Policy

Nugent, Sportsman Are Horsemen of ‘Aporkalypse’

9/03/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

“I love the smell of bacon in the
morning.”

On most shows, that would be a
reasonable declaration to begin, say,
a recipe for breakfast.

But on Pig Man: The Series, a show
on the Sportsman Channel, it’s the
battle cry of a new breed of, ahem,
hunters who are opening fire on feral
hogs with machine guns from helicopters.

In the episode that ran Aug. 26,
“Aporkalypse Now,” Brian “Pig
Man” Quaca
and rocker Ted Nugent
join forces to harvest hogs.
While heli-hunting is typically
illegal in Texas, a “depredation”
hunt for these nuisance pigs is legal
and sometimes requested by
landowners.

The show isn’t for the faint of
heart. One scene is reminiscent of
the real Apocalypse Now, complete
with “The Ride of the Valkyries”
playing in the background as Nugent
fires a machine gun at a line of feral
pigs, with brass empties flying out
the side of the gun. Dead pigs fold up
as they are hit below.

Feral hogs, as the show points out,
are a big problem in Texas and much
of the South. There are 2.6 million
in Texas alone, with some having litters
twice a year.

The show takes pains to educate
the viewer about the dangers of feral
pigs, omnivorous scavengers that
root up farm land (even cemeteries)
as they search for food.

When told some people think
heli-hunting should be illegal, Nugent,
an outspoken gun and hunting
advocate, says, “Are you kidding
me? It should be illegal not to do
this!”

FCC Turns Back
The ‘Shot’ Clock

The Federal Communications
Commissio
n was able to turn
back time, or at least its accounting
of it, after it approved cable
consortium SpectrumCo’s sale
of advanced wirless spectrum to
Verizon Wireless
two weeks ago.

While the deal was actually
voted by close of business Aug. 21, according to multiple
FCC sources, which meant it was approved by the
end of the 180th day of the FCC’s 180-day shot clock,
the next day, the FCC’s clock showed day 181.
The clock even made it to day 182 (Thursday) before,
in a regulatory version of daylight savings time,
being turned back to 180 days.

The FCC’s shot clock is only an informal
limit (it took 234 days for Comcast/
NBCUniversal and a whopping
404 for Comcast/Time Warner Cable/
Adelphia), but FCC insiders and outsiders
had been expecting chairman Julius
Genachowski
to try to get the vote
done by the deadline.

So why the 180? Since the order had
not been released by close of business
last Aug. 21, and indeed would not be
released until Aug. 23, an FCC source said the thinking
had been not to tip its hand to nosy journalists types like
The Wire by stopping the clock before it had officially announced
the vote and order, though sources had already
thoroughly tipped that hand to reporters by then.

— John Eggerton

Burning Bed Keeps
Verizon Up All Night

As Hurricane Isaac pummeled cable operators
and telcos along the Gulf Coast last week, Verizon Communications was dealing
with a separate, unnatural disaster in the
Northeast: a flaming mattress.

The burning bedding under a bridge in Lawrence,
Mass. — apparently ignited by a homeless
man’s cigarette — melted 60 PVC conduits
carrying Verizon fiber and copper cabling in the
wee small hours of last Monday (Aug. 27).

The damage knocked out service for about
7,000 customers of Verizon’s FiOS and legacy
telecom services in the area. Crews worked
overnight to make 12,000 fi ber-optic splices
in 36 hours, restoring service to all FiOS subscribers
and businesses with fiber connections
by last Wednesday (Aug. 29). At press
time, about 1,000 customers served by the
copper network were still incommunicado.

To be sure, Mother Nature has far more destructive
powers. But it’s a reminder that major
outages can stem from something as small
as a careless flick of the wrist.

— Todd Spangler

BRIGHT HOUSE
IN RNC SPOTLIGHT

Bright House Networks and C-SPAN were able
to rack up some major political capital from last
week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa,
Fla. The operator and the public-affairs net
displayed C-SPAN HD in hotel lobbies and bars
throughout the market, and the MSO, which carries
all three C-SPAN channels in HD, also brought
its campaign bus to several BHN-sponsored
events for delegates.

“Delegates are a natural C-SPAN audience and
are going prett y wild over C-SPAN stuff,” C-SPAN
VP Peter Kiley told The Wire via email. The net’s
public-interest mission as an industry-funded outlet
was of particular note: “Not a dime of taxpayer
money to support C-SPAN’s 30-plus years of service
is a big applause line this week,” Kiley said.

BHN execs also made the scene on the convention
floor in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Pictured
(l. to r.): C-SPAN’s Kiley with Bright House’s
Marva Johnson, corporate VP of government
and industry affairs; Kimberly Maki, corporate
VP of communications and online strategy; and
Kevin Hyman, EVP of cable operations.

September