Sight And Sound, Daily Racing Form, 1959-05-13


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SIGHT AND SOUND ByUoMhhkin NEW YORK, May 12.— Dr. Frank Stanton, president of the- Columbia Broadcasting System, paid a return visit to his Alma Mater, Ohio State University, the other day, and there delivered himself of a few remarks on the state of the business in which he now finds himself. The newspapers have already reported upon a new plan for CBS made public by Dr. Stanton on that occasion — the gradual increase over the period of the next couple of years, of public service programming in what the trade refers to as "prime evening time," the weekday evening hours when the largest possible audience is available — but there were several other points made by the CBS prexy that might warrant some close attention. AAA • -v. In addition to his announcement of interspersing regular hour-long informational programs along with the routine fare on the CBS-TV network, Dr. Stanton also made public a projected "continuing field study of television and the American people to see if we cannot bring more factual knowledge to our programming function than we have now ... It is no exaggeration to say," he noted, "that the U. S. is probably better informed today than ever in its history. Nor is it an exaggeration to say that the need has never been greater than today." The potentiality of television bringing the facts home to the American people in these times, he went on is "an advantage of enormous implications. . . . "When the margin for error traditional and democratic processes is necessarily narrowed, and when the traditionally slow procedures must be quickened." AAA But even more than increasing this flow of information to its audience, Dr. Stanton saw a deeper responsibility on the part of the TV broadcasters in serving the public. "I do not pretend to suggest that television has achieved its full growth as a vehicle of the arts, of culture generally, or of information," he said. "I think it will grow considerably and at a comparatively fast pace . . . We recognize the need for more research on both the impact of television upon society and the impact of society upon/teleivsion ... A responsible broadcaster must do more than just respond. He must lead. He must stay ahead. He must, for example, have a clear insight into the importance of this medium as a communications channel in a modern democratic society." AAA Brave, noble words indeed — and if the good Doctor will forgive me, expressing the same sentiments frequently made public in this very space. The fact that television is a medium of communication as well as a. medium of entertainment is all too often ignored or forgotten by the broadcasters themselves, and it is a heartening thing indeed to note that one of the most eminent of them, one of the most influential figures in the whole industry, is now acknowledging this in a challenging and stimulating manner. AAA "It is true," observed Dr. Stanton, "that most entertainment shows have audiences considerably greater than those for news and informational programs. Nevertheless, televisions total audience is so vast and inclusive that the CBSJTelevision -networks .Douglas Edwards and" the News, for example, has the largest audience of any single news source in the world. Even programs that have gone very deeply and Continued on Page Fifteen ! I | 1 I SIGHT AND SOUND lifi By LEO MISHKIN I I _: : I I Continued from Page Two thoroughly into such grave problems of the I world today as The Ruble War, have I tremendous audiences when compared to other media dealing with a subject as 1 complex as the Sino-Soviet economic offen- | sive." * I * * A I "I do hope, now that its conspicuous. | entrance has been made upon our lives, I that television will be considered for what j it is, not as some isolated miracle that ! anight to have a special imperative applied to it. Historically, it is the latest develop- ment in the long democratization of the-arts. Politically, it is the most recent aid to informing the people of a democracy quicker and directly. Socially, it is another] and perhaps more vivid example of the • intense interaction - that must go on be-tween a mass medium and the total society j of which it is a part, if it is to be truly a mass medium serving everyone." |

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