November 2006

In this issue:

  • Local Impact Awards
  • Media Ownership Public Hearings
  • CBS- Promoting and Outreaching to Latino Talent
  • Supplier Diversity and Development at Disney
  • Nancy De Los Santos on WGA West Board
  • More Success for the Writers Program
  • Congresswoman Solis Recognizes Alex Nogales
  • The End to the Nielsen Saga?
  • Antitrust Suit Against Comcast

Local Impact Awards

NHMC honored outstanding Los Angeles media luminaries at its 4th Annual Local Impact Awards Luncheon on September 14th at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Masters of Ceremonies for the third year in a row were the lovely and talented CBS 2 anchor Laura Diaz and Big Boy, the charismatic, morning drive D.J. from powerhouse KPWR FM. The highlight of the event was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presenting the Impact Award forOutstanding Service and Commitment to the Latino Community to the more than a dozen DJs who encouraged our community to participate in the over one million people strong peaceful immigration marches that were organized in the Spring of this year. The Mayor gave an impassioned speech about immigration and our responsibility to speak on behalf of the immigrants who have contributed so much to this country. He also talked about the divisiveness that has become more apparent in this country, in part due to some media outlets that have made it a pastime to verbally attack immigrants and accuse them of being the source of many of the ills in society. Here are some powerful highlights from the Mayors’ speech. “I have never been so proud to be Mayor as I was on that day when I greeted nearly a million people at City Hall.” “You and I recognize that there are times when your conscience wakes you and reminds you of your duty. You have no choice but to speak up for those who are marginalized and at times voiceless.” “We should embrace the immigration debate, not shy away from it. We should see it is an opportunity to talk openly and frankly about the issue. We should ensure that any debate always acknowledges that we are, and have been, a nation of immigrants.” “Ladies and gentlemen this is a great country. I love this country and you have shown your love for this country by encouraging people to have their voices heard.” Honorees also included the exceptional journalists Ellen Leyva of ABC7 “Eye Witness News” and Carlos Amezcua of “KTLA Morning News” who received Impact Awards for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. The Excellence in Television Programming Impact Award was presented to KCET. The station produces two unique Peabody Award-winning programs that specifically target the Latino community, “A Place of Our Own” and “Los Niños En Su Casa.” These entertaining and educational series target caregivers and parents of pre-school children; the shows help provide them with the critical skills necessary to prepare youngsters for school- a tremendous opportunity for our community residents. We thank all our sponsors for making this year’s event one of the best. Special thanks to our Luncheon Sponsor: Univision Communications Inc.; Amigo Sponsors: The Walt Disney Company and FOX Entertainment Group; Audio Visual Sponsor: Arbitron Inc.

