Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Public Broadcasting Atlanta GM: Want more WABE news? Go HD

WABE bills itself as “Home of the Classics and NPR News.” Audiences who like each want more of one and less of the other. John Weatherford, senior vice president and general manager of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, which holds the licenses for WABE radio (90.1 FM) and WPBA TV (Channel 30), says the solution is “HD Radio,” a digital signal that “rides on the back” of the analog broadcast signal, but enables WABE to split the signal into three channels, one each for news and classical music and a third for a mix. It’s all free once you buy an HD Radio (less than $100). WABE is also working to make all locally produced content available on the Web.

On the TV side, Weatherford has struck a deal with GPB (seen locally on Channel 8) to reduce the duplication of programming between them. He says the result is a 22% jump in ratings.
Weatherford says technology isn’t the only thing changing in broadcasting, and that public broadcasting performs an increasingly important service.

In this podcast, Weatherford also laments the change in standards among commercial stations owned by media giants, who he says have lost focus on the original mission of broadcast media.

“Broadcasters are still in the business of being issued licenses on behalf of the federal government,” Weatherford says, “on behalf of you, the communities that we serve, to provide something important to you. And if we’re not doing that, then we deserve not to be around.”
Public Broadcasting Atlanta is controlled by Atlanta Public Schools and is not to be confused with Georgia Public Broadcasting, a network of stations across the state, seen locally on Channel 8.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers sell entertainment, not wins

The owners of the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers sell entertainment, not wins. Bernie Mullin, president and CEO of Atlanta Spirit LLC, says trying to sell wins is a losing proposition because you can't guarantee them.
"We provide a complete entertainment package inside and outside the white lines," Mullin told Buckhead Rotary this week.
Mullin says Atlanta Spirit, which also owns Philips Arena, is collectively losing money on the three entities, but moving toward profitability. Philips Arena makes money. The Thrashers lose about $20 million a year. The Hawks break even, the difference mainly due to more money from revenue sharing and taxes from other NBA teams that exceed the league salary cap.
In this podcast, Mullin also predicts hard times for the Atlanta Braves, figuring Liberty Media bought into Major League Baseball for a tax break and will not invest enough in salaries to generate a strong team.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Mayor Franklin: Save water or lose the argument

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin acknowledges the push to conserve water will have minimal impact on the flow of the Chattahoochee, our main water source. Speaking to Buckhead Rotary on Monday, Mayor Franklin said we must at least try to conserve in order to have a strong bargaining position in our 18-year water war with Alabama and Florida. The governors of all three states are in Washington this week to work out a temporary plan for how they will share what's left of the water in Lake Lanier.

"If we cut our water usage by 50%," Mayor Franklin said, "it will only have a four-percent impact on the Chattahoochee." However, she said we must wage an aggressive conservation campaign, else have a weak bargaining position with the other states, which accuse Georgia of failing to conserve.

Alabama Governor Bob Riley recently told a newspaper, "Atlanta can’t spend all summer during a drought watering their lawns and flowers and then expect someone else to bail them out."

In this week's podcast, Mayor Franklin makes a case for restricting water use, even discouraging the capture of "grey water" from showers for watering plants, but rather taking quick showers and sending all water down the drain and back to the Chattahoochee.