Publishers: Editors: Managing Editors: A summary of developments in the news industry for
Publishers: Editors: Managing Editors: A summary of developments in the news industry for the week of March 8-15: New York Post Fires Some Staffers
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Post did not publish on March 15 and some staffers were fired as they showed up for work at the 192-year-old daily.
However, prospective owner Abraham Hirschfeld said in a television interview that he intended to keep publishing the paper.
Peter Faris, a Post vice president who has been acting as chief operating officer, said he didn’t know how many editorial and administrative employees were fired.
Gerard Bray, the top editor at the Post, resigned March 14 in an uproar over planned layoffs.
Bray said Hirschfeld planned to fire about 270 workers, but Hirschfeld disputed that figure. He said he wants to eliminate about 70 jobs.
Post editors and writers who gathered in the city room Sunday discussed not publishing the Monday edition, then said they would try to do so. Ultimately, deadlines passed and the paper didn’t get to the presses.
Hirschfeld won the right to buy the paper at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing March 12. A judge ruled he was in better financial shape to take it over than Steven Hoffenberg, who ran the paper for two months but could not close his purchase deal with Peter Kalikow, still the paper’s official owner.
Hirschfeld, a real estate investor with no newspaper experience, named Wilbert Tatum, publisher of the black-oriented Amsterdam News, as editor in chief. Hirschfeld spoke of unspecified joint operations between the two papers.
The decision by Bankruptcy Court Judge Francis Conrad appeared to have ended Hoffenberg’s nearly two-month operation of the nation’s oldest continuously published daily.
Hoffenberg reportedly put up about $6 million to keep the paper in operation. The Post ran out of money because of the personal bankruptcy reorganization of Kalikow.
Any purchase deal must be approved by the bankruptcy court.
The 192-year-old Post has had financial problems for more than a decade. Circulation has dropped to about 438,000 daily, down from a peak of just under 1 million in the late 1970s.
--- Storm Prevents Delivery of Post-Gazette’s Sunday Edition
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was unable to deliver its March 14 edition because of a weekend snow storm.
A Sunday newspaper was produced, and the trucks were loaded, but snow drifts and state police turned most of the trucks back to the paper’s plant, newspaper spokesman Randall Notter said.
The storm dumped about 2 feet of snow on the city.
Robert Higdon, the paper’s general manager, ordered the presses stopped shortly after 7 p.m. March 13. It was the first time since the early 1950s that a storm prevented delivery of the paper.
The March 15 edition included reprints of stories, editorials and classified ads and other sections from the Sunday paper.
The Philadelphia Inquirer published a special ″Blizzard of ’93″ section March 15, along with a front-page apology to readers who did not get their Sunday newspaper. In addition, a pressroom fire interrupted the printing of the Sunday editions.
Other Pennsylvania newspapers, including the Sunday Patriot-News in Harrisburg, found road conditions hampered delivery of editions.
Elsewhere, The Knoxville News-Sentinel in east Tennessee decided against delivering the regular Sunday edition because of dangerous road conditions caused by the heavy snowfall.
Bob Hively, president and CEO of The Knoxville News-Sentinel, said drivers who worked March 13 described area roads as impassable. The News-Sentinel printed a Sunday-Monday edition for delivery Monday.
--- Reporter Begins Serving Jail Term
STUART, Fla. (AP) - Reporter Tim Roche began serving a 30-day contempt of court sentence March 15 for refusing to divulge a confidential source.
Roche, 24, is believed to be the first journalist in modern Florida history to serve more than a few hours in such a case.
″I haven’t looked at this as an opportunity to find myself in text books ... I simply am sticking to my word, protecting a source,″ Roche said before entering the Martin County Jail.
St. Petersburg Times Executive Editor Paul Tash accompanied Roche to the jail.
Gov. Lawton Chiles granted Roche a 60-day reprieve on Jan. 15 after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Roche’s appeal.
Chiles told Roche on March 10 he could avoid the sentence by agreeing to 300 hours of unspecified community service.
Roche said the principles in his case were too important to compromise.
