06-19-2024  7:16 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • (Photo by Nati Harnik/AP)

    Juneteenth is a Sacred American Holiday

    Today, when our history is threatened by erasure, our communities are being dismantled by systemic disinvestment, Juneteenth can serve as a rallying cry for communal healing and collective action. Read More
  • Dancer Prescylia Mae, of Houston, performs during a dedication ceremony for the massive mural

    Juneteenth Explained: What Is the Holiday, Why Was It Created and How Should It Be Celebrated?

    Many Americans are celebrating Juneteenth, marking the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the U.S. learned they were free. For generations, Black Americans have recognized the end of one of history’s darkest chapters with joy, in the form of parades, street festivals, musical performances or cookouts. There’s a push today for people to see beyond the revelry and learn about Juneteenth’s history. Read More
  • Adrian Perkins in his office in Chicago, Thursday, June 13, 2024. During his 2022 reelection campaign for mayor of Shreveport, La., a video, paid for by a rival political action committee, used artificial intelligence to superimpose Perkins’ face onto the body of an actor playing him. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    AI is Making Controversial Changes to State and Local Elections

    Text, photos, videos and audio created using artificial intelligence are increasingly making their way into campaigns for state and local office. AI deepfakes that misrepresent candidates can do more damage in those races because campaigns have fewer staffers and less money. Yet some local candidates see AI as an equalizer against more powerful or well-financed candidates. They can use it for the practical aspects running a campaign, which frees them up Read More
  • Charles McMillan, a witness to George Floyd’s murder, speaks at the site where Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

    Americans Used to Unite Over Tragic Events − and Now Are Divided by Them

    "Public tragedies have contributed to the increasing political polarization and the sectarian tone of political rhetoric today. One question I sought to answer in my book is why?" Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

‘Feeling Our Age’: Oregon Artist Explores Aging Through Portraiture

64 women were painted and asked to reflect on lives well lived.

Off-Duty Guard Charged With Killing Seattle-Area Teen After Mistaking Toy for Gun, Authorities Say

Prosecutors charged 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers on Monday in connection with the death of Hazrat Ali Rohani. Myers was also charged with assault after authorities say he held another teen at gunpoint. His attorney says Myers sincerely believed he was stopping a violent crime.

James Beard Finalists Include an East African Restaurant in Detroit and Seattle Pho Shops

The James Beards Awards are the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. For restaurants, even being named a finalist can bring wide recognition and boost business.

Ranked-Choice Voting Expert Grace Ramsey on What Portland Voters Can Expect in November

Ramsey has worked in several other states and cities to educate voters on new system of voting. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Word is Bond, Portland Art Museum, Portland Sneaker Week Announce Juneteenth Celebration Event, June 20

This Juneteenth program uses the shoe as a medium to amplify the creative voices and visions of Black men and their communities ...

Southeast Portland Natural Area Improvements Coming, Funded by Development Fees

Kelly Butte Natural Area trails, park amenities planned ...

Montavilla Pool to Reopen in July After Mandatory Maintenance

The pool will open later this summer due to an upgrade to the pool’s plumbing that required a more complex solution to achieve...

Coalition of 43 AGs Reach $700 Million Nationwide Settlement With Johnson and Johnson Over Deceptive Marketing; Oregon to Receive $15 Million

Today, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and 42 other attorneys general announced they have reached a 0 million nationwide...

Juneteenth 2024 Events in Portland and Seattle

View events celebrating Juneteenth in the Portland and Seattle area ...

With pardons in Maryland, 2.5 million Americans will have marijuana convictions cleared or forgiven

Maryland this week became the latest state to announce mass pardons for people convicted of marijuana-related crimes as the nation wrestles with how to make amends for the lives disrupted in the decadeslong war on drugs. Under Gov. Wes Moore's plan, more than 175,000 convictions for...

US acknowledges Northwest dams have devastated the region's Native tribes

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. government on Tuesday acknowledged, for the first time, the harmful role it has played over the past century in building and operating dams in the Pacific Northwest — dams that devastated Native American tribes by inundating their villages and decimating salmon runs...

Kansas lawmakers to debate whether wooing the Chiefs with new stadium is worth the cost

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators trying to lure the Kansas City Chiefs to their state argue that helping the Super Bowl champions build a new stadium could bring Kansas millions of dollars in income taxes from players and coaches, which are currently going to Missouri. Some...

