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URL 17: My Letter to the FCC Dated April 27, 1971

URL 17: My Letter to the FCC Dated April 27, 1971 (In Chapter 24. Page 125) (833 words) (10,415 cum words)

I’d like to take back many of the nice things I said about Channel 13. On May 12, 1971, I wrote a “To Whom It May Concern” letter and gave it to Fred Vance, Channel 13’s General Manager. I said I thought Channel 13 was less to blame in its “time-stealing” because of their unique situation—they tape the network shows live from the East Coast three hours earlier and replay them on their tape machines during “normal Pacific time slots.” Because of this, I thought they didn’t cut into the entertainment parts of programs, since when they inserted extra ads into the shows, all it meant was a delay in the start of the network program. This is what the Hawaiian stations do.

Well, I was wrong about this—it seems that Channel 13 is cutting into the entertainment portion of the network shows that they tape for reshowing three hours later. Why? To insert extra commercials.

Please ask Channel 13 to see their station log for Friday, August 13. Look at the one hour slot between 10:45 and 11:45 a.m. Many seconds—not one or two—were cut off at the end of “Let’s Make a Deal.”

On Monday, August 16, approximately 12 seconds were cut from the introduction of “Let’s Make a Deal.” I have a tape recording of the entire program for that day. Please ask them for their station log for that day, too.

On Wednesday, August 18, Channel 13 did the following things, which fall under my definition of “time-stealing”:

Just before the 10 a.m. start of “All My Children,” there were a few commercials, whose sponsors I don’t remember, then a TV Guide commercial, then the Channel 13 station identification. These cut off the start of “All My Children.” At the end of this program, just before 10:30 a.m., a few seconds were cut off at the ending of that show.

Then, there was a 30-second Borateem ad, a 30-second Olson Electronics ad, and a 30-second Garden Park Townhouses ad, along with Channel 13’s station identification. This cut off the beginning of “Let’s Make a Deal,” which should have started at 10:30.

And before the 11 a.m. ending of “Let’s Make a Deal,” in which the “fast deals” are shown with the credits, this happened: Channel 13 cut into it in order to make room for the following ads: Pantry Pride (30 seconds), Worthen Buick (30 seconds), and Union Plaza / Fiddler on the Roof (30 seconds, I think…it might have been 60 seconds). And then the Channel 13 station identification.

With all these extra ads, the first part of “The Newlywed Game,” which should have started at 11 a.m. was cut off. I have an audio tape recording of the August 18 “Let’s Make a Deal.”

On Saturday, August 21, around 2:30 pm, there were some local commercials, including some finance company ad, followed by a Channel 13 station identification, which cut into the entertainment part of the “Wide World of Sports” rodeo show. Jim McKay, the Wide World of Sports announcer, was in the middle of a sentence when Channel 13 returned to the program.

Please get station logs of those days from Channel 13 and investigate. I’m sending photocopies of my letter to the usual people in the hope that this will assure a thorough investigation.

It’s ridiculous that Channel 13, which is using the public airwaves supposedly for the benefit of the public, is trying to lie its way out of a situation caused by their own greed for extra profit. If I ever watched daytime TV, which I don’t, then I probably would have caught Channel 13 in the lie they told you in their June 3 letter to you, in answer to my original complaint. They said they don’t steal time because of their taping facilities. Fred Vance told me the same thing, and I believed him without checking. Well, I don’t believe him now, and I hope you perform your job of investigating the matter.

Obviously, Channel 13 wants to continue the status quo—stealing entertainment time, scheduling excess commercials, denying the public all the entertainment from the networks that people in other cities get, just to make a few more bucks. And they are lying in hopes of covering up this situation so that they can get their licenses renewed for another three years so that they can continue their unethical and perhaps illegal practices for another three years.

I strongly feel their license should not be renewed. If you renew its license after all this, and if you do not conduct a thorough investigation (which you refused to do in your letter to me of July 15), then your office has failed in the performance of its duty, in my opinion. Here’s what I’ll do then: Let as many people as I possibly can know about (1) Channel 13’s unethical (and probably illegal) practices and (2) the FCC’s obviously weak job of enforcing standards in the television industry.

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