Stuff to Ponder

Lawmakers are in the media news these days. To wit:

The Dec. 29 Patriots-Giants game will not be shown outside the Boston area because of a pissing match between Comcast and the NFL Network. That’s going on in other markets including Cincinnati. But Senator John Kerry (D-Massechusetts) and other lawmaker want to get involved. Hey, folks, worry about more important stuff, like RUNNING THE FREAKIN’ COUNTRY!

The FCC has relaxed the newspaper crossownership rule so it’s easier for a paper and TV or radio station to be owned by the same company. I’m not sure it matters these days. I worked in a similar setup in the late 70s, and we never had any influence from the paper.

The FCC also took steps to enact localism rules for radio stations.

The NAB is happy about the cross-ownership deal, but not about the localism proposal.

The proposed XM-Sirius satellite radio merger decision may be delayed until 2008 because of the lawmakers’ holiday break. Just get it done, folks! It won’t be a real monopoly because no one is forced to buy satellite radio and spectrum space will be freed up for another competitor to start. Isn’t it better to have one healthy company than two shaky ones beating each other to death? Then, they both go out of business and we’ve got no satellite radio.

Why I should be running a radio station again (but I’m glad I’m not):

Cumulus Media just switched their Cincinnati FM talk station WFTK (Supertalk 96.5) to an Active Rock format, calling itself 96 ROCK. Quizzical move for number of reasons. While it’s true that their ratings and revenue were less than stellar, why abandon a format that appeals to an age group that still uses radio? Active Rock appeals to young males, who are ignoring radio more and more. Also, they are bringing back a station identifier that no one in their target audience remembers (the first 96 ROCK died in the mid-80s). The people that do remember the old 96 ROCK will be in for a jolt if they tune in for some nostalgia. They won’t recognize ANY of this music. To top it off, they are keeping their old morning team, a couple of washed-up sportswriters who have been masquerading as sports talk show hosts for the past few years. They’ve never done a music show. Oy vay! BTW, I worked a the original 96 ROCK.

He’s baaaaaaacckkkk:

Randy Michaels, former Clear Channel and Jacor programming guru, is back with old Jacor crony Sam Zell. Sam is taking over the Tribune Co. and is bringing Michaels in to run their 23 TV and one radio station. Sam will dump it as soon as he turns it around. It won’t be as easy as it was when he did it with Jacor. Times have changed since those heady days of 1996-98. A lot of media people are drinking the Zell-Michaels Kool Aid, but I’ll have a Molson Export.

Will land lines go the way of the pay phone in the next few years? It looks that way. Americans spent more money on cell phones than on land lines last year. Just a few years ago, before the cell phone and broadband boom, land line use exploded because people needed two phone lines to handle their dial-up Internet connections. New area codes were created to handle the increased number of lines. Now, the land line is poised to join the typewriter and beeper/pager in the technology museum.

On Christmas Eve, I’ll tell you why it’s great to not be on the radio anymore.


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