Archive Date 2003-01-30


FISHER SELLS TWO

Fisher
Communications Inc.
yesterday said it had reached a deal to sell two
Georgia TV stations for $40 million but declined to address a report
that its board was reviewing at least two bids for the company.

Fisher
expects to recognize an after-tax loss of $17 million on the sale of
Augustas WFXG-54-Fox and WXTX-54-Fox in Columbus,
Georgia, to Charlotte-based Southeastern Media Holdings. The deal
is subject to Federal Communications Commission approval.

Fisher wouldnt comment yesterday
on a Reuters report that said its board was considering separate
bids for the company from LIN TV Corp. of Providence, R.I., and
media investment firm Sonoran Capital.

The news agency, citing unnamed sources
familiar with the situation, reported that the bids were between $440
million and $500 million, and included offers to assume Fishers
long-term debt.

Details
in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The
Seattle Times also reports
….

Atlantas
Business Chronicle follows up

<<<>>>

TURNER OUT

AOL
Time Warner
reported an unexpectedly large fourth-quarter loss
yesterday as it continued to absorb the disastrous consequences of AOLs
acquisition of Time Warner two years ago, and Ted Turner
said he would step down as the companys vice chairman.

Insiders
say Turner may also leave the companys board, stepping back from
management for a number of reasons, including a desire for more freedom
to sell his depressed stock and a sense of finality after Stephen
Case
, the architect of the deal, resigned as chairman two weeks ago.

One person close to Turner
described his resignation as the culmination of a growing
disillusionment with the company and in particular with the way it has
managed the CNN network he founded.

The
New York Times has a complete report
….

<<<>>>

GROUNDED AND BLASTED

Three
workers were killed and dozens injured by a
powerful explosion in a medical-supply plant
near Kinston, NC,
yesterday that ignited a raging chemical fire, hurling fireballs and
spewing plumes of acrid smoke across the eastern North Carolina sky.

Raleighs
ABC O&O WTVD-11 was first on the scene with a news chopper, beaming
back live images of the inferno

NBC News was forced to purchase
re-broadcast rights for the stunning video after their Raleigh O&O WNCN-17-NBC
found itself grounded without a helicopter. 

The re-broadcast agreement gave NBC
News
the rights to show the video on NBC stations "only
as part of a regularly scheduled network news program, a network special
report, or an MSNBC simulcast" and pretty much stiffed WNCN
with the following clause… "NBC stations may not
excerpt the material from WTVD for later use in their regularly
scheduled programs, special reports, or for any other purpose."

WNCN
later rented a chopper…without
microwave equipment…to fly a photog over the scene for videotaped
images.

<<<>>>

JOBE GETS THE JOB

As
we first speculated last week….and was confirmed yesterday at a staff
meeting….Memphis Fox O&O WHBQ-13 has hired Ken Jobe
as its new news director.

Jobe, 44, who is black and has
made a career of championing newsroom diversity, arrives from Viacoms
closed Detroit news operation at WWJ-62-CBS.

This is Jobes second coming to
Memphis. In 1995, he was promoted from assistant to news director at Raycoms
WMC-5-NBC, which he left in 1998 for the assistant ND job at New
Yorks WABC.

He fled New York after just 18 months to
take the ND job at Cincinnatis top-rated WLWT-5-NBC…then
bolted for Detroits dead end Viacom duopoly in 2001.

<<<>>>

CLEAN SWEEP

Stan
Crumley
is the new VP-GM at Merediths WHNS-21-Fox,
serving Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, SC; and Asheville, NC.

He replaces Ray Mirabella, who was
one of the last GMs to fall in Kevin OBriens clean sweep of Meredith
management.

<<<>>>

STEELY NEGOTIATIONS

With
the awkward departure of Pittsburgh weekend anchor Gabrielle
DeRose
from KDKA-2-CBS Monday, the station now has to
deal with morning weathercaster
Jon Burnett
, who, reportedly, was also asked to take a pay
cut and is having a difficult time coming to terms with the offer.

Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette TV columnist Rob Owen tries, but fails miserably, to
explain
….

<<<>>>

GEVERS IMPROVING

Glad to report agent Rick Gevers
is recovering nicely from triple bypass surgery Tuesday in Indianapolis
and hopes to be home next week.

<<<>>>

SWEEPING UP IN NAPTOWN

TVs February ratings "sweep"
begins tonight, and Indianapolis stations are starting out with
different approaches.

WISH-8-CBS, normally the staid,
quietly dignified station, begins with a comparatively lurid series
about sex clubs for swingers. 

WTHR-13-NBC goes not for
hard-hitting but heartwarming with a series about a station employee who
underwent gastric bypass surgery. 

And WRTV-6-ABC abandons the series
format for one-part special reports that will air daily at 11 p.m. only.

Marc
Allen previews Naptown sweeps
….

