December 31st, 2001
IT'S OFFICIAL! NBC is moving from longtime San Francisco affiliate
KRON to KNTV/San Jose January first, as planned. What wasn't
planned originally was NBC's purchase of the former ABC affiliate
for $230 million dollars. The move gives NBC its third owned
station in California, with KNBC/Los Angeles and KNSD/San
Diego already in the net's portfolio. It also gives Granite
a tidy profit, because it paid less than a quarter of that
for the station when it bought it from Landmark Communications.
Now that the deals are done...it means not much of a holiday
season for the staffs at KNTV and KRON. KNTV has to shift
some of its news around, to accommodate the move from being
a semi-independent for the last year to part of the NBC family.
And KRON has to really gear up, with plans to do nine hours
of local news daily. That includes filling the big void created
by the loss of the "Today" show...but a local 7-9 morning
show would have to contend with the popular "Mornings on 2"
show on KTVU/Oakland. Do you keep your 11 p.m. newscast? Do
you add a 10, and challenge KTVU? Do you add a 9 p.m. show,
the first in the market at the timeslot? While the loss of
NBC programming will certainly hurt, there's also the potential
for the station to follow in the footsteps of sister Young
Broadcasting outlet KCAL/Los Angeles, and do lots of prime
time news. The station's loss could be the news department's
gain, if Young is ready to open up its wallet.
LANCE'S TWO CENTS ON YOUNG'S SITUATION: With both KRON and
KCAL in the same boat with prime-time, maybe it's time for
them to link up on state news, with a real Sacramento bureau.
In fact, throw in a San Diego station, and maybe you create
a nightly statewide newsmagazine or newscast!
JOINING THE BAY FRAY: Mark Levenson joins the Bay Area based
cable network Tech TV, from KTVT/Dallas.
FAA REOPENS AIRSPACE: The Federal Aviation Administration
finally lifted remaining airspace restrictions over 30 cities
on December 19th, including Los Angeles. The restrictions
limited flight paths, and had been in effect since the September
11th terrorist attacks. The restrictions limited the use of
television and radio news and traffic reporting aircraft,
by closing some areas to flights. Restrictions will still
remain in effect for the airspace above sports stadiums, and
other large public gatherings. Law enforcement chases had
already returned to television newscasts, as the restrictions
loosened in recent weeks, and now helicopters can fly in most
areas they were allowed pre-September 11th.
VINNY MOVING TO KFWB: A HUGE move in the Southern California
radio world. KFWB will have to rethink the use of its "You
give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world" slogan, because
in 2003...the Infinity station will be the home of Los Angeles
Dodgers baseball broadcasts. Legendary baseball broadcaster
Vin Scully is a part of the deal. The Dodgers are on Clear
Channel's sports talk KXTA/Los Angeles for another season.
The deal calls for KFWB to carry the Dodgers for five years.
A key ingredient of the plan will be KFWB's longtime plans
to improve its signal, which is solid into Orange County,
but is weak once you head north out of the San Fernando Valley.
The station wants to upgrade its signal from 5000 to 50,000
December 17th, 2001
BAY AREA AGONY CONTINUES: The chess game involving KRON, KNTV,
and the future of NBC programming in the San Francisco remains
a question mark (at press time) two weeks from when a big
affilation swap is set to take place. To bring you up to speed,
Granite's KNTV/San Jose has a deal to become the Bay Area's
NBC affiliate on 1/2/02. Granite agreed to pay NBC for the
rights for the affiliation, in a deal that stripped longtime
affiliate KRON of NBC programming. But in recent weeks, KRON
owner Young Broadcasting and NBC have been talking about the
network's potential purchase of the station. At the same time,
NBC has been talking to Granite about buying KNTV. So, it
could be a long holiday season for employees of both stations,
as they wait to see if KNTV carries NBC, with Granite still
owning it; NBC buys KRON, and buys its way out of the deal
with KNTV; or NBC buys both KRON and KNTV, setting up a duopoly.
FISCHER NOW IN SALT LAKE CITY: Jon Fischer, who headed the
successful start-up of news at WFTC/Fox 29 in Minneapolis,
has been moved by owner Clear Channel Communications to one
of the company's newest stations. He's now the Director of
Local Programming and News for KTVX/Salt Lake City. Fischer's
career includes positions at KTLA, KCOP, and KTTV in Los Angeles.
LIVE, FROM UPN TELEVISION CITY IN HOLLYWOOD? You think I made
a mistake, right? Well, not really. CBS Television City will
also become home to co-owned UPN, as CBS President Leslie
Moonves will take over control of the network. Viacom is expected
to save several million dollars a year by combining functions
like advertising, promotion, and programming. Ironically,
UPN has been having one of the best seasons ratings-wise in
CNN SHAKES, RATTLES, AND ROLLS: Former KCBS/Los Angeles producer
Casey Bauer has been promoted to supervisor of CNN/Newssource's
Denver Bureau. Lindy Hall received a similar promotion in
CNN's Los Angeles Bureau. Meanwhile, about 30 CNN employees
on both sides of the camera are leaving at the end of t he
year. Among those going: Roger Cossack, Joie Chen, Bill Tush,
and a couple of CNN weathercasters. "Burden Of Proof", "Showbiz
This Week", and "NewsSite" are being cancelled.
December 10th, 2001
BELL LEAVING: Princell Hair is headed to KCBS-TV/Los Angeles
as the station's new n.d. at the end of the year, replacing
Roger Bell. He was a news manager at the corporate level for
CBS, and will still oversee news directors at several other
Viacom-owned television stations.
MEL WANTS MORE: Viacom President and CEO Mel Karmazin is
pushing the FCC to drop the current ownership cap on television
stations, limiting companies to an owned station "reach"
of 35 percent of the nation. As things now stand, Viacom will
have to sell or trade some stations to get under the cap,
if it isn't relaxed. He's also promising a double-digit gain
in revenue for next year...good news for stockholders (like
my 401 (k) plan!) but another rough year for news managers.
A FIGHT IN THE FAMILY: PAX Television is the family-friendly
network...but there's a big fight in the family. Paxson is
accusing GE of breach of contract, because of its purchase
of the Telemundo Network. Paxson claims the $2.7 billion dollar
deal means NBC won't be able to follow through with
its alleged promise to eventually buy the rest of the network
it doesn't own
(NBC already owns 32% of PAX, and has sales and operations
some of its major-market stations). PAX wants the FCC to reject
Telemundo deal, and wants the situation to go to arbitration.
in several markets, like Los Angeles, rebroadcast NBC owned
December 3rd, 2001
WHAT NEXT IN THE BAY AREA? With only a month to go...the question
continues about where NBC programming will land in the Bay Area.
Six months ago, the situation appeared clear: Granite's KNTV/San
Jose would become the new NBC affiliate for the region as of
January first, while Young's KRON would become an independent.
But, print stories in the last few weeks have Young trying to
sell KRON to NBC, NBC buying KNTV, and now, CBS expressing an
interest in KRON. (It would have to get rid of KBHK, the UPN
affiliate obtained through a swap of stations in other markets.)
Promotion directors are probably going nuts right now, as are
news staffers. Whatever happens is likely to mean a bunch of
newscasts being shifted to accommodate programing.
NEW L.A. GENERAL MANAGER: George Delgado is the new President
and General Manager of KMEX 34/Los Angeles. He comes from Telefutura,
the new Univision network the company is planning to sign on
next year. Delgado replaces Augustine Martinez. HE'S BACK! Who
says you can go home? Two years ago, KABC-AM/Los Angeles dumped
longtime morning show co-host Ken Minyard, after 25 years with
the station, to try to boost ratings. After a series of failures...who
did KABC find to give the mornings a boost? Ken Minyard! His
new show is called "Ken & Company". He's joined by Dan Avey,
a longtime anchor and reporter at cross-town KFWB. The duo replaced
Dave Williams and Amy Lewis, who came south from a successful
show on KFBK/Sacramento.
BIG WINNER IN VEGAS: No, Carla Carlini didn't hit it big on
the slots. She was promoted from Executive Producer to Assistant
News Director at KTNV/Las Vegas.
TULSA TIME: Angela Wang is now reporting at KJRH/Tulsa, moving