Media Ownership Public Hearings

The National Latino Media Council (NLMC), the national coalition of Latino advocacy organizations concerned with media issues as they relate to the Latino community, joined forces with national media allies to host four unofficial public hearing on media ownership. Partners include Free Press, Media Alliance and Consumers Union. The hearings are NLMC’s commitment to include Latinos and other people of color in the conversation with the FCC, as the Commission reconsiders the idea of loosening media ownership rules. In 2003, with no public input, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in favor to relax media ownership rules which would allow media companies to own more television stations across the country and to control both a station and a newspaper in the same market. In other words, to allow big media to become even bigger. More than two million Americans spanning the political and ideological spectrum contacted the FCC to protest, not only the substance of the new rules, but also the Commission’s highly exclusionary rulemaking process. The dismissal of public concerns was one of the reasons a federal appeals court threw out the media ownership rules the agency approved. The full FCC is expected to vote again on the media ownership rules next year. In the free market society that we live in, it would seem that ownership rules should be extinct. However, when it comes to media, it is dangerous to allow only a few media moguls to own most of the media outlets where consumers get the majority of their news. Big media stifles diversity in opinions. A recentMedia & Democracy study concludes that more media mergers in our already highly consolidated media markets would reduce already insufficient local news coverage and eliminate diverse voices and viewpoints, harming local communities across the country. The argument from the old-media empires such as Tribune Co., NBC Universal and CBS coming to the FCC is that the Commission must relax its media-ownership regulations because the nation’s new-media players have changed everything. In a series of arguments filed with the FCC, the above-mentioned media companies stated that FCC restrictions on who can own what media property where, have to be eased if newspapers and broadcast outlets are to survive in the face of cable and Internet competition. However, a new study from Crawford Johnson & Northcott, a market research and consulting firm specializing in local TV, found that the local news on the Internet isn’t replacing local TV newscasts. The study found that 75 percent of Internet users watch a local newscast at least twice a week and 52 percent said they try to watch at least one local newscast per day. The first hearing was held in Los Angeles in August. Close to 300 people attended the hearing held at the USC campus. For 4 ½ hours FCC Commissioners Copps and Adelstein, the only Comissioners who accepted NLMC’s invitation to attend the hearing, heard the public’s frustrations regarding broadcasters not fulfilling their public interest obligation for using the public airwaves free of charge. Concerns that were brought up at the hearing included the quality of local news reporting, children’s programming and lack of diversity of ownership. Public speakers joined NLMC in presenting the Commissioners powerful reasons to not ease restrictions on media ownership. One of them, Dave Adelson, said that searching for substantial programming on TV was like trying to get a balanced meal from a vending machine. "The machine is filled with products made by conglomerates," Adelson said. "You can get anything you want, except nutrition." The L.A. Times reported several Latino speakers complaining that Spanish-language broadcasters typically buy much of their entertainment programming from production firms outside of the country. A speaker stated that this practice denies Latino producers, actors and writers in Los Angeles a valuable source of employment. Other speakers were offended by the vulgarities and crass content they sometimes hear on Spanish-language radio programs. They asked the FCC to do a better job of monitoring the Spanish-language airwaves. According to the L.A. Times, the most impassioned group was one affiliated with Semillas Del Pueblo, a charter school in El Sereno. In June, a talk show host on KABC-AM (790) alleged that the school’s leaders were racist separatists and called for its closure. The school received a bomb threat and had to be evacuated. The school’s co-founder demanded that the FCC revoke the station’s license. In September, LULAC took the lead in holding a hearing at the University of Texas, in Austin. Veteran Tejano broadcaster Marcelo H. Tafoya said that when he started in radio in 1962, one was taught to fear God and the FCC, not necessarily in that order. But according to Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who was the only FCC Commissioner in attendance, those days are long gone, mostly because of loosened ownership rules that shut out local voices and give large media corporations a good deal of control. "We’re like a paper tiger, and (media corporations) know better than to fear us," Adelstein said. The FCC "should be promoting localism, diversity and competition. We’ve failed on all three fronts." "You hear a lot of talk about freedom and democracy abroad," Adelstein said. "I would like to improve the quality of freedom and democracy here in Texas." The American-Statesman reported that at this hearing, the primary interest was the absence of any Tejano radio station from the Austin airwaves. Out of the eight Spanish radio stations in the area, six are owned by Border Media Partners, and two are owned by Univision. After Writers Guild of America Assistant Executive Director Ann Toback spoke on the importance of quality news in the face of media consolidation, Univision reporter Mariana Pineda spoke about her station’s role in the community. "Our motto is ‘Always By Your Side,’ but it is not just a motto," she said. Musica newspaper owner Marcelo A. Tafoya took issue with that. "Spanish media in Austin does not focus on the majority of Hispanics in the demographic," he said, saying that of the 278,000 Hispanics in the region, 201,000 were U.S.-born. "But the radio here is focused solely on the foreign-born," Tafoya said. He said the costs of advertising on corporate-owned radio were too high for locally owned businesses. "We need to change back to 35 to 50 percent locally owned stations in a market," Tafoya said. Tejano musician Leonard Davila said the lack of Tejano airplay was having a direct economic impact on local musicians and was, in turn, forcing them to have to go on tour. "Tejano musicians can no longer promote their product on local Spanish radio," he said. In October, NHMC partnered with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in New York to pull off the largest of the three hearings at Hunter College. Close to 600 people were in attendance . Again, only the two Democrats on the FCC accepted the invitation to attend the hearing. As the Daily News reported, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps both cited statistics showing blacks, Latinos and Asians own only a tiny percentage of radio and television stations and newspapers. "We have an unforgivable lack of women and minority ownership and perspectives," said Adelstein. "As fewer media companies gain more control," they reflect less of the national experience. Copps said the 1996 Telecom Act that allowed companies to own more stations has reduced the breadth of media voices, "and this lack of diversity is more shameful now than it was 30 years ago." "Diversity is America’s strength," said Copps. "It’s what gives us an edge in the 21st century. It’s worth fighting for." According to the Daily News, Malin Falu, morning cohost on WADO (1280 AM), said her years in media had been "bittersweet." In her youth, she said, black Latina women "were never the doctor or the lawyer" in media, and today the growing diversity of the country is still not reflected in a media mostly controlled by white-owned companies. "It’s been painful and depressing to me," she said. "It’s important that media monopolies be stopped." Juan Gonzalez, a panelist and columnist at The News, noted projections estimating that by 2050, half the U.S. population will be "minorities," and that without media diversity, this could lead to "a de facto apartheid system, where a white minority" controls information flow to everyone else. Betty Elleen Berlamino, vice president of CW11, suggested television station owners need greater ownership flexibility to compete with "pay-TV operators." She also argued that it is possible to get wide diversity under a single owner, noting the number of media outlets started and run by CW11’s parent Tribune Co. Gonzalez disagreed. "If you have the same owner," he said, "you won’t get diversity no matter how many platforms." In March of next year NLMC will partner with the Latino Council on Media to host a Chicago hearing. We are very pleased with the outcome of all three of the hearings held to date and expect a very successful one in Chicago as well. We encourage you to go to the FreePress link and file your own comment on big media with the FCC, the deadline is December 21st.

