SHVERA, SHVURA — Let’s Settle on STELA!

11/14/2009 2:00 AM Eastern

Yes, the actual content of the satellite reauthorization bill in Congress is important and actually pretty interesting, at least to policy wonks. Will the amendment advancing the timetable for carrying noncommercial stations’ HD signals submarine Dish Network’s local-into-local pledge? Has fixing “short markets” become a threat to bill passage? And what about Naomi? (Sorry, ancient Boomer reference there.)

But rather than reading the text, it’s more fun to follow the bouncing acronym.

OK, there’s been no real-word acronym, just an alphabet soup of letters.

At one time or another, the legislation, as a bill or a draft, has been called: SHVA (Satellite Home Viewer Act), SHVIA (Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act), SHVERA (Satellite Home Viewer Extension & Reauthorization Act), SHVURA (Satellite Home Viewer Update and Reauthorization Act) and the vowel-challenged SHVDTA (Satellite Home Viewer Digital Television Act).

The last one reminds us of that imp in the Superman comics who could only be returned to his own world by making him say his name backwards.

Now comes the best moniker yet, an actual acronym. It’s STELA, for Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act, courtesy of the Senate Commerce Committee. Thank goodness.

Not only does STELA roll trippingly off the tongue, it actually relates to the bill. And no, The Wire doesn’t mean the “usually carved or inscribed stone slab or pillar used for commemorative purposes” of Greek antiquities fame.

STELA is close to Stella, from whence cometh stellar, meaning starlike or astral (or outstanding). Perfect for a satellite bill.

Please, whichever version survives — four committees have jurisdiction over the bill(s) — keep the name STELA.

And if Dish actually is required to deliver all noncommercial stations’ HD signals by 2011 — a timetable Dish has suggested is somewhere between difficult and impossible to meet while also delivering all those local market signals — The Wire can just see chairman Charlie Ergen, clad in torn undershirt, shouting into what passes in Colorado for a steamy New Orleans summer night: STELA!

A Tim Burton Animation Is Syfy’s MOMA Bonus

Syfy is sole sponsor of a coming (Nov. 22-April 26) exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art on filmmaker Tim Burton, creator of Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas and the imminent Alice in Wonderland with Anne Hathaway and Johnny Depp.

As a bonus, Syfy can adapt an original Tim Burton short animation for brand messages across those NBC Universal TV properties of which Comcast is currently so enamored.

“It’s kind of hard to explain, but one of his fanciful, imaginative characters kind of inflates the MOMA logo, and it’s scored by Danny Elfman,” Syfy vice president of brand marketing Blake Callaway said Thursday.

“We’ll take a version of that, and also attach 'presented by Syfy’ and the other messaging that we want to get across.”

New Yorkers might see it in such NBCU venues as Taxi TV and on WNBC (channel 4) during the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center.

Syfy president Dave Howe said Burton embodies the net’s tagline, “Imagine Greater.”

“Not only is he a creative genius but he’s also in the entertainment space in a very kind of populist and accessible, relatable way,” Howe said. “Everything he does has that combination of smart, intellectual, amazingly creative, but also brings in a potential new audience who just enjoys the entertainment value of what he creates.”

MOMA benefits from Syfy’s promotional platform, and Syfy gets a “good, tangible experience we can send people to,” Callaway said.

Including advertisers, who’ll get private tours. And consumers who are lucky enough to win a planned sweepstakes for an “imaginative weekend” in New York, Callaway said.

CEA’s Rick Michaels Was a Pirate Radio DJ

Last Friday (Nov. 13), Pirate Radio opened in theaters and brought news to The Wire that old friend Rick Michaels, the chairman and CEO of Communications Equity Associates in Tampa, Fla., was the first American disc jockey on the U.K. pirate radio stations in 1965-66.

As Michaels spelled out in an e-mail, rock ’n’ roll radio broadcasts from ships and forts in international waters paved the way for commercial radio in the United Kingdom, breaking the BBC monopoly. “While the film is essentially a comedy, which uses a pirate radio ship in the 1960s British rock ’n’ roll era as a backdrop, it provides an interesting footnote in media and entertainment history,” Michaels said, also advising he was known as “Ricky Michaels” in those days.

Rock on, Rick.

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