The case pitted rights claimed by the press under the First Amendment against a prosecutor’s contention that the reporter sought special privilege that would put him above the law.
Richard Barlow, an assistant state attorney, said prosecutors wouldn’t have pushed for jail had Roche apologized and admitted wrongdoing, which the reporter wouldn’t do.
Roche, a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, was working for The Stuart News in November 1990 when a judge found him in contempt for refusing to say who let him see the confidential child custody order issued by another judge.
Although the order was confidential, Roche quoted directly from the document. He refused to tell a judge who leaked the order.
--- President Eases Ban on Accepting Media-Paid Dinners
WASHINGTON (AP) - Members of President Clinton’s administration will be coming to dinner with reporters, after all.
Clinton has decided to temporarily waive ethics restrictions barring officials from accepting meals above $20 paid for by journalists or their employers.
His decision will allow administration officials to accept invitations to the traditional media dinners in Washington of the Radio-TV Correspondents Association, the Gridiron Club and the White House Correspondents Association.
The $20 restriction has generally not been applied to meals paid for by reporters, but the Clinton White House ruled that journalists are prohibited sources of entertainment - like lobbyists - under the ethics code.
The issue was reconsidered after appeals from the media. White House spokesman George Stephanopoulos said March 9, ″There will be full participation (by administration members) at the dinners.″
Karen Hosler, president of the White House Correspondents Association, said she was informed by the office of Clinton’s chief of staff, Mack McLarty, that, ″The president has granted a waiver of six months of ethics regulations as they would apply to these dinners.″
After six months, she said, ″The battle has to be rejoined.″ Gannett Gets More of Profits from Honolulu Dailies’ JOA
HONOLULU (AP) - An amended joint operating agreement of the two Honolulu dailies, which both have new owners, cancels the former 60-40 profit-sharing balance in favor of a 20-year payout schedule for the junior partner.
Gannett Co. Inc. bought the morning Honolulu Advertiser from Persis Corp. and sold the afternoon Honolulu Star-Bulletin to Liberty Newspapers Ltd. in January. The JOA was amended at that time, and the document filed with the Justice Department was made public after 30 days.
Under the new arrangement, Liberty’s share of the profits will increase from $1.4 million in 1993 to $2.5 million in 2012, when the agreement expires. Gannett will get the balance of profits, minus working capital, newsroom and other expenses.
The JOA was reduced to 20 years from the previous 50-year agreement between Gannett and Persis. It will automatically be extended by five years unless one paper objects 24 months before its expiration.
In addition, Gannett has authority to terminate publication of the Star- Bulletin’s Saturday paper or switch the edition to a morning publication if it affects profits.
With the sale, the Star-Bulletin was reduced to a six-day publishing schedule and its involvement with the Sunday paper was eliminated. The Advertiser now publishes the Sunday paper alone.
Liberty also may sell the Star-Bulletin with Gannett’s consent.
--- Federal Court Protects Newspaper Column Name
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal court has ruled against the San Jose Mercury News in favor of a weekly newspaper, saying the name of a column in the weekly deserves trademark protection.
″Reader recognition of and loyalty to a particular column are things of value in the newspaper publishing world ...,″ the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.
The ruling, released March 8, overturned a lower court decision that denied a restraining order sought by the weekly Metro against the Mercury News.
Metro had published a column since 1985 called ″Public Eye.″ It filed the suit in 1991 after the Mercury News began publishing a free distribution weekly, tabloid-sized entertainment paper called ″eye.″
In its ruling, the appeals court noted that one advertiser recalled becoming ″very upset″ when he mistakenly thumbed through a copy of eye trying to locate the ad he had placed in Metro. The court sent the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.
In the lower court, U.S. District Judge Spencer Williams had decided the name of a newspaper column ″does not appear to rise to the level of a trademark.″
A column name, the court said, serves to identify ″the column as the product of a particular writer or paper and to distinguish it from surrounding copy and the features of competing publications ...″
--- Publisher of Rolling Stone Plans Family Life Magazine
NEW YORK (AP) - The publishing company best known for Rolling Stone magazine said it plans to begin a magazine later this year aimed at parents.
