TodayInMusic: Pandora adds Chernin and ex-Netflix CFO to board

Pandora_Tim Westergren11Pandora, the popular Internet radio service, has expanded its board membership with two heavyweights of the media world: former News Corp no.2 Peter Chernin and former Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy.

The news will naturally stoke speculation that an IPO is indeed round the corner. Reuters reported last month that the company has met with bankers to discuss a $100 million public offering.

Chernin, wh0 left News Corp in early 2009, now runs his own business in Hollywood called The Chernin Group and Chernin Entertainment investing in media, entertainment and technology businesses.

McCarthy stepped down from Netflix in December after 12 years but has some background in the music business with a previous role at Music Choice.

A Pandora spokeswoman declined to confirm if either Chernin or McCarthy has made a personal investment in the business. To date the company has raised about $56.3 million according to various venture data sources.

Media, tech moguls meet in New York (You are NOT invited)

Media and technology executives are meeting Wednesday and Thursday in New York City at a conference hosted by private equity firm Quadrangle. Note the word private.

When they meet at the Plaza, they will talk about a ton of different things that their customers, their investors and other readers want to know. I have to apologize for them because they’re not letting in any riff-raff. And that includes reporters who get paid to spend all day figuring out how these people decide what kind of entertainment you want, what kind of technology you pay them for and what deals they pursue with the money that you give them when you buy their stock. This event always excludes press, but that’s no reason not to highlight what you probably are missing because of this. After all, who wants to wait for the 8-K filing?

Some press will be allowed, but it will be an assortment of celebrity journalists¬†who will moderate panels and, according to Peter Kafka, author of “MediaMemo”¬†at News Corp’s AllThingsD blog, will not write about the event (I’m talking about Maria Bartiromo and David Faber of CNBC, The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, etc).

Murdoch daughter disses dad

Courtesy of Richard Siklos, Fortune’s media writer extraordinaire, who just posted this on the website on Tuesday:

“In the weeks that Rupert Murdoch was locked in unsuccessful negotiations to keep his longtime No. 2 at News Corp., the media baron also had to accept his daughter Elisabeth’s decision to turn down a spot on the company’s board, sources told Fortune.”

That’s exciting, from a soap-opera-meets-financial-news angle, because Murdoch is letting longtime right-hand man Peter Chernin leave the company, in part because the media baron has a sense of familial duty. That is to say, many people say he wants his children to take over the company. The most likely choice is his son James, 36, who is active in the company’s UK and Asian operations. Having said that, Elisabeth is no slouch in the media department.

Chernin parachutes, Murdoch keeps flying

News Corp President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin’s perks after he leaves News Corp at the end of June are basic compared with some legendary golden parachutes, though they’re still worth more money than I make in a year. Or 10 years for that matter.

In addition to his Fox studios production deal, Chernin’s creature comforts include 50 hours on News Corp’s jet ($1.65 million value), corporate car ($210,000 value) and possibly personal secretary services ($1.05 million value). See the proxy statement for more details.

That might not send the image of a cost-cutting corporate culture at a time when News Corp’s stock is down 70 percent and the bottom looks further away as its most can-do executive quits. Then again, maybe Chernin’s doing the right thing, all things considered. Check out this little-noticed excerpt from Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch’s memo to employees:

Rough day for Murdoch. Or is it?

One has to wonder what today is like for a media chief as mogul-y as Rupert Murdoch, whose

News Corp has its hands in everything from publishing and newspapers to Internet, TV and movies. Today is the first day after News Corp President and COO Peter Chernin — who has been a critical force in News Corp’s success in movies and TV — said he was planning to leave the executive suite in June to make movies.

That leaves the 77-year-old Murdoch without his well-regarded No. 2 at a time when all media players are struggling with a dramatic advertising slowdown. That’s not good, right?

Steve Ballmer might as well take applications for Yahoo job

Able to use a computer? Check. High school diploma? Check. Work well with others? Check. Willing to strike a deal with Microsoft? Ummmm….

Indeed, in the hunt for the next top dog at Yahoo that last issue — whether the candidate can do a deal with Microsoft — may be the most pressing.

Since Yahoo’s announcement on Monday that Jerry Yang would step aside, the tech/media world has been abuzz with speculation about his replacement. Silicon Alley Insider is even running a terrific mock election — letting its readers vote among six candidates.

News Corp’s Chernin gets Supreme Court warm-up

peter-chernin.jpgNews Corp’s U.S. television network Fox is going to the Supreme Court to fight for its right to broadcast freely — whatever the Federal Communications Commission has to say about it.

Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin will offer a preview of the network’s thinking tonight when he addresses the Media Institute, which is honoring him for his leadership on free speech. This comes in advance of the Nov. 4 court date in FCC v. Fox Television Stations.

Here’s the gist of the case, as The New York Times described it:

When Cher appeared on the Billboard Music Awards in 2002, she used a four-letter word connoting sex. The next year, on the same show, banter between Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie included that word and another obscenity. In Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, No. 07-582, the court will decide whether the F.C.C. has the power to punish broadcasters for airing “fleeting expletives.”

Semel, Kotick pass the buck on Yahoo’s future

semel.jpgTalk about passing the buck.

During a panel discussion on media and entertainment at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Wednesday, former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel swiftly deflected questions about the Internet company’s current pickle with Microsoft to his fellow panelist and Yahoo! board member Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.

Asked by moderator Dennis Kneale of CNBC how Yahoo had gotten itself in the position of being courted by Microsoft, Semel pointed to Kotick, who was sitting next to him.

“Ask the board member,” he said.

kotick.jpgBut Kotick wouldn’t bite. In fact, he said nothing at all.

Later on, Kneale tried again, asking another panelist, News Corp. President Peter Chernin, to tell Semel and Kotick what Yahoo! should do in response to Microsoft’s $44 billion bid.