Fwd: Communications-related Headlines for 11/12/98

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 08:53:02 -0800 (PST)

>High-Tech Companies Slow To Support High-Tech Art
>Issue: Arts/Philanthropy
>Intel has committed $6 million to sponsor "The American Century: Art and
>Culture 1900-2000," a show scheduled to open at the Whitney in April and
>move to San Francisco in 2000. The company will donate another $2 million to
>$4 million for "digital extensions" to the show, including an
>education-oriented Web site. The computer industry has been slow to support
>the new-media arts initiatives that its own technology has enabled. "Most
>people who work in the industry here are not particularly interested in
>art," said a Silicon Valley museum official. "They're interested in
>technology, and they love the idea that there's a museum where you can go
>see the latest technology -- and have fun. But in terms of the sociocultural
>context of technology, that's just not what turns them on." Peter Hero,
>president of Community Foundation Silicon Valley, said This area thinks of
>itself as being a meritocracy, and education is the key to that. Where the
>arts can wiggle in under that tent, they'll get money, but art for art's
>sake is seen as a lower priority." Mr. Hero also said that many of the
>companies in the area don't feel the community obligation yet: they are
>young, staffed by people from outside the region and they don't yet realize
>the power of a strong cultural base for attracting and retaining workers.
>For more, see these websites: the Whitney <http://www.whitney.org/>, SF
>Museum of Modern Art <http://www.sfmoma.org/>, Tech Museum of Innovation
><http://www.thetech.org/>, San Jose Museum of Art
><http://www.sjmusart.org/>, Community Foundation Silicon Valley
><http://www.cfsv.org/>, and Open Studio: The Arts Online
>[SOURCE: New York Times (CyberTimes), AUTHOR: Matthew Mirapaul
>Speech: Mergers, Consumers, and the FCC
>Issue: Mergers
>Remarks of Commissioner Gloria Tristani before the National Association of
>Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). "As you know, the FCC has been
>asked to approve three mergers -- Bell Atlantic-GTE, SBC-Ameritech, and
>AT&T-TCI. "While the confluence of these mergers is undoubtedly causing the
>FCC's merger experts to work around the clock, I welcome the opportunity
>presented by these mergers. I think it's useful to have a few mergers
>pending at the same time to see how the telecom world might look if all were
>granted or all were denied. In my view, the two LEC mergers in particular
>bring us to a crossroads in the development of the telecommunications
>market. Twenty or thirty years from now, the right answer to these merger
>questions may be patently obvious. But in the whirlwind that is today's
>telecommunications market, we are asked to predict whether these
>transactions will enhance or diminish consumer welfare. That's a very tall

Issue: Television
TV teen-agers are more likely to be seen with an alcoholic beverage than any
other kind of food or drink, according to two recent studies of television
and drinking. A study published in the October issue of The Journal of
Studies on Alcohol reported that alcohol appeared in nearly half of the
prime time network programs studied over a two week period. The study did
find, however, that teen-agers who drank were not portrayed in a positive
light. In another study, conducted by Stanford University, researchers found
that teens who increased their television viewing were more likely to start
[SOURCE: New York Times (D9), AUTHOR: John O'Neil]

Issue: DTV/Public Interest
Broadcasters are expected to oppose the 'must carry' recommendations that
are part of the Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of
Digital Broadcasters', known as the Gore Commission, draft report. Both
broadcasters and cable industry representatives will likely object to the
suggestion that broadcasters must meet minimum public interest standards in
order to receive mandatory cable carriage of their digital signals during
the transition from analog. "Given the controversial nature of must carry,
and as a matter of fundamental fairness, we question how the Committee can
make any recommendations with respect to must carry," wrote National Cable
Television Association President Decker Anstrom in a letter to commission
members. Public interest advocates, on the other hand, are disappointed with
the lack of a required free airtime for political candidates in Committee's
draft recommendations. "This draft report provides little sense that
broadcasting is anything but a business, and [leaves the impression] that
broadcasters should be exempt from contributing their fair share to the
public good," said the Center for Media Education and the Civil Rights Forum
in a joint statement.
[SOURCE: Broadcasting and Cable (p14), AUTHOR: Paige Albiniak]

Issue: Children's Television
A report detailing broadcaster's compliance with new rules requiring three
hours of educational programming a week will soon be released by the FCC.
Parents and children's TV advocates will also have an opportunity to comment
on the broadcasters' performance when the FCC seeks comments from the
public. The FCC has already sent letters to criticizing CBS and NBC for
their failure to adequately promote educational programs. Despite
admonishing NBC for a high rate of preemption of children's programs, the
FCC has given the networks continued permission to preempt Saturday morning
shows for sporting events.
[SOURCE: Broadcasting and Cable (p24), AUTHOR: Bill McConnell]

