WMIX-FM refuses to accept ads for Channel 45 news reports

February 25, 1992|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

It may be hard to imagine anyone turning down advertising dollars in this economy. But that's what radio station WMIX-FM (106.5) did yesterday when it refused to air ads from WBFF-TV (Channel 45) News at Ten promoting a report on incest and another on priests who have sex with children.

"The ads were just too graphic and too vivid in their description," said Bob Lind, vice president and general manager of the station. "Many of our listeners are women 25 to 34, young mothers. . . . And this is just not what we're looking for."

The ad for the report on incest, which was to have aired today, features a narrator's voice saying, "Tonight on Fox 45, News at Ten . . . victims of incest talk about their nightmares -- nightmares that were not dreams. They were all too real." That is followed by voices of incest victims taken from the news reports. One voice says, "From the time I was 2 until I was 17, my father raped, sadistically beat and tortured me."

The ad scheduled for tomorrow says, "Tonight on Fox 45 News at Ten . . . you'll learn how some priests are engaging in sex with children." Then a victim's voice says, "He took his pants off down to his underwear and asked me to the same. . . . I didn't know what to do. I was sacred to death."

Lind said it was such statements by victims -- called "testimonials" in the radio business -- that the station objected to.

"These are sensitive issues, we recognize that," said Michael E. Schroeder, program/promotion manager for Channel 45. "We recognize there is a line. But we did not cross that line." Schroeder said Channel 45 had not received complaints from any of the other stations that had accepted the ads.

As of late yesterday, the ads were scheduled to run today and tomorrow on radio stations WQSR-FM, WPOC-FM, WWIN-FM and WBAL-AM, Schroeder said.

Lind said his station had refused ads in the past from WBAL-TV (Channel 11) promoting Geraldo Rivera's "Geraldo" show.

"These are not Geraldo issues," Schroeder said in response.

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