Station Break

Publish and perish

WPVI-TV Philadelphia reporter Rose Tibayan remained off the air last week, suspended over her refusal to stop working on a book in possible violation of her contract. As of last week, she had hired entertainment lawyer Lloyd Remmick to represent her in talks with the station.

According to sources, Tibayan is barred by contract from publishing any outside work without station permission. That same contract, however, may require the station to reinstate her salary, since she can be formally suspended without pay for only two weeks, sources say.

Sources close to Tibayan say she's adamant about continuing to work on the book—a resource work for aspiring TV journalists that, she says, is far from publication. She doesn't believe any prohibition on publishing applies to her gathering information for the book. She refused to sign a pledge to stop working on the book prior to her suspension.

Station management, sources say, objects to Tibayan's using her position at the station to gain access and information. With her refusing to follow the management dictate, discipline for insubordination could also be part of the discussion. Principals in the dispute said they would not discuss the matter publicly.

Show and tell

The FCC gave the Emmis TV-station group three more months to sell one of its two Honolulu stations but only 30 days to detail its efforts so far to sell the station. Emmis had requested a one-year extension to divest either KHON-TV or KGMB(TV) following two six-month extensions, and the FCC cited a letter from a local TV investor, Donald Laidlaw, opposing the extension and questioning Emmis' efforts to sell. Emmis has told the agency it has made legitimate efforts to sell. The group said last week it will comply with the FCC directives.

Hold the phone

An Arizona appeals court denied a KTVK(TV) Phoenix request for the tape of a 911 call made after a 16-month-old child fell from his crib. The call was made by a woman later arrested in the incident. Applying an "alternative means" test, the state appellate panel said the Mesa Police release of a transcript of the call satisfied the state's Public Records Act.

The court said the public interest in the tape's release was outweighed by privacy interests: "We cannot imagine a more fundamental concern or one more directly associated with the intimate aspects of identity and family autonomy than the desire to withhold from public display the recorded suffering of one's child."

A dissenting opinion said such a standard could eliminate virtually all emergency calls from the public record. KTVK News Director Dennis O'Neill echoed the dissent.

"The judges have set a new standard for public records in this state," he said. "It should be up to us whether we air something, not the police department. A transcript is less than a perfect record." The station is considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Rating recognition

WCVB-TV Boston Research Director Adrienne Lotoski, considered an authority among authorities, was honored by the Television Bureau of Advertising with the "Harold E. Simpson Excellence in Research Award" at TVB's Annual Marketing Conference in New York. She was cited for her work on Nielsen rating systems, including peoplemeters, expected to launch in Boston this month but without participation by local TV stations.

Pooling public INFO

Four of California's largest PBS stations are teaming up to produce a statewide news magazine distributed over both TV and the Internet. California Connected
will be produced by KCET(TV) Los Angeles, KQED(TV) San Francisco, KVIE(TV) Sacramento and KPBS(TV) San Diego and will focus on statewide issues. Host David Brancaccio, best known for hosting NPR's Marketplace, called it "the first and only television show to focus entirely on California and its people."

The weekly hour-long program will debut Thursday, April 25, to be carried in all seven California markets. The show will also be accessible at W.