Monday, November 29, 2010

Commercial printers move close to Merc

A is the Chron's printer, Transcon. B is the Merc.
C is the future plant of Southwest Offset.
When the Chronicle decided to shut down its presses and outsource the work of printing the paper every night to an outside company, it hired a Canadian printer, Transcontinental. Transcon decided to build its $200 million, 350,000-square-foot plant to print the San Francisco paper at 47540 Kato Road in Fremont ("A" on the map).

The plant is 41 miles from the Chronicle's offices at Fifth and Mission in San Francisco. But it is only 7.9 miles from the Mercury News press room at 750 Ridder Park Drive near the intersection of I-880 and Brokaw Road ("B").

In January, Southwest Offset Printing is moving its plant from Redwood City to a 68,502-square-foot facility at 587 Charcot in north San Jose ("C"). That plant will be 1.9 miles from the Merc. SOP will be printing USA Today, the Financial Times, the Salinas Californian, the Palo Alto Daily Post, Palo Alto Weekly, Menlo Park Almanac and Mountain View Voice from that location.

Transcon, in addition to the Chron, has picked up three editions of Metro Newspapers that used to be printed by the Merc, and is looking for more customers, according to News & Tech.

"It's slow but steady," said Transcon Operations Manager Mike Bany about the continuing maturation of the facility, according to News & Tech. He said Transcon's primary goal is the production of the Chronicle. But now that the plant's press and packaging workers have more experience, Transcon execs are ready to compete for more commercial business.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SF Weekly lashes out at 'the political left'

The SF Weekly and its parent company, Village Voice Media, is lashing out at the "the political left" for the $21 million judgment it has been ordered to pay the Bay Guardian for anti-competitive business practices.

Andy VanDeVoorde, a Village Voice Media executive and spokesman, wrote in the SF Weekly: "The California courts have held fast to a dubious principle: That endorsing politically correct 'anti-chain' sentiment is a more important judicial goal than protecting free-market competition."

The problem with that claim, according to the Chron's Bob Egelko, is that: "the judge who presided over the trial in San Francisco Superior Court, and more than doubled the jury's damage award against the Weekly, was Marla Miller -- appointed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The appeals court justice who wrote the ruling upholding the verdict was Robert Dondero -- first appointed to the bench by Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, and named to the appeals court by Schwarzenegger. And of the six Supreme Court justices who voted to deny a hearing on the Weekly's appeal, five were appointed by Republican governors."


Meanwhile, negotiations between the two sides continue as the Guardian attempts to get its $21 million. A judge earlier ordered that the SF Weekly share its ad revenues with its competitor, though that is a drop in the bucket compared to what the Guardian is owed.

Newspaper owner doesn't talk to reporters

Billionaire oilman Phil Anschutz is the owner of the San Francisco Examiner, but if you're a reporter, don't expect him to return your calls.

Forbes — a financial publication which has a conservative, pro-business philosophy Anschutz would probably like — did a major profile of the Denver billionaire, but he wouldn't sit down for an interview. Writes Christopher Helman:
    Why the anonymity? Not because he's a paranoid, germo phobic recluse like Howard Hughes. Anschutz isn't hiding from anyone; he makes his lieutenants available to reporters. 
    ... Anschutz's spokesman defends his allergic reaction to publicity: If the guy gave one interview, the requests would never let up. His associates cite the boss' midwestern roots. Growing up in Kansas, he was taught to embrace humility and privacy and to shun self-aggrandizement. He buys off the rack from Joseph A. Bank and wears a Timex; he buys used cars and was once seen driving to a black-tie event in a rented Ford Taurus. 
    "He has no ego," says Tim Leiweke, chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group. "He is the anti-Donald Trump."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

State Supreme Court rejects SF Weekly appeal

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review a $21 million damage award against the SF Weekly and its parent company, Village Voice Media, in a suit brought by the Bay Guardian.

A San Francisco jury in March 2008 found the SF Weekly and VVM slashed advertising prices to drive the Guardian out of business, in violation of state antitrust laws. The defendants lost at the court of appeals and its last hope was the state supreme court. But only Justice Joyce Kennard voted to grant a hearing, three short of the majority needed on the seven-member court.

