Fast Track


Making Moves

Jeff Sagansky resigned as Paxson vice chairman and board member last week. He had been CEO and president of Paxson but stepped down from that post last December. He joined Paxson in 1998. ...

Bryan Tramont will replace Marsha MacBride as FCC Chairman Michael Powell's chief of staff. Tramont is currently Powell's senior legal adviser. He also served as senior adviser to Commissioners Kathleen Abernathy and Harold Furchtgott-Roth. ...

Julia Johnson, former chair of the Florida Public Services Commission, will head the FCC's new federal advisory committee on Diversity in the Digital Age. Johnson, an African-American whose name had been raised as a potential FCC commissioner, is the president of Netcommunications, a public-policy consulting firm. ...

Conservative radio host Mike Gallagher is joining Fox News Channel as a contributor. He will appear regularly on Fox & Friends and Dayside With Linda Vester. His syndicated Mike Gallagher Show airs on 200 stations.

ATAS and Askin Make It Official

Tribune Entertainment President and CEO Dick Askin, running unopposed, was officially elected chair of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences during a board meeting last week. He takes over his office Oct. 1, when Bryce Zabel will step down. That Askin was getting the post isn't news; it was announced last month. but it wasn't official until the vote.

Gavel to Gavel

Stanislaus County, Calif., Judge Al Girolami ruled that the preliminary hearing for accused wife-killer Scott Peterson should not be televised. Girolami said the serious case should not be turned into a "reality" show and some privacy of witnesses should be preserved. He also noted that the proceedings are in their early stages and that cameras could injure the ongoing investigation. The actual perpetrator, the judge suggested, could still be at large. ...

The MPAA and RIAA Tuesday asked the federal appeals court in San Francisco to rule that file-sharing networks such as Grokster and StreamCast are liable for copyright infringement when their services are used to illegally download films and music.

For/Against Univision Merger

Another Democrat, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week expressed support for the proposed $3.5 billion merger of Univision and Hispanic Broadcasting. The assistant Democratic leader argues that the two companies together can better serve their Spanish-speaking audience because they will have the muscle to compete with large English-speaking media conglomerates and take advantage of the same economies of scale.

On Aug. 15, a half-dozen Hispanic religious broadcasters met with a White House adviser on Latino issues to express concerns about a merger of Univision and HBC. They also met with FCC Chairman Michael Powell's media advisor, Paul Gallant, and with Commissioner Kevin Martin. They called on the president and commissioners to hold a public review of the merger, saying that, if the merger is allowed, it will be "economically impossible for any Christian or secular radio or TV station to survive."

Soft Story at the End

Two foreign tourists separated during the Northeast blackout while visiting the Empire State Building found each other after enlisting the aid of the media, WPIX-TV reports. Andre Luu, a 66-year-old retired mechanical engineer who lives in Paris, was separated from his 58-year-old wife, Sabine Luu. They were reunited after a WPIX-TV news report that he was missing. Mr. Luu, who had become disoriented and was robbed of a small sum, hailed a cab, wanting to go to Paris. He was taken to LaGuardia, where a policemen took him to the hospital. A doctor's assistant at Mt. Sinai hospital saw the story and contacted the station.


A story about the Family Friendly Programming Forum that appeared on page 4 of the Aug. 18 edition failed to report that the forum is an initiative of the Association of National Advertisers.