Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc., said Friday that it had agreed to sell three television stations to black media entrepreneur Pluria Marshall Jr. in a deal that, if approved, would nearly double the tiny number of full-powered African American-owned commercial television stations.
The deal would require a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission, which voted 3-2 in March to bar so-called "shared services agreements," in which one station provides services, such as selling advertising, for another.
Nexstar, which said it would guarantee the loans necessary for Marshall to meet the $58.5 million sale price, is proposing such an agreement. However, when the FCC passed its ban on these arrangements, it added language designed to encourage waivers for joint sales agreements that encourage diversity in media ownership.
Marshall has owned radio stations and newspaper properties and is the son of Pluria Marshall, photographer, co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and activist who challenged broadcast licenses as chairman of the National Black Media Coalition in the 1970s.
In their announcement, Nexstar and Marshall emphasized that their desire for broadcast diversity drove the deal.
Referring to the newly formed Marshall Broadcasting Group, owned by Marshall, the release said, "Perry A. Sook, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc., commented, 'We believe the proposed transaction announced today presents an ideal framework for introducing and incubating a new, minority-controlled entrant to broadcasting, and for bringing additional news, information and specialized programming to MBG's markets at the earliest possible opportunity."
Marshall said in the announcement, "We are delighted to have the support of Nexstar to promote diversity of media ownership assets among minority operators. Over the last 30 years, I've devoted significant time and effort in seeking to purchase television and radio stations. The single key factor in each unsuccessful opportunity has been the inability to access the funding necessary for the purchase.
"On four separate occasions in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we actively pursued, but were unable to obtain financing for station purchases. Over this period, we made contact with at least eight institutional lenders that commonly provide broadcast financing. All of those lenders provided a range of reasons as to why they would not provide financing.
"With Nexstar's support and commitment to guarantee financing for the Shreveport, Odessa-Midland and Quad Cities station purchases, we believe we are establishing a new paradigm that addresses recent proposed FCC regulation changes while expanding the opportunity for minority broadcasters to play a greater role in the U.S. broadcasting industry as owners and operators of television stations."
The announcement continued, "Under the terms of the proposed services agreements between Nexstar and MBG, MBG will be entitled to 70% of the revenue from advertising sold by Nexstar on the stations and will not provide for any bonus payments to Nexstar for achieving revenue goals. It will not be a fixed-fee payment; as total revenues increase, so does MBG's share. This transaction structure provides MBG with incentive to seek the best programming and thus maximize station advertising revenue while providing significant cost savings benefits to MBG related to the use of Nexstar resources that are not associated with control of the stations or their programming.
"Assisted by the cost savings and efficiencies from its sharing agreements with Nexstar, MBG plans to roll out an aggregate 24.5 hours of additional local news and sports programming on the stations it will acquire, with more to be developed. MBG also intends to develop a minority-oriented public affairs program that will air on its stations and be syndicated to other television stations nationwide. In addition, Nexstar will add 13.5 hours of local news and public affairs programming on the stations it owns in Shreveport, Odessa-Midland and Quad Cities. . . ."
The nation's other full-powered black-owned commercial television stations are WLOO-TV in Jackson, Miss., owned by Tougaloo College; WJYS-TV in Hammond, Ind., in the Chicago market and owned by Jovon Broadcasting; and two acquired last year by conservative commentator Armstrong Williams: WEYI-TV, an NBC affiliate in the Flint/Saginaw/Bay City/Midland, Mich., market, and WWMB-TV, a CW affiliate in the Myrtle Beach/Florence, S.C., market, near Williams' hometown of Marion, S.C.
All but WJYS-TV are operated under shared-services agreements.
However, since the FCC's March vote, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation's biggest owner of TV stations, told the FCC that it is surrendering the licenses for three of its properties, denying Williams the chance to buy additional stations under a shared-services agreement. Opponents of such agreements contend that they are shams intended to circumvent the FCC's limits on ownership and that they limit opportunities for journalists if news operations are shared.
As president and chief executive officer of Equal Access Media Inc., Marshall owns several newspapers serving African American and minority communities, including the Houston Informer, Texas Freeman, the Los Angeles Wave Newspaper Group and the Los Angeles Independent Publications Group.
African American ownership dropped from 12 stations in 2009 to 10 in 2011, or less than 1 percent of the nation's 1,348 full-power television stations, the FCC said in November 2012.