Kansas lawmakers poised to lure Kansas City Chiefs from Missouri, despite economists' concerns

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A 170-year-old rivalry is flaring up as Kansas lawmakers try to snatch the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs away from Missouri even though economists long ago concluded subsidizing pro sports isn't worth the cost. The Kansas Legislature's top leaders...

OPINION

Juneteenth is a Sacred American Holiday

Today, when our history is threatened by erasure, our communities are being dismantled by systemic disinvestment, Juneteenth can serve as a rallying cry for communal healing and collective action. ...

Supreme Court Says 'Yes” to Consumer Protection, "No" to Payday Lenders 7-2 Decision Upholds CFPB’s Funding

A recent 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court gave consumers a long-sought victory that ended more than a decade of challenges over the constitutionality of the agency created to be the nation’s financial cop on the beat. ...

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Willie Mays Appreciation: The 'Say Hey Kid' inspired generations until his death

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Long after “The Catch” and his 660 home runs, and the daring sprints around the bases with his hat falling off, Willie Mays could still command a room like no other. Mays was a frequent visitor to the downtown ballpark in San Francisco at 24 Willie Mays...

A journalist traces his family tree back to ancestor who served in Black regiment in Civil War

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was the middle of the night in the summer of 2021 when I finally found the missing piece of my family history. My great-great-great-great grandfather Hewlett Sands, born into slavery in Oyster Bay, New York in 1820, was one of the more than 200,000 names listed...

Rickwood Field, a time capsule of opportunity and oppression, welcomes MLB for Negro Leagues tribute

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Gerald Watkins watched Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and other New York Yankees wade through stalks of corn onto an Iowa field in 2021, near the filming site for the 1989 baseball movie “Field of Dreams.” Watkins thought about Rickwood Field, the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Book Review: 'Margo’s Got Money Troubles’ tells a tale of modern love and success

The cover art and title of “Margo’s Got Money Troubles” don’t quite convey the wild ride readers who crack open this new fiction from Rufi Thorpe will take. There’s a reason Apple TV optioned it as a series starring Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning before it was even published. This is a...

Music Review: Paul McCartney and Wings' oft bootlegged 1974 'One Hand Clapping' deserves applause

The sound of Paul McCartney and Wings' “One Hand Clapping” used to only be heard on bootlegs, or in snippets available on archival releases over the years. But it's new (mostly) complete official release deserves two-handed applause. As aging rockers empty their...

Book Review: 'Swole' explores what masculinity could be in a hyperconnected, TikTok-imaged world

Author Michael Brodeur takes the gym too seriously, and not seriously at all at the same time, in his book “Swole: The Making of Men and the Meaning of Muscles” in an effort to show the readers that the overly online world of hypermasculinity is an illusion and what a man can be is what you...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

US soldier convicted of theft in Russia and sentenced to nearly 4 years in prison

MOSCOW (AP) — A court in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok on Wednesday convicted a visiting American...

How did North Korean soldiers wander across the world's most heavily guarded border?

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Don’t believe the name: The Demilitarized Zone between the two rival Koreas might be...

Caitlin Clark and the WNBA are getting a lot of attention. It's about far more than basketball

NEW YORK (AP) — Oh, you thought going to a WNBA basketball game might be an escape from the arguments and...

Britain's rollercoaster-riding Liberal Democrat leader embraces stunts to gain election attention

LONDON (AP) — Most politicians try to avoid slips, stumbles and undignified photos. Not Ed Davey. ...

US approves new 0 million arms sale to Taiwan for drones, related equipment

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Tuesday approved a new 0 million weapons sale to Taiwan,...

EU criticizes France for excessive debt, putting pressure on Macron during election campaign

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's executive arm on Wednesday criticized France for running up excessive debt,...

Peter Svensson AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The weak economy is hitting Americans where they spend a lot of their free time: at the TV set.

They're canceling or forgoing cable and satellite TV subscriptions in record numbers, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of the companies' quarterly earnings reports.

The U.S. subscription-TV industry first showed a small net loss of subscribers a year ago. This year, that trickle has turned into a stream. The chief cause appears to be persistently high unemployment and a housing market that has many people living with their parents, reducing the need for a separate cable bill.