On its Website, the Guardian posted the following:
    The ruling is a victory not just for the Bay Guardian but for small business across the state. The appellate courts have made it clear that predatory pricing is a violation of law -- and the ruling can now be used by any independent merchant fighting big chains. As Ralph Alldredge, one of our lawyers, noted after the Appeals Court ruling: "Think of what that means for big-box retailers, which have used below-cost selling on some products to attract customers away from small, independently owned grocery, hardware, drug, and department stores."
The Chronicle said the outcome of the case could still be determined by settlement negotiations, which are ongoing. Lawyers for each publication declined comment to the Chonicle on a possible settlement.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chron's Guild unit makes case on Facebook

The Chronicle's Guild unit today announced it has launched a Facebook page to promote its side in contract negotiations. The page includes personal statements from such well-known Chronicle Guild members as Leah Garchik, Carl Nolte, Debra Saunders and Mike Kepka.

Saunders, the Chronicle's conservative columnist, says on the Facebook page:
    ‎"I am probably the last person Chronicle readers would expect to see standing up for a union. 
    "It is not realistic to expect the staff here to work harder every month, for less compensation; it isn't whining to note that we produce more work while being paid for fewer hours. ... Everyone who works for this paper has made adult concessions to make the paper the solid read it is.
The next round of negotiations is set for Tuesday, Nov. 23, and Guild leaders hold out hope that a deal is possible. A press conference is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, at the Chronicle entrance at 5th and Mission streets to discuss the status of contract negotiations.

Negotiations began in May 2010. The current labor agreement expired June 30, 2010, but the parties agreed to extend all terms while talks are under way. Interim negotiations in February-March 2009 produced an agreement to amend the current contract. The Guild agreed to concessions at that time in order to avoid the threatened sale or shutdown of the Chronicle. The current labor talks are intended to reach agreement on a successor contract to replace the current agreement as amended.

Guild, Local 39521, represents about 250 employees at The Chronicle in editorial, advertising, circulation, marketing, creative services, customer service, finance and ad production departments.

KPIX hires anchor from Hawaii

Grace Lee, who co-anchors the morning news on Honolulu's KGMB (a CBS-NBC duolopy), has been hired by KPIX as an anchor-reporter, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Here's her bio. Lee began her career at KGMB-TV in 2002, and jumped to KCRA-TV in Sacramento for three years and then returned to KGMB in 2007 as a reporter. She later became co-anchor of the morning program.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Will Harper jumps from SF Weekly to Examiner

The SF Weekly is looking for a new managing editor (craigslist ad and company posting) after Will Harper decided to take the No. 2 position in the San Francisco Examiner newsroom, the SF Appeal reports. He starts in mid-December and will be in charge of all local reporting.

Before joining the SF Weekly in 2007, Harper was at the East Bay Express, Metro in San Jose and Berkeley Voice. Here's his autobio from 2007.

Harper will report to executive editor Deirdre Hussey, who was promoted to the top spot after in July after the resignation of editor James Pimentel to take a job with parent company Clarity Media.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

KQED 'content officer' to head South Carolina ETV

Linda O'Bryon, the former chief content officer for KQED TV and radio, is moving to South Carolina to become president and CEO of that state's public TV nonprofit. The AP says the South Carolina Educational Television commission voted Wednesday to hire her, and she will start Dec. 1. She said she was was attracted to South Carolina public broadcasting because of its emphasis on education and quality content.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

KGO-AM, KPIX CBS5 name new anchors

Bristow                   Brecher
KGO-AM 810, which announced last week that it was bringing back its noon news, today revealed who will anchor the new newscast -- Jon Bristow and Chris Brecher. Bristow has been a reporter at KGO and Brecher is co-anchor of the station's afternoon newscast.

Meanwhile, KPIX CBS5 has hired a weekend anchor at the Fox station in Boston to co-anchor the morning news, according to a report out of BeantownFrank Mallicoat will fill the vacancy left when CBS5 decided not to renew the contract of John Kessler. Mallicoat grew up in the Bay Area and some of his earliest jobs were in Northern California -- at KKIQ-FM in Livermore and KIEM-TV in Eureka. He's also been the top sports anchor at WJBK Detroit and WLVI-TV Boston. He's been a news anchor since 2001.

