Broadcasting & Cable
Will Arnett, a.k.a. Lego Batman, hosts and produces
Lego Masters, a competition series featuring ace Lego enthusiasts coming up with standout creations, begins on Fox February 5. Will Arnett hosts.
The series will feature pairs of hardcore Lego builders facing off in brick-building challenges with an unlimited supply of bricks on hand. Judges critique their work.
“This show is an hour of fun for the whole family and Will is the ideal host. He’s already a member of the Lego family and his passion for this show is infectious,” said Rob Wade, president, alternative entertainment and specials, Fox Entertainment. “He’s also a great collaborator and, let’s be honest, he’s hilarious – which makes him perfect for this competition.”
Arnett voiced Lego Batman in The Lego Movie franchise. He’s an executive producer on Lego Masters.
“It gives me piece of mind to be able to continue building my relationship with The Lego Group,” said Arnett. “Ultimately, my goal is Danish citizenship.”
Lego Masters has aired in the U.K.
Plan B is executive producing Lego Masters. Anthony Dominici is showrunner and executive producer. Also exec producing are Sharon Levy, DJ Nurre and Michael Heyerman from Endemol Shine North America; Karen Smith and Steph Harris from Tuesday’s Child; and Jill Wilfert and Robert May from The Lego Group.
“It isn’t a show about building sets from a box,” said Levy. “It’s about real artistic people who are passionate in this medium, creating things that will blow your mind.”
Byron Allen-owned studio orders production of 650 new episodes for 2020-21 TV season
Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has renewed five of its court shows for the 2020-21 TV season, including America’s Court with Judge Ross, Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez, Supreme Justice with Judge Karen, Justice with Judge Mablean and The Verdict with Judge Hatchett. Each show will tape 130 new episodes for the new TV season.
Los Angeles-based Entertainment Studios sells the court shows to TV stations in blocks and cumes the advertising across the entire block. The shows are currently cleared on TV stations covering 90% of the country. They also are available to watch on DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, Verizon Fios and Dish, as well as online at Entertainment Studios’ JusticeCentral.TV.
“Ten years after we launched our first court series, America’s Court with Judge Ross, our viewers continue to enjoy some of the best court shows available,” Byron Allen, founder, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios, said in a statement. “Whether in broadcast syndication or on our 24-hour HD network JusticeCentral.TV, the investment to produce these 650 additional new episodes shows our commitment to being the largest producer of high-quality television court programming – and our unwavering confidence in this strong and engaging genre.”
Besides producing TV shows, Entertainment Studios also owns nine U.S. cable networks, including The Weather Channel, and 15 TV stations. It also owns the Local Now streaming service, powered by The Weather Channel, and African-American-centric digital news platform, TheGrio.
Independent station out with nightly news a day before Detroit CW debuts
WADL Detroit is premiering a nightly 10 p.m. newscast starting January 21. Kevin Dietz hosts News Now with Kevin Dietz, a Monday-Friday program.
Independent station WADL airs primarily off-network programming, with Dateline and Black-ish among the primetime offerings. Family Guy was on at 10 p.m. prior to the newscast’s launch.
CBS announced that its CW affiliate WKBD Detroit is starting a 10 p.m. news January 22. WKBD is hiring multimedia journalists for the program, and the newscast is produced at the CBS duopoly in Dallas.
Dietz was at WDIV Detroit for 26 years. He was dismissed last summer.
WADL CEO Kevin Adell said the newscast will play to Dietz’s investigative strengths. It will typically feature two long reports, and will not focus on house fires and burglaries. It will be produced at WADL. “It’s definitely local--what’s going on at the water cooler,” said Adell, who told Detroit Free Press Dietz will fight for the underdog.
Dietz departed WDIV following comments he made at a journalism conference that were in conflict with the station’s zero-tolerance policy on racially insensitive comments. Graham Media Group owns WDIV.
Dietz told Detroit Free Press the newscast will connect with locals in DMA No. 14. “"I was born and raised in this town and I've been an investigative reporter for 25 years,” he said. “I know the community and will be talking about topics important to the people that live here.”
The political spending tied to the presidential election was a factor in News Now’s launch, said Adell.
Fremont, CA - January 21, 2020 - Blackmagic Design today announced that Nippon Design Center Inc. used DaVinci Resolve Studio for a promotional movie for TOYOTA's new concept car “RHOMBUS." Nippon Design Center used the software as a pipeline tool for VFX to work from both Tokyo and Nagoya office in real time.
The TOYOTA “RHOMBUS” is an EV concept car that was proposed on the theme of the values and lifestyles of young people born after 1990.“RHOMBUS” was developed by TMEC, a research and development company based in China, and unveiled at the Shanghai International Motor Show 2019 for the first time.
Nippon Design Center Inc., which was in charge of VFX for the video, is an advertising production company established in 1959 and handles advertisements in various genres such as web design, catalogs, commercials and book design. They also produce TV commercials for big companies such as Toyota, MUJI, and KOSE.
In charge of VFX for this work, they used the collaboration features of DaVinci Resolve as a pipeline tool for managing all the material for producing VFX. Yuki Saito, the CG director, said: “The running scene of RHOMBUS is all made of CG and combined with the background footage. We had a huge amount and different kind of material such as camera footage (LOG, RAW), footage for background which was panoramic videos, panoramic photos and still images, offline material, CG footage, etc. DaVinci Resolve was the best tool for managing and updating such material.”
He continues: “In CG production, each staff member worked on their specialty to complete a job, so footage was scattered because we’ve managed them by date, shooting, CG etc., and it was not possible to manage them centrally. Therefore, we streamlined the work with a workflow in which the camera footage, background material and offline footage were put in the timeline on the Edit page of DaVinci Resolve, and only the parts necessary for creating CG were exported and used. By placing all material on the timeline, we all can see everything as a whole, and always share the latest status.”
“DaVinci Resolve's collaboration feature allows multiple staff to work at the same time, so they can work efficiently. Using the chat function, you can also give instructions and let others make corrections in real time. We have two production bases and used to share the production status in meetings and spreadsheets, but collaboration workflow eliminates transition briefing time and overlapping work, ”he said.
Nippon Design Center’s production bases are located in Tokyo and Nagoya, and each have built their own systems that can communicate with each other via dedicated lines. This collaboration feature is now indispensable for working in two locations, and has allowed them to have already produced various works using the collaboration workflow.
“We are a comprehensive creative company, we handle both still image and video. DaVinci Resolve allows anyone, even a photo retoucher who never touched a NLE, to quickly learn the features you need for your work. It is easy to learn and so affordable to start. With collaboration features, we can save time and focus on more creative work than before,” he concluded.
Product photos of DaVinci Resolve Studio as well as all other Blackmagic Design products, are available at www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/images.
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.
Digital lifestyle network adds more than 400 hours of content from ITV Studios, All3Media
Dabl primarily airs on TV stations’ digital spectrum, including the CBS-owned TV stations in major markets, and also recently added cable distribution via a deal with Altice.
As part of the digital lifestyle network’s expansion, CTD also has acquired more than 400 hours of programming from ITV Studios and All3Media International, including titles from British chef and reality TV star Gordon Ramsey such as Kitchen Nightmares USA and The F Word. That content joins the previously acquired libraries of Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart, Bob Vila and Jamie Oliver. Other content acquired from ITV Studios includes interior design show 60 Minute Makeover, Nanny 911 and The Instant Gardener.
“We are thrilled with the growth we have seen in Dabl in just four months,” Steve LoCascio, chief operating officer, CBS Television Distribution, said in a statement. “It’s been a value add to our station partners, giving them quality content for their digital channels, and been embraced by the advertising community as a way to reach viewers interested in lifestyle content.”
Cites conflicts of interest
In a letter to shareholders, Tegna defended its performance and attacked Standard Media, which is seeking seats on Tegna’s board, as “conflicted.”
Last week Standard Media said it has an 8.7% stake in Tegna and put its founder, Soohyung Kim up for a board seat.
Tegna pushed back last week and this week is appealing to shareholders.
In its letter, Tegna said its board evaluated Kim. “Based on this in-depth evaluation, the Board has serious concerns about Mr. Kim’s prior board service. Many who know him well commented on his track record of endorsing and executing corporate actions in favor of his own interests to the detriment of other shareholders, as well as a dismissive attitude toward the perspectives of other directors,” Tegna said in its letter.
Tegna also said that Standard General has conflicted because it has stake in two other companies that own media properties.
“We believe that it is highly inappropriate for another industry operator to have access to Tegna’s proprietary information, including our M&A pipeline, product development plans, R&D efforts, and partnership and affiliation strategies. Accordingly, the Board has unanimously determined that adding Mr. Kim to the Board is not in the best interests of Tegna and its shareholders,” the letter said.
Tegna said that contrary to Standard General’s assertions, it’s board is open to all paths to create value.
It added that since becoming a pure-play TV company, two year total shareholders returns have been 23.6%.
“Tegna is executing on its proven strategy to generate value through organic growth and targeted M&A. As a best-in-class operator in the markets we serve, with top-of-the-market retransmission rates and TSR performance well above our peers, Tegna is delivering for shareholders,” the letter concluded. “We will communicate regularly with you in advance of the 2020 Annual Meeting and thank you for your support.”
Here is the text of the Tegna letter:
Dear Fellow TEGNA Shareholders,
Over the past several years, TEGNA has transformed its portfolio to become a pure-play broadcasting company, adding more than 40 stations in attractive markets and divesting non-core assets. As a result of this strategic evolution, TEGNA has generated attractive revenue and cash flow growth, reduced economic cyclicality and delivered value for shareholders.
TEGNA is now one of the largest U.S. broadcasting groups and a leading local news and media content provider in the markets we serve. Through the combination of our growing subscription and political revenues and our proven M&A track record, TEGNA is generating substantial free cash flow and shareholder value. Further, as a preferred M&A partner, TEGNA is well positioned to benefit as a platform for further industry consolidation.
The successful execution of TEGNA’s strategy has delivered significant shareholder value. With the completion of our transformation into a pure-play broadcasting company following separation from Gannett in 2015, the spinoff of Cars.com in June 2017 and the sale of our remaining stake in CareerBuilder in July 2017, TEGNA today is a fundamentally different company and has outperformed its peers.
Post-transformation into a pure-play, TEGNA’s two-year total shareholder return (TSR) in 2018-2019 was 23.6% relative to the peer median of 3.1%. Moreover, our one-year TSR in 2019 was 56.4% compared to the peer median of 29.0%. These are the appropriate time periods to evaluate the success of our current strategy, which was implemented after exiting our previously owned publishing and digital businesses. With our recent report of quarterly outperformance on January 9, the upward momentum of our stock price has continued into 2020.
TEGNA is focused on five pillars of value creation – best-in-class operations, disciplined pursuit of M&A opportunities, innovation and expansion into adjacent businesses, maintaining a strong balance sheet and rapidly de-levering, and producing strong financial performance. We delivered revenues of ~$2.3 billion and Adjusted EBITDA of more than $700 million in 2019, and are positioned to take advantage of robust growth opportunities in 2020 and beyond.
A CONFLICTED INVESTMENT FIRM IS DEMANDING SEATS ON
TEGNA’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Since Standard General’s disclosure in August 2019 of a position in TEGNA, our Board and management team have met on multiple occasions with Mr. Soohyung Kim, Standard General’s Founding Partner, to learn about his perspective on TEGNA. In those meetings, Mr. Kim demanded a board seat for himself, but offered no concrete ideas to create shareholder value.
TEGNA’s Board thoroughly evaluated Mr. Kim as a potential director. Board members, including the independent Chairman and members of the Nominating and Governance Committee, held several meetings with him, interviewed a number of people who have served with him on other boards (including those he offered as references), and conducted a detailed assessment of his track record and current investments in the broadcasting industry.
Based on this in-depth evaluation, the Board has serious concerns about Mr. Kim’s prior board service. Many who know him well commented on his track record of endorsing and executing corporate actions in favor of his own interests to the detriment of other shareholders, as well as a dismissive attitude toward the perspectives of other directors.
As further described below, the Board is also concerned that Mr. Kim’s significant investments in and influence over other broadcasting companies would create a conflict of interest as a TEGNA director, including with respect to potential investment opportunities in the sector. We believe that it is highly inappropriate for another industry operator to have access to TEGNA’s proprietary information, including our M&A pipeline, product development plans, R&D efforts, and partnership and affiliation strategies. Accordingly, the Board has unanimously determined that adding Mr. Kim to the Board is not in the best interests of TEGNA and its shareholders.
While Mr. Kim’s strategy to create shareholder value is not clear, our dialogue with him suggests he thinks there is easy money to be made through “transformative” M&A that only he knows how to source and execute. What is clear to us is that our highly qualified Board and management team have a proven track record of proactively evaluating strategic alternatives, deep experience executing strategic, accretive M&A, and strong relationships with industry participants. The Board is open to all paths to create value and has the independence and expertise to analyze strategic opportunities from the perspectives of shareholders.
The Board remains open to hearing Mr. Kim’s perspectives on TEGNA’s business as a shareholder. Additionally, the Board will evaluate the three other Standard General nominees, who Mr. Kim identified for the first time on January 15.
TEGNA IS DELIVERING FOR SHAREHOLDERS
Our strategy is delivering growth and profitability – 2019 was another strong year for TEGNA and our shareholders. The TEGNA team built on its track record of operational excellence, meeting guidance of subscription revenue growth in the high teens while improving overall revenue mix. In addition to subscription growth, our premium over-the-top (OTT) ad network Premion is delivering double-digit revenue increases.
Through our sharp focus on operations, we have achieved ~33% Adjusted EBITDA margins over the last 12 months and we continue to benefit from sharing our operational expertise with each of the stations we acquire, innovating our content and executing on our go-to-market strategy.
TEGNA’s 2019 M&A activity was successful on a number of metrics. Our disciplined approach to acquiring new assets generated significant value, without impacting our flexibility to acquire additional stations in the years ahead. The $1.5 billion in completed transactions in 2019 are immediately accretive to free cash flow and we expect they will be accretive to EPS within nine months. They are also expected to provide annualized revenues of ~$500 million, Adjusted EBITDA of ~$200 million, and free cash flow of ~$100 million, all on a two-year average basis. These and previous transactions have helped drive our outperformance versus peers since becoming a pure-play in 2017.
A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR FUTURE GROWTH
Looking ahead, we expect the momentum from our organic growth and recent acquisitions to further strengthen our business in 2020 and beyond.
Our portfolio has been strategically constructed to take advantage of increasing “even” year political spending with stations in many high-spend battleground states. Coupled with Premion’s capability to address OTT viewers in and outside of TEGNA markets, we are well positioned for future election cycles. In 2020 alone, we expect TEGNA to capture at least $300 million in high-margin political advertising revenue.
TEGNA has also been successful in generating durable subscription revenues in recent years and we anticipate another strong year ahead. Due to the current subscription fee repricing cycle, we expect to generate at least mid-twenties percentage growth in 2020.
Together, our high-margin political and subscription revenues are expected to comprise ~50% of total two-year revenues in 2019/2020, with an even higher percentage thereafter. We are on track to achieve our recently increased guidance for free cash flow as a percent of revenue of 19-20% over the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 periods.
Our strong free cash flow enables us to rapidly de-lever following transactions while paying an attractive quarterly dividend. This active management of our balance sheet includes the recent completion of two debt refinancings, taking advantage of the low interest rate environment to reduce interest expense and improve our financial flexibility. We plan to de-lever to ~4.0x by year-end 2020, enabling TEGNA to continue to play a key role as an industry consolidator in the years ahead.
CREATING SUBSTANTIAL SHAREHOLDER VALUE THROUGH M&A
We maintain a disciplined approach to M&A, acquiring high-quality assets in broadcasting as well as in compelling adjacent businesses that overlap with our existing broadcasting footprint. We seek to acquire assets that are synergistic and expected to be accretive to earnings and free cash flow, while producing attractive returns. Over the past three years, the transactions we have completed have been at or below market trading multiples of approximately 7.8x (6.7x on a tax-adjusted basis). We are well positioned to complement our strong organic growth prospects by taking advantage of additional M&A opportunities.
· We have significant capacity for further M&A due to the ample headroom we have under the FCC’s household ownership cap. Our recent acquisitions have been efficient, adding significant revenues, EBITDA, and free cash flow while using only three points of cap headroom.
· We prioritize high-quality assets that fit well with our geographic and affiliate portfolio and have clear and achievable synergies. We acquire these assets at attractive multiples (at or below market trading levels) and integrate them efficiently to deliver on clearly identified synergies and drive near-term EPS and free cash flow accretion more effectively than our peers. It is industry practice to reflect buyer multiples with and without tax benefits, including synergies. Our buyer multiples reflect the superior value we are able to extract by applying our top-of-the-market retransmission rates to acquired assets. We also generate incremental synergies as we add acquired stations to our Premion business and place Daily Blast LIVE, our daily interactive TV and digital program, on new stations at no incremental programming cost.
· We are a leading broadcaster in the large markets we serve, and through repricing 85% of our paid subscribers (50% in 4Q 2019 and another 35% expected in 2020), we have top-of-the-market rates for our portfolio of Big Four affiliates. As our retransmission rates increase, so do our “mechanical” synergies, which we recognize when we acquire smaller businesses that have less scale to leverage in negotiations with distributors.
· Independent broadcasters have sought us out and we have executed significant acquisitions with limited competition from peers. This allows us to close transactions at attractive valuations and deliver great outcomes for our shareholders and partners.
THE TEGNA BOARD IS OPEN TO ALL PATHS TO CREATE VALUE
We are confident that our strategy will continue to deliver substantial value to TEGNA shareholders. Of course, the Board takes seriously its fiduciary responsibilities and would thoroughly evaluate any bona fide proposal at an attractive valuation.
In an attempt to discredit the Board and advance his candidacy, Mr. Kim falsely alleged that there has been a “rebuff of an acquisition proposal at a premium valuation from a credible buyer.” TEGNA has received no such proposal.
As we disclosed last August, Apollo approached us twice in 2019.
First, the day before our fourth quarter earnings release in February 2019, Apollo expressed interest in acquiring TEGNA at a premium without specifying a price. The following day, our stock price increased significantly after we released strong earnings. Apollo never followed through with a specific acquisition proposal.
In June 2019, we received a second approach from Apollo, but this time it was for us to acquire Cox Media Group from them at a significant premium to what they had just agreed to pay in an auction, even though they had not yet closed the transaction. We met with Apollo shortly thereafter to explore this possible transaction, but there was no proposal that would generate value for TEGNA’s shareholders.
We remain open to discussing potential transactions with Apollo or anyone else, but would only pursue a transaction if it is in the best interests of our shareholders.
TEGNA’S HIGHLY QUALIFIED, ENGAGED AND DIVERSE BOARD
HAS A PROVEN TRACK RECORD
TEGNA’s highly qualified, engaged and diverse Board is comprised of industry leaders with significant experience in areas that are highly relevant for evaluating TEGNA’s strategy and portfolio, including M&A execution and integration, technology, management and leadership, operational expertise, and broadcasting. The Board has a strong track record of objectively evaluating opportunities to create shareholder value and has taken decisive action to transform TEGNA’s portfolio to ensure continued success in an evolving industry landscape.
Since 2013, the Board has overseen numerous transformative and value-driving transactions (all accretive in less than 12 months):
- 2013 – Acquisition of Belo
- 2014 – Acquisition of six TV stations from London Broadcasting
- 2015 – Separation of broadcasting/digital assets from publishing assets
- 2017 – Spin-off of Cars.com
- 2017 – Sale of CareerBuilder
- 2018 – Acquisition of two TV and two radio stations from Midwest Broadcasting
- 2019 – Acquisition of TV stations in Toledo and Midland-Odessa
- 2019 – Acquisition of remaining 85% of multicast networks Justice and Quest
- 2019 – Acquisition of two TV and two radio stations from Dispatch Broadcast Group
- 2019 – Acquisition of 11 TV stations from Nexstar Media Group
The TEGNA Board is committed to strong ESG practices and is driven by the Company’s strongly held purpose to serve the greater good of our communities and to make a difference in our work, our company and our communities. Under the Board’s leadership, the Company maintains a dedication to investigative journalism, ensures its journalists adhere to the highest standards of ethics and journalistic integrity and engages with local communities through outreach and corporate giving.
As part of its dedication to strong corporate governance, TEGNA’s Board engages in a thoughtful refreshment process to ensure the appropriate mix of skills and experience to execute our long-term strategy and create shareholder value. We have added six highly qualified directors over the past five years and three since December 2017. We strive for a balance between fresh perspectives and institutional knowledge, and will continue to seek out directors who will add relevant skills and experience to drive value creation for all TEGNA shareholders.
