Monday, June 04, 2007

Paul Christy has passed away.

He served as music director and performer at Chicago's WCFL. Years later when I checked into Marina City the engineers had stories (the engineers always have stories, that's how I first learned my office had once belonged to the famous caped capon Chickenman).

Paul did wake ups at Detroit's WCAR and was a Motor City legend. He was an ace programmer and with Bob Liggett put a very successful Top 40 format on WLOL in the Twin Cities. A good man, a good broadcaster. Paul will be missed.

"When facing issues or problems that are becoming drawn-out, 'short them to ground.'" William Swanson

Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management: unwritten rule number thirty...

"If you sense that your organization is spending more time on the bureaucracy of solving a problem than on the actual solution, you need to simplify the problem-solving process.

'Shorting issues to ground' means finding the quickest path - from problem to solution - avoiding non-value-added procedures and delays."

Congrats & cheers: Slacker the online radio service has raised $40 mil in a second round. David Kaplan has more detail via paidContent here. Troy Kelly named SVP, Nate Swenberg named VP both new hires at Havis' Arnold. Katherine Pope named prexy of the NBC Universal Television production studios.

Lewis Lapham speaking on C-Span2's BookTV In Depth yesterday made an interesting observation. Lapham said the language of journalism has become focused on "data" not style or the subtleties of language. My thought is that depends on the journalism, however, in the majority of cases he would seem to be correct.

Katie stands up for DC; CBS talking seamless segue: Friday on her 6:30 cast Katie Couric did a story on the District getting a voting member of congress. Separately, in her online Katie's Notebook video, she endorsed the idea that Districts residents have a "vote" on the hill. Katie having an opinion on a story bothers me less than the buzz that CBS wants local affiliates to segue directly into the CEN without a break for commercials or promos. An incentive seems fair. Another local avail in the cast.

Doing the arithmetic: Don Kaplan writing in the New York Post, The Surprise & Fall of Katie, compares anchor salaries and audience size. He says CBS is now paying $2.51 per viewer with Katie anchoring the 6:30 show (Schieffer was paid 48 cents per viewer, Rather about a buck a head). ABC paying Gibson 89 cents per viewer. NBC paying Williams 55 cents per viewer.

"Our policies should reward broadcasters that honor their pledge to serve that interest and penalize those that don’t....If you need convincing that something needs to be done, consider that only about 8 percent of local TV newscasts in the month before the last presidential election contained any coverage whatsoever of local races, including those for the House of Representatives. This low number is just one example of how poorly stations are serving their viewers. Do stations that make so much money using the public airwaves, but so plainly fail to educate viewers on the issues facing them, really deserve to have their renewals rubber-stamped?" FCC Commish Michael J. Copps from his NYT Op-Ed here.

I agree with Mr. Copps on one issue - good broadcasters deserve credit and reward for doing good, those that fail to serve should pay the price up to and including revocation. The renewal process, as is, fails to provide meaningful public service standards.

Did you catch Senator Joe Biden commenting on public campaign financing? The good gentleman from Delaware was chasing comments on earmarks during last night's debate. Yes, we've heard this one before. If candidates didn't have to raise campaign funds they would not risk the appearance that they did this or that because they were sensitive to the needs of one or more big contributors or special interests. Of course any such proposals usually include free TV advertising. The argument goes broadcasters get operating spectrum, owned by the people, for free. Candidates spend the majority of their campaign funds on TV advertising. Providing candidates with the people's airwaves, that is free TV, would greatly reduce the funds needed to run a campaign. Uh, no. Not such a good idea. What happened to the marketplace? Without respect to campaign funding candidates still need to get votes. Should a special interest "get out the vote" for a candidate would they not expect access, expect to be heard "on a vote" or another matter before congress? Of course. Sorry Senator, with all respect, it's a false argument. Why not stop earmarking or give the president line item veto authority? How about taking campaign contributions only from individuals and with a cap? Better yet, take the example set by Wisconsin's Senator William Proxmire in 1976 and 1982 - don't take contributions.

Georgia on their minds: The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame is having their induction dinner and awards program on Saturday, September 22. More info here. Doctor Don Rose, Elmo Ellis and Jim Davenport III among the inductees.

More Spanish red: Castano 2005, Monastrell (Yecla red wine), Bodegas Castano. An outstanding red, highly recommended. Under $10.00, we found it for $7.99, drinks like a $50 wine. Another gem from the Eric Solomon European Cellars imports. More info here.