Old Media Empires Strike Back

Scott Woolley on Broadcast Bullies:

For decades the radio industry has crushed incipient competitors by wielding raw political muscle and arguments that are at once apocalyptic and apocryphal. Radio station owners, who formed the National Association of Broadcasters in 1923, have won laws and regulations that have banned, crippled or massively delayed every major new competitive technology since the first threat emerged in 1934: FM radio.

Speaking of Old Media Empires, J.D. Lasica interviews Jack ?I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.? Valenti

Eating away media’s credibility

Mary Schmich is spot on, as she eats away:

Should the media covering the Republican National Convention attend a million-dollar party thrown by the city of New York and TimeWarner in a spectacular shopping center in Columbus Circle?
Should we chow down on endless free food from some of New York’s priciest restaurants?
Should we gobble up the free Republican National Committee Media Welcome gift booklet–the one that gives us discounts at Borders, Bose and Tumi, and complimentary espresso in the cigar lounge at Davidoff and a free traditional shave with shaving cream purchase at the Art of Shaving?
Should we accept freebies that on ordinary days we would understand were as forbidden as plagiarism?
Should we do this even though we report mockingly on the luxury partying of the political parties?
Should we shrug off our own conspicuous consumption, paid for by someone else, as part of doing business?
Well, it doesn’t matter what you think. It’s done.
Thousands of media types, swirling free martinis and chattering up a cyclone, swarmed through the shops of the towering new TimeWarner Center Saturday night.
Oh, look, there’s Wolf Blitzer. And some CEO of something. And that woman–isn’t she somebody?

This seems to be related (via instapundit)

National Constitution Center: Photos Verboten!

Words fail me, today.
I took a number of photos during a visit to Philadelphia’s generally well done National Constitution Center. Four times, I was told that neither photos, nor videos are allowed. I asked how it was that the National Constitution Center would prohibit photos or videos. A manager was called and told me that:

Some of the materials are copywritten and that flash photography could be harmful to documents. I agreed that most people don’t know how to turn off their flash when shooting in AUTO mode, but I’ve visited many, many places where photography is permitted without a flash (including the Philadelphia Museum of Art).

My better half, Nancy whispered to me that today was not really the day to get “thrown out of the National Constitution Center”. Perhaps I should not be so surprised, when I read things like this.

Eldred case & Mickey
WI Representatives
CA Representatives
Legal Books
Founding Fathers
George Soros
Touch Screen
Woody Guthrie
Linda Chavez
Voting is Power

There’s also this: [pre-emptive interrogations – shades of Minority Report]

Election-Year Ties in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S.

India, Afghanistan and the United States are just three of the nations holding general elections in 2004. Though far flung on the map, electoral decisions in one of these countries will reverberate in the others, argues Steve Coll. In a three-part series of essays for NPR, Coll reflects on the political links between America, Afghanistan and Pakistan — and the shadow that Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terror network cast over the approaching fall election season.
Coll is the author of Ghost Wars, a must read for anyone interested in US South Asia policies.

Radio’s Long Term Decline

Sandra Ward on our declining interest in radio (I completely agree with is article):

IT’S HARD TO SAY EXACTLY WHEN radio started to lose the love and the power and the magic celebrated in that 1975 rock anthem, but a good bet would be 1996. Landmark telecom legislation back then unleashed a powerful wave of consolidation that left the airwaves cluttered with commercials — and investors set up for disappointment down the road.
Though many radio stocks soared seven- or eightfold during the merger frenzy, the excitement proved ephemeral. The stocks came back to earth with a thud, and the industry has since reverted to its former status as a generator of steady but unspectacular returns, with revenues growing little more than the economy as a whole. Worse, there’s increasing concern that radio is entering a long-term decline, the result of new competition and technologies and changing consumer tastes.
Younger adults — the key targets of radio advertising — have clearly been losing their ardor for the medium. By one key measure, the number of listeners ages 18 to 34 has declined by about 8% in the past five years, as portable digital-music players, Internet radio programming and other innovations have started to take hold. And while the dollars spent on radio advertising have been essentially flat for the past few years, competing media like cable TV, the ‘Net and outdoor advertising have been gaining steadily.
“It’s over,” Larry Haverty, a media specialist at State Street Research and Management in Boston, says of radio stocks’ big run. “Something good happened in the ‘Nineties; something less good has happened in the ’00s. Every retailer is blowing its budget on advertising and radio is not getting any of it. If they don’t get it now, they’re not going to.”


Korea’s Broadband Miracle

Thomas Hazlett summarizes the path our politicians must take, to support economical high speed (not the slow products we have now) broadband adoption. There is no greater economic issue for Wisconsin than this:

In the mid-1990s, Korean policy-makers set out to inject competition into local telephone service. They enacted rules allowing rivals to challenge the erstwhile state monopoly, Korea Telecom. Yet, by mid-2004, KT still accounted for 95% of local phone lines.
A failure? On the contrary, Korea’s policy has proved a smashing success. Because, as an additional lure to attract phone entrants, the government ended regulation of advanced telecom applications. The result: While competitors largely avoided (regulated) voice services, they invested billions to create new (unregulated) high-speed Internet networks. The broadband technologies unleashed by telecom rivals forced KT to modernize its network, which now serves just half of the high-speed market.
And that’s a big market: 78% of Korean households subscribe to broadband, the highest penetration rate in the world and well over twice that of the U.S. While broadband via standard cable modems and digital subscriber line (DSL) services are available for about $27 a month, households paying about $52 a month receive lightning fast 20 mbps VDSL service — connections sufficient to receive live high-definition TV. In short, the apartment dweller in Korea enjoys the same level of Internet service as the largest corporate customers in
the U.S. All this in a country of 48 million which, in 1979, had just
240,000 phone subscribers.