Archive for the ‘media consolidation’ Category


January 2, 2014


The Association of Alternative Media (formerly the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies) will meet in San Francisco January 23rd to 25th. AAM represents 117 publications, most of them owned by a few corporations.


New NPR CEO Got It

November 13, 2008

New NPR CEO Got It

National Public Radio (NPR) has a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from the New York Times (NYT) who is not “out-to-lunch” (OTL).  Vivian Schiller, new President and CEO of NPR, ran NYT’s digital side, the website and blogs. She seems to understand a few things her public radio predecessors didn’t:

Top-down organization is fine for conventional networks and direct satellite broadcasters, but it is not appropriate in an organization funded by member stations.

Distributing audio content to the stations that finance it while also offering it directly to listeners as free podcasts and circumventing terrestrial stations by offering the same shows on SatRadio’s XM-Sirius-Telstar (whatever) is an awkward business model.


NPR — The Same Local Voice, Everywhere

August 27, 2008

NPR -- The Same Local Voice, Everywhere

It’s August, when American leaders migrate to Bar Harbor, Maine. Kevin Klose, president of National Public Radio (NPR), gave a lecture up there and said commercial radio has lost its “local voice” through consolidation and satellite syndication. He then went on to brag that NPR-distributed programming had a audience of 30 million, as if NPR programming has not displaced locally-produced radio shows.


flickr Video is “The New Coke”

April 11, 2008

flickr Video is the New Coke

The “No Video on flickr” movement is not (well, not entirely) a bunch of Luddites whining about the invention of moving pictures. The huge “No Video on flickr” protest (30,000 members and counting) is probably the reason for any slight service delays on the flickr site, not 90-second video uploads.

flickr is the most well-regarded photo-sharing community on the web (full disclosure: I am a flicker Pro subscriber). Why the precipitate change to include video? Parent company Yahoo is desperate to add value to corporate assets before an impending corporate take-over. This short-term attempt to pump up stock value is poor long-term strategy, and while that is of no concern to a Yahoo management eager to sell, the user community is understandably concerned. Any flicker corporate purchaser should be, too.


NPR Sports Story Strike Out

April 1, 2008

NPR Sports Story Strikes Out

National Public Radio’s All Things Considered aired a story on Minor League Baseball yesterday. Reporter Jeff Brady (“spends time playing tennis, gardening and remodeling his century-old home”) attributed the phenomenal growth in popularity of the minors to the adoption of “quirky,” “innovative” team names, amusing costumed mascots, and good marketing of the same.

Baseball people would fault the piece for failing to distinguish between MiLB (Major League Baseball’s “farm teams”) and the many other minor and “semi-pro” leagues, and similar sins of omission (example: Albuquerque had the Dukes long before the Isotopes arrived). I’ve got a grass-fed beef with the NPR tale because it failed to explain the rationale for the menu of minor league team names, a rationale central to the lifestyle of the NPR audience demographic and intimately related to the reason NPR Will Eat Itself.


HD™ Radio and Satellites: Radio Interference

February 29, 2008

HD Radio and Satellites — Radio Interference

HD™ Radio, beneficiary of an FCC-authorized monopoly, is broadcasting desperation by crying “monopoly” and “Lemme in!”  on the proposed XM Radio –Sirius Radio satellite radio (SatRad) merger. What balls gall. To add insult to injury, huge Clear Channel Communications, long a target of media-consolidation foes, argues that a SatRad merger should include HD reception on SatRad radios, though the technologies and business models have nothing in common at all. 


Crumbs of Wisdom from Creative Loafing

December 17, 2007

Crumbs of wisdom from Creative Loafing

Ken Edelstein, editor of Atlanta’s “alternative weekly” Creative Loafing, blogs about giving pink slips to seven non-newsroom staff members Friday. He avoided editorial cuts because the paper has been working two writers short already (local comments claim it shows). CL’s parent company bought Chicago’s Reader and DC’s City Paper this summer and just axed writers and editors at each.


Paper Cuts for Christmas — Update

December 11, 2007

Paper Cuts for Christmas — Update

New York Times columnist David Carr wrote about the staff writer layoffs at the Washington City Paper and Chicago Reader. Mr. Carr knows something about metro weeklies. He is former editor of the City Paper and the Twin Cities Reader. You may recall his CP column about DC media, “Paper Trail.”


City Paper: Cuts for Christmas

December 7, 2007

City Paper Cuts for Christmas

Washington City Paper staff writers Joe Eaton, Amanda S. Miller, Tim Carman and Jessica Gould and editorial assistant Joe Dempsey are getting pink slips for Christmas, writes FishbowlDC. Tim Carman will continue as a freelancer. Editorial assistant Amanda Hess will take over the Show & Tell column from Jessica Gould.

The Washington City Paper and Chicago Reader were acquired by the Creative Loafing chain this summer. Guess what? The Reader just laid off staff writers John Conroy, Tori Marlan, Harold Henderson, and Steve Bogira.


Alternative to What?

December 3, 2007

Alternative to What

Don’t get me wrong. I like a good free weekly paper. It’s the first thing I grab when I visit a new city.

But when I read that Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism will administer the AltWeekly Awards for The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, and that national advertisers buy big-time space in alt-weeklies because the young base readership buys cars, not just tobacco and booze, and that media consolidation is as rampant among alt-weeklies as among daily papers and broadcasters, I’ve got to ask: “Alternative” to what?


Image by Mike Licht. Classified ads are guaranteed to be racier than Craigslist.