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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.