CBS, which already does the most high-definition television programming, said it will air all of its scripted prime time shows in HDTV this fall. (That eliminates reality and news programs.) Also, as reported earlier (B&C, Aug. 27), ABC late last week said it will essentially do the same. That's a boost to HDTV proponents, who claim lack of programming hurts HDTV sales.
Radio and TV stations should voluntarily keep public transcripts of their broadcasts so the FCC can track indecency complaints, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said last Friday at the NAB Radio Show. "We at the commission put too much of a burden on complainants. ... You should keep a recording of your entire broadcast so we have recourse to find out what the facts are," he said. Republican Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy said stations should pay attention to listener complaints because "you will get nailed. We have an enforcement bureau now." Commissioner Kevin Martin was least adamant: "There is nothing the commission can do to give you incentives to be responsible to your listeners other than the incentives you already have."
Media Advisors International says it's selling its companies to management at each firm. Audience Research & Development and Talent Dynamics will now be run by Jerry Gumbert, Sandra Connell and Jim Willi—who said earlier he was leaving AR&D. TV-program-testing service ASI Entertainment will be run by David Castler.
Unilever marketing executive Brad Simmons last week was named co-chair of Family Programming Forum, an advertising-industry group formed to encourage TV networks and studios to air more family-oriented programs during prime time. Johnson, Unilever's VP of U.S. media services, will share chairman's duties with forum founder and Johnson & Johnson ad executive Andrea Alstrup.
ABC was the most watched network for the fourth consecutive week, and NBC was back on top of the weekly ratings in the key adults 18-49 demographic. For the week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2, ABC averaged a network-best 8.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
NBC, which had its run of 18 consecutive weeks atop the adults 18-49 demo broken by ABC the week before, came back with a network-best 3.0 average. CBS finished the week in second in total viewers with a 7.8 million average, followed by NBC at 7.7 million. ABC was second in adults 18-49 with a 2.8, followed by Fox at a 2.5.
Peter H. Smyth's title was incorrect in the Sept. 3 Top 25 Radio Groups Special Report. He is president/COO of Greater Media Inc.
Also in the Top 25 report, John Hare, president of ABC Radio, was misidentified in a photograph, and Robert Callahan was identified as the president of ABC Broadcast Group. Callahan retired earlier this year.
To help provide a direct U.S. presence, cable-industry veteran David Moss has been named to head up the North American division of Canal+ Technologies Inc. as chief executive officer. A native of Texas, he takes over his new position in the Cupertino, Calif., headquarters after serving as the company's senior vice president of sales.
Judiciary Committee member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to turn over documents and answer questions about the specifics of Justice's seizure of the telephone records of AP reporter John Solomon. The senator, who wants Ashcroft to clarify the ground rules for when the media can be subpoenaed, asked for a response by Sept. 24.
ABC's Owned Television Stations Group has agreed to buy $15 million worth of Grass Valley Group (GVG) digital news-production equipment over three years. The deal includes purchase of GVG servers and Vibrint nonlinear editing systems. It will initially go to WABC-TV New York and WLS-TV Chicago.
Nobody seems to know how many TV local marketing agreements are under obligation to unwind now that an Aug. 6 deadline has passed. Only Sunbelt Communications (for stations in Idaho) and Pegasus Broadcasting (for stations in Scranton, Pa.) asked for FCC waivers. Sunbelt attorney Howard Weiss guesses that 25 to 75 stations may need FCC permission.