Undated (AP) _ A summary of developments in the news industry for the week of June 13-20: NY Times Retreats from Two Decades in Women’s Magazines
NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Times Co. is ending more than two decades of involvement in the women’s magazine business by selling McCall’s, Family Circle and five other publications to a German-owned publisher.
The sale to Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing gives its German parent, media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, a long-sought opportunity for major expansion in what has become a fiercely competitive segment of the U.S. magazine market.
The companies announced the deal June 16 but declined to disclose the terms. The price was estimated in the New York Times at between $250 million and $400 million.
The deal is expected to be completed by October.
McCall’s and Family Circle are two of the largest circulation magazines aimed at women in the United States. McCall’s has a monthly circulation of 4.6 million and Family Circle, 5 million.
But the competition for ad revenue in women’s magazines has become increasingly intense. The ad market has been weak for several years and advertisers are looking for ways to deliver their message more selectively.
Women’s magazines also have suffered as more women have taken jobs outside the home and as the traditional readers have grown older.
Lance Primis, president and chief operating officer of the Times Company, said the combination of circumstances has given advertisers the upper hand in negotiating for magazine space in women’s magazines.
Women’s magazines have resorted to price discounts and their ″profits have been squeezed,″ he said.
The Times hasn’t soured entirely on the magazine business. Primis said there are no plans to sell its sports and leisure magazines, which are operated in a different division. He said the company may even expand there.
He said those magazines, including Golf Digest and Tennis, attract affluent readers coveted by a growing group of sports equipment advertisers.
The Times got into the business of publishing magazines aimed at women in March 1971 when it purchased Family Circle as part of a larger media property purchase from Cowles Communications Inc.
It acquired Child magazine, which is also included in the sale, in 1986 and McCall’s in 1989. The other magazines being sold are Fitness, American HomeStyle, Custom Builder and Mary Emmerling’s Country. A women’s sports and event marketing unit and telemarketing operation are also in the deal.
Martin Walker, a magazine consultant, said the sale was no surprise since the Times derives only about 10 percent of its profits from magazines.
″They are a newspaper company and I don’t think top management ever felt totally comfortable with the magazine division,″ Walker said.
Gruner + Jahr, on the other hand, is eager to establish itself as a major competitor in the U.S. women’s magazine field.
The company already publishes YM for teen-agers and Parents in the United States, and has considerable experience overseas in women’s magazines.
--- Judge Dismisses Direct-Mail Company’s Complaint
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed an antitrust suit filed by a direct marketing company that alleged Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. had engaged in predatory pricing of its advertising.
The suit was brought by Advo Inc. of Windsor, Conn., in June 1993 and claimed that PNI, which publishes The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, was trying to drive Advo from the market.
U.S. District Judge Marvin Katz determined June 10 that wasn’t the case.
″The bottom line is that this is a case about price competition,″ Katz wrote in his opinion. ″To avoid discouraging competition, courts are skeptical of antitrust claims where consumers and the public benefit from lower prices.″
The suit filed by Advo, the country’s leading direct-mail advertiser, focused on PNI’s introduction of a total market coverage program in which advertising circulars are delivered to subscribers inside their newspapers and to nonsubscribers in plastic bags.
Advo alleged that PNI’s pricing policies forced Advo to lower its prices to advertisers and contended it might be forced to withdraw from the market.
″The dismissal of the suit affirms the principle of free and open competition,″ said Steven B. Rossi, PNI’s executive vice president and general manager.
PNI is owned by Miami-based Knight-Ridder Inc.
--- Oxnard Press-Courier to Close After 95 Years
OXNARD, Calif. (AP) - The Press-Courier, which began as a weekly in 1899, published its final edition June 16, a victim of increasing competition and a stalled state economy.
The afternoon daily’s sister weeklies, the Ventura Sun and Camarillo Sun, also will go out of business.
″It’s a sad day whenever a community loses its newspaper,″ said Press- Courier editor Karen Magnuson. ″We didn’t give up without one heck of a fight.″
The Press-Courier is owned by Thomson Newspapers Co. Ltd. in Toronto. It has a daily circulation of 16,208; the two weeklies have a combined circulation of 55,000. Counting part-timers, the papers employ 172 people.
