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Kcet May Mend Its Hearings Ways

May 15, 1987|HOWARD ROSENBERG

KCET Channel 28 was swamped with calls from puzzled viewers Thursday when PBS suspended live coverage of the Iran- contra hearings after the morning session, apparently catching many viewers by surprise.

However, when the hearings resume Tuesday, Channel 28 may carry a special live pool feed that PBS is making available to PBS affiliates through WETA-TV in Washington. Judy Woodruff, Elizabeth Drew and Cokie Roberts aren't participating, but Paul Duke and Daniel Schorr provide a voice-over commentary without appearing on screen.

"We can't say for sure, but we're inclined to carry the feed," said Charles Impaglia, Channel 28 director of broadcasting. KCET did not carry the special pool feed of Thursday afternoon's session of the hearings "because we decided to go along with the news judgment of 'MacNeil/Lehrer,' " Impaglia said.

A "MacNeil/Lehrer" spokesman said that taking the special feed is logistically awkward for stations because they receive no warning when the hearings abruptly take a recess, and thus can be caught without programming with which to fill. With prodding from viewers, perhaps Channel 28 will decide that the benefits outweigh the problems.

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