“We’re Dealing With Real Issues…They’re Selling Girdles”

By Chris Ariens 

In next week’s BusinessWeek Ronald Grover writes about the “raging populism and extended coverage” that is helping put year-old Fox Business Network on the map. It’s a big map, but they’re there.

Distribution and channel placement are working against the News Corp. network. Grover writes, FBN “is available in only 42 million homes, compared with 95 million for CNBC. Even in the homes that can receive FBC, it is often found way up in the so-called digital tiers.” [Note to the BW editor: you may want to get your acronyms straight: It’s FBN, not FBC.]

BusinessWeek “estimates about 32,000 have been tuning in daily during the meltdown.” Which is interesting to note because a year after its launch (Sept. 29, ’97 – Oct. 26, ’97) Fox News channel averaged 20,000 daily viewers, and 30,000 in prime time.

And about that extended weekend programming, FBN EVP [and CNBC alum] Kevin Magee doesn’t miss an opportunity to take a shot at his competition: “We’re dealing with the real issues that are hitting people at home, and they’re selling girdles,” Magee says of CNBC. Grover also talks with an analyst who “predicts [FBN] could break even by 2011,” a year earlier than it took FNC.

Meanwhile, FBN continues to alter its programming as the markets continue to tank. The network preempted Alexis Glick’s regular morning show “Money for Breakfast” today. Instead, Glick anchored “Special Report” from the NYSE from 6am-9amET. Because, well…a menu of investment advice doesn’t seem very appetizing right now.