Peter Straus bold first
By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/29/2000 7:00:00 PM
Editor: "Birth of a notion" (Oct. 16), the historical sidebar to the article on the end of the Fairness Doctrine, recalls the day, some 40 years ago, when Peter Straus of WMCA(AM) New York broadcast the very first editorial endorsing a presidential candidate.
The station favored John Fitzgerald Kennedy and published the text of its editorial in full-page ads in The New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune.
Contacted by the Republican National Committee with a request for equal time, Straus said, "Let us know when Mr. Nixon is available, and we'll set up a recording date." The RNC hadn't intended to send Richard Milhous Nixon to a mere 5,000-watt class III regional independent radio station and offered a spokesman from its own ranks, but Straus insisted it would be Nixon or no one.
Wmca finally accepted Nixon's running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge, and also provided equal space, publishing his reply in ads in The Times and the Trib.- Thomas D. Bratter, Los Angeles.
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