The Continued Decomposition of The Media

There is no perky receptionist outside the KING 5 studios. Just a building security guard, in uniform. You need a key code (employee) or an appointment (the rest of us) in order to enter. Why would we expect anything different from a large corporate-run (TEGNA) TV station? There is a chill in the lobby. Perhaps it comes in through the revolving door…Another syndicated morning program graces the Seattle airwaves starting Monday (4/24) on 98.9 KRVQ – The Billy Madison Show. I like it already, such an original title. Just to visit the website of the Madison show, you have to verify that you are at least 18 years old. Another, NSFW – not family-friendly, morning zoo. Booty Olympics, one of the features. Thanks, I’ll pass…Note to Bill O’Reilly: There may be an opportunity for radio syndication if you bust down the wall and add features like Booty Olympics…SINCLAIR has set a goal: Buy TRIBUNE – and stocks of both companies are on the rise – based on speculation of a pending deal. What would that mean for Seattle where Sinclair & Tribune have multiple stations? Imagine KOMO and KCPQ under the same ownership. Oh, the humanity! – Useless factoid: Nabisco shrunk the size of their Golden Honey Graham Cracker in 2009. Now they have shaved off some of the width of the cracker in 2017. Soon, you will be able to dunk them in milk – through a straw.

IHEART Cracks The Whip, Tribune Cutbacks and More Corporate Double-Talk

KFOO 102.9 PD Ben Marcotte has additional APD duties at Portland’s 102.3 FM [KKRZ-HD2 airs an alternative rock format branded as “Radio 102.3]…Also pulling double-duty [likely no pay increase] is another IHEART APD, Hunter Quinn of KBKS 106.1. He will do same for KPWK 93.3 FM [Bring back the name CHEAP CHANNEL]…Tracy Taylor has a trial run on KIRO TV Morning News this week. There is a place for Taylor on Seattle TV. Taylor definitely has a huge fan base…TEGNA hired new weatherman Jordan Steele with the title “Lead Innovator”. Just more corporate bulls***. There is an acronym for that: MCB…KING 5 has gone to Hell under the TEGNA “leadership”…TVSPY reports: Anne Bentley has been named vp and chief communications officer of TEGNA. “I’m thrilled to join TEGNA at such an exciting time in its development,” said Bentley, who comes from PBS where she was the head of corporate communications. “TEGNA is a widely recognized market leader with tremendous growth potential. I’m looking forward to working with the entire TEGNA team to showcase the organization’s strengths.” [She has the goods. She will do well in this job. She is clearly down with the corporate lines of BS] …Chehalis Valley Educational Foundation has filed for a change of city of license for KBSG 90.1 from Westport to Raymond…Listening to MIXX 96.1 Olympia is like stepping back into the 1980s. Not necessarily a bad thing. Station needs a better jingle package…Cutbacks at Tacoma’s News Tribune newspaper – the effort is to move most content to the “online” platform. As readers continue to cancel subscriptions, the Trib editor, Karen Peterson, was quick to bail. The paper may end up a “weekly” if it continues in paper form at all. Karen Peterson will now spend more time with family. The Tribune did not report whether Peterson claimed “It was a good ride” or not. The Olympian is also affected by Trib cutbacks. McClatchy owns both papers. Does anyone read the Seattle P-I anymore?

IF YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING NICE… OK, that’s all for now.

Sinclair “Hubbing” Operations

Norm Van Ness, WNWO-TV, Toledo, Ohio Channel 24’s longtime chief meteorologist, was brief and devoid of emotional sentiment in his farewell to the station and its viewers.

…The 48-year-old was among the first wave of drastic newsroom staff cuts — approximately 80 percent in all — as Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., parent company of WNWO, outsources the bulk of the station’s news operation to its CBS affiliate WSBT-TV, Channel 22, in South Bend, Ind –TVSPY

Hubbing, an ugly term, sounds slightly sexual, like screwing. I predict more of the same from Sinclair and other media groups in 2017. It is further consolidation of the dwindling talent at Sinclair and we will probably see it happen here in the Western region. Sinclair media in the West includes: KOMO/KUNS Seattle, KIMA/KUNW Yakima, KORX/KVVK Kennewick, KATU/KUNP Portland and stations in Boise, Eugene, Medford, Roseburg, Fresno, Bakersfield, Reno, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Sinclair also operates radio stations KOMO, KPLZ and KVI in Seattle. Cutbacks continue at Sinclair operations across the nation this week.

