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KREM-TV to Join CBS Chain

March 29, 1976

Expected in August

By Bill Morlin
Spokane Daily Chronicle

KREM-TV will become a CBS affiliate this fall after the network ends a 23-year tie to KXLY-TV, which may join up with ABC, it was learned today.

“We are happy to reach this agreement,” Dean Woodring, vice president and general manager of KREM, said when asked about reports the Spokane station would become a CBS affiliate.

No exact date for the KREM network switchover has been set, but it’s expected to be about Aug. 19 when CBS ends its affiliation with KXLY—a divorce that some industry sources said was brought about by the network to strengthen its dictatorial programming powers over other affiliates in larger markets.

“We’ve been visiting with ABC (representatives), but we have not worked out any decision yet,” Wayne F. McNulty, general manager of KXLY, said when reached for comment.

“We have a high regard for ABC and have for years been familiar with (the network’s) high standards of programming,” said McNulty, who is vice president of Spokane Television, Inc., a subsidiary of the Evening Telegram Corp., a Superior, Wis. newspaper and television chain which owns ABC affiliates in Yakima and the Tri-Cities.

Woodring initially had no comment on the report but two hours later released a statement saying:

“KREM Television will join the CBS television network this fall. We are happy to reach this agreement. CBS is the established industry leader in news and entertainment and we look forward to bringing CBS programs to our Spokane audience.”

The KREM general manager said the station’s affiliation with ABC “has been marked with mutual pride and success.”

“We now look forward to providing the CBS network with the same public service, news and promotional support to insure its rightful place as No. 1 in the Spokane market,” Woodring’s statement said.

Before the network change, KREM-TV will carry the Summer Olympics, scheduled for airing by ABC in late July and early August, the station manager said.

McNulty said CBS’ decision to terminate its affiliation with KXLY-TV came Feb. 19 “without warning.”

“The disagreement was over some programming that ran with the network’s permission in the 7:30 to 8 p.m. time slot,” the KXLY general manager said in his first public comment about the unexpected termination.

McNulty said he had a meeting in San Francisco with CBS executives after the termination notice was given. The network, trailing ABC for 10 consecutive weeks in “second season” prime time ratings, expressed displeasure that KXLY-TV was airing “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Doc,” “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Good Times” in the 7:30 to 8 time slot, the station manager said.

The KXLY general manager said the station has aired the shows at that time because “telephone and personal contact and audience surveys have shown that the people in the Spokane market preferred to watch these all-family type shows at a time when most everyone in the family was available.”

McNulty said the CBS television departure “will have no effect at this point” on KXLY Radio’s affiliation with the CBS Radio Network. The station manager called that relationship “very amicable.”

The CBS pullout at KXLY-TV was one of the first times ever that a network has terminated an affiliation without simultaneously announcing a new affiliate, industry sources said.

In the March 12 issue of “Media Reports,” a nationally distributed trade journal, the KXLY-CBS divorce was given attention in an article which said: “Our contacts universally feel the CBS move is a result of the network’s rating slide in the past few months.”

The same article said although the Spokane television market is relatively small, CBS’ action with KXLY-TV “will rattle a few cages” of other larger affiliates who’ve been ignoring the networks’ programming directives.

Monday, March 29, 1976


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