Fired KXLY newsman claims bias
By Karen Dorn Steele
A former newsman who claims he was fired from KXLY-TV because of age and race discrimination has filed a petition seeking denial of the relicensing of KXLY and its Washington sister stations.
In his petition to the Federal Communications Commission in December, Mac McAllister said station officials lied to cover up a “sorry record of race discrimination, sex discrimination and age discrimination” in a series of staffing changes at KXLY-TV after Wayne McNulty was replaced as general manager.
Television stations, regulated by federal law, must show they make good-faith efforts to hire minorities and women, and that they do not discriminate in hiring on the basis of sex, race or religion.
In a prepared statement released to The Spokesman-Review, KXLY station manager Stephen Herling said he wouldn’t comment on McAllister’s charges unless the station received confirmation that the FCC was acting on the petition.
“We are reviewing the allegations and will make our responses to the commission,” Herling said.
McAllister said he was given a choice of resigning with good recommendations or being fired and “blackballed” after Herling took over in April 1982. He said he refused to quit and was fired Nov. 15 1982.
A week later McAllister filed an age and race discrimination complaint with the state Human Rights Commission.
“It is common knowledge that KXLY is going for the ‘young look,’” McAllister said in the complaint. “They hired seven new reporters that are all in their 20s.
“Five management or mid-management persons have been forced to leave the staff. Of those five, three are over 40.”
The Human Rights Commission concluded that McAllister’s complaint was groundless. He appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, saying station management had misrepresented his work as a feature producer during the complaint proceedings.
Instead of doing poor work as the station managers claimed, McAllister said, he had produced special award-winning special reports, some of which were used on network television.
McAllister hopes to have more chance to air his grievances against the station through the FCC licensing hearings.
“I haven’t worked in the past year,” he said. “I’m over 40 and I’m black, and I know how tough it is to find another job. They’ve ruined my whole life.”
Thursday, January 12, 1984