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"Sex is not the one string on the guitar. There are nine more commandments."

--The Reverend Jesse Jackson, commenting on the Presidential sex scandalsEDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top

AND NOW, FROM THE WHITE HOUSE, AN AD

IT'S A POLICY WONK'S DREAM: a new public-affairs television station that airs entire press conferences from the White House or Pentagon. But wait a second--or 30. Unlike commercial-free C-SPAN, this station will sell ads to trade and public-interest groups. Will viewers appreciate, say, a Presidential press conference on the proposed tobacco settlement--sponsored by the Tobacco Institute?

Dennis Dunbar is betting they will. He is CEO and founder of Washington-based Information Super Station, Channel 28. Dunbar began ISS with $2 million from a videoconferencing business he owned. Started in February, ISS specializes in executive branch public-affairs programming and plans to go national this summer. Dunbar is sympathetic to the needs of lobbyists. Says he, with a straight face: "There aren't enough venues for people to reach out to try to promote their message."

So far, early sponsors may include a polling outfit, Club Tech. Still, the startup wins plaudits from C-SPAN, financed by the cable industry. Rich Fahle, C-SPAN's director of media relations, says: "It's a tough business, and an ad-based model is probably the only way to launch a C-SPAN-like service now." So, gun, beer, and tobacco lobbyists, line up.Catherine YangReturn to top

BROADWAY: THE ROAR OF THE PLASTIC

THEY SAY FOR EVERY LIGHT on Broadway there's a broken heart. Producers are less sentimental; they'd be happy seeing a credit card for each of those bulbs.

They may. The League of American Theatres & Producers, Broadway's trade association, is preparing an official credit card. The Live Broadway affinity card, similar to programs offered by sports teams, should premiere around the time of the Tony awards in June. It's part of the league's ongoing efforts to step up marketing for the $1.4 billion industry.

The market is large. There are some 125 league theaters nationwide, 37 of them in New York. Thirty million people saw a Broadway show last year, more than total attendance in any pro sports league except baseball, says Meg Meurer, director of new-business development for the Broadway group.

What do you get with this card? No annual fee and "competitive" interest rates says issuer First USA. Bonuses may include special seating at shows, backstage tours, good buys on theater memorabilia--even a walk-on part in a Broadway show. So who knows? This card could make you a star.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top

THE BIG BANG IS IN BONDS

THE NUMBERS WOULD MAKE any self-respecting Master of the Universe happy. The volume of corporate securities issued in the first quarter of 1998 has set a record, says Securities Data Co., which follows such things. Mostly, the surge is in bonds and other corporate debt.

Through Mar. 24, U.S. debt and equity issues totaled $437.4 billion, already surpassing the previous record of $372.5 billion in the third quarter of 1997. Slightly more than two-thirds of that was straight bonds, and about one-fifth was mortgage- and asset-backed debt.

Why the love affair with the bond? Well, the yield curve has been flat: That's economist talk for low interest rates for longer maturities. Low rates drew foreign borrowers in droves, says SDC. Big offerings included the likes of the $1.8 billion in notes sold by Cable & Wireless, a British telecom company.

Demand brings supply: Wall Street's bankers are successfully marketing their services and pushing debt instruments. For bankers, Q1 1998 was a very good quarter.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top


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