Friday, February 08, 2008

99: FCC & Ad Enforcement

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Issue #99


TUNED OUT...This news not only has us scratching our heads but a little miffed. After frequent outreach and analysis last year about the lack of a substantial Black talk radio forum on satellite radio,comes the news this week that the nation's leading provider of satellite radio, XM Radio, will expand the lineup on The Power XM Channel 169 (already home to Joe Madison, the Reverend Al Sharpton and Warren Ballantine),and will bill itself as the only national 24-hour radio channel exclusively dedicated to African-American talk programming. But unfortunately, they went to the usual talking heads, including Tavis Smiley. There will also be shows by DC pundit Kojo Nnamdi, author Blanche Williams, and the sports talk radio duo The 2 Live Stews. Between this development and Jesse Jackson's recent meeting with the FCC, it looks like change has come --but alas only for the same players. As for The A-List, it's clear that all our ranting starting almost a year ago has been not only been read but heard. Thing is, they forgot to give us a call and invite us into the mix since we started the whole campaign in the first place. That's okay, y'all. We'll get ours.

PARTY POOPER...What's a girl to do? All dressed up and no where to go. All of Hollywood seems to be is lamenting the fact that Vanity Fair has canceled its annual Academy Awards party. The hot-ticket bash was called off since head honcho Graydon Carter thought there might still be some left over drag from the impending end of the writers strike. Or maybe he was worried about Sean Young trying to crash the party again this year. Now just where will our Ruby Dee go to cut a rug once she takes home that beautiful Oscar this year?

AD ENFORCEMENT...Although the FCC adopted a rule last month that requires broadcasters at the time of license renewal to certify that their advertising sales contracts do not discriminate on the basis of race or gender, many minority media outlets are still saying that's not enough. Reps from the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, and the Association of National Advertisers met recently with FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Robert McDowell to get some guarantees that the FCC will enforce these new rules that prohibit advertisers from adopting policies against advertising on Urban or Hispanic radio stations. The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation, Minority Media Telecommunications Council, and Interep were also on hand. No word yet on the outcome of the meeting and just how the FCC will punish those who don't follow this new mandate.

FINAL VERDICT...The jury has spoken on the new Star Jones show. After just five months on the air, Jones' self-titled show on truTV (formerly Court TV) has been canceled. While the former View co-host will stay on the network as a contributing legal expert on "In Session" trial coverage, it will be interesting to see what major move Jones makes next. Could a reality show be next on the docket?

WILL, MAKE WAY...Jada Pinkett Smith has beaten hubby Will Smith to the directorial punch. Her filmmaking debut, The Human Contract, according to the Hollywood Reporter, has just been picked up by Lightning Entertainment, which oversees domestic and international sales. Starring Jason Clarke, Paz Vega, Pinkett Smith, Ted Danson, Joanna Cassidy and Idris Elba, the film, which was also written by Pinkett Smith, follows a corporate exec with an intriguing secret.

MOVE OVER JAY LENO?...There's a new late night TV show in town. This one with an Urban flair. "Ryan Cameron Uncensored" premiered Feb. 4th on Starz InBlack with a lineup that includes Jermaine Dupri, LL Cool J, Ne-Yo, OutKast. Hosted by the WVEE radio jock and comedian, the show is being described as featuring "coveted celebrity interviews and live performances...but nothing glorified; no house band, no media-friendly chit-chat…and no boundaries!" "It was important to create a show that's intelligent, comedic, controversial, honest and celebrity filled with guests from Hollywood to Hip-Hop," explains the show's executive producer Jodi Gomes of Point 7 Entertainment ("Jamie Foxx's Laffapalooza"). Cameron says he's hoping to fill Arsenio Hall's shoes--something we've been waiting for---but Cameron will have to make some very loud noise to be hard by the masses. This 30-minute show out of Hotlanta is slated only for once a week on Starz, which has about 15.5 million subscribers.

LAUGHS ONLINE...Damon Wayans plans to soon launch, a site featuring videos produced by up-and-coming comedians. An interview with The LA Times, Wayans explained he would handpick the comedians as well as help them write and produce their own content. Tim Chang, a principal at Norwest Venture partners, has been informally advising Wayans and may invest in WayOutTV. Sounds like Wayans isn't joking around with this venture.

GET OUT THOSE HIGH WATERS...The Internet is now officially flooded with Hip Hop digital ventures. We told you about a bunch last issue and now Kanye West is also throwing his hat into the Web. He's hooked up with Prodege LLC to launch his own search engine, Users who search with the new engine are rewarded with swag dollars to exchange for Kanye merchandise. Prodege LLC, which has previously done deals with Akon and Beyonce, obviously feels it's a moneymaker. But other than a great merchandising idea, how is it any different than other search engines?

OLD SCHOOL IN THE HOUSE...There's a new film in the works called The Vapors about the lives of Hip Hop veterans the Juice Crew, whose members included Marley Marl, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane and Roxanne Shante. Kane, Marl and Shante are producing the $2-million flick. Newcomer Furqaan Clover will direct. Clifton Powell (playing Mr. Magic), Keke Palmer (Roxanne Shante), Evan Ross (MC Shan) and Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Marley Marl) have been cast. It's about time for a good Hip-Hop culture flick.



While most major television networks have already made much of their programming available free on the Internet, cable's most popular premium channel had not followed suit--until now. HBO is now slowly entering the Internet video arena. It just introduced HBO on Broadband to subscribers--but only in Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wis. HBO will later spread the free service slowly to other parts of the country. Users can access to about 400 hours of movies and original programming each month. "There are a lot of people, particularly young people, who are watching TV through the PC. We wanted to create a product for them," said Eric Kessler, a co-president of HBO in a press statement. Instead of using browser-based streaming video however, HBO's programming is watched in a separate computer application that downloads shows to the hard drive. The program is currently available only on Windows PCs; viewers cannot download content to portable devices; and the content expires four weeks after being downloaded.

Isaiah Washington hostin' the opening night gala of the 2008 Pan African Film Festival at the Director's Guild of America in L.A.