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KCOP Turns to Conservatives After Press' Election

April 06, 1993|STEVEN HERBERT

Following through on its pledge to offer a platform for conservative views following the election of its commentator, Bill Press, as chairman of the California Democratic Party, KCOP-TV Channel 13 plans to have Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday night's newscast, news director Jeff Wald said Monday.

Wald also added that he spoke with veteran conservative commentator Bruce Herschensohn about working at the station. Herschensohn had been a commentator at KABC-TV Channel 7 and KABC-AM (790) from 1978 until leaving in 1991 for what proved to be a second unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. He is currently a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy, a conservative think-tank.

Hewitt co-hosts "Life and Times" on KCET-TV Channel 28 and, like Press, hosts a Saturday talk show on KFI-AM (640). An Irvine attorney, Hewitt held a variety of positions in the Reagan Administration, including assistant White House counsel.

Hewitt's role at KCOP is just for Wednesday, but he said he would be interested in continuing if it did not conflict with his KCET duties.

Prior to Press' election Saturday, KCOP had drawn fire from rival stations for deciding to keep Press on the air should he win. Critics contended that Press' dual role would be a conflict, damaging the newscasts' credibility.

Press has been a commentator on the station's weeknight newscasts since mid-1990. The station is uncertain how often its other commentators will be on.

KCOP station manager Rick Feldman conceded Monday that Press "can't be objective about Willie Brown" (the Assembly Speaker who was among many top party leaders to have endorsed Press' candidacy) and said he wants Press to stay away from political commentary.

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