The Daily Herald from Chicago, Illinois on January 15, 1977 · Page 31
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The Daily Herald from Chicago, Illinois · Page 31

Chicago, Illinois
Issue Date:
Saturday, January 15, 1977
Page 31
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Povich personifies new WMAQ image by Diane Mcrmlgas Maury Povich has been ushered into a new anchorman spot on WMAQ-TV with the fanfare that proves him an important link in the early evening news show's latest personality change. The week before his premiere broadcast on Jan. 3, NBC ran a variety of commercial spots featuring political heavyweights like Sen. Hubert Humphrey (B-Minn.) and Treasury Secretary William E. Simon, entertainers like Carol Channing and fellow journalists like Art Buchwald endorsing Povich's earnest approach to news. The campaign was designed to create an instant acceptance for the 14-year television news veteran and Washington D.C. native in a city where the public is notoriously skeptical and the TV critics are as hard as they come, said William Nlgut, an NBC spokesman. Povich is clearly part of a more serious, in depth approach to the news that the station is taking. He will become the anchorman who is sent out to cover a major breaking news story, whose business it is to report the news as It's happening and not juut read it off a piece of paper. That happens to be right in line with what Povich wants to. be doing at this time in his life, and he doesn't believe that the publicity campaign which launched his arrival earlier this month has had an adverse effect on his getting the job done. "I've never been the subject of that kind of a promotion before, but it did make the public familiar with my name and the campaign has helped me," said Povich, 37. "None of the people who appeared in the commercials are friends. They all know me as a news interviewer nnd they were all news sources for me in Washington," he said. Povich now shares the weekday 4:30 to C, p.m. newscast with anchorman Ron Hunter. His immediate concern with running up against other regular Chicago newscasters like CBS's Bill Curtis and Walter Jacobson and ABC's Fahcy Flynn and Joel Daly is that people arc say ing, "Who's he?" Povich most recently worked in Washington D.C. for WTTG-TV, an Independent station owned by Metromedia, as an anchorman for the noon and weekend news and host of a daily 90-mlnutc interview show. He joined WTTG as a sportscaster in 1060 after spending three years as a news and sports reporter for Washington's WWDC radio. His background, Interviews with national notables, coverage of the Arab-Israeli War in the Middle East and of every national election since 19C6 helped'Povich land the Chicago anchorman's job and a three-year contract with NBC that pays about $85,000 a year. The keen competition between the Chicago news programs and staffs is what "attracted" Povich to the job, he said. "To have an impact on this business, you have to be in a competitive situation." "Chicago is a more highly sophisticated, professional TV news town than Washington, and I underline TV news. Washington is more sophisticated in its printed press coverage. I've watched the other news stations in this town and they are all sophisticated. It's a remarkable city," Povich said. The power struggle in Chicago's city hall for the mayor's seat left vacant by the recent death of Richard J. Daley and the city's relationship to Cook County "present very attractive situations to news people. It's very exciting. "Right now it's a learning process for me," said Povich who prefers to be called a newsman rather than an anchorman or a news- reader. His day usually begins at 7:30 a.m. with a telephone call to his producer to find out how the day's events are shaping up. He sits in on planning sessions and helps develop sotries between 9 and 11 a.m. Povich works on news stories and visuals for his broadcast until 4 p.m. when he readies himself for airtimc. There are no plans at present to put Povich in an anchorman's spot for the 10 p.m. news broadcast. The 4:30 p.m. edition is the important one for now because it allows the station the time it needs to reflect its "hard look at news" personality. "People watch the news with a frozen kind of attitude. They only move when it directly affects them. There seems to be a dissatisfaction between the viewer and the press which Bringing honesty and fairness to the news is important to WMAQ's Maury Povich. stems from a misconception that the press is out to get everyone," Povich said. "But, I'd like to break down that hostile image and bring honesty and fairness to the news. Not to say that it's not done now, but I think we have to accent it." While Povich works on his self-assigned task, WMAQ-TV will continue its current facelift with the hiring of 38 additional reporters, writers, cameramen and technicians for its news operation. "It will be an ongoing job for us and we hope that when people turn us on and see the new us, they'll like us and keep watching," Nigutsaid. Page 3

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