Open Mike

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Rather Respected

Editor:

I’m a retired broadcaster who at one point in my career during the ’80s ran WBTV, a CBS affiliate in Charlotte, N.C.

During that time, I got to know Dan Rather pretty well. He was a solid No. 1 in our market and helped make CBS the No. 1 network. I also think he was and still is a solid journalist who, as J. Max Robins stated, “deserves better than this” [“Cast Away,” Robins Report, 6/19, p. 8].

Dan made CBS a ton of money during his years in the anchor chair, and to be treated in such a shabby fashion by CBS is almost unforgivable.

Cullie Tarleton, Blowing Rock, N.C.

Editor:

As somebody who is outside the industry but subscribes to your publication, I share J. Max Robins’ thoughts concerning CBS’ inelegant handling of Dan Rather’s exit. This sort of thing happens all the time in organizations, to the famous and not so famous; but that doesn’t make it right.

I also want to respond to the editorial about the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act. [“The Big Chill Becomes Law,” 6/19, p. 42]. The law is in itself indecent. Sol Taishoff, Fred Friendly, Frank Stanton and others must be turning in their graves, wondering how the industry’s response could be so wimpy and misguided.

Why do I, somebody not in the industry, give a damn? Maybe it’s because I don’t want the government deciding what I can and can’t watch. Or maybe it’s because I can’t watch truly live, spontaneous broadcasting anymore. It isn’t just the broadcasters’ rights that are at stake. It’s mine, too.

John Walkmeyer, San Ramon, Calif.

Hubbard’s History

Editor:

I read with interest the May 22 issue of your fine magazine, in which there was a history of the 75th anniversary of Broadcasting & Cable. As good as it was, it did miss a couple of important events.

As you probably know, almost every TV station in America, and indeed the world, today has satellite newsgathering (SNG) capability. It was in 1984 that our company, with the formation of Conus Communications, invented and implemented SNG. Satellite newsgathering made it possible for the first time for all stations to “write their own headlines.” No longer did local stations have to rely on networks for the dissemination of national and international news.

In addition, it was our company’s United States Satellite Broadcasting that, in 1993, was the first recipient of a direct-broadcast-satellite license and, in partnership with DirecTV, launched the world’s first high-powered digital direct-to-home broadcast system.

By the way, KSTP-TV Minneapolis/St. Paul was the first station in America to be all color—network, local and news.

Stanley S. Hubbard, Chairman/CEO, Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., Minneapolis

(Editor’s note: The 75th anniversary special edition of B&C can be downloaded as a PDF file from the revamped Website at www.broadcastingcable.com.)

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