The Budget Showdown, Food Stamps, A Full Accounting at UA & More on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas Week on AETN

8 p.m. Friday.

After an unusually long hiatus, I’m pleased to be back on AETN’s “Arkansas Week” tonight along with host Steve Barnes and fellow panelists Steve Brawner and Doug Thompson. Tonight, we assess the continuing budget/debt ceiling/Obamacare standoff in Washington D.C., the latest Mark Pryor/Tom Cotton skirmish, what’s next in the University of Arkansas Advancement Division deficit snafu, the continuing adventures of Paul Bookout/Mark Darr, the economy, bank mergers and more.

You can tune in at 8 p.m. tonight or catch the replay online right here once it’s posted.

Update: Here’s the full show, embedded after the jump.

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What Acxiom Knows About Me

Me today, over at the day job, assessing data miner Acxiom Corp.’s, a website designed to allow people to see what information the company has collected about them:

Best I can tell, Acxiom has a fairly good picture of me except for two key things: my birthdate and my family situation.

For some reason, Acxiom thinks I was born in 1955, which would put me at 58 years old — 22 years old than I actually am. A little icon next to that data says the source for that information is “self reported.” So maybe I gave bad info on a survey once? My parents are about that age, so I also wonder if some of their data got mixed up with mine. But there’s no way of knowing, and of course I can correct it.

Acxiom also thinks my wife and I have exactly “1 Child.” We have exactly zero. I can correct that information, too.

Otherwise, the data Acxiom has amassed about me and my household is very nearly on the money, albeit in a very general way.

More on Acxiom’s motives for setting up the site in my interview with THV 11 News here and, of course, this interview with company CEO Scott Howe in the New York Times here. In short, Acxiom is striving for transparency to allay public fears about data privacy and head off a regulatory push in Congress.

Allbritton Sells KATV, Other Affiliates to Sinclair Broadcasting Group

My piece on today:

Allbritton Communications of Arlington, Va., which owns KATV-TV, Channel 7, in Little Rock and other ABC affiliates, said Monday that it is selling those television stations to Sinclair Broadcast Group of Hunt Valley, Md., the country’s largest television station owner.

According to Politico, which is also owned by Allbritton, the deal is worth $985 million. An Allbritton news release said the sale is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter.

I’d said back in June that Sinclair was the likely buyer, although there’s been no shortage of candidates, many of which have been scooping up other local TV properties all year. Some considered Nexstar Broadcasting Group as a probable buyer, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they kicked the tires. But in Little Rock, Nexstar controls four — count ‘em four — affiliates in Little Rock alone, pretty much maxing out their ownership here in the eyes of the feds.

The next question is, how much will this change operations at KATV? Does Sinclair bring in its own management team? How many (if any) newsroom contracts get dropped?

And to what extent does Little Rock feel Sinclair’s sympathy for the GOP? In Seattle, where Sinclair just snapped up KOMO-TV, some are bracing for the “Fox News equivalent in a local news channel.” Admittedly, this might not be as big a deal in the Little Rock DMA as it is in Seattle. Still, KATV is telling viewers that this is strictly a “behind-the-scenes business deal.” “KATV will continue to bring you the best local news, weather and sports coverage you have counted on us to provide for more than 50 years,” the station said.

Also: 5 Things to Know About Sinclair

And: Here Are Some People Unhappy About Allbritton’s Sale to Sinclair

Google Glass in Health Care, Education in This Week’s Arkansas Business

Arkansas Business

Arkansas Business

In this week’s edition of Arkansas Business, I expand on my Google Glass video with this story on how a Little Rock cardiologist, Dr. Christian Assad, and the director of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences & the Arts in Hot Springs, Corey Alderdice, are using Glass in their respective fields.

Assad is envisioning how Glass could help with medical training, and he’s also developing an app that guides people through CPR. Alderdice is thinking through several potential Glass projects for his students at the math and science school, including narrative film and advanced programming.

You can read the full story right here. It’s part of Arkansas Business’ issue focusing on the wireless and technology industry, which also includes a great piece from Chris Bahn on how Arkansas sports venues are dealing with an overload of mobile traffic during games, and this story by Mark Friedman on how wireless tech is helping Arkansas farmers.

Layoffs in Conway: 500 Jobs Gone at Hewlett-Packard

Above, my quick conversation with THV 11 News about yesterday’s announcement by Hewlett-Packard that it would lay off 500 people at its technical support center in Conway. Our breaking news coverage on Arkansas Business here, along with an additional report by the AP and an interview with Brad Lacy of the Conway Chamber of Commerce here.

It’s the second blow to Arkansas’ job base in as many weeks. Last week, Nordex USA, which makes parts for windmills, announced it would end wind turbine production at its Jonesboro plant. That move will cut 40 jobs, but it also ends all hope that Nordex will ever reach its projected employment number of 750, which it touted when announcing the project in 2008.

At Nordex’s Germany headquarters, officials were quick to blame Congress for failing to make a long-term commitment to a crucial wind energy tax credit that was driving business. But in Palo Alto, Calif., home of HP, executives have only themselves to blame. The company was caught wholly unprepared for the mobile computing revolution, touched off by Apple’s iPhone and raised to new heights by its iPad. HP’s high-profile CEO changes, an aborted plan to exit the PC business, and the wasted, $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm Inc. didn’t help matters, either.

My Look at Google Glass with Brant Collins

Google Glass

Google Glass, perched atop its little gray case.

Is it the future, or a Segway for your face? That’s the central question regarding Google Glass, the Internet-connected glasses with heads-up display, Wifi, Bluetooth and the ability to shoot high-definition video and photos and share them instantly with the world. Thanks to Brant Collins of Stations X of Little Rock, I was able to see Glass up close in this video for Arkansas Business.

As you can see, the video and photo quality are surprising great, and device’s potential uses has early adopters like Collins thinking of myriad ways to use Glass in business, technology, health care and more. Click here for my up-close look at Google Glass, or hit “continue reading” below and watch the video here.

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Video: Johnny Allison and Wallace Fowler on Their $280 Million Bank Deal

My hastily thrown together segment on that $280 million Home BancShares/Liberty Bank of Arkansas deal, which originally debuted here. Since then, there have been two more big Arkansas banking deals — one by First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas of Harrison, and another involving Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock. Yep, it’s the Summer of Bank Deals in Arkansas.