Clear Channel Communications Inc.'s Syracuse, N.Y., radio cluster has come under attack from the dean of
a major communications school for its coverage of the Northeast blackout.
In a commentary in the local Post-Standard, Newhouse School Dean Dr.
David Rubin said that while ads ran unfettered, news director/anchor Bill Carey
was "a general without any troops in the field, bringing in more information
from callers than trained reporters and switching to a CNN [Cable News Network] feed after a few
Rubin called on Clear Channel to "put the public's interest ahead of its
profit margin and staff this station properly," or to join a news consortium to
craft an emergency-response plan.
He offered the Newhouse school as a place to meet.
Failing that, he asked that Clear Channel "permit another station to try to
fill that [news-talk] niche with a better product," or to "sell the station to a
local ownership group dedicated to operating it in the public interest."
The attack drew a quick response from the news director.
Carey, who is leaving the station to join a local cable news operation,
defended his news department, which, in the past few weeks, has won awards from
the New York State AP Broadcasters Association for Sept. 11 anniversary
Carey attacked Rubin's credentials and, in an interview with Broadcasting
& Cable, insisted that the station was manned, although summer staffing caused
a slight reduction. Reporters, he said, were either putting officials directly
on the air or taping stories.
CNN provided a suitable news feed, he said, because the real crisis was not
within the market but outside.
Rubin defended his credentials as a writer, academic and TV producer, as well
as acknowledging his opposition to deregulation.
Clear Channel, the nation’s largest radio company, has been a principal
target of media-concentration foes.