Straight Arrow Publishers Inc., headed by Rolling Stone founder Jann S. Wenner, said March 10 it will launch Family Life magazine in August.
The list of magazines aimed at parents has been growing, led by titles like Parents, Parenting and Child.
But Family Life will target only a segment of that audience, a group defined as ″active families″ with children age 3 to 12.
That would place it in more direct competition with FamilyFun magazine, which was founded nearly two years ago and is now owned by the Walt Disney Co.
Next month, Hearst Magazines plans to launch Family Adventures, which is designed for parents with children 5 to 15 and deals with topics related to the outdoors and vacations. It was created by the editors of Sports Afield.
Straight Arrow credits Nancy Evans, the former president and publisher of Doubleday Books, with the idea for Family Life. She will be editor in chief.
Family Life will offer a combination of service features and journalism. Regular topics will include education, entertainment, manners, finance and community service.
Publisher Julie McGowan said 300,000 copies of Family Life will be distributed at newsstands in early August and efforts will be made to sell subscriptions as well. Advertisers will get no initial circulation guarantee.
Plans are to publish two issues this year and an issue every other month in 1994 with a projected circulation base of 160,000 per issue.
Family Life is the fourth magazine in Straight Arrow’s lineup, joining Rolling Stone, Us and Men’s Journal, launched last April.
MORE Miami Herald Publisher Gets First Amendment Award
CINCINNATI (AP) - David Lawrence Jr., publisher and chairman of The Miami Herald, has won the Scripps Howard Foundation’s 1992 award for service to the First Amendment.
Lawrence was recognized in the foundation’s National Journalism Awards announced March 8. He was honored for his defense of the First Amendment when faced with opposition to an editorial that cautioned against tightening the economic embargo against Cuba, the foundation said.
″In a remarkable series of five signed columns, Lawrence described the ensuing crisis as ‘a defining moment’ for both the Herald and the city of Miami,″ the foundation said.
Right-wing Cuban exiles in Miami oppose any softening of U.S. policy toward Cuba and responded to the editorial with a boycott and an advertising campaign with the slogan ″I don’t believe the Herald.″
The awards will be presented at a banquet April 16 in Cleveland. Five newspapers, three individuals, three television stations and two radio stations won awards in 13 categories.
The other winners:
-Blaine Harden, The Washington Post, human interest writing for stories about troops in the Balkans.
-Robert Friedman, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, editorial writing, for editorials that brought historical perspective to news events.
-The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, environmental reporting, over 100,000 circulation, for a study of groundwater contamination.
-The National Law Journal, New York, environmental reporting, under 100,000 circulation, for an investigation that found tougher action against environmental law violators in white neighborhoods than minority neighborhoods.
-San Francisco Examiner, public service reporting, over 100,000 circulation for reports on an alleged coverup of health risks of silicone breast implants.
-The Albuquerque (N.M.) Tribune, public service reporting, under 100,000 circulation, for stories and editorials on drunken driving.
-Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail, service in support of literacy, newspaper category, for varied efforts to foster reading.
-KTSP-TV, Phoenix, service in support of literacy, broadcast-cable category, for a series by a reporter who became a reading tutor and chronicled his students’ progress.
-KGLT-FM, Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., excellence in broadcast-cable journalism, small market radio category, for a report on the eve of the election on the public’s mood.
-WHAS-AM, Louisville, Ky., excellence in broadcast-cable journalism, large market radio category, for an in-depth look at the economy, sociology and politics of eastern Kentucky.
-WTOC-TV, Savannah, Ga., excellence in broadcast-cable journalism, small market television, for a profile on civil rights leader W.W. Law.
-KSTP-TV, St. Paul, Minn., excellence in broadcast-cable journalism, large market television, for an expose of an alleged child molester in a youth basketball program.
--- Fontaine Chairman Suing Newspaper For $6 Million
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The chairman of a consulting firm that has received more than $2 million in contracts from state agencies has sued The State newspaper for $6 million for alleged defamation.
Mike Copeland, chairman of the Fontaine Co., said March 8 that the newspaper targeted him and his consulting company to justify its campaign for state government reform.