Other daily newspapers competing for readers in the growing Oxnard market include the Star-Free Press of Ventura and the Los Angeles Times, both of which publish local editions for the area.
The Star-Free Press said in an editorial June 14 that the shutdown of the Oxnard newspaper ″is an event that any community must mourn. ... That lament may sound odd coming from a business competitor, but there will be no dancing here on the grave of a newspaper that traces its roots to Oxnard’s communal beginnings.″
Arrangements were made with John P. Scripps Newspapers to have the Oxnard edition of the Star-Free Press delivered in place of the Press-Courier to subscribers who paid in advance.
Employees will receive separation packages that include 60 days’ pay and severance pay linked to length of employment. ‘Doonesbury’ Strips Anger Some Readers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Never a comic strip to please everyone, ″Doonesbury″ has angered some Catholics with its suggestion that the church once sanctioned same-sex unions.
At least two newspapers refused to run strips by Garry Trudeau, according to Alan McDermott, managing editor of the Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes ″Doonesbury.″
The series showed Mark, a gay character, telling a Christian fundamentalist that the Catholic church used to sanction homosexual marriages. The strip mentions a book being published later this month by a religious scholar at Yale, John Boswell, whose research includes his discovery of Catholic liturgies for a same-sex ceremony.
Two Illinois newspapers refused to run the strips. The Pantagraph of Bloomington ran a note saying Trudeau ″has gone beyond his traditional satire into material we consider religiously offensive for a family newspaper.″
The Journal Star of Peoria said it was not publishing the strip ″because we believe it would be grossly offensive to large numbers of our readers.″
Both newspapers offered to send copies of the strip to readers who requested them.
″We’ve had readers say, ‘Why is Trudeau picking on the Catholic church?’ But if you read the strips, no one is picking on anybody. What he’s pointing out is that the Catholic church used to have a different viewpoint on same-sex marriages,″ McDermott said.
In the past, newspapers have refused to publish strips dealing with allegations of drug use by former Vice President Dan Quayle and obscenity in art.
--- Kentucky Supreme Court Refuses to Review Dismissal of Libel Suit
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Supreme Court has refused to review a lower court judge’s dismissal of a libel suit filed 11 years ago against The Courier-Journal and Louisville Times Co.
In a separate ruling, the high court upheld the newspaper’s right to inspect performance evaluations of public school superintendents.
Kim Greene, a lawyer for The Courier-Journal, said both rulings were important victories.
Dr. Charles Pearce sued the now-defunct Louisville Times in 1983, alleging he was libeled by several 1982 stories involving charges that he improperly dispensed drugs.
The lawsuit was dismissed in 1992 by a circuit judge; the dismissal was upheld last year by the state Court of Appeals. On June 16, the Supreme Court rejected Pearce’s request that it review the appeals court decision.
Pearce, 70, has been convicted twice since 1985 of improperly prescribing drugs. Last year, as part of a plea agreement, he permanently surrendered his medical license.
The ruling regarding evaluations of school superintendents resulted from The Courier-Journal’s request to review the 1992 performance evaluation of Bullitt County School Superintendent George Valentine.
--- California High Court Rebuffs Judge’s Libel Suit over Parody
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court has refused to revive a libel suit by a Los Angeles judge against a legal newspaper which issued a mock order in the judge’s name forbidding possession of the newspaper.
The justices denied review of an appeal by Superior Court Judge Ricardo Torres from a lower-court ruling that the decree, typed on the judge’s official stationery, was an obvious parody.
Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas did not participate in the June 16 Supreme Court vote, which was otherwise unanimous. In a separate 4-2 vote, the court withdrew the appellate ruling from the list of published decisions that can be cited as precedents by other courts and judges.
Torres sued the Metropolitan News-Enterprise and two of its employees over an incident in July 1992, when he was the presiding judge of the court and was feuding with the newspaper. The court had reduced its subscriptions to the News-Enterprise two weeks earlier.
The newspaper circulated a memo to other judges, purportedly from Torres, declaring that the News-Enterprise was ″contraband″ that could no longer be possessed in the courthouse.
The memo said all offices would be searched and any judge with a copy of the newspaper would be transferred to a remote courthouse. Judges were advised to conduct ″amorous escapades″ elsewhere to avoid embarrassment.
