Effort, Part of Hearst's Commitment 2010 Political-Coverage Project, Marks Innovative Collaboration Among TV Stations
NEW YORK, NY, and Milwaukee, WI, August 4, 2010 - WISN-TV, the Hearst Television Inc., ABC affiliate and TV news leader serving the Milwaukee market, in partnership with Marquette University School of Law and WisPolitics.com, and in cooperation with production partner, Milwaukee PBS outlet WMVS-TV/WMVT-TV, will televise a Wisconsin gubernatorial primary debate on August 25 featuring Republican candidates Mark Neumann and Scott Walker.
In an innovative step, WISN-TV will share the live debate with five other stations throughout the state: WKOW Madison, WFRV Green Bay, WAOW Wausau, WXOW Lacrosse, and WQOW Eau Claire, all affiliates of WISN-TV's "Upfront" public affairs program; radio stations in these markets also will have access to the debate. The effort, giving the event essentially statewide coverage, is believed to be the first time a regional political debate has been shared among so many stations throughout Wisconsin.
The 60-minute "town hall" format debate, originating from the new Marquette School of Law campus in Milwaukee, with live shots and questions fielded from all the participating Wisconsin markets, will be moderated by "Upfront" host Mike Gousha.
"This groundbreaking effort is a statewide public service to help keep Wisconsin voters informed of the issues," noted WISN-TV President and General Manager Jan Wade. "And helping us provide this program is a veritable 'dream team' of Wisconsin political journalism talent."
The Milwaukee debate announcement comes on the heels of last week's news that Hearst's KCRA-TV, Sacramento, in conjunction with the Sacramento Bee and other local partners, has secured the first televised California gubernatorial debate of 2010, for September 28, between Republican candidate Meg Whitman and Democratic candidate Jerry Brown. KCRA and sister Hearst station KSBW-TV in Monterey/Salinas also will co-host an October 12 gubernatorial debate with NBC's California stations, moderated by Tom Brokaw at San Rafael's Dominican University.
Other debates presently scheduled at Hearst Television stations include an October 26 debate among the U.S. Senate candidates from Florida, hosted by NBC's David Gregory, at WESH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Orlando; back-to-back New Mexico gubernatorial and congressional debates in October hosted by KOAT-TV, Hearst Television's ABC affiliate in Albuquerque, in conjunction with the Albuquerque Journal and the League of Women Voters; a late-October debate among candidates for Iowa's 3rd congressional district, hosted by KCCI-TV, the CBS affiliate in Des Moines, and IowaPolitics.com; a series of Sunday night debates, beginning August 8, hosted by WDSU-TV, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans; televised mayoral, House and Senate debates hosted by WLKY-TV, the Louisville CBS affiliate, which also will live-stream a series of mini-debates between Louisville Metro Council candidates; and nine debates for various state and national seats hosted by WMUR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Union Leader.
The debate coverage is among a number of on-air, on-line and mobile coverage efforts encompassed within Hearst Television's Commitment 2010 political-reporting project. A renewal of the Company's detailed biannual election-coverage efforts, which began with Commitment 2000, Commitment 2010 will once again involve an intensified effort at the Company's 27 news-carrying TV stations, and on their respective local websites, to provide comprehensive local TV news coverage of national, state and local election campaigns. Among the components of Commitment 2010, Hearst Television will:
Continue to pledge a minimum 10 minutes' airtime for daily political news and candidate-discourse coverage -- including at least five minutes of original content per weekday and, where possible, on weekends, in the 30 days leading up to the Primary and General elections at each of its news stations. In 2000 Hearst was an early adopter of a minimum five-minute commitment of total airtime, acting on a recommendation of a presidential commission on TV broadcasters' public-interest obligations, and increased this commitment to 10 minutes in 2006;
Expand upon successful elements of prior Commitment projects, such as "Town Hall Meetings," debates, candidate profiles and interviews, and "AdWatch," "Issue Check" and "Truth Check" segments;
Develop a number of innovative approaches to extending and maximizing election coverage online -- with a continued emphasis on reaching younger voters -- including web-specific editorial content; viewer/user generated candidate questions; postings of candidates' biographies, voting records and "sound bites" on a variety of issues; interviews with candidates' Facebook "friends"; and gauging real-time viewer reaction during debates via "livewire" technology; and
Innovate programming to engage viewers in the electoral process. For example, Hearst's WGAL-TV, serving the Lancaster/Harrisburg, PA, TV market, organized a Habitat for Humanity Debate; the event drew various Democratic and Republican candidates for Pennsylvania's 17th congressional seat, who were provided tools and specific homebuilding assignments in a format designed to allow them to demonstrate teamwork skills and discuss bipartisanship in Washington.
Hearst Television's Commitment 2000, Commitment 2002, Commitment 2004, Commitment 2006 and Commitment 2008 programs earned the Company prestigious Walter Cronkite Awards from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication. Additionally, Commitment 2008 received a national Peabody Award, an unprecedented recognition of political journalism for an independent commercial broadcast TV station group.
About Hearst Television Inc.
Hearst Television Inc., formerly known as Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc., is a leading local media company comprising 29 television stations and two radio stations. The Company's television stations reach approximately 18% of U.S. TV households, making it one of America's largest television station groups. It also owns more than three dozen websites and multicasts more than two dozen digital channels providing news, weather and entertainment programming. Hearst Television is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst Corporation. The Company's Web address is www.hearsttelevision.com