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To the FCC:

It is my understanding that Duluth, Minnesota's television station KDLH is due to have its broadcast license renewed soon. It is also my understanding that television stations must work in the public interest as they utilize public airwaves. One of the main ways TV stations work in the public interest is by providing local news broadcasts.

In the past year, KDLH's news service was taken over by another local station, KBJR. KDLH's news service was cut to a miniscule amount (5 minutes at 6:00 and 10:00pm, for example) and its news is now provided directly by KBJR staff.

Not only does KDLH provide an absolute minimum of local news, it offers the same news available on another station. I believe this lack of competition in news gathering is harmful to the public, as it limits the amount of available viewpoints.

I recommend that KDLH not have its broadcast license renewed until they offer a quantity of independent local news comparable to other stations, and further recommend KBJR's license be reviewed and possibly revoked for promoting anti-competitive practices.



Dear Berv,

Please Rock the Fuck On.

Thank you.

Hey Berv, this does indeed rock; thanks for emailing it to me! I'm going to send off my own version, but had a couple questions, which perhaps PDDers could answer.
1.) Is it even KDLH? Thought they were refered to as "CBS 4", and now both 4&6's broadcasts are performed by "The Newscenter".
2.) Didn't the FCC decide last year that KBJRs' parent company's saturation of the media was legal? I'm wondering how the FCC made that decision.

"Public airwaves!"

Jumping Jesus, yous guys are off the hook!

If that was a petition, I'd sign it.

Purple: I assume they still have their call letters, even though they have a different promotional name. Googling
"KDLH" brings up kdlh.com, but that bounces you to northlandnewscenter.com (*gag*).

If the FCC made it legal, it still doesn't make it right. The northlandnewscenter has an awesome blog - its packed full of content (sarcasm):

*crickets chirping*

When this all went down last year, I thought they'd try to at least give the illusion that there were 2 stations, but they really have lumped it all together. I think they also run the WB and UPN station now.

berv, you are completely correct, ownership of the airwaves and the public trust are inextricable, or should be. We should be pissed off about this. That being said,... DO WE REALLY WANT ANOTHER PROVIDER OF LOCAL NEWS THAT RESEMBLES A D minus PROJECT FROM SOME HIGH SCHOOL A.V. LAB?! Since moving her in '89 I have been constanly amazed at the ridiculous content, execution, writing, and personalities exhibited in this news market. Lets face it, our local anchors couldn't get a gig doing the volunteer hog report at McMurdo Station Antarctica, they suck.

I wish to live in a plural society as much as the next guy, but when it results in three similar stories detailing the resurgence of Argyle socks in area high schools, the apathy just takes over.

This is the column that pushed me off my apathy rocker:


Having worked at the Ripsaw and seen the press releases that came in, I can tell you that most of the local news comes directly off the fax machine. It's like an elementary school research project: take the words out of the encyclopedia (or PR fax, as the case may be) and move them around to form "your own words". If you see the day's faxes, you can even recognise phrases straight off the sheet. As someone who at least learned to paraphrase the encyclopedia entries, I have to say I find that disgusting.

Thanks for that, Berv, that's inspired me to send off my own note to the FCC.

By the way, if you think the Duluth stations are bad, you should check out the tripe coming out of the one in Ashland. Oy, vey. I'm all for rootin' for the hometown crowd, but seriously, there's just not enough news coming out of northcentral WI to merit two nightly broadcasts five nights a week. Plus, their promos clearly show the "meteorologist" looking at the Weather Channel website. I can do that for myself, thankyouverymuch.

(And on top of all that, they're in Hank Martinsen's pocket, so kiss any objectivity goodbye...)

Gentle People! Goodness, the vitriol! Business is business and I'm happy to agree with much of what you say. As one of the "survivors" here in the Canal Park studios, I still have some scar tissue. But here's a couple of thoughts: Duluth/Superior used to have 120,000+ residents. Now we're around 86,000 -- that's like going from, say, three TV stations, to 2 -- as in "financial ability to stay alive." Guys, wake up: nobody buys a TV station merely to serve the public interest -- that's just one of the rules. They buy the stations to MAKE MONEY. Welcome to America. If there are not enough people to sell to advertisers at an efficient "cost per thousand," then there ain't enough income to pay news staffs -- far and a away the most expensive part of any TV station. Secondly, as correct as you may be about whether news is repeated, I want to assure you of a couple things: I rarely repeat anything in my shows; I use CBS/WCCO and CNN as well as my own sources to generate stories that are different from KBJR's.
Thirdly: seldom do people with a life sit through two or three newscasts. With mine in the middle of KBJR's perhaps a viewer can get :45 minutes worth of news.
Fourthly (is that a word?): I believe the arguments made to the FCC include the idea that, now that there are 80 cable channels and a couple hundred satellite channels, it's difficult to argue that the public is limited to merely a few voices in their broadcast media.
Whaddaya think, fair enough? You guys really need something else to do...but I'd be happy to meet with you over a beer some time and talk about it. PK

