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On-the-Air Panel Meetings Won't Fly : Televising the Burbank Airport Authority Will Waste Money and Fail to Quiet the Critics

August 22, 1993

You can put just about any type of programming on the public access channels of cable television systems, just as long as it isn't obscene or illegal. We invite you to draw your own conclusions as to the quality of the offerings in the region to date. Now, however, there is a scintillating idea afoot: televising the bimonthly meetings of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. Please take a moment to catch your breath.

On some evenings you could skip the 80th re-run of "Die Hard 2," avoid the dubbed film where the dialogue and the lip movements aren't quite in sync, and instead watch the airport commissioners wrestle with the $88,000 choice of new carpeting for the ticket counter areas. Shag or low pile? Ah, the pulse quickens.

A majority of the members of the Airport Authority have expressed support for the idea of televising their meetings on public access stations in surrounding communities. That's in spite of the fact that a staff report says that it would cost $100,000 in the first year alone. About half of that amount would have to be spent on video equipment, according to the report. Those who can appreciate irony will also note that the airport that has inspired such vitriolic opposition from neighbors because of noise would have to spend $35,000 to soundproof its meeting room to drown out the roar of departing jets.

One commissioner suggests that televising the meetings will win over airport critics by keeping them informed of the authority's actions. Is he kidding?

Somehow, we can't see how it will help the airport's image to televise its decisions regarding the airport's expansion, for example, at the precise time that someone's china is vibrating its way across the dinner table at the moment of liftoff.

If the airport's desire is to improve its much-maligned image as a neighbor, we'd like to suggest that this idea just won't fly.

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