advice from a fake consultant

out-of-the-box thinking about economics, politics, and more... 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Being Late, Or, 2009: The Year In Random

It’s been just about a month since I did any serious writing, and we’re now getting back to the grindstone.

Before we get into a big batch of “we have to learn about the brain” stories (and in an effort to avoid doing a “State of the Union” story today) I want to clear the deck from 2009, which means I have a lot of disconnected scraps of message to pass along; some of it fun, some of it free, some of it snarky—and at least a bit of it, disturbing.

In keeping with the random nature of today’s story, some of it will even run into 2010.

So go find your joke hat, and let’s get our wrapup on.

The doctor was examining a naval hospital orderly for advancement in rating. "What would you do if the captain fainted on the bridge?"

"Bring him to," warbled the aspiring orderly.

"Then what?" asked the doctor.

"Bring him two more," returned the man promptly.

--From the book "10,000 Jokes, Toasts, and Stories", Lewis and Faye Copeland, editors.

As regular visitors to this space know, I'm probably a bit too addicted to television, and on of the hazards of that addiction is having to form a relationship with the various TV personalities out there. There are some I'm happy to welcome into my home (I'm thinking of you, Drew Carey), but then, there are...others.

Which brings us to William Darrell Mays, Jr.

Billy (the name by which many of you may have known him), was that irritating guy who basically invented the business of "...and I'll give you a second one free--just pay extra shipping and handling...", which is perfectly fine, and bless him for it...but now he's dead, and you know what?

gravestone shop jpeg version.jpg

It has become time to apply one of the rules of marriage: Until Death Do We Part.

We all outlived Billy, and one of the rewards of that should be that we are freed, as it were, to find another pitchperson...or maybe to move on to a better place--perhaps even to a world without someone from Florida hustling Oxy-Whatever all day long.

"My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals."

--Lord Henry, speaking to Dorian Gray, in Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray".

Ever see someone making a "dick move" who also struck you as being sanctimonious, both at the same time? If the answer is yes, you already know the definition of a word The Girlfriend made up the other day in the car: dictimoneous.

Dictimoneous; as in: "When that BMW driver cut you off, dude...that was dictimoneous".

We find we're already using the word a lot...and we suspect you will, too.

(By the way, expect Dick Timoneous to show up in some of my snarky stories from time to time, probably working alongside Harry Paratestes, who has been a friend of this space for some time.)

"Why, there is it. Come sing me a bawdy song, make me merry."

--Falstaff, to Randolph, in Act 3, Scene 3 of "Henry IV, Part I", by William Shakespeare

Free music.

Much as the wily chair hunter stalks the plains searching out his next place of repose, many of us seek the watering holes where free .mp3s gather, and I have a couple of them for you today.

The first is RCRD LBL. These folks offer hundreds and hundreds of completely "legal" songs that you can either stream or download, all at no charge--and it's music you'll actually want to hear.

There are lots of bands you'll probably recognize, including the Ting Tings, The Herbaliser, and Groove Armada, bands you should recognize, such as Thao With The Get Down Stay Down or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and artists that are absolutely on the way up--one of those being Amanda Blank, who you might have seen with Spank Rock as part of Lollapalooza 2008 (link warning: hip-hop sensibilities ahead...).

It's even participatory: the site invites you to take the music downloads from the site, mix 'em and mash 'em to your heart's desire, and send them right back, possibly to be put up on the site for others to enjoy as well. They also invite you to burn the songs to your own CDs, and to pass them along to your friends...the only limitation being that the music must be used for non-commercial purposes.

There are two ways to get started: either head straight to the site and start downloading, or sign up for the daily email that lists new tracks as they become available.

What used to be one of Seattle's public radio stations, 90.3, KEXP (and before that, KCMU), has now also become New York City's KEXP, due to an arrangement that has created multicity simulcasts hosted on 91.5 WNYE. The station produces live events in both cities--including, just by coincidence, an Amanda Blank show on the 29th of this month at the Santos Party House in Manhattan.

