|ABA E-NEWS January 17, 2006 Issue #06-03
For Sale By Owner...
NBCU Selling Four Small-Market TV Stations
JANUARY 11, 2006 -
Looking to refine its station portfolio, NBC Universal has put four of its smallest-market TV stations up for sale. The sale could bring in an estimated $600 million.
The four owned-and-operated NBC stations put on the block this week are: WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio; WJAR-TV in Providence, R. I.; WNCN-TV in Raleigh, N.C. and WVTM-TV in Birmingham, Ala. Combined, the stations reach 2.9 percent of total U.S. TV households.
The sale, which would leave NBCU with 10 owned-and-operated NBC stations, is part of a broader strategy at the TV group to focus on larger markets, seek out duopoly opportunities and acquire stations in the fastest-growing Hispanic markets. Last year, the group purchased KBLR, the Telemundo affiliate in Las Vegas from Summit Media Limited Partnership, giving NBC its 15th O&O Telemundo station.
In Phoenix, the group is swapping signals to put its Telemundo station on a stronger signal.
"And the survey says...."
The NAB's community service survey was mailed to all commercial television and radio stations across the country recently. We know that 2005 was a year of exceptional giving for our industry. The NAB is documenting that in the state and national community service reports which will be released in June. In addition to the census, public service stories are gathered through interviewing stations about their community involvement.
As in the past, NAB is available to interview stations about their community service work. If you would like to talk to the NAB directly, please respond to the ABA (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately. They would like to begin the interview process as soon as possible.
Otherwise, information you provide in the survey you received or information you provide to the ABA will be used in the National Report. Below is a list of questions about your community service. Please assign someone on your staff to respond in writing to these questions or let us know you want to be interviewed over the phone by the ABA or the NAB.
Questions about your public service:
1. Tell me about your station’s top three public service initiatives in calendar year 2005 (include only non-paid campaigns).
2. Which organizations were the beneficiaries of these initiatives?
3. What was the result in terms of money raised, food collected, pints of blood donated, etc?
4. Were the activities on-air, off-air or both?
5. Did your station receive any awards for these public service efforts?
Questions about crisis/disaster situations:
1. Were there any local or regional disasters or crises that your station responded to—including weather situations, fires, etc.? What did you do?
2. Do you have any extraordinary stories of broadcaster heroism from the disaster or crisis?
3. Did your station participate in relief and recovery efforts connected to the 2005 hurricane season? What did you do?
Questions about recognition of public service:
1. Are you willing to share any illustrative audio or video about your efforts, photos, testimonials, etc?
2. Could you provide the names and contact information of community leaders and/or beneficiaries of your station’s public service that we could use for follow-up interviews?
Also from the NAB...BROADCAST LEGISLATIVE ISSUES
The Budget Reconciliation bill includes DTV provisions, including a February 2009 hard date, that were supported by NAB. The Senate passed that legislation, however, Senate Democrats raised a “point of order” on a non-broadcast policy issue. That parliamentary maneuver slightly altered the legislation from the previously House-passed measure, thereby requiring the House to revisit the bill. By all accounts, the House will likely pass the legislation.
The Senate Commerce Committee and House Commerce Committee will begin examining DTV cable carriage issues this year. Broadcasters support a multicast must-carry rule and properly crafted cable “down conversion” provisions that do not penalize broadcasters or consumers.
95 House Members have cosponsored H.R. 998, legislation aimed at keeping satellite to the terms of its national-only licenses.
HD-Radio continues to offer the radio industry a promising answer to satellite and other digital competitors. Congress may get involved in this matter as it considers legislating a radio “broadcast flag” to prevent digital piracy. Broadcasters will work with Congress to prevent digital copy protection proposals from being overly broad and slowing the HD Radio rollout.
VIDEO OVER BROADBAND
The House and Senate will seek legislation to enable the Bells to enter the video market. The accelerated deployment of Video Over Broadband will provide much needed competition to the cable monopolies and broadcasters are therefore generally supportive of this advancement. However, the new video market entrants should be governed by the same rules as cable operators when it comes to their relationship with broadcasters.
Specifically, Congress should ensure that the must-carry/retransmission consent regime applies to the new Bell video providers. Congress should also craft legislation that respects network non-duplication and syndicated program exclusivity rights. Establishing this type of framework will ensure that local television broadcasting remains vibrant in the Internet video age.
