The Farm Bill, Exxon’s Mayflower Oil Spill, Gay Marriage & More on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas Week

Me, Steve Brawner, Michael Hibblen and Ernie Dumas.

At 8 p.m. on your local AETN station, I guest-host “Arkansas Week” with a top-notch panel of Arkansas journalists: independent reporters Steve Brawner and Ernie Dumas and KUAR-FM, 89, News Director Michael Hibblen.

On the docket tonight: a farm bill with an uncertain future approved in the House, new info on what might have caused the March ExxonMobile oil spill in Mayflower, a new argument for gay marriage, layoffs at Hewlett-Packard and more. You can watch at 8 p.m. tonight or right here right now at

From Bad to Worse for Martha Shoffner & More on ‘Arkansas Week’ Tonight

Arkansas Week on AETN

8 p.m. Friday.

With Steve Barnes out, they let me host another edition of AETN‘s “Arkansas Week,” which you check out at 8 p.m. tonight or later this afternoon at this link. Once again, a big thanks to Steve and the “Arkansas Week” crew for allowing me to fill in. And thanks today’s panelists — Michael Hibblen, Hoyt Purvis and Rick Fahr — for another great show.

On the docket tonight: Martha Shoffner’s baffling May 31 court appearance, which cleared the way to Wednesday’s 14-count indictment; state finances and unemployment; Gov. Mike Beebe’s dip into the rainy day fund to help college students; slumping lottery sales; Tom Cotton’s latest moves in Washington D.C.; and update from Mayflower, where we might be close to getting some answers about that oil spill.

Dale Nicholson Signs Off: Arkansas TV Legend Dies at 74

KATV: Long-Time General Manager Dale Nicholson Has Died:

Dale Nicholson, who presided over one of Arkansas’ most influential television stations for 25 years as general manager, died at his Little Rock home on Saturday. He was 74.

Little Rock ABC affiliate KATV-TV, Channel 7, where Nicholson spent nearly all of his professional career, announced Nicholson’s death on its Facebook page Sunday afternoon.

“We have some sad news to pass along … we’re saying goodbye to an old friend of KATV’s tonight,” the Allbritton Communications-owned TV station said. ”Our Chairman and former General Manager Dale Nicholson died at his home in Little Rock last night. He was 74.”

The lead to my piece on Dale Nicholson, one of last true media giants still walking among us Arkansans. Great anecdotes abound about Nicholson, the young man with the booming voice who arrived at KATV in 1962 to take a job as booth announcer. Former KATV news director Bob Steel tells of Nicholson once declaring that he could run KATV out of the trunk of his car better than ABC could program its network. Having led the affiliate during some of ABC darker, low-ratings years, Nicholson probably wasn’t far off the mark. This guy knew TV. And the long-running success of KATV is a testament to that.

If you want to get symbolic, you could view Nicholson’s passing as another sign of how the TV business continues to be buffeted by radical change, mostly in the form of the Internet, and mostly not for the better. Hell, it was just a few weeks ago that a former student of Nicholson’s, Robert Allbritton, announced his intention to get out of the traditional TV business entirely to focus on the Internet, specifically a website called Politico. You might know Allbritton as the CEO of Allbritton Communications Co., which has owned KATV since 1983. Allbritton plans to sell all its TV properties, KATV included, by the end of the summer.

But few want to get symbolic. Not Nicholson’s friends, not his coworkers, certainly not his family. They just miss their friend and patriarch, affectionally dubbed “Big Pard.” Nicholson, the young man with a booming voice, but also a mentor, an innovator, a father and a friend.

Falcon Jet, Mark Pryor, Medicaid, the Housing Market and More on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas Week

Steve Barnes, me, Michael Hibblen and Nathan Vandiver.

In this week’s edition of AETN’s “Arkansas Week,” me, KUAR-FM, 89.1′s Michael Hibblen and Nathan Vandiver and host Steve Barnes take a look a rapidly heating U.S. Senate race, the state of the state’s economy, another milestone in the Medicaid expansion and more. Plus: Steve has a conversation with Shane Broadway, interim director of the state Department of Higher Education.

You can watch the full episode right here.

Funeral Today for Journalist Bob McCord

The funeral for journalist Robert McCord is set for today. Arkansas Business has details here, which includes an account of McCord’s work to establish the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, which, despite the state Legislature’s best efforts, remains among the strongest in the country.

Above is how I first met McCord, on Little Rock CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11, where, for a time, he wrote and delivered commentaries. I’d meet in person years later, after graduating high school, going to college and attending SPJ events. He was always an exceptionally nice and thoughtful person, and to say he’ll be missed is understatement.

Arkansas Week: Dustin McDaniel on ExxonMobile in Mayflower & Medicaid

On this week’s edition of AETN‘s “Arkansas Week,” Steve Barnes talks to Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel about ExxonMobil and the Mayflower oil spill. Plus, me, KUAR’s Michael Hibblen and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Doug Thompson discuss the Medicaid non-expansion expansion and gubernatorial/congressional politics.

You can watch the whole show right here.

TV Geekery: New Graphics Package on the Way at THV 11

A sample of the new graphics package coming to THV 11 News, where I appear as part of Arkansas Business' news partnership with the CBS affiliate.A sample of the new graphics package coming to THV 11 News, where I appear as part of Arkansas Business' news partnership with the CBS affiliate.

A sample of the new graphics package coming to THV 11 News, where I appear as part of Arkansas Business’ news partnership with the CBS affiliate. (That is not me.)

For what it’s worth, a THV 11 News employee notes on Facebook that this is the new graphics package the Gannett Co.-owned CBS affiliate will be switching to soon.

As a nerdy kid growing up, I used to love it when the local TV folks debuted new sets, logos and graphics. This package definitely seems simpler and cleaner than what Gannett stations are currently running. I can’t wait to see our new Arkansas Business logo within that palate.

Brightcove’s Jeremy Allaire on His Apple TV Predictions

Brightcove chairman and CEO, writing again for AllThingsD on what he expects out of the mythical Apple TV. No. 1?

The best way to consume broadcast TV and any online video. A seamless touch- and TV-based interface makes it simple to consume your existing cable and broadcast content, including video-on-demand (VOD) libraries and DVR features. Via iTunes, you also get instant access to mega-libraries and subscriptions from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, not to mention YouTube. Naturally, you can also access any AirPlay-enabled videos on the Web, as well as TV apps updated with the new iOS 7 SDK.

TV channels as apps seem inevitable. But all this is a tall order, given the myriad restrictions and hurdles regarding traditional television licenses and rights issues.

Arkansas Week: The RNC, Mitt Romney And, Yes, Clint Eastwood

Watch Arkansas Week August 31, 2012 on PBS. See more from Arkansas Week.

Last Friday’s edition of AETN’s “Arkansas Week” is available to stream now, if you’d like to relive Nathan Vandiver, Hoyt Purvis, Steve Barnes and me puzzling over Clint Eastwood’s RNC floor show.

Also: Rick Crawford stays home, UAMS and St. Vincent consider a partnership and early talks of a $40 million per year tax cut for manufacturers.