Kessler tells media blogger Rich Lieberman that he is optimistic that he will return to the local airwaves soon.

SJ Biz Journal staffer to edit Monterey alt-weekly

Monterey County Weekly publisher Eric Cushman has announced that he has hired a new editor, Mary Duan, according to the CNPA Bulletin. Duan was previously a reporter at the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. She has 20 years' experience as a freelance writer and managing editor.

November 2010 Press Club board minutes

Nov. 10, 2010 — Board Room, San Mateo Daily Journal

Present: Jon Mays, Micki Carter, Antonia Ehlers, Melissa McRobbie,
Darryl Compton, Ed Remitz, Marshall Wilson. Absent: Kristy Blackburn, Peter Cleaveland, Dave Price

The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m.

Minutes of October were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Darryl reported no change since October.

Professional Journalism Contest: Darryl reported that would charge an $1,120 one-time set-up fee and $2,875 annually to use their contest server. Darryl is going to investigate if perhaps the Radio and Television News Directors Association could use it for their contest and share our tab. Micki moved that the board authorize Darryl to investigate, negotiate and sign a contract with for the use of their Better Newspaper Contest server. The motion was seconded and passed.

The board then reviewed the Call for Entries for the 34th annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards Competition. After a discussion on ways to draw more participation in the Broadband/Web category, it was decided to offer the following categories for that division: Overall excellence, breaking news, general news, features, entertainment, sports and continuing coverage.

The categories open to newspapers and magazines will combine technology and business categories and add graphic design as a category.

Marshall will take responsibility for publicizing the contest with the help of the rest of the board.

Professional development workshop: No further discussion on this topic

Christmas Party and Annual Meeting: For the Christmas Party, the SFPPC will join the San Mateo County offices in its annual holiday party at 4:30 p.m. Wednesdsay, Dec. 8, in the Janet Parker Beck Press Room in the Hall of Justice in Redwood City. The event will be BYOB and the county cafeteria will cater. Marshall and Darryl will arrange the catering. County officials and the working press will be encouraged to attend.

2011 Ballot: Marshall agreed to be placed on the ballot as president, and Melissa agreed to run for vice president. Jamie wishes to continue as a director.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Micki Carter, Secretary

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 blogger guilty of harassment

Schisler's bio
One of the free-lancers who writes for was found guilty Monday in San Mateo County Superior Court of misdemeanor harassment and violating a court order.

Kent Schisler, 65, has been sending e-mails to Wells Fargo executives over a dispute alleging the bank defrauded his wife's business out of nearly $1 million. Court records show he has been sending letters and e-mails to now retired CEO Richard Kovacevich for 10 years.

This year, Schisler turned his wrath on Kovacevich's Todd by sending him e-mails to his work place, according to prosecutors. Todd Kovacevich obtained a court order requiring Schisler to stay away from his Hillsborough home. Schisler was charged after he showed up at Kovacevich's door step with several letters regarding the dispute.

The jury deliberated for 90 minutes on Monday morning before coming back with its guilty verdict on all the charges, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Judge Joseph Bergeron sentenced Schisler immediately to two years probation, a $250 fine and a day in county jail, said Wagstaffe. Bergeron also ordered Schisler to stay away from the Kovacevichs.

At, Schisler is the "SF Government Examiner," and he wrote about his experience in court last week in a posting titled, "San Francisco area SUPERIOR court trial, regarding WELLS FARGO illegal banking's victim, & his wife." Another post is titled "Government, big banks and politicians create evil webs."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Online News Association plans first meetup

The first meetup of the SF Bay Area Online News Association will take place Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at The Bay Citizen, 126 Post St., Suite 500, in downtown SF.

Attendees can look forward to networking, light refreshments, and remarks by Jonathan Weber, editor-in-chief of The Bay Citizen, a new non-profit news organization serving the nine counties of the Bay Area. The Bay Citizen covers civic news and culture, with its own reporting staff and through partnerships.

PBS business show opens valley bureau

PBS' Nightly Business Report has signed an agreement with KQED Public Media to open a new Silicon Valley Bureau that will be headed by Robin McElhatton, who has been covering the valley on television and radio for more than 20 years.

