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ABC Radio Says Imus Lures Advertisers

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

On Cable, Rural Channel Reported Closing Deal


Don Imus' new employer says the New York talk-show hosts he is replacing were dumped because it was believed Imus could bring in more advertising dollars. Phil Boyce, vice president for programming at the ABC News-Talk stations, also said of Imus, "I don't think he's going to repeat" the kind of incident that got him fired from CBS Radio and MSNBC in April.

Don Imus
"Really, the opportunity here is from an advertising side," Boyce said Friday on Michel Martin's "Tell Me More" show on National Public Radio. "Imus's advertisers are big and we think that we could bring some of them over here." He said, "We weren't unhappy with Curtis and Kuby," a reference to Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, who were bumped from New York's WABC-AM to make room for Imus, who starts on the station on Dec. 3.

Meanwhile, the Nashville Tennessean reported Monday that officials of "RFD-TV, the seemingly sleepy Nashville-based cable channel focusing on rural America," are expected to announce they will simulcast the new Imus show, "a move that should boost their current reach of 30 million homes to more than 50 million by the end of 2008.

"Patrick Gottsch, RFD-TV founder and president, would only confirm that the network, home to farm-related programs and country and polka music shows, was in talks with Imus," Beverly Keel wrote, but said Gottsch added, "The biggest obstacle we've had in the last three years is convincing urban-based program directors in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, and so on that they need to be carrying this 'rural' network. Imus helps us cross those borders."

Citadel Broadcasting Corp. announced Thursday that Imus will return to the airwaves on WABC, only nine months after the radio host's on-air statement calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed ho's" created an uproar. The show will be syndicated nationally by the ABC Radio Network, the announcement said.

Until Martin's show, neither Citadel nor ABC News-Talk officials had elaborated on that announcement. Citadel has steadfastly refused to meet with the National Association of Black Journalists, which had called for "dialogue" with Citadel before Imus' return, or with other groups that had expressed concern, such as the National Organization for Women.

Boyce disagreed that Imus lost his show in April because advertisers pulled out.

"Well, I don't know if that's true that his advertisers abandoned the show," he said. "I know that when the initial controversy occurred, a lot of advertisers said, 'pull my spots for a while.' CBS didn't really give him a chance to ride that out. They suspended him for two weeks and then several days into the suspension decided to pull the plug. So I don't think we ever really knew for sure what the long-term negative effect would have been. My feeling is a lot of those advertisers would have come back. He apologized 100 times for what he said. He was forgiven by the Rutgers basketball team. They didn't say that he should be fired. So I just think they would have been back, and I think we'll find out here in about a month."

"What are you hearing so far?" Martin asked.

"So far, I'm hearing good things," Boyce said. "Obviously, there's some good and there's some bad, but I think for the most part, a lot of people are excited to hear him back. I think he'll have a lot to say. He hasn't said anything publicly since this thing occurred. I think that first show on December 3rd here on WABC in New York will be huge. And I think everybody will be listening and want to know what this guy has to say and we just all have to listen."

In a discussion that followed, E.R. Shipp, a journalism professor at Hofstra University and former columnist at the New York Daily News, agreed that, "in a capitalist society . . . it's the money that counts. So his corporate bosses have decided that they can make money off of Imus. What we need to decide is whether the advertisers come back to Imus, and I think that's where we have power to exert."

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, said of the larger media discussion of Imus, "Who's missing from this dialogue? Black women, of course. It's ironic that the very people who were disrespected continue to get no respect. They don't even have a voice in a debate that centers on their image and their morals. Nothing seems to have changed from a little more than six months ago when Imus-gate broke.

"Maybe things have gotten worse. Imus has more fans than ever, standing up for his First Amendment right, not only to spew bile but to do so with the high profile megaphone. For him, it's redemption without penance, or even a promise to do better. The scandal may be the best thing that happened to his career."

Meanwhile, onetime television talk show host Dick Cavett defended Imus and denounced NABJ in a blog on the New York Times Web site, one of several commentaries in the last few days.

