Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The idea of running a feature updating the top stories of 2004 is a good one, but I question the necessity of dragging the Jubilee Christian Fellowship Church through the mud one more time just to relive the sex scandal that resulted in the conviction of its former minister, Donald Peckham.
Donald Peckham pleaded guilty to two counts of child sexual abuse and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. That's it. He's in prison, the story is over. Yes, you could make an argument that what happens to the church is news, but you can make a better argument to leave these people, all of whom are innocent of the crime that sent their former pastor to prison, alone. Apparently, that is not going to happen. I have no problem with remembering the Peckham story in a year-end wrapup. It was major news and The Globe did a fine job of digging into the story, but please don't tell us that the church is going to be a subject of follow-up stories. That truly smacks of yellow journalism.
Congratulations to John Stockdale. If Stockdale, who has been a Barton County commissioner for more than two decades, read today's Globe, he probably was surprised to learn he is the county's presiding commissioner. Especially since Gerry Miller is the presiding commissioner, and Stockdale was re-elected associate commissioner in November.
The Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Patriot-News carried the story today on the closing of the Pennsylvania House furniture plant owned by La-Z-Boy in nearby Lewisburg. The closing was reported in The Dec. 27 Turner Report, and in previous postings. The Patriot-News adds, "La-Z-Boy set aside $700,000 for union workers to share as severance pay. To get the full amount, $7.5 million worth of furniture had to be produced by the end of the year. The mark was achieved on Dec. 15 and then exceeded.
For exceeding their quota, the Pennsylvania House workers received $96.22 for each year worked.
That slap in the face came after La-Z-Boy shut down the facility and shipped the work to China.
As I have mentioned numerous times in The Turner Report, the Chinese still are not good enough at doing the upholstery work that is done at the Neosho La-Z-Boy plant to shift that work overseas, but company officials have indicated they will waste no time in doing so when the Chinese are ready. La-Z-Boy-Neosho employs approximately 1,500.
Three days remain until Nexstar pulls KODE and KSNF off Cable One in Joplin and also removes KTAL, its station in Texarkana, Texas, from Cable One. The company has already sacrificed the credibility of the news departments at both Joplin stations (and probably the one in Texarkana, as well) by running one-sided crawls at the bottom of the screen during their newscasts, treating a staged protest as if it were legitimate news, and not presenting both sides of a news story that affects thousands of their viewers.
Nexstar's animosity toward cable was shown when its officials backed the proposal of Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications, to eliminate cable television.
According to Radio Today, Nexstar officials were among those on stage at the National Association of Broadcasters Media Show in April in Las Vegas.
Smulyan is proposing a digital antenna system which he said would "allow broadcasters to take back some of the revenue stream now owned by cable without spending much additional money on infrastructure."
The service would offer 30 "must-have" channels such as perhaps ESPN or CNN for $25 a month with a receiver box that would cost $99. According to surveys taken by Smulyan, 27 percent of consumers said they would go for that idea. If the $99 boxes were free, that number goes up to 49 percent, he said.
According to Radio Today, Smulyan told the broadcasters they would only need 10 percent market penetration to succeed. "Our goal," Smulyan said, "is that 100 percent of this business is owned by 100 percent of the broadcasters in this industry."
Smulyan also sounded the battle cry that Nexstar is following and that others will probably follow, as well. "Our signals have value and we want to get paid."
Smulyan also said, "The television industry has allowed a third party to take our product and profit from it."

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