Category Archives: Media

I Cannot Wait for “The Amazing Race”

Check out this teaser for the upcoming season of The Amazing Race on CBS.

We’ve actually got the start date (September 26th) marked on a calendar


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Apple to Remove Adult Material from iTunes

The folks at Tech Crunch report that Apple is in the process (or maybe just completed the process) of removing sexual content from The App Store.

Jon Atherton who developed one of those sexually charged apps says he got an e-mail from Apple saying his app was gone from the store due to a policy change:  No adult material in the store. 

The email says although his product was originally approved, Apple had received numerous complaints from its customers about that type of content.

“We have decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store, which includes your application.” The email is signed by the iPhone App Review.

This is a bold move by Apple. It could make millions more by allowing these applications to be sold in the App Store. And it could figure out a way (quite simply too) to sell these apps without ever being seen by the people who don’t want to see them.

Apple is also losing money by not selling these apps. The comments on Tech Crunch’s coverage of this story show several iPhone users who say they’ll switch to an Android phone on another network because of Apple’s decision.

I appreciate Apple making this kind of statement about what kind of company it is. I like knowing that my kids won’t see smut being peddled in the app store. I think it’s good too for the fact that putting sexually charged adult material in a section of the App Store places another temptation in eyes-reach of the millions of men and women who are addicted to pornography.

Good for you Apple. I’m an even more loyal customer.

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So Long E

Great news for AT&T users. We should start seeing less of the Edge network when we drive from Memphis to Bristol. The company says it’ll add 20 new cell sites (we used to call them towers) and upgrade 525 existing sites to 3G.

It’s part of a nationwide $18 billion build-out plan in 2010. A company spokesperson wouldn’t say much more. But here’s the release


Plans Call for Addition of More Than 20 New Cell Sites and the Expansion of Backhaul to Increase Wireless Network Capacity

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 18, 2010 AT&T* today unveiled its Tennessee wireless network investment plans for 2010, which include the addition of more than 20 new cell sites and the upgrade of approximately 525 additional cell sites to 3G throughout the state.

The planned wireless network enhancement strategy is part of AT&T’s 2010 wireline and wireless capital investment, which is expected to be in the $18 billion to $19 billion range companywide, an increase of between 5 and 10 percent over 2009. This planned amount also includes an increase of about $2 billion in capital expenditures for wireless and backhaul related to AT&T’s wireless network.  This planned level of investment is framed by the expectation that regulatory and legislative decisions relating to the telecom sector will continue to be sensitive to investment.

“We continue to work at creating a favorable state-wide environment that encourages business investment,” said Kent Williams, Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. “Expanding the telecommunications network in Tennessee provides consumers with more choices and businesses with more tools to compete.”

Today’s announcement builds on AT&T’s 2009 wireless investment, during which it added nearly 75 new cell sites in Tennessee and upgraded more than 75 existing sites to 3G. From 2007 through 2009, AT&T’s total capital investment in its Tennessee wireless and wireline networks was more than $1 billion.

“These investments in smart networks are enabling the innovation of today and tomorrow that will enhance economic growth and stimulate jobs,” said Gregg Morton, president, AT&T Tennessee. “We commend the work of our state leaders who are creating a positive economic environment that provides opportunities for companies to continue to invest aggressively in Tennessee.”

Internet usage growth has brought tremendous benefits for consumers, but requires tremendous investments in infrastructure.  This significant investment in infrastructure and jobs is possible due to policy that enables companies to compete and offer the innovative services that consumers are increasingly demanding. AT&T has been working with policy makers to support a national broadband plan that enables broadband adoption and ensures broadband access to every American by 2014.

“In recruiting companies to Tennessee, we’ve long seen that strengthening our broadband networks is a critical part of our state’s infrastructure,” said Matt Kisber, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “Continued investment in expanding and enhancing Tennessee’s mobile broadband network shows a commitment to the needs of consumers and businesses who increasingly rely on wireless technology and it helps keep Tennessee competitive.”

Wireless data traffic on the AT&T network has grown more than 5,000 percent over the past three years, largely attributed to today’s advanced smartphones that are generating dramatically increasing volumes of network traffic.  In fact, roughly 40 percent of AT&T’s postpaid customer base uses a smartphone today, representing twice the number of smartphone customers than any other U.S. provider.

“We’re seeing advanced smartphones driving up to 10 times the amount of usage of other devices on average,” said Jim Thorpe, AT&T’s Vice President and General Manager for Tennessee and Kentucky.  “Despite these unprecedented increases in wireless data traffic, AT&T’s network investments and upgrades have enabled us to continue to deliver the nation’s fastest 3G network.”

AT&T recently completed a software upgrade at 3G cell sites nationwide that prepares the nation’s fastest 3G network for even faster speeds. The deployment of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology is the first of multiple initiatives in AT&T’s network enhancement strategy designed to provide customers with an enhanced mobile broadband experience, both today and well into the future.

Faster 3G speeds are scheduled to become available this year and in 2011 as AT&T combines the new technology with its second initiative to dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.

The backhaul upgrades are also a key step in the evolution toward next-generation LTE mobile broadband technology.  AT&T is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future LTE deployments.  AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for broader availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.

AT&T’s 3G mobile broadband network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies that includes GSM and UMTS, the most open and widely used wireless network platforms in the world. AT&T offers 3G data roaming in more than 115 countries, as well as voice calling in more than 220 countries. The technology also provides customers the ability to talk and surf the Internet at the same time.

AT&T is also an industry leader in Wi-Fi with the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network, which complements its wired broadband and wireless 3G networks, offering Wi-Fi connectivity in more than 20,000 U.S. hotspots — including retail stores and restaurants from coast-to-coast. A full list of AT&T Wi-Fi locations is available at

AT&T operates 34 AT&T-owned retail locations in Tennessee. AT&T’s products and services are also available at a number of other authorized dealers and national retail locations.

For more information about AT&T’s wireless coverage in Tennessee, or anywhere in the United States, consumers can go to http://www.wire

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Leno Isn’t the Cool Kid Anymore

Anybody see The Jay Leno Show the other night? Somebody at NBC must really be out to get him.

In either a moment of in-house revenge or simple desperation, producers brought on Jimmy Kimmel for Jay’s “10 for 10” celebrity question segment. And it was brutal.

TMZ  has the video here:

Kimmel’s first  punch(line) was a shot at Jay lying to Conan about giving the Tonight Show timeslot to him, and then taking it back. “Yeah, yeah”, Jay says. “That’s funny.” But Kimmel didn’t let up.

It reminded me of a locker room of athletes giving a teammate a hardtime for something clearly out of line. But then the star quarterback is ticked and almost in tears while everybody is, teammates and fans, are pointing and laughing.

Jay Leno isn’t a cool kid anymore.

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News Director Stands Up to Lane Kiffin and UT

Last week when Lane Kiffin walked out on UT, the Knoxville media were hungry for an explanation. The trouble was the media had to play by Kiffin’s groundrules.

The Knoxville media assembled in a University of Tennessee conference room. Bud Ford, UT’s associate athletic director is the man in the sweater vest. The man arguing is Bill Shory, news director for WBIR-TV, the NBC affiliate in Knoxville.

Kiffin told the staff he’d like to say something to the fans before hopping a plane for L.A. BUT, he had groundrules.

The conference could not be carried live. There would be no questions. And he would speak for only a minute. Plus, he didn’t want the first part of his comments to be videotaped. TV stations would have to cut their cameras. Radio stations would record it, but no tv.

Shory insists the cameras remain on and rolling through the whole thing. “He’s a public employee and in a public building” he said. But Ford says no and even begins some sort of threat to any station that would air the thing live.

A reporter from another station gets his news director on the phone while the angry mob turns on Shory. “If we don’t agree to this, we don’t get anything!” somebody says. Another tells Shory “We can’t make him be man enough to tell us why he’s leaving.”

“You’ll get zero!” Ford says. 12 angry men and women from the media are all yelling at Shory to give in.
“Do what you want to do” says Ford. “You’ll cut off your nose to spite your face tv”.

Shory did not budge. And Ford promises only 30 seconds from Kiffin.

Did Lane Kiffin really have something more to say? Why would he only say it if tv cameras weren’t rolling? Was he going to pull back a mask and reveal that he’s some sort of alien?

