JESSELL AT LARGE

FCC’s Heavy Hand With Nexstar And WPIX Is Misguided, Out-Of-Date

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel is in a position to do much good for TV journalism, but she chooses to do harm. On March 21, the agency fined Nexstar $1.2 million […]

JESSELL AT LARGE

Hey FCC, It’s Not The 1960s Anymore

The FCC has held tight to anachronistic structural regulations, dealing a massive blow to broadcasters in dire need of regulatory relief. Localism will be one of the casualties.

JESSELL AT LARGE

The Murdochs Are Awful. But Don’t Punish Fox O&Os For It.

Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch undermined trust in American democracy with their reckless propagation of Trump’s Big Lie, but Fox’s O&Os shouldn’t be in the FCC’s crosshairs to pay for it, as a watchdog group would have it.

JESSELL AT LARGE

FCC Nixes Another Deal With Deafening Silence

Fargo, N.D.-based Forum Communications has learned the hard way just how much this FCC hates broadcast deals of any size.

JESSELL AT LARGE

In Killing Kim’s Deal For Tegna, The FCC Showed Its Prejudice

Thwarted in his bid to buy Tegna by an overlong and deal-breaking FCC review process, Soo Kim (and his right hand Deb McDermott) is indeed a victim of prejudice and discrimination. Only it’s probably not the sort you may think.

JESSELL AT LARGE

TV Stations Can’t Miss Another Santos Story In The Offing

A modest proposal: To avoid the next major dropped reporting ball like George Santos, TV stations commit to seriously covering the political races for which they accept advertising.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Killing Of Tegna Deal Underscores Rosenworcel’s Misconception Of TV Broadcasting

The FCC chairwoman doesn’t see (or doesn’t care) that by weakening retrans, she is chipping away at the viability of the station business and a “cornerstone” of the agency’s longstanding broadcast policy: localism.

JESSELL AT LARGE

FCC, Give Broadcasters A 3.0 Task Force

The commission should heed broadcasters’ request to prioritize the ATSC 3.0 standard and launch a task force to concentrate the agency’s resources in getting it unstuck. Broadcasting’s future wellbeing may depend on it.

JESSELL AT LARGE

With RSNs Hobbled, Scripps And Gray Take Aim At Sports

E.W. Scripps and Gray Television are taking advantage of cable and satellite’s diminished state to make a play for professional sports rights. It’s about time for broadcasting to reclaim them.

JESSELL AT LARGE

If All Else Fails, Spectrum Remains

Fear not broadcasters: Even if streaming ultimately pushes linear TV over the precipice, your spectrum still has value for datacasting or auction.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Memo To Musk: Hire A Publisher And Editor For Twitter

Elon Musk can reverse his early fumble at Twitter’s helm by hiring an old-fashioned publisher, who in turn should hire an experienced editor, to lead. The platform badly needs their application of well-honed journalistic values to climb out of the mire.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Kim Gets A Win In Tegna Buy, But Will Journalism Lose?

Hedge fund investor Soo Kim takes a long-sought prize in Tegna’s sale to Standard General and Apollo Global Management. The deal has many layers to tease out and potential regulatory headwinds, along with questions about the new regime’s depth of commitment to news.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Confronting The Big Lie, Television Broadcasters Can Do More

It’s time to stop fueling President Trump’s lie that the election was rigged, and broadcast needs to play an important role in doing so. The NAB must cut off support to the lie’s congressional enablers, talk radio must sever ties with hosts fueling the lie and TV stations need unequivocal language to characterize it for what it is.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | O’Rielly’s Firing Ominous Turn For FCC

President Trump’s withdrawal of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s nomination isn’t just a breathtaking punishment for a perceived lack of loyalty. It presages a potential  Trump second-term FCC that would advance any of his desires and punish any FCC-regulated company he targets.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | NBCU Dissed Its Affiliates With The ‘30 Rock Special’ Peacock Push

