 11 p.m. Of course, the reasons also include defections from viewers who simply preferred Mr. Leno to Mr. O’Brien. More…
Since the Associated Press hasn’t met targeted cuts in payroll, it’s expected that there will be layoffs by the end of 2009.
“As first outlined by President and CEO Tom Curley last November, the AP’s goal is to reduce payroll costs by 10 percent this year,” spokesman Paul Colford said in a statement. “That goal remains in place and we are moving forward carefully to meet it.”
When asked about reducing staff, Colford acknowledged that layoffs were first raised as a possibility a year ago and remain a likelihood if the goal isn’t met.
Over the summer, the AP tried bringing down staff levels through a voluntary retirement program. In a July memo to staff, obtained by POLITICO, there are 92 staffers listed as taking the buyout. (I’ve heard there may have been about five more).
Early estimates put the 10 percent payroll cut at roughly 400 staffers. But it’s unclear how many would be cut, given that the targeted reduction is in payroll and not a direct headcount. More…
Night “A” of “Plan B” viewing of NBC’s “Jay Leno Show” didn’t go so well. After all, if “Leno” is ever going to regain the media mojo it enjoyed week one of the new season, it will be the during the first week of reruns on the other two networks with 10 p.m. shows, CBS and ABC.
CBS obliged with a rerun of “CSI: Miami,” which delivered a 3.1/8 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic, which, although 24% lower than this season’s original episode average, still won the hour. And while ABC ran an original, it was of its relatively low-rated “Castle.”
But it was ABC that was “Plan B” for many viewers, as “Castle” built a season-high 2.5/7.
“Leno,” conversely, tied a season low with a 1.3/4.
“Leno’s” failure to convert repeatedly resistant viewers may be a one-night phenomenon, of course. But if the pattern is repeated the next two nights, when CBS will once again run reruns, it may solidify the sense that it’s not just that viewers are choosing first-run, often first-rate dramas on other networks, but that many viewers have simply decided against watching Jay Leno in primetime. More…
Broadcasting & Cable
Meredith Corp.’s Local Media Group reported total revenue of $61 million in its fiscal first quarter, off 13% from the $70 million it posted last year. Non-political revenues were down 7%, compared to the same quarter last year.
Meredith said its retransmission consent revenues “nearly doubled in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 from the prior-year period, reflecting Meredith’s successful renegotiation of retransmission agreements with all seven of the major cable operators in its markets.”
“We’re encouraged by the progress made by our Local Media Group in the first quarter of fiscal 2010,” said Meredith President/CEO Stephen M. Lacy. “Advertising continued to improve as the quarter progressed, and we grew other sources of revenue, including retransmission fees and video production activities.”
Meredith’s total revenues were $332.4 million for the quarter, down from $364 million in the fiscal first quarter last year. More…
MSNBC is much less likely to start a third prime-time news show because its executives are pleased with how well a repeat of Keith Olbermann‘s “Countdown” is doing at 10 p.m. ET.
MSNBC chief executive Phil Griffin talked this year of actively searching for a new 10 p.m. host. Reruns of Olbermann’s 8 p.m. show have aired there since March 2008.
Yet in October, Olbermann has averaged 600,000 viewers in that later time slot, nearly on par with Anderson Cooper‘s 689,000 on CNN, the Nielsen Co. said. In the 25-to-54 demographic, which MSNBC most actively courts, Olbermann’s rerun beat Cooper’s first-run show in that hour for the first time ever. Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren leads with just under 2 million total viewers.
Olbermann’s rerun is getting nearly 60 percent of the audience that his first-run show does earlier in the evening, Nielsen said.
“We’re looking, but nothing (new) has even come close to going in there at 10,” Griffin said. “We’ve set the bar so high we don’t want to break that success.” More…
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