Don't Encourage KHOU

 Posted on February 07, 2008 in Uncategorized

My dad sent an email to KHOU asking that the station broadcast the February 19th DA candidate debate on television (instead of just on the web as planned):

I understand that KHOU will be broadcasting the 19 February debate of the Harris County District Attorney candidates on your website but not on the air.

This is an appeal that you also broadcast the debate live on the air. The choice of a new District Attorney for Harris County this year is one of the most important issues for your audience and will affect the lives of many in the county for years to come. This is an opportunity for you to provide a meaningful public service. Thank you, Clark Bennett

In response, he got this:

Thanks for your e-mail.

The Harris County District Attorney Debate will be aired live on 11 News' Web site the night of Feb. 19. The debate will also be available on demand on starting that night as well.

Segments of the debate will also be a part of the 11 News newscasts.

If you have a question of the candidates that you would like asked during the debate, please submit that question to this e-mail by Feb. 15.

Thanks again for your comments.


TJ AULDS News Producer

Not quite responsive, huh? No worries, though, Dad's on the case:

Dear Mr./Ms Aulds,

I appreciate you responding to my email but you did not address my request that KHOU broadcast the debate live on the air.

As my email stated, I was already aware that you intended to have the debate on your website. This is not adequate considering the importance of this issue to the citizens of Harris County. I hope KHOU management can reconsider.

Clark Bennett

An unexpected quick response from TJ AULDS:

Mr. Bennett,

Thanks for your request. I confirmed yesterday that the decision is to air the debate live on and feature it prominently within our newscasts as to reach a wide audience.

I have forwarded your e-mail to Ch. 11 management for consideration.


TJ AULDS News Producer

Management? Consideration? Sounds promising! Then, today, management's response:

Dear Mr. Bennett,

Thank you for your letter requesting that KHOU air the debate on Channel 11.

We agree that the debate is important, that's why when we were asked to become involved, we did. The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association first sought out another TV station and was turned down.

We're glad the HCCLA came to us next. We have programming commitments to CBS that keep us from pre-empting prime time on that night. The HCCLA is happy that we can stream it on the web and we are considering either a live or tape delay broadcast on 11.2. Once those plans are finalized, we will have that information on our website.

Again, I appreciate your feedback and giving me the opportunity to give you an update of our coverage.

Sincerely, Lisa Shumate

Lisa Trapani Shumate

Director of Marketing

KHOU-TV/1945 Allen Parkway/Houston, TX 77019

Okay, so maybe it's unreasonable for us to expect them to preempt Friends (or whatever it is that plays on Thursday evenings on CBS nowadays) for a debate among candidates for one of the most powerful elected positions in the country.

Your mission, reader, should you choose to accept it, is to send an email to Ms. Shumate at encouraging KHOU to broadcast the DA candidate debate as widely as possible.

Edit: No more emails to KHOU. They get the point.

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