By Dan Trigoboff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/27/2002 7:00:00 PM
The Independence Party's New York gubernatorial candidate B. Thomas Golisano pulled ads from WTVH(TV) Syracuse, N.Y., when the station refused to change its debate format to exclude most of the candidates.
The station was told by Golisano's ad representatives that its seven-candidate format was the reason for the cancellation of about $40,000 in ads. Golisano wanted only himself and the two other major party candidates in the debate.
"We explained that we'd already invited all the candi-dates and formulated the rules," said WTVH General Manager Gary Wordlaw, a longtime broadcast newsman. "We told them we would stand by that. It was the right thing to do."
And it may not cost the station. Wordlaw said last week that, only days after its withdrawal from the station's schedule, the Golisano campaign had inquired about purchasing time again.
A spokesman for one of Golisano's opponents, incumbent George Pataki, turned the controversy to his political advantage, telling a Syracuse paper that the decision by the Golisano campaign "clearly demonstrates that his temperament is not fit for a governor."
Competitors to KMBC-TV Kansas City, Mo., are a little ticked at the station's deal for live coverage of the city's American Royal Barbecue and Parade, raising questions about the propriety of exclusive deals for news events. This year, KMBC-TV entered into a deal with the American Royal Association, a local non-profit that sponsors many major entertainment events in Kansas City. The deal includes exclusive live coverage of the annual October barbecue and parade, as well as advertising with the station.
The station also ran a 30-minute special on "the Royal," featuring its news personalities. KMBC-TV says it had sought to do the program before the exclusive-rights deal and gave up no editorial control over the program or its live newscasts from the barbecue.
News directors at the other stations were not happy when they got a letter from the Royal telling them at what times they would be prohibited from broadcasting live at the event. While the directive hardly carried the weight of law, it was troubling, and some stations reportedly changed plans.
"If we want to go live," said KCTV(TV) News Director Regent Ducas, "we'll go live. But the letter bothered a lot of people."
Pittsburgh anchor to appeal sentence
WPXI(TV) Pittsburgh anchor Gina Redmond pleaded no contest last week to charges relating to a summer bar fight in which she was accused of slapping her former producer, Roberta Petterson, now at WTAE-TV Pittsburgh, and was sentenced to community service. A few hours later, though, she called a local newspaper to say she hadn't understood the court procedure and will appeal the sentence.
Local reports indicate Redmond was unaware evidence would be presented against her to help the judge decide on a sentence. Redmond's attorney, Jim Ecker, noted at the hearing that Redmond has never admitted guilt, but the magistrate overseeing her case commented in court that the evidence presented showed Gina was guilty. The plea had apparently been worked out by attorneys for the two journalists in advance. Redmond was ordered to give three hour-long lectures at area high schools.
Chester Reiten, a North Dakota broadcaster for nearly 50 years and founder of Reiten Television, has been given North Dakota's highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, by Gov. John Hoeven. His contributions to the state include founding what is now an annual Scandinavian festival, Norsk Hostfest. He is one of a handful of Americans to have received the St. Olav Medal from the King of Norway. "Chet's recognition," the governor said, "proves that you can achieve great success living and working in North Dakota."
WPIX(TV) New York will run an hour retrospective on '70s and '80s kids show The Magic Garden on Thanksgiving Day. The special will be followed by two original episodes of the show. Both hours will be repeated the next Sunday. The show will be hosted by original stars and creators Carole Demas (l) and Paula Janis. It's another example of retro-programming from the Tribune-owned station, which last Christmas brought back its 1966-89 video "Yule log" to provide atmosphere for viewers and high ratings for itself.
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