This station (these stations?) plays a lot of "emerging artist" music (which you can hear on excellent quality streams), and if you sign up, they will send a free "Song of the Day" to your iTunes (which is just one of five available podcasts they will happily send your way). There are about 575 more of these songs in the archive to be downloaded, and as with RCRD LBL, the diversity of artists is pretty impressive, including Calexico and Architecture in Helsinki and a guy who is well on his way to becoming the Paul Shaffer of punk, Tim Armstrong.

"...Mother and I have sex almost every night. We almost have sex on Monday, we almost have sex on Tuesday..."

--Senator Arlen Specter, appearing at the Improv, Washington, DC.

Corporate treasurers are unable to use AAA rated subprime mortgage derivatives to boost the bottom line any more, and apparently another potential income source is to be found in betting the customers that the things they're buying won't blow up once they get them home.

japanese merchants.jpg

This has created a new opportunity for mischief, which I put to use just the other day: I had to buy a new printer for my friend who could not make his old printer talk to his new Windows 7 computer (thanks a lot, Sharp), and the clerk wondered if I might wish to purchase the extended warranty for my $49 purchase.

After all, he told me, the manufacturer's warranty only lasts a year, and the extended warranty would double that to two years. To which I responded:

"Are you trying to tell me that you don't think this printer will last longer than two years?"

If you try it yourself you'll quickly discover that they don't like that question at all...and it is a tough spot in which to be, philosophically: on the one hand, you want to make the customers confident enough to buy products--but not so confident that they won't make the "extended warranty" bet.

"If you work on your mind with your mind,
How can you avoid an immense confusion?"


To close out today's story, a horrible, horrible, observation, and a commentary on just how disturbed I really am.

WARNING: The following is a joke. It is strictly a joke. We do not recommend you try this at home, under your home in the root cellar, or, should evacuation be required, at a public shelter.

They're running those public service announcements to encourage us to carry a disaster supply kit with us in the event of emergency, and to tell us that we should carry three days worth of supplies, at least, in that kit.

Do you have pets? You're encouraged to carry three days' worth of food for them as well.

Here's the horrible I was listening to this announcement, I couldn't help but think: "If you have pets...don't you automatically have three days worth of food?"

Of course, if you're Paris Hilton and you carry around one of those tiny Chihuahuas, that might be an exception...but then again, if you're Paris Hilton, that might actually be three days' worth of food.

So there you go: a couple jokes, free music, a survival tip, and a fervent wish that Billy Mays, now dead, could be finally buried.

Next time: we begin a conversation about PTSD, and to get that started we'll have to learn a bit of neural anatomy, so get your thinking caps ready, as we're gonna need 'em.

Friday, January 8, 2010

On Pots And Kettles, Or, Peter King: Tool Of Terrorism, Victim Of Irony

As a result of a recent event involving an aircraft and underpants Representative Peter King (R-Not From Iowa), the senior Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, has again come forth to bring his expertise on questions of international terrorism to the national debate.

King, a Congressman who represents a district that straddles New York’s Long Island (NY-3), previously served as the Comptroller of Nassau County and a member of Hempstead, New York’s Town Council, which wouldn’t seem to be the kind of résumé that would give you much credibility in this arena—but Mr. King is a special case.

You see, Mr. King knows a great deal about terrorism...from the inside...because for many years the personal cause that drove his life was to be an active and public supporter of a terrorist group.

And that’s why, today, we’ll be connecting the dots between Congressman King and the Irish Republican Army.

“If this is a war on terrorism, then this person should not be treated as an ordinary criminal.”

--Peter King, on Good Morning America, January 6, 2010

When King says don’t treat them like an ordinary criminal, what he really means is that he supports a variety of interrogation methods for those who might be terrorists. In fact, in an interview with Politico last August King took offense to the very idea that Attorney General Holder would even investigate CIA interrogation practices:

"It’s bulls***. It’s disgraceful. You wonder which side they’re on..."

In the same interview King defended the practice of threatening the family of those being interrogated as well as the use of a power drill as a tool of coercion, both practices that qualify as torture under US law:

"Why is it OK to waterboard someone, which causes physical pain, but not threaten someone and not cause pain?"

He’s so fervent about stopping terrorism that, in a 2001 WABC interview, King even offered his support for the use of tactical nuclear weapons against terrorists.

And just the other day, he wondered why a terror suspect would even be allowed to fly at all.

