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Archives: October 2010

Fox Fails to Name Successor for Retiring Sales Chief


FOX Logo News Corp. won’t replace retiring Fox Broadcasting ad sales president Jon Nesvig, but instead will tap current number twos–Jean Rossi (entertainment sales) and Neil Mulcahy (sports sales)–to oversee their respective units without an overall direct sales boss, sources familiar with the situation told Mediaweek.

The duo would instead report to Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group.

While several Fox insiders said that former head of MTV Network ad sales, Hank Close, who spent 12 years in Fox ad sales before departing in 1999, is among those being considered for Nesvig’s post More…

Metaphorical Statue Removed from Tribune Building

New York Observer

Bureaucratic Shuffle Bureaucratic Shuffle is a statue of a grossly porcine businessman in pinstripes and a boozy smile, six fleshy legs coiling below an engorged waist. Until early this week the statue was set prominently in the Nathan Hale Lobby of the Tribune Towers in Chicago, the building that houses Sam Zell‘s media conglomerate.

It was intended as a warning, a reminder of everything Zell–who installed the piece upon purchasing the company–did not want his leadership to succumb to. But with the CEO and chief innovation officer both ousted this month and the company still negotiating the terms of its bankruptcy, Bureaucratic Shuffle became too much of a mirror. More…

Veteran Anchor Rescues Indianapolis Boy

The Indy Channel

Mort Crim An Indianapolis police officer and a veteran television anchor were credited with the rescue of an autistic 5-year-old boy from a retention pond on the city’s south side.

Mort Crim, who retired from the TV news business in 1996 after stints in Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago and Louisville, said he saw the boy walking down a street in the 7500 block of Briarstone Drive, near Stop 10 Road and Madison Avenue, at about 10 a.m. Wednesday.

At about the same time, the child’s mother had frantically called police to report that he was missing. More…

DGA Launches Another Complaint Against Fox News

The New York Times

DGA logo A newly amended complaint by the Democratic Governors Association, filed this week before the Ohio Elections Commission, asserts that “Fox News used corporate funds to make a prohibited contribution of $169,389 in violation of Ohio law when it provided one minute and 30 seconds of free political advertising to John Kasich’s campaign on August 18, 2010.”

The accusation marks a new chapter in the association’s campaign against Fox News and its parent company, News Corporation.

At issue is Fox’s perceived support for conservative politicians. By attacking Fox, the association has found that it is able to raise funds for Democratic candidates. More…

Chicago’s WLS Assembles Team for ‘Oprah’ Replacement

Robert Feder

WLS Logo Life after Oprah at her Chicago television flagship took a giant step forward Friday with the hiring of two seasoned producers to create and oversee a new live, local morning show to originate from the studios of ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.

Named executive producer was Marlaine Selip, former executive producer of NBC’s “In the Loop with iVillage.” The short-lived show was produced at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 until March 2008. Named supervising producer was Cindy Patrasso, former supervising producer of “In the Loop with iVillage” and former creative marketing director of “Donahue” More…

Juan Williams Defends His Journalistic Integrity

Baltimore Sun

Juan Williams After nearly a week of reflection on his abrupt firing from National Public Radio, commentator Juan Williams said Tuesday he believes he did not breach “any journalistic ethics” when he said on television that he felt unsettled when passengers dressed in Muslim garb board airplanes.

“Over the weekend, people would say to me, ‘Oh, you just got a new deal from Fox? Congratulations, that it all worked out so well,’” Williams said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun following an address at the University of Maryland School of Law that earned him a standing ovation. “But there’s an emotional disconnect, because the way it feels to me is like I just got fired and I’m not even sure what I did wrong.” More…

Hours Before World Series, Fox Rejects Cablevision Offer

Associated Press

Giants Sergio Romo Fox on Wednesday rejected a last-ditch offer from Cablevision Systems Corp. to pay it more for its TV stations’ signals, a move that could leave some 3 million Cablevision subscribers in the New York area with few options besides heading to a bar to watch baseball’s World Series on TV.

In preparation for an extended blackout, Cablevision e-mailed its customers Wednesday saying it will reimburse them $10 to cover the cost of paying to watch the games online through

Cablevision said earlier in the day that it offered to pay the same rate as Time Warner Cable Inc. for signals from Fox 5 in New York and Fox 29 in Philadelphia for one year More…

Belo and LIN Both Post Double-Digit Revenue Gains


Belo, LIN logos Two TV station groups — Belo Corp. and LIN TV — posted strong advertising gains in their respective third-quarter reporting periods.