She was previously an anchor for KLIV-AM in San Jose, she also covered technology for KICU-TV in San Jose. Her other experience includes stints at KCCN-TV in Monterey and KNTV-TV in San Jose.

"Having a reporter on the ground in Silicon Valley will give Nightly Business Report access to many of the business leaders and decision makers who shape our world," said Mykalai Kontilai, chairman and chief executive of the program's owner, NBR Worldwide.

The bureau will cover technology, business and biotech trends, among other issues, according to a press release.

Friday, November 12, 2010

KGO-AM 810 adds newscasts

News is back in fashion on the radio. First, KCBS leaped to the top of the ratings after adding an FM signal in late 2008. Then this August KQED-FM hired eight news staffers and added 10 newscasts to its schedule. Now KGO-AM 810 is bringing back its noon news (after eliminating it four years ago) and is increasing the number of newscasts per hour during middays from two to three.

“This is an exciting time for local radio: when other stations are cutting back we are adding more live and local programming to meet our listener needs,” said KGO’s General Manager Deidra Lieberman in a press release.

Starting Dec. 6, Len Tillem's hour-long legal advice program will move from noon to 1 p.m., bumping Dr. Dean Edell. Edell, whose hour-long show will be heard on weekends, from 1-4 on Saturday and 6-8 on Saturday. Since Edell's hour-long show is nationally syndicated, it appears he will continue to do his shows on weekdays for his national audience and KGO will replay them on the weekends. In another weekend change, Brian Copeland's Sunday morning show will start an hour earlier at 8 and continue until 11.

KPFA's firing of morning hosts questioned

Aaron Glantz, an editor at New America Media, has written an opinion piece for Huffington Post questioning the wisdom of KPFA's decision to ax both hosts of its morning show, Aimee Allison and Brian Edwards Tiekert, and producer Laura Prives.

"If your non-profit radio network is facing a financial crisis, it's best not to kill your most successful program," Glantz wrote. Allison and Tiekert have been replaced with programming being piped in from Los Angeles.

"It's unclear why Pacifica's Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt would make such a move, which is guaranteed to lose the network's flagship station both listeners and dollars, while simultaneously undercutting its very reason for existence," Glantz said.

He points out that the firings occurred the same day the staff of the station filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board for multiple violations of the workers' union contract.

Glantz said that Engelhardt isn't answering questions about the move, and that a YouTube video (above) has been posted that shows her refusing to give out her salary.

Of course, nonprofits must file IRS Form 990 each year in which the are required to disclose the salaries of the five highest compensated employees. But Engelhardt's salary isn't currently available because she was hired in 2009 and the 990 for that year hasn't yet been released.

The most recent 990 available for KPFA's license holder, the Pacifica Foundation, is for the year 2008, and it shows the highest compensated employee was Lonnie Hicks, then the CFO, who received $84,948 in wages and 25,377 in other non-cash compensation.

In 2007, the highest-paid employee listed in the 990 was News Director Verna Avery-Brown, who earned $77,818 in wages and $18,914 in a deferred compensation plan.

Students capture video, print journalism awards

College of San Mateo journalism students were honored Saturday for video journalism and an editorial in defense of student First Amendment rights during a regional conference at San Jose State University.

Writers and editors for The San Matean, the college’s newspaper and website, also collected an array of awards for writing, photography and advertising during the all-day “Norcal” event hosted by the Journalism Association of Community Colleges.

About 250 students from 18 community colleges throughout Northern California attended the conference which offers numerous workshops. The JACC serves community colleges throughout the state and hosts regional conferences each fall. Contest winners are drawn from hundreds of entries by students from several dozen community colleges. Thirteen CSM journalism students attended the conference.

Students Cecile Basnage and Nick Zirbes created the video that was named Generally Excellent in Video Journalism. They covered student budget protests in San Francisco and Sacramento. Basnage also received a second Generally Excellent for her coverage of diversity activities. Judges also awarded Basnage and Zirbes a third place in Web/Broadcast News for their video coverage of budget protests on campus during May.