The 70th anniversary of D-Day, commemorated Friday at the site of the successful and historic invasion of Nazi-occupied Normandy, France, is a good occasion to remember participation by Americans of all races and both genders, despite sometimes monochromatic media portrayals.
"There were about 69 war correspondents, 49 male, and 20 females who covered the war. But only a handful that were there on D-Day or D-Day+1. None were minorities," Isaac Cubillos, a writer on the military who is a board member of the Military Reporters & Editors Association, messaged Journal-isms on Friday.
"No Hispanic war correspondents during WWII. How sad. But there were seven black correspondents — primarily writing for Afro," Cubillos added, referring to the Afro-American newspapers.
One of those correspondents was the Afro's Ollie Stewart. "This Is Our War," a collection of Afro World War II articles the company self-published in 1945, contains an article written after the 1944 D-Day invasion under the subhead "Normandy Beachhead."
"Leaving from England, Colored soldiers loaded us on a boat, [others] accompanied us over, and still others unloaded us and much equipment on the beach they helped win from the enemy during the first few days of the invasion. . . .
"Everywhere I go are tales of our lads who waded ashore in water up to their necks, with their trucks waterproofed, to take part in the assault that forced Jerry [apparently Allied slang for the German soldier] from his strong points.
"Many are still saying, 'I don't know how we did it, after seeing how Jerry was dug in.' All along the beach were concrete pillboxes, barbed wire and gun emplacements."
As reported in this space in 2004, on the 60th anniversary of D-Day, though the Army then was segregated, black, Hispanic, Asian American and Native American soldiers all played roles in the European war effort.
Then, Bryon Okada of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote, "In October 1944, in the foggy forests of eastern France, U.S. soldiers of Japanese descent fought through heavy casualties to rescue brothers in arms, making American — and Texas — history.
"The rescue of the 141st Infantry Regiment — a Texas National Guard unit starving, out of ammunition, surrounded by Germans — is the most famous of the all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team's deeds. The lost battalion story is a sliver of U.S. history passed from generation to generation by Japanese-Americans and by the soldiers they saved."
Cubillos won an award from a Society of Professional Journalists chapter for a 1994 series on the D-Day invasion by Hispanic soldiers. He told Journal-isms, "Like my dad, and many Latinos I interviewed said, 'We did it to prove we were Americans, too.'
"And as for Native American troops, one of the glider guys of the 101st [Airborne] was Native American. His story was harrowing as a young lieutenant watching G.I.s getting gunned down by SS troops." That would be Lt. Richard Rodriguez. "He flew the Horsley Glider. He was part of the Pala band of Mission Indians."
In actions described in a 2003 book, "The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II," William C. Meadows wrote, "Among the allied troops that came ashore in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, were thirteen Comanches in the 4th Infantry Division, 4th Signal Company. Under German fire they laid communications lines and began sending messages in a form never before heard in Europe — coded Comanche. For the rest of World War II, the Comanche Code Talkers played a vital role in transmitting orders and messages in a code that was never broken by the Germans."
Lyse Doucet, BBC: The women reporters determined to cover World War Two
Fannie Flono, Charlotte (N.C.) Observer: D-Day, WWII and the Queen Mary
Brentin Mock, grist.org: African Americans helped take a beach in Europe before they got one back home
Will J. Wright, the Grio: Black soldiers on D-Day: Invisible but present
"JET magazine will release its final print issue, hitting all newsstands on June 9," Johnson Publishing Co. reminded readers this week.
"The cover of the last issue salutes JET magazine's iconic history by featuring images of previous covers throughout the past 63 years. Inside, readers will find a retrospective of the news covered in the magazine dating from 1951 to the present. . . .
"JET is launching a new weekly digital magazine app to address the needs of its readers to get information quickly and easily. The new app, scheduled to launch June 30, will be available on all tablet devices and mobile platforms. The content will feature breaking news and strong entertainment content, along with politics, pop culture and social issues that impact African-Americans, as well as a new EBONY/JET digital store."
Rob Redding, YouTube.com: Mitzi Miller talks about JET magazine's final weekly print issue (video)
First lady Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton, media magnate Oprah Winfrey, entertainers Valerie Simpson, Bebe Winans and Cicely Tyson paid tribute to Maya Angelou at a service Saturday that was streamed live on websites and broadcast on Oprah's OWN cable network and BET's Centric channel.
