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Changes Are Set At Kcbs News

August 11, 1986|WILLIAM CHITWOOD

KCBS-TV Channel 2 plans to announce a new format and anchor lineup this week for its third-ranked weekday news programs.

The changes come in the wake of a prolonged ratings slump, the announced departures last week of 5 p.m. newscast anchors Jess Marlow and Colleen Williams in salary disputes and urgings by a local civil-rights organization to increase the on-air presence of blacks at the CBS Inc.-owned station.

FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Wednesday August 13, 1986 Home Edition Calendar Part 6 Page 4 Column 2 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 62 words Type of Material: Correction
In Monday's Calendar an article regarding minority hiring practices and format changes at KCBS-TV, Channel 2, reported that Willis Edwards of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People met last Thursday with station general manager Frank Gardner. Edwards now says no such meeting with Gardner was held that day but the two talked on the telephone. Station officials say the telephone discussion did not involve KCBS policies.

KCBS officials have refused to discuss publicly the proposed on-air changes, which are set for Sept. 15. However, the new format was on the agenda Thursday when Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP President Willis Edwards met with KCBS General Manager Frank Gardner to reiterate the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People's call for the station to include qualified blacks on its news staff.

Edwards had said earlier that including more blacks on the KCBS news staff was a matter of "plain old fairness."

Station spokeswoman Andi Sporkin said that KCBS has "the best minority representation on the air in the market and we'll continue to do so" under the new format.

"We realize that we serve the whole community, not just rich white businessmen on the Westside," Sporkin said.

The NAACP's Edwards, calling last week's meeting with Gardner "a private affair," would not comment on the details of their discussion. Edwards said, however, that he had been meeting "over the years with Gardner and (other local) stations to push for more minorities in the newsroom."

Sporkin said the station's community affairs department regularly meets with Edwards and with "representatives of every minority group--ethnic, sexual and cultural."

Edwards said the NAACP was lobbying KCBS because of the opportunities brought by the departure of Williams and Marlow. Edwards declined to compare KCBS' black representation to KNBC Channel 4 and KABC Channel 7, the other two network-owned stations in Los Angeles. He said he would withhold public comment on KCBS employment practices until after the station announces its new format and anchor lineup.

KCBS has three black anchors: sports anchor Jim Hill, who appears on the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. weekday newscasts and the 11 p.m. Sunday Sports Final; Saturday afternoon anchor Hosea Sanders, who also is a weekday substitute anchor, and substitute anchor Valerie Coleman.

Last week, KCBS confirmed the addition of Dan Miller, a white anchor recently lured from NBC-TV affiliate WSMV in Nashville, Tenn.

Sporkin insisted that the revamped news will be "distinctively different from what's been on Channel 2 and in the Los Angeles market."

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