Basnage also received a first place award for photo essays with her full-page coverage last May of a dance group.

Margaret Baum, executive editor of The San Matean, collected second place honors for an editorial about a longtime clash over student First Amendment rights and the journalism program. “An impressive amount of reporting went into this editorial,” the judges wrote. “It addresses an enormous issue for the paper and its staff and does so in an open way.” Baum has written a series of editorials about the issue. She also was awarded Honorable Mention in the student-designed advertising category for her program promotion: “Free pizza. Flat Coke. The San Matean.” “Funny, clever and simple,” the judges wrote.

Student Bruno Manrique was honored with third place for sports game coverage for his report last May. “Thoroughly reported game story featuring short, active sentences and vivid detail,” the judges wrote.

Student Christine Karavas was honored with a fourth place award for profile features for her coverage of Alexa Hemken, a recent CSM journalism program graduate who, at age 20, started her own newspaper to serve Foster City.

The conference also hosts deadline journalism contests. Alex Farr, Copy Editor for The San Matean, won fourth place in Opinion writing for his story about the conference’s keynote speaker, media specialist Dan Gillmor.

“These conferences are valuable for students because they are highly educational and generate great enthusiasm,” said CSM Journalism Professor Ed Remitz. “It’s also rewarding when the professionals who judge the contests honor the students for outstanding work.”

“The JACC conference was a great experience — it served as an educational experience and a forum for journalism students to exchange ideas and methods,” said Jeff Gonzalez, Editor of The San Matean. “I was joyful and proud for my team members who were recognized with awards, and I'm sure others felt the same about their teams.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Entrecom buys 98.5 KFOX for $9 million

Entercom Communications — owner of KOIT, classical KDFC and 95.7 The Wolf (KBWF) — has bought classic rock KFOX (KUFX) 98.5 in San Jose for $9 million, according to FCC filings. The seller was the Aloha Station Trust, which owns several former Clear Channel stations that CC was forced to divest under its privatization plan. In November, Aloha sold modern rock Channel 92.3 KSJO and 104.9 KCNL to Principle Broadcasting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ESPN drops Bay Area duo of Miller and Morgan

ESPN has decided to replace Jon Miller and Joe Morgan as the play-by-play and color announcers for its "Sunday Night Baseball" television broadcasts, ending a 21-year run for the two Hall of Famers and Bay Area products, according to The New York Times.

ESPN has offered Miller, but not Morgan, the option of returning as the radio voice of its Sunday night games, a job Miller holds during the postseason.

"We've decided to make a change and introduce new voices and new perspective," ESPN Executive Vice President Norby Williamson told the Times. "Twenty-one years is an eternity in this business. And today is about acknowledging the contributions they made to the franchise."

Miller is on vacation, so he might not decide immediately. He has not told the Giants of his plans, another sign that he continues to weigh his options. The Moss Beach resident has been the voice of the Giants for the past 14 seasons.

If Miller gives up his ESPN gig completely, he could spend more time in his principal job as the radio voice of the Giants. Miller ordinarily used the entire weekend for travel in connection with the "Sunday Night Baseball" broadcasts.

Giants win boosts Chron sales 414%

The Chronicle reports a 414% increase in sales on Tuesday, Nov. 2, the edition reporting that the Giants had won the World Series.
    The Chronicle has seen overall sales during the Giants playoffs run increase nearly 17%. Fans have flocked to retail vendor locations and racks to buy copies of the newspaper, as well as placing over 12,000 orders online for special commemorative packages. 
    In addition, as the Giants advanced through the playoffs, three special World Series editions were produced, selling over 65,000 copies. Coverage culminated on Sunday, Nov. 7 with a special commemorative section highlighting the team's season-long success, with a projected 107% increase in sales.
At, Coverage related to the team and the World Series victory parade accounted for 40% of the day's record-setting 11 million page views.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Former reporter Dennis J. Oliver dies

The Oakland Tribune reports that Dennis J. Oliver, an award-winning police and environmental reporter for the Tri-Valley Herald in Pleasanton and Hayward Daily Review, has died following a brief illness. He was 47.