Finally, the writer declared a ″court emergency″ and suspended the election of the next presiding judge indefinitely.
The newspaper said Torres, after finding the memo, ordered three News- Enterprise employees into his chambers for questioning, then brought them into court for contempt proceedings. Those actions prompted a suit by the newspaper and two of its employees against the judge. Torres countersued on several grounds, including libel.
A Superior Court judge refused to dismiss the libel claim but was overruled in March by the 4th District Court of Appeals. In a 2-1 decision, the court said judges are traditionally ″fair game for satirists″ and should expect occasional lampoons.
Torres and the newspaper have several claims left in their suits against one another.
--- Ethics Code Proposed for Russian Journalists
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian journalists have drafted an ethics code to discourage bribe-taking and ″hidden advertising,″ flourishing practices in a country of poorly paid reporters, corrupt capitalism and little experience with a free press.
″Signing the code would mean voluntarily assuming serious responsibilities and a readiness to civilize the activities of the Russian press,″ Pavel Gutionov, secretary of the Union of Russian Journalists, told the ITAR-Tass news agency June 19.
Many Russian journalists say corruption among their colleagues is common, and more are beginning to write about it.
Free-lance reporter Oleg Pshenichny wrote in the English-language Moscow Times on June 18 that bribe-taking among journalists is extremely common.
Journalists in the perestroika era, he wrote, were fueled by idealism and still cushioned by the privileged social status and salaries of Soviet-era journalists.
With the collapse of the Soviet power structure, however, journalists lost the perks that had come with loyal service. Left to the mercy of market forces at a time when new newspapers were springing up every day, their salaries and prestige plummeted.
At the same time, upstart businesses were eager to tap reporters for publicity and influence.
″I have personally received nearly a dozen ... blatant proposals to write reviews for new films or articles about computer companies or about politicians for considerable money,″ Pshenichny wrote.
He said a company offered him $100 last year for a favorable story in a newspaper that was paying just $1 per typed page.
Another reporter, who works for a large Moscow daily, said she routinely accepts money from companies for writing puff pieces about them. The reporter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said her editors allow such hidden advertising because reporters’ salaries are low.
Reporters at big Moscow newspapers generally earn from $100 to $200 a month, roughly average in Russia but well below the pay possible in business. Many newspapers try to supplement salaries with various bonuses.
The new code, to be submitted to the Congress of Russian journalists on Tuesday, would forbid journalists from taking money from ″third hands,″ ITAR-Tass said.
Drafted by the union’s Committee for the Protection of Freedom of Speech and Journalists’ Rights, it denounces ″deliberate distortion of facts, urges respect for the honor and dignity of citizens, and stresses the incompatibility of journalists’ activities with hidden advertising,″ ITAR- Tass said.
The code also aims to clearly distinguish fact from opinion; establishes citizens’ right not to talk to the press; proposes withholding the names of crime victims and witnesses; and forbids journalists from holding political office.
A previous code was adopted by the journalists’ congress in spring 1991 but is outdated, Gutionov told ITAR-Tass. Nevada Newspaper Insert Sparks Controversy
LAS VEGAS (AP) - An anti-homosexual advertising insert in the Las Vegas Review-Journal generated dozens of calls from angry readers and 48 subscription cancellations, according to the paper’s publisher.
The insert, sponsored by the Independent American Party, appeared in 11 Nevada newspapers, including the July 16 edition of the Review-Journal.
It was timed to generate support for The Minority Status and Child Protection Act, an anti-gay rights petition. Its backers must secure 52,000 signatures by June 21 to have it included on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The insert was rejected by the Reno Gazette-Journal, prompting the party’s members to picket outside the newspaper building.
Printed in red, white and blue, the insert included headlines that read ″Consequences of Sodomy: Ruin of a Nation″ and stories claiming HIV might be spread through water.
Sherman R. Frederick, publisher of the Review-Journal, said the decision to run the ad was based on a political party’s right to advertise.
″In my mind, this is within the bounds of political debate. You can’t pretend these people are going to go away,″ Frederick said. ″I believe the readers of the R-J are capable of evaluating the ideas expressed in the political advertisement and in deciding for themselves. I don’t believe that we ought to decide for them.″
The Independent American Party paid $15,000 to print and insert the 16-page section in the Review-Journal, said the party’s state chairman Dan Hansen.
