Twenty Answers!  (Never Mind the Questions!)

By Paul Maxwell Report Archives
Cover image for  article: Twenty Answers!  (Never Mind the Questions!)

Among the blogs I always look forward to reading and enjoying is Stuart Elliott’s rather random “20 Questions” (loved them in The New York Times and love them at  So, as a sort of homage, I thought I’d answer some 20 implied questions this week (that’s after a week of the worst flu bug to hit the Rockies … and I brought it home from INTX in Boston).

Here are 20 answers:

No, Sumner Redstone does not lack firm opinions … though it seems they might not really be his anymore.  And, of course, Viacom’s stock drop of about 45% does raise management issues. You’ll have to ask Shari (“Game of Redstone Thrones”) for any details.

Yes, North Korea’s official mouthpiece DPRK Today has endorsed Donald J. Trump for U.S. President.  By the by, so did Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Who knows when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will decide on the Federal Confusion Commission Open Internet Rules? (You know, no real network and certainly nothing neutral?) Maybe Friday?

Yes, the first round of the spectrum bidding auction is actually under way.

And, yes, a large number of stations will go dark when all is said and done … maybe 100-plus.

No, U.S. Representatives do not socialize with one another any longer.  They are always (a) raising money; (b) schmoozing constituents; (c) traveling on taxpayer dollars, or (d) screaming personal insults at opponents on C-SPAN.

Yes, they do hold hearings and talk, complain, demand and obfuscate.

Yes, there will be two more Vice Presidential nominees (we’ve got one, former Massachusetts governor William Weld is running with Gary Johnson on the Libertarian ticket).  Both will be complete surprises although Mark Cuban has generously agreed to back anyone who will have him!

Yes, INTX (once the cable show) featured folks from the Internet edge and Recode denizens.

No, the closest to a cable-like representative at Recode’s Code conference is Chet Kenojia, Founder and CEO of Starry and ex-Aereo.

Maybe the Internet’s edge companies (including those FANGs) and the Internet infrastructure companies and -- gee, let’s stretch this non-answer -- the programmingcompanies could all get along someday.  Maybe.  The closest thing to that so far is the group with the most important common denominator: the Media Finance Association … with executives from broadcasting, cable, Internet, music, newspapers and more.

Yes, some media CEOs have a thin skin … and can argue like a politician with a straw man argument.  (See: Bob Iger, miffed at Disney being criticized, demanding to know how many jobs Bernie Sanders has created.  Well, Bob, quite a few for his campaign.)             

Yes, integrating Time Warner Cable, Bright House and Charter into a single unit will not be easy and will take some (long!) time.  But, yes, Tom Rutledge and John Bickham can and will do it right with the DBA name Spectrum (good one).

And, a prediction: Charter will add Time Warner to its portfolio before 2020.                

Definitely.  Tom “Wheels-are-Coming-Off” Wheeler badly over-reached with his “unlock the box” FCC initiative.  Don’t look now, but yet another box alternative has arrived with Sony’s PlayStation Vue even offering the Big 4 broadcast networks among its new slim bundles. 

Yes, House Republicans have a budget plan to gut the FCC.  And, no, a budget will not pass both Houses of Congress.

No, Tom Wheeler has not (yet, if ever) agreed to resign if Trump wins the election.  So, Republicans will not re-confirm Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel.  Another fine example of democracy in action.

Yes, you should have recorded "Roots" … the old and the new. 

Yes, Altice will likely conclude its purchase of Cablevision by the end of June.  And the Dolan family will be out of cable operations.

And a definitive yes. ATSC – the next generation (almost definitive) broadcast standards seem headed for implementation … someday.  How that effects retransmission via cable and other distribution systems remains up in the air.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of management or associated bloggers. 

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