Through the Wire


No Freebies for Universal Music Net

IMF: The International Music Feed doesn’t get a free pass just because it’s owned by giant Universal Music Group. It has to ante up and pay — like other cable networks — in order to air videos from Universal, according to IMF president Andy Schuon.

“We absolutely do pay,” said Schuon, an MTV veteran. “We have a deal in place for the videos that we play, and for the music content that we have, from the record companies, not just Universal but the others as well.”

Universal has been cracking down on companies that it believes capitalize on its content without proper compensation. In September, it pulled its music videos off Fuse over the issue of payment, and it recently threatened to bring a copyright-infringement suit against YouTube. Last week, Fuse general manager Catherine Mullen resigned, as the channel has not only lost its music videos from Universal but also racked up dismal third-quarter ratings. She is said to have another job lined up, though.

Meanwhile, IMF has about 10 million subscribers, with carriage on EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network, Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS TV and an affiliation agreement with AT&T Inc.’s U-Verse TV.

This month, IMF is launching a music video-on-demand offering that will be carried first by Verizon and later by AT&T. IMF On Demand has 100 hours of content, including music videos, performances, interviews and IMF long-form programs. Viewers can search the offering by categories such as genre, country and mood, Schuon said.

“There’s never been anything like it,” he said. “We’ve been working on this for over a year … You’re going to really feel us pushing it, because it’s something I know I’ve been saying to the cable operators: When you see what we’re going to do with these guys, I think you’re going to want to come to the table. I certainly hope when they see our offering they are going to realize we’re serious about music video-on-demand and leading in that.”

Venerable Jazz Lineup Salutes TWC’s Yaeger

Jazz musicians, unlike great athletes, can practice their craft well into their 70s. Or even 80s, as was demonstrated at last Monday’s “Friends of Charlie Parker” benefit dinner for the drug-rehabilitation center Veritas Therapeutic Community.

Many of Time Warner Cable’s top executives were on hand at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, as were some of their programming friends, as one of the honorees was executive vice president of corporate affairs Lynn Yaeger. Yaeger has been a longtime Veritas supporter, and helped the dinner attract 600 people at $1,000 per head.

Phil Schaap, who hosts a daily radio show about Parker’s music on WKCR-FM in New York, helped emcee the concert that followed the awards. Among the jazz luminaries he introduced were a pair of septuagenarians headed toward 80: tenor saxophone player Jimmy Heath and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. With another combo, 85-year-old Clark Terry (who played with Duke Ellington and Count Basie) played trumpet from his table about 50 feet off stage. Somehow it all came off brilliantly.

Hard to choose a highlight, but for sheer spontaneity, it’s difficult to top Anita Baker singing “My Funny Valentine” with Barry Eastmond on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums — and with Roy Hargrove recruited from the audience, Baker said, to play trumpet. They played it without aid of prior rehearsal. Now, that’s jazz.

Plumbing Issue at Portals Leads to Early FCC Day

The Federal Communications Commission sent nearly 1,800 workers home early last Wednesday afternoon, following reports of flooding and other plumbing problems inside agency headquarters.

“There’s a problem with the water coming into our building, there is intermittent flooding affecting certain floors,” FCC spokesman Tamara Lipper said, reading an e-mail sent to FCC workers.

The 12-story FCC building, known as the Portals, is located on 12th Street in southwest D.C., near the National Mall overlooking the Potomac River and the monuments. Office buildings adjacent to the FCC were also involved, Lipper said.

Some FCC officials, including Lipper, remained at work. Commissioners Deborah Taylor Tate and Jonathan Adelstein and their aides were seen hanging out at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel while exiled on 12th Street.

“It’s hot, there’s no air conditioning and there’s no water,” Lipper said that day. “You can get in the building, but the e-mail asked for everyone to leave.”

The FCC offices re-opened for business as usual on Thursday.