Tuesday, August 20, 2013

KPIX5 and KCBS Uneasy Bay Bridge Affiliation; Fox Execs Visit Bay Area--Near The KRON Corridor; KNBR's Bruce Lets Giants Have It Over Lame 'Salute' To Boston Sox After Marathon Bombing

Once again, KPIX-TV and KCBS , (TV/Radio CBS Media clusters), have begun running promos touting the scheduled Labor Day Opening of the New Bay Bridge.
A sign is posted on the newly constructed San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on July 12, 2013 in Oakland. ( Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
New Eastern Side Bay Bridge/Getty Images
  


PIX has also begun airing promos of a special, (yet again), on the Bridge, which runs Saturday night. Just what we need --another special local TV screening of the bridge opening; as if we haven't seen enough already.

I have said repeatedly, as if I'm blue in the face, that I find it highly uncomfortable that both the CBS locals here; PIX in particular, refuses to air a disclaimer its quasi-relationship with Caltrans as a bridge partner.

 I'm not suggesting that PIX has committed any sinister act here, just that I'm uncomfortable that they can be viewed without any form of conflict of interest when their presence is so obvious, good, bad or indifferent. What would be the harm of these stations to offer a disclaimer to its viewers and listeners to its association with the bridge's chief infrastructure people?

Those of you who think I'm being petty here, fine, go ahead and bitch and moan. I'm not having any of it. I'm not having any of it especially when I reported here, first, that the main contractor of the new bridge stands to receive a $20 million bonus if the bridge opens on schedule.

**A group of Fox Network Execs will be coming to the Bay Area in a few weeks and their trip to the city is not for pleasure. Furthermore, they will not be meeting with execs from KTVU, (their Cox Media-owned SF-Oak affiliate)--instead they will have their sights set on the Van Ness corridor, near the area of 1001 Van Ness --yes, the address of KRON. Coincidence? Perhaps. You be the judge.

**Kudos to KNBR's 1050 AM noontime tonsil, Damon Bruce, for his ridicule of the Giants' PR dept. over its lame-brain "honor" to the Boston Red Sox--a pre-game salute, (last night), to victims of the Marathon bombing---more than four months after it happened. As an aside, ESPN aired Monday night's game against the Red Sox. Do the TV math.

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21 comments:

  1. Rich,
    It's unclear from this post what, exactly, your concerns are regarding KCBS & KPIX's "quasi-relationship with Caltrans as a bridge partner."
    Are you, for example, suggesting an inappropriate financial relationship? Slanted news coverage? And how does the contractors $20mil bonus figure into your objections of the station's coverage?
    I'm not "bitching and moaning" here, just trying to understand your objections.
    Perhaps a larger story might be: How much did the stations pay to be the "official sponsor" of the bridge opening, now that the big party has been called off?
    Thanks.

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    1. I'm not Rich, obviously, but I share some of his concerns. The $20 million dollar bonus worries me because it means the contractor may have been more likely to ignore problems, or cut corners to get the bonus. $20 million is a lot of money to leave on the table, and with all of the problems that have plagued the bridge, it seems like some corners may have been cut inorder to open up on time. The PIX Caltrans partnership is a debate over journalistic ethics. Does the partnership mean the station will be pumping out fluff pieces and specials, instead of investigating the bonus, all of the problems, or potential problems with the bridge? I don't watch PIX, so I don't know the answer to that, but I would imagine that's why some people are concerned.

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    2. If a company meets it's contractual obligations, they should get their bonus. Period. Incentives aren't contingent on vague assumptions after the fact that corners were cut...cal trans IS RESPONSIBLE to make sure they don't. It's all been documented and there are no surprises.

      Everything is in black and white...specs, plans, materials, methods, inspection processes, time lines, hurdles...everything. These aren't a bunch of bush league moonlighters they found on craigslist and neither are their (contract)attorneys.

      Even if the bolt problem halted or slowed the construction, not saying that it did, that's on the specifying engineers and acceptance testers and so is the change order.

      Teenagers that dine & dash grow up to be "liar loan" dead beats that try to wiggle out of terms/deals they willingly accepted. I ain't buying any of it.

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    3. "I have said repeatedly, as if I'm blue in the face, that I find it highly uncomfortable that both the CBS locals here; PIX in particular, refuses to air a disclaimer its quasi-relationship with Caltrans as a bridge partner.

      If Lieberman is highly uncomfortable it may be because he can't really explain what impropriety KPIX is guilty of no matter how hard he tries.

      What are you saying Rich? KPIX is promoting the opening of a dangerous bridge because they will profit from its opening? Do you see any legitimate media source suggesting that opening this bridge is dangerous and risky?

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    4. We're not talking conspiracy theories here, just trying to make sure all of the proper steps were atually taken. Why is it wrong to question that? Guess how we'd know if the proper steps weren't taken, or if something isn't in black & white? Journalists, investigations, people asking questions. It's their job. The fact is, bridges can collapse and some people do actually cut corners, or make mistakes under pressure. The people building the bridge are human, subject to error. This bridge has to last us a long time, well past any rushed openings. It may seem like nothing to you, but I want to make sure the journalists covering this aren't blinded by partnerships, and are keeping a close eye on everything that's going on. Caltrans is responsible, but someone should be questioning them to make sure. And yes, legally, the bonus should be paid out, but even lawmakers are now debating whether the bonus should have ever been part of the deal in the first place.