With all due respect, Congressman...they allow you to fly, don’t they?

The (mostly Catholic) Irish Republican Army (and its political wing, Sinn Féin) has been seeking to unite Northern Ireland with the rest of Ireland for nearly a century. This has been challenged by the (mostly Protestant) Ulster Volunteer Force, who want to continue Northern Ireland’s status as a separate entity within the United Kingdom.

It is reported that the IRA killed more than 2000 people from 1972 to 2002 (in fact, they apologized for those killings); the British Army response includes the events that were the inspiration for the U2 song Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Among the most famous of the IRA’s terror attacks was a 1974 bombing targeting the House of Commons in London and the assassination of Lord Mountbatten, the Queen’s cousin, in 1979.

Americans have been among the victims of IRA bombings; the recently departed Bush Administration made a deal for compensation for some of those victims.

The IRA had a foreign policy, as well, including a relationship with Libya’s Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi that was well underway as early as 1973, involving, at a minimum, the illegal importation of weapons and Semtex explosive into Ireland.

Americans played a major part in the fundraising support for the IRA’s campaign of terror—and prominent among those Americans...was...wait for it...(not yet a Congressman) Peter King, who, ironically, had his telephone calls monitored due to his status as a terrorist sympathizer by the same intelligence establishment he now oversees in his Congressional capacity.

How sympathetic was King? Consider this comment, from a 1982 speech King gave at pro-IRA rally in Nassau County, New York:

"We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry."

(Now Congressman) King was on the dais for the 28th Annual Irish Northern Aid Testimonial Dinner in 1999 (NORAID being the IRA’s US fundraising arm). In 2005 the Bush Administration ordered such fundraising stopped; this because the IRA, in the Administration’s view, was still involved in criminal activity in Ireland.

According to Federal Election Commission records NORAID’s publicity director, attorney Martin Galvin, has only contributed to one Federal political campaign from 1979 to 2008—Peter King’s. This is the same Martin Galvin that reportedly supported the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, which was eventually designated by the US State Department as a “foreign terrorist organization”.

NORAID gave back to King as well. In 1985 they arranged for King to be named Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade—which, in New York City, is about as big a deal as a politician could ever hope for.

King is also reported to have frequented a Belfast bar known as an IRA hangout, the Felons Club.

An Irish judge once refused to allow King to attend a trial for an IRA member because the judge felt King “...was an obvious collaborator with the IRA."

By the way, this is the same Peter King that once told John McCain he:

"...shouldn't shy away from raising the Ayers connection, to raise questions about Obama's judgment."

(Remember William Ayers? He’s the terrorist that Sarah Palin wanted everyone to know Obama was “palling around with” during the 2008 campaign.)

The American fundraising was driving the political leadership in the UK to fits, including former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who, according to notes taken by her staff in 1979, felt that:

“The Americans must be made to realise that for so long as they continued to finance terrorism, they would be responsible for the deaths of US citizens as well as others...The Americans must be brought to face the consequences of their actions.”

So at this point I could end the story by yelling: “Hypocrite, hypocrite, big stinky-butt hypocrite!”...or by suggesting we get all Cheney on the guy and waterboard him to see what other IRA plots he may still be aware of...but the fact is, the picture is a lot more complex than what’s been presented up to this point.

There is reporting that suggests King was willing to meet with representatives of both Sinn Féin and the opposition Ulster Unionist movement, and that his efforts not only helped the Irish peace process, but came at considerable personal risk.

He was also closely associated with Bill Clinton’s efforts to promote peace in Ireland, an unusual partnership for a Republican Congressman and a serving Democratic President in the “modern era” of post-Watergate politics.

And it wasn’t just King—Teddy Kennedy, Alfonse D’Amato, and [insert the name of virtually any “downstate” New York politician here] were working the same rallies and knew some or all of the same people King knew—and were hoping to harvest from the same community of voters and donors and volunteers.

And that’s how we get to the great irony of today’s story:

There is one man in American Government who has literally “palled around” with terrorists—in their own bar, back home in Belfast—and he wasn’t content to just pal around with the terrorists, he went further and actually helped the terrorists fundraise on US soil...for years...despite the fact that the terrorists were also attacking Americans.

