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September 2008 Archives

How Cable Can Boost Satisfaction Scores

September 30, 2008 10:47 AM

Michigan-based CFI Group released its Telecom-Cable Industry Satisfaction survey and, to nobody’s surprise, cable’s scores were “abysmal,” posting only a 60% customer satisfaction rate.

That’s old news. Cable never does well in these surveys, with respondents griping mostly about lousy customer service.

But there’s a new wrinkle this go-round: Longtime cable subscribers are angry that newer customers, thanks largely to competition from satellite and the phone companies, are being rewarded with lower rates.

Cable could fix this in a minute, if the industry really cared. .Cable companies lured subscribers with an attractive $99-per-month bundled package of phone, video and cable modem services. But those terms were only for the first year or two, and early adopters soon found their rates get higher after the initial offer.

In this economy, price is a problem. I have friends who dropped cable’s triple-play service when they saw their bills soar and ran straight into the arms of Verizon.

Cable boasts about customer loyalty and retention programs. But those plans are often a day late and a dollar short when a customer calls ready to bail.

Does anyone have a story about a good cable customer retention plan?

I’m afraid I don’t have even one.

Obama Shames McCain Into Ole Miss Debate

September 26, 2008 9:53 AM

Sen. Barack Obama

Sen. Barack Obama

At 11:30 a.m. EDT today, Sen. John McCain’s team announced that he would be attending the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., this evening.

Earlier McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign and would not attend the debate, saying that it was more important to him and the country for him to stay in Washington to hammer out a bailout plan for Wall Street.

Obama, to me, demonstrated his leadership by saying that he was attending and that a president has to have the skill to handle more than one problem at a time.

Tonight’s presidential debate, the first of three, was supposed to focus largely on geo-political issues. Given the new twists of the bailout plan, and how large it has become, I hope the focus of tonight’s discussion tackles the question of who the government is actually bailing out, Wall Street or Main Street.

Obama did the right thing by insisting that the show must go on. And in the process I think he took a lot of wind out of McCain’s sails. Do you?

AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ Makes Me Mad

September 24, 2008 9:35 AM

Okay. I know “Mad Men” won the Emmy for best dramatic series, but I absolutely hate the show.

AMC's 'Mad Men'

AMC's 'Mad Men'

True, I didn’t walk in those women’s shoes in the early sixties, the time period for this show. Frankly I was a kid, and I never witnessed how women at home, raising families were treated by their high powered, well-paid male spouses.

Pretty shabby, according to this show, including all of the women who worked at this fictional ad agency. But when I grew up, I saw the other side, “Bewitched.” I personally prefer that slice of life. Darren never cheated on Samantha. Remember?

I’ve only seen two episodes of “Mad Men,” and I’m still trying to get the drama’s appeal. So I took it upon myself to ask older women why they find it appointment TV.

They all say, and some can really relate, being married to ad agency executives, while they were raising families, that it’s all true.

However, I find this show extremely deprecating to today’s young women. Sure you can argue that’s the way it was, but it isn’t anymore. Bring back “Murphy Brown.” That I can relate to.

I would like to see more shows on TV about women who actually crashed through the glass ceiling, like Murphy Brown, and are on equal footing with their husbands (Although Murphy didn’t have one and raised a baby anyhow).

To me, “Mad Men” is one very sexist show and didn’t deserve the Emmy.

CNBC Tells Us Where Our Money Went

September 18, 2008 9:39 AM

Maria Bartiromo

CNBC's Maria Bartiromo

Count me among the hordes of viewers who are glued to cable net CNBC this week as we watch our 401K and IRA funds dissolve before our eyes.

With this week’s broad-based selloff in the stock market, the financial news net by contrast has seen its viewer base soar, getting its best ratings since September 2001.

CNBC reporters have done a great job of de-mystifying what went wrong with their well informed coverage of credit default swaps and naked shorts, two factors that led to this week’s collapse of the market.

CNBC’s Dylan Rattigan, in particular, has been asking some hard hitting questions and advising investors how they can protect themselves moving forward. Also CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, who always starts her after the final bell show with the question, “Do you know where your money is?” is doing overtime, anchoring extra shows during prime time

CNBC has become the new safe haven. Heck, even Jon Stewart is watching. Are you?

Should ‘SNL’ Bring Back Tina Fey?

September 17, 2008 10:55 AM

Tina Fey

Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Tina Fey, who now has her own hit show in NBC’s “30 Rock,” returned to her roots last Saturday, outshining all other cast members with her spot-on portrayal of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

So much so that “SNL,” now in its 34th year on the air, had its largest season premiere ratings since 2001.

Clearly the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska—who ever heard of that place?—has captured the attention of the American public.

A day doesn’t go by here when I don’t get at least five e-mails about her, and her bespectacled face is everywhere. You would think she’s running for president instead of John McCain, and in a sense she is, being just a heartbeat away from the top job should the GOP win this election.

“SLN” executive producer Lorne Michaels has said he’s trying to find a way to bring back Fey, even though she’s busy with her “30 Rock” day job. He’s also said there are two other “SNL” cast members who could portray Palin.

I don’t think so—do you?

Anchors Away for MSNBC’s Olbermann and Matthews

September 10, 2008 8:06 AM

Over the weekend, NBC Universal, parent of cable news net MSNBC, decided to replace co-anchors Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews on Election Night with MSNBC host David Gregory.

Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman

Chris Matthews, left, and Keith Olberman.

I applaud that move. Watching Olbermann and Matthews co-anchoring the convention, and I confess I couldn’t stand to watch them and didn’t see much, was like witnessing a World Wrestling match.

Both have strong egos, and pairing them together was a huge gamble that failed, as the ratings proved. They both opine and get in the way of the news, which I thought was their job

However, they are really well-paid bloviators. They do that very well, but they are not news anchors.

Frankly, I’ve given up altogether on MSNBC. Before the election, I couldn’t stand to see Matthews ask questions and answer them before guests could respond. As for Olbermann, he’s just getting stale.

I used to like these guys a lot, but I’ve moved on to CNN, and now even drop by Fox News to see what the GOP is plotting.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Olbermann and Matthews after the election. For now, their followings have thinned. They lost me, and I’m a liberal. That’s not a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

So boys and girls, who will you turn to on Election Night? You already know where I’ll be, and it’s not MSNBC.