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Sometimes a headline says it all…

And this would be an example: Camel maker Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking. Wow.

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NASCAR viewership down

Per Sport Media Watch:

NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Talladega, the sixth race in the Chase for the Cup, earned a 2.7 final rating and 4.3 million viewers on ESPN Sunday — down 13% in ratings and 12% in viewership from last year (3.1, 4.9M) and down 16% and 15%, respectively, from 2012 (3.2, 5.1M).

And:

Overall, 23 of the 28 NASCAR races that can be compared to last year have had declines in ratings and 22 have had declines in viewership.

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Wreck of U 576 found off the North Carolina coast

On July 14, 1942, the German submarine U 576 torpedoed and sank the American motor vessel Bluefields off Cape Hatteras. The U-boat was sunk soon thereafter with all hands in an ASW counterattack. The wreck of both vessels were found earlier this year by a team led by NOAA; the discovery was announced today.

In 1942, four U-boats were sunk off the North Carolina coast. U 576 was the final of these wrecks to be located.

Obviously, I have a bit different of a perspective on this than most people would. I will say that it is outstanding to see the U.S. government take the lead in locating such significant wrecks and recognizing it as a war grave.

Bonus thought: High-quality sonar images of submarine wrecks are a true game-changer in marine archeology.

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Frontier Airlines drops CLT – Washington Dulles

As of January 5th. Well that didn’t last long, as Frontier only started service on the route on Aug. 20. This leaves Frontier with a single flight from Charlotte. It’s to Trenton, NJ and operates four or five days a week. The airline is also apparently planning service from Charlotte to Philadelphia, but the airline hasn’t loaded the schedule for that yet.

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The Panthers exposed

The Carolina Panthers were good in 2013 despite having very limited salary-cap space because the performance of their NFL minimum-salary and near minimum-salary signings exceeded expectations. The problem with that is players like Ted Ginn Jr. and Captain Munnerlyn that did well in 2013 signed elsewhere for more money in the offseason, leaving the Panthers to again through the NFL’s bargain bin hoping adequately fill numerous holes (secondary, offensive line etc.). How’s that working out for the Panthers so far this year? Not so well, as yesterday’s embarrassing loss in Green Bay demonstrates.

James Dator at Cat Scratch Reader nicely sums up the situation the Panthers are facing:

The Carolina Panthers are stuck in a land of crappy options. This team is learning in mid-October just how devastating the roster problems from May really are. Sunday was a complete and unmitigated disaster, and following the blowout loss to Green Bay we are approaching the time that heads might roll. At least the season won’t be boring.

Cam Newton played his worst game of the season on Sunday, and you know what? He still wasn’t the problem. The box score is ugly, the film is uglier — but a quarterback can’t be expected to play behind an offensive line of UDFAs and castoffs. Couple that with Clay Matthews dominating Byron Bell every snap and it was a horrible situation.

And:

Offensively the Panthers were a train wreck, defensively it was a dumpster fire. I’ll buy that Dave Gettleman didn’t really have any good options this offseason. I’ll entertain the idea that a poor salary cap situation paired with lost players caused a vacuum for which there wasn’t a good solution. That said, talent evaluation is supposed to be Gettleman’s strong suit, and every free agent signing the Panthers made this offseason was been an mistake outside of Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant.

On Sunday a trio of aging defensive backs showed precisely why they were let go from their previous teams. It was uncanny how Antoine Cason, Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud each found a way to fail in succession with machine-like precision. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Sure you might see one guy having a bad day, but on every passing play one of these three was doing something wrong.

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Gold is the new platinum

At best, in music sales it seems. It use to be that a band had a hit album if it went platinum — shipped 1,000,000 copies. As Billboard points out, that just doesn’t happen much any more. No artist album has sold 1,000,000 units (copies) in 2014 (but see note below).

And the pain for the music industry doesn’t end there:

Overall, digital track sales fell 12.9 percent to 848.5 million in the first nine months of the year ended Sept. 28, 2014, down from 974.6 million in the corresponding period last year, ended Sept. 29, 2013. At the end of 2013, the first year of the digital sales decline, track sales were down 5.7 percent and album sales were down 0.1 percent.

But in the first nine months of this year, digital album sales declined 11.5 percent to 77.6 million from the 87.8 million scans garnered in the first nine months of 2013. Meanwhile, CD sales were down 18.9 percent to 91.7 million from 113.1 million units, which means that overall album sales were down 14.4 percent.

Ouch.

The only good news? Vinyl sales are up 47.5 percent (!) to 6.074 million units while indie stores are holding their own, seeing only a 2.3 percent reduction in sales.

(Note: The RIAA uses a weird definition to certify albums as going platinum, relying on units shipped instead of units sold. Obviously, it’s easier to reach a million units shipped than a million copies actually sold. Either way, the numbers are extremely bleak and a big hit in 2014 isn’t near as big as a hit was in years past.)

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American Airlines announces Miami-Franfurt

ExMiami reports that American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said at a conference yesterday that the airlines would be starting Miami-Frankfurt. No start date was given.

Very, very likely Charlotte impact: Say goodbye to US Airways’ second Charlotte-Franfurt flight, which is summer seasonal. As previously mentioned, US Airways’ notional summer 2015 European schedule includes the flight, but that schedule is also unworkable as it requires more A330s than the airline actually has.

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Hornets using “dynamic pricing”

Back in the day, I worked at the Camelot Music store on Independence Boulevard for a year. And yes, we sold tickets, including Charlotte Hornets tickets. One thing I quickly learned working in the ticket window was that who the Hornets played and what day of the week it was mattered greatly in how interested people were in buying tickets to a particular game. So Rick Bonnell’s article that the Hornets are now (and have been for the past four years) making use of “dynamic pricing” — letting demand determine the determine the price of a specific seat for a specific game — comes as little surprise:

Individual game tickets can vary in price based on opponent, day of the week or, in the case of the opener against the Milwaukee Bucks, the first regular season game in Hornets uniforms.

A top-row seat at Time Warner Cable Arena could typically sell for as little as $16. But that same seat is on sale for about $70 for the season opener and about $82 for a home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers featuring superstar LeBron James.

No, what I do find surprising is that it took the team until 2010 to move to having demand for tickets to a particular game influence the price — it’s Econ 101 in action.

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Monroe has a new city manager

Again. Wonder what the under/over is on his longevity. 18 months?

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Patrick Cannon gets 44 months

And it might have as well have been 44 minutes or 44 seconds, for for the amount of catharsis it generates. Cannon’s sentencing is an empty act because of the many questions that weren’t answered, beginning with why the FBI targeted Cannon in the first place. Without such information, there can be no closure as we still don’t know the actual scope of Cannon’s corruption. Worse still, there are many local ‘leaders’ in government, industry, and the press who are quite happy to see an end of the matter, and have the true scope of pay-to-play in Charlotte remain hide. Cockroaches don’t like the light and the FBI seems to have brought an awfully small flashlight to the Queen City…

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