CLICK! the municipally owned and operated cable, internet and phone service provider in Tacoma, is getting into the heavily competitive “bundled services” offerings as home phone service declines across the nation. In fact, Qwest CENTURYLINK has cut more than 3,000 jobs in 2016 to lower its costs.

TEGNA Media President Dave Lougee challenged his stations to come up with new ideas for first-run shows that it could take group-wide — and possibly nationally.The station’s group WXIA Atlanta is developing a talk show with an African-American panel, while its WWL New Orleans is working on a “singing competition show. Is it time for KING 5 to revive ALMOST LIVE! again?
How about BINGO? Coded cards would be available at all Tegna stations nationwide. The first person to text BINGO and the winning card code to TEGNA wins a grab-bag of station promotional swag.

NWCN Signs Off

When Northwest Cable News signs off at the end of an hour-long retrospective Friday night, a chapter of regional TV journalism will come to a close 21 years after it started.

Jim Rose, president and general manager of KING Broadcasting, a division of TEGNA, which oversees Northwest Cable News (NWCN), says that news consumption habits have changed everywhere since NWCN went on the air in 1995, and especially around Portland and Seattle. Feliks Banel has the story at MYNORTHWEST.COM

Tegna pulls the plug on Northwest Cable News

BY JOEL CONNELLY, SEATTLEPI.COM–Northwest Cable News will cease to exist on January 6, 2017, ending two decades of broadcasting news and weather for the “Fourth Corner” of the country. King Broadcasting is now owned by Tegna, a Virginia-based corporation formed after the media conglomerate Gannett announced in 2014 that it was separating its print publications from its broadcast properties. Tegna operates 46 TV stations in 38 markets…Last week, Saga flipped the switch on the translator for KPUG Bellingham (1170), putting its sports talk format on FM. Before that, KIRO-FM’s 55,000-watt Class C signal was heard in Bellingham on that frequency. Bonneville-Seattle VP/GM Carl Gardner says they’ve received dozens of calls from listeners in Whatcom County, which encompasses Bellingham, wondering what happened during the initial days after KPUG’s translator signed on. Gardner plans to collect feedback from listeners and present it to the FCC with the goal of getting Saga to move the translator to another frequency. “We support KPUG in what they are doing; we just want them to do it on another channel,” Gardner told the Bellingham Herald. [InsideRadio] ……….THIS JUST IN…TINA PATEL, formerly at Q13 FOX KCPQ, is now working at CBS 2/KCAL 9 in Los Angeles. Movin’ on up!

Symbolic of the changes in broadcasting

Work is underway to demolish the old KING Broadcasting complex. Broadcast history was made there. Great radio and television programming was born there. The station served the public interest under the ownership of the Bullitt family. Now, owned by a national corporation called TEGNA, there is no sense of pride, service or creativity. TEGNA even wants to use the video and snapshots from the phones of the public [volunteers] rather than continue to pay Union video techs. The citizen videographer would receive $50 from TEGNA if the company purchased one of their pictures. CHEAP! That is the corporate way these days.

Photo from FELIKS BANEL, Northwest broadcast historian. [Northwest Hall of Radio History]

Parella Lewis finishes first week at KING 5

From Q13 to KING 5, [not sure whether that is a step up or a lateral move] Parella Lewis has completed her first week at her new job. Watch for her during the evening newscasts.

This will be a story that all local news media will stay on top of. The outcome will be featured all day long. I say, call the moose “Moosey Moosey Moose Moose Moose” so that newscasters have to hear themselves saying these words during a newscast. Someone in the news organizations might hear it and realize IT’S NOT NEWSWORTHY!

TEGNA should buy Pinterest

Labor negotiations at KING 5 have now gotten the attention of Seattle’s City Council. A council committee has passed a resolution supporting the unionized news staff who say their jobs are threatened by the corporate owner’s business model. The Union says Tegna wants to be able to pay citizen journalists $50 to submit video instead of the trained union members it has on staff. [KPLU News] — I think we all saw that coming.