Friday, August 30, 2013

Tribune Broadcasting Revenue Falls 20%

By Merrill Knox

Net income plunges 61.2% and revenue slides 10.5% at Tribune

Trib logo
Tribune Co. reported $260 million in broadcast revenues for the second quarter of 2013, down -20% from $327 million in the year-ago quarter. The decline includes $41 million in one-time copyright royalties paid to WGN, Tribune’s CW affiliate in Chicago, in 2012.

PIX Plaza
Advertising revenue also declined $17 million in the quarter, primarily at WGN and WPIX, the CW affiliate in New York City. Tribune says WPIX continues to be impacted by the Cablevision blackout last year and WGN’s performance has been impacted by lower sports revenue. Retransmission and carriage fees were up 15% for the quarter.

“While our second quarter financial results reflect many of the same challenges faced by the other companies in our sector, we have made substantial progress strategically repositioning Tribune for long term growth,” Tribune president and CEO Peter Liguori said in a statement.

According to Los Angeles Times reporter the ongoing decline of newspaper ad revenue has cast a shadow over the entire company. Tribune has announced plans to spin off its eight daily newspapers into a separate company. Doing so would likely raise the value of the company's television, radio and Internet properties.

The company emerged from bankruptcy at the end of last year, and it has been widely reported that its board is interested in selling the publishing unit, which includes the Chicago Tribune and Baltimore Sun. Several potential suitors have expressed interest in The Times, including Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Dodgers controlling owner Mark Walter, Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner and local philanthropist and businessman Eli Broad.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ossining Board Supports Voting Rights Act

The Ossining Village Board unanimously approved a resolution calling for Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act.

OSSINING, N.Y. -- The Ossining Village Board is opposed to the recent U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning part of the Voting Rights Act. 

At the Aug. 20 village board meeting, the Ossining Village Board unanimously approved a resolution calling for Congress to restore the full Voting Rights Act. 

The Voting Rights Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in 1965, bans discrimination in voting practices at all levels of government. In June, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4b of the Act. 

Section 4b of the Act required federal pre-clearance for any and all changes to voting laws that could result in discrimination before enactment by states or parts thereof that had been cited by the U.S. Department of State. 

Mayor William Hanauer said the only way things get done is for people to push for change. 

"Ossining is a very diverse community," Hanauer said. "We do not tolerate laws or tolerate rules and regulations that are discriminatory." 

Hanauer said a progressive state like New York can be the forefront in change, though he does not see strict voter ID laws coming to the state. 

"People recognize that we are a progressive government," Hanauer said. "We are very much interested in social justice and civil rights. Most of the comments I've gotten are very positive." 

Hanauer said he hopes other municipalities throughout Westchester pass a similar resolution. 

Robert Daraio, a village trustee, said it is important for the trustees to speak about issues of national importance. 

"That's our obligation," Hanauer said. "We are the closest level of government to the people. Not like Congress, which has to take a field trip to find out the price of milk." 

Daraio pointed out numerous laws and restrictions passed throughout the country that would be allowed because of the Supreme Court's decision.

"This is a huge setback for our country," Daraio said. "As soon as the ink was dry, they were passing these laws. They are undoing civil rights. It needs to be stopped and everyone needs to say something. People need to stand up. Just because this issue might not affect you personally doesn't mean the next issue won't." 

Daraio said the village board will soon pass a resolution calling for the state to pass a law requiring equal pay for men and women.

"If we're not going to speak up, then who will?" Daraio said. 

Broadcast Union News Note: Both Mayor Hanauer and Trustee Daraio are members of IATSE. Bill Hanauer is a former business agent for IATSE Locals 764 and 700, Bob Daraio is a proud IATSE Local One stagehand and is currently a local representative of The Newspaper Guild of N.Y. CWA Local 31003.