STANDARD GENERAL’S TRACK RECORD AND CURRENT OWNERSHIP IN COMPETITORS PRESENT VERY SERIOUS CONCERNS
While we welcome constructive ideas and feedback from all of our shareholders, based on Mr. Kim’s current investments and what we learned about his previous track record with other companies, we believe he would be conflicted and unlikely to transcend his own self-interest to act in the best interests of TEGNA shareholders.
Mr. Kim’s investments in and significant influence over Standard Media Group and Mediaco Holding – two budding competitors in the broadcast space – are concerning due to serious conflicts that we believe he has with TEGNA’s business.
Also concerning is Mr. Kim’s record of poor shareholder returns and negative outcomes at companies where he and other Standard General representatives held Board seats. Key examples, which have all been widely reported include:
- The company filed for bankruptcy only 15 months after three Standard General directors were appointed to the company’s board – a Standard General insider as well as two other executives connected to Standard General, including the former CEO of RadioShack, another company where Standard General was involved and where other investors lost money (see below). Litigation by American Apparel shareholders against Standard General ensued.
- As lead independent director of Media General, Mr. Kim reportedly pushed for Media General (with a divided board) to buy Meredith Corp. despite proposals from Nexstar to buy Media General at a premium. Mr. Kim was reportedly “biased toward” a transaction with Meredith that was criticized by shareholders for both poor strategic rationale and inadequate price. Shareholders publicly complained about Media General’s poor M&A process. The Media General Board reportedly sidelined Mr. Kim as it eventually struck an alternative deal with Nexstar Media Group. While Media General shareholders did well in the end, their return was in spite of Mr. Kim’s actions, not as a result of them.
- Standard General, which took a 9.8% position in RadioShack in early 2014, acquired the company through bankruptcy in May 2015 and liquidated it later that year, wiping out other investors.
- Mr. Kim served on the Board of Twin River when the company launched a tender offer in 2016 that was alleged to be part of “an undisclosed buyback scheme which would have increased Standard General’s ownership position while diluting other shareholders. These actions spawned a lawsuit from another large shareholder against the Board (including Mr. Kim) that is ongoing.
In short, in our view, adding Mr. Kim to the TEGNA Board would add significant risk and uncertainty, potentially placing the interests of a conflicted investor ahead of the interests of all other TEGNA shareholders.
A VOTE FOR TEGNA’S HIGHLY QUALIFIED BOARD IS A VOTE FOR VALUE CREATION
TEGNA is executing on its proven strategy to generate value through organic growth and targeted M&A. As a best-in-class operator in the markets we serve, with top-of-the-market retransmission rates and TSR performance well above our peers, TEGNA is delivering for shareholders.
We will communicate regularly with you in advance of the 2020 Annual Meeting and thank you for your support.
Howard D. Elias
Chairman of the Board
President and Chief Executive Officer
Legislators are advising legal team in Senate trial
President Trump has named the Republican members of Congress who will help mount his defense against the articles of impeachment--obstruction of Congress and abuse of power--in the Senate trial that starts Tuesday (Jan. 21).
The White House said said they would help the President "combat" the "hyper-partisan and baseless impeachment," and suggested there could be more legislators joining the effort, identifying the list as an initial one.
They are: Congressman Doug Collins, Congressman Mike Johnson, Congressman Jim Jordan, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, Congressman Mark Meadows, Congressman John Ratcliffe, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Congressman Lee Zeldin.
Those were identified as legislators who had already provided the White House legal team guidance on proceedings "concocted" by House Democrats as part of a "brazen political vendetta."
The President is on trial for allegedly using his power to attempt to solicit the head of a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election for his benefit, and for refusing to provide info subpoenaed by the House in its impeachment inquiry.
Prices for spots up 8.6%
The National Football League continued to be a strong draw for advertisers in addition to viewers, according to new figures from research company Standard Media Index.
SMI said that revenue for commercials aired during NFL regular season games was up 10% from September through November.
The price per commercial was up 8.6% and the networks managed to increase the number of paid unit during games by 2%.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football commanded the highest ad rates, at $617.920, up 4.7% from last year. The other networks also showed strong price gains for their NFL game inventory, with Fox up 13.6%, CBS up 7.4% and ESPN registering a 6% hike.
NFL ratings were up for the regular season, bucking the erosion seen in most other TV programming. On Monday, CBS announced that its coverage of the AFC Championship game was the highest-rated program on any network since Super Bowl LIII last year. With 19,404 viewers, the AFC Championship was up 3% from a year ago.
Football wasn’t the only sport performing. Fox’s World Series revenues in October were up, largely because it required the Washington Nationals a full seven games to beat the Houston Astros.
The average cost per spot dipped slightly in 2019 to $329,700 from $336,500 in 2018, but was up from 2017’s average of $289,900, SMI said.
Despite the dip, total ad revenue for the seven-game series was $149 million, up from $119 million in 2018, when the Series went five games. The seven game 2017 series generated $134 million in ad revenue.
“The NFL and World Series results are a testament to the growing importance of live sports,” said James Fennessy, CEO of SMI. “The NFL telecasts account for 17% of season-to-date revenue across all programming on major linear channels, and 70% of FOX’s ad revenue during the current broadcast year.”
SMI’s data comes from the actual invoices from large media buying groups accounting for about 70% of all spending.
Exclusive presentation of Tour de France in Canada
FloSports, a digital sports platform, said it will be streaming more than 300 days of racing during 2020, including the exclusive presentation of the Tour de France in Canada.
In all FloBikes will stream more than 10,000 hours of competitive cycling programming.
This year will mark the first time the Tour de France has been carried in Canada exclusively on a digital platform.
Some of the competitions FloBikes will feature in North America include Giro d’Italia, Men’s and Women’s Tour of Flanders, UCI Road World Championships, La Vuelta a Espana, DVV Trofee Cyclocross Series.
In addition to live event coverage, FloBike will have commentary and analysis for subscribers.
Anaheim, January 16, 2020 – In the face of ever shrinking UHF spectrum available for the program-making and special events (PMSE) sector, Sennheiser is launching a “Link Density Mode” for its Digital 6000 wireless microphone series. “Virtually everywhere the world over, production companies, theatres and touring artists and their engineers have lost more UHF spectrum than can be compensated for,” explained Tom Vollmers, Manager for the Professional Portfolio at Sennheiser. “With the Link Density Mode for Digital 6000, we are providing greater leeway to PMSE professionals while continuing our joint efforts to secure frequency spectrum that is so urgently needed for productions.”
The new Link Density (LD) Mode significantly increases the number of links that can be operated in congested RF environments. While the standard Long Range Mode of Digital 6000 operates with a 400 kHz channel spacing to ensure best audio and RF performance, the LD Mode uses half of the spacing, i.e. 200 kHz. This means that up to 40 links can be accommodated in an 8-MHz TV channel in Europe, and up to 30 links in the smaller 6-MHz TV channel in the USA.
Giving engineers a choice
Behind the LD Mode is the new Sennheiser Performance Audio Codec (SePAC) which has been designed by Sennheiser’s developers to strike a new balance between channel count on one hand and RF and audio performance on the other.
“The LD Mode provides productions with a choice where there simply was none before,” said Vollmers. “They are now able to increase the number of channels by accepting slight trade-offs in the audio frequency response and RF range. This can be a good solution for applications that only have very limited spectrum at their disposal.”
The new LD Mode will be made available free of charge via a firmware update from January 16, 2020 at www.sennheiser.com/download. It can be used with all existing Digital 6000 systems in the market except for the EK 6042 camera receiver, which will not support LD Mode.
“For those visiting NAMM, we will have the new firmware version at the booth and will be happy to provide you with a demonstration,” added Vollmers.
Visit Sennheiser at NAMM, Anaheim Convention Center North, Level 1, Booth No. 14108.
Wedemark/Berlin, 13 January 2020 – At NAMM 2020, Sennheiser and Neumann will showcase the gear that makes a musician’s heart beat faster – with solutions for everyone from seasoned professionals to those starting out in the music business. Sennheiser will present a new version of the HD 25 LIGHT, which now brings the original sound signature of the iconic HD 25 to bedroom DJs. In professional wireless systems, the audio specialist will launch a link density mode for its Digital 6000 series. A large selection of Neumann studio and stage microphones – supplemented by the KU 100 binaural head – can be tested live. A separate demo room on the stand is available for demonstrations of the KH Line studio monitors. Naturally, Neumann will also be presenting its NDH 20: Anyone that hasn’t yet heard these studio monitoring headphones can hear firsthand why Neumann’s debut in this market has already attracted such acclaim.
This is also a special year for Sennheiser, which in 2020 is celebrating its 75th anniversary. A dedicated 75-year anniversary section of the booth will provide visitors with an opportunity to revisit milestone products and magical moments from Sennheiser’s accomplished history. As well as a passion for audio, Sennheiser has always placed its customers first: the celebration also brings to life the passion of Sennheiser users, and visitors can hear compelling stories from fans from across the industry describing their relationship to the audio specialist’s gear.
For a look to the future, vocalists will want to take a closer look at the audio equivalent of a ‘concept car’: Sennheiser will be presenting a high-rejection stage microphone which will be made available for testing on the showfloor prior to its launch later in 2020.
Live music has always been a key element of the Sennheiser and Neumann NAMM booth, and 2020 is no exception: A line-up of outstanding artists will be putting Sennheiser’s popular evolution stage microphones to best use:
Thursday, Jan 16th - Day 1
- 11:00 a.m. Chris Pierce
- 12:00 p.m. The Campbells
- 1:00 p.m. Shelita Burke
- 2:00 p.m. George Krikes, Jessie Payo, Leeann Skoda
- 3:00 p.m. Ronee Martin
- 4:30 p.m. Media event
- 5:00 p.m. Ari and the Alibis
Friday, Jan 17th - Day 2
- 11:30 a.m. Mackenzie Sol
- 12:30 p.m. Nina Storey
- 1:30 p.m. Ari and the Alibis
- 2:30 p.m. Dilana
- 3:30 p.m. Talkback
- 4:30 p.m. Michelle Willis
- 5:00 p.m. Marcus Eaton
Saturday, Jan 18th - Day 3
- 10:30 a.m. Gran Sur
- 11:30 a.m. Sugar in the Gourd
- 12:30 p.m. Debby Holiday
- 1:30 p.m. Ari and the Alibis
- 2:30 p.m. Victor Wooten
- 3:30 p.m. Judith Owen
- 4:30 p.m. Louisiana Love Act
- 5:00 p.m. Good Boy Daisy
Sunday, Jan 19th - Day 4
- 11:30 a.m. McKail Seely
- 12:30 p.m. Jacqueline Epcar
- 1:30 p.m. Ari and the Alibis
- 2:30 p.m. Alice Howe
- 3:30 p.m. Kacey Lansdale
Visit Sennheiser and Neumann at NAMM, Anaheim Convention Center North, Level 1, Booth No. 14108.
Wedemark, Germany/Berlin/Liverpool, 15 January 2020 – The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) has enjoyed success across its array of course offerings since it was founded in 1996. With constantly high rankings in most government and independent measures, it boasts numerous high-profile and successful alumni in disciplines from acting, dance, and music, through to management, theatre technology, and sound technology.
In sound technology the institute is pushing forward into the future by developing new facilities and new courses that address emerging media formats and delivery platforms. Part of that plan includes building new TV production facilities and a 7.1.4 Atmos Home Entertainment studio. Neumann monitors have been confirmed as the monitor of choice across all the new spaces, continuing a long-standing and successful partnership between LIPA and Neumann parent company Sennheiser.
Jon Thornton is the Head of Sound Technology at LIPA and has been involved in specifying the new studios. He explains that one of the main motivators for choosing Neumann across the facility was consistency: "At least one set of monitors in each of our six main studios are Neumanns - either the KH 310, 120, or 410 models. Even though they are very different products and have different capabilities, there’s a shared response across the range, so as students move from studio to studio what they’re hearing remains consistent. That consistency and variety is important for learning about and understanding monitoring."
The new 7.1.4 Atmos studio was the first of the new facilities to be completed in January, with a structural refit of an existing room by UBE Service and integration by Studio Care, Liverpool. The left, right and centre monitors are Neumann KH 310 tri-amplified near-field units, while the surround, rear, and height speakers are Neumann KH 120s. The subwoofer is a Neumann KH 810.
Choosing Neumann for this room in particular draws on Thornton’s previous experience with 5.1 rooms at LIPA. "We found that the monitors had a very even response across the HF axis. For a lot of things we were doing in 5.1, that meant the monitoring sweet spot was really nice and easy to achieve. That’s just as important when stepping up to the immersive formats."
Another consideration was room tuning and the developments Neumann has made in DSP, delay, and EQ options for the monitors: "With Dolby Atmos, all those things are even more important. Being able to manage delay, time of flight, and equalisation across the speakers is key."
The very practical issue of speaker placement was also a consideration, taken care of by Neumann's extensive mounting hardware selection. "When you’re designing a facility like this, where and how you position those speakers is crucial." says Thornton. "In a 7.1.4 space, it's not always straight forward. There was a lot head scratching by our contractors when it came to creating geometric recesses in the ceiling for the height speakers… But there’s such an incredible array of mounting options for the speakers themselves, in the end it was very easy to get them in the right place and pointing in the right direction."
The new TV facilities at LIPA have been designed by Whitemark Limited, with Aztec as contractors and systems integration by Wire Broadcast. The rooms include a new television production studio, gallery, and sound control room, plus another 5.1 post production studio.
What was previously the Sennheiser Studio Theatre is being renamed the Sennheiser Studio. Thornton: "Its purpose has been changed from one that was primarily a performance space for theatre to what we hope is a very forward-looking TV production studio, but one that embraces new ideas as well as tradition workflows. At the forefront of our thinking is that it’s not just for traditional TV production, but also for working with 360 video, VR, AR workflows, and with Sennheiser’s AMBEO systems. We’re currently developing courses specifically dealing with these new mediums."
Thornton sees the combination of Sennheiser and Neumann as a potent mix for the future of next-generation audio. "You get an enormous amount of reliability and quality in the products, and there’s a wealth of knowledge and support," he concludes. "We’re looking forward to what will be really exciting developments in immersive sound particularly, and it’s great to have partners that are not just producing products, but are working to find out how best to employ them and how best they can be used in the future. It’s about having that over-arching concept or idea, and then working with customers and the industry to get it right. That’s been great."
About Sennheiser and Neumann
Shaping the future of audio and creating unique sound experiences for customers – this aim unites Sennheiser employees and partners worldwide. Founded in 1945, Sennheiser is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of headphones, loudspeakers, microphones and wireless transmission systems. Since 2013, Sennheiser has been managed by Daniel Sennheiser and Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, the third generation of the family to run the company. As part of the Sennheiser Group, Georg Neumann GmbH, known as “Neumann.Berlin”, is the world’s leading manufacturer of studio microphones. Founded in 1928, the company has been recognized with numerous international awards for its technological innovations. Since 2010, Neumann.Berlin has expanded its expertise in electro-acoustic transducer design to also include the studio monitor market, and has recently added studio monitoring headphones to its portfolio. In 2018, the Sennheiser Group generated turnover totaling €710.7 million.
Anaheim, January 16, 2020 – For more than 30 years, the Sennheiser HD 25 headphones have been the professionals’ choice for monitoring, field recording and DJing. Now the audio specialist is launching an all-new HD 25 LIGHT, which for the first time combines the sound signature of the original with a simpler headband design. By offering the same sought-after sound performance as the iconic classic, the new model provides an attractive entry into the HD 25 world.
“The HD 25s are found in DJ booths the world over. Also, they are the industry standard for field recording engineers and for film and video productions,” said Jannik Schentek, Product Manager at Sennheiser. “Unlike the previous model to bear the name, the new HD 25 LIGHT headphones feature the original HD 25 capsules. The minimalist headband design makes them a great, lower-cost alternative to the standard HD 25 with its split headband and swivel earpiece.”
Capable of handling high sound pressure levels, the closed, supra-aural HD 25 LIGHT are ideal for use in high-noise environments. They feature a dual-sided, 1.5 m long, detachable cable. Delivery includes a screw-on jack adapter (1/8” to 1/4”, 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm). The HD 25 LIGHT retail at EUR 99 (MSRP)/USD 99.95 (MAP).
Headphone principle: dynamic, closed-back, supra-aural
Frequency response: 16 – 22,000 Hz
Max. sound pressure level: 120 dB
Impedance: 70 ohms
Cable length: 1.5 m
Connector: 3.5 mm jack
Weight: approx. 120 g
Visit Sennheiser at NAMM, Anaheim Convention Center North, Level 1, Booth No. 14108.
Neumann has greatly enhanced the features of the KH 750 DSP subwoofer, which was launched in 2019, with the release of the latest version of the Neumann.Control iPad® app (version 3.0).
The “Guided Alignment” and “Manual Alignment” functions that allow for easy acoustic adjustment to the room now not only work with KH 80 DSP near-field monitors, but also in stereo setups with all other Neumann KH Line monitors (KH 120/310/420). Simply connect these monitors to the stereo outputs of the KH 750 DSP subwoofer and, in conjunction with the iPad® app, they can now also benefit from its DSP power. In this way, the KH 750 DSP can now serve as the intelligent control center of every Neumann stereo setup.
“Guided Alignment” is a patented wizard where you are asked simple questions about the room and the loudspeaker/subwoofer position and the app adjusts the response of each loudspeaker/subwoofer accordingly.
With “Manual Alignment” expert users have complete freedom to adjust an 8-band fully parametric equalizer, levels and the time-of-flight delay in each loudspeaker or subwoofer as they wish. “Manual Alignment” can also be used to edit Guided Alignments in a more detailed way.
Furthermore, this configuration offers the following advantages:
- Individual X-Over optimization between the subwoofer and the connected Neumann monitors, depending on the monitor model used.
- DSP-based phase linearization of the connected analog Neumann studio monitors for an even more transparent sound image.
- Use of the digital inputs (S/P-DIF and AES3) of the subwoofer for the entire system.
- Lip sync delay for the complete setup.
Further information at: https://en-de.neumann.com/kh-750-dsp-neumanncontrol
iPad® is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Georg Neumann GmbH, known as “Neumann.Berlin”, is the world’s leading manufacturer of studio microphones and the creator of recording legends including the U 47, M 49, U 67 and U 87. Founded in 1928, the company has been recognized with numerous international awards for its technological innovations. Since 2010, Neumann.Berlin has expanded its expertise in electro-acoustic transducer design to also include the studio monitor market, mainly targeting TV and radio broadcasting, recording, and audio productions. The first Neumann studio headphone was introduced at the beginning of 2019. Georg Neumann GmbH has been part of the Sennheiser Group since 1991, and is represented worldwide by the Sennheiser network of subsidiaries and long-standing trading partners. Website: www.neumann.com.
The Neumann Home Studio Academy offers high-quality tutorial videos on various aspects of recording via a dedicated website and an associated YouTube channel (bit.ly/35tgVk7). The videos, which have met with an extremely positive response in recent years, are often described by viewers as being the best in this field. Now, Neumann has launched new episodes offering best practice insights on recording singer-songwriters.
In the two previous 3-episode seasons, the Neumann Home Studio explored how best to take on the challenges of recording of acoustic guitars, vocals and electric guitars. Now, Neumann has introduced an all-new season on the topic of “Recording a Singer-Songwriter”. The first episode of the new season, which is now available to watch online and offers advice suitable for a broad audience, demonstrates how good results can be achieved with a single microphone by taking a few important aspects into account when positioning the microphone. The next episode will deal with the optimal channel separation between vocals. The third and final part of the series will address a more complex setup with stereo pickup of the guitar.
A further season will be launched later this year, which will explore some of the fundamental challenges involved in home recording, covering basic questions such as: “How do I optimize my room without too much additional cost”, “What do I need (except a microphone) to make a recording?” “Which software do I need, which audio interface is suitable”, and “Do I need special monitors or are headphones enough?”.
On the Neumann Home Studio website (https://www.neumann.com/homestudio/en) the tutorial videos are complemented by a helpful selection of written tutorials, product information and #MyNeumann social media posts.
Georg Neumann GmbH, known as “Neumann.Berlin”, is the world’s leading manufacturer of studio microphones and the creator of recording legends including the U 47, M 49, U 67 and U 87. Founded in 1928, the company has been recognized with numerous international awards for its technological innovations. Since 2010, Neumann.Berlin has expanded its expertise in electro-acoustic transducer design to also include the studio monitor market, mainly targeting TV and radio broadcasting, recording, and audio productions. The first Neumann studio headphone was introduced at the beginning of 2019. Georg Neumann GmbH has been part of the Sennheiser Group since 1991, and is represented worldwide by the Sennheiser network of subsidiaries and long-standing trading partners. Website: www.neumann.com.
New streaming service has huge creators and a technology brand that’s second to none
Pasadena, Calif. — “Apple TV+ is home for the world’s most creative storytellers,” said PR exec Rita Cooper Lee at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour, where the recently introduced streaming service just made its first appearance to offer panels on seven of its original series.
