Morning Media Newsfeed: Aereo Files for Bankruptcy | MSNBC Hires Ex-WH Staffer

[emailonly]{{{ sbox300x250 }}}[/emailonly] Click here to receive Mediabistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed via email.

Aereo Files for Bankruptcy (TVSpy)
With a post on the company’s blog Friday morning, Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia announced the company had filed for bankruptcy protection. THR The digital TV service, which broadcast network owners battled in courts for offering access to broadcast TV signals via digital devices, made a voluntary Chapter 11 filing, it said in the statement. “We encountered significant challenges from the incumbent media companies,” said Kanojia in the statement. Mashable Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is typically expensive and allows for the company to restructure its debt. While filing for bankruptcy does not necessarily mean the end of the business, Kanojia struck a tone in a statement on Aereo’s website that insinuated the company was done. Variety New York-based Aereo had raised about $97 million, from investors including IAC chairman Barry Diller, media investor Gordon Crawford, Himalaya Capital Management, Highland Capital Partners and FirstMark Capital. Earlier this month Aereo laid off a majority of its staff, including employees in New York and Boston. The company said a small executive team of about a dozen people would remain. GigaOM Aereo’s bankruptcy petition shows it owes roughly $2 million to a list of creditors that include Internet companies like Level 3 and Google, as well as several law firms. But the most significant creditors on the list are names like ABC and Fox, the TV networks that are continuing to sue Aereo over copyright infringement. Aereo’s filing simply states “unknown” in the amount owed to the “litigation party” TV stations, which also include PBS, Telemundo and NBC.

MSNBC Names Former White House Staffer as VP of Communications (PRNewser)
Friday, MSNBC announced the hiring of Rachel Racusen as its new VP of communications. Racusen, who will handle comms and media strategy while partnering with editorial and business leads at the network, will also serve as MSNBC’s primary spokesperson moving forward. TVNewser Racusen joins the network from the White House, where she has been associate communications director. Prior to that, Racusen was deputy communications director for President Obama’s re-election campaign. FishbowlDC Beginning Dec. 8, Racusen will replace Lauren Skowronski, who was promoted to VP of corporate communications at NBCUniversal in July. Mediaite According to MSNBC’s press release, during her White House tenure, Racusen “played a key role in devising press strategies for the President’s domestic events and major policy announcements, including the State of The Union address, Climate Action Plan, the White House Working Families Summit, the economic agenda, and in responding to the situation in Ferguson and the Ebola crisis.” She was also reportedly part of the crisis management team during the troubled HealthCare.gov rollout and the subsequent effort to get Americans enrolled under the health care law.

Ex-NBC Employee Claims Bill Cosby Paid Off Women (New York Daily News)
Veteran NBC employee Frank Scotti says he helped Bill Cosby deliver thousands of dollars to eight different women in 1989-90 — including Shawn Thompson, whose daughter Autumn Jackson claimed the actor was her dad. THR Cosby, who has faced a string of decades-old sexual abuse allegations in recent weeks, denied the paternity claim. Scotti worked as a facilities manager at the Brooklyn studio where The Cosby Show was filmed. Scotti, who saved copies of the money orders to four women, believes that Cosby was sleeping with all the women who were getting money. Variety One woman whose name is on the receipts reached out to the Daily News and said the payments funded her son’s private school tuition. Scotti is confident that he was sexually involved with the women receiving payments, and came forward now because he “felt sorry for the women.” NBC declined comment on the story. Mediaite Cosby been very tight-lipped about the allegations of rape and sexual assault against him (though he did briefly make light of how people are demonizing him in a show last week), but in an interview Friday night, he took offense at people trying to get him to “answer to innuendos.”