Lists better left to Letterman

Suggestions that WSTM-TV Syracuse, N.Y., may have promised too much last
year -- even in jest -- to get the current three-year contract to air live New
York State Lottery drawings, along with criticism from local competitors, led to
a front-page story in the local Post-Standard
Thursday and some embarrassment for the station.

A top 10 list submitted with the station's proposal for the contract,
obtained by the newspaper, included No. 2: "Positive special-events news
coverage of lottery events."

General manager Jim Lutton told Broadcasting & Cable's TVFax that
the list and suggestion were clearly a joke, but he said he told his staff "they
should slap me if I ever make a top-10 list again. We don't give anybody
favorable coverage. I thought it would be taken as a joke, but there's a front-page article that shows that I'm obviously wrong."

Lutton said his station won the contract because it offered more airtime
promotion than competitors in the market.

The station's proposal also included producing an "Educator of the Week"
series, which notes the lottery's role in funding education in New York.

Although Lutton told TVFax his station controls the content and would
air the spot regardless of the lottery, he acknowledged that it's been sponsored
by the lottery since its inception.