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PODCAST: On the Record….Online with Former TelevisionWeek and Hollywood Reporter Editor Alex Ben Block

Entertainment industry trade publication newsroom king pin Alex Ben Block discusses the future of the television business.

:30 Intro: Eric introduces Alex Ben Block, the former editor of the Hollywood Reporter and Television Week, who will be discussing how new technology is changing the broadcasting business as we know it.

:39 Eric plays a snippet of Alex’s triple play theory –cable, video, hi-speed data and telephone/voice service.

1:15What is OTRO; how to subscribe to OTRO; Eric’s description of his public relations services; “PR guy by day, podcaster by night,”; past guests of OTRO; go to ontherecordpodcast.com for past guests; suggestions for new guests; comments line and upcoming guests such as David Pogue and Rob Barret

3:15 Portable Media and Podcast Expo in Ontario: Eric will be recording podcast at the LA Podcasters “Freeway Series”

4:22 ABB background; former pres of LA Press Club; eric and alex go to the same temple of the arts; nationally known because they broadcast on tv; discuss culture of celebrity at the temple

5:26 How ABB decides the front page; daily vs. weekly editorial decisions; editors prioritizing, the goal is “Try to make it as interesting as possible”

6:43 Eric brings up Noam Chomsky’s theory of bias regarding selection for front-page news; bias in trade publications—does it exist?

7:40 Relationship between advertisements and editorial in the trade; news sources and advertisers are also your readers and what you write can affect business; reporting in Hollywood with Hollywood Reporter, Variety, B &C and TV Week; what readers are going to believe; “Ultimately, you have to serve the truth.”;

11:24 Newsworthy news that are not good for business; how do you cover bad news without alienating sources; your job is to act responsibly and fairly; treading that fine line between friends and sources

13:04 ABB’s days as an editor at Hollywood Reporter/working in all different departments; process of editing and filing stories and getting paper published five days a week and ultimately working six days a week, great work colleagues now at Washington Post; TVGuide; Video Business; International Hollywood Reporter edition; managing a paper; generating stories; ABB’s job before the Hollywood Reporter gig.

17:42 Alex discusses leaving TV Week to write his third book, but staying on as a columnist; Alex talks a bit about the book which is about how television industry is changing and what is in store for the future.

21:40 In-depth discussion about the new changes advertisers are taking in order to adapt to the television technology; ABB says greater choice and portability are HUGE issues; video iPod’s future; delivery of content over cell phones; merging the computer screen and the television.

23:52 How it all affects terrestrial broadcast; Local broadcast stations’ future: ABB points out KTLA has both analog and digital formats and involved in the internet; importance of local news still powerful; using a smart syndication schedule; promotion and offering product over all media; “smart companies will adapt.”

26:30 IFC and Tivo Deal; making a product available directly to viewer without going thru a broadcaster; Eric goes a little into Long Tail Theory and Ecast Inc. ABB gives his thoughts about on-demand media consumption and how technology will be changing that; ABB thinks companies are smart enough to be adapting to all technological advances; also thoughts on convergence and how media companies present that to the consumers.

36:49: Verizon’s spending money and time to become competitor to cable television; unprecedented lobbyists efforts; taking on satellite and cable “saying ‘we can do it better”; triple play theory again; ABB puts bets on Comcast to emerge as leading company.

39:25: ABB shares a brief insight to his book and touches on something he wrote about for TV Week called “All-Menu TV”; tailoring interests to what people want to watch; Friedman’s op-ed column defining “podcasting;” ABB and Eric discuss speakers at the temple during high holy days including Robert Spencer and his book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam”; Eric’ future podcast on how religion is portrayed in the media.

43:56: Interview concludes with Eric explaining where to download the podcast; past guests, and topics.

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