Off the Media: Business Sense

I've complained in the past that NPR's "On the Media" doesn’t cover business enough and gets too wrapped up in a few foreign regions that don't warrant that much attention. Last week, the show answered both issues with a strong showing on Murdoch-WSJ, the Redstones' feud, Google's play to make cellphone bandwidth more freely usable (says NYU's Siva Vaidhynathan, deftly: "Google’s action in this auction has made Americans all over the place realize that we have a ridiculous and anti-competitive system, and that we could have a much more efficient, effective and creative market place.") and the socio-economics of Facebook (college-educated biz people) vs. MySpace (anti-societal dropouts).

From the show, I leaned in the Murdoch story that The New York Post used to be "one of the most liberal newspapers in America ." Imagine that! And a piece on
the NFL restricting the amount of material media outlets can use from press conferences and what-not seems to put the NFL's desire for control – trying to drive people to its properties – ahead of the benefits it would get from sharing. A very Web 1.0 strategy. Not to mention that football is something of a public trust, not just any business. Certainly, a further effect of businesses doing their own media, going "direct to consumer," rather than having the media mediate.

Interestingly, it was a week without co-host Bob Garfield, who's steeped in the business of media at his day job as an Ad Age columnist and would be great to give the show more on this business as it goes through one of the greatest distruptions in business history.

This week, Garfield's fellow host Brooke Gladstone got all William Safire on us, with a lead story exploring the phrase "off the table." (C'mon , guys, in a week with reports from Veronis Suhler, eMarketer and others about the state of media, is that really the best we can do in observing what's new in American media?) They managed to get the New York Times' perfume write back, quite a feat that, to talk about a possible Anderson Cooper' scent. (Did they have to, though, talk about a possible Wolf Blitzer cologne, a "soothing peppermint distillation?" And Bill O'Reilly. Something with "a cream from the anal gland from a species of bat." Eesh..

Next week -- well, tomorrow, really -- here's hoping OTM explores the Picasso comic book controversy , where a store owner's in hot water for letting a boy have a comic book that showed Picasso as he sometimes used to paint: in the nude.

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