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MediaWatch: November 1989

Vol. Three No. 11

Revolving Door: WETA's Democratic Pick

WETA's Democratic Pick. The Board of Trustees for WETA-TV and radio elected Democratic Party official Sharon Percy Rockefeller President and Chief Executive Officer of the Washington, D.C. PBS stations. Appointed to the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in 1977 by President Carter, she served as Chairman from 1981 until Reagan appointees managed to replace her in 1984. She "lobbied against" any outside content analysis of public television programs, Broadcasting magazine noted when she left CPB in 1987 and assumed the chairmanship of the WETA board.

In 1986, The Washington Post reported Percy Rockefeller spoke at a Democrats for the '80s fundraiser. The wife of Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and daughter of former Senator Charles Percy, a liberal Republican from Illinois, she resigned in September as a member of the Democratic National Committee. She will succeed Ward Chamberlin, who built WETA into the third largest producer of PBS programming, on December 1.

Producing Jackson's Voice. Next Fall Warner Brothers plans to syndicate a new weekly talk show hosted by Jesse Jackson. The Co-Executive Producers of the hour-long Voices of America with Jesse Jackson: record producer Quincy Jones and former CBS executive Van Gordon Sauter, who spent 18 years with the network. Sauter served as President of CBS News from 1981 until moving up to Executive Vice President of the CBS Broadcast Group in 1983. From 1985 to late 1986 he also held the CBS News President title again. In the meantime, Jackson has begun writing a weekly newspaper column distributed by the Los Angeles Times syndicate.

Courtroom to Newsroom. CNN discovered a fresh face to join Bernard Shaw in co-anchoring The World Today, the cable network's new 6 PM Eastern news show: Catherine Crier, a District Court Judge in Texas. First elected in 1984 and then re-elected in 1988 on the Republican ticket, Crier heard civil cases before the Dallas court until her sudden career change.

Dumping Group W. Polly Kreisman, Press Secretary to liberal Congressman Mel Levine (D-Calif.) in 1985, has been named Washington Bureau Chief for Ackerley Communications Inc. Previously she was Washington correspondent for Group W/Westinghouse Broadcasting, owner of network TV stations in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Ackerley owns television outlets in Syracuse, Bakersfield and Colorado Springs. In 1983 and 1984 Kreisman reported from Washington for San Francisco's NBC affiliate, KRON-TV.

Delegate to the Republic. Jacob Weisberg, an alternate delegate to the 1984 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, has filled a new Associate Editor slot at The New Republic where he toiled as a reporter/researcher in 1984-85. Since then Weisberg has studied at Oxford and spent time reporting from Newsweek's Washington and London bureaus.