The National Association of Broadcasters tried to line up Mario Cuomo to speak at the responsibility programming summit in Washington, D.C., March 31. It may be closed to the press, but at least the NAB was seeking out a strong defender of free speech to talk to the assembled government and industry types.
In an interview on WVOX(AM)-WRTN(FM) New Rochelle, N.Y., the former New York governor, now with Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, New York, had said that, as a general rule, government should keep its hands off content and that it would be "dangerous" for broadcasters to alter their programming or practices to appease Washington.
NAB wanted Cuomo to bring that message in person, but he had a scheduling conflict. B&C has been pushing for an Ed Murrow clone to stand up to what many see as an indecency witch hunt. Perhaps NAB can find the next best thing. Cuomo was encouraging them to ask Walter Cronkite to talk instead. He might not be NAB's first choice for second choice, however, given his support for free airtime for candidates.
Although it has closed the sessions to the press, NAB will set up a press room where panelists can talk with reporters. It will also hold a post-summit briefing.