The ad also ran in The Daily Sparks Tribune and the Nevada Appeal in Carson City. The Nevada Appeal ran an editor’s note on the front page alerting readers to strong language in the insert.
--- Inukai Re-elected President of Kyodo News Service
TOKYO (AP) - Yasuhiko Inukai was re-elected president of Kyodo News Service for a second two-year term.
The 66-year-old Inukai’s term will run through June 1996, Kyodo said June 16.
Inukai entered Kyodo News Service in 1953 after graduating from Gakushuin University in Tokyo. He became managing director in 1986 and president in September 1991, succeeding Shinji Sakai, who resigned in part to take responsibility for a series of plagiarized medical articles transmitted by the agency.
Kyodo said Shigeru Aoki, president of the newspaper Nishi Nippon Shimbun, was re-elected for his second two-year term as chairman of the board of directors.
--- Three Young Journalists Receive Livingston Awards
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Reporters from the Tribune Newspapers in Arizona, Harper’s and the San Francisco Chronicle received the annual Livingston awards for journalists under 35.
Mark Flatten, Darcy Frey and Pamela Burdman were honored for producing the best local, national and international stories of 1993.
The three received the awards and $5,000 each at a luncheon ceremony June 15 in New York. The awards are administered by the University of Michigan.
Flatten, 34, was honored for his series in the Tribune Newspapers, ″Policing for Profits,″ a seven-month investigation into profits made by Arizona State Police in enforcing the racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations act.
Frey, 32, was honored for ″The Last Shot,″ on the attempts of talented black athletes at Coney Island’s Abraham Lincoln High School to escape poverty through basketball. Harper’s published it in April 1993.
Burdman, 31, received an award for the Chronicle’s ″Bitter Voyage,″ an investigative series on human smuggling from China that involved a four-month investigation in New York, Mexico and China.
New York independent radio producer David Isay, 28, and his 14-year-old co- producers, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman, received special citations for ″Ghetto Life 101,″ which aired on WBEZ in Chicago and National Public Radio. It told about the youths’ lives in the Chicago projects.
Livingston Awards are presented each year to encourage excellence among journalists younger than 35. The award was established in 1980 by fashion designer Mollie Parnis Livingston in memory of her son, Robert Livingston, publisher of the journalism review More.
--- BROADCASTING: E.W. Scripps Co. Signs Affiliation Deal With ABC
NEW YORK (AP) - E.W. Scripps Co. has signed a long-term deal to switch the network affiliation of three television stations to ABC.
Two of the stations - WFTS in Tampa, Fla., and KNXV in Phoenix - are switching from Fox to ABC. The third, WMAR in Baltimore, is moving from NBC to ABC.
ABC said it has notified the current affiliates in those markets that they will be dumped. They are WTSP in Tampa, WJZ in Baltimore and KTVK in Phoenix.
The deal will leave Scripps with five ABC stations, two NBC stations and one CBS outlet. A ninth station it owns, KSHB in Kansas City, will lose its Fox affiliation but hasn’t signed with another network.
Last month, Fox announced a deal that would give it 12 new affiliates from CBS, ABC and NBC. In the latest round of switches, Scripps said June 16 it signed a 10-year affiliation agreement for all five of its ABC affiliates. Scripps didn’t announce when the switches will be made.
--- Tartikoff Joins New World Communications
NEW YORK (AP) - New World Communications Group, which recently signed a $500 million deal switching 12 of its stations to the Fox network, has hired Brandon Tartikoff to head its TV production business.
Tartikoff, an independent producer, is a former head of Paramount Pictures. As NBC programming chief in the mid-’80s, he led NBC to six straight season victories in prime time and helped develop such series as ″Cheers,″ ″Hill Street Blues,″ ″Miami Vice″ and ″Family Ties.″
″What we want to do is build New World into probably the premiere independent producer of programming product in the United States,″ said New World chairman Ronald Perelman, head of Revlon Inc.
In addition to Tartikoff’s services, New World acquired his production company, Moving Target, and its projects for $9 million, payable over six years, New World chief executive William Bevins said June 14.
Fox Broadcasting Co., controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, last month said it was investing $500 million in New World, which promised as many as 12 of its stations to Fox from the other three broadcast networks.
