For politicians, if you don’t want to be on the news, you dump unpopular stories on a Friday in the summer. If you want to expose a story, you do it on a Monday or Tuesday morning.
If you don’t want to freak out investors, disclose your story on a bank holiday. In the U.S. Martin Luther King Day occurs on the 3rd Monday every January. Steve Jobs who was getting very ill, thought his PR folks at Apple dump the story that morning, and no one will notice since most Wall Streeters are not in the trading floor – even for a holiday.
Most of the cable business channels, CNBC and Bloomberg do not have staff who come in, except for European closes when there is major events that break. But in recent years, they just run whatever is set on the playout servers.
Fox Business Network, whether they had that year or did since the start, would be on every bank holiday. Even a holy day like Good Friday. FBN was on a regular scheduled Business Day programming with a ticker with Friday’s quotes and live bugs that were of the futures. The story was Steve Jobs’ leave of absence, and if memory serves, he resigned from Apple in August and passed in October of that year.
The most ironic thing was CNBC and Bloomberg did not touch the story on cable. Their sites had the story, but not one reporter could do a live phoner with a still graphic or have someone come in and do a live shot or what. Since technology and business do go hand and hand, this was a major breaking news story in this realm. The established cable business news channels were MIA. No person did not want to be bothered at CNBC to go into Englewood Cliffs and do a five minute breakin, or Bloomberg for that matter. Bloomberg West I believe came on the air just before or after that time, though did some live program out west I believe by 6:00 Eastern. CNBC by late afternoon ET did ran a crawl of this earth shattering headline in the business world but had limited information prior to. Meanwhile FBN owned this story throughout the day and into the evening, and repeated that story every hour. I remember my mother was ether sick or got snowed in and we learned the news when Don Imus’ then show was on that network since FBN in those days had better news coverage in business.
You wouldn’t think that after a significant member of technology and business made news and a scrappy network on 1211 6th Ave would own the story, that they would have plans in the future. FBN was still a ratings challenged network for the time, but they made major improvements as time went on.
I would bet this story made them look really decent because of their continued business news despite a holiday. And today the tag had the annual “While CNBC is on reruns, we’re open for business!”
Steve Jobs was the winner for choosing to be low key, however he was naive that FBN was the domestic news agency that would ran with the story – the same day – making him not run away of burying a material news story, while the established CNBC was the looser.
Steve Jobs was a man who did transform the world’s technology and Apple was always a popular news story amongst the technical and business press, and on cable news. While I don’t think what he did was wrong, what was wrong was how the competing cable channels just was unable respond – on a holiday mostly for financial workers, and schools and government.
The egg was on CNBC’s face for sure!