SI Vault
Edited by Robert H. Boyle
March 27, 1978
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March 27, 1978


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The Federal Communications Commission is getting ready to sock it to CBS. The FCC found last week that the network had "deceived the public" by promoting four tennis matches as "winner take all" when in fact all the players had been guaranteed money beforehand. The FCC also found that CBS had violated commission rules by plugging Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where three of the matches took place, without announcing this was in exchange for "promotional considerations," i.e., the hotel let network executives and crews freeload.

Because of these shenanigans, the FCC indicated it might not grant full-term license renewal for one or more of the five highly profitable stations CBS owns outright. "The people at CBS are terrified," says a television insider. "Those stations are the money tree."

Moreover, Bob Wussler announced last week that he was resigning as president of CBS Sports, ostensibly to form his own production company. Many in the industry regard Wussler's resignation as an attempt by the network to placate the FCC, but what really is puzzling is the talk that Barry Frank may move up from his position as senior vice-president for Sports to succeed Wussler. Before joining CBS, Frank worked for Trans World International, which helped package the first "winner-take-all" match. If CBS chooses Frank, says the insider, "They'd be saying, 'We got rid of Wussler because he's supposed to have finagled. Now we're replacing him with the guy who really finagled.' They should be out looking for Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis."


Now for NBC. University of Kansas basketball fans are livid about sportscaster Curt Gowdy making a hash of the names of Jayhawk players in the team's 83-76 loss to UCLA at the NCAA regionals in Eugene, Ore. As folks in Kansas screamed, Gowdy repeatedly referred to Darnell Valentine as Darrell Valentine, Donnie Von Moore as Donnie Van Moore, Scott Anderson as Kim Anderson and Wilmore Fowler as Wilmer Fowler. Ken Koenigs—Kaynigs phonetically—came over the air as both Coinig and Coinigs and Gowdy called Clint Johnson, who played brilliantly, Clint Jones.

As angry viewers called KARD-TV in Wichita, an NBC affiliate, station officials tried to reach network headquarters in New York, hoping the brass there could relay the correct names and pronunciations to Gowdy in Eugene. "But they told us in New York they couldn't reach Gowdy," a KARD spokesman says.

Jayhawk fans are not the only ones expressing their displeasure at Gowdy's performance. "It was not the caliber of work we expect in an NCAA telecast," says Tom Jernstedt of the NCAA. Sports editor Bob Hentzen of the Topeka Daily Capital wrote in his column last week, "...hoping Kirk Goudie does better with the names on his next basketball telecast." Don Baker, the KU sports information director, says he spent more than 30 minutes the day before the game briefing Gowdy on the players' names. Gowdy bollixed up the names then, but Baker says Gowdy assured him, "Don't worry, I'll have it all straightened out tomorrow."

Last Saturday, during halftime of the Kentucky-Michigan State game on NBC, Gowdy announced that although he wasn't running for governor of Kansas, he wanted to apologize to the KU basketball team for mispronouncing "two or three names."


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