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The right climate for investing

Published Oct. 16, 2005

Where does a Chicago TV weather forecaster invest his money? How about a video juke box television station in Oldsmar? Dan Dobrowolski, weather forecaster for WFLD-TV in Chicago, plugged in his new WJUK-Channel 68 in Tampa Bay a few weeks ago.

It's his second, Florida's fourth and the nation's 50th member of the Video Jukebox Network that's been playing the hits for five years.

The station offers yet another twist for those who entertain themselves by dialing 976-prefix telephone services.

WJUK's programing is all music videos plus commercials and is essentially automated.

Once in a while a list of 110 songs will appear on the screen. Viewers can then dial a 976 number to order what they want Tampa Bay to see by punching up numbers on a phone.

All the joy and technological wonder that comes with picking your own songs costs $2.50 a throw, payable on your monthly telephone bill.

Trading pieces

of a black hole

When insolvent Pioneer Savings Bank of Clearwater was taken over by federal banking regulators on Feb. 2 you would think that the investment community would have thrown up its hands.

But no, there are still people out there buying and selling shares in this deeply distressed institution, which remains open for business and with all deposits federally insured to $100,000.

On Friday, Pioneer's stock closed at a price of 9 cents a share, down 3 cents in trading on over-the-counter markets. Volume was 3,100 shares, worth a total of $290.625.

However, almost any way you look at it, Pioneer stock is worthless. When regulators moved in, Pioneer's had negative tangible capital _ basically a black hole _ of $95.8-million.

$20,000 saved

is $20,000 earned

Say what you will about Assix International Inc. of Tampa but they're not big spenders.

The company, which went public in 1987, makes a machine that buffs off rough or raised places on car tires.

Although the company is profitable, its first annual report is a somber black-and-white affair with a plain navy blue cover. No color pictures, no graphs, not even a thumbnail portrait of the president, R. Park Newton III.

Inside, the president's letter explains the report's spartan dress.

"Forgoing a four-color annual report will increase 1990 results by $20,000," the letter states. "That's not just dollars and cents, it's good common business sense."

A fare dollar

spent for travel

How much does a $2-billion defense contractor spend on travel?

It's not the kind of figure that's often compiled for public consumption, but as more companies farm out their travel services, the sizes of contracts are coming out.

Last week, American Express Co. of New York announced it got an estimated $40-million in annual business from Melbourne-based Harris Corp. to handle the travel accounts for 32,000 employees.

Playing the ends

against the middle

Who has the most stressful job _ the executive, the middle manager or the secretary?

If you guessed the man or woman in the middle, you're right, according to a survey by Adia Personnel Services of Menlo Park, Calif. Two-thirds of the respondents _ all human resources professionals _ rated middle management as a high-stress job, while 63 percent put executive-level positions in the same category. Clerical and production jobs rated average in stress.

Fancy meeting

you here!

They didn't plan it quite this way, but two local accounting groups could end up with a very interesting dinner meeting Tuesday night.

The scheduled speakers are the president of Florida Progress Corp. and the managing partner of the accounting firm which just lost its job auditing Florida Progress' books. Earlier this month Progress dropped Arthur Andersen & Co. in favor of KPMG Peat Marwick, ending a 49-year relationship.

However, Jack B. Critchfield of Florida Progress and William J. Meurer of Arthur Andersen & Co. aren't scheduled to talk about accounting at the joint meeting of the Florida Institute of CPAs and the National Association of Accountants. Their subject is regional cooperation in economic development. The program is titled "Bridging the Bay."

Compiled from reports by Times staff writers Mark Albright, James Greiff, Alan Goldstein and Helen Huntley.