Tina Fey Turns The Tables on Verizon

Recently, Verizon and NBC struck up a deal to push Verizon Wireless products in 30 Rock, but they did not count on Tina Fey turning the tables, calling out Verizon for this covert marketing effort.

See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d36wUmJGzvA

Product integration is a much more nafarious version of product placemen, in which studios make deals with companies to push their products in the heart of a TV shows script. This essentially means that backroom deals between marketing departments begin to shape the content of the scripts, and so writers are forced to shoehorn products into their writing.

At the FCC hearing in Chicago this September Writers Guild of America, West President Patric M. Verrone described the “potentially adverse impact on the quality and integrity of TV, film, and new media programming.” Continue reading


New Jersey Citizens Fight to Be Heard

Tomorrow afternoon, Nov. 28, there is going to be an unprecedented Federal Communications Commission hearing in New Jersey. Concerned citizens and public interest groups have petitioned the FCC to deny WWOR-TV 9’s broadcast license, asserting that the station hasn’t lived up to its commitment to serve New Jersey.

It’s one of the first public hearings the FCC has held to investigate a license renewal of a TV station in decades. As such, this could be a precedent-setting event, empowering other communities to hold hearings looking into their local TV and radio stations’ public service. The public owns the airwaves that radio and TV stations use to broadcast. However, Big Media companies have been permitted to use those airwaves for free — making millions of dollars doing so — under the obligation that they serve local communities.

FCC Hearing Raise Your Voice in NewarkThe FCC Wants to Hear From You

Before 1982 there were no VHF TV stations located in New Jersey. The FCC denied the renewal of WWOR’s license in the early 1980s because its owner, General Tire and Rubber Co., engaged in a range of corporate misconduct. When a court required the FCC to reconsider its decision, WWOR’s owner convinced Congress to pass a law that required the FCC to automatically renew WWOR-TV 9’s license if the license holder will move to New Jersey and “operate in New Jersey for the benefit of the people in our State.”

However, all indications suggest that WWOR has not served the people of New Jersey – they even advertise themselves as “My9 New York.”

On Nov. 28 at 4 p.m. in the Paul Robeson Campus Center on the Newark Campus of Rutgers University, New Jersey citizens will have the rare opportunity to make their voices heard about how WWOR is serving New Jersey.

To find out more about the hearing, visit: www.stopbigmedia.com/=newark or www.voicenj.com. Continue reading

Blogging a Sense of Place

I have written a bit on this and other blogs about sense of place. For anyone who knows me, they know this is a pet issue of mine. One that I find creeps into much of my other work.

As I have been traveling around the country organizing public involvement in FCC hearings on media ownership I have been tasked in part with finding creative ways to inform the public about the upcoming events. As a blogger myself, I have often turned to the blogging community in cities where I am organizing to help cover the issues that traditional media, because of their self interest, is so loathe to cover.

It was while I was haunting these unique local alleyways on the web, that I can across this article, talking about regional blogs. It focuses on a blogger who has found a “system” of ranking the bloggiest cities, neighborhoods, etc… The article notes “Johnson, whose OutsideIn.com has been trying to make sense of location-centric blogging, recently came out with rankings of the nation’s bloggiest cities, following up a similar study of the nation’s most blog-heavy neighborhoods.”

This phrase, “location-centric blogging” struck me. One of the most popular kinds of blogs is the regional city or neighborhood blog. Like a combination of the town criers of old and the gossipy corner barbershop or bar, these new-age news hounds have their ear to the ground and their finger on the pulse of their community. And through their careful attention to their place they are fostering a sense of community across the internet. Continue reading

Making Mistakes

Sometimes when we follow recipes too closely, too often, we forget the value of making mistakes.

Erica and I just finished a great batch of pickled beets. The twelve jars line the edge of our counter, their rich purply-red seeming to almost glow like the last seam of sunset, trailing over the horizon. Seeing the depth of this color makes me want to dye all my cloths with beet juice, to wear the color of earth and sun distilled through the flesh of this root.

We did not make any mistakes in this batch (at least none that have made themselves evident just yet). But not too long ago we opened a can of pickles from last season, and knew soon after our first bite that the whole batch was ruined. At some point along the way we had put too much salt in the brine and the pickles came out tasting like the ocean. Continue reading

Bipartisan Bill to Put the Brakes on FCC

A few weeks ago Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) uncovered that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was rushing forward with a secret plan to gut media ownership rules. Since then, Chairman Martin has ignored repeated requests and warnings from senators on both sides of the aisle calling on him to slow down, address the dismal state of female and minority ownership, and listen to the public.

Today, at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, members indicated that they wouldn’t take it anymore. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) announced plans to introduce legislation that would halt the Federal Communications Commission’s rush to gut longstanding media ownership rules. Continue reading