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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Journal Sentinel writer Duane Dudek could be in a fight with Time Warner Cable. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

TV media coverage headline cringe-worthy


Today, I'm shaking my head. And no, it is not caused by the cold temperatures we've dealt with this week.

There is a lot of that – shaking my head thing - going around this new year, and when I read the headline in the largest media property in the state, it bugged me:

"Take that Time Warner! JBG reaches new retransmission agreements"

Now granted, with a written blog by a film writer, I should know better. The man's commentary on a beat area he does little actual "work" in, will slip into what is – in essence – a re-write of a press release. But, on the surface, Duane Dudek's take on it seems this whole area of coverage has gone personal.

A full out, "Take that" with a slammer (!) in the headline? Really?

See what I did there? That was a commentary using the double ?? – take notes Dudek.

I had no idea that he was in a fight with Time Warner. I knew that the company that signs his paychecks didn't get along with the cable provider. Hell, all of you knew that if you read a single inch of copy covering the retransmission block out the two media firms had in 2013.

When I was a customer of Time Warner, there were a couple of days where channels I paid for were not coming through clearly. I called customer service, and got a rebate of a few cents to cover the days that were missed. I guess I could have used a "Take that Time Warner!" at that time for my $0.08 victory, but I didn't.

Maybe I'm the one that doesn't understand journalism. Maybe I am wrong in thinking that to learn about a topic it takes a few conversations with people on different sides of the issue. Am I wrong?

I thought people like to be informed by others who do research, and then report on what they find? I actually feel bad for the reporters and others who work for the newspaper who actually do journalism there.

There is a reason that the coverage of retransmission deals is considered news. Millions of dollars are at stake in an industry worth billions in Wisconsin alone. You can see how the Journal handled the reporting here.

The headline screaming back at me will probably be something like this:

"Take that Steve Kabelowsky! People still read Dudek on JSOnline.com more than they read you"

Oh well.

DEALS: As I did mention, Journal Broadcast Group announced earlier this week that it reached new retransmission consent agreements for television carriage of Journal stations for AT&T, Cable One and Cox Communications customers.

The affected stations were in the Milwaukee; Green Bay/Appleton; Lansing, Mich.; Nashville, Tenn.; Boise and Twin Falls, Idaho; Omaha, Neb.; Tucson (Sierra Vista), Ariz.; and Las Vegas, Nev., markets.

"We are very pleased that subscribers in these nine markets will continue to receive our stations' great network programming, as well as the important local news, weather and sports programming we provide in each of our markets," Andre Fernandez, President and CFO of Journal Communications said in the release.

Terms of the deals, which is typical in these talks, were not disclosed.

This release came out a day after the Journal Broadcast Group announced that it sold off stations KMIR-TV and KPSE-TV in Palm Springs, Calif. The NBC affiliate KMIR and MyNetwork affiliate KPSE were bought by OTA Broadcasting (PSP), LLC, an affiliate of Virginia-based OTA Broadcasting, LLC, for $17 million in cash.

If you do remember back to the 59-day standoff between Journal Broadcast Group and Time Warner, these two stations in Palm Springs were among those not being seen by viewers at that time.

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