Welcome to Craig Marrs who will be the new General Manager at WHNT-TV. He's scheduled to be on board at the end of January.
NCSA NEWS: SHORTER ARMY NATIONAL GUARD RADIO SPOTS AVAILABLE ON ABA WEBSITE...
Thanks to the kind folks at Citadel in Tuscaloosa (Gigi South) and the folks at Qantum of Auburn (Jim Powell, Bill Morgan), we have additional Army National Guard spots. Sgt. Ricky Matthews and Sgt. Mit Rice who appear in the TV spots are now featured in our own radio spots. Ricky went to the Citadel studios and Mit worked with Qantum to cut what was previously provided as "live reads" on our website. As you might recall, the Guard only sent a produced :60. As of tomorrow morning (1/18), you can go to www.al-ba.com and download :30s and :15s. There are versions featuring each soldier, dry and with a music bed. We have given them ABA codes to help identify them on your affidavits.
More NCSA News: The ABA has committed to our NCSA partners to report airings on a monthly basis. This change in procedure came as a result of a request from the Army National Guard to all state broadcast associations. Since we will be doing so for them, we'll do this for all ABA NCSA participants. It is more important than ever that you send affidavits in a timely manner. We appreciate your committment to the association. Please call or write (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
Local Paper to Feature Local Radio...
Check out the Sunday edition of the Times Daily from Florence this week. Reporter Ty West is writing a feature on the future of broadcast radio. The feature will be the cover story of the Business page. You can see the story at www.timesdaily.com if you don't have access to the paper.
DEAF and HARD OF HEARING (HOH) ARE WATCHING...
(Sharon Tinsley, ABA Executive Director)
I was invited several months ago to join the Committee for Emergency Information for the Deaf and HOH in the Wiregrass area. Administrators from the regional facility of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind put the committee together to address the need to better communicate emergency information to the large number of hearing impaired people in the region. Because the AIDB has a facility in the area, there is a large number of these folks in the seven county Wiregrass. They are aware of the captioning rules for television and expressed concerns about captioning in the first couple of meetings. One of the major concerns to come out of the meetings is that sometimes station crawls overlap each other. Please remember when placing your captioning on screen to watch out for other crawls you might have on at the same time.
Most of the meetings have focused on organizing a program to send alerts to the hearing impaired over pagers. A plan is coming together and a pilot program may be in place by June 1st. All the EMA Directors from the region are among the participants and will be the sources of emergency pages. They already have a similar plan in place for first responders and volunteers. WTVY-TV has been working closely with the committee.
"On the road again..."
(Sharon Tinsley, ABA Executive Director)
I put on miles and pounds last week as I traveled across parts of south Alabama. I managed to eat my way across the state as I visited with ABA members. On Wednesday evening (1/11) I had the pleasure of dining with associate member Terry Duffie, Sharon, their son and his girlfriend in Dothan. On Thursday morning, I had breakfast with J.R. Wilson (WAGF-AM/FM, WJJN-FM) and his wife Marthie dropped by. I stayed at J.R.'s hotel Wednesday night. He owns the Sleep Inn on Hwy 231 in Dothan and I highly recommend the hotel for anyone traveling through the area.
After a meeting with the Committee for Emergency Information for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (see previous "story"), I had lunch with Pat Dalbey of WTVY-TV in Dothan. Pat is ABA's Immediate Past President and one of the hardest working men in show business. I drove from Dothan to Selma where I visited the Reynolds "compound" and had dinner with Mike and Lisa Reynolds (WHBB and WDXX) and their lovely daughter Lindsay. Mike arranged for me to stay at the historic Saint James hotel. You should stop in for a look around even if you are only passing through. The hotel is now under the charge of a former Ritz-Carlton manager who has whipped things into fine shape.
On Friday morning, I visited Scott Alexander's stations(WALX, WMRK, WJAM, et al!). Scott, his wife and son took me to the renovated Pancake House for breakfast. I think they go by every morning to sample the waffles. From there, I drove back up to Montgomery where Hoyt Andres (incoming ABA President) took me to the Montgomery Country Club for lunch. I had the famous bread pudding AND the banana pudding.
You thought I was kidding about the pounds... not so. Everyone was doing well and I appreciate all the hospitality. I'll be in your neighborhood soon!