Tartikoff said the Fox deal also got New World important commitments for programs it would supply the fourth network.
--- NBC’s ‘Today’ Hits the Streets With its New Studio
NEW YORK (AP) - ″Today″ introduced a glass act to a waiting TV audience - and a horde of passers-by.
Christening its new glass-enclosed home June 20, the long-running NBC show drew several hundred spectators to the corner of Rockefeller Plaza and 49th Street in midtown Manhattan.
People peered through the windows of the bank branch-turned-Studio 1A to watch Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel anchor the live, two-hour program.
And when cameras were turned on the crowd, as they were frequently, these obliging extras smiled and waved to the TV audience.
The new ″Today″-under-glass is a flashback to the 1950s, when the show originated from a street-level studio next door to what is now 1A, across the street from NBC’s Rockefeller Center headquarters.
For three decades, the program came from a conventional studio secluded inside NBC’s Rockefeller Center headquarters across the street.
The return to the streets for ″Today″ (and its $15 million studio) are part of a strategy to close the ratings gap between that show and the usual frontrunner, ABC’s ″Good Morning America.″
There were several surprises during the program, which included an interview with President Clinton from the Oval Office and a song by Aaron Neville. Summit Selling Seven Radio Stations
ATLANTA (AP) - Summit Communications Group Inc. is selling seven radio stations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas and New York for about $200 million.
The Atlanta-based company said June 15 it will sell WAOK-AM and WVEE-FM in Atlanta, WCAO-AM and WXYV-FM in Baltimore and KHVN-AM and KJMZ-FM in Dallas to Granum Communications Inc. for about $130 million.
Granum owns and operates radio stations in Dallas, Boston and Orlando, Fla.
Summit also is selling WRKS-FM in New York to Emmis Broadcasting Corp. for about $68 million. Emmis owns and operates stations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis.
The deals, subject to federal regulatory approval, are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.
Summit said its largest shareholder, the Gordon Gray 1956 Living Trust, has for several months been considering selling off the company’s radio and cable assets because of changes in the communications industry.
The company is continuing to consider selling its cable television systems in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, N.C.
--- Sbarra Named New Multimedia CEO
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Donald D. Sbarra is the new chairman and chief executive officer of Multimedia Inc., succeeding former CEO Walter E. Bartlett.
The company’s directors elected Sbarra on June 16, three days after Bartlett said he would step down and recommended Sbarra as his successor.
Sbarra, 64, joined the company in 1981 as president of the cable division. He was named senior vice president in 1987 and was elected to the board of directors a year later.
Sbarra replaces the man who created one of the newspaper and broadcasting company’s most popular products, The Donahue Show.
Multimedia also syndicates the Sally Jessy Raphael, Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Springer television shows. The company owns 11 daily and 49 non-daily newspapers, operates more than 125 cable franchises and monitors 58,000 security alarm systems.
--- Cable Chief Expresses ‘Regret’ Over Comment on FCC Chairman
WASHINGTON (AP) - The president of the nation’s largest cable company has apologized for joking in a magazine interview that the industry’s top regulator should be shot.
Tele-Communications Inc. said June 13 that its president, John Malone, had called Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt to ″express his regret for the quotation.″
″In the interview ... Mr. Malone immediately indicated the comment obviously was not a serious one, although he did express strong views about speeding construction of the national information infrastructure,″ according to the company.
In the July issue of Wired magazine, Malone said if Vice President Al Gore wants to accelerate the drive toward advanced communications systems, ″all we need is a little help ... shoot Hundt 3/8″
When interviewer David Kline asked whether Malone was kidding, Malone responded: ″Not about getting the highway up by the end of ’96.″ Wired covers communications technologies and issues.
Kline conducted the interview shortly after the FCC ordered cable television rates to be cut for the second time in less than a year.
Since the interview, Hundt has said the commission will take a close look at cable regulations to make sure they don’t hurt the building of these networks. Nonetheless, Hundt has made clear the FCC will neither temper the second rate cut nor seek a deeper one.
--- Bell Atlantic Details Plans to Provide Video Services in Six Metro Areas
WASHINGTON (AP) - Bell Atlantic Corp. asked federal regulators for permission to provide video services in six Eastern metropolitan areas, giving consumers a choice for the first time between local cable or phone companies.