Newspapers have reported that state agencies awarded the Fontaine Co. more than $2 million in consulting contracts since 1986 - at least 90 percent of the work without asking if other companies would charge less.
The Savannah Valley Authority, a state agency created to promote economic developments for 13 South Carolina counties, has paid more than $1.1 million to Fontaine for no-bid consulting work, records show.
Copeland, a former top official with the state Budget and Control Board, said he has not broken any state laws and the negative publicity has destroyed Fontaine’s business.
The newspaper will vigorously defend the suit, said The State’s attorney, Jay Bender.
--- N.J. High Court Says Part-Timer Can’t Have Full-Timer’s Benefits
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A part-time newspaper carrier who was injured on the job and continues to work another job cannot be compensated as though she were a full-time employee, the state Supreme Court said.
The court said state law doesn’t allow compensation for a part-timer on the basis of a 40-hour work week when that injury does not impair the part-timer’s performance, work time or earning capacity at a regular, full-time job.
The unanimous decision March 10 by the state’s high court affirmed a lower court ruling.
The case involved Arlene Katsoris, who was employed part-time by the South Jersey Publishing Co. as a newspaper carrier, delivering The Press of Atlantic City seven days a week. She also held a full-time job as a secretary.
On May 13, 1987, she was in an accident with a truck while on the paper route. She broke an arm, shoulder blade, knee cap and pubic bone. She had multiple leg fractures and a concussion. The injuries led to hearing loss, post-traumatic anxiety and neurosis, the court said.
Katsoris has not returned to the newspaper job. She returned to her full- time secretarial job after six months of recovery.
Katsoris experienced some pain and difficulty performing her secretarial duties, but the discomfort did not affect her overall performance or compensation, the court said.
Katsoris, who filed a petition for workers’ compensation benefits, was initially awarded $72,930; an appellate court reduced that to $30,300. Cleveland Plain Dealer Editor Named Paul Miller Lecturer
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Thomas H. Greer, vice president and senior editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has been named the 1993 Paul Miller Distinguished Journalism Lecturer.
Greer will speak at Oklahoma State University on March 26 on ″Credibility: Key to the Public’s Trust of the Media.″
The lecture series is co-sponsored by the Oklahoma State University School of Journalism and the Paul and Louise Miller Endowment.
Miller, a graduate of Oklahoma State, was longtime chairman of The Associated Press and worked for the news cooperative in a variety of positions, including chief of bureau in Washington and executive assistant to the general manager in charge of AP Newsfeatures and membership promotion.
He was president and chief executive officer of Gannett Co. Inc. for 16 years.
Marlan D. Nelson, director of the journalism school, said Greer was selected for his sensitive work in journalism ethics and newspaper credibility.
Greer has been at the Plain Dealer since 1983. He began his career as a reporter for the Trenton (N.J.) Times in 1965 and worked for the Chicago Sun- Times, the Philadelphia Daily News, the New York Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
--- Freedom Newspapers Inc. Buys Daily Sun-Post
IRVINE, Calif. (AP) - Freedom Newspapers Inc., publisher of The Orange County Register, has purchased the Daily Sun-Post in San Clemente from South Coast Newspapers.
The Daily Sun-Post, an 8,500-circulation afternoon newspaper, will continue to publish in its current form and retain its existing staff for the time being, said Register Associate Publisher N. Christian Anderson.
The Sun-Post also serves San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point, Capistrano Beach and Laguna Niguel. Freedom Newspapers’ Golden West Publishing division will continue to publish the weekly San Clemente News, Anderson said.
The acquisition of the Sun-Post brings to 26 the number of daily newspapers owned nationwide by Irvine-based Freedom Newspapers, which also operates five television outlets, including Orange County Newschannel. The company also has 22 weekly newspapers in Orange County, Anderson said.
--- Community Newspaper Co. Announces Merger
BOSTON (AP) - Community Newspaper Co. Inc. will merge recently acquired TAB Communications Inc. into Norfolk Newspaper Company, giving the Norfolk Newspaper a total readership of more than 425,000.
TAB newspapers serve 14 communities from Boston to Ashland. Norfolk Newspapers has four weeklies serving 11 towns in Norfolk and Bristol counties.
Kathryn M. O’Shea, publisher and president of Norfolk Newspaper, will become publisher and chief executive officer of the combined group. Lynn Carberry, chief operations officer of the TAB, will be promoted to president of the TAB and will become chief operations officer of the combined group.
Russel Pergament, former co-publisher and chief executive officer of the TAB, has been named vice chairman of Community Newspaper. Steve Cummings, TAB co-publisher and chairman, will become vice president of sales at Community Newspaper.
Community Newspaper is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fidelity Capital, the new business development arm of Fidelity Investments.
--- Albany Herald Switches To Morning Edition
ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - The Albany Herald is being redesigned and will switch from afternoon to morning publication.
The 102-year-old Herald was an afternoon paper, Monday through Saturday, with a morning Sunday edition until a few years ago when the Saturday edition was switched to the morning.
The design changes will include a different headline type, editor Kay Read said.
Some of the changes, such as a larger typeface, a redesigned editorial page and expanded sports and comics pages have already been made.
The Herald will publish a full page of stock listings, a half page of daily television schedules, many new columnists and a revised weather package.
The Associated Press financial wire is being added to offer more business news, and the wire service graphics system will enable the paper to illustrate news.
A graphic artist has been hired to develop charts, graphs, maps and illustrations for local stories.
--- Peninsula Times Tribune Ceases Publication
PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) - The Peninsula Times Tribune ceased publication March 12 after the Tribune Newspaper Co. failed to find a buyer for the afternoon daily.
The Times Tribune had an approximate circulation of 40,000; it served 10 communities on the California Peninsula, south of San Francisco.
Also closing are Peninsula Community Newspapers, which produces nine weekly newspapers.
Tribune Newspaper Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chicago-based Tribune Co.
--- Alamosa Daily Switches To Morning Publication
ALAMOSA, Colo. (AP) - The Valley Courier has published its first morning newspaper and discontinued its afternoon editions, publisher Keith R. Cerny announced.
The Valley Courier, which appears five days a week, and its sister paper, the Conejos County Courier, published their last afternoon editions on March 5, publisher Keith R. Cerny said. BROADCASTING: Scripps Howard to Sell Its Five Radio Stations
CINCINNATI (AP) - Scripps Howard Broadcasting Co. plans to sell its five radio stations in order to concentrate on television and cable TV systems.
The stations for sale are WVRT-FM, Baltimore; KUPL-AM and KUPL-FM, Portland, Ore.; and WMC-AM and WMC-FM, Memphis, Tenn.
Radio accounted for $12.5 million, or 3 percent, of the Scripps Howard Broadcasting’s total revenue last year, compared with 68 percent from television broadcasting and 29 percent from cable television.
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, an investment banking firm, has been hired to find buyers for the stations, the company said March 10.
In addition to the radio stations, Scripps Howard Brodcasting owns four NBC-affiliated television stations, located in Baltimore, West Palm Beach, Fla., Memphis, and Tulsa, Okla. It has ABC affiliates in Detroit and Cleveland, a CBS affiliate in Cincinnati and three Fox network affiliates, located in Phoenix, Ariz.; Tampa, Fla.; and Kansas City, Mo.
The company’s cable TV systems have 282,300 subscribers.
The E.W. Scripps Co., also based in Cincinnati, owns 86 percent of Scripps Howard Broadcasting.
--- $50 Million Deal Keeps CBS in New York
NEW YORK (AP) - CBS Inc. will stay in New York City for at least 15 more years in return for a $50 million package of state and city incentives.
The network, which was founded in the city 65 years ago, will keep 4,600 jobs here and spend about $300 million to convert its facilities for high- definition television broadcasting.
″It was always our desire to remain in this city and we’re glad we could work something out,″ CBS Chairman Lawrence Tisch said at a news conference March 11. He was joined by Gov. Mario Cuomo and Mayor David Dinkins.
