Bad Break for NPR Station Over Gripe Against AMC

Cable is not subject to indecency regulations, but AMC’s Breaking Bad is responsible for at least one ongoing indecency complaint that has held up a radio station’s license renewal.

That comes as broadcasters continue to push for less content regulation, given that cable is free from such constraints.

According to a National Public Radio FCC filing in comments on the agency’s indecency enforcement regime, license renewal for Minnesota Public Radio’s KNOW-FM in Minneapolis has been held up by a consumer complaint dating back to 2010.

It stems from a segment on Breaking Bad that featured an audio clip from the pilot episode and a listener’s mishearing of the word “flunked,” even though the audio and transcript of the content in question have been available online since the program was broadcast, NPR said. (Take The Wire’s word here: It’s clearly “flunked.”)

An FCC spokesman confirmed the complaint has yet to be resolved and the license remains on hold.

Cable Nets to Spotlight Kids’ Wellness in September

Cable networks will shine a light on kids’ health and wellness issues over the next few weeks.

Food Network has spearheaded a multi-network initiative in support of Hunger Awareness Month this September. As part of the effort, dubbed “Go Orange,” more than 20 networks will either join Food in changing their logos to orange all day Sept. 8 or will run on-air public service announcements and feature information on their websites and social-media channels throughout the month. The goal is to educate viewers about the problem of childhood hunger and offer potential solutions, Food executives said.

Food Network and Cooking Channel president Brooke Johnson began reaching out to cable network executives in early June about Go Orange, which was born out of Food Network’s association with advocacy organization Share Our Strength. Along with changing their logos to orange, Food and Cooking Channel also plan to run multiple public-service announcements regarding the “Go Orange” initiative beginning this week, as well as on-air graphic packages that direct viewers to the program’s website for more information.

“More than 16 million kids in America live in households that struggle to put food on the table — that’s one out of five kids — but childhood hunger is a solvable issue,” Johnson told The Wire. “[With] the magnitude of the impact we can have by mobilizing the cable industry to support this important cause … I know we can solve this crisis.”

Programmers confirmed to participate include A+E Networks (A&E, Bio, History, H2, Lifetime & Military History), AMC Networks (IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv), BET, Bravo, Discovery Fit, FX, The Hub, Nickelodeon, Scripps Networks Interactive (Cooking Channel, DIY, Food Network, HGTV, GAC & Travel Channel), Style, TBS, TLC, TNT, TVGN, USA Network and The Weather Channel.

Toddler-targeted Disney Junior this week will launch a multi-city health and wellness tour featuring a 27-foot trailer incorporating the network’s first animated hit series, Doc McStuffins, about a young girl who can talk to and heal stuffed animals.

“Doc Mobile” has an area where kids can perform a “checkup” on their own toys and take part in other activities. Age-appropriate health and wellness topics include nutrition, physical development and fitness.

Tour stops include Boston, New York, Chicago, San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Fans can follow The Doc Mobile tour route on Disney Junior’s Facebook page and on Twitter through the hashtag DocMobile.

— R. Thomas Umstead

Nat Geo Takes Scribes To ‘Doomsday Castle’

National Geographic Channel is promoting its new apocalyptic series Doomsday Castle like there’s no tomorrow.

The reality series, which debuted last Tuesday (Aug. 13) and follows a family building a huge castle in the Carolina mountains in anticipation of the end of the world, currently has promotional signage in all 11 Six Flags parks around the country. The campaign, including posters and wall placards, will last through Sept. 1.

Nat Geo also placed special Doomsday Castle banners on Six Flags Los Angeles’ Apocalypse roller coaster and billboards for the series in New York’s Times Square and on the huge Wallscape Billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Nat Geo is hosting a “Doomsday Castle Defender” video game on its website that lets gamers build and defend their own doomsday castle.

The network took 10 reporters and bloggers (excluding The Wire) on a tour of the castle. Once they signed documents not to reveal the location of the fortress, they were treated to lessons in ziplining through the forest, warding off potential intruders via a trebuchet launcher and dodging booby traps, network officials said.

“There are so many different touch points in this campaign — from the ‘Doomsday Castle Defender’ game to the wrap on the Six Flags Apocalypse roller coaster to the experiential press trip — that we hope will get audiences excited and ‘prepped’ for this new launch series,” Courteney Monroe, chief marketing officer for National Geographic Channels U.S., told The Wire.

— R. Thomas Umstead

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.