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TV Note: Local NBC stations pass on liquor ads

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Three area Cox-owned NBC stations are among 10 affiliates nationally that won't air liquor ads. Pittsburgh's WPXI, Steubenville's WTOV and Altoona's WJAC will pre-empt the spots when they begin airing in April.

NBC's decision to accept advertising for hard liquor, albeit with many strings attached regarding the commercial content, met with outrage from some quarters, including the American Medical Association.

WPXI general manager Ray Carter said rejecting advertising for hard liquor is a Cox corporate policy.

"The company would have concerns about relaxing the standards without an awful lot of discussion and safeguards in place," Carter said.

In the Electronic Media article, Cox vice president of television Bruce Baker indicated NBC's decision not to consult with its affiliates before announcing the liquor ad plan was also a factor.

As a precursor to liquor ads, NBC has been running public service announcements paid for by liquor companies. Cox stations haven't been airing those either, replacing them with promotional content or public service content. When liquor ads start airing nationally on NBC, Carter said, those too will be replaced by PSAs, promotions or other ads.

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

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