"A program enjoyed (and missed) by millions was trashed for the sake of the few. No one who contributed to the denouement of the Imus show and the mindless abuse heaped on him has anything to be proud of," Cavett wrote.

Of the "nappy headed ho's" comment, Cavett said, "He threw in a bit of slang as he might have about laundry if it had been a Chinese team, or garlic or Mafia if Italian, or the¬†turistas¬†if they had been from south of the border, or Nazis if from Argentina. Not everybody?¢??s favorite kind of humor, but easily tolerated - although clearly not by some - for all the good stuff in the other 239 minutes of the show."

He continued, "A particularly painful sight has been the performance of members of the National Association of Black Journalists, clubbing and pounding the radio/television host as if he were a Grand Kleagle. They, too, want him to remain exiled to Elba," Cavett wrote.

The blog item, written Friday, had generated 277¬†comments¬†by noon on Monday. The breadth of the comments demonstrated that the Imus topic defies simplistic analysis, though one respondent told Cavett, who turns 71 in two weeks, "You?¢??re in danger of becoming a nasty¬†Andy Rooney."

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Cockfield Named Press Secretary to N.Y. Governor

Errol A. Cockfield Jr., who left Newsday this year to take a job as press secretary for New York's Empire State Development Corp., the state's development authority, is changing jobs again: Gov. Eliot Spitzer has hired him as his press secretary, James M. Odato reported Friday in the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union.


Errol Cockfield
Cockfield was Newsday's Albany bureau chief, board member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and a former president of the New York Association of Black Journalists when he left Newsday in February. Spitzer is hiring Cockfield and, as a senior adviser, veteran Albany lobbyist Bruce Gyory at a time when the Spitzer administration has been "taking a public relations beating since midsummer," Odato wrote.

Cockfield, 34, gets a raise - from $130,000 to $150,000.

"Both come in at a turbulent time for the administration, with lawmakers in both houses, particularly Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, expressing frustration with Spitzer's driver licensing policies and complaining of his autocratic style," Odato said.

Spitzer has come under fire for a proposal to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, which became an issue in the Democratic presidential debate last week when Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., was criticized for what her opponents called contradictory answers on whether she supported Spitzer's plan.



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Richard Parsons, center, was about to take the reins at what was then AOL Time Warner when Newsweek ran this cover story on Jan. 28, 2002. "All three could have 15 years or more to make their mark on their companies," Newsweek said. "Or any one of them could get fired tomorrow."

Parsons Out as Time Warner CEO, Remains Chair

"Time Warner Inc., under pressure from investors to wring more profit from its AOL division and cable unit, named Jeffrey Bewkes chief executive officer, succeeding Richard Parsons as the head of the world's largest media company," Gillian Wee reported on Monday for Bloomberg News.


"Bewkes, 55, has been Time Warner's president and chief operating officer since January 2006. Parsons, 59, will remain chairman, the New York-based company said today in a statement. The changes are effective Jan. 1.

"Time Warner's new chief is the architect of efforts to revive the AOL Internet business. Sales at the Web unit have tumbled since the company stopped charging subscribers for services and instead focused on attracting advertisers. Shares of Time Warner have lagged behind those of News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. this year.

"Parsons, the former president of Dime Bancorp, a New York savings and loan, joined Time Warner's board in 1991 and impressed then-CEO Gerald Levin, who made him his No. 2 in 1995. Parsons is also on the board of Citigroup Inc. and yesterday was appointed to head a group that will find the bank's next CEO following the resignation of Charles O. Prince.

As CEO, Parsons cut costs and jobs.
"A lawyer by training, Parsons got his start working as an aide in New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller'soffice. He became CEO in 2002 after Levin quit amid record losses tied to the combination of Time Warner and America Online, and added the role of chairman a year later when AOL founder Steve Case left.