The question: Can the biggest name in consumer technology get anyone to watch anything these top creative storytellers produce?
Launched on Nov. 1, 2019, Apple TV+ has promised the end user a potpourri of exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries. Drama The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell was its signature entry. Despite the mixed reviews, it did manage to snag three Golden Globe Award nominations (including Best Television Series – Drama) and a Screen Actors Guild award for Jennifer Aniston for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, which for a new streaming service is an impressive feat.
The Morning Show, however, was only one of eight shows (seven scripted and one non-scripted) available at Apple TV+’s inception. Nothing else has been all that buzzworthy. Only about 5% of U.S. streaming homes sampled Apple TV+ in the latter six weeks in fourth quarter 2019 it was available, according to a poll conducted by market research firm HarrisX for equity research boutique MoffettNathanson. And there was an immediate obstacle: Disney+, which just 11 days after the introduction of Apple TV+ debuted with an endless well of content from Disney films, Disney animation, Disney Channel Originals, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic for $6.99 per month.
This same poll by HarrisX found that 23% of the overall market used Disney+ in December.
Even at a lower monthly cost, Apple TV+ at $4.99 may not be able to adequately compete in the "streaming wars" era unless it significantly beefs up its original programming slate. Peacock, from NBCUniversal, and HBO Max, from WarnerMedia are launching in the spring, and both have extensive libraries to rely on.
Continued: To read the rest of this news feature, please visit our new digital publication, Next TV.
Anaheim, CA — January 16, 2020 — RME, German manufacturer of premium digital audio solutions, will debut its ADI-2 Pro FSR BE, a black edition of its popular reference AD/DA converter, at booth 14702 during this week’s 2020 NAMM Show.
The ADI-2 Pro FSR BE features a black front plate and is an all-in-one solution for a host of devices, including a high-end AD/DA converter, a USB DAC, a high-end AD/DA frontend and headphone amp for iOS devices, a multi-format converter with monitoring function, an AD/DA frontend of audio measurement at up to 768 kHz sample rate, and a DSD record and playback solution.
Additionally, the ADI-2 Pro FSR BE serves as a double headphone amplifier featuring two extremely powerful headphone outputs.
This wide range of applications makes the ADI-2 Pro FSR BE the perfect solution for a number of professionals — from studio engineers looking for reference AD/DA conversion to Hi-Fi enthusiasts demanding a flexible high-end headphone amp to home users in need of an innovative solution that also boasts the highest sound quality.
The AD1-2 Pro FSR BE also includes RME’s proprietary SteadyClock FS technology which offers the lowest jitter available providing users the highest-quality analog conversion and in turn suppling them with most pristine audio available.
Rounding out the features is a new extended Multi-Remote Suport (MRC) with access to 52 different functions and commands for maximum flexibility.
“The AD1-2 Pro FSR BE is the centerpiece for any serious studio engineer, Hi-Fi enthusiast or home recorder’s arsenal,” said Derek Badala, Director of Sales Americas at Synthax, distributor of RME. “Not only does it feature a host of devices all in one flexible unit, but it is now available in a sleek black design. Our SteadyClock FS technology rounds out the feature-packed converter providing users with the lowest jitter they can possible get, giving their mixes and recordings more depth and clarity.”
Clock frequency is an essential factor in digital audio as it creates the correlation between the audio bits and the time reference. While clock frequency is not always as stable as desired, RME’s SteadyClock FS technology included in the ADI-2 Pro FSR BE provides users with the lowest jitter and highest jitter immunity. Excellent performance in all clock modes and high-quality analog conversion allows users to hear their mix exactly as it is.
Same Pristine Sound, Lower Price
RME has also announced a price reduction for its ADI-2 Pro FS high-end audio converter and headphone amp. The new price is $1,699 USD MAP. Similar to its Black Edition counterpart, the ADI-2 Pro FS is a 2-channel AD / 4-channel DA converter featuring two extreme power headphone amplifiers for pristine listening. The unit also features DSD recording and playback, USB operation and supports digital AES/SPDIF/ADAT for a range of conversion options.
For more information, visit: rme-usa.com.
About Synthax, Incorporated
Synthax Inc. is the exclusive USA distributor for RME digital audio solutions, Digigram broadcast audio systems, Appsys digital audio tools, Ferrofish advanced audio applications, myMix personal monitoring systems and ALVA cableware. We supply a nationwide network of dealers with these products for professional audio, broadcast, music industry, commercial audio, theater, military and government applications. For additional information, visit the company online at http://www.synthax.com.
Anaheim, CA – January 16, 2020 — RME, [Booth 14702, ACC North Hall], German manufacturer of premium digital audio solutions, will launch the new 12Mic, AVB Tool and M-1610 Pro at the 2020 NAMM Show from January 16–19. The three new audio networking products provide professionals with state-of-the-art mic preamps, flexible conversion and recording solutions for AVB and MADI applications that ensure pristine audio.
RME’s first microphone preamplifier designed for audio networks, the 12Mic 12-channel digitally controlled mic pre features integrated MADI and AVB connectivity along with RME’s highest-quality converters for professional recording situations.
The new AVB Tool features four state-of-the-art microphone preamps, 64 channels of AVB, up to 128 channels of MADI and four analog channels for pristine audio applications — making it a valuable tool in various recording applications, speaker calibration using SMAART, as well as live or broadcast applications.
The M-1610 Pro combines AD/DA conversion with redundant AVB and up to two independent MADI ports to deliver M-32 Pro-quality performance at an attractive price. Audio professionals in live recording situations will love the flexibility and reliability of this unit which features a unique notification system that provides rapid feedback on the device’s current state.
“With AVB being the future of audio transmission, we’re very excited introduce these three new AVB solutions,” said Derek Badala, Director of Sales at Synthax, RME’s distributor. “RME continues to lead the way in audio networking by connecting audio engineers to the next generation of audio distribution standards, and the 12Mic, AVB Tool and M-1610 Pro are three solutions that professionals can turn to for flexibility, reliability and pristine audio quality.”
The new 12Mic features 12 channel microphone and line level inputs with digital studio quality converters, remote controllable gain, integrated MADI and AVB connectivity, and a multitude of features designed for any professional recording scenarios. While all 12 front-facing XLR connectors accept microphone and line level signals, the first four connectors also accept TRS connectors with switchable high impedance (Hi-Z) for instruments. Both the input circuit design and digital converters are based on the RME Fireface UFX+/UFX II, allowing same-quality extensions for existing Fireface users via ADAT and MADI.
The PAD-free microphone input stages have a 75 dB gain range and accept signals of up to +18 dBu. Integrating new AKM converters, the extraordinary SNR values of the UFX+ have been improved by 3 dB to an astonishing 121.2 dB(A) on all channels. All device states and controls can be operated directly on the front panel with an encoder and four buttons that change their function depending on selected feature, letting the user rapidly create gain groups, switch phantom power and route signals to the headphone.
On the digital side, the 12Mic extends RME’s lineup of AVB devices, all of which meticulously implement the IEEE standards for audio streaming, discovery and control, allowing the devices to be discovered and fully controlled by any AVB controller, making vendor-specific control protocols obsolete. Any signal reaching the 12Mic can be routed and streamed over deterministic networks with fixed latency and guaranteed bandwidth, with no switch configuration required. The 12Mic also boasts two fully redundant network ports based on the recommendations of MILAN, featuring MADI ports that support RME’s MADI redundancy implementation, giving the 12Mic multiple layers of redundancy suitable for live sound applications.
A web frontend offers convenient access to the device controls and its integrated 268x282 channel routing matrix. The matrix allows free routing between analog inputs and headphone outputs, as well as all channels of both MADI ports, the AVB streams, and three ADAT outputs. The device has no fan and therefore remains silent in all situations.
The AVB Tool combines four microphone, instrument and line level inputs, headphone and separate line level outputs, 128 channel AVB deterministic network audio and up to 128 channels of MADI I/O, side by side in a half rack 19-inch device. An internal 260x260 channel router can connect individual analog, MADI and AVB channels, providing an easy integration of both MADI and AVB devices. At the same time, its pristine analog converters interface with the most common analog signals in a control room, a studio or on stage: four XLR-TRS combo inputs with remote controllable 75 dB gain in 1 dB steps, an input line level sensitivity of +18 dBu and switchable high impedance on each channel; a stereo headphone output, and two analog line level outputs with switchable +4/+19 dBu reference level. The AVB Tool features a TFT display with an encoder and four buttons for convenient direct access to all features. It can also be fully remote controlled with a web-interface on any network link (also via Wi-Fi). The device is powered with an external power supply. Seamless redundancy is available for MADI signals when the secondary MADI port receives the same signal as the coaxial MADI input. If redundancy is not required, the optional optical single- or multimode MADI module is treated as an individual MADI I/O with full bandwidth.
Boasting eight AVB streams in AM824 (legacy AVB) or high-performance AAF (MILAN compatible) format, the AVB Tool features double the number of typical streams available in RME AVB core, with configurable size and format per stream. Up to 128 audio channels can be sent and received over AVB in total across all streams. In comparison to the 12Mic, the AVB Tool has the same input stages as the first four channels of the 12Mic — the successful combination of components found in the UFX 2 and UFX+ with a new AD converter, extended with switchable High Impedance and balanced line level on the TRS. Instead of ADAT output, it provides two balanced line level outputs at the rear, for monitoring.
Integrating 16 analog inputs with switchable sensitivity per channel of up to +24 dBu, eight corresponding analog outputs, and an additional headphone output, the brand new M-1610 Pro brings plenty of analog I/O to any studio setup. With its coaxial and (optional) optical MADI, redundant AVB, and four ADAT optical outputs, the device represents one of the most versatile and best performing converters on the market. Recording engineers using various analog effects and instruments in their sessions have requested a single device that combines a selection of the outstanding M-32 Pro analog inputs and outputs. The M-1610 Pro delivers even more than that at an unbeatable price point.
Compared to the M-32 Pro series, which were designed primarily for fixed installations, the M-1610 Pro adds TRS jacks that can be used instead of the D-Sub connectors on input 11-16, and TRS jacks that can be used in parallel to D-Sub output 1-2, as well as redundant network ports and a headphone output with quick access button for source selection and volume. All device features are configurable on the large TFT display with encoder, via network using a browser-based web interface, and also via AVDECC — allowing other AVB devices to control the M-1610 Pro without using anything but the AVB standard itself.
The internal routing matrix brings up to eight AVB streams with a total of 64 channels, the coaxial and optional SFP optical MADI port with each up to 64 channels, all analog I/O and the ADAT outputs side by side for flexible routing between the 208 inputs and 234 outputs. Lowest converter latencies and deterministic AVB networking with configurable network delay down to 0.3 ms allow the M-1610 Pro to deliver samples, even from multiple devices, at incredible speeds — time-aligned with nanosecond accuracy across an entire network. The AD and DA filters have been carefully optimized for different sampling rates, with a focus on accuracy and RME’s signature ‘transparency’ (nothing added, nothing taken). Together with SteadyClock FS — the current revision of RME’s ultra-low jitter digital clock technology — the conversion to and from analog is state of the art, at any level and digital format. As a notable difference to similar devices, the three analog line levels per channel each offer the full dynamic range of the converters. The outputs are DC coupled.
Check out the new 12Mic, AVB Tool and M-1610 Pro and all of RME’s latest products, visit Synthax’s 2020 NAMM Show booth 14702 in the ACC North Hall, or visit rme-usa.com.
About Synthax, Incorporated
Synthax Inc. is the exclusive USA distributor for RME digital audio solutions, Ferrofish advanced audio applications, myMix audio products, and ALVA cableware. We supply a nationwide network of dealers with these products for professional audio, broadcast, music industry, commercial audio, theater, military and government applications. For additional information, visit the company online at http://www.synthax.com.
TOKYO, JAPAN & MIAMI, FLORIDA – January 20, 2020 – Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV), Japan’s leading multiplatform entertainment powerhouse, announced today that two of the company’s highly successful one-hour drama series, Mother and Woman –My Life for My Children –, are set to begin airing on Teleamazones in Ecuador and Red Uno in Bolivia this year. This marks the first time that both series will be offered as finished programs to the Latin American market.
Quote from Mr. Keisuke Miyata, Head of Drama Series Sales and Licensing, International Business Development, Nippon TV
“This announcement is a very special one for us, as it will be the very first time that our series Mother and Woman –My Life for My Children– will air in its original finished program format outside of Asia. It will be titled Madre and Mujer, todo por mis hijos in the Spanish speaking territories. We had been working very hard on distributing the series in its original format for the global audience and are very proud to be able to bring this phenomenal story to the viewers in Ecuador and Bolivia. We hope more countries will follow to experience this compelling series first hand, and are also looking for partners interested in adapting the series as scripted formats, to be remade in the local countries by their local actors. I am very confident that the stories will be very relevant in the drama aficionados of the Spanish speaking countries.”
Both series will be dubbed into Neutral Latin American Spanish to be overseen by Tomas Silva of Dinter LLC.
Quote from Mr. Tomas A. Silva, Managing Director of Dinter
“We have been in conversations with Nippon TV for a long time and we are extremely glad they have decided to give us a chance to work with such prestigious series as Mother and Woman –My Life for My Children–. The success of the two series in both scripted format and as finished product, shows the importance of the production value and stories Nippon TV has to offer in the competitive drama world of Lat Am.”
“We are thrilled to be part of the landing of Nippon TV in our region” concluded Mr. Nipur Bashin, Operations Director of Dinter in Mexico.
Child abuse is arguably one of the cruelest of crimes. Just as horrendous is the all-too common tendency of society to turn a blind eye to this abuse. Mother is the story of a woman who responds to an abused girl's silent cries of help. The drama follows an aloof 30+-year-old woman who works reluctantly as an elementary school teacher and notices bruises on her first-grade student. Initially, like everyone else, she looks the other way. But the student’s wretched desperation soon awakens a passion and determination in this caring teacher. Together they skip town and embark on a risky journey pretending to be mother and child. Mother chronicles the transformation of a once disenchanted woman who suddenly takes on the role of a parent to a child who is starved for maternal love. The drama probes into the meaning of motherhood in modern society.
Award winning series Mother has been sold as scripted format to Turkey, South Korea, Ukraine, and a deal for a French remake has also been announced. The Turkish version, Anne, has also been distributed to nearly 40 countries around the world.
ABOUT WOMAN -MY LIFE FOR MY CHILDREN-
An award-winning drama, Woman –My Life for My Children– depicts a woman’s fight to survive in a difficult world while shedding light on problems rooted in modern society.This story unfolds the daily life of a young family lead by a single mother with two young children, trying to find peace and happiness without any help, struggling with money, living her life for her children who she loves so dearly in a world of harsh reality.
In 2013, Woman –My Life for My Children– won the "MIPCOM BUYERS' AWARD for Japanese Drama" at MIPCOM. It has also been sold as a scripted format to Turkey, and after two extremely successful seasons, is now in its third season. It is the first time that a Japanese scripted format has become adapted internationally for multiple successful seasons. The Turkish version, Kadin, has also been distributed to nearly 40 countries around the world.
ABOUT NIPPON TV
Nippon TV is Japan's viewer ratings champion, topping all timeslot categories for six consecutive years and garnering the largest profits in the country's broadcasting industry. One of the biggest successes for the nation's finest producer of all genres of programming is Dragons' Den, a globally successful business show format that has 40 versions in 186 territories across all continents of the world. The Emmy Award-winning version, Shark Tank, airs in the US. Following closely are the successes of scripted formats Mother and Woman –My Life for My Children–, whose Turkish versions have become mega-hits that have gone on to sell in nearly 40 territories around the world. As a format, Mother has also been sold to South Korea, Ukraine, and France. With well-established businesses that span VOD / live-streaming engineering, animation, movies, events, fitness clubs, eSports, android creation, and digital mixed reality, Nippon TV is leveraging its coveted platform to revolutionize digital media in an ever-changing industry. Launching a channel in Southeast Asia named GEM through a joint venture with Sony Pictures Television Networks, and leading the Japanese digital content market through its subsidiary Hulu Japan, Nippon TV is steadily solidifying its presence and brand as a global media powerhouse.
PALISADES PARK, NEW JERSEY – January 20, 2020 – With the live taping just confirmed to take place on January 28, two days after the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles, Alfred Haber, President of Alfred Haber, Inc., announced today that the company has secured the exclusive international distribution rights to “Let’s Go Crazy: The GRAMMY® Salute to Prince”, a spectacular celebration of the legendary, 38-time GRAMMY® nominee and seven-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. Set to air on the CBS Television Network later this year, the special will feature a lineup of all-star artists paying tribute to Prince's unprecedented influence on music. The company will be offering this tribute at the upcoming NATPE convention for the first time.
The one-of-a-kind broadcast event features GRAMMY Award-winning artists Beck, Common, Gary Clark Jr., Earth, Wind & Fire, Foo Fighters, H.E.R., Juanes, John Legend, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Mavis Staples, St. Vincent, and Usher; as well as Prince collaborators Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, Morris Day and the Time, and Prince protégés Sheila E. and The Revolution. Additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Prince’s artistic vision and brilliance blended funk, dance, rock and other genres of music into art that was, and still is, universally enjoyed and celebrated,” commented Haber. “Let’s Go Crazy: The GRAMMY®Salute to Prince” will be an incredible mix of both new and legendary talent who gather together to pay tribute to the ‘Purple Rain’ artist who taught the world how to party like it’s 1999.”
Prince has more than 40 RIAA certifications, ranging from platinum to diamond. His catalog includes 19 Top 10 singles and five No. 1 hits, including the GRAMMY-winning "Kiss," as well as five chart-topping albums, including the GRAMMY-winning Purple Rain. Prince has garnered seven GRAMMY Awards, and 38 GRAMMY nominations, and he was presented with the Academy's President's Merit Award in 1985. In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received the Icon Award at the 2013 Billboard Awards. Releasing nearly 40 studio albums, Prince has solidified his mark as one of the most influential artists of all time. To learn more about Prince, visit Prince.com and follow @Prince on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
ABOUT THE RECORDING ACADEMY
The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music's history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares®, and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards — music's only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world's leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.
For more information about the Academy, please visit www.grammy.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @RecordingAcad on Twitter, "like" Recording Academy on Facebook, and join the Recording Academy's social communities on Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
ABOUT THE ALFRED HABER COMPANIES
The Alfred Haber Group of Companies – Alfred Haber, Inc., Alfred Haber Distribution, Inc. and Alfred Haber Television, Inc. – together form one of the world's largest distributors of U.S. network annual events and music specials and are leading independent distributors of primetime reality series, specials, and documentaries. We acquire and represent content from a broad list of clients worldwide, including production companies and television broadcasters. For more information about the Alfred Haber companies, please visit www.alfredhaber.com.
Despite having long delivered the largest viewing audience, broadcast TV has been playing second fiddle in the minds of marketers
Despite having long delivered the largest viewing audience, broadcast TV has been playing second fiddle in the minds of marketers overly enamored with the lofty promise of digital. Television, being the not-as-shiny object, has had near flat advertising growth.
In 2020 we’ll see local broadcasters continuing to make the shifts necessary to create a more level playing field, from moving towards impressions as the common currency for buying and selling advertising, to streamlining invoicing and payment processing, all while embracing automation in buying and selling processes.
All of this, and more, will set the stage for the dawn of a new era in broadcast television technology: Next Gen TV (ATSC 3.0) and its promise to disrupt the marketplace by delivering IP-based, device targeted TV via linear broadcast.
Below are just a few trends we anticipate for 2020 as the industry prepares for that disruption.
1. Local TV, always geo-targeted, is moving to impression-based measurement.
Over the next year, we’ll see a huge uptick in local TV, moving to impression-based measurement. Impressions are already the common currency for omni-channel campaigns that include national broadcast, cable, and digital advertising. Local TV has been slow to catch up but that has started to change. With impressions the accepted standard, adoption will accelerate this year as the industry moves closer to linear/digital media convergence. Combining proposals and orders in the same currency and extending that through the entire workflow to include scheduling, invoicing, and receipt of payment, will be a game-changer for local TV stations looking to realize the revenue potential of the coming digital convergence.
2. The industry will move toward holistic delivery measurement.
Just as impressions are becoming the common currency for buying and selling advertising across platforms and media types, the industry will continue the move towards a common delivery metric that NBCUniversal began with their launch of CFlight in April 2018. NBCU touted CFlight as, “The industry’s first cross-platform, unified advertising currency metric.” In a nutshell, broadcasters will sell an impression regardless of how it is consumed. This may mean that an ordered spot in broadcast will have some fulfillment in connected TV, time shifted consumption, or IP based delivery of content. NBC may have been the first to announce such an initiative, but others are sure to follow. (It’s worth noting that CFlight’s metric is impression-based.). And no one can argue the enormous value of a universal measurement methodology, one that provides a holistic view of ad delivery across all digital and linear platforms, including live, time-shifted, on-demand, and OTT.
