Green Delaware Action Alert #94
WHYY (Channel 12): Unpublic broadcasting?
Port Penn, DE, April 24, 2001. WHYY (Channel 12 TV) is a "public broadcasting" station licensed in Wilmington DE. (WHYY also emits the same stuff on Channel 64 in Seaford DE.) WHYY provides almost no meaningful coverage in Delaware and operates out of Philadelphia, PA, where it has spent millions on buildings and business ventures. WHYY is seeking a "grant in aid" from the Delaware taxpayers of $618,000. A public hearing on the request will be held in Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware, on April 26, 2001, at 2:10. (Joint Finance Comm. Room, ground floor. Only 20 minutes is scheduled for the hearing.) Some facts about WHYY:
Of 29 Board members, only 7 are from Delaware. They elect themselves.
Regular commentators on WHYY are "generally people who are part of the establishment," such as Joe Farley (lobbyist for utility Conectiv), Brian Murphy (lobbyist), Don Kirtley, (retired "communications director" for Hercules Inc.), "Bobby" Byrd, (lobbyist for the Chemical Industry Council), and John Taylor (editorial page editor of the Wilmington News Journal). Few independent voices are heard.
WHYY provides little serious news coverage but covers staged media events ("kiss-ups") by politicians, and bogus events put on by the likes of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority. Independent voices are usually blacked out or ridiculed.
WHYY's website (WHYY.org) is blatant: "Where would we be without the strong support from our corporate friends? ... Take advantage of a unique opportunity to combine good works and good business by being a WHYY underwriter. Your message ... will make a positive imprint on our audience ... your customers ... Being a partner with WHYY may also entitle you to the following special off air opportunities: The addition of your company's logo on the WHYY website, with a link to your organization's website.... inclusion in WHYY press releases about programs and, if desired, individualized press releases announcing your company's participation in funding public broadcasting ... Invitations to WHYY program screenings and events, such as smallgroup lunches with President Bill Marrazo.... For more information, contact Debi Hoxter, director of underwriting sales, at (215) 351-1223."
Nowhere on the web site is information about how a community or advocacy group might present ITS message on WHYY.
Corporations and their fat-cat lobbyists have too many ways already to put out their messages. Is enhancing the power of money what public broadcasting is supposed to be about? Green Delaware thinks not, and will testify against a Delaware taxpayer grant to WHYY. You should, too. If you can't make the hearing, contact your Senator and Representative, and tell WHYY you won't contribute until it changes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 302.888.1200, 215.351.1200 (emails of top management have been removed from the WHYY site.)
(WHYY is also seeking about one million dollars from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.)
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page was last updated on April 28, 2001.