Media Watch


KOLD Channel 13 reporter Kevin Adger was assigned a story about a bike path at Laguna Elementary School. Simple enough: Go to Laguna; talk to some people; show footage of the new addition.

Oops. That last part didn't go quite right.

The video was fine. Really professionally done. It showed the bike path from a camera mounted on the handlebars. Problem is, it wasn't Adger's footage.

"It was my handlebars and my video they were using in the piece," said Michael McKisson, publisher and editor of the bicycling website (McKisson also contributes to

McKisson noticed the video as he was rounding up links to other bike-related news for his website. "There was no YouTube or Tucsonvelo credit. I screen-captured it for my records, and thought about what my time's worth and shot an e-mail to KOLD saying, 'You used my video. You didn't ask. You didn't give me any credit. Here's an invoice.'"

The invoice was for $300. KOLD paid it.

McKisson said the story cut to his video right after the reporter said, "When I was out here earlier today riding around ..."

"The implication is the reporter (while sitting on a bicycle) took the footage," McKisson said. "That's the implication people would take away.'"

McKisson doesn't believe there was any maliciousness on KOLD's part in using his footage, but he said there is still the issue of fair use of his property.

"It's such a murky area right now. There's not a lot of case law on it," said McKisson, who also teaches at the UA School of Journalism. "Had it been imbedded, it would have been played on my YouTube channel. Had they given me the proper credit ... I think that's the big distinction. Even if they put, I would have been like, 'I wish they would have asked me, but at least I'm getting some credit there.' It wouldn't have been a big deal, but to just post it and have it seem like it was your video, and it wasn't, that's where I think it crossed the line."

KOLD agrees. Debbie Bush, the station's general manager, said KOLD has specific policies for using video not shot by station personnel, and that one requirement is to always credit the source. She also said staffers have been reminded of those policies.


Music-access service Pandora is struggling in the stock market, but it continues to set records for listenership.

The company recently reported that listener hours had jumped from 1.08 billion in June to 1.12 billion in July, and that the figures represented a surge of almost 400 million listener hours from same months a year ago.

That's not good news for terrestrial radio. Indeed, Goldman Sachs estimates Pandora now has more than 6 percent of the country's radio-listening market, up from 3.5 percent just last year.

It's not hard to figure out what's going on here. You can listen to terrestrial radio, where they play a set rotation of songs on the station's terms, or you can access your own device and play music on your terms. You can sit through six-minute commercial breaks on terrestrial radio, or listen to your music with brief, if any, commercial interruptions. And there's a demographic separation in play as well: Among the people you know younger than the age of 40, how many listen to terrestrial music radio at all? How many even consider the FM band to be an entertainment option?

Terrestrial radio can see the numbers. It recognizes the trends, but it's uncertain what to do about it. The commercialization factor is obviously huge: The consumer's ability to bypass ads is a major reason for radio's slide, but alternative platforms like Pandora (or Spotify or satellite radio) haven't shown advertisers that their limited-sponsorship approaches are good buys. So terrestrial radio can still say it's the way to go, perhaps because those who still listen to radio have grown up expecting the inconvenience.

But those listeners are decreasing by the day, and potential listeners in the tech-savvy generation have decided that listening to their music on Pandora or listening to their MP3s makes much more music sense.

As terrestrial music radio stations struggle to keep up with listenership, a trend in bigger markets has been the success of sports radio. It serves a niche audience, with a product only available through that signal. From a TV standpoint, sports are the only DVR-proof medium: Viewers will still watch a live sporting event, and therefore endure the accompanying commercial breaks. This is why NBC and CBS, not to mention college conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12, have started sports TV networks. The same concept has also been working for sports-talk radio on a national scale.

But if you're the Journal Broadcast Group, can you really justify committing more than a crappy FM signal and lousy-reach AM signal to a sports station that gets a 1 share, when unobtrusive-music format KMXZ FM 94.9 continues to rank in the top three in the ratings? Cumulus Broadcasting decided not to dedicate an FM signal, 97.5, to sports, instead banking that a Top 40 format would bring in better numbers. The better numbers haven't arrived, but when your AM sports station (which employs me for UA football and men's basketball pregame and postgame broadcasts) delivers ratings near the market bottom, it's not difficult to see the logic in avoiding commitment to such a risk.

So what exactly does music-based terrestrial radio do? Beyond the layoffs, which have already happened, probably the same thing as daily print and television: Ride the gravy train for as long as possible, until the supply runs dry.