And why in the world did Bud Ford go to bat for him like that? Why did the athletic department stand up for a guy who threw the program under the bus? Surely Kiffin’s agent didn’t think fast enough to add a “no tv cameras for the first 30 seconds of the news conference” clause in his buyout contract. No way Kiffin tied the $800,000 he owes  the university to a stipulation of that kind.

Kudos to Bill Shory for standing his ground. Especially when there’s a looming news deadline, the threat of not getting anything on tape, and a room filled with reporters and photographers shouting he should go along with Kiffin’s (and UT’s) demand.

But if Kiffin wanted to say something to somebody, Shory made sure he was going to have to say it to everybody. Radio got the same 30-seconds as tv. If Lane Kiffin really did have something else to say, he never said it. Is that our loss, or his?

Way to go Bill. You stood for something right.

Plus,  you’re now the subject of a viral YouTube video.

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On A Slow News Day

Boy, this time of year is tough for a newsroom. No news may be good news but not for producers and reporters. There’s barely enough news out there to fill one newscast, let alone 2 1/2 hours.

One thing I do every morning when I first sit down at the computer is to look at the newspapers from around Tennessee and Alabama. Usually there are a few stories among those newspapers that we can localize for a story in Nashville. But not the week between Christmas and New Years Day. Apparently either everyone behaves themselves or there aren’t enough reporters these days to find out what’s going on.

Case in point: the headline in both the Gallatin and Hendersonville local editions of The Tennessean is a story about 156 jobs being lost in Portland due to a plant closing. We talked about that story in the morning meeting yesterday. I made calls on it, and was almost ready to drive to northern Sumner County when I looked back through our archives to see some of the other plants that have closed there in the last 2 years.

That’s when I saw this same  plant closing story from one of our newscasts in July.

If you are going to do something bad out there, you’d better not do it between Christmas and New Years Day. Because nothing else is happening, you’ll be the lead story for days.

I remember back in 1994 I was in Huntsville at WHNT-TV19. We’d had a press release come across the assignment desk the week or two before Christmas about a bullet that could penetrate the armored vests worn by police officers. “The Black Rhino” was developed by a company there and, if I’m remembering correctly, they had a news conference to make the announcement.

I do remember accurately that at the time, we didn’t cover it. There wasn’t any news coverage of the initial “Black Rhino” announcement from any of the local tv stations, WAAY, WAFF or WHNT. That press release passed through our file and meetings without much discussion, probably because we had so many other ‘real news’ stories to tackle.

During the week of December 25-31st though, the story gained legs. The Huntsville Times printed something and boom, “Black Rhino” got picked up by The Associated Press, Newsweek, and then the major network newsrooms. It was the lead story at least one night that week on CBS, ABC and NBC (again, as memory serves). And we looked around the newsroom at each other and asked, “how’d we miss this?”.

“The Black Rhino” story actually wasn’t that big of a deal at all. The developer was beating his chest rather than telling the whole truth. He didn’t have ATF approval, and hadn’t given anyone a sample or proven this magic bullet did what he claimed.

According to the New York Times, Dr. Martin Fackler, a longtime Army surgeon criticized the media for giving attention to the bullet in the first place. “I find it almost amusing the news media would be so gullible to print what they did”, he said.

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Facebook Hackers Adds Comments to Posts

We’ve all gotten those Facebook messages we think are from friends. “Is this you?” or “You weere caught on our secret cmera!”
By now most of us know these are from hackers, gaining access to our Facebook accounts and then our passwords and finally our computer.

Many Facebook users have figured this out and delete those messages rather than click on them.

But now, those hackers are trying to add some credibility to their creepy messages.

I got one the other day from a high school friend that read “You weere caughht on our secreet cameraa!” and included a shortened link to a site.

But below that message were comments from some of my other friends. Drew wrote “Have a HAPPY Thannksgiving see you soon” and a day later Donald posted the comment “Thanks , and may you have a great Thnksgiving day!”

I’ll admit the comments below the post made me look twice and even think briefly that it might really be a link that other friends found useful.

But it isn’t. Hackers are able to get your Facebook information because just one of your friends clicked on a similar link. So now, they’ve figured that adding fictional comments to their fictional posts might encourage you to click on the link. Don’t fall for it. Generic messages of “is this you on a hiiden camera” are from hackers. Always from hackers.

No matter who you think may have commented on it.

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