The purpose of the Publishers’ Advantage  is to use a new USA Talk Network, Inc. (“USA-TN”) public affairs television series --- “Colorado Election 2010 TM” --- to bolster journalism by allowing print and other publications the opportunity to use television programming on their Websites to direct subscriber and other reader interest and revenues to newspapers while simultaneously giving them an editorial advantage by having news content (including interviews, video, and photographs) in advance of their television competitors.  The initiative also will offer other special programming which participants will be able to premier on their Websites. 

A description of the series can be found at www.Colorado2010.com along  with a detailed Presentation describing the series (www.Colorado2010.com/PresentationX.pdf) and statements from parties endorsing the initiative (www.Colorado2010.com/Endorsers.html).

In recent decades, although political spending has grown geometrically --- now totaling several billion dollars nationally in each election cycle and hitting $100 million in Colorado in 2008 --- print and other publications have found political campaigns and committees have deserted them in favor of electronic media (primarily television) advertising.  This is paradoxical because, as a rule, newspaper readers are far more active politically than their electronic counterparts (with the exception of political Websites).  For this reason, if publications offered the right opportunities, they could gain some of the dollars which are being spent in the political arena.

Aaron Harber, a columnist for The Denver Daily News and The Colorado Statesman, who also has been published by a variety of newspapers (The Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News, the Times-Call, and the Daily Camera, among others) has developed a plan to help print publications.  In 2008, with leadership statewide by COMCAST Entertainment Television, Aaron pioneered “The Senate In Balance TM” --- a 22-program series.  It featured programs with Republican nominee and former Congressman Bob Schaffer and Democratic nominee and then-Congressman Mark Udall (D).  The project (from endorsements http://www.SenateCO.com/Endorsements.html to all 22 television shows) can be viewed at www.SenateCO.com.  Using the investment made and groundwork laid in 2008, USA Talk Network, Inc. has expanded its public service effort for the 2010 election.

This, time, however, publications will have the opportunity to have many of the television programs (except for “live” programming, such as call-in shows) at least 24 hours before they are broadcast anywhere on television.  This is the core concept of the Publishers’ Advantage.  The extent of the advance access to programs also is a function of the specific arrangement each publication has with USA-TN.  In all cases, however, there is no charge for the programming to any of the participating publications.

Publications will attract new subscribers, readers, viewers, and advertisers to their publications and Websites.  Hence, Publishers’ Advantage gives newspapers editorial advantages because they would have the first copies of finished programs (except for journalists who cover tapings.  There also are new revenue opportunities because this arrangement gives newspapers opportunities to sell Website and video advertising space and time on an unlimited basis before and after each program.  In addition, each publication will be able to have its own readers send in questions for the candidates and can advertise this opportunity exclusively to its subscribers.  Examples of the diversity of publications which already have signed up for the initiative include:

The Boulder Daily Camera

The Canon City Daily Record

The Colorado Statesman

The Delta County Independent

The Denver Business Journal

The Denver Daily News

The Fort Collins Coloradoan

The Grand Junction Sentinel

The Greeley Tribune

The Johnstown Breeze           

The Longmont Times-Call

The Loveland Reporter-Herald

Publishers’ Advantage is structured so there is no cost to the participants.  The television programs will be donated to each participating publication.  For this experiment, USA-TN will cover all of the expenses related to the production and distribution of the special television programs.  And Aaron Harber has agreed to donate his per-program hosting fee.  Even better, when publications sell advertising related to the programs, they will keep all (100%) of it and would not share any of the revenue with USA-TN.  There would be no limit to how much time or how many advertisements publication sell before or after each segment or program.  The only requirement is the programs and segments (some programs also will be edited into 1- to 5-minute segments) provided by USA-TN would be provided to readers and viewers by program participants without any interruption or modification.

Hence this concept allows newspapers to offer political campaigns and other political entities such as 527’s, 501(c)(3)’s, 501(c)(4)’s, 501(c)6)’s, individuals, et cetera, a highly targeted demographic.  These advertising buyers know newspaper readers are a far more politically active and higher voting demographic than television viewers.  The program will allow television advertising to be placed on the Websites of publications immediately before and after the political public affairs programming provided by USA-TN.  And each publication could keep as many programs on its Website as it desires through November 2, 2010.  For those publications who do not want their own copy of any program, they can simply use a link as a way to provide their readers with access to the programs (with the publication’s advertisements appearing upon their readers’ use of the link, if they wish).

