Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Half of auto suppliers looking at bankruptcy

March 21, 2009

Reuters reports that according to a study by A.J. Kearney, more than half of U.S. auto suppliers face bankruptcy in 2009 which could result in the loss of more than one million jobs.

Article

Buyout firm may take stake in Charter Cable

March 21, 2009

Now that Charter Communications stock is selling for a nickel a share, the company is in talks with Apollo Management, a buyout firm to convert its bond holdings into equity.  However, the news release said that Paul Allen for Microsoft fame would continue to have a voting interest.

Does this mean that Apollo might spearhead a turnaround in the cable giant?  Good luck!

Article

Phone deregulation hasn’t lowered costs

March 16, 2009

According to Utility Consumer Action Network, the average cost of long distant minute is 55 cents, higher than it was in 1980 before the breakup of AT&T.  This report blames phone company mergers and regulators both federal and state agencies for the failure to lower the cost of phone service.

New release

EPA called upon to release info on toxic wastes

March 8, 2009

I know everyone will be shocked to learn that under the Bush administration, industry was given a pass on providing information on its release of toxic materials into the environment in 2006.  Now, national, state and local organizations along with more than a thousand individuals are calling on EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson to reverse this rule.

News release

Digital TV Debacle

February 21, 2009

This article from Wired is about problems associated with the voucher program allowing consumer to get a coupon for the converter box so that they could watch digital TV broadcasts on their analog TVs.  The main point is how the program became overwhelmed by demand and how the public lost money on the government program that provided the vouchers, still had to pay another $20 – 40 out of pocket for the converter box in order to watch TV.  Meanwhile private industry continues to make money on the conversion as had the government when it sold the rights to the broadcasting spectrum in an auction.   And that the “delay” until June was costly and not particularly helpful.

I would add a couple details to this debacle as I worked with my nearly ninety year-old parents who are unable to fathom the technology involved in the transition.  First, while the FCC and the converter box makers had useful videos on how to install the box to the TV, they didn’t have any instructions about how to also connect the box to a DVD player.  It took me twenty minutes of Internet searching to find helpful instructions and I found that in a comments section to a blog. 

Next,  my parents favorite public television station didn’t delay its switch-over and suddenly they weren’t getting the signal for that station.  It took several days for them figure out how to select the right station from their converter box.  Now, I set up my parent stations.  I thought that I was selecting digital stations but I guess not.  Now I wonder about the rest of their stations.  Will they all need to be changed when the stations make the conversion?  Why aren’t there any instructions on that process when you setup the converter box?

Analog TV will end on 2/17 for 36% of stations

February 17, 2009

By midnight tonight, 641 full-power stations will end analog television.  72 television markets will be hardest hit.

List of stations affected.

TV outlets terminating analogy by Feb. 17th

February 11, 2009

I’ve attached a document that lists all the TV stations planning to terminate analog by Feb. 17th.  Among the areas hardest hit are Honolulu HI, Salt Lake City UT, Greenville NC, Witchita KS and Tulsa OK.

List of analog terminating stations

Used auto tracker goes live Feb. 5th

February 3, 2009

The good news:

Finally, after years of struggle, consumers who purchase used cars will be able to access online data about the history of their car.  “Consumers now have access to the vehicle’s brand history, odometer data, and basic vehicle information and can be redirected to the current state of record to access the full title record if available.”

The bad news?   

This system, authorized by Congressed and develop by the Justice department, “will be accessible through third party, fee-for-service websites.”  Didn’t taxpayers pay for this database as authorized by Congress?  Should any consumer who wants to make sure the used car they just purchased isn’t “hot” be able to access this system at no cost?  Apparently, not.

FBI Press Release

Superbowl Sunday is national pizza day!

February 1, 2009

Not really but according to this press release from the National Restaurant Association, 15% of Americans order take out food today, Superbowl Sunday, and 58% of those orders are for pizza but 50% also order chicken wings.   I guess that means that many people order both.  I wonder where orders for a nice, green salad rank in this survey?

Remember, trade associations great sources of industry information and you can find my guide to the National Restaurant Association, here.

Glossary of environmental terms

January 4, 2009

Glossary courtesy of the EPA: