50 Licenses in Jeopardy

Washington—License renewals for 50 TV stations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. are stalled until the FCC resolves petitions to revoke the licenses and outstanding complaints, primarily for indecency. Only one-quarter of the 77 stations in the four states won renewals on Oct. 1, the day their licenses were set to expire. The rest may be renewed this week.

Ten stations, including WBRR Baltimore and Washington-area outlets WDCA, WJLA, WPXW, WRC and WTTG face either petitions to deny or informal objections to renewal that might not be resolved until early 2005.

Of course, the industry is watching. Opponents of media consolidation and other activists want to fight renewal of stations they believe aren't providing appropriate programming to children or living up to public-interest obligations.

Novak Breaks Hip

Miami—Just when it's getting fun, Robert Novak, 73, the veteran columnist and one of the hosts of CNN's Crossfire, is going to be hobbling. At 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 1, the day after the first presidential debate in Coral Gables, Fla., Novak slipped in the shower of his Miami hotel room and broke his hip, CNN said. He will require a partial hip replacement.

Sony Ad Sales Shakeup

Culver City, Calif—Amy Carney, senior vice president, advertiser sales, for Sony Pictures Television (SPT) will take over the advertiser-sales operation, and Barbara "Bo" Argentino will direct "a new initiative" for the company, SPT President Steve Mosko is to announce Oct. 4.

At press time, Sony was not specific about Argentino's new role, other than Mosko's statement that she's "uniquely qualified to lead our latest endeavor."

Argentino joined Sony in 1994 and was named senior vice president in 1998. Carney joined Sony a year ago from Univision Online.