To summarize, the concept provides attractive, unique, high-quality video programming at no cost to publications which they can make available via their Websites to their readers for an exclusive period of time before the shows appear on television.  Thus publications will have access to and Web broadcast rights prior to television broadcast of most programs and they will be able to tell their readers they can view the shows on the publications’ Websites in advance of being able to view them on television (i.e., “Watch it here first!”).

COMCAST Entertainment Television (“CET”) and USA-TN have finalized an agreement for 2010 which allows Publishers’ Advantage   participants to view the shows prior to their broadcast on CET.  CET will broadcast the programs during the Prime Time slot of 8:00 pm on Mondays and will rebroadcast them at 7:30 am on Fridays and Sundays.  The programs also will be available 24/7 via COMCAST’s free Video on Demand service.  The programs also will be broadcast across the State by ION Media Networks (KPXC-TV) as well as by Denver Open Media (DCTV) and TV Aspen, among other broadcast and Web outlets.

This is a win/win/win/win arrangement.  The publications get exclusive content --- making them more attractive to their subscribers and advertisers.  The broadcasters get new content along with promotions from the publications which, in turn, direct more viewers to the television broadcasts and increase audience numbers.  Candidates get a chance to detail their positions in depth.  And, most importantly, citizens receive a valuable public benefit by getting high quality information in a manner which mitigates negative political advertising.

Many publishers have asked, “So why is Aaron doing this?”  The answer is threefold.  First, he believes Publishers’ Advantage will expand the public service contribution of his programming by making it available to more citizens.  If he can reach more members of the electorate and help inform people, that would further his public service mission.  Aaron knows viewers of his programs are tremendous consumers of news.  They include the State’s opinion-leaders, businesspeople, elected and appointed officials, and most politically-active citizens --- typically drawn from the Media, Government, Politics, Business, and Education.  They are very well-educated, have high incomes, and are decision-makers.  The Publishers’ Advantage initiative serves this target audience.

Second, Aaron believes the survival of newspaper journalism is critically important to the health of the American Republic.  He believes our democratic system is irreparably damaged every time a paper closes its doors.  And he recognizes most news on television and the Web originates from print journalism -- so everyone benefits from this initiative.  He believes this project can show there are solutions to the financial challenges print publications face by demonstrating how print and electronic journalism can be combined advantageously.  Aaron has written extensively about the future of newspaper journalism and Publishers’ Advantage is based on his belief in the need to bolster journalism.  This is illustrated by the column he authored published in “The Huffington Post” --- www.HuffingtonPost.com/aaron-harber.)  Below is one of the many responses he received to that column.



I started reading your column with very low expectations, thinking what can a broadcaster tell me about newspapers?  In fact it’s the best darned thing I’ve read on the topic.  Thanks for giving this dilemma such deep and thoughtful treatment.


Sincerely, Kevin Helliker, Senior Writer, Wall Street Journal  (312) 750 4124

Third, although there is no payment required from newspapers, USA-TN anticipates each participating publication will promote the later availability of the programs on television and highlight every new program as it is featured on each newspaper’s Website.  Some publications also may write stories about the programs based on their news content --- so this will enhance the value of the newspaper.  Nevertheless, there is no financial or advertising requirement or quid pro quo from USA-TN related to the promotion of or reporting about the programs.  These decisions are solely left to the discretion of each publication.  Now, to the program content…

THE U.S. SENATE RACE.  The U.S. Senate race in Colorado already is attracting major national attention as Democrats seek to hold onto their majority in Washington, DC.  Incumbent Michael Bennet (D) has never run for elected office and remains relatively unknown although his fundraising has been prodigious.  Bennet already has been formally endorsed by President Barack Obama.  He is being challenged by former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Andrew Romanoff in a primary race which many consider a toss-up.  The likely Republican nominee, former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, leads in the polls for both major parties.