The deal gives CBS $31 million in exemptions from state and city sales taxes for capital expenditures, $6.5 million worth of city property tax abatements and a pledge by the State Power Authority to cut the network’s electricity bill by $12.2 million.
Some $2.5 million worth of city incentives will be applied to renovating the landmark Ed Sullivan Theater, which CBS bought to use for David Letterman’s late-night program.
Tisch, Cuomo and Dinkins all denied suggestions that the deal was a signal to other big companies to seek concessions in return for staying put. Tisch said other cities, which he declined to name, had wooed CBS.
--- Roy Disney’s Shamrock to Buy Nine Radio Stations from Marlite
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) - Investor Roy E. Disney has agreed to buy nine radio stations from Marlite Communications Group in a $300 million stock swap that will make his Shamrock Broadcasting one of the nation’s largest station owners.
The purchase of Cleveland-based Malrite’s radio operations would give Shamrock 21 radio stations, including its first in Los Angeles and New York, the nation’s largest and second-largest radio markets.
In Los Angeles, the deal would include country stations KZLA-FM and KLAC-AM and in New York, popular station WHTZ-FM.
Regulators will have to approve the deal, announced March 11.
Disney, nephew of the late Walt Disney, is taking advantage of new Federal Communications Commission rules that allow companies to buy as many as four stations in a single market.
The deal would give Shamrock the maximum number of stations in San Francisco, the fourth-largest radio market nationwide.
Marlite, a private company owned by Milton Maltz, has been burdened by debt recently. Maltz, who could not be reached for comment, will become a minor investor in Shamrock Broadcasting and keep his company’s television operations.
Roy Disney also is a major stockholder in the Walt Disney Co., where he serves as vice chairman. Shamrock Holdings is his family’s investment arm.
--- Lee Enterprises Acquires Its Third N.M. TV Station
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Lee Enterprises Inc. has acquired KZIA-TV in Las Cruces, N.M., from Southwestern Broadcast Co. Inc.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
The Federal Communications Commission granted Lee’s application to acquire the licenses of KZIA-TV, an independent station serving Las Cruces and El Paso, Texas.
Jim Thompson, general manager of another Lee station, KRQE-TV in Albuquerque, said Las Cruces is the fastest-growing market in New Mexico. Thompson will be general manager at KZIA-TV.
Robert Munoz, president of Southwestern Broadcasting, has operated KZIA-TV since it signed on June 13, 1990.
Besides KRQE-TV and KZIA-TV, Lee owns six other television stations - KBIM- TV, Roswell, N.M; KGUN-TV, Tucson, Ariz.; KGMB-TV, Honolulu; KMTV-TV, Omaha, Neb.; KOIN-TV, Portland, Ore.; and WSAZ-TV, Huntington-Charleston, W.Va.
Lee also has 19 daily newspapers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The company has 33 weekly and specialty publications and manufactures graphic arts products for the newspaper industry. Magazine: NBC to Sell Entertainment Unit
NEW YORK (AP) - General Electric, the parent company of NBC, wants to spin off the network’s entertainment unit, the New Yorker magazine reported.
General Electric would sell the Los Angeles-based division for $500 million to $1 billion, the magazine said in its March 8 issue.
″The buyer would get the network’s biggest profit-producer - control of the 22 weekly hours of prime-time programming - without inheriting the overhead of a full-service network that also provides news, sports and daytime soap operas,″ said the article by Ken Auletta, whose book ″Three Blind Mice″ chronicled the TV networks’ decline in the 1980s.
Several would-be investors have talked with GE Chairman John Welch and NBC President Robert C. Wright, Auletta reported.
″It is company policy not to comment on rumors,″ said NBC spokeswoman Betty Hudson. The policy was echoed by GE spokeswoman Joyce Hergenhan at GE corporate headquarters in Fairfield, Conn.
According to the article, NBC’s fall to third place in the prime-time ratings prompted GE to put the division up for sale.
The proposed sale, if more than a trial balloon, is fraught with perils for GE, industry observers said.
To sell off NBC’s prime-time schedule is to sell its most profitable area, which the observers said could imperil the network’s overall survival.