And if that wasn’t enough, he kicked it up a notch and palled around with two opposing groups of terrorists, and in doing so, actually made the world a better place.

And yet, in today’s Republiteabag Party Express© environment, when he might be able to apply some of that Irish experience to this conflict, he can’t...which is too bad, because if he did something big, bipartisan, and statesmanlike, right now, it might give him the best shot he’ll ever have at becoming a a time when Republiteabaggers badly need a few seats.

In fact, if he was able to tell his own Party this story, it might be the best thing he could do to get more than one new Senator elected...but, ironically, he can’t, because if he ever promoted his own history, he would be rejected by his own a “dagblessid terr-ir-ist”...which would mean that the guy who once told John McCain to exploit a terrorist connection...might well be outed as one by McCain’s former running mate.

Which, my friends, is some pretty deep irony.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

On Making It Work, Or, An Open Letter To Network TV

After a decade-long slide into semi-irrelevance, it’s now being announced that the major television broadcast networks are considering leaving behind the “free TV/advertiser supported” business model in order to turn themselves into something more closely resembling a cable operation; the idea being that they could create a second revenue stream from the same “subscriber fees” that are paid by cable and satellite operators to all the other channels those operators carry.

This has become necessary, according to the networks, partly because the market has become so fragmented...which, naturally, is cable’s fault—and presumably the fault of the disloyal viewer, as well.

Another reason driving the change is related to the desire of the networks to have a source of revenue that’s more reliable in times of economic downturn, when advertisers often try to husband scarce resources by cutting back on all their expenses, particularly advertising dollars.

Will this new change in the business model reverse the fortunes of the networks?
Is it possible that the networks are simply poor business managers?

And what about...Krystal Carey?

Tune in for the rest of the story—and we’ll find out.

“Customer in a restaurant: How do you prepare your chickens?
Cook: Oh, nothing special really. We just tell them they’re gonna die.”

--From "Plato and a Platypus Walk Into A Bar, Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein

Dear ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox,

We’ve come a long way together, and I know times have been tough lately—well, for a decade or so, anyway—what with the MTV and the Jon Stewart and the ESPN and all...but let me ask you a question:

Aren’t the majority of the problems your “mainline” networks face today actually problems of your own making?

Now before you get all defensive on me, let’s have a look at the record:

There was a time, not so very long ago, when NBC and Fox, particularly, were flying high in the ratings wars.

In the 1980s NBC had a great run of shows, from “Hill Street Blues” to “The Cosby Show” to a little thing called “Late Night With David Letterman”.

They also had “Taxi”, “The Golden Girls”, “Cheers”, “Miami Vice”, “Matlock”, “Family Ties”, “Alf”, and “The A-Team”.

And that was before “Friends”, “Seinfeld”, “ER” and “Mad About You” all became the 1990s version of “Must See TV”. (“LA Law” had a long enough run that it existed in both eras.)

In other words, a huge proportion of the shows that you see in syndication today were all part of the NBC family in roughly a 20-year period.

Over at CBS, the lineup during the same time period included “Cagney and Lacey”, “Dallas”, “Knots Landing”, “The Dukes of Hazzard”, “Magnum P.I.”, “Murphy Brown”, “Newhart”, “Walker, Texas Ranger”, and the last couple of years of “M*A*S*H*”...and, thanks to some trouble at NBC...”The Late Show With David Letterman”, which, along with “60 Minutes”, is still there to this day.

For NBC, the money was good: in 1985 the network’s profit doubled, and by 1997 it had doubled again to over $500 million.

CBS had hit shows that were popular among a less-desirable (read: older) demographic (but fewer of ‘em than NBC’s giant stable of hits), and as a result, despite the $6.8 billion in 1998 revenues it was another of a long series of “loss years”...but at least they could say the losses were decreasing, from over $130 million in ’97 to a mere $12 million in ’98.

For ABC, this was a period of downward spiral culminating in takeover. Among the shows that were filling space in between their few hits (most notably “The Love Boat” and “Home Improvement” and “Matlock”, which was snatched away from NBC for the last three years of its run) were such tragically bad classics as “Battle of the Network Stars”, “Doogie Howser, M.D.”, “Full House”, “Growing Pains”, and the singularly awful Cop Rock.

