As the conservative chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson, tries to put a political slant to the public airwaves, he should remember how he felt the day corporate maneuverings broke up the radio team. Just last year Tomlinson wrote a commentary bemoaning the loss of Sonny, Sam, and Frank — the Washington Redskins’ infamous “radio team.” Tomlinson stated:
But the firing of Frank Herzog and its residual effect on football greats Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen (how can Sonny and Sam be Sonny and Sam without a straight man?) is turning local control of broadcast stations into a concept I can understand.
Indeed, the more I am around public radio and television the better I understand why the authority that determines local content is not far away network executives, but people who live and work where these stations broadcast. Maybe we need to return to that concept with commercial radio.
Tomlinson’s declaration that public radio and television should be a reflection of the people and not corporate executives completely contradicts his present attempts to control public broadcasting through the Corporation (It also contradicts the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967). The ominous conclusion to Tomlinson’s commentary was, “If it takes the threat of a little government intervention to put Sonny, Sam and Frank back together again, then so be it.” If Tomlinson doesn’t remember his own words, it may take just that to put PBS back together again.