Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 27, 1976 · Page 88
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 88

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 27, 1976
Page 88
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Page 88 article text (OCR)

WHAR cited in Fairness Doctrine violation By Jay Fredericks A West Virginia radio station got whacked over the microphone with the Fairness Doctrine here recently by the Federal Communications Commission and made a little history which; concievably, could also affect television. The station was WHAR in Clarksburg and it was cited by the FCC for violating the doctrine by ignoring the issue of strip mining. That's ignoring the issue, now, not unbalanced coverage on one side or the other. If the commission order stands, and chances are it will, it opens a whole new can of worms where the Fairness Doctrine is concerned. What it means is that a station doesn't have to take sides blatantly before the FCC conies down on it. If the station simply fails to res- -pond to a problem by airing any programs at all a b o u t it, it's as guilty as it would be for overplaying one side or the other. In the WHAR case, it was Rep. Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii) who set the whole thing o f f . Rep. M i n k , the sponsor of an anti-strip mining bill, wrote WHAR along with a number of other stations asking for equal time to broadcast an 11 minute tape which she said would counter the pro-stop mine views presented during "a broadcast sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Sunday Solo WHAR returned Ms. Mink's tape: saying it wouldn't use it since the station hadn't aired the chamber of commerce program either. This reply prompted a complaint to the FCC by Rep. Mink, the Environmental Policy Center and O.D. Hagedorn. The c o m p l a i n t a n t s argued that since strip mining was an issue of concern in the area served by WHAR the station was obliged to carry programming dealing with the problem. By not doing so, thei r argument continued. WHAR was failing to adequately cover the issue and. thus, was guii- ty of v i o l a t i n g the doctrine. The FCC agreed. Strict adherence to the Fairness Doctine, according to the FCC. includes the affirmative obligation to provide converage of issues of public importance and is "the single most important requirement of operation in the public interest." The FCC said it had no i n t e n t i o n of intruding on a station's day to day editorial decisions but that some issues are so critical that it would be "unreasonable" for a licensee to ignore them. Strip mining to West Virginians is such an issue since it has the capacity of determining the k******************* WE WANT TO GIVE IT AWAY! BUT OUR WIVES WON'T LET US! SO WE'RE HAVING THE NEXT BEST THING AJUNESALE SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! REPLACEMENT WINDOWS BY MAGIC WINDOW CO. Before ~~ After i * 5 * 30% OFF ON INSTALLED PRICE 50% OFF ON DO-IT-YOURSELF CALL NOW AND LET US SHOW YOU THE BEST ALSO SIDING AT A 20% DISCOUNT EREEESTIMATES-DONT DELAY-WRITE OR CALL NOW-MAGIC WINDOW 727-5846 or 722-3238 YOU CAN SAVE UP TO S250.000 ON YOUR TAX REBATE FINANCING AVAILABLE! MAGIC WINDOW CO. (A DIVISION OF ALUMINUM AWNING SALES) 680 MacCORKLE A VL S.Wat COAL MT. : ST.ALBANS.W.VA. PH. 722-3238 or 727-5846 CALL AND YOU CAN SEE IT RIGHT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM '* * *-** ****** **********. q u a l i t y of l i f e in C l a r k s b u r g for years to come. WHAR, on advice of counsel, is not fighting the decision. And, by the way. the decision doesn't auto'- matically become FCC policy. The commission's fairness branch operates on a complaints basis arid so each case must be pressed individ- u a l l y . But a precedent now has been established and active consumer and environmental groups will be bound to follow up t h e i r advantage where both radio and television stations are concerned. The recent announcement by NBC that David Brinkley will rejoin John Chancellor as co-host of the NBC Nightly News evidently presages a return to the double anchorman format of several years ago. You may recall that it was the team of Brinkley and the late Chet Huntley which took NBC to the top of the news ratings heap back in the early 1960's. ABC immediately doubled up on t h e i r a n c h o r m e n and even CBS. for a w h i l e , demoted Walter Cronkite and gave us two fellows whose names I have forgotten. Wiser heads shortly prevailed at CBS where it became obvious after only a brief time that Uncle Walter was preferred by himself. Not too long after, Uncle Walter proved the superiority of the single act by pushing CBS back into first place where news was concerned. Then NBC split up H u n l l e y and Brinkley and left ABC doing a double by itself with Harry Reasoner and Howard K. Smith. Just recently, ABC pushed Smith upstairs to an Eric Sevareid type job leaving Reasoner in sole possession of the host desk. But his t r i u m p h was short lived. Enter Barbara Walters and one million dollars. Now we have two out of three double anchormen again. Will CBS hold firm this time? Of course it will. It is unthinkable to mess with Uncle Walter. But he's going to retire before long and then don't be surprised if Roger Mudd and Dan Rather show up side by side on your home screen. Because of my working hours, I am spared daytime television. The other day I got a call from a viewer who asked me, in a dazed tone of voice: "Have you seen The Fun Factory'or 'The Gong Show?'" 1 soon determined that these were the titles of two new NBC afternoon audience participation programs. "No," I said. "I haven't looked at them." "Don't," my caller advised succinctly. I plan to follow his advice. FURNITURE APPLIANCES A Timely Reminder of our American Heritage Our Lovely 10-in. Bicentennial Plate culm ful mi'iiintlu ?00th Binlul.iy ol r ujuntiynl ,nil IS YOUR POOL READY FOR FUN WE STOCK MOST ITEMS YOU'LL NEED TO GET YOUR POOL IN SHAPE FOR A SUMMER OF FUN! -SEE US NOW FOR AFREE POOL WATER ANALYSIS! Limited 2 PER PERSON irry It'S NeW. . . Come See!!! 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