While OWN simply transmitted the feed from the service, Centric added on-screen identification of the speakers and muted narration from anchor Marc Lamont Hill.
Angelou's message of self-empowerment, especially for black women, resonated with all of the speakers and with those who responded enthusiastically on social media. The website of Wake Forest University, one of several that streamed the service, had recorded 3,577 comments an hour after the service.
Their authors responded in ways that were personal. "I was moved and touched by all the messages [given] by everyone that attended this great woman's memorial," read one. "Oprah's touched me because I have lost a dear friend that in many ways was like a mother to me. My anchor as she stated. However the words that brought me to under tears and heart break was that of her only child Guy. That dear man lost his mother, his mentor, his rock, his everything. He fought back his grief to so respect to his mother. I was blessed with one child as well and I can only pray that the legacy I leave for her is as profound as the one Dr. Maya Angelou left for him.
"Thank you to her family for sharing this honor with everyone around the globe. She has touched my life and yes I am truly blessed by because of it! I am the butterfly she [mentions] in one of her many sayings. I loved her, I respected her and I hung her every word. I knew whatever she spoke was going to make me stronger, humble me, teach me and most of all make me thankful! God Bless her family and friends as they heal from this loss. Thank You! Thank You!"
The first lady also spoke personally. "She celebrated black women's beauty" as no one else had done, Obama said, recalling that her first doll was "Malibu Barbie." Angelou taught all women — and men — "that we must each find our own voice . . . She paved the way for us to be our good 'ole black woman selves." The audience at the Wait Chapel applauded when Obama said Angelou's "words were so powerful that they carried a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago all the way to the White House."
Winfrey, who helped to arrange the service, called Angelou "my spiritual Queen Mother, and everything that word implies. When Winfrey faced criticism, Angelou told her, "those people can't hold a candle to the light God has shone in your face." Winfrey said of her mentor, "Rarely did I have a conversation with her when I was not taking notes. We are next in line to be a Maya Angelou for someone else. I cannot fill her shoes, but I can walk in her footsteps."
Clinton said, "God loaned her his voice. She had the voice of God and he decided he wanted it back."
Simpson sang "Remember Me," one of the songs she wrote with her late partner, Nick Ashford, whose lyrics seem to encapsulate the sentiments expressed during the two-hour service, which closed with the choir singing "Been Found," [video] a song that Ashford, Simpson and Angelou recorded together.
Angelou died last week at her Winston-Salem home at age 86.
Meanwhile, PBS' "American Masters" series announced on May 29, "At the time of Maya Angelou's death, May 28, 2014, she was participating in the first feature documentary about her life for the American Masters series, Maya Angelou: The People’s Poet. Co-directors/producers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack last interviewed Dr. Angelou this past January and production on the film continues. We look forward to her taking her rightful place in the American Masters series, albeit posthumously. . . ." [Updated June 7]
Todd Burroughs, Drums in the Global Village: Maya Angelou and Dave Chappelle (video) (June 7)
Todd Burroughs, Drums in the Global Village: The Entire Maya Angelou Funeral Service Can Be Watched Here!
Emery P. Dalesio, Associated Press: Poet Maya Angelou remembered at memorial service (June 7)
Editorial, Miami Herald: Miami's special Maya: Poet never forgot the Allapattah school that bears her name (May 29)
Julianne Malveaux, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Remembering Maya Angelou
Carolyn Pesce, USA Today, Thousands turn out for Angelou's memorial service(June 7)
Black sketch comedians Key & Peele won a Peabody Award this year for their self-titled Comedy Central series. "It's like Abbott and Costello Meet Richard Pryor when the duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele fearlessly apply their mischievous minds and satirical savvy to racially aware sketches both broad and incisive," the April 1 announcement said.
The opening sketch that aired this week, a rerun from 2012 delivered before a laughing, majority-white audience, might leave one wondering how racially aware this duo actually is and how "edgy" is defined these days.
"You just came outta the gate with that.
"Peele: It's [beep]ed up!
"Key: See, and I completely disagree.
"I would go to Africa right now.
"Peele: No, see, there are flyover states. For me, Africa, that's a flyover continent.
"Key: So, you're seriously telling me you would not want to see the Nile?
"Key: You would not want to see the plains of the Serengeti.
"Key: You would not want to see, uh, Mt. Kilimanjaro.
"Peele: Kilimanjaro? I'm more worried about Mt. "Kilima-negro."
"Key: No, you didn't.
"No, you did not.
"You did not just say that.
"Peele: I'm saying, look slavery was an awful thing. Awful.
"All I'm saying, silver lining, it got my ass out of Africa.
"Peele: I said it.
"Key: But things are improving there, Jordan. Things are different.
"Peele: It's not — It's not — It's not different enough.
"I'm sorry, no, I refuse to go to a continent that's so bad that people don't even care if there are flies on their face."
The Nigerian military confiscated or destroyed copies of at least four leading newspapers Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported, citing news accounts, as elsewhere, the Israeli and Pakistani governments also took bold action against news outlets.
A Nigerian defense official claimed that authorities seized Punch, Leadership, Vanguard and The Nation because they "were looking for materials with grave security implications," the reports said.
Meanwhile, "Israeli police raided a Palestinian television studio in East Jerusalem during a live broadcast of a popular morning show on Friday, according to Palestine Television," London South East, a British financial website, reported.
"The incident took place at the offices of Palmedia on the Mount of Olives while the programme Good Morning Jerusalem was being broadcast on the state-owned channel, which is based in Ramallah.
"Presenter May Abu Assab announced on air that she had to stop the broadcast because staff were being held by police. . . ."
On May 30, the International Press Institute condemned an Israeli security forces raid on a Palestinian printing plant in an apparent effort to halt publication of several newspapers.
"Security forces stormed the Al-Ayyam daily and stopped its printing operations, according to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms and IPI sources. The Ramallah-based newspaper prints editions of three Gaza papers that only recently resumed sales in the West Bank. . . ."
Reporting on Pakistan from London, Declan Walsh wrote for the New York Times, "The Pakistani government on Friday suspended the broadcasting license of Geo News, a popular television news channel, in a major escalation of Geo's dispute with the country’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency.
"The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority said the off-air suspension would last for 15 days. It also imposed a $104,000 fine.
"The dispute between the channel and the spy agency began with accusations that the agency was behind a gun attack on a senior Geo journalist on April 19. It has broadened into a wider confrontation that is seen as a threat to press freedom in Pakistan and a sign of growing tensions between the country’s civilian and military leaders. . . ."
"Karen Finney's weekend cable news show 'Disrupt' has been canceled by MSNBC," James Crugnale reported Thursday for the Wrap.
" 'Disrupt with Karen Finney’ has ended its year-long run on MSNBC weekends,' an MSNBC spokesperson told TheWrap. 'Our thanks to Karen and her team for their great work. . . ."
Crugnale also wrote, " 'Thanks for the support and kind wishes,' Finney told her Twitter followers Thursday. 'You'll still see me on the msnbc airwaves!'
"Finney's show, which featured political roundtable discussions on hot-button topics of the day, had trouble catching on with viewers. . . ."
According to a Politico profile, "Karen's more than 20 years in national politics includes four presidential campaigns, the Clinton White House, a New York Senate race, and first African American spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee. Karen has also worked to improve public education in the public and private sectors. . . ."
"In response to growing criticism of a May 21 New York Times piece boldly generalizing that 'more Hispanics' are 'declaring themselves white,' our friends at HuffPost Latino Voices asked readers to share pictures telling them #WhatLatinosLookLike," the website LatinoRebels.com told readers, introducing 63 photos. "What follows is a series of submissions from the last 24 hours."
Jessica Dickerson, HuffPost LatinoVoices: Henry Louis Gates Explores Why Many Dominicans Deny Their African Heritage (VIDEO)
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd "was in Colorado reporting on the state's first months of legalized marijuana use when she decided to take what she later learned was too much of a bite from a 'caramel-chocolate flavored (marijuana) candy bar,' " Terrell Jermaine Starr wrote Wednesday for NewsOne. "Dowd wrote in a column Tuesday that the treat didn't affect her at first, but after an hour or so, she felt like she was dying." Starr added, "This is why Dowd's piece disturbs me so much. Twitter reactions to Dowd's use of the weed almost came across as, 'Aww, that's so cute,' but I have to wonder what the reactions would have been had an African-American female reporter gone to Colorado and done the same thing. Sure, she wouldn't have gotten arrested, but I doubt the Twitterverse would have been as jovial. . . ."
