Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/17/2002 7:00:00 PM
Hindery: Not me
Leo Hindery appears to have dodged a bullet amid recent accounting controversies: The Yankees Entertainment Service CEO and former AT&T Broadband CEO was also CEO of Global Crossing, the once high-flying telecom being eyeballed for Enron-esque accounting.
Hindery's name hasn't been coming up much because he wasn't there long. "I was one of three CEOs in one year," he said. (He replaced CEO Bob Annunziata in March 2000.) Hindery took the "friction" for seven months and says he stayed that long only to shepherd the sale of the Web division. Of Global Crossing's accounting, he says, "No one is suggesting anything occurred before 2001."
Hindery's payday? SEC filings show $1 million or so in salary and bonuses, but his options for 2.5 million shares were canceled, unexercised. His take from the Web-unit sale came in options on the stock of buyer Exodus Communications. Exodus stock is now worth pennies.—J.M.H.
The arbitration proceeding triggered by Paxson's charge that NBC violated the terms of their strategic alliance could come in April. The arbitrator is retired U.S. District Judge Charles Renfrew. Paxson says that NBC violated the alliance by agreeing to buy Telemundo and that it should be allowed to terminate its agreement with NBC, which gives NBC a 32% stake in Paxson with options to purchase the rest over seven years.—S.M.
Faced with having to pay in the neighborhood of $500 a day for pictures from a network pool camera trained on the World Trade Center cleanup operation, Time Warner Cable's NY1 News decided to go it alone. The news channel found a sublet in a building overlooking the site. Pity the previous tenants: They were moving in on the morning of Sept. 11 but, understandably, were too shaken by events to complete the move. Enter NY1, which now pays the rent—about $2,500 a month—and has installed a fiber connection and robotic camera that provides exclusive shots for a lot less.—K.K.
Hold the phone
Conversations between callers and on-air personalities could be at greater risk of sanction following the FCC's $4,000 fine of WEZB-FM New Orleans. The station was hit for airing a DJ's conversation with a woman who dialed the station accidentally. The FCC prohibits airing conversations without the subject's approval. The caller said she was calling the home of her son's friend and the answering party claimed to be that friend's father. WEZB-FM says the woman was told twice she had reached a radio station. Regardless, she was "understandably confused" and at no time understood that her conversation would be broadcast, the FCC said. The case is troubling to lawyers because the FCC typically requires permission only when stations initiate contact, the presumption being that those who call in understand that they could be put on air. The presumption is meaningless if stations must determine whether callers understand that they may block the broadcast, lawyers say.—B.M.
Fox News Channel anchor Bill O'Reilly is looking to get back into first-run syndication. O'Reilly, who anchored Inside Edition in 1989-95, is in discussions with Fox's syndication unit, Twentieth Television, about hosting his own daily syndicated talk show. Sources say Twentieth is looking to do some local-market test runs on the Fox-owned TV stations, which it has used to launch a number of recent syndicated projects, including court series Texas Justice. "We're just talking, and, if we were to do anything, it wouldn't be for at least a year or two," O'Reilly says. The host of Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor has a background as a local and national investigative reporter for ABC and CBS.—J.S.
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