Oliver worked as a reporter from 1981 to 2000 and then went on to become director of communications at the Sacramento-based California Alliance for Jobs. For the past 3½ years, he worked as a public information officer for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Don Buchholz, former night editor of the Daily Review who worked with Oliver in the 1980s and early 1990s, remembered him as "a bulldog of a reporter who gave 111% effort in everything he did as our cops reporter. He had an outstanding work ethic ... and did really excellent work."

Chris Campos, a designer with the Mercury News, knew Oliver for more than 30 years. "I was shocked at hearing the news of Dennis' passing. Dennis was a news professional with tremendous talent, expertise and determination."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Protesters picket liberal station KPFA

Doug Oakley of the Berkeley Voice reports that about a hundred people marched, held signs and sang union songs today to protest layoffs at KPFA-FM 94.1 in Berkeley.

KPFA's owner, the Pacifica Foundation, plans to cut the equivalent of seven full time jobs from a paid staff whose full and part time hours add up to about 30 full time positions, according to Tracy Rosenberg, a KPFA and Pacifica board member.

Listener donations to the station have dropped by $500,000 a year. The station's budget is about $3.6 million, but the station only has brought in $2.5 million through fundraising. The payroll alone Rosenberg said is about $2 million and that will go down to $1.7 million with the layoffs.

Oakley quoted Sasha Lilley, a paid employee and host of a program called "Against the Grain," who said Pacifica could avoid layoffs at KPFA by cutting the budget of the national staff that runs Pacifica Foundation.

Chris Gulker, photojournalist and blogger, dies

Chris Gulker
Chris Gulker, who helped pioneer a variety of digital concepts in newspapering — he was a leader in the transition from film to digital photography and helped found the first SF Examiner web site — succumbed to brain cancer on Oct. 27. He was 59.

After a successful career as a photojournalist at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Gulker moved to the San Francisco Examiner in 1988 to help the paper's photo staff change over to digital cameras. From there he became the paper's "director of development," a period where he learned a variety of computer systems and he worked closely with Will Hearst in launching the Examiner's first web site, the "Electric Examiner."

Gulker left daily newspapering in 1994 to go to work for Apple Computer. He was involved in Silicon Valley technology companies for the rest of his career, working at Montclare Technologies, RealTimeImage and Adobe Systems Inc.

In the mid-1990s Gulker began writing his thoughts and observations on his website,, on a daily basis and was one of the first people to do what today is known as blogging. He built the technology to blog himself, using Macintosh and other servers running in a makeshift "computer room" in his Menlo Park garage.

Most recently, Gulker and others in Menlo Park had launched a "hyper-local" news site,, where he wrote and took photographs.

Here's a link to more information about Gulker.

Wolf Blitzer to speak at Stanford

Wolf Blitzer and David Bohrman, CNN’s senior vice president of programming and Washington bureau chief, will be the featured speakers at the 5th Annual Daniel Pearl Lecture Series at Stanford University with a talk entitled, "The War on Terror - From the Headlines to the Back Pages." The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at Dinkelspiel Auditorium. [More]

Citadel backs off of "shocking" pay plan

When Mickey Luckoff resigned at KGO-AM/KSFO GM and President, he slammed Farid Suleman, the CEO and chairman of station owner Citadel Broadcasting. Luckoff told Ben Fong-Torres:
    Everything that the CBS people warned us about came true: total control, can't spend a dime, and you'd have to go through layers ... And then you found out that the layers were one person. He's something else. He has no regard for people whatsoever. He's apparently pretty damned skilled financially. To be able to overpay for the ABC Radio group, take the company into bankruptcy, come out of it, pay every one of his hand picked (board) directors $1 million each and get himself a $43 million package (in grants of stock) is unbelievable.
Luckoff isn't alone in thinking executive compensation at Citadel was out of line. The New York Times blog DealBook reports:
    In a highly unusual move, the board and management of Citadel Broadcasting have agreed to rescind $110 million in stock compensation after R2 Investments, a hedge fund based in Dallas, attacked the radio company for its executive compensation practices, according to a court filing late Tuesday in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. 
    R2 Investments accused Citadel’s management and directors of “a shocking display of corporate greed and dishonesty” for rewarding themselves with stock grants worth $110 million — more than $55 million to its chief executive. 
    The Citadel board also awarded more than $1.35 million of stock to each of its members — “a disturbing game of quid pro quo,” the filing by R2 contended. 
    A spokesman for R2 declined to comment. 
    R2 asked the judge to revoke the stock award “to prevent one of the most egregious frauds by a company emerging from bankruptcy under Chapter 11.”
In Tuesday’s filing, Citadel’s lawyers said the company’s board would issue stock options instead of common shares.

