The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

25 November 2007

Management in heavy rotation

I am not what you'd call a fan of media consolidation, generally, but Matt Welch has a serious point here:

The amount of real news we get is increasing exponentially, in spite of (and not because of) the FCC and its unjustifiable ownership restrictions. Also, how in God's name does having the Tribune Co. own the L.A. Times and KTLA "limit" the amount of real net news? Seriously, how? Spell it out. Because I've lived with both companies my whole life, and worked for one for nearly two years, and if there was more than one drop of "synergy" between the two properties I sure as hell haven't seen it. Nor do I even understand how such a limitation would work in theory. What, so, the newspaper and the teevee station would have the same editorial line? The front page would look like the first three minutes of the News at Ten? Newspaper grunts would start wearing hair helmets, getting eye-tucks and pairing off in May-September female-male couplets?

The only thing that preventing newspaper companies from owning television stations does, is artificially limit the number of potential buyers of media companies. How this is supposed to increase the amount of "real news" we get is beyond me.

And this occurred to me: at various times in its existence, the channel 4 facility in Oklahoma City has been under the command of The Oklahoman, The Detroit News, and The New York Times. In fact, the Michiganders acquired the station because the FCC was in the mood to break up local newspaper/television combinations, and the federal stick was supplemented with a carrot: tax breaks to those who break up the set. So Opubco shipped the channel 4 license to Detroit in early 1976. It's since changed hands several times, most recently this year, when The New York Times Company decided to get out of the TV business. Can anyone — anyone too young to remember 3-D Danny, anyway — tell the difference among any of the station's incarnations?

Posted at 6:05 PM to Dyssynergy

Since I'm from western Kansas, we got the Wichita stations. 3-D Danny must have been similar to Major Astro.

The only common thing I've noticed over the years is the consolidation of the satellite station's news bureaus - and the remote control of the signal vs. a local engineer.

Posted by: Jeffro at 7:37 PM on 25 November 2007

When I was a kid, McClatchy Communications owned the Sacramento Bee and Channel 13 and a radio station (I'm vague on which one, but the call letters of several stations out there had already changed a few times even before I left town), and frankly I think breaking that up had far less impact on the news business than did the doubling of TV and radio stations in that market during subsequent years. (Well, that and the fact the number of daily newspapers was cut in half...)

I'm pretty sure the change in the total number of broadcasters in that market had more to do with the explosive growth of said market than with any FCC regulations or lack thereof.

As for kids' cartoon-show hosts, I don't personally remember Captain Sacto (whom I do remember as Channel 3's entertainment reporter Harry Martin), but I did remember Captain Delta on 13, who had two incarnations, of which the first came back years later as Captain Mitch. I liked that guy better than the second Captain Delta, who was already long gone when Captain Mitch appeared on Channel 40.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:32 PM on 25 November 2007

Well, since I once stumbled on a website about Sacramento horror-film TV host Bob Wilkins, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to have been able to find Cap'n Mitch. There's no date on the page so I don't know if the "Today Agruss is semi-retired" line is still true or if he's passed on.

Sorry for the hijack. I'll shut up now.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:42 PM on 25 November 2007

All hail the great Rupert Murdoch.

Posted by: Charles Pergiel at 11:45 PM on 25 November 2007

(Cue overly dramatic music.) voice over - "Out of space and time comes Dan D Dynamo!" Otherwise know as 3-D Danny who fights for good and all things right. And then each day in the afternoon we saw Danny Williams run around in tights and fight evil bad space me with names like Zantor or something like that.

In the 50's I stood in line at the State Fair in Oklahoma City to get Danny's autograph at the Oklahoma Publishing Booth. I think I also sent off for a 3-D Danny shoulder patch to put on my jacket.

Channel 4 actually produced an entertaining little skit just about every day on what I assume was live TV.

Then in later years I used to listen to Danny Williams on the radio where he was almost as funny as he thought he was. I think he had some sort of vocal skit about the 'Mattress Brothers' selling wicker underwear.

Posted by: An Ex-Pat Okie at 10:20 AM on 26 November 2007
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