Selling the Entertainment division would also nullify an existing agreement between NBC and its 208 affiliate stations, said Jim Waterbury, president and general manager of KWWL-TV of Waterloo, Iowa.
Waterbury, who also heads NBC’s affiliates board, said the sale story has been around since December 1991.
GE has tried to sell all of NBC - including its network owned and operated stations - for about $4 billion. Bill Cosby and former Fox chairman Barry Diller have been reported as suitors.
--- TV Violence Faces New Challenge
WASHINGTON (AP) - A crusader against TV violence is asking Congress to impose a ″safer and healthier electronic neighborhood″ for children. She’s found an ally in the head of the Federal Communications Commission.
Terry Rakolta, director of Americans for Responsible Television, is launching a campaign for federal laws that limit TV violence during children’s viewing hours.
″Congress and the courts have put restrictions on indecent material on network television and we think the violence is just as obscene,″ Rakolta said March 11.
James Quello, interim chairman of the FCC, said the agency receives more complaints about violence than indecency but can’t do anything about it.
Julie Hoover, an ABC spokeswoman, responded: ″We are very concerned about the children in our audience.″
She noted that each of the networks has a department of standards and practice to review programming from concept to scripting to editing.
Congress in 1990 gave antitrust waivers to television production and distribution companies so they can talk among themselves about reducing violence on television. Cable and broadcast television officials have a meeting set this summer.
Americans for Responsible Television describes itself as a non-profit, citizens advocacy group funded through direct mail. Rakolta said it is ″not religiously oriented″ or tied to any political party.
--- FCC Sets Customer Service Rules for Cable TV
WASHINGTON (AP) - Cable TV companies should answer customer calls within 30 seconds, the Federal Communications Commission ruled.
Speedy telephone response is among several customer service rules going into effect July 1 under a law bringing cable television back under federal control. The FCC is phasing in the rules as required by Congress.
The FCC also ordered March 11 that customers be allowed to buy premium channels, like HBO or Showtime, without purchasing tiers of service beyond the lowest price package.
That rule goes into effect in July for cable companies such as those with pay-per-view programming that have the technology to send programs individually to customers. Other companies have 10 years to phase in this so- called buy-through requirement, the FCC said.
The agency also gave final approval to rules for negotiations that must take place between local cable companies and broadcast stations for dial positions and possible payments or joint business deals.
Under the law, cable companies don’t have an automatic right to broadcast signals but must reserve at least one-third of their channels for use by the broadcasters.
The cable industry is challenging those provisions in federal court in Washington. The FCC, however, is going ahead with its rule-making and has spelled out conditions for the talks that must take place to implement the two sections.
The key effect on consumers will be possible change in channel placement next October.
Customer service standards cable companies must follow include:
-Operating a local, toll-free or collect call telephone access line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Calls must be answered within 30 seconds and a caller should receive a busy signal no more than 3 percent of the time.
-Customer service and bill payment locations must be open during normal business hours and conveniently located.
-Installations must be within seven days of an order.
-Customers must be notified of any changes in rates, programming or channel positions at least 30 days before the change.
-Bills must be clear, concise and understandable and refund checks must be issued promptly. PERSONNEL: Ed McCullough Named AP Bureau Chief for Venezuela
NEW YORK (AP) - Ed McCullough, news editor for The Associated Press in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been named chief of bureau in Caracas, Venezuela.
AP President Louis D. Boccardi made the announcement March 8.
McCullough, 38, succeeds Harold Olmos, whose promotion to chief of bureau in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was announced previously. Olmos succeeds Bruce Handler, who is taking early retirement.
A native of Stamford, Conn., McCullough joined the AP in Albany in 1981. He subsequently worked in Buffalo, Washington and New York before entering the AP’s foreign service, in San Juan, in 1986. He became news editor in Buenos Aires in 1988.
He is a graduate of Georgetown University and worked for the Stamford, (Conn.) Advocate and the Times-Record in Troy before joining the AP.
--- Suzanne Hanlon Named Manager of AP PhotoExpress
NEW YORK (AP) - Suzanne Hanlon has been appointed manager of PhotoExpress, The Associated Press’ new third-party satellite photo distribution network.
