Morning Buzz

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 2.27.07

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Morning Buzz
Mark Lacter link
Media op goes awry
A tagger hit Mayor Villaraigosa's bus at the Santee Learning Center near downtown. LAT
Black book
Hollywood madam Jody "Babydol" Gibson's phone book, seized eight years ago, includes the names of two major contributors to the campaigns of ex-DA Gil Garcetti — producer Steven Roth and Guess Inc. founder Maurice Marciano — plus Bruce Willis and Tommy Lasorda. All deny knowing of her except for Roth, who hung up on Times reporter Chuck Philips. "I have never heard of this woman and don't know why she would accuse me of something like this," Lasorda said through his lawyer. "But if she prints these lies, I intend to sue." LAT
Analysis of DONE appointments
CityWatch columnist Greg Nelson, former GM of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, sees the return of "collaboration, partnership, and communication." Coverage: LAT, CityWatch
DN too shuns Alarcon
Monica Rodriguez got the Daily News endorsement to go along with her earlier nod from the Times. From Monday's DN editorial: "Perhaps what makes her the best choice to represent the council's 7th District isn't who she is, but what she isn't - a career politician." She will be if she wins, but that's another story.
Ruth Seymour's cross to bear
Inspired by KCRW's recent Annenberg grant, LAT tech blogger Jon Healey says that the NPR station's online success comes at a price.
According to general manager Ruth Seymour, each month the station is delivering more than 1.6 million hours of programming, nearly 1 million podcasts and half a million on-demand audio and video recordings to listeners online. You might think that advertisers -- "underwriters" in the lexicon of public broadcasters -- would pay more to reach this expanded audience, but it's actually a tough sell because the station can't tell them who or, in most cases, where those listeners are. For financial reasons, KCRW relies on other companies to host and transmit its online programming, so it doesn't collect data on that audience.

Nor are online listeners as motivated to become subscribers (that is, donors to the station) as local over-the-air listeners, particularly not when so many of the programs aired on public radio are available free on the Web. In a recent interview, Seymour said her "apocalyptic vision" is that "the online culture, the culture of free, will destroy the whole notion of public broadcasting in that it will erode the whole idea of subscriptions." She says this even though KCRW has attracted subscribers in all 50 states. Maybe it's the allure of the form-fitting T-shirts and other prizes....

On the whole, Seymour said, "It is a really daunting situation, and thatís if your successful online. And we are." Given the cost of reaching listeners, KCRW finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to measure its online efforts in terms of their potential to generate income. "As a public broadcaster," Seymour said, "that isn't really why I'm in the business."

More scrotum talk
Author and LAPL librarian Susan Patron considers the controversy about her reference to a male body part on the Times op-ed page.
Why has one word, "scrotum," generated such controversy and heated debate over my book, "The Higher Power of Lucky"? Lucky, the protagonist, overhears the word on the first page, doesn't know what it means, and wonders ó but there's no one she can trust enough to ask about it. The tiny town of Hard Pan, Calif., hasn't many resources for a curious, vulnerable 10-year-old trying to figure out how the world works.

The problem with "scrotum," evidently, is discomfort among adults who do not wish to see references to body parts in children's literature. Also, fear of giggling. What if the teacher or librarian loses control of a class of kids, however briefly, while reading the book aloud? Even the (ludicrous) specter of a lawsuit over sexual harassment has been raised!

Olympics update
Organizers of the city's 2016 Olympics bid — Barry Sanders, Casey Wasserman and John Naber — will give an update for Town Hall Los Angeles at noon at the Japanese American National Museum.

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