The plan, filed June 16, must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission before Bell Atlantic can begin building the networks to offer consumers broadcast channels, cable programs, shopping services and movies on demand. It also plans to offer a variety of interactive services through which customers can electronically send and receive information about health care or education using their TV sets.
Bell Atlantic plans to provide service to some areas as early as 1995, depending upon how quickly the FCC acts, said spokeswoman Shannon Fioravanti.
The areas covered by the plan are: Baltimore, northern New Jersey, Philadelphia-Delaware Valley, Pittsburgh, Hampton Roads, Va., and Washington, D.C. The company plans to build facilities in each of these areas at the same time, but could not specify which communities in those areas would be the first to receive service.
About 3 million people should have access to the service within three years of construction.
Customers would be charged between $8 and $12 a month for a ″basic connection,″ a coaxial cable line into the home to receive the service. On top of that, consumers would pay fees for programs. The systems will have a capacity of at least 497 channels, according to the filing.
Of the nation’s regional phone companies, Bell Atlantic is the most ambitious in its efforts to get into the cable television business. Earlier this year, it opened a multimillion-dollar program production and distribution center.
It was the first of only two regional Bell companies to be allowed to own video programs and deliver them directly to telephone customers. U S West on June 15 received federal court relief from a 1984 law that bars telephone companies from providing cable service.
The cable industry opposes Bell Atlantic’s efforts to provide video services and has filed petitions to the FCC.
Bell Atlantic’s telephone service area spans six states and the District of Columbia. Minorities make up 23.8 percent of the population in this region, the company said.
The filing carries through on Bell Atlantic’s previously announced plans to build advanced telecommunications networks, capable of carrying voice, video and data in two directions, throughout its phone territory. The company’s goal is to wire 8.5 million homes to the new service by 2000. Judge Rules U S West Cannot Be Banned From Cable Service
SEATTLE (AP) - U S West Inc. cannot be barred from providing cable television programming to customers within the 14-state area where it provides telephone service, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein ruled June 15 in favor of the telephone company’s challenge to the constitutionality of a section of the 1984 Cable Act prohibiting telephone companies from providing cable service within their telephone service areas.
It wasn’t the first successful challenge of the Cable Act provision. U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis of Alexandria, Va., last August struck down the cross-ownership rule on a case filed by Bell Atlantic Corp.
″We are pleased that the judge has seen fit to declare there is no reason why regional telephone companies cannot provide (cable) programming,″ U S West spokesman Harry Grandstrom said.
In its lawsuit, filed Nov. 3, 1993, U S West argued that the cable cross- ownership restriction violated its First Amendment right to free speech. The restriction was put in place following the breakup of AT&T Corp., then known as American Telephone & Telegraph.
Grandstrom said U S West has no plans at present to start providing cable service, but that it will be an option for future business planning.
Richard McCormick, U S West chairman and chief executive officer, said the company’s ties with Time Warner Entertainment put it in the position to provide video and telephone services nationwide.
U S West negotiated a $2.5 billion agreement in May 1993 for a 25.5 percent share of Time Warner Entertainment, and is spending $1 billion to convert Time Warner cable systems into advanced communication networks.
--- Comcast to Buy Cable Operations of Maclean Hunter for $1.27 Billion
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Comcast Corp. has agreed to buy the cable TV operations of Maclean Hunter Ltd. for $1.27 billion, making Comcast the nation’s third- largest cable company.
Comcast said June 19 that the cash purchase from Maclean parent Rogers Communications Inc. of Toronto will give it more than 3.5 million subscribers.
That would place it third behind Tele-Communications Inc., which has 10 million subscribers, and Time Warner Inc., which has 7 million. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
In addition to its cable TV business, Philadelphia-based Comcast provides cellular telephone services to more than 300,000 people in the Northeast.
Maclean Hunter has a combined 550,000 cable customers in New Jersey, Michigan and Florida.
Maclean Hunter also controls Toronto Sun Publishing Corp., publisher of the Financial Post and the Sun newspapers in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary.
--- Romanian-born DJ Claims Firing Was Based on Accent
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Romanian-born disc jockey on June 13 sued the suburban Philadelphia radio station he used to work for, saying he was mistreated, harassed and finally fired because of his accent.