Issue: Interactive TV
Promising the capability of having multiple scenes from various channels on
a television screen, Broadcom Corporation is designing advanced chips that
may give a big boost to interactive TV. WebTV and a few other systems
already show Internet material on televisions. Broadcom's new chip will
allow a mixture of television channels, Internet signals, VCR video and DVD
movies to be intermingled on the screen in a look similar to Microsoft
"Windows." The signals can be sized and arranged as the user wants. Cable
companies and other technology companies are becoming more focussed on
interactive TV and are planning a new generation of cable boxes for
mid-1999. Broadcom will hurry production to have its chips included in
those boxes.
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B3), AUTHOR: Frederick Rose]

Issue: Digital Television
Another article describing what the recommendations of the Gore Commission
*might* be. Jones reports that the Presidential Advisory Committee on Public
Interest Obligations of Digital Broadcasters will put forward "a series of
vague recommendations on broadcasters' obligations to the viewing public."
At this time, no one is very happy with a draft of the final report that
will be delivered to Vice President Gore in December. ``There's a group on
the left that is just going to jump up and down,'' said Norman Ornstein,
co-chairman of the President's committee and scholar at the Washington-based
American Enterprise Institute. "There are broadcasters that are going to go
ballistic about it, because they think it's way too tough." The Committee
will meet again Monday, November 9 to suggest changes to the draft and
receive public comment. [For more information see the Committee's official
website <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/pubintadvcom/pubint.htm> or Benton PIAC
page <http://www.benton.org/Policy/TV/piac.html>]
[SOURCE: Chicago Tribune (Sec 1, p.1), AUTHOR: Tim Jones]

Issue: Television/Campaigns
According to a National Association of Broadcaster's survey, most voters
think that broadcasters spent just the right amount, or too much time in
covering the 1998 elections. Only 15 percent of the 1,008 voters surveyed
after Tuesday's elections said that broadcasters offered too little election
coverage. The NAB's survey also reported that 61 percent of voters oppose
mandated free time for candidates in addition to unlimited candidate
spending on campaign commercials.
[SOURCE: Washington Post (D7), AUTHOR: Lisa De Moraes]

Issue: InfoTech/Internet
With more and more people having access to the Internet, there is a greater
demand to view video on the Web. But the technology does not seem to be able
to handle yet evidenced by the Space Shuttle launch. "There's no way we
could handle the demand," said Monty Mullig, vice president for Internet
technology at CNN. Like many other sites that attempted to broadcast the
launch live over the Internet, CNN had difficulty serving video to everyone
who tried to access it. Unlike television and radio, access to Internet
material is limited to the number of audio or video data "streams" the
netcaster provides. It costs ~$0.50 per user to provide video over the Net.
[SOURCE: New York Times (CyberTimes), AUTHOR: Lisa Napoli <napoli@nytimes.com>]

Issue: Film/Minorities
This week, minority directors and producers gathered in Dana Point, CA for
the second annual summit of the Black Filmmakers Foundation. Many of the
speakers shared their frustration over difficulties in obtaining financing
and attracting audiences, even within the black community. In addressing
financing issues, Robert Johnson, founder and chairman of the Black
Entertainment Television, said that complaining about the barriers was not
enough. "You wake up black in America, and that alone is a challenge," he
said. "But what are you going to do, go back to bed? For an entrepreneur, those
challenges are part of the standard operating procedure." Speaker Corrnel
West, professor of religion and African-American studies at Harvard
University, offered hope and encouragement to the gathering: "I think we're
at an historic turning point. There are tremendous expectations of all of
you," he added, "I personally believe that, in terms of entertainment, if
there was really a fair playing field, the entertainment industry would look
a lot like the N.B.A."
[SOURCE: New York Times (B15), AUTHOR: James Sterngold]

Issue: Television
How to connect new digital televisions to cable networks is a technical
issue that finally is being resolved by engineers for set makers and cable
companies. The first generation of digital televisions lacked that
capability because agreement had not been reached on how to do it. The
tentative agreement announced yesterday leaves some issues, including
copyright protection, unresolved but centers on use of a FireWire, the wire
for the connection and on exchange of information between the two electronic
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B9), AUTHOR: WSJ Staff Reporter]

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000

"You are looking into the mind of home video. It is innocent, it is aimless,
it is determined, it is real" --Don DeLillo, Underworld