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If you're keeping score, that's NBA 1, Motorola 0

Published Sep. 16, 2005

Not everybody is being a good sport about Motorola Inc.'s SportsTrax pagers.

Last week, a federal judge decided Motorola's display of National Basketball Association scores and highlights on its SportsTrax pagers misappropriated NBA property.

"They have misappropriated the essence of NBA's most valuable property _ the excitement of an NBA game in progress," U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said in her ruling, according to Bloomberg Business News. Preska rejected Motorola's contention that the portable service was equivalent to news coverage of sports events.

Preska's ruling could affect its paging services for other sports leagues.

The National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have filed court papers supporting the NBA's position against Motorola and its subcontractor, Sports Team Analysis and Tracking Systems Inc., according to Bloomberg.

That could be bad news for Motorola: The company charges $200 for a three-year subscription to SportsTrax.

The sports pagers are marketed by SportsTrax Products Inc., a Boynton Beach subsidiary of Motorola.


For an extra buck, it'll sing "We're in the Money'

Early next year, NationsBank hopes to install automated teller machines that can scan a check and show its image on the ATM's screen as it is deposited.

"It brings up the consumers' confidence level," says Cliff Condon, ATM business manager for the Charlotte, N.C., bank holding company. "They don't feel like they're dropping money into a black hole."

With these machines, a customer will be able to insert a check directly; no envelope is needed.

Like many banks, NationsBank wants customers to use ATMs for more than just withdrawals. ATM transactions cost the bank about one-fourth as much as comparable transactions with human tellers.

NationsBank already has expanded other abilities of its machines. For $1, they will print out a copy of a customer's bank statement, and for 50 cents, a rundown of the customer's last five debits and last five credits.

The bank is also considering using the machines to dispense cashier's checks, traveler's checks and even postage stamps.

But so far, neither NationsBank nor anyone else has figured out how to make the machines spit out toasters and calendars.


Florida radio stations get a fair-weather boss

When Cincinnati-based Jacor Communications Inc. announced its purchase last week of three radio stations in Sarasota and Coral Cove, company president Randy Michaels moved quickly to assure employees and managers of the stations that they had the full support and backing of Jacor.

As long as the temperature in Florida is warmer than Cincinnati, that is.

"We're looking forward to working with existing management and helping the stations fully realize their potentials . . . so long as this all can happen during the brutally cold Midwestern months of November to February," Michaels said in a news release.

Jacor paid $12.5-million to New Wave Communications for WSRZ-FM and WSPB-AM in Sarasota and WYNF-FM in Coral Cove.

Locally, Jacor also owns WFLA-AM 970, WFLZ-FM 93.3 and WDUV-FM 103.5.


For new homes, there's no place like Hillsborough

When it comes to home building, Hillsborough is hot.

Last week, the Hillsborough City-County Planning Commission announced that residential construction in the county hit a nine-year high in the first quarter of this year.

The county issued 2,642 new home permits in the first three months of the year, the highest quarterly amount since the first quarter of 1987.

The hottest areas of the county were along the fast-growing Bruce B. Downs Boulevard corridor in north Tampa and in Brandon, east of downtown Tampa. The area in and around the giant Westchase subdivision west of downtown Tampa also had a strong quarter.

Hillsborough is gaining in its dominance as Tampa Bay's home building hot spot.

Pinellas County, faced with little buildable land left, has seen new home construction decrease steadily in recent years. Growth along the North Suncoast, meanwhile, has been slight.


Don't forget to sample the Caviar Helper in Aisle 6

Supermarket grand openings are usually pretty casual affairs.

The finger food is usually Velveeta and sliced salami lifted right out of the deli cooler.

So what's with Winn-Dixie? They've invited 2,000 people _ including the mayor and City Council _ to a preopening reception this week at the new 62,000- square-foot Winn-Dixie Food Pavilion that opens Thursday in the Gandy Plaza in Tampa.

They hired a harpist. They'll have valet parking. The wine will be top drawer, the hors d'oeuvres whipped up by the trained chefs who will staff the store's big prepared-foods department.

"We're going all out," said Marc Sutherland, Winn-Dixie's division marketing director. "We haven't opened a Winn-Dixie in south Tampa in more than 20 years. We want people to know how we've changed in the last few years."

A plan to have division and store managers arrive in tuxedos, however, had to be dropped because of logistical difficulties. And, of course, there will be a half-dozen costumed characters, such as the Post Sugar Bear and Frito-Lay's Chester Cheetah, for mingling and chit-chat.

After all, this is a supermarket opening.