FCC News: VNR fines and minority media-ownership

Here’s another good reason to avoid using a Video News Release (VNR) without proper attribution: You could be fined!

According to the Hollywood Reporter, for the first time ever, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau is calling for a $4,000 fine against Comcast for showing a VNR without telling viewers they got paid for it.

Comcast says that airing parts of a VNR for a homeopathic sleeping aid within a newscast does not violate FCC rules. A spokesperson for the company says cable programming is not covered by the relevant statue and that Comcast did not receive “consideration or benefit by using the material.”

In another development involving the FCC, Broadcasting & Cable reports that three members of Congress are calling for the FCC to create a minority media-ownership task force.

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Owning the first 1:00

For the past several years, a trend has been developing in the production of television newscasts.  Producers are being charged with the goal of “owning the first minute.”  In the September 2007 issue of RTNDA’s Communicator magazine, writer Paula Pendarvis puts it this way: 

Today’s newscasts don’t simply start, they sell, with custom-crafted elements designed to keep the viewer glued to the news.

The two most prevalent kick-off methods are:  heading straight to the top story, or inviting viewers to stick around with a slickly produced “supertease” that features sound bites, action video and reporter standups.

The article goes on to quote Paul Greeley, vice president of marketing and promotions for Nexstar Broadcasting, who compares the supertease to a “movie trailer, a highlight reel of your own show.”  Greeley says several things are important to create a good supertease:

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