3. Local TV intensifies efforts to identify & target audiences.
Local broadcasters have trailed their competitors in providing granular targeting data to enable better advertiser segmentation. Improving their ability to identify and segment viewers will enable local TV to offer advertisers more customized audiences, helping linear media to better compete with digital, while also laying the groundwork for IP-addressable advertising coming with Next Gen TV. Mostly this means that local TV, which has always been geotargeted, will provide better data on consumption characteristics of individual programs. To keep up with these demands, local broadcasters will also need to make sure they have a strong inventory management system to manage customized audience segments. Otherwise, they risk stratifying their inventory and yield could end up suffering.
4. A push to integrate FinTech into the media tech stack.
Great strides have been made in streamlining ad buying and selling processes over the last two decades, from proposals to orders, right through to scheduling, ad insertion, and delivery measurement. The piece that’s still largely missing for broadcast media is extending that workflow efficiency into the post-sale stage – and that’s where FinTech comes into play. Adding the ability to include invoicing and Cash-in-Advance, ACH, and credit card payment processing within the existing workflow, either integrated with or built into the existing tech stack, will close the loop and create an end-to-end solution.
5. ATSC 3.0 will attract more buzz but little consumer adoption in 2020.
2020 will continue the trend of "getting ready" for ATSC 3.0 (Next Gen TV), as broadcasters invest in the infrastructure they’ll need to produce and deliver Next Gen content, and as the technology launches in as many as 61 markets in the coming months. But even with Samsung, LG, and Sony recently announcing that they’re releasing 20 TV models (combined) that will include ATSC 3.0 tuners, the first sets aren’t anticipated to reach store shelves until late in the year. And when they do, prices are expected to be high, so consumer adoption will start out slow. As a result, there will be no real impact to revenue until the hardware starts reaching consumers and those highly sought-after, IP-addressable ads can reach their targets.
6. Local TV will follow suit as major media organizations embrace automation.
The coming year will see increased adoption of automated buying and selling for local TV. Broadcast television has been slow to embrace programmatic selling but with Sinclair, Tegna, Nexstar, and Gray all focused on improving sales automation for their hundreds of stations, in addition to network O&O stations also working on sales automation solutions, a sea-change is on the horizon. With the proven success of programmatic advertising in the digital space, and with major media companies jumping into the fray, it only makes sense that local TV will want to follow suit and leverage the revenue potential of automation for their linear offerings.
Photos from the Golden Globe Awards and TCA
Photos from the Golden Globe Awards and TCA
Entertainment magazine to air in double-runs in Fox markets come September
After testing entertainment magazine Central Ave in November, the Fox Television Stations and Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury will bring the Will Packer-produced show back as a double-run half-hour on weekends this fall, the parties said Monday.
“We knew from the minute Central Ave debuted that it is a winner and our partners at Fox agreed,” said Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus in a statement.
“With our consensus being shows like this rarely come along, and with an unusually crowded weekday market this fall, we looked toward the weekends. Having the entire stage all to itself, we believe Central Ave has a good chance to thrive airing in strong weekend time periods with all original episodes and ultimately return as a weekday strip.”
The show is initially cleared to air in markets where Fox owns stations, with Debmar-Mercury working to clear it in additional markets and eventually evolve it into a strip. It's being produced as a back-to-back hour that stations can run together or separately as two half-hours. Stations can pick up two hours of the show per weekend.
Next fall, Debmar-Mercury also plans to debut a daily talk strip starring Nick Cannon and to launch comedy Schitt’s Creek TV into national syndication off of Pop TV.
“I could not be happier with the results of our test and the support from the Fox stations and the Debmar-Mercury team,” Packer said, also in a statement. “This pickup by Fox underscores what I’ve always known: there is an audience for cool, diverse, unique perspectives. Can’t wait to bring that audience to stations nationwide.”
During the show’s five-week run last fall, BET’s Julissa Bermudez and former Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross became the first women of color to co-host a magazine series.
Co-Creator Monique Chenault will serve as showrunner of Central Ave and, together with Packer and Will Packer Media’s Kelly Smith, executive producer. Will Packer Media and distributor Debmar-Mercury co-produce the series.
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Digital Media Rights makes channels available on Samsung TV Plus
When Netflix started streaming its shows on-demand, viewers were freed to watch what they wanted when they wanted. But now old-fashioned linear TV, with its schedules, dayparts and time slots, appears to be making a comeback in the over-the-top world.
Digital Media Rights is launching linear versions of its five channels on the Samsung TV Plus platform. They are being offered as FAST (free ad-supported television) channels. DMR joins several other media companies that found success in the video-on-demand streaming business but felt that some viewers still need help finding something to watch after cutting the cord.
“Linear TV often gets overlooked within the context of a streaming war dominated thus far by SVOD giants, but platforms like Samsung TV Plus provide the perfect environment for people who are looking to unwind and unplug,” said David Chu, president of DMR, which he co-founded 10 years ago. The company’s businesses are digital content aggregation and distribution, over-the-top digital networks and an advertising marketplace.
Online Linear Viewing Grows
Chu points to the growth of streamer Pluto TV, Roku and Xumo, which are seeing bigger chunks of viewing coming via linear channels. At the same time, smart TV operating systems like Samsung’s have gotten less clunky and easier to use.
“It sounds counterintuitive because for the past seven years, we’ve just been conditioned to watch video-on-demand on streaming services,” he said.
Chu said he subscribes to several subscription services. “I’ll be there for 10, 20 minutes flipping through a video-on-demand service, and I still don’t know what I want to watch,” he said. He still subscribes to pay TV and has four or five go-to channels. “I enjoy that lean-back experience and I think the average audience member does, too.”
As viewers — especially 18-to-34-year-olds — cut the cord and go over-the-top, advertisers are starting to follow. And as agencies and brands see that linear streaming services are programmatic, targeted and addressable like AVOD outfits, ad dollars should flow as well, Chu said. “I think that’s one reason why Comcast decided to launch Peacock as an ad-supported service.”
DMR isn’t the only company on the linear bandwagon. In November, Roku added 17 live and linear channels. Sports programmer Whistle, music video service Vevo and Condé Nast’s Bon Appetit also launched linear video channels at the end of last year.
“We definitely have seen a trend towards ‘linear,’ ” said Tal Chalozin, co-founder of Innovid, the big digital video marketing platform.
Chalozin said the number of services offering linear channels is increasing and their subscriber counts are growing. At the same time, the technology to dynamically insert advertising into linear streams is advancing.
At The Trade Desk, a programmatic advertising company, marketers currently view digitally native channels like DMR’s as a scalable option on their CTV media plans across TV-like content in OTT and CTV video, said Tim Sims, senior VP of inventory partnerships. “As the digital natives grow more viewership, they should see more budget from advertisers.” The virtual MVPDs that offer linear feeds digitally “are immensely popular with our advertisers since they give them access into high-quality live TV, including live sports,” he added.
DMR’s channels are AsianCrush, with pan-Asian programming; Cocoro, for kids and families; KMTV, featuring K-pop; Midnight Pulp, with horror, thriller and cult content; and a general entertainment channel, YuyuTV.
Together, the VOD versions of those channels, which were available on Samsung TV Plus among other places, attracted several million unique visitors per month, Chu said.
Eyeing More Platforms
DMR is working to get its channels onto other platforms. “We’re talking to all the leaders right now — Pluto, Roku Channel, Xumo, Stirr, IMDB — and hopefully we’ll have exciting announcements in the near term,” Chu said.
He said getting digital carriage deals is a lot like working with traditional pay TV companies: “It’s not an easy negotiation. They have to vet your channel very carefully.”
Chu said DMR also plans to launch more channels later this year. “We have a freemium model, so you can watch for free with ads or you can subscribe with now ads, and we’ll be concurrently pursuing the FAST platform as well,” he said.
A second revenue source could help OTT firms keep pace with well-heeled rivals
As many have noted, the Super Bowl is more than just football, it’s the biggest advertising event of the year. In 2020, fans watching everywhere will be bombarded with advertisements for Disney+, Hulu and Apple TV during the commercial breaks. This shows the unmistakable march of streaming services as they hustle for prime position in front of consumers.
This is a battle that has been buffering for some time. But we can now clearly see the shots being fired and the first casualties, too. Both Sony and Walmart have pulled the plug on their streaming services PlayStation Vue and Vudu in recent months. But the most apparent evidence of attrition in the streaming wars was revealed in Netflix’s most recent results — with the current king of the castle missing its forecast for subscriber growth for the second quarter in a row and losing around 130,000 U.S. subscribers.
Netflix is under tremendous pressure to keep hold of the market it pioneered. The world’s largest traditional media groups, as well as new tech players, are beginning to bite away at its market share. The Walt Disney Co., Google, AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Comcast’s NBCUniversal all have streaming services either in the market or launching imminently, while Apple TV+ marks a significant foray from tech into entertainment.
Players like Disney can rely on an encyclopedia of owned content and a strong traditional media network, and Google, Apple and Amazon can rely on a variety of alternative revenue streams and hardware to fund their streaming ventures. Apple has unveiled plans to include Apple TV+ for free with new devices, while aggressively undercutting rivals with a $4.99 monthly price. Netflix, meanwhile, is forced to invest around $15 billion a year in developing original content to keep viewers engaged, with its most basic streaming plan at $8.99 per month.
This suggests consumers have some difficult decisions ahead. Analyst reports reveal that while a significant number of subscribers may pay for two video streaming services, the proportion falls considerably for three or more. There is a real question over subscription saturation in entertainment as, beyond video streaming, music, sports and news media are all moving to subscription models.
Streaming services need to consider how they can stay in the fight. Content needs to be able to cater to a variety of tastes. It is difficult to marry having a diverse portfolio of content with a high-quality one, though, as the level of investment Netflix dedicates to original content shows.
Comcast offers bundle packages with Netflix and Amazon Prime alongside traditional TV. That’s interesting, because while much has been made of cord-cutting, Samsung recently pointed out that 44% of its user base are actually cord-shavers — that is, they consume both streaming video and linear TV content. This is an important point and highlights the gap between TV and digital video audience measurement. Marketers and media owners alike want to know how to bridge the gap between conventional linear TV and all things digital, especially connected TV and streaming OTT.
Another option for streaming services is embracing an ad-supported model. Ad-supported streaming services make up the majority of the market — YouTube, Hulu, Roku and Amazon have all achieved significant growth by offering consumers an advertising-funded, free service and a “premium” subscription option. It’s unclear whether Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+ or HBO Max will switch to offering ad-supported models in the future to sustain their content investments.
This is a tricky line to tread: Streaming service providers will want to identify a sustainable model but not one that risks consumers disengaging as their viewing is interrupted. Ad-supported models are attractive as they break down barriers to entry for consumers, while also providing a different revenue stream for the platform.
The ad-supported experience of the streaming services from traditional players like NBC, ABC, CBS, Viacom, Fox, Discovery, A&E and Turner still has room to improve. New streaming platforms and advertisers are also still figuring out how to best work together. Marketers want to be able to control who sees their ads and how many times across all these different platforms, yet today each of them operates in a silo making this very difficult.
Reliable Data Is Key
With the acceleration of content creation, the likelihood of ad-supported models increases and the success of these models hinges on marketers being able to effectively plan, buy and measure holistically across all platforms and content. To avoid any trust issues, streaming players need independent technology platforms to give marketers the access they need to their data. As traditional TV ratings continue to decline, this is advertising’s future playing field.
Consumer time and money are finite. As competition among streamers heats up, the players are becoming increasingly aware of the challenge of growing and keeping their slice of the video-on-demand pie. Hitting “peak subscription” suggests there is a lucrative option for streaming services to tap into audiences who don’t want another subscription but are still hungry for content. We will likely see more services turn to ad-supported models to keep user growth and stay in the fight.
Rallying cry: Free up 5G for more WiFi hotspots
With robotic vacuums gliding across millions of floors and Boeing aircraft sailing overhead full of passengers texting and streaming video, the FCC is getting plenty of input regarding freeing up the 6-GHz band for unlicensed WiFi hotspots critical to cable’s mobile internet business.
Last spring, the heads of the nation’s electric utilities and water and wastewater treatment facilities warned the FCC about moving too quickly to open up the 6-gigahertz midband spectrum currently used by those utilities.
Electric and water providers said they need the spectrum for their mission-critical communications. They contend the FCC’s proposal to open it up for unlicensed WiFi use is an untested, unproven approach the regulator is pursuing despite their concerns about interference and/or congestion that threatens critical infrastructure.
The tension with the FCC is emblematic of the challenge the agency and the WiFi industry face when trying to pry spectrum from incumbent users.
Power Makes a Play
Those users were back at it last month. The Edison Electric Institute’s top brass, representing power utilities serving some 220 million consumers, told the FCC its approach to allowing unlicensed use is risky and untested. It warned that the agency must drill down on that approach before allowing “billions” of devices to operate around, and potentially interfere with, critical infrastructure communications. Those crucial systems include crews repairing and restoring service after storms, as well as distributed energy systems such as smart meters and solar battery storage.
At about the same time as EEI made its pitch, executives with CableLabs, the cable industry’s technology consortium, were pitching a study they said demonstrates that low-power WiFi devices can coexist with incumbents without causing harmful interference and without the need for automatic frequency control (AFC). Cable broadband providers back AFC for higher-powered devices.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has said the agency would protect incumbent utilities and others, but agrees with cable broadband providers that opening up the 6-GHz band to expanded WiFi has serious pro-consumer implications.
“The truth is that this 6-GHz spectrum boost will launch the WiFi industry into a new growth trajectory,” Pai told the WiFi World Congress last year. “It will boost WiFi’s massive indoor dominance. And surely — with the help of emboldened entrepreneurs everywhere — it will bring low-cost WiFi (and unlicensed) connectivity to places where it has never been.”
Pai has sought creative solutions to help protect utilities, public safety and wireless backhaul users of the band, but made it clear he wanted to let WiFi into the tent.
Boeing executives told the FCC that one creative solution would be to let it use the band for in-flight broadband without having to employ AFC, at least above 10,000 feet. The aircraft maker said the need for high-flying hotspots is at a critical point and called for an exception.
“The cabin of a large passenger aircraft has rapidly become the single most congested wireless operating environment, with hundreds of seated passengers simultaneously streaming programming content, playing interactive games, and staying in contact with coworkers, family, and friends,” Boeing said.
Less Room for Roomba
Throwing dirt on the FCC’s proposal was iRobot, which makes the Roomba robotic vacuum and more recently a self-propelled — as in humanless — lawnmower.
iRobot uses the 6 GHz band for ultra wideband communications with its devices, and says that allowing WiFi use at the power levels requested would render its devices inoperable due to interference.
That company is taking a page from Pai’s 5.9-GHz spectrum band playbook. He has proposed splitting the band, with WiFi using part and incumbent vehicle-to-vehicle communications users the other. iRobot said the FCC should similarly split the band, reserving 500 megahertz for ultra-wideband and letting WiFi have the other 700 MHz.
Pai has not said whether he would consider splitting up the 6-GHz band, but he did indicate at CES earlier this month that the FCC needs to find a way to spread that spectrum wealth to WiFi and other new technologies.
For their part, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have recently pushed the FCC to open up the entire band for unlicensed spectrum, according to commission documents.
In a CES Q&A with Consumer Technology Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro, Pai suggested that, incumbent recalcitrance aside, the FCC has to "find a way to share this public resource."
The chairman said there were unimaginable benefits for freeing up some of that 1,200 MHz of 6-GHz spectrum, including for augmented reality and virtual reality.
“Our goal is to remove spectrum as a constraint on unlicensed innovation,” Pai said.
Viewers have tons to watch in Columbus
Over-the-air viewers have tons to watch in Columbus. WBNS has diginets MeTV, Quest, Justice and DABL. Quest and Justice are part of Tegna. Owned by CBS, DABL is a lifestyle network the station launched Jan. 1. “We’re going all out with our four diginets,” said John Cardenas, WBNS president/general manager.
WCMH replaced MeTV with Court TV in the fall. It also has Laff and Ion.
WSYX has MyNetworkTV, This TV and Antenna TV on its subchannels. WTTE has TBD and Stadium, and WWHO airs Comet and Charge! Comet, Stadium, Charge! and TBD are part of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Comet offers sci-fi and Stadium has sports. Charge! says, “Watch action stars, everyday heroes and insane athletes engage in battles, chases, showdowns and so much more.”
More Local News: Columbus Power Station Dispatched
TBD offers the best of the internet.
“It has a lot of viral videos,” said Tony D’Angelo, VP and general manager of WSYX-WTTE-WWHO. “A lot of it is geared toward younger people.”
Miami Gala Will Celebrate Honorees’ Vision, Passion
For the 17th consecutive year, the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards will recognize individuals who’ve exhibited extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision in careers in front of and behind the TV cameras.
This year’s group of honorees, to be recognized at the National Association of Television Programming Executives’ NATPE 2020 Conference in Miami, includes a veteran TV performer, a pair of network TV’s top programmers, a prolific showrunner, and a power player in U.S. Hispanic and international TV.
Their collective pedigree is an apt tribute to the memory of Tartikoff, the longtime NBC executive who transformed the TV medium by emphasizing quality and depth.
To be honored at the Jan. 22 gala dinner are: actress Christine Baranski; Karey Burke, president, ABC Entertainment; Courtney Kemp, TV creator, showrunner and producer; Marcos Santana, president, NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Global Studios; and Jeff Zucker, chairman, WarnerMedia News and Sports and president, CNN Worldwide. Proceeds from the event will go to the NATPE Educational Foundation and the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Entertainment Tonight co-host Kevin Frazier will emcee.
Immigration, media bias, socialism and veterans get their close-up
Docuseries Lara Logan Has No Agenda began on Fox Nation Jan. 6. Logan, formerly a correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes, tackles four topics in the series: immigration, media bias, socialism and veterans.
Fox Nation, a spinoff from Fox News Channel, is a subscription-based streaming service that launched late in 2018.
Logan will report “from the front lines of America’s political and ideological war zones and dive into a number of hot-button issues with on-the-ground coverage and expert interviews,” Fox Nation said.
Logan spoke with B+C about her influences on the series and what she learned about media bias. Here’s an edited transcript of the conversation.
B+C: Why is Fox Nation the right fit for you?
Lara Logan: What drove the decision was the work, the project, not who I was doing it for. What [Fox Nation executive VP John] Finley and Fox Nation were offering was an opportunity to do along the lines of what I did at 60 Minutes — spending more time on one subject. That was kind of a no-brainer.
I look at where I am at my career. I’m not going back to being a news correspondent somewhere, I’m not going to a bureau. I’m a mom with three kids — I can’t leave my children at the drop of a hat.
B+C: What do you consider influences on this project?
LL: There is a fabulous film [about the Mexican drug war] called Narco Cultura. I just love that film. Matthew Heineman’s film City of Ghosts [a documentary about a Syrian activist group]. As a journalist and as a storyteller, I love well-told stories. Those things that give you an opportunity to have time in a subject and be with something and feel what it’s like, I love that. Those things have influenced me.
B+C: Do you ever see yourself hosting a Fox News Channel show?
LL: I’ve never wanted to host a show. If you look at this show, I’m not in a studio, I’m out doing what I’ve always done. Even though the show has my name on it, I don’t really consider myself a host. I’m still a journalist.
B+C: You also worked for Sinclair [Broadcast Group, in spring 2019]. Some will say, between Sinclair and Fox Nation, Lara is going for the conservative crowd.
LL: If I cared what people say I’d crawl into a little hole and wouldn’t come out. That’s just smear tactics, and a function of the propaganda we live in today. I’ll work for anybody who wants me to do something for them. It really doesn’t make any difference to me. I get it, because of the way we paint people these days.
Nobody’s telling me what to say or what to think. I’m doing my job the same way I’ve always done it. I have faith that people watching see that and know that and they get it.
B+C: What are your go-to sources for news?
LL: I don’t get a whole lot of time to sit down, never mind sit down and watch TV. But I look at everything. This morning I was watching Morning Joe. I try to flip through the channels. I’m always interested in how people are covering things.
I listen to everybody. That’s what we’re supposed to do as journalists. I can read late at night when my children are asleep. Very often, by the time they fall asleep, I’m too tired to move. But I can pick up my iPad and read.
B+C: What will we learn from your report on media bias? What did you learn?
LL: I’m still learning from it, because I’m working on it still. I hope that people will learn all along the way. That’s the style that much of my career has been in, that every line should count, that time is precious, even if it’s 90 minutes and not 12 minutes in 60 Minutes or a minute or two in the evening news. The layers of the story, as they unfold, should all be worthy. The storytelling that weaves those things together, every word has to count, has to mean something. The goal is that you’re constantly learning.