THE GOVERNOR’S RACE AND OTHER CONTESTS.  The Colorado gubernatorial race is highly contested and likely also will be very close.  Former Congressman Scott McInnis has a lead over all his Republican opponents.  Since incumbent Democrat Bill Ritter quit the race, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is in a statistical tie with McInnis.  This will be an exciting race with national implications, especially given the debate about the State’s Budget, the New Energy Economy, and other issues relevant to other states and the nation.  The series will feature other federal and state races in Colorado, including the most hotly-contested candidate races and ballot issues.

MAJOR GUESTS.  USA-TN also will premiere some of its programs with major national guests as part of the Publishers’ Advantage initiative.  High-profile guests with not-yet broadcast shows being considered for inclusion are former Secretary of State James Baker, wellness guru Deepak Chopra, the artist Christo, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Oprah’s Dr. Mehmet Oz, and General Colin Powell, among others.  Newspaper participants would have the first opportunity to offers many of these programs to their readers and viewers.

In addition to the Senate and gubernatorial contestants who participate, the series will draw from others who have won election to these positions.  The guest selection pool includes Colorado U.S. Senator, Mark Udall (D), and former U.S. Senators Wayne Allard (R), Bill Armstrong (R), Hank Brown (R), Ben Campbell (R), Gary Hart (D), Ken Salazar (D), and Timothy Wirth (D), and Colorado’s former Governors --- Dick Lamm(D), Bill Owens(R), Roy Romer(D), and John Vanderhoof (R), although the latter’s participation is limited due to health.  All the former Senators support the “Colorado Election 2010 TM” series.

“Colorado Election 2010 TM” differs from other public affairs programs because it offers viewers the opportunity to truly make in-depth assessments of the candidates via substantive discussions.  This has never been done to this extent in any other federal or gubernatorial contest in the history of USA.  The series is anticipated to play a major role in the ultimate outcome of the 2010 campaigns.

Aaron is uniquely qualified to host the series due to his extensive broadcast and political experience as well as his knowledge of key issues and the political process.  And the recognition by members of both major political parties in Colorado of the nonpartisan nature and evenhandedness of his broadcast work is paramount to the success of this initiative.  Please view his biographical narrative at http://HarberTV.com/aboutbio.html.

Aaron was graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs with his A.B. concentration in Economics, and received his graduate degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government with his Masters degree in Public Administration focused on two separate academic fields --- (1) Ethics in Government, Politics, and Business, and (2) Campaign Finance Regulation in all 50 states.  Aaron has broadcast from the White House and from both Republican and Democratic National Conventions. 

Aaron gained national acclaim when he was sued frivolously for $20 million by Rush Limbaugh for using the word "Rush" in the title of his national radio program ("After the Rush").  With support from both sides of the aisle, Aaron won the federal case and teased Limbaugh by renaming the show “Against The Rush.”  Aaron appreciated the publicity generated by Limbaugh’s foray because it generated many offers.  Aaron moved in 1998 from the Talk America Radio Network (where he was heard on 51 radio stations across the nation) solely into television.

“The Aaron Harber Show” debuted statewide in 2002.  Aaron served from 2004 to 2008 as a host of the KBDI-TV Channel 12 and CBS4 (KCNC Channel 4)“Colorado Decides” series.  View the “The Aaron Harber Show” 27-second Open at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZfzzJ9Po28&feature=channel_page to see some of Aaron’s guests.  The talk industry's leading publication -- "TALKERS MAGAZINE" -- selected Aaron out of more than 5,000 hosts as one of America's "100 Most Important Talk Show Hosts" in 1997 (with others such as Don Imus, G. Gordon Liddy, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlesinger, Howard Stern, and Bruce Williams).  Please visit the show’s Website (www.HarberTV.com) or e-mail Info@HarberTV.com for more information.  Thank you.

(C) Copyright 2010 by USA Talk Network, Inc. and Aaron Harber.  All rights reserved.  “USA Talk Network,” “Colorado Election 2010,” “The Senate In Balance,” “Blind Justice,” and “The Aaron Harber Show ” are the registered trademarks and/or the proprietary products, tradenames, and/or properties of USA Talk Network, Inc. and Aaron Harber, Post Office Box 17143, Boulder, CO 80308-0143; e-mail: Producer@HarberTV.com.   [02-25-10]

The Publishers’ Advantage Program