The resulting financial troubles led to ABC itself being snatched away from its former independence in a 1995 takeover by The Walt Disney Company.

And then there’s Fox. The same network that always seems to find the lowest common denominator (they once matched up Tonya Harding and Paula Jones in 2002’s Celebrity Boxing) also managed to bring to the air in its first 15 years “21 Jump Street”, “Party of Five”, “Melrose Place”, “Martin”, “Beverly Hills 90210”, “Ally McBeal”, “In Living Color” (yes, Virginia, the Wayans Brothers came from somewhere...), “Mad TV”, “Futurama”, “The Tracey Ullman Show” and its slightly more successful spin-off, “The Simpsons”—and the show that might sum up the entire enterprise, for good and for ill: Married...With Children.

By 1990, the then five-year-old network was on the air three nights a week—and they were booking $500 million in advertising revenue.

So, you see a pattern here? The networks with the best (or at least the most popular) shows were the ones making money—and CBS and ABC...not so much.

Of course, you can have very popular programming and still lose money doing it...which brings us to sports.

From the mid-80’s until not very long ago, the television networks were more than happy to pony up pretty much any amount of money for sports programming—to the point that buying your kid one of Glambo’s “My Little Pony” Edition M4A1 carbines for her 8th birthday (the same weapon used by our troops today, and a bargain at only $1147.95...) seems to be downright logical by comparison.

Who follows “March Madness”? CBS has been following it, avidly, as one of the broadcasters of the tournament. In 1985 CBS paid $20 million for the TV broadcast rights, and by 2005 that number had grown to $420 million.

But here’s the thing: the ratings CBS achieved in the 1985 broadcast were roughly 90% of the highest ratings the NCAA Tournament ever achieved, and despite the fact that CBS valued the Tournament enough to pay 20 times as much for the rights in 2005, the actual 2005 audience was only 2/3 of the 1985 audience.

Football has been a black hole for broadcasters as well—for decades.

ABC, NBC, and CBS admitted in 1992 that they had lost $200 million, collectively, in the first two years of their 1990 agreement, with CBS being hit particularly hard (baseball and football, together, knocked $320 million off of the CBS bottom line that year).

Fox, seeking to create a “buzz” for their new network, paid more than $1.5 billion in 1993 for a four-year deal to broadcast NFL games (ending the League’s 38-year relationship with CBS in the process)—and the value of the current round of contracts between the NFL and four networks (NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN) has, in the intervening years, ballooned to over $20 billion.

Remember that comment about losing money even with popular programming? The Super Bowl fills 37 slots in the list of the top 100 highest rated shows of all time...but that said, NBC apparently had problems selling all its available ad space for the broadcast of the XLIIIrd iteration of the event...which appears to be a problem for the upcoming XLIVth game as well...and if you follow the numbers, the ratings have not gone up in a way that could be seen as commensurate to the cost of the broadcast rights.

(With the exception of the 2000 contest, no Super Bowl in the 21st Century has cracked the Top 40 highest rated shows of all time. 17 games from the prior Century are in that Top 40. If you don’t consider the year 2000 to be part of this Century, lower that number by one.)

The Olympics? At this point, the rights fees paid by NBC represent 40% of the total budget of the International Olympic Committee, including $600 million for the 2006 Games alone and $2.2 billion for the 2010 and 2012 Winter and Summer Games—and before the first event is even broadcast, GE CEO Jeff Immelt (GE is NBC’s current owner) has already reported that he expects the network to lose $200 million on the 2010 Vancouver broadcast.

(How many times has an Olympics broadcast cracked the Top 100? Twice—and both of those broadcasts were in 1994.)

Let’s sum up where we are so far: for roughly 20 years, the “big” networks have been either losing money with bad programming or losing money by spending too much money on big events...or to keep a popular show just one more year, as happened with ER and almost happened with Seinfeld.

How much would a network spend for that final year? The cost of producing a single episode of “ER” rose from $2 million an episode to $13 million from 1997 to 1998.

To make up for wasting so much money on those big events, the networks have been cutting back as much as possible—which is why we now see lots of “reality TV” and “talent shows” à la “American Idol”, which can cost less than $500,000 an hour to produce.

The theory is that the “big” productions will drive the viewer to the “smaller” shows—which presumably means that the calculus around CBS is that the glorious television spectacle that is the “New Adventures of Old Christine” is keeping viewers tuned in for “Gary Unmarried”—and if not, maybe the spectacle that is “Two and a Half Men” will.

The funny thing is, TV, that you actually have an incentive to invest in better shows: the revocation of the Fin-Syn Rules. In the early 1990s TV networks were, for the first time, permitted to have a financial interest in the shows they run on their networks (the “Fin” part of Fin-Syn) and the restrictions on networks syndicating shows were removed (which, obviously, was the “Syn” part).

This means if networks create shows that can be resold over the years the networks get to have an equity interest in the money that’s generated. One source of future income: selling a show like “The Bernie Mac Show” or “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” or a “CSI” derivative to a cable network or a local TV station...another, “direct distribution to consumer” technologies like DVD or implanted neural TV memory chips or home holodecks.

Fun Fact: Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball are credited with creating the syndicated television industry; this based on the decision, radical for the time, to record episodes of “I Love Lucy” on film, and the even more inspired decision to take a $1000 a week pay cut in return for ownership of those syndication rights...or to put it another way: TV, you often suck at recognizing innovation when you see it.

The problem: if your library is full of “Hee Haw Honeys”, “The Simple Life” or The Jay Leno Show...well, those are the kind of shows that end up in the $5 DVD bin, not as $ 120 box sets shaped like robot heads...and that’s the direction that networks are taking far too often.

Ironically, a lot of the most innovative TV out there is not coming from the networks at all, but instead from their “insurrectionist” cable competition: shows like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” and the mighty SpongeBob Squarepants (which, last week, had more viewers at 11:30 on a Thursday morning than every broadcast television show for that entire week, with three exceptions—and all three of those were football games).

Lucky for the networks, they own a lot of those cable properties—or, in the case of ABC, their parent owns lots of ‘em, including the aforementioned ESPN, The Disney Channel and the ABC Family Network. (In the case of Disney, cable operations in 2009 provided twice the revenue and eight times the income of the broadcast operations.)

Oddly enough, the formerly united Viacom and CBS are now separate companies with the same CEO, Sumner Redstone. Among the Viacom properties: MTV Networks, the home of both the mighty sponge and the Colbert Nation, Logo (home of “RuPauls’ Drag Race” and the now extra-controversial “Sordid Lives”), and soon, the DreamWorks production operations.

Sometimes it works in reverse: the cable operator Comcast is buying 51% of NBC in their own effort to vertically integrate; combining production and distribution opportunities under one corporate roof.

And all of that is a long way to go to get to finally answering the questions at the “top of today’s show”, but here we are:

TV, I hate to be mean about it, but you have demonstrated over and over again that you are not so great at making smart business decisions—especially when it comes to managing your cost structure in a thoughtful way—which makes me think that if you change the business model, you’ll find a way to screw it up...and you’ll probably do it by giving too much money to the last season of shows like “CSI: Jablib, Wisconsin” and baseball and football and the Olympics while at the same time prematurely cancelling the next “Arrested Development” that comes along.

And since you seem to be bad at delivering shows, the odds are that over time advertising income will be hard to keep on an upward path...but of course, you could fix that problem—theoretically—and being less dependent on “Survivor” might be one way to start.

And what about Krystal Carey?

Well, the soap business sucks, too—after all, it’s expensive to make soaps, and there’s little chance of selling them as DVD sets—and that’s why everybody on “All My Children” recently got substantial pay cuts, and why “Days of Our Lives” may not survive past 2011.

So there you go, TV: you can continue to play the “today’s results are the only thing that matters” game, or you can scale back all the money associated with the network TV process to make it more economically viable...and if Leno won’t take $2 million a year, I’m pretty sure my friend Cliff Barnes would, and he’s even funnier (“I’m so short, I have to go up on girls...”), or you could just abandon broadcast TV entirely—which, of course, should mean that you’ll be giving back that valuable radio spectrum you’re borrowing from us at the moment so that we can auction it off to someone who wants to give it a good home.

Anyway, TV, this has been a long letter, and it’s time to go, so you think about all this, and we’ll talk again soon,

Your friend,