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    5. > It's unclear from this post what, exactly, your concerns
      > are regarding KCBS & KPIX's "quasi-relationship with
      > Caltrans as a bridge partner."

      It's also unclear what KTVU management is "hiding" after they've openly apologized for a mistake, taken actions to correct it, and rightly or wrongly (Rich doesn't get to be the judge...I think he's pissed because they didn't consult him first) fire a group of people they deemed responsible. He keeps saying there's sooooo much more to come and there's this vast conspiracy to keep it quiet, and so far the only thing has been the massive, deafening sound of crickets chirping. Meanwhile he lost Somerville's confidence, which he'd just had, a considerable coup.

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  2. Visits from FOX executives, could make for some interesting conversations.

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  3. Rich:

    Explain to me what would happen to KTVU if FOX purchased KRON. Do you mean that KTVU could be an independent again?

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    1. Yes and no. There's a lot there to explain. I'm working on it.

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    2. I remember a seminar I took once where they said there are two ways to spot a con-man: 1) they never give you a straight answer to a simple question and 2) they always tell you they're working on it and they'll soon be back with an answer that will knock your socks off. I got my money's worth out of that seminar.

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    3. Rich could explain his theory, and I would like to hear it, too. However, the truth is that nobody knows. The KTVU news operation, tarnished as it now is, is still a formidable juggernaut. The 11PM news stations would absolutely LOVE to have the kind of ratings KTVU enjoys at 10. The stations that also have network morning news programs salivate at the ratings "Mornings on 2" can generate compared to their network morning shows (GMA, Today, and whatever CBS is running these days). KTVU has crushed challengers at 10PM in the past. However, it's all a wildcard and nobody really knows what would happen. CBS has news-only duopoly stations in NYC and LA to go along with their flagship CBS stations. So, it is quite possible for an independent with a formidable news operation to succeed on their own. Could Cox handle 2 independent stations in 1 market (they own KICU, too)? Doubtful. The loss of NFL, baseball, and other cash cows could seriously bite into the news ratings and operating budget, too. Again, though, all pure speculation at this point. I think it's safe to say that other stations in the market would not shed any tears over FOX buying KRON and moving the affiliation, there. FOX would have a LOT of rebuilding to do, and Cox would probably be scrambling a bit.

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    4. There's not that much to explain. If Fox buys KRON they will move the Fox affilation to KRON. KTVU can either pick up MyNetwork TV or go independent. Whatever they do KTVU will face an uphill battle. It's not easy to operate a full-fledged news department without the ratings from network programming to drive viewers to your newscasts. It won't be easy for Fox with KRON since KRON is a shell of its former self but Fox will try whatever it takes to make KRON a competitor.

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    5. Why would Fox want to buy KRON? The new 49'rs stadium is almost done in Santa Clara, all of the money is in the South Bay and the NFL Fox Sports Network coverage is only minutes away. That Van Ness and 101 traffic is a holy nightmare. It makes more sense for Fox to sit down with Comcast/NBC Universal, Media General and Cox and work a deal to swap KNTV so that becomes Fox 11 or KFXI and NBC goes to 4 where it belongs and maybe KTVU or KOFY picks up the My Network syndicated programming.

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    6. Excellent post at 8:55pm.
      I am surprised it wasn't censored.

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  4. Marathon bombing---more than four months after it happened..... yep, you're right Rich - don't you just hate it when someone just can't drop a story, but just keeps dragging it on and on and on and on......;)

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    1. Yeah, I'm waiting with baited-breath to hear Rich's latest minutiae regarding his over-hyped Asiana/NameGate obsession.

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  5. Please do keep reporting on the conflict of interest regarding CBS' "sponsorship" of the Bay Bridge opening. That whole thing stinks to high heaven. Everyone else will run like the wind. You think the construction company wanted to walk away without a chance at that early bonus? Would you? Duh.

    Once again, the Giants are trying to get attention with this Boston Marathon salute. This should've been done long ago, not when the Red Sox came to town. Or let me guess...maybe Bud "the owner's puppet" Selig gently asked them to it last night?

    It's all about marketing and shoving stuff down our throats. Same logic, different materials, different day.

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  6. "Conflict of Interests" kettle Lieberman has the audacity to call someone else's pot lack for an imaginary conflict of interests? That's funny.

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  7. Hey Rich, What do you think about the new Al Jazeera America? Did you get a chance to see it yet? I know it's off topic, but I'm watching it now and it kinda has a CNN feel. The stories are a lot longer, and there's not as much banter, though. I thought it would be more raw, like the original Al Jazeera. I wonder if that will change as the network grows.

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  8. Love him or hate him, at least Damon Bruce gives you an opinion.
    And for that we applaud him.
    Unlike others in the Bay Area media, who will never utter a contrary view point on the local baseball team.


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