Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Washington Post: Is TV facing extinction?

I keep harping on this, not because I hate local television, but because I love local television. Well, love might be a little strong. Definitely like.

Anyway, the Washington Post totally agrees with me.

Plus, I think it's unfair and shortsighted for newspapers to spend gallons of ink writing about how bad the newspaper business is without looking at how the same shifting sands of reader preferences and advertising models affect other mediums. To wit: Local television. And radio. And anything else that relies on intellectual property.

I've always said, in a world where all information is free, the only information will be that which isn't worth paying for.

As the Post's Paul Farhi says, "Free is a crummy business model."

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Amazing Race" recap interview

I spoke with local "Amazing Racers" Margie and Luke Adams this afternoon:

Although a $1 million prize slipped out of their grasp at the very end, Colorado Springs’ Luke and Margie Adams say competing on “The Amazing Race” was reward enough.

The mother-and-son team, who recently moved from Monument to Colorado Springs, finished third on the CBS reality show, which aired its season finale Sunday night.

“To actually make it to the final three far exceeds what I hoped to accomplish on the show,” Luke Adams —the show’s first deaf contestant — said through an interpreter.

Eleven teams began the race, which traveled through nine countries. Teams were eliminated at each stop, until the final three rushed to the finish line in Maui, Hawaii.

The final challenge required one member of each team to sort through a giant pile of surfboards to find 11 bearing pictures representing previous legs of the race. Although the Adamses began the task with a sizeable lead, Luke couldn’t find the final picture and siblings Tammy and Victor Jih passed them to win the race.

“I thought I had it in the bag,” Luke Adams, 23, said. “I thought it would be really easy.”

If someone else had to win, though, Margie Adams said she was glad it was the Jihs. The final three teams (former cheerleaders Cara Rosenthal and Jaime Edmondson took second) had become friends on the very first leg of the race in Switzerland, where they split a pizza after the filming finished.

“I think along the way, we all really helped each other,” she said. “We really have a sincere friendship with those two teams.”

Things weren’t so friendly with another team, sisters LaKisha and Jennifer Hoffman. The Adamses had several shouting matches and one shoving incident with the sisters. They’ve since patched things up, Margie Adams said, but, Luke said, at least it made for good TV.

The breathtaking pace of the race, covering 40,000 miles in 22 days, didn’t leave much time for sightseeing. The one chance they had to catch their breath and take in the views was on a boat trip through Thailand.“

That was really the only opportunity we had in the whole race to sit back,” Margie Adams, 51, said.

Luke Adams’ deafness was never a major obstacle during the race, they said. Even the show’s host, Phil Keoghan, learned some sign language, as did Rosenthal and Edmondson, while other contestants wrote messages to communicate.

“I thought it was so cool that people were willing to learn to communicate,” Luke Adams said.

Now that the final episode has aired, it’s a bit of a letdown, Luke Adams said.

“For me, it’s a little bit sad,” he said. “I was teasing my friends: ‘Maybe I’m going to be eliminated this week.’ I really enjoyed messing with my friends.”

“We had a large group of deaf people who came every week and watched the show with us,” Margie Adams said. “It was the highlight of our week.”

For taking third, the Adamses won $10,000, plus they won three trips along the way for winning stages. They’re planning to split those up.

“We’re definitely not going together,” Margie Adams said. “I think our traveling days together... it’s going to be awhile."

Monument "Race team takes third

Monument "Amazing Racers" Luke and Margie Adams finished third in the reality show, around-the-world race, which wrapped up on Sunday.

The final challenge, a memory puzzle requiring contestants to line up surfboards with pictures representing the previous stages of the race, stymied Luke.

I've got an interview with Margie and Luke scheduled for this afternoon, so I'll have more to say later.

Friday, May 08, 2009

HD Radio - what time is it?

