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Friedman: CNBC Errs By Undercutting Its Sober Image

Maybe he's being a party-pooper, but Jon Friedman doesn't think so. A long-time fan of CNBC, he believes a viewer contest currently under way in connection with the channel's popular Squawk Box show will undermine audience respect for NBC Uni's business unit. Friedman believes this couldn't come at a worse time: Not only is CNBC a comparatively small operation in terms of total audience, but it is very likely to be greeted sometime this year by a brand-new competitor from Fox News. Friedman: "I contend that CNBC is playing a dangerous game by messing with its image as a serious news channel. CNBC has distinguished itself from the likes of Bloomberg TV and the defunct CNNfn over the years because it's far more ambitious than its competitors, based on its distinctive daytime programs and thought-provoking documentaries. Maybe it boils down to a question of style and tone. CNBC's business-news coverage is generally solid and sober (except, as I've noted in past columns, for its proclivity for annoying happy talk on Squawk Box and other programs)." When he phoned CNBC officials to register his distaste for the recently launched viewer contest, Friedman was advised to lighten up. Obviously, he's not about to.



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