Schaefer talk on budget to be carried live on TV

December 13, 1991|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun

ANNAPOLIS -- Gov. William Donald Schaefer will make a live, prime-time television address Tuesday on at least three Baltimore network stations to talk directly with Maryland citizens about the state's budget crisis.

It marks the first time in his five years as governor that Mr. Schaefer has asked for -- and been promised -- free television time.

His aides said yesterday that the governor is convinced the public does not understand the magnitude of the budget crisis, HTC how it developed, nor what must be done to balance the budget and thus position the state for an economic recovery.

"He wanted a chance to speak directly to them," said Page Boinest, an assistant press secretary.

Mr. Schaefer is expected to speak 15 to 20 minutes between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The address will be carried live on Channels 2, 11 and 13 in Baltimore and on Maryland Public Television. It has been offered to other television stations around the state and in Washington. It also will be broadcast on WBAL radio and possibly other stations in the state.

"This has been discussed off and on as a possible way for the governor to get his message out, [a message] he doesn't think is getting out," Ms. Boinest said. The idea was rekindled Tuesday, she said, when at least two legislators told the governor during briefings on the state's latest deficit that they did not believe the public yet understood the depth of the crisis.

The address will pre-empt the popular, hourlong "Rescue 911" on WBAL-TV, Channel 11. Emerson Coleman, director of broadcast operations there, said the speech would be followed by a review and news analysis, which in turn would be followed by a half-hour rerun of "WKRP in Cincinnati" before returning to scheduled network shows.

Emily Barr, director of broadcast operations for WMAR-TV, Channel 2, said the address would interrupt the hourlong network drama "I'll Fly Away," which will be rejoined in progress when the speech is over.

Program Manager Michael Easterling at WJZ-TV, Channel 13, said Mr. Schaefer's address will pre-empt "Full House," a half-hour situation comedy. The station has not yet decided whether to rejoin that network telecast in progress or to fill out the time after the speech with analysis.

"I don't recall any governor doing this," Mr. Easterling said of the request for air time.

Maryland Public Television will devote a full hour to the speech, a follow-up analysis and interviews with key state legislators, said Michael Styer, MPT's senior vice president for broadcasting. That will pre-empt the weekly show "NOVA," which will be rescheduled.

C7 "This is obviously more important," Mr. Styer said.

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