So, now that I'm warmed up, here's a suggestion: log the stories on CBS 3 at 5:30, then log the stories on NBC6 at 6. Pick any day you want. If it's Monday through Friday, I'm willing to say that you will find 3 or 4 or 5 stories that I think deserve to be on my station that are different from what the NBC affiliate runs. There is a difference.
THEN, if you're really ambitious, take another day and actually log what WDIO presents as news...and compare that to either one or both of us. Damn, boy, then you'll see what the difference is between a forward-thinking TV news group and a station that is still run by people who helped open a TV station in the 1950s and 1960s.

I'm renewing my PACT-TV membership.

er, actually a quick check regarding to population. Duluth is 85,556, Superior 26,947, Hermantown 11,463, and Coquet 8,376 (132,242 total). This does not include all the smaller areas as well.
I appreciate that there use to be more people in the area, the data seems to say that the big plunge came between 1980 and 1990. But it has been pretty stable with even some modest population gains over the past 15 years. So... instead of cutting options during the 80s they are cutting currently when we are in an uptick? Reminds me of the last governor, running surpluses? Let's cut services.
I don't think the issue is that a given person is going to watch 3 separate news casts, but that if we get all the news by the same people there is going to be inherent biases that come through, even if you do different stories. ( I apologize in advance I am not trying to insinuate that Pat Kelly is unprofessional in any manner and am speaking in-general, so when I use terms such as you’ I do NOT mean ‘you specific’ but ‘you – in a broad sense’) The airwaves are at least nominally a public property that is licensed for use with the stipulation that public interest must be served. I fail to see how allowing for the reduction of the options for different news gathering during a population increase does that. Is there less advertising money currently then there was 15 years ago? If so, why? The population issue isn't a factor in that time span. Perhaps the market is oversaturated with media content, there may be a good reason for the downturn of advertising dollars, but if you have a station, if you use the airwaves that is not an excuse to abrogate your responsibility, if a station can not meet its obligations it should forfeit its license ... ok gonna stop now before someone else accuses me of being arrogant... perhaps too late.
Oh, and thank you Mr. Kelly for posting. I, at least, appreciate hearing the view of someone within this system even if our views don’t match up completely.

I believe the arguments made to the FCC include the idea that, now that there are 80 cable channels and a couple hundred satellite channels, it's difficult to argue that the public is limited to merely a few voices in their broadcast media.

Cable and satellite are services paid for by the consumer; they are not "broadcast" media and should not factor into the equation. We are talking about whether or not a company that uses the public airwaves is serving the public good, not about whether or not the public is getting enough news in general.

The public should not have to go out and purchase alternatives when they already own the airwaves and are supposed to be served by those that rent them.

That said, I agree with Edgewood -- it's great to have an intelligent conversation with those who are involved. Thanks for posting.

Pat Kelly? Really?

If you're Pat Kelly, What letter does your REAL last name start with? My sister used to go to your house and hang out with your daughter. I'll verify to the rest of PDD it's really you, if you can answer me that....

-Kat Pelly

As far as population stats, I think it's important to factor in a big chunk of NW WI in those, too--don't the signals reach as far as Ironwood, MI? Granted, these areas aren't vastly populated, but most of the houses in this area still have TV antennas rather than satellite services...

Mr. Kelly, its not just that local news media is being consolidated on the TV, its the consolidation on the radio, its the consolidation in the news papers, its the government spying on us and trying to get our "Google" info, its the government loosening anti-pollution laws for its corporate buddies, its the lack of initiative on new energy alternatives, its the draining of our resources for an ill-concieved war, its all of these things and more. I for one am drawing the line here.

PK, I should probably tone down and qualify my "vitriol" a bit; the people involved are less deserving of criticism than the system that created the status quo. I am overcome daily by the frustration involved in watching the media fall down the same hole as our "representative" gov't has. Both now almost wholly represent the conglomerates who own them. bob

all i know is i re-newed my subscriptions to my main news sources: the weekly world news & on our backs. i'm covered.