One of the cool things I’ve learned [about media bias] is about one of the earliest smear campaigns against Cleopatra, and how the origins of some of these tactics are still being used today.
B+C: What do you watch for fun?
LL: I’m lucky when I get to watch anything. Yellowstone is my favorite show at the moment. I was a Game of Thrones diehard, though I was a little disappointed in the finale. I love Vikings. In the last 10 years, that’s all my TV viewing combined.
WBNS stays strong amidst transaction
For many years, there were a couple of constants in the Columbus, Ohio, TV market: WBNS was a monster, and Dispatch Broadcast Group was its owner.
Things change. In June, Tegna and Dispatch agreed to a deal that shifted WBNS and WTHR Indianapolis, along with the WBNS radio properties, to Tegna for $535 million.
John Cardenas, president and general manager of WBNS, said he “couldn’t be happier” with the new owner. “It means scale and leverage opportunities we may not have had before,” he said.
Tegna owns stations in Cleveland and Toledo. Cardenas mentions “content-sharing opportunities to cover the state,” including election coverage in the swing state.
WBNS is aligned with CBS. Some in the area wonder what being part of a public company, versus WBNS’s family-owned past, means for staffing.
WBNS, known as 10TV, has had a few challenges in terms of on-air talent. Anchor Jerry Revish retired in November. “My career in journalism has afforded me the opportunity to help write the first drafts of history for 45 years,” he said when his retirement was announced.
More Local News: Over the Air Is Over the Top
WBNS chief meteorologist Chris Bradley died of leukemia at 53 in December 2018, and meteorologist Mike Davis was arrested in September for charges related to child pornography.
The market leader gets hearty competition from WCMH, Nexstar Media Group’s NBC affiliate. The station is focused on increasing and fine-tuning its local content. “We’ve proven we can create content as compelling, if not more compelling, than syndicators,” Ken Freedman, VP and general manager, said.
WCMH is also focused on connecting with younger consumers who may not tune in to scheduled shows. “We continue to look at ways we can expand there,” Freedman said.
Sinclair Broadcast Group has ABC affiliate WSYX and manages Cunningham Broadcasting’s Fox outlet WTTE and Manhan Media's CW station WWHO. HC2 owns Telemundo station WDEM. Charter Communications/Spectrum is the primary pay TV operator.
It’s a hearty news operation at WSYXWTTE. Tony D’Angelo, VP and general manager, said there’s about 70 hours of news a week coming out of the newsroom. “We’ve invested heavily in local news,” he said.
WBNS does not subscribe to Nielsen, opting for Comscore. Syndicated programming includes Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! and Dr. Oz.
In November, WBNS won the news races and WCMH or WSYX came in second. WBNS did a 5.4 household rating at 11 p.m., according to Comscore, and a 4.6 in viewers 25-54. WCMH had a 4.0 and 3.6.
“We’re truly connected to the community,” Cardenas said. “We have a rich history of having the top talent in the marketplace.”
Tegna also owns Columbus sports talk radio outlet 97.1 The Fan. Much of what is discussed on The Fan is Ohio State football. The team had its first loss of the season against Clemson in late December. “We’ll move on,” said Freedman, “and start thinking about next year.”
WWHO does live high school football in the fall.
Columbus is market No. 34, but Freedman notes it is the 14th largest city in the U.S. “Being No. 34 belies the sophistication and forward-thinking” going on in Columbus, he said.
The Ohio capital, it is home to Nationwide, L Brands, Wendy’s and other giant corporations. “The economy covers all major areas,” D’Angelo said.
This lively market should see a windfall as the presidential election heats up. “I think 2020 is poised to be a big political showdown,” Cardenas said.
There will be plenty for the newsrooms to cover. “Columbus has really good stations and good operators who believe strongly in broadcasting,” D’Angelo said.
Baranski is an Emmy, Tony, Screen Actors Guild and American Comedy Award winner
Performing seamlessly in comedy and drama across all mediums, Christine Baranski is an Emmy, Tony, Screen Actors Guild and American Comedy Award winner with a growing body of work that defines the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards.
As lawyer Diane Lockhart, first on long-running CBS drama The Good Wife and presently on streamer CBS All Access’s spinoff The Good Fight, Baranski for 10 years, to date, has portrayed this fiercely independent champion for women’s rights. Simultaneously, she frequented CBS comedy staple The Big Bang Theory as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, who — in her final appearance as the uptight mother of Leonard (Johnny Galecki) — exhibited some long-awaited maternal instinct.
“There was a real reluctance on my part to let go of what was a great job, a great role, great writers,” Christine Baranski said about continuing as Diane on The Good Fight at the TCA Winter Press Tour prior to the show’s 2017 debut. “It’s a wonderful 180 turn to go from Diane Lockhart to Leonard’s mother. It’s just the most glorious trajectory.
See Also: 17th Annual NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards | Karey Burke: Live and Event Programming Is the Focus | Courtney Kemp: Promising Future for Powerhouse Producer | Marcos Santana: The Quest for Better Programming | WarnerMedia's Jeff Zucker: Profiting from Live TV
Morphing from a successful career on stage (including induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2018), Baranski gained prominence on the small screen with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Chuck Lorre’s Cybill in 1995. Fourteen Emmy Award nominations have followed, including six consecutive nods in the supporting actress drama category for The Good Fight (and five in the guest actress comedy category — four for The Big Bang Theory and one for Frasier).
Earlier in her career, Baranski peppered her resume on the big screen in theatricals including The Birdcage and Chicago. She recently revisited her role as Tanya Chesham-Leigh, opposite Meryl Streep and Cher, in theatrical musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! in 2018. And upcoming is a co-starring part in HBO period drama The Gilded Age, which is set in New York City in the 1880s.
“Christine is perfection,” Robert and Michelle King, creators of The Good Wife and The Good Fight, told B+C via email. “Her instincts are unerring. She does comedy as brilliantly as drama. And she's a consummate professional who makes every line better. She's a perfectionist in the best sense of the word, but also cares deeply for the crew and her fellow actors.”
“There’s a reason why people refer to Christine Baranski as a national treasure,” they said.
Another year of big stars makes syndication feel like the place to be in 2020
What hypes everyone up before they head to NATPE Miami is having a real-life movie star in the mix, and that is what syndication will get with the arrival of Drew Barrymore this fall. But two stars are better than one, and multi-hyphenate Nick Cannon also is joining the daytime party.
When CBS Television Distribution announced it would do a talk show starring Barrymore, the media took notice. Barrymore is a movie star — starting with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and moving through films like Scream, The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates — whom everyone feels like they grew up with. In 2000, she kicked serious ass in a remake of Charlie’s Angels, one of many movies she produced through her company, Flower Films.
More recently, she has executive produced and starred as Timothy Olyphant’s bloodthirsty zombie wife in Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet. She also has her own lifestyle brand, Flower, with several lines available in retail chains such as Walmart and CVS.
That kind of longevity and brand power is a valuable commodity in the cluttered environment of daytime TV, where these days it’s hard to tear people away from their phones, much less get them to tune into a program at a regular day and time. So when CBS Television Distribution had the opportunity to get into business with a household name, the company jumped on it.
“The need in the marketplace aligns with who Drew is: She is the OG optimist,” CBS Television Distribution executive VP, development Elaine Bauer Brooks said. “I think the marketplace needs an uplifting, fun, escapist kind of show that isn’t saccharine, but has a comedic edge.”
It’s not Barrymore’s first go-round in syndication. In 2016, Warner Bros. tried to sell a talker starring Barrymore that would serve as a lead-in to Ellen DeGeneres, whose team would have executive produced the show. But NBCUniversal instead chose to renew Steve Harvey’s talker after it migrated to Los Angeles. That meant Warner Bros. couldn’t find time slots on major-market stations.
Barrymore didn’t lose hope, though. “I love this saying that I have on a neon sign in my entryway: ‘Timing is Everything,' ” she said. “Sometimes things are seeds being planted and when they don’t manifest, we tend to take that as a failure or a missed opportunity. But I have learned that nothing is for naught — something will come around and that time and education and investment will pay off somewhere else later.”
And she was right. In 2019, CBS decided Barrymore was the person they wanted to take a chance on. “This was a year we felt we wanted to take a big swing and we found a person we believed in enough to do that,” Bauer Brooks said. “This show is a natural extension of who we are as a company.”
Barrymore, 44, is a single mother of two. “I have had to figure out my whole life in front of everyone,” she said. “I have had to learn in the last decade how to truly take care of myself. Then I had two girls, and I had to learn what it’s like to truly take care of others. I am throwing an all-ages party and everyone’s invited. That’s how I’ve made movies and how I’ve built the companies I have.”
Bauer Brooks said the show will be authentic to who Barrymore is. “It will include some celebrity, lifestyle, pop culture and humor,” she said. “I can’t wait to tackle all of that with Drew. The audience said it best after watching the pilot: it’s like going to a fun party and coming home with a new best friend.”
Fox to Launch Nick Cannon
Meanwhile, Fox will be debuting a talk show starring another celebrity who has lived much of his life in the spotlight: Nick Cannon, who hosts such shows as The Masked Singer on Fox and sketch comedy series Wild ’N Out on MTV, which has become a touring live show and a chain of restaurants. Cannon is friends with daytime talk-show host Wendy Williams, so when she needed guest hosts to fill in for her last February, he was happy to oblige. Hosting three shows, he looked extremely comfortable and grabbed some attention for his performance.
“Nick is really creative and really smart but he also understands the business of television,” said Ira Bernstein, co-president of Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, which is producing and distributing the show. Debmar-Mercury tends to test its shows first and then take them nationwide. But in the case of Cannon, they felt at ease with skipping that step.
“Nick is so successful in all the things he’s doing, plus he was so great when he hosted Wendy,” added Mort Marcus, co-president, Debmar-Mercury. “We were taken aback in a good way. We felt in this particular case he had already been tested.”
This fall, Debmar-Mercury will have its hands full. Besides launching Cannon’s show, it’s debuting Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek in off-network syndication and this year’s entertainment magazine test, Central Ave, as a first-run one-hour series for weekends. For Cannon, starring in his own talk show will mean staying in one place — probably New York City — for a while, and he seems fine with that.
“I don’t feel like this is settling down,” Cannon said. “Finally, I’ll get a central hub for all of the things I do.”
Like Barrymore, Cannon plans to make his show a fun place to hang out. “This is a show about good times and escapism,” he said. “I want to inspire an audience and let them get to know me in a fun and intimate way. I have studied everyone from the greats, like Merv and Oprah, and people who are doing a great job in the space right now, like Ellen and Wendy. I want to tap into that and bring my comedy, fun and knowledge of pop culture.”
Sony Fills Plate With ‘The Good Dish’
A third show in the marketplace is Sony Pictures Television’s The Good Dish, which stars Daphne Oz, Gail Simmons, Vanessa Williams and Jamika Pessoa, and will lure viewers in with the promise of food and fun.
The Good Dish started as a regular segment on SPT’s Dr. Oz, with Dr. Mehmet Oz’s daughter, Daphne, serving as chef and host after her food-focused show on ABC, The Chew, came to an end. “Every time we’ve done a cooking segment on Dr. Oz, our digital traffic goes through the roof, to the point where it was speaking to us,” John Weiser, president of first run television at SPT, said. “Our audience was flat-out telling us that there is a huge appetite for a cooking show, and so we listened to the feedback and started airing The Dish on Oz to test talent and different segment ideas.”
According to executive producer Amy Chiaro and co-executive producer Stacy Rader, they sought women who “represented everybody,” but all of them have one thing in common: a passion for food and cooking. “We started this because we felt like there was a void in the marketplace,” Chiaro said. “We want this to feel like your all-encompassing guide to what’s for dinner tonight. At the end of the day, we all have to answer that question.”
The Good Dish, which SPT plans to shoot on Dr. Oz’s stage in New York, plans to lean heavily on digital and social media to engage the audience with recipes and shopping lists.
While all three shows offer fresh new hosts and fun ideas, the challenge syndicators face this year is clearing new shows across the entire country.
That’s because most of this year’s freshman crop has secured second seasons. None of the renewed rookies are particularly high-rated, with NBCUniversal’s Kelly Clarkson averaging a 1.4 live plus same day household average, according to Nielsen, Disney’s Tamron Hall a 1.0 and CTD’s 25 Words or Less (produced by Fox) a 0.9. Overall, syndicators are having to do much more with less because ratings across linear television continue to fall as the move toward streaming and on-demand continues to rise.
SPT also is working hard to bring back self-help series Mel Robbins, even though the show is only averaging a 0.4. Offering some hope is that Nexstar Media Group recently upgraded the show in some key markets, including moving it to 4 p.m. on KTLA Los Angeles, so the ratings could tick up in the new year.
NBCUniversal also expects to bring back Judge Jerry, starring Jerry Springer. Not returning for season two is SPT’s off-GSN America Says, although SPT has some other game shows in development.
What all those renewals mean is that it’s a little harder for shows in this year’s crop to secure a firm go for fall 2020. Both Drew and Nick were announced with launch groups — Drew on CBS Television Stations and Nick on Fox Television Stations — but nothing more has been announced for any of the three shows since their initial releases.
Still, with their big-market groups established, Drew Barrymore and Nick Cannon, at least, are almost guaranteed to go forward, while SPT is having to work a little harder to find launch partners. Behind the scenes, though, all of the distributors say they have deals cooking and expect clearances to be announced — if not at NATPE, then in the coming weeks.
President, ABC Entertainment
I am a huge champion for the power and validity of broadcast television,” said Karey Burke, who began her career working as an intern at NBC Productions for Brandon Tartikoff and has now been honored with a Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award. “I don’t see broadcast going away anytime soon, and I consider it my job to keep it as relevant and as fresh as possible.”
A key strategy for Burke as ABC Entertainment president is live and event programming. She credits broadcast television for “doing it better than anyone else.”
“We are planning a calendar around at least one live or event program every month,” she said. “People come to broadcast to be gathered around the television at the same time as their friends and family to watch something that is happening at that moment, and they tweet and talk about it. We use that strategy to support our scripted programs.”
Prior to her current role, Burke was executive VP, programming and development at Freeform, charged with overseeing all of the cable network’s scripted and non-scripted development and current original programming. Earlier, she was a partner in production companies Dark Toy Entertainment and Katalyst Films, and was the executive VP of primetime series at NBC.
Under Karey Burke’s leadership, ABC has announced Young Frankenstein as its next live musical. A new version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will bow on April 8. The Live in Front of a Studio Audience franchise will return this spring. The Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament opened with 14.37 million viewers, which is the second-largest audience for any entertainment program this season to-date. Upcoming this spring is romantic dramedy The Baker and the Beauty. And, in development for 2020-21, are anthology drama Women of the Movement and limited series Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11, based on the book by Mitchell Zuckoff.
See Also: 17th Annual NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards | Christine Baranski: A Success Across All Genres | Courtney Kemp: Promising Future for Powerhouse Producer | Marcos Santana: The Quest for Better Programming | WarnerMedia's Jeff Zucker: Profiting from Live TV
“Brandon Tartikoff was instrumental in launching my career,” Burke said. “No matter what happened, he always kept his sense of humor and approached the job like a showman and like someone who was lucky to be able to do what he was doing. One of his great gifts was he loved the award-winning show as much as the lowest common denominator show. He had the capacity to understand and value television both as a fan and a programmer.”
“I am grateful to have learned that lesson from him,” she added.
Producer and showrunner for Starz's 'Power'
The future looks bright for writer/producer Courtney Kemp, even as her signature show, Starz’s drama series Power, ends its successful six-season run later this year. “There’s probably no one person that’s had a bigger impact on the Starz network than Courtney,” said Starz president and CEO Jeff Hirsch. “Power is our No. 1 show, and we will have a Power universe of spinoffs over the next few years.”
High praise for the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award winner who initially wanted to make it big in the fashion world. “I wanted to be the first black female editor of Vogue,” Kemp said. “I loved clothes, I loved fashion and beauty, but clearly that didn’t happen.”
Kemp’s passion for writing initially led her to jobs at Mademoiselle and GQ. It was a GQ article on interracial dating that caught the eye of TV executives who wanted to turn it into a show.
“We pitched the show at HBO and it didn’t work out, but that’s how I started to figure out this could be a job,” she said.
Kemp in the late 2000s and early 2010s wrote for such series as Fox’s The Bernie Mac Show and The CW’s Beauty and the Beast, as well as CBS drama The Good Wife. During that time in her career, she said there were few women and people of color on the creative side of TV, which inspired her to make sure her shows would feature a diverse staff of writers.
See Also: 17th Annual NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards | Christine Baranski: A Success Across All Genres | Karey Burke: Live and Event Programming Is the Focus | Marcos Santana: The Quest for Better Programming | WarnerMedia's Jeff Zucker: Profiting from Live TV
“That is how you change the world and teach the next generation,” she said, “by making those changes behind the scenes.”
Kemp teamed with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson to pitch Starz a series about a powerful drug dealer who wants to get out of the business and run a legitimate night club. Starz launched Power in 2014, and over six seasons it went on to become Starz’s most-watched series.
“If you can write a show that has universal themes, where the characters are understandable for the audience and resonate with people in their own lives, that’s the secret to your success,” she said. “That has nothing to do with who you cast and what the show looks like.”
Starz parent Lionsgate in 2018 signed Kemp to a multiyear development and production deal, which includes several Power spinoffs, one of which is already in development.
On top of being a successful content creator, Hirsch added that Kemp is a “phenomenal” human being. “She is smart and funny ... she has such a unique process that actually makes the show come to life off a board and makes it very easy to say, ‘OK, let’s do that,’ because she is so prepared and so into detail,” he said. “She makes it fun.”
President of NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Global Studios
As telenovelas have spread around the world over the last 30 years, one of this year’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award winners has played a crucial role in boosting both their quality and global popularity.
“I’ve been on a quest to elevate the quality of Hispanic content, to give Latinos the content they deserve, produced by Hispanics for Hispanics,” Marcos Santana, president of NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Global Studios, said. “That has been my goal, my prime motivator from the very beginning.”
Santana began in TV in 1989, when he and two friends founded a production company that quickly expanded into international distribution. “By the time I turned 33, Tepuy International had 80 employees with offices in Spain, Italy, Venezuela and Colombia,” he recalled.
Santana’s next great leap forward came after Telemundo was acquired by NBCUniversal, which followed up that deal by acquiring Tepuy in 2006. “Basically, the idea behind the acquisition was to produce more original content at their own Hispanic studio,” Santana said.
See Also: 17th Annual NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards | Christine Baranski: A Success Across All Genres | Karey Burke: Live and Event Programming Is the Focus | Courtney Kemp: Promising Future for Powerhouse Producer | WarnerMedia's Jeff Zucker: Profiting from Live TV
Santana quickly turned that strategy into a production and distribution juggernaut for Hispanic content, with original telenovelas, reality series and entertainment fare. As president from 2007 to 2017, Santana built Telemundo Internacional into the second-largest distributor of Spanish-language programming globally, selling shows in more than 120 countries and establishing a massive production operation. Today, as head of Telemundo Global Studios, Santana now heads an operation that produces about 1,000 hours of ratings-boosting programming for Telemundo each year.
Even more notably for the state of Hispanic TV, Santana used co-productions, international sales and innovative alliances with streaming services such as Netflix and Quibi to increase programming budgets to unprecedented levels. And he established close ties with the creative community in Hollywood and elsewhere to improve the storytelling and creativity of Hispanic TV programming.
One particularly notable example of those efforts is La Reina del Sur. A co-production with Netflix, “the second season was the most expensive production ever in South America,” Santana said, with production in eight countries and 14 cities involving around 3,000 people.
That investment also paid off in the ratings, as the show in season two became Telemundo’s most successful series in history. With 12.5 million viewers over its run, La Reina del Sur often beat one English-language network or more in its 10 p.m. time slot, Santana said.
Chairman, WarnerMedia News and Sports and president, CNN Worldwide
Brandon Tartikoff’s legacy as a programmer has had a great impact on both the larger TV industry and on the individual executives who have gone on to win the Legacy Award.
“I think everyone in this business has followed his path, his understanding of television programming and the value of creating programing that is both high quality and commercial,” said CNN Worldwide president and WarnerMedia News and Sports chairman Jeff Zucker, who started his career at NBC in 1986, at the height of Tartikoff’s influence on TV programming. “But he was also very generous and gracious with advice and I was lucky to personally benefit from that. … To be mentioned in the same sentence with Brandon Tartikoff is both humbling and a tremendous honor.”
Like Tartikoff, Zucker’s career took off quickly. After graduating from Harvard University, Zucker got a job at NBC in 1986 as a researcher and quickly rose up the ranks, becoming the executive producer of Today in 1992, turning the venerable wake-up show into a ratings juggernaut. “We brought the Today show back to No. 1 and made it the most profitable show on television in the 1990s,” Zucker said.
