Station to Station

Fox Affiliates Sometimes Painted With Fox News Brush

6/24/2010 02:45:56 PM

There’s an interesting piece on MediaMatters.org about Fox affiliates that are seen by the public as being a sibling of Fox News, and sharing the cable channel’s political ideology.

It’s written by Joe Strupp, a very good reporter who used to break all sorts of news about the newspaper industry at Editor and Publisher.

Strupp chats with Fox affils who are not owned by Fox. He writes:

According to KMPH [Fresno] News Director Jim Turpin, and his colleagues at some other Fox affiliates, disassociating their local news casts from Fox News Channel’s conservative slant is often a challenge.

Several news directors say Fox’s reputation for right-leaning broadcasts often misleads viewers into thinking their local news reports follow the same approach.

“There is a huge misunderstanding among a lot of people about Fox affiliates,” declares Turpin. “What Fox News does doesn’t affect how we do it. It is sometimes a challenge to get people who have that assumption to sample your product.”

Turpin adds that his station’s weekly political show has had trouble luring Democrats as guests because they assume a Fox right-wing approach.

“I have personally spoken with some Democratic candidates about appearing and the first thing they say is, ‘you’re a Fox affiliate,’” Turpin said, adding that getting some guests to appear “is like pulling teeth.”

I’ve discussed this with a few GMs at Fox affiliates recently–specifically, if being a Fox affiliate affects the political spending they get. “It still comes down to how the station performs in a marketplace,”one told me, suggesting that the affiliation is secondary to the station’s place in the news pecking order locally.

Interesting stuff, especially with the wild election season just around the corner.

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