Sam Hatcher, who launched and built Main Street Media into a holding company for suburban news and lifestyle publications, is stepping down as publisher as The Wilson Post following Main Street's sale to former Tennessean executive Dave Gould. Hatcher said he will "continue hanging around and kind of helping" with the company.
Online video production house StudioNow is a stand-alone entity again after spending three years under the wings of AOL. Even though the company about doubled its sales each year inside the AOL fold, original investor Claritas Capital is back as majority owner, with AOL retaining a stake.
John Chadwick of Claritas described it as a “forward looking move by AOL.” He continued, noting that it was an opportunity for AOL to stay involved while letting the management team build a high-growth business, which can be difficult when part of a larger organization.
The honchos at Cumulus Media hinted at it yesterday when they returned country radio to New York. This morning, they released a lot more detail about their plans to launch NASH, a country lifestyle brand that will comprise radio and television programming, a monthly magazine, a website, social media and concerts. Nashville venues look set to play a prominent role in the radio components of the brand's rollout while the magazine will be published by the same Modern Luxury team that puts out other lifestyle titles.
"Country is more than just music -- it's a lifestyle that is rich with content and marketing opportunities because Country is mass appeal and very much underserved in all forms of media,” said Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey. “Cumulus is committed to serving this significant lifestyle segment that stretches from coast-to-coast by creating a full complement of content on the radio, in print, online and on TV."
Cumulus Media is making a big splash in the New York media scene today with the launch of 94.7 Nash FM, which is already being billed as "The World's Biggest Country Station" and the cornerstone of a national brand for the Atlanta-based broadcaster. What that latter thought will mean down the road — it looks like other media formats could be involved — isn't yet clear. In the meantime, here's the station's website.
Television personality Huell Howser, who got his broadcasting start at WSM-TV in Nashville in the 1960s before becoming a beloved star of a number of PBS shows in California, has died at age 67 after battling illness for several years. Howser, pictured here in a Flicker photo, specialized in human-interest pieces on Channel 4 before moving to New York and then, in 1981, to Los Angeles. There, he built several shows, including the popular California's Gold, that profiled the hidden treasures of the state. The Huffington Post has more on the life of a man whose "unabashed love for even the smallest topics and towns" won the hearts of many a Golden State viewer.
U.S. District Court Judge John Nixon has sided unequivocally with advertising service Backpage.com in its tussle with state legislators who last year targeted websites selling ads they say promote child sex trafficking. In a ruling today, Nixon said the new law violates three sections of the Constitution as well as the 1996 Communications Decency Act.
“The Constitution tells us that — when freedom of speech hangs in the balance — the state may not use a butcher knife on a problem that requires a scalpel to fix,” Nixon wrote in the order. “Yet, this appears to be what the Tennessee legislature has done in passing the law at issue.”