Columnist: SF media overstates bedbug problem

Columnist Matt Smith of the SF Weekly says local media are needlessly scaring people about bed bugs without much evidence of a problem.
    "Bedbugs don't carry disease or poison, or produce any human reaction more serious than welts that resemble mosquito bites. Nonetheless, this kind of horrified reaction should be taken seriously. According to medical literature, some people's bedbug fantasies spiral into delusional parasitosis, where they imagine being devoured by insects. 
    And the San Francisco news media seem to have succumbed. Like a parasitosis sufferer, local TV and radio stations and newspapers have recently delivered a rash of bogus trend stories alerting the public to an imminent bedbug plague, despite a lack of reliable information. The stories were overblown. 
    Local reporters had latched onto one of the most pervasive, durable, bogus trend stories in America, which essentially says, "Bedbugs Spread Across America in Search of Delicious Fresh Humans," to cite a tongue-in-cheek August headline on

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rosenberg, colleagues honored for transit stories

Mike Rosenberg
(Photo by Noah Berger via MTC website)
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has given a merit award to Mike Rosenberg and his colleagues at the San Mateo County Times/Bay Area News Group for a series on the challenges facing public transit.

“Running on Empty: Bay Area Transit in Trouble” — ran concurrently, from Jan. 10 to 14, in Rosenberg’s San Mateo County Times as well as in other Bay Area News Group papers, including the San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times.

In MTC's fall newsletter said, "Rosenberg and his colleagues painted an unsettling portrait of a transit system that is vital to the environment and the economic life of the region, but which is nonetheless fighting for its life."

Baseball's cognoscenti wrong about Giants

Eric Young of the San Francisco Business Times points out that only one of ESPN's "experts" correctly predicted that the Giants would make it to the World Series, and that none of them said the Rangers would make it. Most of them picked the Phillies or Yankees to win the World Series.

Young concluded that ESPN's experts don't know much more than the average fan, and baseball is notoriously hard to predict. Young should know. He wrote this column on Oct. 27 and predicted the Giants would need seven games to win the championship. Oh well.

MediaNews station accused of fabrication

When a controversy erupted in Alaska about whether a CBS TV affiliate was plotting to fabricate a negative story about a U.S. Senate candidate, CBS News quickly issued a statement saying it didn't own the station in question. CBS News emphasized KTVA in Anchorage, which brands itself as "CBS 11," is only an affilate.

Who owns KTVA? The license is held by a trust controlled by MediaNews Group, also owner of the San Jose Mercury News and several other Bay Area newspapers. The CEO of MediaNews is Dean Singleton, who is also chairman of The Associated Press. KTVA is Singleton's only TV station.

So far Singleton hasn't weighed in on the controversy.

According to local news reports and the LA Times, KTVA's news director and a reporter were inadvertently recorded on a voicemail recording left for Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller when the news director failed to terminate a call (like the Jerry Brown incident where one of his aides was caught on tape calling Meg Whitman a whore).

On the tape, the news director and an unidentified reporter talk about whether they can find a Miller campaign supporter who was a registered sex offender.

The reporter says, "We know that out of all the people that will show up tonight, at least one of them will be a registered sex offender.”

That is followed by a male voice, believed to be the news director: “You have to find that one person. ...”

The station hasn't disputed authenticity of the tape, but General Manager Jerry Bever said the comments were taken out of context.

"The group of KTVA news personnel was reviewing potential 'what-if' scenarios, discussing the likelihood of events at the rally and how KTVA might logistically disseminate any breaking news," Bever said in a statement.

Given that Miller is a Republican, did former governor Sarah Palin jump into the controversy? You betcha. On "Fox News Sunday," she said the tape proves the station's news staff are "corrupt bastards."