The Waiting Ain't The Hardest Part:
So much for waiting to see whether the FCC rules will stand the test of potential court and congressional challenge. Editor and Publisher reported yesterday that William Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group Inc., which publishes The Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner
, exercised its three-year-old option to buy KTVF-TV, a NBC affiliate in Fairbanks owned by Clear Channel. The option had been contingent, according to E&P, on an end to the cross-ownership restriction on the common ownership of a newspaper and broadcast property in the same market. Singleton is a smart and shrewd businessman and I believe his confidence in the new FCC rules will be contagious. I expect that some other newspaper groups will follow his lead over the next few weeks rather than the next few months and wade into the TV ownership game. Then we'll get to see what this rule change really means. Is Fairbanks, Alaska in for homogeneity in its news coverage? Will its TV news improve? Will media planners there have more cross-platform opportunities? We'll see.
Oh, Martha: I was really feeling like I was done writing about Martha Stewart's legal troubles. I really felt like I'd said what I have to say. But then I saw her standing on the courthouse steps yesterday and I was struck with how utterly unnecessary and stupid this all is. When Stewart was fighting from her Westport, CT home, or from an NYC boardroom, maybe you could see that her business empire might not be forever tarnished. But when you get on those courthouse steps, you give the consumer a whole different image. Never has such a huge government effort taken place over $250,000. And never has somebody traded that money for a rock solid media company.
At The Buzzer: As an observer, I originally applauded Miller Lite's catfight ads because they were so over the top. But I never thought it was a smart long-term ad strategy and I'm glad the company has decided to stop them.