CBS – Promoting and Outreaching to Latino Talent

Latino Actors, Writers, and Directors don’t all live in Hollywood. They live in Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina as well. Our Writers Program candidates come from all over the nation to Los Angeles to further their careers. Our Actors workshop supported by CBS television does it a little differently. Fern Ornstein, Vice President of Casting at CBS Television, travels across the nation to not only encourage talent, but also to give them the practical tools to become better prepared for their professional career. With the coordinating assistance of NHMC Board Representative Ana Maria Soto, Fern and CBS Vice President of Diversity, Josie Thomas, traveled to Chicago in April and gave two workshops to aspiring actors at Columbia College, a prestigious training institute of the arts. They also traveled to New York in August and delivered their message to beginning and advanced Latino Actors assembled by the NHMC New York chapter. “This works,” said NY NHMC Co-Chair Marta Garcia, “the information and encouragement Fern is providing is practical, necessary and incredibly important if an actor wants to work in Network television – and let us be clear, the majority of jobs in front of camera are in television.” “Kudos to CBS for putting forth resources to make sure that talent is discovered in all parts of the country,” said Alex Nogales, NHMC President & CEO “this project is an important one and we thank Nina Tassler, CBS Entertainment President, for budgeting the program so that our community has more representation on the screen.”

Supplier Diversity and Development at the Walt Disney Company

National Latino Media Council (NLMC) representatives recently met with all four of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) to discuss procurement activities with Latino businesses. We were floured by Walt Disney’s commitment, achievements and openness to their program. At Walt Disney, the company believes that doing business with a diverse pool of businesses actually brings their costs down. And they have adopted this philosophy not only in their diversity business objectives, but also as part of their business culture. Disney has a centralized procurement department that handles most of the procurement activity for all of their business operations. Their program includes: identifying and mentoring a number of Minority/Women/Business Enterprises with growth potential; a certification verification process that is essential in any viable program; and finally, a commitment straight from the top to support supplier diversity and development. Congratulations to Walt Disney for their efforts in doing business with Latino corporations.

