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The Morning Fix: RIP Dan Burke; a DJ is missing

October 27, 2011 |  7:24 am

After the coffee. Before figuring out if I'm too old for 'Beavis and Butt-Head.'

The Skinny: I used to do a pretty good imitation of Beavis when I was younger but now I can't hit the high notes. Hope the show still has it when it returns Thursday night. Enough free ads. Thursday's headlines include obituaries for legendary broadcaster Dan Burke, a fight between Warner Bros. and Blockbuster, and another sad day for the radio industry.

RIP. Dan Burke, the longtime No. 2 at CapCities/ABC and a pivotal figure of the modern television industry, died Wednesday at the age of 82. Burke, the father of NBCUniversal Chief Executive Steve Burke and former Turner Broadcasting executive Bill Burke, worked alongside Tom Murphy for over 30 years and helped take Cap/Cities from a tiny broadcaster to a powerful media giant, culminating in the purchase of ABC. Burke retired in 1994, two years before ABC was sold to Walt Disney Co. Obituaries from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Not a Blockbuster night. Warner Bros. is feuding with Blockbuster and no is no longer providing new releases to the video store chain. At issue is the 28-day gap the studio wants between the sale and rental of its DVDs. Blockbuster has long offered sales and rentals of movies the same day they are released. The studios think sales can be boosted if customers have to wait a month to rent. Blockbuster is getting around the ban by buying discs elsewhere and then offering them for rental. So if you see a Blockbuster employee coming out of Walmart with 20 copies of "Horrible Bosses," you'll know why. Coverage from the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times and Variety.

Money changes everything. When you're in last place in the television business, you've got to take chances and you have a lot of holes to fill. That often means buying more projects and that means spending more money. NBC is struggling, hence it is buying more projects and spending more money. It's not rocket science and neither is it a strategy. It's what they have to do. The Hollywood Reporter looks at NBC's spending spree.

Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. A new aggressive bill to fight online piracy supported by Hollywood was unveiled by the House Judiciary Committee but Google and Yahoo are not fans of the proposed legislation. More on the fight from The Hill.

Where'd everybody go? Time Warner Cable's third-quarter profits dropped as the company lost cable subscribers in the quarter. Before people start chanting "cord cutters," analysts think customers were more likely to have switched providers rather than dropped a pay-TV service. Switch providers? I can do that? Hmmm. Details from Bloomberg.

One of our deejays is missing. Jim Ladd, one of the few remaining radio disc jockeys who actually picked his own songs to play, has been dropped from KLOS-FM Los Angeles by new owner Cumulus Media. Also let go was the station's program director. Of course, if your plan is to play the exact same songs on all your stations around the country at the exact same time then you don't really need program directors or disc jockeys. Remember when you knew you were in a different city just by listening to the radio? Yeah, those days are gone. If every place in America is going to look exactly the same, then why not have every radio station sound exactly the same? Sad. More from Ladd in the Orange County Register.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: If you want to see Steven Spielberg's new movie "Tintin," you'd better book a flight to Europe. Robert Lloyd on the return of MTV's "Beavis and Butt-Head. Heh, heh, heh.

-- Joe Flint

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