Callahan cable show pulled off the air after complaint DeGraff calls broadcast 'propaganda'

October 10, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Former Mayor Dennis M. Callahan's weekly cable television talk show was pulled off the air last week, a casualty of the Ward 7 City Council race, apparently never to return.

The manager of the TCI cable franchise in Annapolis said the program, "Maryland on the Half Shell," did not air in its regularly scheduled slots on Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon because that week's episode contained a political advertisement.

Manager Bill Forest said he was unaware of the show's content until after it was taped and had aired Monday. Shortly after the 7 p.m. broadcast, Mr. Forest said Republican Alderman M. Teresa DeGraff telephoned him and complained that Mr. Callahan's discussion with her Democratic opponent, Richard L. Staisloff, contained "lies" about her and constituted a political advertisement.

Mr. Forest said he canceled the additional broadcasts after reviewing the tape, because he found it did contain "a reference to political fund-raising. That's the role of a paid advertisement."

Mr. Callahan, an independent candidate for mayor, said Friday that he has allowed other political candidates -- including GOP mayoral candidate Laurence Vincent -- who have appeared on the show to explain how viewers could volunteer or contribute.

"This has never happened before in the four years I've been doing the show, and I'll tell you, it will never happen again," said Mr. Callahan, who added that he will discontinue the show.

Mr. Staisloff, a financial analyst with the Maryland Higher Education Commission, charged that Ms. DeGraff used her position as an alderman to force the program off the air. TCI is negotiating a new franchise agreement with the city.

Ms. DeGraff, who works at the county jail, denied the charge. She called the broadcast "the biggest piece of propaganda since Hitler" and said, "You can't use a public access channel for a fund-raiser."

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