Belo Corp., the bigger TV station group, gained 17.5% in ad revenue, which includes political ad results. Its big automotive category was up a strong 30% versus business in the third-quarter 2009. Belo also had double-digit gains in from financial services, retail, telecommunications and travel ad categories. Political revenue rose five time its results, versus a year ago to $11.2 million.

Belo’s digital and Web site business lifted 23% to $9 million; retransmission revenue was at $11.8 million. More…

Familiar Faces and Some Surprises in Election Lineups


Capital 2010 With election night around the corner, networks and news agencies are announcing their anchor teams for the evening. While most stops on the TV dial will feature familiar faces, there are a couple of notable moves.

ABC News coverage from mainstays Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will be supplemented with web-based reporting from John Berman and Claire Shipman.

NBC and CBS have rounded up the usual suspects: Brian Williams will be joined by David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell, and Chuck Todd, among others; Katie Couric will turn to Bob Schieffer, Jeff Greenfield, and Dee Dee Myers for news and analysis.

Perhaps the most dramatic decisions were made by rivals MSNBC and Fox News. MSNBC’s election night coverage will be anchored by its usual primetime roster, including Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Rachel Maddow, while FNC is going with news anchors Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly. With Baier and Kelly, FNC has created an opportunity to emphasize its news chops and effectively engage both MSNBC and CNN in the ratings race.

CNN’s coverage will be anchored by Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer, with John King. As Baltimore Sun critic David Zurawik notes, “One of the most fascinating aspects of the night will be how CNN does compared to Fox News in terms of audience size.” MSNBC’s pundit-led lineup may hurt its chances in the ratings race as Fox News and CNN court a wider, breaking news audience. While struggling CNN tries to capitalize on a breaking news event, it will be staring down the Fox News behemoth.

News Web Site Economics 101

-The broadcast strategy of providing a broad view of the day’s news is not very effective for web news.
-Web sites built with traditional news content attract minimal advertiser interest.
-The station video library has strong potential to generate revenue.


Ask web developers to look at television station web sites and that is usually the first word out of their mouths. Banner ads zip and strobe around the screen. Long rows of tiny head shots span across the top of the page, with everyone but the custodian flashing their pearly whites. Glance over to the left side of the home page and you will often find more than 30 links with everything from lawyer referrals, to job listings, to breaking news. It is overwhelming. Click on any of these links and you’ll often find dated content and very little video, considering it is a TV site. The content is a mile wide and an inch deep.

Plain and simple, most stations just don’t have the resources to populate their sites with meaty content. Most TV station web sites are badly undermanned. One of the busiest people in the station is the webmaster. She has a constant battle just to keep the information current, let alone compelling. If we examine web site traffic numbers we can convince ourselves the numbers are good. We can site exponential growth but when you compare the numbers to other comparable sites, the totals are embarrassingly low. We know we need to be in the web game, but the majority of TV stations are playing not to lose. We’re not putting much money into them because we’re not getting much money out of them.

The problem is our mindset. We’re trying to recreate broadcasting on the web. We do the web just like we do TV – broad. There is just a little bit of everything and not enough of anything. Because of its very nature, TV news has evolved to become a headline service. Our web sites mirror our on-air broadcast. You usually leave our web sites still hungry, wishing for a little more meat on the bone.

The big problem is that the advertisers just aren’t buying our sites. If your web site is a headline service that mirrors your on-air broadcast, you are your own worst enemy when it comes to revenue generation. If both mediums contain the same type of content, they will generally attract similar audiences. The cost per thousand of TV is exponentially better than the same rate online. If that’s the case, why would an advertiser pay much more for an ad on the TV weather page when a commercial in the TV weather forecast will delivery many more people at a lower price?

The Xs and Os content of local TV news is a losing game on the web. Sites that feature insubstantial amounts of general news are attractive to no one. Basic local news, weather and sports sites have a hard time recruiting new advertisers. Most TV web site buys simply move dollars from the TV broadcast buy to the TV web buy. Little new revenue is created. If your site is squarely focused on selling to middle America demos of TV news, you’ll have some powerful competition from traditional media.

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Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at