"As CEO, Parsons cut costs and jobs at Time Inc. in response to shrinking ad sales at the publishing division. He fended off pressure last year from billionaire Carl Icahn to break up the company by agreeing to buy back shares, and he sparked growth at the cable unit, the company's fastest-growing division for 14 quarters, with the acquisition of Adelphia territories."

The replacement of Parsons, the highest-ranking African American in a publicly traded media company, follows by a week the ouster of Stanley O'Neal at Merrill Lynch. Some black columnists who commented on O'Neal's ouster noted a January 2002 Newsweek cover featuring Parsons, O'Neal and Ken Chenault of American Express that carried the legend, "The New Black Power."

But the columnists differed over the significance of the latest developments to black power or to race in general.

"There are still only five total African-American CEOs in the Fortune 500, according to Black Enterprise magazine," Clarence Page noted last Wednesday in the Chicago Tribune. "That's a setback, but the success of these pioneers is a sign that history is moving in the right direction."

"The emergence of these black Fortune 100 executives was indeed historic, but the real watershed moment is now - and whether corporate leadership opportunities for other African Americans and ethnic minorities continue," Stan Simpson wrote Saturday in the Hartford Courant. "Here's the deal when it comes to folks of color who ascend to lead roles in the workplace: Their success is overly magnified, but so too are their shortcomings. When they fail it can result in white managers' being less inclined to hire and promote outside their race."

In the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson related the men's rise to the purpose of affirmative action:


"What's really significant is that there is a Stan O'Neal. And a Dick Parsons," he wrote a week ago. "And a Ken Chenault, the African American CEO of American Express, who is staying put, far as I know. And a Bob Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, widely acknowledged as the first African American billionaire.


"Just two or three generations removed from slavery, they rose to control big chunks of the American economy. They attained Master of the Universe status by being smarter and tougher than their peers - and now a much bigger cohort of black corporate executives is coming up behind them.

"It just goes to show what happens when you open a door."

Syndicated columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson agreed, but with a caveat.

"Fifty companies appear on Fortune Magazine?¢??s list of corporations with the best track record for diversity. Minorities made up almost 21 percent of their boardrooms in 2003, compared with 11 percent two years earlier. The figures almost certainly have edged up even more since then," he wrote.

"But for every one of the 50 corporations that makes diversity more than a buzz word, there are dozens more that pat themselves on the back for having one Latino, Asian or African American on their board, or for hiring a handful in lower-level management positions."

In February, Parsons said on CNN's "In the Money" that Time Warner was "redoubling" its diversity efforts but that "the place where we have the most difficulty is among our journalists."

Paula Zahn asked Parsons, "Are you satisfied when you look around at your own company? Basically our newsroom, when you look behind me?"

Parsons replied: "The answer is no, I'm not satisfied. So we're sort of redoubling our efforts. Although we've done . . . probably as much as any major diversified media company in America . . . the pace of change has still been slow. Interestingly enough, the place where we have the most difficulty is among our journalists."

"Why do you think that is?" Zahn asked.

"I think because to a real extent, journalism is like priesthood, and certain experiences and schoolings and schools that you have to go to become a member of the club. And so, again, you have that pipeline problem. We have a number of people who are sort of moving up, who went to the right schools and had the right experiences. But it is breaking down those barriers that existed that aren't even necessarily intentionally constructed, but it is the way things were.

"When you're looking for new journalists, people that are looking go out and find, replicate themselves. They try to find folks that went to the same schools, same orientation, the same sort of prior experiences. And if - if you don't have enough, in this case, minorities who had those experiences, they simply come back and say, I can't find qualified candidates. What we've done, we put a big focus on hiring people who can put the lie to that myth."

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Pakistan Escalates Efforts to Silence Press

"Pakistan's government has escalated its efforts since the weekend to silence the press by harassing journalists, attempting to shut down printing presses, and ordering that articles critical of the government be altered, Pakistani journalists told CPJ," the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday.


