Few Stations Agree to Air State of the State Speech : Broadcasting: Gov. Pete Wilson’s address today will be televised live on only four L.A. television and radio outlets.
Gov. Pete Wilson’s State of the State address will be broadcast live over at least three Los Angeles TV stations and one radio outlet at 5 p.m. today, but as of Tuesday afternoon, none of the three network owned-and-operated television stations were among them.
Neither KABC-TV Channel 7 nor KCBS-TV Channel 2 had plans to broadcast the governor’s address and KNBC Channel 4 said that while it would broadcast the first few minutes of the speech live, a full broadcast would be tape-delayed until 2:05 a.m.
Only KCAL Channel 9, KTTV Channel 11 and KSCI Channel 18 (which will broadcast a Mandarin Chinese translation of the address) said for certain that they will present a live broadcast of the hourlong speech.
“Obviously it is a little bit disappointing that the O&Os; are not running it in its entirety,” said James Lee, Wilson’s deputy press secretary. “It’s understandable in light of the economy. They need the revenue and, in order to broadcast the address uninterrupted, they would have to drop commercials. But we had hoped that there would be more of a commitment. The state of the state is important.”
Lee added that the governor’s office is far more disappointed in San Francisco, where none of the stations, independent or network-affiliated, have opted to carry the speech live. Even in Sacramento itself, news directors for the local TV stations remained uncommitted late Tuesday as to whether one of them would carry the broadcast live.
Vic Biondi, executive director of the California Broadcast Assn., said that more than 70 association members have agreed to carry all or portions of the speech, but most are radio outlets. In Los Angeles, only KNX-AM (1070) will carry the broadcast live, though several outlying stations have also agreed to live transmission, according to Franze Wisner of Wilson’s press staff.
“It’s a lot simpler at the federal level because all the White House has to do is go to the four networks,” said Lee. “In the state, we have to go station by station and ask each one if they will carry it.”
One coup for the governor’s press office was CAL-SPAN, the state’s two-year-old equivalent of C-SPAN, which broadcasts legislative and other Capitol hearings live to California’s local cable operations. Thus there is a possibility that local public access channels will also carry the address live, he said.
KNBC, which was the last Los Angeles station with a permanent bureau in Sacramento (closed in 1984), will carry the opening of the governor’s speech at the top of its 5 p.m. newscast, followed by a live commentary from the station’s political reporter, Linda Douglass, according to a station spokeswoman. Douglass will also be on hand Thursday for the opening session of the 1992 budgetary deliberations of the Legislature.
KABC-TV News Director Roger Bell said that his station might preempt scheduled programming as late as an hour before airtime. “We always like to hold our cards until the last minute,” he said.