Funny comment over on the real blog about the perils of HD Radio technology:

"One thing I noticed, these radios have the auto clock set. KKLI and KRCC display and set the correct time, but while flipping around I noticed 96.1 The Beat, KCCY, KVUU KCME all reset my clock 6 hours for some odd reason. Andy, can you check with these radio stations and ask them to set their system clocks to the right time so my clock will display correctly? I have tried to manually set the time, but these stations reset my clock to the worng time and I cannot control it. I have emailed them to no avail."

KILO tops Arbitrons once more

Rock station KILO (94.3 FM) maintained its run atop the local radio ratings, according to the latest numbers from Arbitron.

Talk station KVOR (740 AM) came in second and KBIQ (102.7 FM), KKLI (106.3) and KKMG (98.9 FM) shared a three-way tie for third.

KILO was also the top station with listeners in the 18-34-year-old age group, but Christian contemporary station KBIQ (102.7 FM) edged it out with listeners in the 25-54-year-old category.

1. KILO (94.3 FM)
2. KVOR (740 AM)
3. (tie) KKLI (106.3 FM)
KBIQ (102.7 FM)
KKMG (98.9 FM)
6. KVUU (99.9 FM)
7. (tie) KIBT (96.1 FM)
KKFM (98.1 FM)
9. (tie) KCCY (96.9 FM)
KKPK (92.9 FM)
11. KATC (95.1 FM)
12. KOA (850 AM)
13. KRDO (1240 AM and 105.5 FM)
14. (tie) KDZA (107.9 FM)
KRXP (103.9 FM)
16. KCMN (1530 AM)
17. KGFT (100.7 FM)
18. KZNT (1460 AM)
19. KHOW (630 AM)
20. KCSF (1300 AM)
21. KPHT (95.5 FM)
22. KYRE (104.9 FM)
SOURCE: Arbitron

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Phil: Margie and Luke rock!

"Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan says nice things about Monument Racers Margie and Luke Adams:

"I think this is one of the most dynamic teams we've had in years -- and quite a different casting selection," Keoghan said. "I was really excited when they first walked in the room during the early casting period and I thought the potential for having a team like that on the show would be tremendous. And what's so nice is to see that they've come this far."

Also, CBS won't let Margie and Luke do interviews until after Sunday's finale, but I'm trying to line something up for Monday.

HD Radio, still waiting for the world to notice

David Pogue of the New York Times has some fun at the expense of HD Radio.

My wife really wanted to listen to KRCC's HD Radio substations, so for her birthday I got (and with a great deal of trouble, installed), a Dual HD radio in her car.

So far, the major benefit of the radio is that I can listen to whatever is on KRCC - HD2 when the main channel is busy with the pledge drive. When you're listening to the main channel, however, the HD Radio does have the highly annoying habit of switching between the analog and the digital signal, which are slightly off synchronization. So it sounds like the radio is stuttering. And there's no way to simply turn the HD off, that I'm aware of.

Anyhoo, I'm not a huge fan of the technology, and I fully agree with Pogue that the way the radio industry rolled it out was pretty poor (and, as it turns out, a panicked response to a threat from satellite radio that proved to be largely imaginary).

Monday, May 04, 2009

Chicago TV stations to pool resources, video

Here's an interesting item from the Chicago Tribune about a plan for that city's major TV stations to begin sending a single crew to major events and then share the coverage.

I'm sort of interested in how this will work (will the stations provide their own voice-overs or intros, what will happen to live reports?), but the bigger question is, what does it mean?

I've long said that the crisis facing newspapers was a harbinger for TV and radio stations, who will ultimately face the same profit-sapping flight of viewers and listeners to the Internet.

Maintaining four seperate newsgathering operations in a city the size of Colorado Springs is going to be a tough road to hoe in the near future. It's noteworthy, however, that this experiment is being tried not here in market 93, but it Chicago (what's that, like market 4 or something?).

What does it mean? Well, I expect we'll see.

Congrats to local Amazing Racers

Margie and Luke Adams of Monument made the final leg of CBS' "The Amazing Race," airing at 7 p.m. Sunday. The Adamses will be racing against two other teams to the reality show's finish line.

Luke is the show's first deaf contestant and a former student at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

I interviewed the mother-son team here.