An anonymous "family foundation" has paid for nearly 150 threatening voter fraud ads to go up around the Midwest, often in predominately black and Latino neighborhoods (the one above looms across the street from a housing project in Cleveland). The ads, 85 of which have appeared in Milwaukee and 60 of which are now around Cleveland and Columbus, read, "Voter fraud is a felony! Up to 3 1/2 years & $10,000 fine."
Remember how the newspaper industry was devastated by the fundamental shift in media consumption habits driven by the internet, and the music industry was devastated by the fundamental shift in media consumption habits driven by the internet? Yes, well. The radio industry is also being devastated by the fundamental shift in media consumption habits driven by the internet. FYI.
Premiere Radio Networks, the radio syndicator that brings you Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, knows better than anyone that its audience consists almost exclusively of mouth-breathing illiterates. That can make talk radio, which theoretically relies on the ability of listeners to dial a telephone and speak coherently, something of a challenge. No worries though, because now there's Premiere On Call, a service whereby, in exchange for money, a paid voice actor will call your radio show and pretend not to be stupid.
• The broadcast of yesterday's inauguration earned the highest ratings since Reagan took the oath in 1981. Early numbers from Nielsen indicate 29% of US households tuned in. That figure doesn't factor in the people who viewed it online, and the big event in DC yesterday set web traffic records, too. [THR, NYT]
• The Wall Street Journal received a dozen envelopes filled with a mysterious white powder today. [WSJ]
• Maria Bartiromo has signed a new contract with CNBC. [NYP]
• Newsday editor John Mancini has returned to work following a dispute with the paper's owner, Cablevision's Jim Dolan. [Newsday, E&P]
• Clear Channel is laying off 9% of its work force. [AdAge]
• People pushed back its Tuesday afternoon deadline to Wednesday so it could publish a special double issue with Obama on the cover. [WWD]
• North Korea's news agency didn't bother to report the inauguration until late yesterday afternoon. The article was three sentences long. [FB]
• How do you keep your magazine afloat? Put ads on the cover! [NYT]
• NBC is renewing 30 Rock, The Office, and The Biggest Loser. [AP]
• Music sales fell by about 7 percent last year. [NYT]
• The head of Hearst Magazines International is retiring. [NYP]
• Clear Channel is cutting $400 million in costs. [NYP]
• The Minneapolis Star Tribune has filed for bankruptcy. [AP]
• Donny Deutsch's ad agency is laying off staffers. [AgencySpy]
Oakland-based custom online radio site Pandora, reeling from an increase in Web-radio royalty rates, could get purchased by national radio conglomerate Clear Channel. Expect your local alt-weekly to figure out a way to cry about the homogenization of programming on a site that creates custom playlists for users. [PaidContent]
The logo of a street artist in LA named Skullphone started popping up on digital billboards around the city owned by Clear Channel. Awesome! said the collective street art world. The kid has hacked into the big media monster Clear Channel's network! It's digital graffiti! It's culture jamming! It's the new media revolution! But then it came out that Skullphone had just bought time on the billboards, like every other schmoe. Is that even cool? I'm sure Michel Foucault would have something deep to say about this, but I'm not sure what it would be. Money ad street art! [Wired]
The FBI has made a deal with Clear Channel to put "most wanted" bulletins and "hot pursuit" alerts on digital billboards around the country. Predictable: The SiliconView digital billboard on the 101 was just the beginning. The future of outdoor advertising is digital billboards which can display different ads depending on time of day or current traffic conditions, for example. So it makes sense that public security would be just the latest use for these annoying monstrosities. A trial of the technology in Philadelphia led to the capture of three criminals, so the project is being expanded to 150 billboards in 20 cities across the U.S. But the real question is when Google will start brokering the ad space. (Photo by AP/Jim Mone)
The Federal Communications Commission has voted to allow broadcasters in the 20 largest media markets to also own their very own newspaper. The decision overturns a 1975 ban that noted "it is unrealistic to expect true diversity from a commonly owned station-newspaper combination." Ah, so goes the final obstacle barring the way of the inevitable alliance of Clear Channel and News Corp. Dark and difficult times lie ahead; a new age has begun. But there are worlds beyond our own. Power can be held in the smallest of things. Or something. [CBS]
The Smoking Gun reports that Catherine Zeta Jones is threatening Clear Channel Worldwide with litigation after several of their websites posted the infamous pictures of her pregnant, topless, and smoking, alleging that some of the sites still have the pics up. It should probably be noted that despite Mrs. Jones' reminder that she and her "cabana boy" spouse Michael Douglas won their lawsuit against Hello! it wasn't on the basis of a privacy violation. They had an exclusive contract with another publication for publication of their wedding photos, and Hello! ruined the exclusivity aspect. UPDATE: from a reader: "There is a magazine (Spanish language called Vanidades) that has a whole spread on the infamous pregnant-smoking picture...April edition.
Catherine Zeta Jones [TSG]