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4/20/2007 08:00:00 PM Eastern

Rehr Urges Broadcasters To Update Lingo

Free, over-the-air broadcasting is so last century—well, at least, the phrase is. That was the message National Association Broadcasters President/CEO David Rehr delivered at his organization's annual confab in Las Vegas last week.

Speaking at the opening session, Rehr urged broadcasters to rebrand their issues in new terms—ones that don't make them sound like Luddites in a changing digital world.

"Words have consequences," he said. "We need to be more astute choosing the words that describe us and our positions on the issues."

Noting that NAB has a "team" of staffers tasked with upgrading their talking points, Rehr offered a few of his own ideas for reframing the debate on key issues for broadcasters.

For denying multicast must-carry, he suggested "stripping" (as in stripping out broadcast channels). For "performance rights," he proposed "free music for free promotion." And for the pending Sirius/XM merger—a particular sore point for broadcasters—Rehr offered "government bailout/monopoly."

Although he didn't offer a substitute for good ol' "free, over-the-air broadcasting," he has called it "wireless before it was cool."

But there's one old-fashioned word that Rehr said will never go out of style: local.

To see more of Rehr's neologisms—and propose some of your own—visit broadcastingcable.com.

When Chefs Attack

Anthony Bourdain didn't much care for the Food Network Awards, apparently.

Never one to mince words, the chef, author and TV host sliced and diced the April 15 awards show—the network's first—in a searing screed posted last week on the blog of food writer Michael Ruhlman (ruhlman.com).

"It is a measure of how seriously crack-brained, rapacious and evil the Deep Thinkers at Food Network must be," Bourdain writes, that he actually sympathized with Rachael Ray and her fellow Food foodies after seeing them "pimped out with such casual disregard."

Railing at the craven product plugging and the idea of giving awards to "inanimate objects" (Macaroni and Cheese), appliances and cities, Bourdain called the show a "hideous, stultifyingly boring cluster f**k" cooked up by "some brain dead douche bags from Ad Sales and 'creative.'"

It isn't the first time Bourdain has slammed Food Network, where he hosted extreme-food odyssey A Cook's Tour in 2002. Last year, after resurfacing on Travel Channel's No Reservations, he griped to New York's Daily News that the network "has been weaning out the trained chefs, and the only requirement now seems to be 'Are you perky?'"

A Food spokesman declined to comment on the tirade but said the show's performance (some 4.6 million viewers tuned in) was "terrific for us. We're very pleased."

Cold Cash

You have to admire AOL's unabashed approach to asking advertisers for money. At "First Look," its upfront presentation in New York last week, the Time Warner-owned Internet company literally showered the assembled ad executives in greenbacks as it touted "programs" focused on the pursuit of legal tender.

AOL began by announcing a second installment of Gold Rush, the Mark Burnett-produced online trivia quiz/scavenger hunt for $1 million in gold bricks.

For a new online game called Million Dollar Bill, host Leeza Gibbons produced a George Washington from her pocket as she explained how contestants can use serial numbers on actual dollars to compete for the prize kitty.

And to ensure that no one missed the point, AOL cued a downpour of faux bucks to the strains of Funkadelic's 1971 classic "Funky Dollar Bill." (Incidently, the song is a scathing indictment of Mammonism: "It'll buy you life/But not true life./The kind of life/Where the soul is hard." Ad executives, beware!)

In closing, AOL Media Networks President Michael Kelly invited the attendees to pick up the keypads they used during the Gold Rush trivia round and "key in exactly how much of your ad budget you're going to be giving AOL."

Well, at least they didn't drop any of Burnett's gold bricks from the ceiling.

With John Eggerton

 

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