Nancy de los Santos on WGAwest Board

Nancy De Los Santos has been elected to serve of the Board of Directors for the Writers Guild of America west. She will be one of nineteen members of the Guild who govern and guide the Union in matters of negotiations, contracts, and policy-setting. De Los Santos has been a member of the Writers Guild of America since 1997. She has written for Showtime, HBO, ABC, The Disney Channel, PBS. She is the co-producer and co-writer of The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood Cinema, and Lalo Guerrero The Original Chicano. She is currently developing a number of television and film projects.

More Success for the Writers Program

We are proud to announce Davah Avena, a former NHMC Television Writer’s Program participant, has started a Writers’ Assistant job at KYLE XY on ABC Family and won the Silver Medal at the PAGE Screenwriting Awards. Davah is relishing her time in the KYLE XY Writers’ Room and gaining experience in the television writing process. Davah notes that her time in the NHMC Writer’s Program was one of the building blocks that helped her land this highly sought after position. KYLE XY is a breakout hit for ABC Family. Look for new episodes Summer 2007. Davah’s Silver Medal original pilot LOLA’S CATERING, touted as SIX FEET UNDER meets LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, is a Latino family dramedy. After the untimely death of their outspoken mother Lola Flores, three bickering children are forced to take over her catering business. They soon uncover a shocking family secret and discover the amazing power of Lola’s recipes to change lives. The ever-meddling Lola narrates from heaven with her own special mixture of wisdom and humor. Davah looks forward to shopping her pilot and gaining more television experience in the coming year.

Congresswoman Solis recognizes Alex Nogales

Congratulations to Alex Nogales for being recognized this year by Congresswoman Hilda Solis at her Annual Fall Fundraising Brunch held at The Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in September. Also recognized that day were Betsy Butler, Director of Development for the Consumer Attorneys of California and John A. Pérez, Director of Political Affairs of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324.

The end to the Nielsen Saga?

News Corp recently announced an eight-year “landmark” deal with Nielsen Media Research under which Nielsen will provide audience measurement services for 49 News Corp. television entities. As part of the agreement, Nielsen is investing "approximately $50 million in programs designed to enhance the response rates of participants in its samples, with special emphasis on younger demographics and communities of color." According to Media Post, this agreement could add fuel to another Nielsen fire: erinMedia’s federal antitrust suit against Nielsen, which specifically alleges that Nielsen’s "staggered" contracts with major TV companies is an anticompetitive practice. While terms of the News Corp. deal were not disclosed, speculation is that News Corp. extracted relatively favorable terms from Nielsen after a protracted battle between the companies. “We are pleased to hear that Nielsen has agreed to invest $50 million in improving their sample groups,” said Alex Nogales, NHMC President &CEO. “But before we are willing to drop this issue, NHMC wants more information on the details of these improvements and to make sure that accuracy in the sample groups is a priority. Undercounting our community in media ratings is too important to just walk away from this without confirmation that we have fixed the problem,” said Alex Nogales, NHMC President & CEO.

Antitrust Suit Against Comcast

According to The Legal Intelligencer, Cable television giant Comcast Corp. suffered a significant setback when a federal judge refused to dismiss a class action antitrust suit in September that accuses Comcast of setting out to establish monopolies in the Philadelphia and Chicago markets and then increasing prices once it had eliminated all the competition. The suit could reverberate throughout the cable industry because it alleges that many of the big cable companies cooperated in carving up much of the nation into separate markets where each would be exclusive providers. The plaintiffs in the suit, a group of cable subscribers, claim that Comcast and its would-be competitors struck a series of deals in which they "swapped" assets and customers so that each company would have "clusters" of markets. In the Philadelphia and Chicago markets, the suit alleges that Comcast succeeded, through a series of swap agreements with AT&T and Adelphia, in establishing monopolies in the cable television and cable Internet service markets, with 94 percent and 92 percent, respectively, of the two markets. Lawyers for the plaintiffs claim that the deals were designed to eliminate competition. Since then, the suit says, Comcast has used its monopoly power to raise cable prices in the Philadelphia and Chicago clusters to "artificially high, supra-competitive levels."]]>

National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a woman-led 501(c)(3) non-profit civil and human rights organization that was founded to eliminate hate, discrimination, and racism toward the Latino communities.
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