Emanuel Voda, 28, of Reading, who worked for WRFY-FM for three years, said in the federal lawsuit that after the station made him a disc jockey, he was criticized and ultimately dismissed because his bosses thought he didn’t sound ″American.″
Tom Rapp, Voda’s lawyer, said firing someone for a foreign accent breaks a federal law banning discrimination based on national origin.
Managers of the Reading rock-and-roll station demanded Voda sound ″more American″ while on the air after he became a disc jockey in March 1992 for the midnight to 6 a.m. shift, the lawsuit said.
Voda said he adopted another name - Eddie Mitchell - for his show and worked with a speech therapist to eliminate his accent before beginning the job, the lawsuit said.
Helene Franco, the station’s business manager, said Voda was fired in April 1993 because he has a poor grasp of English and continued to mispronounce words and names on the air.
Voda has asked the court for more than $100,000 in damages and back pay.
--- PERSONNEL: Lewis Appointed AP’s Richmond News Editor
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Bob Lewis, correspondent for The Associated Press in Evansville, Ind., for three years, has been appointed news editor for Virginia.
His appointment was announced June 16 by Chief of Bureau Dorothy Abernathy.
Lewis, 38, joined the AP in Columbus, Ohio, in 1985. He previously worked for the Sun-Sentinel in Charleston, Miss., the Press Register of Clarksdale, Miss., and The Jackson (Tenn.) Sun.
Lewis is a native of Tiptonville, Tenn., and a graduate of the University of Mississippi.
He succeeds Bill Baskervill, who requested reassignment to the Richmond staff.
--- Petrak Named Advertising Director at KC Star
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Michael R. Petrak has been named to the newly created position of vice president of advertising and marketing at The Kansas City Star.
Petrak, 35, will start in early July and report to Wesley R. Turner, The Star’s executive vice president-general manager.
Ralph Rowe, a vice president and advertising director at The Star, will move into the new position of vice president-promotion and report to Petrak.
Petrak has a journalism degree and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Iowa.
He is marketing director for Consumer Target Marketing of Waukesha, Wis., which does data base consulting for media companies.
He has been national advertising manager at the Fort Worth (Texas) Star- Telegram and director of the advertising department at The Morning News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash. In 1988, he became advertising director at Madison Newspapers Inc., which publishes the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times. NAMES IN THE NEWS:
-Walter Dawson, 46, former executive news editor of The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, has become managing editor of The Monterey (Calif.) County Herald. Both publications are owned by the Scripps Howard newspaper group. Dawson assumed his new duties May 31.
-Janet Terry, 40, who has taught journalism in Iowa and worked on newspapers in Kansas and California, is the new managing editor of the Hobbs (N.M.) Daily News-Sun. She replaces Brenda Masengill, who resigned earlier this year.
--- DEATHS: Thomas R. Curran
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - Thomas R. Curran, a retired vice president of United Press International for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, died June 15. He was 92.
Curran began his journalism career in 1920 as a weekend telegraph operator for United Press while a student at the University of Nebraska. He retired in 1966. Franklin D. Murphy
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dr. Franklin D. Murphy, former chairman and chief executive officer of the Times Mirror Co., died June 16. He was 78.
Murphy also was a former chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Kansas.
Murphy headed Times Mirror from 1968 to 1980 and was the company’s director until 1986. He also served as chairman of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in New York, which supports art preservation and conservation education.
After serving in the Army as a researcher of tropical diseases, he left the service in 1946 and joined the faculty of the University of Kansas medical school.
He became dean of the medical school in 1948 and the university’s chancellor in 1951. He held that position until going to UCLA in 1960.
Murphy is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son. Carolyn Newbold
AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - Carolyn Newbold, a former Amarillo Globe-News columnist, died June 11. She was 72.
Mrs. Newbold was society editor of the Amarillo Times from 1941 to 1942. After working as a secretary, she resumed her journalism career in 1970, joining the Globe-News to write its About Town column.
She was named women’s editor in 1974 and was elected chairwoman of the Family Editors of Texas three times before retiring in 1978. Alberto Quevedo
NEW YORK (AP) - Alberto Quevedo, who for seven years supervised the Latin American service of The Associated Press, died June 16 in Miami. He was 74.