Hanlon, 29, has been support manager for AP’s photo Technology Marketing department for a year. She earlier worked as a manager in Graphics and as an administrative assistant in Photos.
Executive Photo Editor Vin Alabiso announced her appointment March 12.
Hanlon is a native of New York City and a graduate of Queens College. Before joining the AP in 1987, she worked for CBS News and CNN.
PhotoExpress, which will begin service May 1, delivers photos from syndicates and other outlets to AP’s 1,550 newspaper members. The service uses AP’s PhotoStream network, which delivers high-speed, digital photos via satellite.
--- Dan Quayle Offered Board Seat At Family Newspaper Cmmpany
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Former Vice President Dan Quayle has been nominated for a seat on the board of directors of Central Newspapers Inc., the parent company of The Indianapolis Star, The Arizona Republic and six other newspapers.
Quayle%s late grandfather, Eugene C. Pulliam, founded the chain. His uncle, Eugene S. Pulliam, is publisher of the Star and its sister paper, The Indianapolis News, and is executive vice president of Central.
Members of the Pulliam family control a majority of stock in publicly held Central.
Quayle’s nomination will be voted upon in April at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Indianapolis.
Quayle and his family intend to move to Indianapolis after the school year ends. His wife, Marilyn, already has begun work in Indianapolis as a lawyer.
Besides The Star and News, Central publishes the Republic and its sister paper, The Phoenix Gazette, as well as four other newspapers in Indiana: The Muncie Star, The Muncie Evening Press, the Vincennes Sun-Commercial and The Reporter in Lebanon.
Quayle’s father, James C. Quayle, also is a director of Central. James Quayle is president of Huntington Newspapers Inc., publisher of The Huntington Herald-Press.
--- The Daily News of McKeesport Names Publisher
MCKEESPORT, Pa. (AP) - Patricia J. Mansfield has succeeded her late husband, Thomas D. Mansfield, as publisher of The Daily News of McKeesport.
The board of directors of The Daily News Publishing Co. also elected Mrs. Mansfield as a director and as secretary-treasurer, company posts that had been held by Mansfield.
Mrs. Mansfield’s appointment was announced by the board of directors on March 2.
--- Tamra Brittingham Named Publisher of Delaware State News
DOVER, Del. (AP) - Tamra Brittingham was named publisher of the Delaware State News and Delmarva regional president of Independent Newspapers Inc.
Ms. Brittingham, 39, replaces Judith Roales, who resigned to pursue other interests, the newspaper said March 10.
A. Christopher Engel was named chief financial officer of the newspaper company; he will be responsible for financial matters in INI’s corporate offices.
Ms. Roales, 51, served as publisher of the State News and chief financial officer and corporate president for Independent Newspapers, which owns the State News. She will remain as corporate president until the end of the year, said Joe Smyth, INI chairman and chief executive officer.
As regional president and State News publisher, Ms. Brittingham assumes direct oversight of all INI newspapers and printing operations in Maryland and Delaware.
During eight years with the State News, Ms. Brittingham has been a reporter, assistant news editor, managing editor, editor-in-chief and regional vice president.
Engel, 45, has been general manager of two INI newspapers in Arizona, marketing director, advertising director and general manager of the State News. From 1987 to 1989, he was operations director of Delaware/Banner Printing Co. and in 1989 was named Delmarva region vice president for marketing.
In addition to the State News, INI’s Delmarva region includes two other dailies, the Daily Whale in Sussex County and The Daily Banner in Cambridge, Md., five weekly publications, a twice weekly paper and two printing plants.
Independent Newspapers operates numerous community newspapers as well as printing plants in Florida and Arizona.
--- Promotions Announced at Huron Plainsman
HURON, S.D. (AP) - Cliff Hadley, who has been managing editor of the Huron Plainsman since joining the newspaper last April, was named editor.
Hadley, 36, will be responsible for overall news operations, publisher Keith Haugland announced March 10.
Roger Larsen, city editor, succeeds Hadley as managing editor; Larsen, 39, has been with the newspaper since 1975.