"According to news editors at the Urdu-language Daily Ausaf in Islamabad and at the Express in Lahore, the papers were given written orders from officials to alter articles critical of the government that were to appear today. In Quetta, police tried to stop staff and video photographers of the independent station ARY One World TV. In Karachi, police were unable to stop the printing of a special supplement of the daily Awam, owned by the English-language Daily Jang, part of the larger Jang Group of media companies, after they had entered the paper's press room. There was no violence, and police apparently backed down after meeting with resistance from the paper's employees, according to newsroom staff.

"Opposition groups claim that 3,500 lawyers, members of the political opposition, and human rights groups have been detained since Saturday, but the government has said the number is about half that. There have been no reports of widespread journalist detentions despite rumors of an imminent crackdown."


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"Dog the Bounty Hunter" Pulled Indefinitely

"Two days after a tape surfaced with network star Duane 'Dog' Chapmanrepeatedly using the n-word, A&E said Friday afternoon that it was pulling all episodes of 'Dog The Bounty Hunter' from the air," Steve Donohue reportedFriday for Multichannel News.


"In evaluating the circumstances of the last few days, A&E has decided to take 'Dog The Bounty Hunter' off the network's schedule for the foreseeable future," A&E said in prepared statement. "We hope that Mr. Chapman continues the healing process that he has begun."

"A&E suspended Chapman last Wednesday, after the National Enquirer posted an audio clip of Chapman on his Web site using the n-word. 'Dog,' which debuted on A&E in 2004, was one of the first reality shows A&E added to its schedule.

"On the audiotape, Chapman is heard using the n-word several times in a telephone conversation with his son Tucker. Chapman expresses his displeasure that Tucker is dating an African American, warning that she could jeopardize the show if she overhears Chapman and his team using the n-word.

"'I don't care if she's a Mexican, a whore, whatever. It's not because she's black. It's because we use the word n----- sometimes here,' Chapman tells his son. "I'm not going to take a chance ever in life of losing everything I've worked for 30 years because some fu?¢??ing n---- heard us saying n-----."

"The Associated Press reported on Friday that Tucker Chapman taped the phone call with his father, and sold it to the Enquirer."



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Short Takes:

  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran extensive¬†multimedia coverage¬†on Sunday, in print and online, to highlight the 40th anniversary of the dayCarl Stokes¬†was elected Cleveland's mayor. He became the first black mayor of a major U.S. city. (Richard Hatcher¬†was elected mayor of less-populous Gary, Ind., the same day.) Among those who worked on the project were¬†Margaret Bernstein,¬†Phillip Morris¬†and¬†April McClellan-Copeland.¬†Karl Turner¬†was its editor. "I have an exclusive story on research conducted by that links Carl Stokes' ancestors to the Georgia families that owned them. It's particularly interesting in light of the fact that Stokes, the grandson of a slave, defeated the grandson of a U.S. president (Seth Taft) to win the mayor's job," Bernstein told Journal-isms.¬†
  • Denisse Oller
    "Veteran Ch. 41 anchor Denisse Oller is leaving the Univision station after a 20-year run," Michael Starr reported Saturday in the New York Post. 'It's very amicable' Oller told The Post yesterday. Oller has worked for both Univision and competitor Telemundo since 1986 on both the national and local levels. Oller said she's creating 'a multi-media company' that will include Internet, TV, print and radio components." 
  • "After five years of showcasing Houston's professional African-American community, Onyx Style magazine is ceasing publication with its November/December issue, which hits stands today,"¬†Joy Sewing¬†reported¬†Sunday in the Houston Chronicle. "Editor and publisher¬†Caleen Burton-Allen¬†says she's closing the magazine to pursue her media relations and crisis-management consulting business. The quarterly publication, which had a circulation of 75,000, featured interviews with celebrities, profiles of homes, society news and travel pieces."¬†
  • At the San Antonio Express-News, "14 individuals in the newsroom and one individual in Commentary have signed paperwork to accept the buyout," Editor¬†Robert Rivard¬†told¬†staffers on Friday. "One of those individuals in the newsroom has since backed out, while today, yet another individual came forward to request a buyout. There conceivably could be more such activity as people weigh serious career decisions. The effective date of departure for individuals who do decide to leave the Express-News will be Sunday, Nov. 18."¬†
  • Debra L. Lee, chairman and chief executive of BET, met recently with the Rev.¬†Delman L. Coates, who is leading protesters outside her Washington home, and said she remained baffled by what it would take for him to end the rallies,¬†Felicia R. Lee¬†reported¬†Monday in the New York Times. "What I took away from it, he wants to program the network," the executive said. "Rev. Coates is not the final arbiter of taste in the black community," she added.¬†
  • In Philadelphia, "Fox 29 reporter¬†Tom Burlington¬†recently cleaned out his desk as his contract at the station is set to expire at year's end, we're told. Burlington has been suspended since July after repeatedly using the N-word during a news meeting, which we reported July 5,"¬†Dan Grosswrote¬†Monday in the Philadelphia Daily News.¬†
  • "In the wake of the Duke lacrosse case, the policy of not identifying sex crime accusers is under review at The N&O, Public Editor¬†Ted Vadenwrote¬†Sunday in the Raleigh News & Observer. "An internal committee is looking at issues such as whether accusers should be identified or, if not, whether the accused also should be shielded." In April, sexual assault and kidnapping charges were dropped against three former Duke University lacrosse players. Until then, the newspaper had not named the accuser.¬†
  • Tunku Varadarajan
    Tunku Varadarajan, assistant managing editor at the Wall Street Journal, has been appointed clinical professor of business at the New York University Stern School of Business, the schoolannounced on Oct. 29. At the Journal, "he also served as the editorial features, or op-ed, editor, as well as chief television and media critic. Previously, he worked as an editorial writer for The Times of London, as well as its bureau chief in both Madrid and New York City. He currently serves as a contributing editor at the Financial Times," the school said in his bio. 
  • The National Council of Women's Organizations announced the creation of the¬†Mal JohnsonSisterhood Program, to provide a paid fellowship, or sister-ship, for young women of color at NCWO. It honors Johnson, a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and first woman reporter hired by Cox Radio and Television, the Feminist Daily News Wire¬†reported¬†on Thursday. Johnson¬†died¬†Oct. 27 at age 85.¬†
  • "Here's the funny thing about the¬†interview¬†Etan Thomas¬†conducted recently at," Washington Post sportswriter¬†Ivan Carter¬†wrote Oct. 24 on his Wizards Insider blog on "Etan ripped myself and¬†John Mitchell¬†of the Washington Times for writing false information but in doing so, he provided false information. Unreal." Carter went on to "set the record straight" about his coverage of the Washington Wizards center, who is out indefinitely after undergoing open-heart surgery.¬†
  • "In the history of journalism,¬†Vivian Aplin-Brownlee¬†is remembered because she saw clean through¬†Janet Cooke¬†and her notorious fake Washington Post story about an eight-year-old heroin addict,"¬†Patrice Gaines¬†wrote¬†Thursday in the Washington Informer. "In my personal history, she will always be a woman who reached out a hand and lifted me up," she wrote, describing how Aplin-Brownlee maneuvered to get Gaines hired at the Post. Aplin-Brownlee died on Oct. 20 at age 61 of complications from leukemia.¬†
  • At the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post, "I still get messages from readers who say that my joining the board gave The Post too many black columnists," editorial writer¬†Elisa Cramer¬†wrote¬†on Friday. "But I consider it a compliment when those same readers mistake me" for¬†Stebbins Jefferson, the columnist who died Oct. 27 at age 71. "She was not interested in celebrity, but whether she knew it or not, she was a hero for my generation and for a generation of local African-Americans who still remember when they were hardly written about by this newspaper and not allowed to write for it."¬†
  • Cathy Straight, USA Today national editor, is to be¬†inducted¬†into the Hall of Fame Friday at her alma mater, the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern Mississippi. Along with the induction, the school is holding its first symposium, "Social Justice and the News," featuring¬†Ronnie Agnew, executive editor of the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger.¬†

Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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