But it's also possible that people are canceling cable, or never signing up in the first place, because they're watching cheap Internet video. Such a threat has been hanging over the industry. If that's the case, viewers can expect more restrictions on online video, as TV companies and Hollywood studios try to make sure that they get paid for what they produce.

In a tally by the AP, eight of the nine largest subscription-TV providers in the U.S. lost 195,700 subscribers in the April-to-June quarter.

That's the first quarterly loss for the group, which serves about 70 percent of households. The loss amounts to 0.2 percent of their 83.2 million video subscribers.

The group includes four of the five biggest cable companies, which have been losing subscribers for years. It also includes phone companies Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. and satellite broadcasters DirecTV Group Inc. and Dish Network Corp. These four have been poaching customers from cable, making up for cable-company losses - until now.

The phone companies kept adding subscribers in the second quarter, but Dish lost 135,000. DirecTV gained a small number, so combined, the U.S. satellite broadcasters lost subscribers in the quarter - a first for the industry.

The AP's tally excludes Cox Communications, the third-largest cable company, and a bevy of smaller cable companies. Cox is privately held and does not disclose subscriber numbers.

Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett estimates that the subscription-TV industry, including the untallied cable companies, lost 380,000 subscribers in the quarter. That's about one out of every 300 U.S. households, and more than twice the losses in the second quarter of last year. Ian Olgeirson at SNL Kagan puts the number even higher, at 425,000 to 450,000 lost subscribers.

The second quarter is always the year's worst for cable and satellite companies, as students cancel service at the end of the spring semester. Last year, growth came back in the fourth quarter. But looking back over the past 12 months, the industry is still down, by Moffett's estimate. That's also a first.

The subscription-TV industry is no longer buoyed by its first flush of growth, so the people who cancel because they're unemployed are outweighing the very small number of newcomers who've never had cable or satellite before. Dish CEO Joe Clayton told analysts on a conference call Tuesday that the industry is "increasingly saturated."

But like other industry executives, Clayton sees renewed growth around the corner. Though his company saw the biggest increase in subscriber flight compared with a year ago, he blamed much of that on a strategic pullback in advertising, which will be reversed before the end of the year.

Other executives gave few indications that the industry has hit a wall. For most of the big companies, the slowdown is slight, hardly noticeable except when looking across all of them. Nor do they believe Internet video is what's causing people to leave.

Glenn Britt, the CEO of Time Warner Cable Inc. said the effect of Internet video on the number of cable subscribers is "very, very modest;" in fact, so small that it's hard to measure.

SNL Kagan's Olgeirson said the people canceling subscriptions behind, or never signing up, are an elusive group, difficult to count. Yet he believes the trend is real, and he calls it the "elephant in the room" for the industry.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that young, educated people who aren't interested in live programs such as sports are finding it easier to go without cable. Video-streaming sites like Netflix.com and Hulu.com are helping, as they run many popular TV shows for free, sometimes the day after they air on television.

In June, The Nielsen Co. said it found that Americans who watch the most video online tend to watch less TV. The ratings agency said it started noticing last fall that a segment of consumers were starting to make a trade-off between online video and regular TV. The activity was more pronounced among people ages 18-34.

Olgeirson expects programmers to keep tightening access to shows and movies online. A few years ago, Olgeirson said, "they threw open the doors," figuring they'd make money from ads accompanying online video besides traditional sources such as the fees they charge cable companies to carry their channels. But if it looks as if online video might endanger revenue from cable, which is still far larger, they'll pull back.

"Are they really going to jeopardize that? The answer is no," Olgeirson said.

Already, News Corp.'s Fox broadcasting company is delaying reruns on Hulu by a week unless the viewer pays a $8-a-month subscription for Hulu Plus or subscribes to Dish's satellite TV service. Other subscription-TV providers may join in the future. TV producers and distributors want to discourage people from dropping their subscriptions.

Moffett believes it's hard to separate the effect of the economy from that of Internet video. Subscription-TV providers keep raising rates because content providers such as Hollywood studios and sports leagues demand ever higher prices. That's causing a collision with the economic realities of American households.

"Rising prices for pay TV, coupled with growing availability of lower cost alternatives, add to a toxic mix at a time when disposable income isn't growing," Moffett said.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast