In Praise of Local Media

Local media has become something of a laughing stock in recent years – too many commercials, too much fluff (or too much sensationalism), an artifact of mass media’s past. Millennials hate traditional media, the research says.

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The Media Business: A Reading List

I’m often asked to recommend books and other resources about the media and entertainment industries — so often, that I thought it might be worth putting my thoughts together in written form. So, here it is. I’ll update this periodically as new resources become available. Books The most comprehensive yet easy to understand discussion of the audiovisual industry that I’ve ever seen is Jeff Ulin’s The Business of Media Distribution: Monetizing Film, TV, and Video Content in an Online World (Focal...

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Farewell, Craig Windham

I was saddened and a bit shocked to hear today's news that longtime NPR newscaster Craig Windham had passed away. He was only 66. I met Craig during my first internship at NPR in 2002. I was desperate to be a newscaster at the time and even though I wasn't interning with his group, he was generous enough to let me hang out with him during a few shifts and watch him do his thing (and eat dinner with the newscast unit a couple times). Getting to meet him was especially gratifying because at the...

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Applying the “Emerging Zone” Model to Legal Education

I've recently become interested in the economic challenges facing higher education. It's well established that the cost of college (and most graduate education) has increased dramatically over the past thirty years, and fewer students (or more accurately, their parents) are realistically able to cover the cost without incurring significant student loan debt. Although interest rates on education loans appear to be leveling off, they remain higher than they were just a few years ago, meaning...

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Do TV Stations Compete for Carriage?

According to this article just posted by Broadcasting & Cable, Time Warner Cable asked the FCC "to deny the sale of two TV stations over the issue of joint retransmission-consent negotiations, or put retrans conditions on the sale if the agency does allow them."  This isn't the first time that cable operators have complained about stations jointly negotiating retransmission consent -- about a year ago both Mediacom and Comcast were complaining about Sinclair...

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So long, Arbitron

This morning's Inside Radio features several stories about small market broadcasters dropping Arbitron's ratings services.  Citing rising costs, falling revenues, lousy sample sizes, the perennial errors and restatements, and inadequate coverage of minority populations, a handful of broadcasters -- namely those in smaller markets -- are beginning to sell inventory based on results alone.  And according to several of the quoted broadcast executives, it's working. It begs the question: did...

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In Praise of the Twittersphere

I first learned about yesterday's incident at the Discovery Communications headquarters via Twitter.  It started with a simple tweet about traffic issues in the Silver Spring area and quickly mushroomed into a torrent of information, updates, and pictures of the scene.  Media outlets, people who worked in the area, and others posted what they saw, and allowed those of us who weren't at the scene to keep abreast of the rapidly developing story. I briefly was...

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Copyright in Teacher-Created Materials

Back in November, the New York Times ran an article about the growing number of teachers who sell their lesson plans and other curriculum materials through online portals like Teachers Pay Teachers (Winnie Hu, Selling Lesson Plans Online, Teachers Raise Cash and Questions, Nov. 15, 2009). The article quoted Robert N. Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, who suggested that if school district resources were used in the...

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“Party” Goes On; Cover Charge for Clear Channel

I'm usually on top of trademark issues in the radio industry, so I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I missed this one, particularly because it's apparently been going on since 2006. Tradepub All Access announced that Clear Channel has settled claims brought by The Cromwell Group, Inc., a small radio outfit that, according to its web site, owns stations in Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana. Of the 22 stations Cromwell owns, three use the brand "The Party" to identify...

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D.C. Gets a “Fresh” But What’s a “Fresh?”

A few weeks ago (Mon 4/6) Washington, D.C. radio listeners woke up to a new radio station, as CBS Radio flipped it's classic rock station WTGB to become 94.7 Fresh FM. "Fresh" is a relatively new format launched a year or so ago by veteran adult contemporary programmer Greg Dunkin. According to Vallie-Richards-Donovan, a radio consultancy that briefly handled licensing of the brand, Fresh is targeted at "[t]he much sought after 25-49 audience" by being "contemporary without being too...

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