See Also: 17th Annual NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards | Christine Baranski: A Success Across All Genres | Karey Burke: Live and Event Programming Is the Focus | Courtney Kemp: Promising Future for Powerhouse Producer | Marcos Santana: The Quest for Better Programming
More successes followed. During Zucker’s tenure as president of NBC Entertainment from 2000-04, NBC remained No. 1. While he served as president of NBCUniversal’s television properties between 2004 and 2007, new cable-network programming strategies boosted ratings. As president and CEO of NBCUniversal from 2007 to 2011, he led some pioneering digital initiatives, working with News Corp. to co-found Hulu in 2007.
In 2012, Zucker took the top job at CNN, where he invested heavily in digital platforms and new programming, including the critically acclaimed Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
While CNN continues to lag Fox News Channel in ratings, its digital operations are the largest in the world, with an average of roughly 162 million monthly unique visitors in 2019, and financial results have been strong. “The last six years have been the most profitable in the history of CNN, with more than $1 billion in [yearly] profits now,” Zucker said.
As chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, Zucker remains very much a hands-on producer for big events like presidential debates, town halls and election coverage. “News and sports have remained the most resilient parts of the television game and overseeing all of our live properties makes it a very exciting and relevant part of our business,” Zucker said.
Though late to the streaming game, CEO Dave Shull says search, recommendation strength will give it a leg up
The company that changed television forever with its groundbreaking digital video recorder is itself suddenly shifting with the times.
Of course, that starts with the merger that was announced last month: Xperi Corp., a San Jose-based technology company that, just like TiVo, is split across very different products and intellectual property licensing divisions, is buying TiVo for $3 billion, paying a 21% premium, according to TiVo president and CEO Dave Shull.
But for TiVo — which will keep its brand name, but not its CEO, after the deal closes — the changes go much deeper. Before he exits the company, Shull plans to transform TiVo into a leading operative in the so-called “streaming wars.”
Speaking to investors Jan. 14 at the Needham Growth Conference in New York, Shull, a former senior executive at Dish Network and The Weather Channel, outlined the company’s vision. It’s vitally important that TiVo “get over” its history as a DVR company, he said, noting, “We’re only talking about streaming now.”
Shull made these remarks after TiVo introduced the $50 TiVo Stream 4K at CES about a week earlier. Most of the “70 or so” news reports about the new OTT device were positive, he said. But the video industry remains confused as to why TiVo is just now getting into the OTT device ecosystem business, given that incumbents like Roku and Amazon Fire TV have entrenched positions.
Sharpening TiVo’s Focus
One reason is focus. When Shull arrived at TiVo late last spring, he found a tech company that, at least on the product end, was scattering its attention across metadata, program guides and numerous other video disciplines. But TiVo has a core strength in search and recommendation, he said, an attribute that could help it catch up quickly to the likes of Roku and Amazon.
The average U.S. video consumer subscribes to about seven OTT apps right now, Shull said, a figure he believes will soon inch up to “eight or nine.” Meanwhile, it’s taking consumers, on average, about 11 minutes from the moment they start up their TV to find something to watch. “Because of our history with guides, and search and recommendation, we have the ability to put everything under one place,” he said.
TiVo’s CES announcement about the TiVo Stream 4K followed an early debut last year of TiVo+, an ad-supported streaming platform. At CES, TiVo announced 23 additional channels for the service, which is supported by its new OTT player.
Indeed, Tivo’s eyes these days seem focused on facilitating the consumer OTT market. Also speaking at CES, TiVo VP of products and services Ted Malone conceded that the previously announced development of apps that would enable users of traditional TiVo DVRs to watch recorded and live video remotely on devices like Roku is “in limbo,” with company engineers directing their attention to streaming.
“If we really believe the streaming market is where it’s at, we need to double down on that and not get distracted by a bunch of things that other people want, but aren’t really going to move the needle,” Malone said.
Added Shull: “We’re going to bet on the streaming wars. We have a really easy solution to them.”
Another Big Pivot
Shull’s redirection of TiVo’s product engineering and marketing teams comes amid the broader decision to abandon earlier announced plans to split IP licensing and products divisions, and merge with Xperi.
Shull described a steady evolution in one-on-one discussions with Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner, who will lead the combined company. Over several months and “many bottles of wine,” Shull said he and Kirchner decided their companies had too many synergies to not pursue a corporate marriage.
For one, Xperi is “very good at making the embedded technology found inside TVs,” Shull said. This skill will come in handy as TiVo looks to embed its streaming ecosystem inside smart TVs the way Roku and Amazon do.
In terms of IP, Shull described patent litigation as a “shared know-how,” noting that the combining the two strong patent portfolios strengthens both operations.
Third, Shull said Xperi gets TiVo further into new businesses like automotive. TiVo, which supplies music metadata to Pandora and Spotify, among other online music suppliers, has already entered into a deal to deliver a user interface into the onboard touch of an unnamed electronic auto manufacturer’s in-vehicle entertainment system.
Shull added that he’s comfortable stepping aside when the merger closes. “There can be only one captain of the ship,” Shull said.
Senior content producer Michael Malone’s look at the programming scene
Gina Rodriguez for President on Disney+
Diary of a Future President is on Disney+. Ilana Peña created the show, inspired by her childhood — a Cuban-American girl raised by a single mother in Miami.
The main character is 12-year-old Elena. “I really wanted to tell a story about girlhood,” Peña said. “There are so many stories about boyhood.”
She describes Diary as a Latino The Wonder Years. “I hope viewers take away the heart and warmth that I and the cast and crew poured into the show,” Peña added. “I hope people can see themselves in Elena or her brother or her mother.”
Gina Rodriguez executive produces, and plays grown-up Elena, when she is president.
Tess Romero plays young Elena. Peña mentioned Romero in her audition alongside her TV brother, delivering the word “why” amidst a rich array of emotions. “It was the ‘why’ heard around the world,” said Peña. “In that moment, I was like, that’s our girl!”
New Hemmer Time on Fox News
Bill Hemmer Reports starts at 3 p.m. on Fox News Channel Jan. 20. Hemmer promises the proper mix of breaking news and newsmakers.
“If you can get a good balance between the two, I think you have a good product,” he said.
Hemmer cited Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather as influences. “The presence they have, the facts they bring, the ideas they have for being in the field when it’s appropriate,” he said. “All of that matters.”
The format is hardly set in stone. “We’re gonna try some things and if they work, we’re gonna stick with them,” he said. “If they don’t, we’ll go in a different direction.”
What will viewers take away from Bill Hemmer Reports? “I hope they get the whole picture,” he said. “That’s very important to me.”
Fresh ‘Station’ Chief on ABC
Season three of Station 19 begins on ABC Jan. 23. Krista Vernoff is showrunner on Grey’s Anatomy and runs the show at Station, too.
“The writers’ rooms are right next door, so I’m able to run back and forth,” Vernoff said. “I’m learning more and more about what really needs my attention.”
The first thing Vernoff did on Station was bring first responders into the writers’ room, just as she’d done with doctors on Grey’s. “I needed to fall in love with the world of first responders the way I’d fallen in love with surgeons,” she said.
Vernoff promises a “messier” season, whether it’s relationships or firehouses. “It’s a little grittier, a little dirtier,” she said.
She sat with each cast member, as she’d done on Grey’s, to find out their unique skills. That will see characters salsa dancing, singing and other shenanigans.
“We found organic ways to integrate all that stuff,” Vernoff said, “and that is exciting to me.”
Affiliates in Detroit, Atlanta and Tampa get 10 p.m. news
CBS Television Stations is introducing nightly 10 p.m. news at owned The CW affiliates in Detroit, Atlanta and Tampa. None of the stations currently feature newscasts. Each station will be hiring multimedia journalists to create news content. The newscasts will be produced at another CBS-owned station, which will add national news, sports and weather, then sent back to the station where it will air.
WKBD Detroit will debut 10 p.m. news Jan. 22. WUPA Atlanta and WTOG Tampa are expected to start 10 p.m. news in February. Unlike in Atlanta and Tampa, CBS has local weather talent in Detroit.
Detroit newscasts will be produced by the CBS duopoly in Dallas. The Atlanta newscasts will be produced by the CBS duopoly in New York, and the Tampa program will be produced by the CBS duopoly in Miami.
“Our stations love news,” CBS Television Stations president Peter Dunn said. “It does so much for a station’s identity in the community it serves, and it is appealing for advertisers. Given advances in technology and the high demand for political advertising this year, this is a perfect time for us to launch newscasts on our CW stations.”
Lessons learned from CBSN Local prompted the CBS group to consider adding news in these markets. CBSN New York debuted in December 2018. CBSN Los Angeles, CBSN Boston, CBSN San Francisco and CBSN Minnesota followed. The rest of the group will debut local direct-to-consumer platforms this year. “With the technology we have, we realized we can definitely do the newscasts without a lot of problems,” Dunn said.
Each of the three markets is adding two or three multimedia journalists, Dunn said. The newscasts will feature a single anchor.
“Our stations in Atlanta, Detroit and Tampa have long wanted to have news,” added Dunn. “We are excited to have come up with a creative way to help them by utilizing the great people and resources at our New York, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami duopolies.”
Talk show veteran helps a natural-born connector thrive in syndication
Last great bingewatch? Netflix’s Unbelievable
What’s on your DVR? The Voice, Billy on the Street
Top all-time TV shows? The Office, Mad Men, Sex and the City, 30 Rock
Favorite podcasts? My Favorite Murder, Armchair Expert, To Live and Die in L.A.
Recent memorable meal? At Petit Crenn in San Francisco. A leek and caviar appetizer, followed by butternut squash soup, a dish of mushroom and cannellini beans, another of smoked trout and cauliflower, and Bûche de Noël for dessert.
Alex Duda got her start at E!, producing everything from Talk Soup, starring Greg Kinnear, to Fashion Emergency and Joan Rivers E! Live from the Red Carpet. From E!, she went to Warner Bros.-owned Telepictures, where she created and executive produced such syndicated strips as Elimidate and The Tyra Banks Show.
After executive producing the young-skewing Tyra, for which she won two of her five Daytime Emmys, she moved to NBCUniversal where she executive produced Steve Harvey in Chicago from 2012 to 2017. In September, Duda took on her third major talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, which is already renewed for season two.
Duda chatted with B+C contributor Paige Albiniak about how she moved from reality TV to talk and how she gets the very best out of the talent she produces.
You have produced several big talents in daytime — Tyra Banks, Steve Harvey and now Kelly Clarkson. They are all very different people. How do you work with talent to create shows that work both for them and the daytime audience? The secret is to find the honest truth about that talent and then craft the show around that. You have to figure out who they really are and then build a show around them that highlights that. That’s why there’s always room for success for everyone in daytime — every host is different so every format should be different.
What is the honest truth you found about Kelly Clarkson? Kelly is all about connection. When we met Kelly, my team and I had been doing reality TV and talk for a long time. When we went in to meet her, we all had ideas about who she was. We walked into the room and sat with her for what was supposed to be an hour and it turned into a probably a four-hour meeting. We all walked out of there thinking, ‘She’s my new best friend.’ We’re not the only ones who feel that way. She wants to connect with everyone; she can’t help but connect. That is her truth. We built the show around that connection.
What has been one of your favorite moments from the show so far? There already have been so many but one that was fun was when we had on Chrissy Teigen and James Wolk. Chrissy moved down the couch to make room for James, and as she moved she commented, ‘I feel like I’m on Elimidate!’ She didn’t know that I created that show, but I loved the call-back. One of my producers, Gina Sprehe, had a needle-point pillow made for me with that quote on it.
How did you decide to do the song at the top, which you call Kellyoke and which is doing well on YouTube? From the beginning, we wanted to do that based on her live concerts. We loved when she would do audience requests and then sing that song. No other host in daytime can do that. It’s the gift she gives the audience every day and it starts the show in such a fun way.
Why do you think Kelly Clarkson is resonating with the daytime audience? I think it goes back to honesty. Whoever is hosting a daytime show is someone the audience has to want to spend time with. And Kelly is one of us, she’s our Idol, we chose her. The audience feels like they can go up and talk to her; they feel like they know her. When we first met with her, we showed her a word cloud of all the different topics you can do in daytime and asked her which of these subjects she was comfortable talking about. She looked at it and said, ‘I’ve got to tell you, there’s nothing I’m uncomfortable talking about.’ She’s fearless, she’s real and she’s not afraid to be 100% her true self.
Streaming the Comcast way, starting April 15
Comcast’s NBCUniversal opened the new year by describing how it will hatch Peacock on April 15. Noting how “The Best Things in Life are Free,” NBCU’s presentation in New York — featuring Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey — highlighted how Peacock will be unique from the other fledgling streamers.
Comcast Xfinity and Flex subscribers won’t have to pay for Peacock Premium. Having struck the first of what could be many distribution deals, Cox Communications subscribers won’t pay either. Starting July 15, other viewers nationwide will be able to get a Peacock Free tier for nothing. Or they could get Peacock Premium for $4.99 with ads or $9.99 without.
In addition to streaming programming on demand, Peacock has linear channels. A show will be running when viewers open Peacock. If they scroll through the program guide and see something that appeared earlier, or will appear later, they can watch it right away.
Peacock will have other companies’ content, including ViacomCBS’s Yellowstone and Lionsgate programming. It announced a deal with comedian Kevin Hart. Peacock will also have three channels of Olympic programming, including live events, and NBC’s late-night lineup, starting at 8 p.m. ET.
Advanced Ads Included
Peacock promises no more than five minutes of commercials per hour. Ads will be advanced. Some will be interactive, or work with voice remotes. Advertisers will present shows to viewers with a single ad, or offer bingers who watch three consecutive episodes of a show the fourth one ad-free.
Launch advertisers include Target, Eli Lilly, State Farm and Unilever. Those will also help promote Peacock online and in stores.
This fancy plumage isn’t cheap. Comcast will invest $2.5 billion in 2020-21 and expects to break even with 30 million to 35 million subscribers and $2.5 billion in revenue in 2024.
Analysts had mostly positive reactions. RBC Capital called Peacock “elegant and ecosystem-friendly” and said Comcast’s forecasts were “achievable, if not conservative.” A report from Sanford C. Bernstein said Comcast’s response to “shrinking video audience is being executed with characteristic scale and skill.”
Will Peacock fly? Time will tell.
No Comcast deal as Feb. 22 launch nears
The owner of the Chicago Cubs was booed at the team’s fan convention Saturday when he mentioned the Marquee Network, which set a launch date of Feb. 22, but doesn’t have a carriage deal with the area’s main cable provider, Comcast.
The Marquee Network, a joint venture of the team and Sinclair Broadcast Group, will be the exclusive home of Cubs games starting this season.
Cubs games had been on TV with WGN since the dawn of broadcasting and on local cable with NBC Sports Chicago, partly owned by Comcast. So it remains unclear how many fans will be able to see games and how much that will cost, leaving many fans anxious--resulting in the negative reaction at the convention.
Starting networks has been a bonanza for teams like the Yankees (Sinclair owns a stake in the YES Network as well), but with cord-cutting the economics of the cable business has become more challenging. At the same time, after ending a 108-year World Series drought in 2016, the team has sputtered, failing to make the playoffs last season.
After being booed , owner Tom Ricketts told fans they won’t be booing next year, according to a clip distributed on Twitter.
At the annual Cubs convention, team execs announced a new carriage deal with RCN in Chicago. Previous deals--made as part of Sinclair retransmission negotiations--covered AT&T (DirecTV), Charter and Mediacom.
“The one that’s missing and the one that people have asked me about so much this weekend is Comcast,” Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney told the convention, according to the Chicago Tribune. “One thing you should know is we are offering to Comcast the very same terms that have been agreed to by the 25 carriers that will pick up Marquee. So it’s encouraging to see that 25 distributors find our offering compelling and in fact reasonable.”
According to Kenney, the distribution deals in place cover 40% of Cubs territory.
Marquee Network will televise about 150 Cubs regular-season games. Most of the rest will be on national outlets, like ESPN and Fox.
The network is bringing back many faces familiar to Cubs telecasts, including announcer Len Kasper, Jim DeShaies, whose faces were posted by the network on Twitter.
The network will also have Chris Myers of Fox doing some play-by-play and studio work. According to the Tribune, the network got a call from Cubs fan Bill Murrary encouraging it to hire Myers. “I think you might get him cheaply because he lives in L.A. and L.A.’s on fire right now,” the comedian said on a voicemail left for the network.
Programming on the network will also include an hour-long pregame show, repacked versions of 4,000 vintage Cubs games, the Cubs musical Miracle. documentaries on legendary North Side players and the gambling show Follow the Money from The Vegas Sports Information Network.
Offer to extend pact through Super Bowl rejected
Dish Network said that its subscribers lost access to the signal from stations bought by Apollo Global Management in 10 markets at 7 p.m. Saturday as retransmission consent negotiations failed.
Apollo acquired the stations from Northwest Broadcasting last year.
Dish said that Apollo was seeing to double the payments it gets and that it turned down an offer to extend the current deal--with payments--to get subscribers through the Super Bowl. The NFL plays its conference championship games Sunday.
“Apollo doesn’t care how high a customer’s bill gets. It's trying to squeeze every last penny out of consumers to recoup the billions it spent buying these stations,” said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior VP of programming. “They are fund managers built to serve wealthy private investors, not local viewers. For Apollo it’s about a number. For Dish it’s about customers.”
Dish noted that its subscriber will be able to see the NFL games with an antenna or by streaming them on mobile devices.
“Apollo intentionally delayed negotiations and purposely chose NFL Championship weekend to remove its channels, to inflict maximum pain for consumers. The channels could come back today if Apollo would give us the green light,” said LeCuyer. “On behalf of customers, we ask Apollo to stop punishing its own viewers so we can focus on reaching a fair deal.”
Apollo’s Cox Media Group ran a generic message on the web site of its station in Syracuse.
“We have negotiated in good faith to come to an agreement with DISH," said CMG president Kim Guthrie. “[Station] has made significant investments in people, programming, and equipment, to make them best in class. We are simply seeking a fair agreement with DISH to carry these channels. Dish already pays much more for national networks like ESPN, even though far fewer people watch ESPN than any of our local stations.” Guthrie continued, “It should also be noted that ESPN and the other national networks Dish favors have no local news, have no local employees, and offer nowhere near the same high-quality, compelling programming that our stations provide to their local communities. Dish is seeking the right to [Station] at well below current market rates and on terms that no other video provider has demanded. With NFL playoffs going on and the Super Bowl coming up soon, Dish is really showing how little it cares about its customers. All viewers should keep in mind that every one of our stations remains available for free over the air at all times.”
Dish is also concerned that Apollo might also pull the 14 stations it acquired from Cox Enterprises. It said it signed a multi-year agreement with Cox last year and has gotten a temporary restraining order that should prevent a blackout.
“Apollo’s attempt to rip up an existing multiyear contract with Dish that was signed just last spring is like a bank taking over a mortgage and then increasing the homeowner’s monthly payment,” said LeCuyer.
Anthology series to drop Feb. 3
Pasadena, Calif. -- Spectrum Originals has released the premiere date for anthology series Manhunt: Deadly Games.
The anthology series, which follows the manhunt for the perpetrator of the 1996 terrorist attack at the summer Olympics in Atlanta, will debut Feb. 3.
Spectrum will roll out all 10 episodes ad-free on the company's On Demand platform.
Manhunt comes from Lionsgate and Spectrum for Spectrum Originals. Andrew Sodroski create and wrote the series. He also serves as executive producer with John Goldwyn and Michael Dinner, who also directs.
Take a peek at the series below:
Satellite company said broadcaster seeks doubled rate
“Apollo Global Management, the new owner of the former Northwest Broadcasting stations, has recently been warning its viewers that they may lose their local channels on Dish,” Dish said. “Apollo, which is in contract renewal talks with Dish, has been demanding nearly double its current rate to carry its stations. Dish is doing everything in its power to strike a fair deal on behalf of customers.”
“We urge Apollo to join us in continued negotiation, and believe we are able to reach a mutually beneficial deal without disrupting customers,” Dish added.
The stations have messages on their websites alerting Dish subscribers to the dispute.
“Attention DISH customers: Despite Fox 68’s best efforts to stay on Dish, after 7 p.m. Jan. 18, you may no longer see your favorite programming live on Dish,” according to WSYT in Syracuse’s website. "That means no Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and The Big Game! Dish charges you a lot of money to watch your favorite shows. Call DISH at 800-333-3474 and tell Dish that if it drops Fox 68, you will drop Dish.”
In addition to the Northwest stations, Apollo bought the stations that had been owned by Cox Enterprises. Those stations are also warning Dish subscribers they could lose access to the signals.