Quevedo began his AP career in Buenos Aires in 1938 and transferred to the AP’s New York headquarters in 1957. He became Latin American editor, responsible for the news cooperative’s Spanish-language service, in 1975. In 1982, he was named correspondent at the United Nations for the Latin American service.
Quevedo retired in 1987 and moved to Miami.
He is survived by his wife and three daughters. Galen R. Rarick
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Galen R. Rarick, former dean of the University of Oregon’s journalism school, died June 15 of congestive heart failure. He was 71.
From 1954 to 1957, Rarick was the owner and publisher of the Booneville Independent newspaper in Booneville, Miss.
He taught journalism at the University of Oregon from 1962 to 1967 and from 1976 to 1987. Rarick served as dean of the journalism school from 1976 to 1981.
He was also a journalism professor at Ohio State University, the University of California at Berkeley and at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.
Rarick also worked on the staff of Congressional Quarterly in Washington and directed the News Research Center of the American Newspaper Publishers Association. Sami Rizkallah
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Sami Rizkallah, who retired last year after more than a quarter-century as an Associated Press newsman covering the Middle East, died June 18 after emergency surgery. He was 66.
Relatives said Rizkallah’s health had been poor since he suffered liver failure two months ago. He was hospitalized in Alexandria and died after emergency surgery to stanch internal bleeding.
Rizkallah joined the AP in 1966 after 13 years with United Press International. He was the night supervisor in the AP’s Cairo bureau for much of his AP career.
The era included two Middle Eastern wars, the death of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the ground-breaking trip to Jerusalem by Nasser’s successor, Anwar Sadat, Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel and his assassination by Islamic extremists, and the rise of the Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt in the 1980s.
Survivors include his wife, Marcelle, one son and twin daughters. Robert L. Smith Jr.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Robert L. Smith Jr., retired publisher of The Charleston Gazette, died June 15. He was 65.
Smith was publisher of the Gazette from 1987 until he retired in 1992. He joined the newspaper in 1953 as a reporter. He also was a sports writer.
Smith’s father, Robert L. Smith, was publisher of the newspaper from 1951 until his death in 1961.
Smith is survived by his wife, a daughter and a stepdaughter. Frank J. Starzel
DENVER (AP) - Frank J. Starzel, a general manager of The Associated Press who was instrumental in its technological advancement and growth, died June 14. He was 90.
Starzel, who entered journalism as a youngster in his father’s newspaper shop in Iowa, succeeded the late Kent Cooper as general manager of the worldwide news service in 1948. He retired after 33 years of AP service on Oct. 15, 1962.
When Starzel became general manager, the AP served 4,274 members and subscribers worldwide and its annual budget was $22 million. At his retirement there were 8,620 members and subscribers and the budget was $40 million a year.
Among the achievements of his administration were installation of Teletypesetter service all over the United States, extension of radioteletype and Wirephoto services to 87 countries and creation of a six-wire TTS system that cleared full New York Stock Exchange lists in 23 minutes or less. These technological advances were a forerunner of AP’s highly computerized news distribution system of today.
He believed newspapers of the future would ″concentrate on what, for want of a better word, must be called the magazine style.″
Starzel came to the AP in 1929 and became night city editor in New York in 1934 and Ohio bureau chief in 1935. He transferred back to New York in 1942 as an executive and became an assistant general manager in 1943.
He is survived by his daughter, Suzanne Swanson, and son, Robert.
--- NOTES FROM EVERYWHERE: The Journal Review in Crawfordsville, Ind., will switch from afternoon to morning editions, effective Aug. 1. ... A Cable News Network team were the only Western journalists allowed into North Korea last week to cover former President Carter’s visit there. CNN said Carter played no role in the network’s access; this is the second time the Atlanta-based cable network has been allowed into the Communist country. ... The Intelligencer Journal of Lancaster, Pa., celebrated its 200th anniversary with a special supplement and a party for 100 staff members. The morning daily is the seventh-oldest daily in the United States. ... Dow Jones Telerate Inc. will introduce its financial information services in Vietnam. The introduction of Dow Jones Telerate’s products will be sponsored by the Vietnamese government. Terms were not disclosed.
End Industry News Advisory