"Chuck Haynie, a longtime cameraman and photographer for Chicago's WTTW, died June 1 after a brief illness," Andrew Lapin reported Thursday for Current.org. "He was 62. Haynie shot primarily for the politics beat of the station's nightly newsmagazine, Chicago Tonight. He joined WTTW in 1992 and worked there for 22 years, until his death. He covered the mayoral administrations of Richard Daley and Rahm Emanuel, as well as the trials and convictions of former Illinois Govs. George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Prior to WTTW, Haynie worked for commercial TV stations in Chicago and Flint, Mich. . . ."
Services for Raymond H. Boone Sr., the editor and publisher of the Richmond (Va.) Free Press who died Tuesday at 76, are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 1701 Turner Road, Richmond. "Before the service, a wake to honor Mr. Boone will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, June 9, at St. Philip's Episcopal Church. Location: 2900 Hanes Ave. on North Side," an announcement said. "A Kappa Alpha Psi Memorial Service will follow the wake. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the VCU Massey Development Office, P.O. Box 980214, Richmond, Va. 23298." Howard University, Mark Holmberg of WTVR-TV in Richmond and the Free Press [PDF] have offered additional tributes.
"The stations that carry NPR programming play a bigger role than the public might expect in determining what shows NPR produces," Tracie Powell wrote Thursday for Columbia Journalism Review. "In the case of Tell Me More, a growing number of member stations broadcast the show, but they did so in hinterland timeslots more suited for insomniacs and shift workers than the typical high-brow, early rising public radio audience. For example, WGBH in Boston airs Tell Me More at 11pm, and KPCC in Southern California airs it at 9pm, hours after the show's live broadcast at 11am eastern time. . . ." NPR announced on May 20 that "Tell Me More" would end effective Aug. 1.
"This week, we expand to radio — completing the trifecta of print, television and audio," Bobby Caina Calvan wrote Thursday for The Heartland Project, "an initiative to broaden news coverage of Nebraska's communities of color, as well as gay, lesbian and transgender issues." "In my story airing today on NET News, Nebraska's statewide public radio station, we report on a law in Fremont, Neb., that requires all renters to obtain a special tenancy license before they can move into apartments and rental houses." The law is aimed at Latino immigrants.
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's decision to share sensitive documents with reporters working for Britain's Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post was "was really painful," Dean Baquet, the new executive editor of the New York Times, told NPR's David Folkenflik. "There is nothing harder than, if you are the New York Times, getting beat on a big national security story — and to get beat by your biggest overseas competitor and your biggest national competitor, at the same time. It was just painful."
In Cairo, "On the same day lawyers for three imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists made their closing arguments, one of those journalists, Mohamed Fahmy, shouted from his cage," Jordan Chariton reported Friday for TVNewser. " 'You’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty,' Fahmy yelled yesterday during a courtroom recess. 'In this situation, we are guilty the second you are arrested, treated worse than criminals, rapists, and killers.' He also expressed what he thinks this trial is really about. 'This is about free press. Democracy and free press. They don’t believe in free press.' . . ."
"Diana Perez has left her job as co-anchor of ABC's overnight news program 'World News Now' and 'America This Morning' to spend time with her family, Veronica Villafañe reported Wednesday for her Media Moves site. "She gave birth to her second child earlier this year. Her last day was Friday, May 30. . . ."
"The troubled tenure of WFAA8 anchor/reporter Shon Gables has come to an end," Ed Bark reported Thursday for his Dallas-Fort Worth television blog. "Numerous sources tell unclebarky.com that Gables is being dropped by the Dallas-based station. . . ."
"When CNN's Don Lemon took issue with a Gawker post about one of his columns on the N-word, the site responded by refusing to correct its story — and instead published his emails of complaint," James Crugnale and Tim Molloy wrote Friday for the Wrap. "What started as a discussion about the N-word has turned into one about whether Gawker overreached for the sake of a flashy headline, and did anything wrong by publishing emails the sender intended as private. . . ."
On C-Span's American History TV channel Sunday at 10 a.m. Eastern time: "In this oral history conducted by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Simeon Wright gives an account of the events that led to the brutal 1955 murder of his cousin Emmett Till — a murder that galvanized the civil rights movement of the 1950s and inspired activists of the 1960s."
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.