“ATTENTION DISH CUSTOMERS: The carriage agreement between WSB-TV and Dish has been temporarily extended,” said a notice on the Atlanta station’s website. “WSB-TV/Channel 2 remains committed to continue our negotiations with DISH to keep your shows on, but DON’T WAIT: Call Dish at 1-800-333-3474 and tell them not to drop WSB-TV/Channel 2!”
Dish said that on Wednesday it granted a temporary restraining order to prevent Apollo from blacking out additional channels it acquired from Cox last year. Apollo has been warning Cox viewers that they may lose access to those stations on Dish, despite Dish and Cox having just renewed their multi-year contract in March 2019.
Third season of Siren also gets date
The drama, written and created by Eliot Laurence, will premiere March 18.
Motherland will air 10, one-hour episodes. Freeform Studios, Gary Sanchez Productions and Hyperobject Industries produce the series with Laurence, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Kevin Messick, Maria Maggenti and Steven Adelson executive producing.
The network also announced that mermaid drama Siren will return for a third season April 2.
Picks up 'Last Summer' to series
The pick-up gives comedy grown-ish, a spin-off from ABC's black-ish, a fourth season.
From ABC Signature Studios, grown-ish is executive produced by Kenya Barris, Julie Bean, Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry, Craig Doyle, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland, and E. Brian Dobbins. Its third season is currently airing on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Drama Good Trouble will return for a third season. Joanna Johnson, Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg co-created and executive produced the drama with Gregory Gugliotta, Christine Sacani, Maia Mitchell, Cierra Ramirez, Jennifer Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina serving as executive producers as well.
The network also announced it had picked up Last Summer to series.
Described by Freeform as "an unconventional thriller," Last Summer is from Entertainment One. Bert V. Royal will executive produce the drama with Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple. Max Winkler will executive produced and directed the pilot.
‘Biography’ special looks at rock ‘n roll madman and his impact on culture
A&E Network’s Biography will focus on rock legend Ozzy Osbourne. Documentary special The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne will air this summer, after it premieres at SXSW in March.
Osbourne was the singer in hard rock band Black Sabbath in the ‘70s before embarking on a solo career. Known as the Prince of Darkness, Osbourne’s solo albums include “Blizzard of Ozz” and “Diary of a Madman.”
Reality series The Osbournes ran for four seasons on MTV.
The documentary features interviews with Sharon, Kelly and Jack Osborne, Ice-T, Post Malone, Marilyn Manson and Rick Rubin.
Ozzy, Sharon and Jack Osbourne are executive producers on the project.
“The ‘Biography’ banner is committed to powerful biographical storytelling and we are honored to share the deeply personal journey of a rock legend who often seems larger than life,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive VP and head of programming, A&E. “The Osbournes have long been a part of the A&E family, and we are excited to continue this relationship with this definitive documentary about Ozzy and his incredible path.”
The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne is produced by Osbourne Media and Critical Content for A&E Network. The film is produced and directed by R. Greg Johnston. Executive producers for Osbourne Media are Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy Osbourne, Jack Osbourne and Peter Glowski. Executive producer for Critical Content is Jenny Daly. Executive producers for A&E Network are Frontain Bryant and Brad Abramson.
"Once again, it's been an absolute pleasure working with the team at A&E,” said Jack Osbourne. “This film will take viewers on an incredibly honest and emotional journey into my father's life that I feel will connect to people in so many ways. I not only speak for myself but also the entire Osbourne family when I say how thrilled and honored we are to have this documentary accepted into SXSW."
Award-winning comedienne will star in and produce projects
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, having ended her award-winning run on HBO with Veep, has signed a new multi-year agreement with Apple.
The deal comes as new competing streaming services look to lock up talent.
Under her new deal, Louis-Dreyfus will develop new projects exclusively for Apple TV+, which was launched last year. She will take part both as an executive producer and star.
“I am thrilled about this new partnership with my friends at Apple,” said Louis-Dreyfus. "Also, many thanks and kudos to my representatives for structuring the deal in such a way that I am paid in AirPods.”
Before Veep, Louis-Dreyfus appeared on Saturday Night Live and Seinfeld, and has won multiple Emmys, Golden Globes and other awards.
She will next be starring in the Fox Searchlight film Downhill with Will Ferrell.
Are the number of qualified engineers in fact declining? And how is the industry responding to the situation?
Radio World Editor in Chief Paul McLane talks to experts in commercial radio, public radio and technical education in this special report, sponsored by Nautel and Shively.
Are the number of qualified engineers in fact declining? How are companies are balancing the needs of RF vs. IT? What choices are available for technical training? Are broadcast groups changing how they manage product buying or approach infrastructure design with a shortage of technical talent in mind?
Three-day event will feature some 160 exhibitors, over 100 conferences, masterclasses, and more
The post European Radio & Digital Audio Show Starts Thursday appeared first on Radio World.
Organizers of the 2020 European Radio & Digital Audio Show say they expect more than 8,000 visitors to the upcoming edition.
With some 160 exhibitors and over 100 conferences, masterclasses and workshops, the event is laying out what all in attendance will have in store for the three-day event in Paris.
“In 2020, in France and Europe, radio remains a safe bet and the soundest listening tool. Europeans love radio and have faith in it. It is still deeply rooted in the lives of listeners,” said show organizers Philippe Chapot and Fréderic Brulhatour.
“But at the beginning of the 21st century, audio is becoming more versatile and is spreading at an ever-faster pace over all areas of life and through all types of media. Digital audio is now available everywhere, anytime. It is definitely a new revolution and a new world of possibilities.”
“SOLID RADIO, LIQUID AUDIO”
The show’s theme for this year will be “Solid Radio. Liquid Audio.” Supporting that theme will be a number of events and presentations.
One example is the dedicated pavilion that will showcase German and Austria’s work in the industry. More than 15 German and Austrian exhibitors will be present in the pavilion, including Audi and its e-tron automobile, featuring its latest infotainment system. After conference hours, the pavilion will also host a “Biergarten” starting at 7 p.m.
The conference is also expanding its Podcast & Co. area to become the POD.Village. There will be the In-car XP stand on embedded digital radio and audio experiments in the automotive industry, while the DAB+ pavilion will offer updates on digital terrestrial radio around the world.
A number of popular features are also returning after successful debuts, including the Rebounce Audio hackathon that looks at the ins and outs of tomorrow’s radio and digital audio world; the Sales House for hosting conventions and cross-industry meetings, like the national convention of the Indes Radio, National Radio Day of the RCF network and the 90th anniversary of “Music & the Spoken Word”; and the Muzicenter Meetup, offering meetings between labels and director of programs.
Additional offerings at the 2020 conference include personalized sessions in a KEODA soundproof booth; the International Radio of the Year Award Ceremony; and the French Young Talent Awards for Radio, TV and Net.
The 2020 European Radio & Digital Audio Show is taking place from Jan. 23–25 at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris.
The post European Radio & Digital Audio Show Starts Thursday appeared first on Radio World.
“Poe Theatre on the Air” productions interpret terror classics for podcast audience
“Very well, I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here! Here! It is the beating of the old man’s hideous heart!”
This is the climax to Edgar Allen Poe’s horror classic “The Tell-Tale Heart.” And like many a classic, it’s a familiar tale that becomes fresh again when the retelling is new and different.
This is why the National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre’s podcast production of “The Tell-Tale Heart” is such a worthwhile listen. Hosted online by Baltimore NPR station WYPR 88.1 FM, “Tell-Tale Heart” is one of a series of Poe-based podcasts being produced by the company’s “Poe Theatre on the Air” initiative.
“Poe Theatre of the Air is based on the ‘theater of the mind’ approach to radio drama, which uses actors, music and sound effects to conjure up vivid stories in the listeners’ imaginations,” said Alex Zavistovich, the founder and artistic director of the National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre.
Orson Welles’ famous 1938 “War of the Worlds” broadcast is based on the theater of the mind approach. The dark stories of Edgar Allan Poe lend themselves well to this audio production style, even though his 19th century tales were written long before radio came to be.
An experienced actor and director as well as a former editor of Radio World, Alex Zavistovich is no stranger to radio drama. Previous to creating the National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre, Zavistovich founded and managed Lean & Hungry Theater, which performed radio adaptations of Shakespeare and other English literary classics. These adaptations have been aired on NPR affiliate stations in Austin, Texas; Tampa, Florida; and Washington, D.C.
Although Poe was born in Boston in 1809 and then lived in Richmond, the indisputable Father of American Horror did much of his writing in Baltimore, where he died at age 40 after being found incoherent in Ryan’s Tavern.
Poe’s ties to Baltimore appealed to Zavistovich when he moved to this city.
“I learned that there was no national theater dedicated to the works of Edgar Allan Poe,” he said. “So I have set about to raise Poe’s profile, and Poe Theatre on the Air is one way I’m doing it.”
As for hosting these podcasts on WYPR’s website? “Being affiliated with an NPR station instantly gave us a credibility and a reach that we wouldn’t have if we did this on our own,” said Zavistovich.
To date, Poe Theatre on the Air has produced five dramatic podcasts based on Poe’s works. As described by the theater’s web page, a sampling:
The Tell-Tale Heart: “A housekeeper takes a job caring for an old man, and it seems like a dream for them both. But the dream becomes a nightmare when the housekeeper’s obsession with the man turns deadly — with a truly heart-pounding ending.”
The Black Cat: “A man brings home a cat for his animal-loving wife, to replace a cherished pet. When the new family addition becomes too annoying for the man, it leads to a dark secret that the cat reveals at the worst possible time — for the man.”
Morella: “A man’s love for his scholarly wife fades as her fascination turns to morbid themes. On her deathbed, she gives birth and curses the man to ensure that he will never be freed from her memory.”
Posted more recently are episodes “The Cask of Amontillado” and “Berenice.”
In a nice touch, the stories are tied together by the device of the listener visiting an insane asylum. Each cell they visit contains a deranged inmate directly related to the Poe tale about to be told.
The scripts, drawn from Poe’s own works, are created by Zavistovich and Professor Richard Hand, a professor of media practice at the UK’s University of East Anglia. The actors are from the Poe Theatre on the Air’s company, with production being handled in Baltimore by long-time audio engineer and producer Ty Ford, another Radio World alum.
Teaching theatrical actors to do radio drama wasn’t easy, Ford said. “We do the show in my 25- by-35-foot custom-tuned basement studio, and it took a while for some of them to get used to working with microphones rather than projecting to an audience from the stage,” he said. “But they’re getting the hang of it now.”
To make these Poe podcasts more compelling, Ford uses a mix of original music that he and Zavistovich compose/perform on the fly, plus recorded sound effects, and actual “real” effects that he creates as required.
“For instance, when we needed the sound of a trowel being used to brick a victim into a wall, I grabbed one of my own and rubbed across the terra-cotta saucer of a flower pot,” Ford said.
CLASSICS FOR THE PODCAST GENERATION
In creating theater of the mind audio productions, Zavistovich and Ford are aiming for the pinnacle of Golden Age radio dramatic production, a genre made popular by long-running radio series like “Gunsmoke” and “Suspense.”
Judging by the quality of Poe Theatre on the Air, they have hit this mark. These podcasts feature a lively mix of solid voice acting, convincing sound effects, and suitably eerie music that underlines Poe’s emphasis on pervasive, insistent unease; a sense of discomfort that begins by gently unsettling the listener at the outset, and building to a tsunami of terror by the end.
“We recently heard from WYPR that we have had 6,000 downloads for the first three shows,” said Ford, “not just streams, but downloads. They were excited by that and are planning even more promotion for the show.”
If all goes to plan, Alex Kavistovich hopes to keep producing new Poe podcasts on a monthly basis. “There’s a whole community of podcasts listeners who are deeply interested in radio drama and complex storytelling,” he said. “This is what we are trying to bring to them through the tales of Edgar Allan Poe.”
And if the living Poe podcasts transport their listeners into a world of deadly fear and trepidation, so much the better. As the Father of American Horror wrote in “The Premature Burial”: “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?”
With IP-based studios the new station covers western Kenya and greater Rift valley
In the main studio, Lawo’s crystal mixing console and Compact Engine mixing platform connect to a standards-based AES67/Ravenna AoIP network. In addition, the Lawo VisTool GUI Builder software powers a graphical interface that displays onscreen control of source selection, EQ and other options.
For Radio Simba’s second studio, the station makes use of Lawo RƎLAY VRX software with a multitouch-enabled graphical interface.
“RƎLAY VRX software, installed on the same PC that hosts the playout system, software codecs, streaming encoder and other studio tools, is the equivalent of an entire broadcast studio on a single touchscreen PC,” pointed out Lawo in a press release.
Byce Broadcast, Lawo’s Nairobi-based distributor and systems integration partner, managed the project planning, installation and commissioning of Radio Simba’s studios.
According to Lawo, Byce carefully reviewed the IT and broadcast technologies before fitting the studios to ensure Radio Simba would fully benefit from an IP-based studio environment.
“We are extremely proud of what we’ve achieved,” says station owner Joshua Kisiang’ani. “Our new studios are both very functional, and very beautiful!”
Community radio must take digital security seriously
Are you thinking about your community radio station’s digital security? It’s a more serious matter than you may realize.
This month, Google announced open enrollment for its new Advanced Protection Program. “The Advanced Protection Program helps high-risk users — like members of political campaign teams, journalists, activists, executives, employees in regulated industries such as finance or government — shield themselves from targeted, sophisticated attacks on their Google Accounts,” the release notes. “We’ve helped protect these types of people for many years.” Media is presumably a part of this group.
The new program relies on built-in security keys. It offers a layer of protection out of reach for most people for years.
Google’s effort is the latest salvo in the war against phishing, ransomware and other digital malware impacting both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Malware alone is estimated to cost industry over $100 billion annually.
The most pernicious of these baddies is ransomware. In a ransomware attack, hackers encrypt data until a fee is paid. Ransomware attacks have impacted community radio on numerous occasions, including at KBOO and WNCU. The cost of ransomware lockdowns can be enormous.
How does your station avoid becoming a victim of ransomware, phishing schemes or other unseemly online assaults?
As cliché as it sounds, prevention is the best medicine for these problems. Online security in the form of virus protection, safe web surfing browser plugins from trusted providers, and regular operating system updates, especially of security patches, should be mandatory at your station. Your station should also be doing regular backups, which are then taken off-site and offline. In addition, there is a training component. If your station relies on volunteers, everyone should be taught not to open links that look suspicious. Don’t forget to give examples!
The proliferation of viruses through Facebook Messenger bots sending provocative links labeled things like “IS THIS YOUR PICTURE” are a dead giveaway. Still, you would be surprised how many people fall for these tricks daily.
Your station may consider going the extra mile and restricting web browsers’ activities to prevent people from going to websites with questionable content, like illegal music downloading pages or pornography. Such websites are often littered with popups and automated downloads of malicious software that can drag your systems down. In isolated cases, malware and other tools can await an unsuspecting user who clicks a file open.
The longtime leader in computer security IDG recommends several ways to avoid malware and ransomware. On the top of the list? Never give links administrative privileges unless you know exactly what the software in question is and what it does.
Once you’re the victim of malware or ransomware, the fixes could be easy to almost impossible. Many virus companies offer resources for saving data, but this work can come at a premium. The virus prevention company Malwarebytes suggests that your station should consult with information technology specialists before using software to try decrypting data sequestered by ransomware.
Digital security is not as complicated as it once was. For community radio, which sometimes can be avoidant to spending, that $100 you spend on basic protection could prove priceless later.
RW is sampling comments to the FCC about all-digital on AM; here's what one Ohio broadcaster says
The post “WLOH Would Have a Compelling Reason to Promote Its Signal Again” appeared first on Radio World.
Radio World is providing an ongoing sampler of what people are telling the FCC about the current proposal to allow U.S. stations on the AM band to switch to all-digital transmission if they wish.
This comment was filed by Mark E. and Arlene D. Bohach, licensees of WLOH(AM) in Lancaster, Ohio.
We are commenting to express our complete support of 19-311 and urge the FCC to adopt this proceeding as quickly as possible.
We are the licensees of WLOH(AM) in Lancaster, Ohio. Since the initial rulemaking allowing AM stations to operate FM fill-in translators, WLOH has been able to secure and operate three FM translators that effectively serve our AM listening area.
WLOH is the ideal candidate to convert our AM signal into an MA3-All Digital signal. Virtually all our listeners have migrated to our FM signals. Our AM signal serves no useful purpose anymore.
The idea of creating a viable all-digital signal that rivals the best FM sound quality and provides the metadata services that are expected today are strong inducements for us to make the investment. It would also create a powerful marketing tool for our operation and you can be sure that we would promote is heavily.
The only issue I foresee is what to call this new service. The term “AM” has a stigma among many people as a static-prone and inferior-sounding service. And since this would not be amplitude modulation, a new name would be needed that connotes the superior nature of the signal. But what a great problem that would be.
Our tower site lease is due for renewal this year and our transmitter is 15 years old. This would give us a compelling reason to maintain and even upgrade our AM equipment. The bottom line is this- WLOH would have a compelling reason to promote its 1320 kHz signal again. We want this to happen. Thank you for your consideration.
File comments in Docket 19-311. Comments are due March 9, 2020. Replies are due April 6.
The post “WLOH Would Have a Compelling Reason to Promote Its Signal Again” appeared first on Radio World.
Audio Engineering Society and five co-winners will receive it during spring NAB Show
The Audio Engineering Society will receive a Technical & Engineering Emmy Award for its work with audio over IP, sharing the award with six partners who were involved in developing the AES67 standard: ALC NetworX, Audinate, Kevin Gross, QSC, The Telos Alliance and Wheatstone.
The award is for “Development of synchronized multichannel uncompressed audio transport over IP networks,” and will be given in a ceremony at the NAB Show at the Wynn Encore on Sunday, April 19.
AES67 is a protocol that established a standardized language for audio transport. Although AoIP plays a huge role in radio, the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards actually are given for developments or standardization in engineering technologies that affect television.
AES noted that its AES67 standard for high-performance streaming audio-over-IP interoperability was introduced in 2013. It stated: “AES67 compliance allows audio content interoperability between the proprietary IP-based audio networking protocols developed by the Emmy co-winners: Ravenna, Dante, Q-Sys, Livewire+ and WheatNet-IP.”
AES Fellow Kevin Gross led the AES67 Standards effort and is the chair of the AES Technical Committee on Network Audio Systems.
In the AES announcement, Gross was quoted: “The improvement from audio networking born in the mid-1990s to new IP-based solutions emerged as a simultaneous invention from the honored companies. While collectively this represented a technical improvement, interoperability was not addressed until the AES initiated the X192 project on audio interoperability.”
He thanked the late Steve Church, Rich Zwiebel, Philip Lawo and Andreas Hildebrand as leaders of companies who “understood the potential for a standard to take audio networking to the next level,” and thanked then AES Standards Manager Mark Yonge for mentoring the process.
AES Executive Director Colleen Harper said AES67 “fundamentally changed the broadcast audio landscape and paved the way for recent similar developments for video.”
Budget and entry-level brand gets WheatNet-IP technology
Coining a term, Wheatstone Director of Sales Jay Tyler said, “WheatNet-IP’ing this console effectively brings Wheatstone’s Intelligent Network routing and control to stations on a budget, allowing them to automate functions they couldn’t approach before. This enables them to run leaner, more efficient operations overall, and opens a pathway to the new world of AES67 interoperability.”
The DMX’s rackmount engine carries a WheatNet-IP network hub, providing the building block for an IP audio network for users without the need for an external or separate hub.
Nine students to receive scholarships totaling $29,000
The post AFCCE, IEEE-BTS and NTA Dole Out Spring 2020 Scholarships appeared first on Radio World.
In an effort to support students that are seeking careers in telecommunications and broadcast engineering, the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers, the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the National Translator Association have selected nine students across the country to receive their spring 2020 scholarships.
Here are the nine recipients:
- Maurice Compton, University of Dallas
- Nathan Ellsworth, University of Texas at Dallas
- Andrew Heller, University of Minnesota
- Md. Tajul Islam, University of Missouri at Kansas City
- Daniel Klawson, University of Maryland at College Park
- Obagaeli Ngene-Igwe, University of Cincinnati
- Prosanta Paul, Old Dominion University
- Dylan Stewart, Old Dominion University
- Rafida Zaman, University of Missouri at Kansas City
The scholarships all range between $1,000 and $5,000, with $29,000 being awarded in total between the nine students.
Andrew Heller is the inaugural recipient of NTA’s Byron W. St. Clair Memorial Scholarship, which is given to promising students that plan to pursue a career in broadcast engineering.
“NTA congratulates Mr. Heller,” said John Terrill, president of NTA. “This scholarship is a good first step in the tradition of Byron St. Clair to enlighten young minds and encourage more interest in broadcast engineering, especially in the areas of translator and low power television.”