Harry Jessell: Affiliates with whom I spoke were clearly ticked off by last week’s show, with many preempting it. “Bone-headed,” said one. Compounding the insult of being asked to air an infomercial for a host of competitors was their feeling that that they had paid through their reverse comp for actual entertainment programming on Thursday night.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Put Affils, Not Nets, In Control of vMVPD Dollars

Local broadcasters could use some regulatory help from the FCC by declaring that vMVPDs or “skinny bundles” must be treated like regular MVPDs and thus subject to retransmission consent obligations. Doing so would put the affiliates in a much stronger position to hang on to vMVPD fees than they are now.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Priority 2021: Minority Tax Certificate Redux

Minority ownership of broadcast companies is languishing at around 8.5%. A revival of the minority tax certificate, which was killed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 1995, would be a small, but important, step toward redressing an enormous imbalance in mass communication.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Trump’s Order On Social Becomes Carr’s Folly

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has tripped over himself publicly enthusing about President Trump’s executive order calling on the FCC to police social media. In his attempts to ingratiate himself with the president, he’s forgetting it’s Congress’ decision whether or not to give the agency oversight and enforcement duties over such media. ~ Also, remembering LPTV champion Mike Gravino.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Keep An Eye On Wireless Cable 3.0

Evoca, a broadcasting-based multichannel pay service, is launching in Boise this summer with confidence it won’t meet the fate of two previous similar ventures because of its reliance on NextGen TV with its IP interoperability, expanded capacity and superior receivability.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | For Local TV, Flat Would Be A Victory Now

As 1Q earnings come to a close, it’s clear that 2020 will no longer be a year of double-digit ad growth driven by record political spending. On the plus side, local TV has proved once more that the business is fundamentally sound and resilient. Also, Dennis Wharton has had enough.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | After Proxy Loss, Pondering Kim’s Next Move

Soo Kim took a shot across the bow at Tegna’s management in conceding his loss in a proxy fight last week. But beyond his Tegna stake, he’s backing other broadcast ventures in which a larger strategy is harder to see. Bonus news and commentary: The pandemic could hurt retrans revenue as well as ad revenue; group stock prices can’t get much worse; Nexstar offers a hard plan to soften AE woes; and TV and radio take another step toward full newsgathing equality.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Local TV Won’t Be Felled By Coronavirus

A barrage of recent headlines has bemoaned the coronavirus-induced death of local news. But let’s not conflate newspapers’ endangerment with the robust television stations tirelessly tackling the pandemic.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell At Large | Spot TV Faces An Unprecedented Moment

The coronavirus has caused massive collateral damage to the economy, taking down with it initially rosy predictions for spot advertising in 2020. But one bright spot on the horizon is that political dollars still will come, and broadcasters have the solace of diversified revenue thanks to retransmission consent to spare them an even crueler blow.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | At First Glance, XFL 2.0 May Score On TV

Rule changes, mics on coaches and in the faces of players on the sidelines bring viewers a fresh perspective, creating an intimacy more akin to what you find in televised baseball, tennis or golf.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Cannabis A Potential Balm For Core Advertising

The cannabis business presents strong opportunities for broadcast’s core advertising, but it’s a legal and regulatory minefield. Still, there’s hope broadcasters can get a much-needed safe harbor to accept ads for properly vetted CBD and marijuana products via banking legislation in the Senate.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Jessell | Is O’Donnell The Answer To CBS’s News Woes?

This evening, CBS will introduce Norah O’Donnell as the anchor of its evening news show in the hope that she can restore it to its former glory. I’m skeptical. It’s going to  take more that a new personality — even one as appealing as O’Donnell — to turn things around at CBS and, more important, to make the evening news genre relevant to the millions who have strayed away or who have never given it a chance.

JESSELL AT LARGE

The Best Man For The Trump FCC? Me

Why not? I’d like a cushy government job as a bridge to retirement and I’m fully qualified. I’m a winner, I can tell it like it is using old newsroom language and I’ll schlong anybody who gets in Trump’s way. Here’s my pitch.