FROM: Kim Alexander
DATE: Thursday, July 30, 1998
RE: Tomorrow’s governor’s debate, more air time for candidates
The first major debate between California’s major-party gubernatorial candidates will be held tomorrow in San Diego. This edition of CVF-NEWS provides background information on tomorrow’s debate, as well as a partial list of the news outlets that plan to carry the debate live. Also covered in this issue is a “sneak preview” of the California Channel’s interviews with statewide candidates and a status report on the Alliance for Better Campaign’s efforts in California.
Gray Davis and Dan Lungren to Debate on Friday, July 31, 6 - 7 p.m
Dan Lungren, the Republican Party’s candidate for Governor, and Gray Davis, the Democratic Party’s candidate, will meet and debate in San Diego tomorrow -- the first of 5 debates the candidates have committed to during the 1998 General Election campaign season.
Tomorrow’s debate will be held at the San Diego Convention Center, and is sponsored by the California Manufacturers Association and the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. (The fact that the debate is co-sponsored by organizations representing business and labor -- two groups often at odds with each other -- is newsworthy in itself.) San Diego television station KGTV will produce and distribute the debate by satellite to all radio and television stations. Stan Statham, executive director of the California Broadcasters Association, will serve as the event moderator, and will be joined by a panel of three political reporters. Each candidate will have a set time to respond to each question. At one point in the program, the moderator will depart from this format and allow the two candidates to ask each other questions directly.
Tuning in to the Governor’s Debate
Many television and radio stations are planning to carry the debate, either live or tape-delayed. In addition, the California Channel will be webcasting the debate live on their Web site, located at http://www.calchannel.com (you will need to download RealPlayer in order to view the debate on the Internet). KQED-FM in San Francisco will be providing a live satellite feed to all public radio stations in California, and many are planning to air the one-hour program live, as well as a half-hour post-debate analysis immediately following the event, produced by KQED’s California Report.
Below is a partial list of the stations confirmed to carry the debate live as of Thursday morning. Please keep in mind that many more stations besides those listed here may decide to carry the debate as well. Check your local newspaper, or call your local radio or television station to find out where you can view the debate in your area.
• Sacramento -- KCRA (channel 3) and KXTV (channel 10)
• Chico -- KCPM TV
• San Francisco -- Bay TV News Channel (cable) and KCBS AM Radio
• Los Angeles -- KCAL TV and KNX Radio
• San Diego -- KGTV (channel 10)
Minor-Party candidates to share their positions on the Democracy Network
Although tomorrow’s debate features only the two major party candidates for Governor, minor party candidates will still have a chance to share their views, thanks to the Democracy Network’s (http://www.dnet.org) Digital Debates project. DNet is coordinating with the five minor party candidates, who have been invited to provide answers to the questions asked of Davis and Lungren. The list of minor party candidates includes:
• Nathan Johnson (American Independent)
• Steve Kubby (Libertarian)
• Dan Hamburg (Green)
• Gloria La Riva (Peace & Freedom)
• Harold Bloomfield (Natural Law)
These candidates’ answers will be posted on DNet’s web site shortly after the debate, along with transcripts. (Congrats and many thanks are due to the Democracy Network for their wonderful service!)
Free TV air time for all statewide candidates coming soon!
The California Channel, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of California and the California Voter Foundation, is giving every statewide candidate free air time this election season. The California Channel is producing five minute interviews with each candidate for statewide office, which will air frequently on the California Channel after the Legislature has adjourned. The California Channel, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization available to 5 million California cable subscribers, will also make the interviews available to other television stations throughout the state. For more information, visit the California Channel’s web site at http://www.calchannel.com or drop me an email at email@example.com.
Alliance for Better Campaigns’ efforts in California being met with success
The Alliance for Better Campaigns, a new nonprofit organization working to improve television coverage of elections and campaigns, has secured commitments from four of the state’s major network affiliates to air 5 minute “mini-debates” in the eight weeks leading up the the November 3 election. The four stations who have committed to the Alliance’s game plan include KRON in San Francisco, KCRA in Sacramento, KCBS in Los Angeles, and KGTV in San Diego.
The specific format is still taking shape, and gubernatorial candidates Gray Davis and Dan Lungren, while appearing generally positive about the Alliance’s efforts, are still working out the ground rules before they commit to the format.
The bottom line is that it appears California candidates and broadcasters alike are genuinely committed to the goal of improving the quality and quantity of TV coverage in the General election. That’s good news for California voters, who saw relatively little TV coverage of campaigns in the Primary election season. Hopefully tomorrow’s debate, as well as the California Channel’s and Alliance for Better Campaigns’ efforts will succeed in building momentum for more election coverage on TV. Stay tuned!
-- Kim Alexander, President
California Voter Foundation