Jessell at Large

Top Of Mind: Duopolies, Tribune, TV Violence

FCC inaction on media ownership suggests that it may not outlaw virtual duopolies. ~~ Peter Liguori, the newly minted CEO of Tribune Co., says he hasn’t ruled out holding onto the newspapers, one of which, the flagship Chicago Tribune, just this week demonstrated some first-rate reporting with a four-part series on what led toTribune's four-year bankruptcy nightmare. ~~ It’s hard to understand why TV programmers won’t step up and take any responsibility for the epidemic of gun violence — and offer something other than platitudes and volunteering to be “part of the conversation.”
TVNewsCheck,

The NAB and individual broadcasters who have been intensely lobbying the FCC lately not to outlaw virtual duopolies received some encouraging words from FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell this week.

"The commission must resist calls for limiting, and therefore discouraging, the use of joint sales, shared service, and local news service agreements," he said in a speech before the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.

Story continues after the ad

Through the use of such agreements, broadcasters have been combining station operations in markets — creating so-called virtual duopolies — where the FCC local duopoly rules say they can't own two stations outright.

Rather than relaxing the duopoly rules in the FCC's current review of the all its ownership limits to permit outright dual ownership, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants to crack down on the sharing arrangements, maybe even forcing broadcasters to undo existing ones.

But that's all backwards, said McDowell. "These agreements provide efficiencies that lower operation and production costs for broadcasters enabling them to deploy more resources that benefit more consumers."

Such arrangements have benefited foreign-language and women- and minority-owned stations and maintained or increased the number of stations in small markets broadcasting news, he said.

Brand Connections

"The commission must not regulate without a full understanding of how these agreements are used and how they enhance viewpoint diversity and  augment local news and information programming in the places that need it most.

"By creating new counterproductive attribution rules targeting these agreements, especially with a dearth of evidence to support such a radical policy shift, the FCC may end up raising costs, reducing local programming and ultimately diminishing diversity."

Those are fine words, all right. Unfortunately, the sentiments are shared by only one of the other four commissioners, fellow Republican Ajit Pai.

The FCC's Democratic majority led by Genachowski seems inclined to curtail the sharing arrangements to one extent or another.

In their filings and visits to the FCC, broadcasters have been supplying ample evidence backing up McDowell's assertions and making a variety of other sound arguments.

That Genachowski can't seem to bring the ownership proceeding to a vote suggests that the broadcasters may be making some headway and that the Media Bureau staff — or at least one of the other Dems — is having second thoughts. Let's hope.

 ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~  

I am rooting for Peter Liguori, the newly installed CEO of the Tribune Co. The country needs another big, strong media company with solid journalistic credentials.

In an interview with the flagship Chicago Tribune, Liguori confounds conventional wisdom by suggesting that he may not spin off the Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, even though their well-documented financial struggles (along with the $13 billion of debt heaped on the company in the Sam Zell takeover) were chiefly responsible for plunging the company into its hellish and costly four-year bankruptcy.

In a separate interview in the Tribune's Los Angeles Times, Liguori says that he is obliged to hear out anybody interested in buying the papers. "But that runs parallel to my working with you guys on running the business on a day-to-day basis to maximize the value."

Liguori, who had his greatest success programming FX for News Corp., tells both papers he wants to make more of cable network WGN America. "I do think we should be ... investing in it and creating original programming which services the audience," he says in the Times. "If we do a good job at that, we're going to attract advertisers and be of greater value."

Liguori doesn't say anything in either of the articles about Tribune's 23 TV stations, presumably because he wasn't asked. That's surprising. I would guess that the stations have been the most reliably profitable part of the company for the last several years.

We reported a few weeks ago that Tribune is eschewing high-priced off-network sitcoms in favor of developing its own first-run programming that it could syndicate to other broadcasters. It will be interesting to see if the new Tribune sticks with the strategy.

I also have to wonder whether Liguori will stick with Nils Larsen as head of broadcasting. Larsen is a Zell man, the architect of the takeover bid that has to go down in history as one of the worst ever.

How bad was it? For that answer, I refer you to the four-part series on takeover and subsequent bankruptcy that ran in the Tribune this week (Warning: It's behind a pay wall.) You shake your head in disbelief that Zell was able to pull it off. But don't bother if you are looking for the sensational or the dramatic.

Reporters Michael Oneal and Steve Mills identify no real bad guys, only a bunch of dumb ones or perhaps smart guys blinded by greed and ambition. And there are no new revelations of one-time CEO Randy Michael's antics. That was disappointing, I'll have to admit.

