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Political Coverage

KMEX to Host Los Angeles Mayoral Debate

KMEX, the Univision station in Los Angeles, will host a Spanish-language mayoral debate between Democratic candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel next week.

KMEX is partnering with Mi Familia Vota Education Fund to host the debate. León Krauze and Gabriela Teissier will moderate the hourlong debate, which will air April 19 at 6pmPT.

“This mayoral debate is part of Univision’s on-going commitment to the Los Angeles Hispanic community in providing the most comprehensive coverage surrounding the topics of most relevance to them,” KMEX general manager Alberto Mier y Terán said in a statement. “We hope this debate will motivate our community to exercise their right to vote on May 21.”

Hearst Stations Renew PolitiFact Partnership

Hearst Television has renewed its partnership with PolitiFact, the fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times, for a second year.

“Conventional wisdom may hold that television stations relax political news coverage during non-election years, but the reality is different,” Hearst Television chairman and CEO David Barrett said in a statement. “These latest efforts reflect our own continuing commitment to ensure that legislators and regulators whose decisions impact our communities will get a forum, and that their statements and activities will receive the analysis they warrant.”

Hearst has also announced a series of statewide town hall discussions, “Leaders Listen,” in New Hampshire. WMUR, Hearst’s ABC affiliate in Manchester, will live-stream the events.

WNCN Political Reporter Kim Gernardo to Join Governor McCrory’s Office

WNCN political reporter Kim Gernardo is leaving the Raleigh-Durham NBC affiliate for a job as the director of communications for North Carolina governor Pat McCrory.

Gernardo has worked at WNCN for 14 years. She will begin in her new role on Wednesday.

“She has made a mark in this community by making it her business to know the Legislature inside and out,” news director Andrea Parquet-Taylor said in a statement. “We wish Kim well in her new endeavor.”

Jim Romenesko points out that Gerado sat down with McCrory for a one-on-one interview two weeks ago.

KGO’s Dan Ashley to Interview President Obama [Updated]

KGO reporter Dan Ashley is traveling from San Francisco to Washington this week to interview President Obama, according to the ABC O&O.

The interview comes in the middle of rising tensions between the White House and the White House Correspondents Association over the level of access the press has to the President. Ashley’s reports will begin airing on KGO Wednesday evening.

The President has no interviews on his public schedule Tuesday, although he often does a handful of local interviews at once. Know of any other stations with the White House granted interviews to? Let us know: tvspy@mediabistro.com.

>Update: At least four more local interviews for the President tomorrow. Obama will be sitting down with Debi Chard of WCSC in Charleston, S.C., Kevin Ogle of KFOR in Oklahoma City, Yunji de Nies of KITV in Honolulu, Hawaii and Liz Brunner of WCVB in Boston.

For Inaugural Ceremony, DC Stations Turn to National Coverage

Following their respective morning newscasts, local stations in Washington, DC have traded local coverage for national coverage of President Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in ceremony.

Around 11amET Monday, all four DC stations — NBC O&O WRC, ABC affiliate WJLA, Fox O&O WTTG and CBS affiliate WUSA — began airing coverage provided by their respective affiliated networks. Brian Williams is anchoring on NBC, Scott Pelley on CBS, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos on ABC, and Shepard Smith on Fox Broadcast Network. President Obama is expected to deliver his inaugural address at 12pmET.

At least one station, WTTG, will go back to local coverage for the parade. Maureen Umeh will anchor, with Brian Bolter, Shawn Yancy and Sue Palka at the Canadian Embassy, Matt Ackland on the Freedom Plaza and Bob Barnard along the parade route.

>Update: WUSA also returned briefly to local programming at 1pmET, turning it back over to CBS at 1:30pm. The station will have expanded newscasts this afternoon and evening.

WTTG’s Wisdom Martin Interviews President Obama Look Alike on National Mall

While reporting on President Obama’s second inauguration from the National Mall, WTTG reporter Wisdom Martin came across a professional Presidential look-alike.

“I’m from Channel 5 here in DC, and you look just like Barack Obama,” Martin told the man, who was swamped with people attempting to take a picture with him. “What do you mean? I’m Barack Obama,” the look-alike, Louis Ortiz, responded.

Ortiz called his life since Obama was elected “a roller-coaster ride,” telling Martin, “Not too many downs. Many ups. South Korea, Japan, Australia, corporate events, IBM, the Dalai Lama, Steve Forbes. It’s just nonstop.”

Belo Touts Voter Education Effort During 2012 Election

Belo Corporation announced the company’s “It’s Your Time” program gave free airtime to 135 congressional and gubernatorial candidates on its 14 news producing stations during the 2012 election.

“The political coverage our stations provide our local communities is essential to citizens having the information they need to make informed choices,” said Dunia A. Shive, Belo’s president and chief executive officer. “Belo is pleased to give candidates the opportunity to air their positions on important issues through the ‘It’s Your Time’ program.”

The media company also said it aired an average of two hours of political coverage per week in the six weeks leading up to last year’s election. That works out to roughly 17 minutes of political coverage per day. Read more

KTVK Posts Raw Footage of Arizona Governor’s Reaction to Climate Change Question

When KTVK political editor Dennis Welch asked Arizona Governor Jan Brewer about climate change last week he probably didn’t expect the internet storm that followed in its wake.

In response to the growing speculation that the Arizona Governor punched (Tucson Citizen, The Atlantic Wire), slugged (Huffington Post, Jim Romenesko), took a swing (Yahoo! News) or tapped the reporter for the Phoenix independent station, KTVK posted the raw video of the interview for all to see.

In the raw video, Welch asked the Governor whether she believed humans are responsible for global warming or not.  Then after stumbling through an answer, the Governor began walking away.  She then turned back with a bemused look on her face, tapped the KTVK reporter and asked, “Where in the hell did that come from?”  You can form your own opinion of whether it was a punch, tap or slug by viewing the raw video after the jump.

Read more

Robert Mak Leaves KING After Show is Canceled

The Seattle Times is reporting Robert Mak, whose political affairs show was recently canceled by KING, will be leaving the Seattle NBC affiliate.

Mak was offered the chance to stay with the station after his weekly show “Up Front with Robert Mak” was canceled.  “I appreciate the offer to stay, and after considering it seriously I simply decided it was time to start something new,” Mak told the Times.

Mak also said he hoped to stay in Seattle, “I have a lot of ideas and interests that I would like to pursue, but I’m keeping an open mind.”

Last week TVSpy reported KING executive news director Mark Ginther attributed the loss of Mak’s show to a slowdown in advertising revenue that forced the station to make cuts throughout the newsroom.

Citing a Slowdown in Advertising Revenue, KING Scraps Weekly Political Affairs Program

Seattle NBC affiliate KING has announced the cancellation of “Up Front with Robert Mak,” the station’s weekly political affairs program. The show’s last broadcast will be Sunday.

KING executive news director Mark Ginther said that a slowdown in advertising revenue has forced the station to make cuts throughout the newsroom. Seven newsroom positions were eliminated last month “through layoffs and the elimination of several already vacant positions,” the station says.

Mak (pictured) will continue to lead the station’s political coverage, and the show’s producer, Mike Cate, will continue to produce politics.

“We will continue the award-winning coverage we have given to political and public interest programming in our more than eight and a half hours of local news and, from time to time, we will run Up Front as specials when events demand,” KING general manager Ray Heacox said in a statement.

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