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Businessweek Archives

Thomas Rogers: A Webmaster For Old Media

In Business This Week: Headliner

Thomas Rogers: A Webmaster for Old Media

Back to the future? On Sept. 27, NBC Cable President Thomas Rogers was named chairman and CEO of Primedia, the publishing group backed by buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. At NBC, Rogers was known for creating MSNBC and CNBC and pushing the network onto the Web. So what is he doing heading into Old Media at a time when most executives are stampeding to New Media and Internet startups? "I like traditional media assets," Rogers says. "I believe in using their brands to build new assets."

At Primedia, Rogers inherits a diverse roster of publishing titles assembled by departed Chairman William Reilly, ranging from apartment-hunting guides to New York and Seventeen magazines. It's easy to see why KKR's Henry Kravis sought out a CEO who could give Primedia a little Web magic: Recently its stock was trading barely above its 1995 IPO price. To juice it up, Rogers has to figure out how to extend it online. It may not be the next Yahoo!, but the company has nowhere to go but up.By Richard Siklos; Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top

Bell Atlantic Rings Up the FCC

Will the Baby Bells soon see their dream of ringing coast to coast come true? On Sept. 29, Bell Atlantic filed a request to the Federal Communications Commission for permission to offer long-distance service in New York state. Bell Atlantic may be the first Bell to get the nod, representing a huge step forward for the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Under the act, the Bells must first prove that they have opened up their local-calling markets to competition before they can offer long-distance service. Bell Atlantic claims it has opened up one million lines in New York to competitors. The FCC has 90 days to consider the request. Meanwhile, the FCC is also expected to approve SBC Communications' merger with Ameritech.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top

Peace on the Net--for Now

On Sept. 28, Herndon (VA.)-based Network Solutions and the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) signed a treaty settling a heated war over a key piece of the Internet. Network Solutions, which holds the monopoly for registering Web addresses with .com, .net, and .org suffixes, agreed to pay $1.25 million to ICANN, the Net self-regulatory body created to oversee a new competitive market for the business. In return, Network Solutions can operate for another four years the master registry for Web addresses.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top

GM and the UAW Shake on It

Bargainers at General Motors were giddy over their new four-year labor agreement with the United Auto Workers. After 19 factory-level strikes in six years, GM and the union agreed on Sept. 28 to a contract that satisfied both sides. GM maintains the flexibility it needs to let its workforce shrink by as much as 24% over the life of the contract, while GM workers get raises of more than 12%, plus adjustments for inflation. The pact also safeguards the job rights and pension benefits of workers at GM's former parts subsidiary, Delphi Automotive Systems. Next up for the union: Ford, where labor relations are strained.Edited by Mark FrankelReturn to top

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