Interesting debate...Even though I no longer live in the Northland region (but intend to move back) I fail to see how disallowing KBJR/KDLH to report on events will help the public if the public's choices of local network news is limited anyhow...Is it best just to have WDIO monopolize Duluth's local news? How is this better?

Take this into consideration as well...Even with the limitations that combining KDLH and KBJR presents in the public's decision for selecting do not present such a great stumbling block that the average person cannot find out what is going on in Duluth...In fact, I tend to find out much more quickly than my family in Duluth does about Duluth happenings because I have Google alerts sent to me about any topic I want to be informed on every day, Duluth being one of them...

Pat Kelly here again...my legal name is Randolph "Pat" (middle name) Ocken. I got stuck with the name "Kelly" in 1977 in St. Cloud, when the Program Director there told me to change my name, with :05 before I went on the air.
Now that I'm calmer than when I first saw this site (lol) -- there are a whole bunch of factors beyond population and I will be the first to admit, now, that profit motive is one of them. Not *my* profit, but somebody's. Business is business, and somebody in the corporate offices needs to hit a mark -- and sometimes that means cutting expenses. On one side of the microscope you've got this huge expense of personnel -- 50 were let go at KDLH when we were bought out. On the other end, you've got a pie that's used to be divided by 3 (commercial TV stations) now divided by 4 (FOX) plus cable, satellite, computer gaming, I-pods, et al. Those slices are getting somewhat thin, even in this region with ONLY about 50% cable penetration. We started to see that erosion in the early 1980s. Here is what I can tell you specifically about my newscasts: I try to find the news stories that won't waste your time, that will inform you or advise you about events, life, money, health, politics -- and try not to stick my own political nose into the copy writing.
For the guy who sarcastically noticed how we ignore our own web site blog -- you are right. Maybe if I figure out how to actually get into it, I'll start blogging.

two items:

Thanks to PDD for keeping this discourse on an informed and intelligent level..you guys f$%^&ing rock!

Secondly we ALL know this is GARTMAN'S FAULT part of some folk music post pop induced zionist conspiracy...even PK i'm sure can agree.

Second secondly, all hail the interweb, the great leveler

OK. News purveyors--especially local news purveyors--are being strangled. I understand why this is happening and how this is happening, but having to listen to Michelle Lee and Mark Mallory sit and tell me about the Iraq war; to read the DNT and see articles printed verbatim that I read online the day before, gives me the impression that a few people are probably missing the f$%^&ing point.

I want a lot more local news.

Small television stations/newspapers cannot compete with international news providers. I comprehend this, and it's fine. I don't want a "Northland version" of the day's world events, I don't want to see VNRs from some twit the newscasters pretend to know about some random filler piece of news. It's a waste of space and time. Give me more city and county politics. Give me more state and regional news. Give me more fluff pieces on the people that do stuff where I do stuff. Give me more information on the place where I live that CNN and Google and the BBC and ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX can't. Redefine "Duluth news" to mean news about Duluth and the surrounding communities. I realize it will obviously never become 100% local news, but I'd like so see a more sincere effort.

In short, be the best crack dealer in town: Give me more of what I can't get anywhere else.

I think part of the frustration here is that the government agencies that are supposed to be taking care of the public airwaves, land, water, air and so on are moving toward a policy that seems to say - if it makes business efficient, then it's all good.
So while PK looks for good, meaningful, interesting stories, the day will come when he isn't allowed to chase a story, because it conflicts with the interests of the parent corporation.
Competition, conflict, and disagreement don't make for efficient business, but they help keep it honest.

And like the others, I also appreciate Pat Kelly's coments. It would be easy to take this criticism of the industry personally. It's not meant to be.

i get all the news i need in the weather report...

Baci nailed it... Blame it all on the Gartman-Moody Conspiracy

Indeed. I believe you are Pat Kelly, Pat Kelly. More power to you.

Also, my sister said you are a very nice man.

On a semi-related note, I was pleased to see that Elizabeth Ries is the Weekend News Anchor for WBAY out of the Fox Valley in Wisconsin. After having been a guest on her morning show (and nearly burning down the studio), I've been a fan of her work. Good luck with the cheeseheads, Elizabeth. (oops, I hope that wasn't arrogant name-dropping).

I have purchased shares in a company "Interactive Capital Group" started out as (Chase McNulty Group)regarding Interactive TV. there were some improprieties that started an investigation by the FCC. the tax correspondence bears Partnership ID# 59-3237770
I cannot contact anyone regarding my investment at the present time, Therefore I would like to have an update as to the outcome of the investment since I have no update at this time.

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