<<<>>>

BIBLE STUBS

TV producer Rozanne Sonneborn, who
is Jewish, has sued her former Boca Raton employer, claiming she was
fired for complaining about Bible scriptures stuffed inside her paycheck
envelopes.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, she also
alleged WJMK Television Productions president Mark Kielar
withheld two weeks severance pay because she wouldnt drop a complaint
of religious discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission.

Details
from Associated Press
…..

<<<>>>

20 MILLION EXTRA EYEBALLS

More
than 62 million viewers tuned in to watch President Bushs State
of the Union address Tuesday night, up from last years 51.7 million
viewers.

Of those who watched the speech on cable
news….
FOX NEWS pulled a 4.6 share, CNN 2.8 and MSNBC 1.0

<<<>>>

VENTURA HIGHWAY

If
Jesse Ventura doesnt score BIG, then Microsoft and GE,
which own NBC, will pull the plug on MSNBC, speculates
Verne Gay in todays Newsday
. There is nothing –
nothing – behind Ventura. If his show flops, theres no plan B,
C, D or E. There are no dancing bears waiting to take his place. The
franchise is on Jesses shoulders.

<<<>>>

OUTLAWING NON-COMPETES

Baltimore
Sun
TV columnist David Folkenflik
takes a look at
Marylands legislative efforts to outlaw those nasty
"non-compete" clauses in broadcast employment contracts.

<<<>>>

NEWS HIATUS

Atlantic
Citys crappy WMGM-40-NBC (which is technically in the
Philadelphia market) is "taking a hiatus" from its Saturday
and Sunday night news broadcasts to allow the staff to concentrate on
adding a third daily show to its lineup, said station manager Jane
Stark
.

The absence of the weekend newscast is
temporary, Stark said. It will resume when the newsroom staff
gets into the groove of doing three broadcasts every weekday. The
weekend news should be back on the air in time for the summer season.

"No one will miss us," she
should have added.

Details….

<<<>>>

ATLANTA SHUFFLE

Atlantas
ratings-challenged WXIA-11-NBC, which recently bumped ND Kerry
Oslund
up the Gannett corporate ladder, has shuffled its news
lineup.

GM Bob Walker told staffers
yesterday of plans to dump the 5 p.m. newscast in April, replacing it
with the Dr. Phil syndie strip. Two half hour local news blocks
(at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.) will sandwich NBC Nightly News at 6:30
p.m.

<<<>>>

LATE DART START

As
we told you two weeks ago, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is
only now reporting, Seattles KIRO-7-CBS has hired Atlantas Gulstan
Dart
as its new morning anchor.

He starts tomorrow.

Details….

<<<>>>

WHAT NEXT FOR GORDON?

BETs
Ed Gordon
reflects on a roller-coaster year.

"I dont really know what the future
holds for me," he says.

More….

<<<>>>

New York WCBS-2 reporter Katie
McGee
appears on tonights "Hollywood Squares."

<<<>>>

HOWS YOUR JOHNSON?

After fouling out in 1998 with a lame
talk show effort, basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson
is getting back into the TV game.

Johnson says he will produce and
occasionally appear in the MTV reality show Whos Got Game,
documenting the lives of 12 street basketball players competing for fame
and a $100,000 prize.

<<<>>>

LOCAL LEGEND

Longtime Denver anchor Ed Sardella,
who retired in June 2000, is returning to local TV with a series of
celebrity interviews to be aired regularly on 18 area community access
outlets.

Details….

<<<>>>

WRITING COACH

If you enjoy Mrs.Bs daily picking
of grammar nits, youll thoroughly enjoy writing coach Merv Blocks
brutal dissection of a lazy network news script.

Visit
his web
….

<<<>>>

MRS.
BLUEZETTES GRAMMAR CORNER

"A PBS mind in an MTV world." MrsB@newsblues.com

A Mansfield, Massachusetts, computer
professional, who says he has also been involved with TV broadcasting,
takes issue with "logging on" to a stations website.

"Saying log on to ourwebsite.com
is bad (technology) grammar. Its also redundant (and foolish). Saying
.com or .net already assumes that one has to log on to a computer, or
internet service provider, etc. The only time that the term log on
would make sense in the context of viewing a website or web page, is
if that web page is password protected! In that case you are logging
in.

"Acceptable and correct terms for
referencing a website would be to say: VISIT OUR WEBSITE, or VISIT US
ONLINE, or VISIT US AT TURNTO10.COM, etc. These terms would present a
much more welcoming invitation to viewers. Why use technical jargon
which is incorrect and out of context?"

William Nelson, owner and technology
manager
GoodWorks Technologies Group

It makes sense to Mrs. B.
So the next time you invite viewers to go to your website, you might say
something like:

>For updates on school closings, visit
our website at wsmv.com.

 

More News from Thursday, January 30, 2003