Archive for July, 2018

Today’s overflowing news bag (per Tom Taylor)

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Craig Karmazin (son of Mel, formerly of Infinity Broadcadting, CBS and SiriusXM) really likes spending money on sports. He is buying WTMJ-AM (and recently acquired translator) and an FM music station in Milwaukee for $16 million. The seller is Scripps who has made it clear all their radio properties are for sale. WTMJ was owned by The Milwaukee Journal and transferred to Scripps when they merged and divided up the broadcast media properties from the Newspapers. It seems likely WTMJ will abandon Conservative talk in favor of the All Spork, all the time format.

Larry Wilson, who created Citadel Radio after the 1996 Telecom Reform Act by acquiring small market radio stations is leaving his role at Alpha Media, his second bite of the apple of radio immortality. After he left Citadel, the company acquired ABC Radio and immediately rushed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, followed by its acquisition by Cumulus on the way to its bankruptcy.

The business plan for Alpha seemed to be if you acquired a big enough portfolio of tiny market stations that the sheer quantity of stations would make for a profitable IPO. Iheart and Cumulus failing and CBS leaving radio suggest that is unlikely to happen.

Les Moonves at CBS may have #metoo problems

Post bankruptcy Cumulus stock is being relisted on NASDAQ on Wednesday. It is not technically an IPO.

You can feel secure now

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

The process of getting a free security certificate finally got easy enough that I turned on full time https secure connections. No more man in the middle attacks or NSA snooping! I feel sure the EFF did not leak the private encryption key to the government.

Let me know via email if you have problems and cannot login here.

If you think getting the cert proves anything about the reputation of the web site, the only piece of data I had to give was my gmail address.

It’s Official – 2020 RNC convention coming to Charlotte

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Too bad the new Amtrak station won’t be ready for 6 years.

The transcontinental railroad was built in 6 years digging by hand and without CAD software.

Changes in Philly

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Iconic B103 in Philadelphia is beeing sold to Entercom (CBS) and Entercom’s Country WXTU-FM is being sold to Beasley. The bottom feeders are devouring the whales

Inside Radio report

Big improvement at FCC Website

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Ajit Pai’s support of a free internet is bearing fruit. This has quietly been happening, but shows what a new leader can do.

FCC Chairman Pai has been working with broadcasters to get rid of pointless obligations or at least make it easier. The most dramatic is ending the requirement for every radio station* to maintain a staffed office during business hours to make available the Public Inspection File to anyone that wanders in. Unless the station is very odd, the only person who would ever do that is an FCC inspector asking in order to issue fines and justify their position.

The FCC dangled the carrot that the FCC would provide cloud storage for stations to upload their program logs, EEO reports and political advertising filings. The result is most of what anyone might want, including a contour map, application history and office address and phone number – all in one place.

To use this feature, the station must have a web site, and the web site must point a link to their page at the FCC as in

The FCC also previously required every station to have printed copies of an FCC publication called “The Public and Broadcasting” available to employees and visitors – that the FCC has now made available online here. This ended this self-serving requirement, now that we all have those Interwb Tubes to study it online. Note that the document has not been updated in 10 years.

More train action than you can shake a stick at

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

The blue elevated line is the Tokyo Monorail built for the 1964 Olympics


Sunday, July 1st, 2018

One of the many non-financial corporations based in Charlotte is Nucor. While at the airport, we saw their private jet being stowed in the hangar. The registration on the tail was how I discovered the owner.

Nucor is a competitor of Steel Dynamics, which I wrote about around 2 years ago. They gather up scrap steel and take it to electric arc furnaces.

Since I followed my hunch, the stock is down 7%.

The future of grocery retailing?

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Combine the ideas of Walmart and Amazon and the economies of technology will overwhelm the competition.

How Many Robots Does It Take to Fill a Grocery Order?

Walmart has the distribution system and pickup concept working and Amazon has the expertise with robots doing order fulfillment. The Achilles Heel at Walmart (for me) has been errors in the orders – usually leaving off items or occasionally the wrong item.

The flaw with the concept in the Bloomberg is the capital investment required. The perishable nature of food limits range over which people can be drawn to a supermarket to just a few miles. The investment to build a robotic food warehouse is substantial, and nobody could afford that in a low margin business.

Today, “order picking” in supermarkets is done be free labor – the customer. Some people actually even enjoy grocery shopping.

Visiting Our Heritage

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

On Saturday [back in January], Countess and I decided to go visit the remnants of Heritage USA down in Fort Mill, SC. It is located just south of the border between North and South Carolina. After Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker’s PTL Club went into bankruptcy in 1987, the site was mostly abandoned for about 20 years.

The Christian convention center and hotel is still active under different ownership, but the majority of the 2,300 acre site was sold off for developing condos and tract homes.

The 21 story Heritage Tower – that was going to provide 165,000 PTL members who paid $1,000 for an annual free 3 night vacation for the rest of their lives – has never been completed, and has been the subject of an ongoing fight with the city of Fort Mill – the city believes the building needs to be torn down as it is unsafe and the Owners cannot prove that the defects can be repaired.

While walking through the building that houses the Grand Ballroom, we noticed a row of pictures of evangelical leaders with a connection to Heritage International, the successor to Heritage USA. Curiously, despite everything that happened, Jim Bakker’s picture is on the wall

And this descriptive plaque:

With an ironic twist, the facility was hosting a training seminar concerning how to deal with sexual misconduct…

The Conservative Mom

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

While helping Countess get her email under control, I noticed a curious item in my own junk folder in gmail – a missive from “the Conservative Mom”.

I could not think of any reason why I would be targeted, and the subjects looked a little dangerous, so I did not click on the first message. Google is fairly hard core about punishing senders of unsolicited emails – so being in the junk folder may have had more to do with complaints than the actual political content.

So here is a typical blog post