News briefing for Tuesday, March 25, 2008 The Cable360 newsroom has stocked up on peanut butter, Jiffy Pop and V8 for the coming economic difficulties. Good morning.

Google wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission outlining ways in which unused portions of the broadcast television spectrum can be applied to mobile Web access services without interfering with broadcasters’ signals and those of wireless microphones, Bloomberg reports. Google believes these vacant airwaves, or white spaces, are “too valuable to be wasted,” while broadcasters don’t want to take the risk of cluttering the TV spectrum with services provided by those whippersnappers at Google and Microsoft. [Bloomberg]

The seriously ailing economy could accelerate mergers and acquisitions this year, 24/7 Wall St reports. Among large cable operators, Charter is the most likely to be bought, despite its outsized debt. The FCC would be likely to block a purchase of Charter by Comcast, leaving Time Warner Cable as the next-most suitable potential bidder. [24/7]

Viacom and News Corp.’s stocks will likely fare better than those of other big media and entertaiment companies during a recession, according to MediaBuyerPlanner. [MediaBuyerPlanner]

Time Warner Cable is adding 21 high-definition channels to its lineups in Queens and Brooklyn, N.Y., bringing the total to about 45 hi-def channels. [TVPredictions]

Dish Network will not be offering Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings package of out-of-market games this season, TVPredictions reports. [TVPredictions]

Cox Arizona will participate in the “Earth Hour” initiative scheduled for March 29 at 8 p.m. Cox will turn off all nonessential lighting at 17 buildings around the state, including its Deer Valley headquarters in Phoenix and the main building in Tucson.

Briefly Noted
Tomorrow night you’ll have some unexpected free time to work on your macramé. Netflix suffered a “technology breakdown” yesterday that caused a delay in DVD distribution. Discs that were to be mailed last night will be mailed today. [Wall Street Journal]

So far, truTV’s programming is "fairly indistinguishable" from its competitors’ programming, according to Media Life magazine. [Media Life]

Late Stories
Carlsen Resources has opened a NY City office, the executive search firm said late today. The company is based in Grand Junction, Colorado, and has branches in Atlanta, New Jersey, Denver and suburbran Philadelphia.

Adam Wiener was named Chief Operating Officer at driverTV, the producer and distributor of automobile-related video content for consumers. Wiener comes over from NBC U’s ivillage. NBC Universal recently acquired a 35% stake in driverTV.

WWE will debut WWE Kids, a magazine for children, on April 15. The bi-monthly title will include content ranging from nutrition and fitness to geography and esteem building, WWE said. More than 2.6 mln kids (6-14) tune in weekly to WWE’s shows on USA, Sci Fi and The CW. (We’re hoping many of them realize the wrestling is fake.) 

ESPNU founding VP/GM Burke Magnus was upped to  SVP, College Sports Programming. It was also announced that EVP, College Sports Programming Chuck Gerber will be retiring, effective April 11. Magnus will take on many of Gerber’s responsibilities, which included negotiating long-term pacts with the Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East. In his new role, Magnus will oversee strategic direction of college football, college basketball and NCAA championships on ESPN platforms, including ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN260.com, ESPN Classic and others. Got a tip? Contact sarenstein@accessintel.com and sgoldstein@accessintel.com.

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