Tags

Comments (3) -

GetReal Nickname posted over 4 years ago
Some Chicagoans would point out the Tribune's series on its bankruptcy shows the Tribune is back to doing things the way it always did in the past--taking its sweet time to report a news story in its own back yard. Four years late! They could have done this series long before the entire bankruptcy string was unwound..It's an old saying in Chicago: The Tribune can do any story any other competent news organization can, if you just give them six months.
T Dog posted over 4 years ago
I live in Chicago, and I agree. Your statement pretty much reflects the general sentiment from media observers here.
Tripp Nickname posted over 4 years ago
Quoted out of the article: 1/18/2013 "The NAB and individual broadcasters who have been intensely lobbying the FCC lately not to outlaw virtual duopolies received some encouraging words from FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell this week. "The commission must resist calls for limiting, and therefore discouraging, the use of joint sales, shared service, and local news service agreements," he said in a speech before the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. Through the use of such agreements, broadcasters have been combining station operations in markets — creating so-called virtual duopolies — where the FCC local duopoly rules say they can't own two stations outright." Rather than relaxing the duopoly rules in the Federal Communications Commission's current review of the all its ownership limits to permit outright dual ownership, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants to crack down on the sharing arrangements, maybe even forcing broadcasters to undo existing ones." I personally think that these agreements (Joint Sales, Shared Services and Local News Service agreements should be undone in a common sense to the point it should never happened in the near future. Let's look at Topeka, Kansas for example, the ABC, NBC and FOX affiliates formed into one news service that repeats the same information at different times and the beneficial sacrifice was the ABC affiliate stop airing separate newscasts and started the news service after it was bought by a shell corporation and forced to merge with the NBC and FOX affiliates and it cost a lot of jobs and there is only one affiliation that is left that airs separate newscasts which is the CBS affiliate. Look at Sinclair's Columbus and Dayton Ohio stations that it owns directly, Sinclair uses a shell corporation to perform SSA/JSA procedures to operate duopolies that are not supposed to work in those markets, respectively. If I was a broadcasting group, I would say I will not buy another station that is in the in the top four affiliate's list within the market. Look at Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Mission Broadcasting; they have plenty of stations that are under these kinds of agreements that Nexstar takes responsibility for one large station and Mission taking on another stations responsibility with these kinds of agreements. Let's take Evansville, Indiana, Joplin and Springfield Missouri and Little Rock, Arkansas. For example: Springfield's CBS affiliate is owned by Mission and its services are being handled by Nexstar's station in the Springfield area. In Joplin, the NBC Affiliate controls the ABC affiliate's and they both air repetitive newscasts and have different anchors and in Evansville, Indiana, The ABC affiliate is owned by Nexstar and the former FOX affiliate (that is now independent) is controlled by that station by this agreement that severed each stations newscasts and formed an merger called "Eyewitness News" and this product in my personal opinion is an disgrace to people who don't want to lose their jobs over mergers. And finally, Little Rock Arkansas, Nexstar and Mission just complete an sale from Newport Television in Little Rock Arkansas just last year and not realizing that Nexstar owned the NBC and MY Network TV affiliate and wanted a four-way operations in which the FOX and CW affiliate were sold to a shell corporation called Mission Broadcasting. As an result, the FOX and CW affiliate's are being run by Nexstar and all of news, production, sales and master control operations of those two stations have been outsourced to other operations that station group owns and operate. Folks there are more and more virtual duopolies within the United States that need to be undone as soon as the FCC can get to them. Simply put it this way, I would like to see the FCC start unraveling these so called virtual duopolies with these affected stations and I personally want Nexstar and Sinclair to start with removing the agreements and after that, FORCE any other station group that has these kinds of operations to undo the same thing, It is simple as that! (I apoligize for the long and personal issues and sentences, but I would like to see these virtual duopolies and tripolies undone a lot more as much as anyone else does in the United States) if you don't believe in me: here are some articles that would explain a whole can of virtual duopolies: 1)http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/471840-Topeka_Triopoly_Takes_Off.php 2)http://rbr.com/nexstar-gets-bigger-in-little-rock/ 3)http://rbr.com/sinclairs-rochester-dealings-detailed/ 4)http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/19029/nexstar-signs-lsa-for-ktve-monroe-la?ref=search 5)http://www.mediabistro.com/tvspy/category/tucson/page/3 6)http://www.tvnewscheck.com/link/53713/weht-wtvw-to-merge-news-operations/comments?ref=search 7)http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/42968/nexstar-joplin-duop-settles-in-new-home?ref=search 8)http://www.tvnewscheck.com/article/48924/is-an-abcnbc-duopoly-coming-to-topeka 9)http://lubbockonline.com/stories/021799/bus_0217990010.shtml 10)http://www.freepress.net/sites/default/files/resources/Joint_Letter_on_FCC_Media_Ownership_Rules_12-13-12.pdf 11)http://bostonglobe.com/editorial/2013/01/05/bad-rule-bad-tactics-from-fcc/VVFsPjFNcqr3ZiLtthAgkN/story.html 12)http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/business/media/local-tv-stations-cut-costs-by-sharing-news-operations.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Marketshare Blog Playout Blog

Twitter

TVNewsCheck

Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 29, 2016
  • 1.
    1.6/6
  • 2.
    1.2/4
  • 3.
    1.2/4
  • 4.
    0.9/3
  • 5.
    0.6/2
  • 6.
    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

This advertisement will close automatically in  second(s). You will see this ad no more than once a day. Skip ad