Ellsworth, Islam, Klawson and Stewart, meanwhile, were awarded IEEE BTS/AFCCE’s Jules Cohen Memorial Scholarships, which awards up to $10,000 to promising undergraduate or graduate students pursuing broadcast engineering.
Also of note, Zaman was the recipient of the E. Noel Luddy Scholarship, which was sponsored by Dielectric Communications.
In total, AFCCE says that these scholarships represented the groups’ largest ever award to students that they hope “will help shape the future,” said John George, AFCCE president.
The post AFCCE, IEEE-BTS and NTA Dole Out Spring 2020 Scholarships appeared first on Radio World.
One-year career development program open to recent and upcoming graduates
The post FCC Accepting Applicants for Honors Engineer Program appeared first on Radio World.
The FCC is seeking recent or upcoming college graduates with an engineering degree to take part in its Honors Engineer Program, which is accepting applications from now until Feb. 20.
The Honors Engineer Program, which the FCC launched in 2018, is a one-year career development program that offers public sector experience for new/recent graduates and allows them to work on current issues in the communications and technology industries.
Some of the areas that participants may work on include 5G; the Internet of Things; next-gen TV broadcasting; new broadband satellite systems; facilitating the deployment of broadband services; identifying technologies to improve access to communications services, particularly those with disabilities; supporting the introduction of communications technologies designed for public safety, homeland security, health care, energy, education and more; and developing policies that will support the innovation and investment in new communication devices and services.
“Engineers play a critical and essential role in the work of the FCC, and our recent Honors Engineers, in particular, have already made an important contribution to the agency’s mission,” said Ajit Pai, FCC chairman. “Most of the high-profile issues on the FCC’s plate require the input of engineers, so there is no better time for new engineers to embark on careers here that promise to be tremendously rewarding.”
At the end of the program, participants will be eligible for consideration for continued employment with the FCC.
In reviewing potential candidates, the FCC will look at academic achievement, technical skills, engineering and extracurricular activities and whether they have a demonstrated interest in government service and/or the communications sector.
Interested applicants can apply online.
The post FCC Accepting Applicants for Honors Engineer Program appeared first on Radio World.
Association names LeGeyt successor; also tabs Carty-Sipp for Newberry’s old post
The National Association of Broadcasters will have a new chief operating officer come Feb. 1.
Chris Ornelas, who has been with NAB for a decade, will depart to join Beasley Media Group, where he’ll oversee legal matters for the media company as its general counsel.
He will be replaced by Curtis LeGeyt, NAB’s executive vice president of government relations.
Ornelas joined NAB in 2010 as executive vice president and chief strategy officer and was promoted to COO the next year. Prior he had been the chief counsel on communications and technology for then-Senator Gordon Smith, now NAB’s president/CEO.
LeGeyt has been with NAB since 2011 as senior vice president and legislative counsel, and then senior vice president, public policy before being promoted to his current role in 2015. He also is a former senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy.
In the announcement, Smith saluted both men and noted LeGeyt for his “superb management skills, the victories that NAB Government Relations has delivered on Capitol Hill, and his dedication to the mission of NAB and local broadcasting.”
Also, NAB has promoted three senior VPs — April Carty-Sipp, Shawn Donilon and Trish Johnson — to executive vice president.
April Carty-Sipp was promoted to EVP of Industry Affairs, succeeding Steve Newberry, who had announced earlier that he will be leaving to become CEO at technology company Quu.
Shawn Donilon was promoted to EVP of Government Relations, replaces LeGeyt.
Trish Johnson becomes EVP of Finance/Chief Financial Officer.
Don’t underestimate the potential of digital radio in times of crisis
The author is chairman of Digital Radio Mondiale.
The image of a lonely kangaroo against the orange sky of the burning Australian bush must have been seen by billions of people over the last few weeks. Yet, this is just one of the many disasters ushering in the new year. Let us not forget about the floods and earthquakes in Indonesia, the earthquakes in Puerto Rico, the first cyclones in Asia.
The increasing number of these disasters can challenge governments and authorities more often and for longer everywhere not just in Asia. And when a disaster strikes communication is of the essence.
Australian public broadcaster ABC has been rightly praised for its national emergency broadcasts these last few weeks. ABC’s “excellent job” in providing emergency information (as mentioned by the Minister of Communications) raises issues many public broadcasters and some commercial station are facing the world over.
How do they maintain proper and frequent disaster warnings that are able to reach everyone, even citizens in rural and less populated areas, and sometimes over many days and nights? And how can they fund all this “extra effort”? These broadcasts seem essential during emergencies but then they quickly drop to the bottom of the priorities’ list when the rain returns or the last cameraman has packed and gone to cover another more urgent story.
COVERING LARGE, TARGETED AREAS
Using analog broadcasting in emergencies is an old but often “alert-all” blunt instrument. If medium wave or shortwave are used in local or regional emergencies, the broadcast messages might also reach and alarm people in faraway regions who do not need to worry (yet). When disasters strike, cell towers, internet provision and FM transmitters are often immediately affected. Cell, radio or TV towers are often mounted on the highest location to give largest coverage. Electricity might be also impacted at transmission and sometimes at studio level, even if a generator is used.
A neater solution is to use a transmitter, a digital AM one, situated outside the danger area. One such AM transmitter could have helped the Australians. A DRM AM transmitter can support long-distance Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF) coverage from outside the disaster area being received just in the concerned area.
In emergency situations an explicit alarm signal is sent to receivers indicating where to find the actual emergency program and, if the rightly equipped receiver is used, the receiver will be even “woken up” if in standby mode (but not switched off). Does this sound so fanciful? Not more than talking to your smart speaker.
Then the DRM receiver becomes a smart radio activated not by the listener’s voice but by the transmitter, which has received the right information or files from the broadcaster linked to the emergency authority along a well-established path.
It’s possible to insert the emergency message for the target area quickly, while, for other unaffected regions, the regular programs continue unchanged. In other words, the technology exists for EWF localization but the planning and setting up of the transmission chain from the first message, map, telephone number to the listener needs human intervention that links the relevant authorities to the broadcaster etc. DRM has demonstrated how this can work (e.g. India, Bangladesh etc.), showing how inserting the necessary files alongside or instead of the audio file can be quickly implemented in a normal newsroom on a laptop.
The DRM AM digital audio broadcasting standard provides flexibility and also carries extra information that can be displayed on the car radio or standalone screens without flattening batteries as quickly as with cellular phones.
A map or an address, a clear instruction in your mother tongue or in several can save lives. And what is useful for many can become vital for people with hearing impairments, for example.
How about the thousands of FM transmitters in emergencies, if they are still up? Just turning them into emergency loudspeakers (no maps, or written instructions in analog) can be quite daunting, especially if the task needs to be completed fast and by staff who might not always be available.
All major digital radio standards have some disaster warning feature provision. Using one content server, one box, to feed several DRM for FM transmitters can be a quick solution and Indonesia is imaginatively trying to implement this very solution this year.
According to the Technology and New Media director of RRI, the Indonesian public radio, Mr. R. Ginging, “RRI is currently installing five DRM-FM transmitters in five cities. The five transmitters are equipped with an early warning system. If this technology runs well, we hope that in the future Indonesia can establish DRM as the national digital broadcasting standard.”
BUDGETS FOR EMERGENCIES
Emergency broadcasting is seldom a line in any broadcaster’s annual plan and it comes out of the base funding, as is the case with ABC in Australia. And when budgets are being cut, asking for potential emergency broadcasting money can sound extravagant.
Therefore, turning to digital radio is not just about being “on trend” about more channels or pop princesses’ pictures on screen. It’s not even about getting significant electricity and spectrum savings (in DRM of up to 80%). It’s about building emergency warning capability that is always available, at no extra cost (once properly planned and installed and with the receiver industry on board). This also delivers the extra benefit of localization, whether of regular content or of emergency warnings.
The Emergency Warning Functionality is one of the great benefits of digital radio like DRM. But we need to continue to demonstrate this potential and bring it to the attention of governments and accountants — digital radio can save lives and money, leaving nobody behind.
Codecs upgraded to V 4.5p2 firmware
Codec specialist Comrex has announced a new firmware version available for its Access and BRIC-Link lines of codecs.
Version 4.5p2’s main thrust is to provide multi-instance capability to the line in the wake of the launching of the Access MultiRack codec. A release says, “This new firmware simplifies CrossLock connections between
the new Access MultiRack and legacy Comrex IP audio codecs.”
In addition, the new version will replace the resident Adobe Flash-based GUI with and HTML5-based user interface. Flash security has been suspect for some time.
Firmware V4.5p2 is available for Access Rackmount, Access Portable 2USB, Access NX Portable, BRIC-Link, BRIC-Link II, Access MultiRack and Access NX Rack. Comrex warns that codecs with firmware numbered 2.7.1 or earlier will need to be handled specially, requiring a call to Comrex Support.
Software V 1.3.2 aims for chat shows and roundtables
The Telos Alliance has announced a new software update for its Axia iQx AoIP mixer.
Version 1.3.2 should make talk show producers and hosts happy with an automix function as a new feature. The function should balance open mics where there is more than one mic hot. Using algorithms it can prioritize microphones dominance and silence those of quiet guests to eliminate room, background and system noise along with bleed.
V1.3.2 is now available for download on the iQx product page.
See it in recently released program guide
The Inovonics Sofia 568 HD Radio SiteStreamer+ digital audio stream monitor has received a Product Innovation Award, presented by Future Publishing.
Product Innovation Awards are evaluated by a panel of engineers and industry experts, and are selected based on innovation, feature set, cost efficiency and performance in serving the industry.
Winners and nominees appear in the recently released 2019 Product Innovation Awards Program Guide.
Reports of layoffs mount; IHM emphasizes tech as the “number one audio company in America”
The post Job Losses and Questions Come in the Wake of iHeart Reshuffling appeared first on Radio World.
iHeartMedia’s decision to reshuffle its organization and technology infrastructure has led to job losses, a major reallocation of internal duties and a new emphasis on artificial intelligence in its operations. But the announcement has had much of the industry coming up with more questions than answers.
Tuesday, iHeartMedia announced major changes nationwide, saying a new decade called for the company to make changes.
The restructuring led to a wave of job cuts. According to a media representative at iHeart, those losses would be relatively small given iHeart’s overall employee base of 12,500. Some news outlets used the term “dozens,” but the website Radio Insight has posted a list of people cut and has been updating it; as of Wednesday afternoon, there were about 130 names, mostly programmers, air talent and producers but other job titles too (see more below).
iHeart has created separate groups to better share resources and experiences. These three new divisions — the Region Division, the Metro Division and the Community Division — will be overseen by Greg Ashlock, president of the iHeartMedia Markets Group, with a separate president leading each division. Another new division that cuts across all markets, the Multi-Market Partnerships Division headed by Julie Donohue.
Practically, the shakeout has the Region Division overseeing the company’s largest markets such as New York and Los Angeles. The Metro Division will cover mid-size markets that have multiple communities, and the Community Division will include markets that focus on the shared needs of one community/area as well as small markets that are culturally similar or geographically close. Nine senior executives will be named as division presidents of these newly minted iHeartMedia Markets Groups.
iHeart said this structure will allow it to maximize the performance of each of its markets and take better advantage of the technology investments it has made in selling advertising and expanding new businesses like its podcast platform. In a statement, iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman said that “iHeart is the rare example of a major traditional media company that has made the successful transformation into a 21st century media company.”
“We are now using our considerable investments in technology to modernize our operations and infrastructure, further setting us apart from traditional media companies; improving our services to our consumers and advertising partners; and enhancing the work environment for our employees.”
Among the questions observers are asking is whether this new structure will bring new ways of managing local stations, and the role of a new Centers of Excellence venture. iHeart said in a statement that it will use new technology and this new venture to deliver products and services to market, “enabling each to take advantage of the company’s scale and shared resources across programming, marketing, digital, podcasts, sales and sales support.” iHeart noted that it has made several recent acquisitions including Jelli, a programmatic ad platform; RadioJar, a cloud audio playout company; and Stuff Media, a podcasting firm. Its RCS automation arm also has been active in cloud product development this past year.
Online reaction to the news on social media included speculation that iHeart would take advantage of the FCC’s recent elimination of the main studio rule to dramatically cut back on local physical presence in some markets.
iHeartMedia declined a Radio World request for an interview about the technology aspects of the changes and its plans for technical infrastructure management.
The publication Billboard quoted one laid-off employee saying, “Their focus is going to be on their app and podcasting and not as much on local markets and terrestrial.”
In the announcement, the company described itself as “the number one audio company in America” and emphasized its “successful transformation as a technology powered 21st century media company.” It referred to its scale, its multiple platforms, and its “expertise in consumers, monetization and data,” saying that iHeart has made recent significant technology investments “to change everything from how it sells advertising to how it utilizes data and builds new businesses like its digital platform, podcast platform and robust data platform — all of which have given it an undisputed leadership position in the audio world.”
A sampling of the job cuts:
It is being reported that radio personalities are being let go as part of the shakeup. Longtime radio personality Dave Conrad, a 27-year veteran with WBCT(FM) in Grand Rapids, Mich., was told that he was being released, according to the news outlet MLive. Conrad started at B-93 in September 1992, just after the station was launched, and said he couldn’t think of a better place to work.
“I just feel really blessed to work for the people I worked for,” he told MLive, adding that his general manager teared up when he gave him the news.
Long-term iHeart radio personality Chris Warren said he was let go from WTRY(FM) in Rotterdam, N.Y. after 18 years. “I’m saddened to report that my 18-year stint with iHeartMedia/Albany, N.Y. came to an end about an hour ago,” said the DJ, whose given name is Warren Garling, in a statement on Facebook. “I’ve counted myself lucky to have been heard for more than 50 years on some great radio stations in the great Northeast.”
While the reports are still rolling in, other job losses across the country include:
- Radio personality Leland Conway from WLAP(AM) in Lexington, Ky., who said he’s “not sure what’s next but can’t wait to see what the future holds. [My time at the company has] “truly been one of the most awesome experiences in my life,” as was reported by the Lexington Harold Leader.
- Longtime host Jim Fisher with WOC(AM) in Davenport, Iowa; host Todd Alan with KUUL(FM) also in Davenport; host Ron Evans from KMXG(FM) in Clinton, Iowa; and employee Aaron Thompson, who worked at several stations. “Great people let go today including the legendary Jim Fisher,” Dan Kennedy, formerly of WOC, posted on Facebook Tuesday. “You all made radio better and you will be missed!”
- Pat McMahon, morning show host on WYYY(FM) in Syracuse, N.Y. After McMahon wrote on Facebook that Tuesday was his last day, a listener expressed frustration with iHeart, calling it “not a nice place to work for.” McMahon said he didn’t blame his station management. “The world is hard, cruel and full of setbacks. It’s also exciting, uplifting and full of opportunity. Chaos is a ladder. I plan to climb it.”
An iHeart media representative said, “During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs — some by location and some by function,” she said. “That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.”
As one industry insider said, there may be one silver lining: the opportunity for competitors to acquire newly available, top-level talent. Radio personality Conrad from WBCT is one who said that he’s already had conversations that could lead to new employment.
The post Job Losses and Questions Come in the Wake of iHeart Reshuffling appeared first on Radio World.
Radio World is among the participating Future brands at NAB Show
Companies that plan to exhibit at the NAB Show have been invited to submit their nominations in the seventh annual Best of Show Awards program.
Radio World is among the Future trade publications participating. The award program is intended to help readers become aware of new technology offerings, and help exhibitors highlight and promote outstanding their product introductions. Companies pay a fee to nominate; and winners are chosen by panels of engineers and editors for each brand. Winners are announced at the convention.
After the show, readers receive an online guide to all the nominees, which becomes a handy and deep overview of new products that were shown on the floor. (Read last year’s Guide here.)
He appreciates three interesting articles on the international radio scene
Allow me to express appreciation for three interesting articles on the international radio scene in Radio World’s Sept. 1 issue.
“U.S.-Based Shortwave Broadcasters Eye Digital” [discussed] the need for an appropriately priced, mass-production digital shortwave radio. A second article drew attention to the production of a Voice of America program beamed to Asia on shortwave and medium-wave in the Rohingya language for the benefit of refugees who have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh.
Then there was the fascinating historic article on the AFRS (American Forces Radio Service) Mosquito Network during the devastating Pacific War.
Back during the middle of the last century, there were usually only two medium-wave stations in Australia on the air late at night, 2UW in Sydney and 3AK in Melbourne, and consequently the band was wide open for late-night listening to the American AFRS stations throughout the Pacific. Over a period of time, we as listeners in both Australia and New Zealand heard all of these exotic little radio stations.
A photo with the story [right] shows the entrance noticeboard of an AFRS station in the Mosquito Network without location and without call sign. However, the operating frequency 670 kHz provides a valuable clue.
It is known that only one AFRS Mosquito Network station operated on 670 kHz, and that was for only a short period of time, before a frequency change to 690 kHz. That station was located on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, and the photo was taken before the station adopted the unofficial and irregular callsign WSSO.
American AFRS stations in the Pacific were generally allocated four-letter call signs beginning with WV or WX. We would suggest that the photograph of the Bougainville station was taken in very late 1943 or very early 1944, before the informal call sign WSSO was adopted. This information would also agree with the other photograph in your article that promoted WSSO programming in February
By the way, we have drawn attention to these Radio World articles in our weekly half-hour program “Wavescan,” broadcast on shortwave in the Americas and worldwide 35 times each week.The program is researched and written in Indianapolis, voiced by Jeff White (Radio Miami International WRMI) and Ray Robinson (Voice of Hope KVOH, Los Angeles). In the United States, “Wavescan” is broadcast by shortwave WRMI and KVOH, as well as by WWCR in Nashville. In Africa, the program is on the air from the Voice of Hope in Zambia, and for Europe, Asia and the Pacific via KSDA on the island of Guam, and additional shortwave relay stations.
Has upgraded radio channels to AES67-compliant Ravenna AoIP
The post China’s Fuzhou Radio Modernizes With Lawo AoIP Gear appeared first on Radio World.
With the installation of Lawo mixing consoles and I/O equipment, China’s Fuzhou Radio and Television has upgraded its radio channels to AES67-compliant Ravenna AoIP, per an announcement from Lawo.
Fuzhou Radio built two identical on-air studios, each equipped with a 12-fader ruby mixing console that features Lawo’s Power Core AoIP mixing engine. Power Core comes with multiple MADI and AES67 interfaces for access to up to 384 channels of stereo audio.
The Power Core also has eight I/O plug-in slots for mic, line, AES3, HD MADI and Dante expansion cards. When paired with the ruby console, Power Core can provide up to 96 DSP channels, 80 summing busses, multiple AutoMix groups and compression/expansion/de-essing tools.
The studios were also equipped with Electro-Voice RE27 and Shure MX 418 microphones, Genelec 8030 monitor speakers, Eventide BD600+ broadcast delay systems and Infomedia AOIPBox terminals.
The post China’s Fuzhou Radio Modernizes With Lawo AoIP Gear appeared first on Radio World.
Three N.C. broadcasters were initially accused of failing to submit timely license renewals
The post FCC Moves to Cancel Forfeitures After Catching its Own Errors appeared first on Radio World.
Even the Federal Communications Commission makes a mistake once in a while. And in the case of a potential financial liability, that can be good news for the stations concerned.
The commission cancelled several Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture that had been issued to three radio stations in North Carolina — Radio Hatteras, CTC Media Group and Pirate Media Group.
In the case of Radio Hatteras, the FCC said that station WHDZ(FM) in Buxton, N.C., had failed to file a timely license renewal application for the station, which was due Aug. 1, 2019. The FCC said the license renewal application was not filed on time — the FCC said it was filed Oct. 25, 2019 — but in reality Radio Hatteras filed the application on July 30, 2019. In reality, the filing made on Oct. 25, 2019, was an amendment to the application. Since the application was timely filed, the FCC cancelled the NAL.
The same was the case for CTC Media Group, which is licensee of FM translator station W282CQ in Bridgeton, N.C., for the same alleged offense: failing to timely file a license renewal application for the station. The background is the same as it was for Radio Hatteras — the FCC said the station failed its renewal by Aug. 1, 2019. In this case, however, the commission had actually issued the initial license for the station on Aug. 12. 2019, therefore there was no need for CTC to file a renewal application.
The commission also cancelled a Notice of Apparent Liability for a Forfeiture issued to Pirate Media Group, licensee of FM translator station W281CH in Washington, N.C., for the same alleged violations. But in this case, too, the commission had already issued a license for the station on Sept.11, 2019, so it was impossible for Pirate to file an application to renew the station’s license.
In all three cases, the FCC has cancelled all of the forfeitures.
The post FCC Moves to Cancel Forfeitures After Catching its Own Errors appeared first on Radio World.