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.

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.

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.

THVideo: Jobs, Diversification, Manufacturing and the Wind Industry in Arkansas

I lent some comments to a quick hit on last night’s Today THV’s newscasts about how the wind industry is positioned in Arkansas. The hook?

The U.S. Wind Industry’s Annual Market Report list Arkansas as one of the top states attracting major wind energy manufactures. …

According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, Arkansas generates nearly half its electricity from coal-fired power plants, and most of the remainder from nuclear and natural gas.

The council also ranks Arkansas 27 out of of 50 states for wind power potential.

I think the bottom line is that while we’ve seen setbacks in our growing wind industry — delays by Mitsubishi in Fort Smith and Polymarin in Little Rock — we remain well-position to take advantage of an industry that’s growing as we look more and more to alternative sources of power.

Samsung Product Manager: TVs Are About Picture Quality

Samsung AV product manager Chris Moseley, talking to UK gadget review site Pocket-lint, about the possibility of an Apple television and what it might mean competitively:

“TVs are ultimately about picture quality. Ultimately. How smart they are … great, but let’s face it that’s a secondary consideration. The ultimate is about picture quality and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality.

“So, from that perspective, it’s not a great concern but it remains to be seen what they’re going to come out with, if anything.”

Obviously, Moseley’s talking about one strength of Samsung’s products — an area in which he thinks his company is particularly competitive among television manufacturers.

Still. This makes me chuckle a little because I have relatives who have bought 42-inch-plus flat panel HD sets … and then have declined to upgrade their cable TV package to HD.

For them, picture quality? Not so big a deal.

But they will complain to no end about how confusing those TVs are to use and set up, with their baffling, incompatible remotes and byzantine settings menus. And that’s before you plug in a STB and are confronted with the programming guide provided by your cable or satellite content provider.

(And it’s to say nothing of the rat’s nest of wires you’ll have once you add a DVD or Blu-ray player, maybe a receiver and some speakers.)

This isn’t to say that Apple’s TV could compete only on a user experience/user interface basis. They know a thing or two about high-quality, flat-panel displays of many sizes.

Nor is it to say that Samsung doesn’t make jaw-dropping displays built on deep experience and patented technologies Apple doesn’t possess.

But it is to say (and I bet Moseley might agree) that it’s not all about picture quality. Indeed, for some people, the question is, “How much more picture quality do I really need?”

There’s much more to the television experience than that, and lots of room for improvement.

(Via Brian Ford, Gruber.)

The State’s Budget, Economy, Redistricting and the GOP Race for President on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas Week on AETN


I’m back on AETN’s “Arkansas Week,” which airs at 8 p.m. tonight, along with host Steve Barnes, KUAR-FM’s Malcolm Glover and Doug Thompson of the northwest Arkansas edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

On the docket: legislators angle to fill two holes in the state budget, the latest on Arkansas’ economy, a lawsuit over redistricting, Gov. Mike Beebe weighing in on the severance tax, and this week’s GOP match-up in Florida.

You wait until tonight, or catch it online here later this afternoon.

Jobs, the Budget, the Forestry Commission and the Presidential Race on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas Week on AETN


It’s the first edition of AETN’s “Arkansas Week” of the year. Auld lang syne and whatnot!

In this episode, Michael Hibblen of KUAR-FM, Dr. Hal Bass of Ouachita Baptist University, host Steve Barnes and myself discuss today’s better-than-expected December jobs report, this week’s better-than-expected Arkansas revenue report, the Arkansas Forestry Commission’s worse-than-expected financial situation and Mitt Romney’s, well, expected win in New Hampshire.

There’s other stuff too, about how Ron Paul is the top donation-getter in Arkansas, even ahead of Rick “Where Dreams Go to Die” Perry, and what that says about where Arkansas fits in this election cycle (spoiler: It doesn’t!).

So check it out, 8 p.m. tonight on your local AETN affiliate. It’s not like there’s anything else good on TV.

(Or watch here online.)

On HBO GO and Cutting Cable

MG Siegler’s open letter to HBO:

I’d gladly pay you upwards of $19.99 a month for direct access to HBO Go without a cable subscription. Netflix charges $7.99 a month for their streaming service right now, but thanks to your original programming, you’re worth a lot more. But Netflix original programming is coming soon, so your premium buffer won’t last forever. The time to strike is now.

If you could remove your lips from the cable company teet for a minute, you’d find hundreds of thousands — and likely millions — of customers happy to pay a premium for access to HBO Go without the cable requirement right now. That number is only going to grow. And fast.

Man, this is something I can totally get behind. All in all, our cable bill isn’t terrible — $130 a month for a Comcast package that includes Internet access and whatever that channel lineup is that’s a step above local channels only, plus HD. But it could always be lower, particularly given all the little channels we never watch.

Meanwhile, we watch something via Netflix streaming nearly every night of the week.

Siegler wants HBO GO now, and heck, so do I — its back catalog of every episode of “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” is worth the price of admission by itself. But I think we’re fooling ourselves if we think HBO’s going to decouple from the cable guys anytime soon.

Still, the existence of HBO GO is good sign, and it provides the company a quick way out should the cable TV environment suddenly change, say, when a certain Cupertino tech company decides to unveil its rethink of what TV should be. HBO GO is a great app, after all.