CBS Orders Affiliates to Carry Clinton

Drudge gives a flashing blue light and 500-point font treatment to this: CBS RADIO HEAD ORDERS ‘MUST CARRY’ TO STATIONS FOR CLINTON BOOK SPECIAL.

Well, Duh. Let’s see: 60 Minutes CBS’ flagship program. The book is published by a company that also owns CBS.

Update: Now that Drudge actually has a link with a story, the controversy is more obvious:

Each and every one of CBS’s news and talk stations will be required to take the Clinton book radio special, now scheduled for next 6 PM ET Thursday — whether local programming management wants it or not!

“It’s going to be like one big commercial for the book! Why didn’t Mr. Clinton’s publisher just buy an hour,” one angry executive for a CBS news station said late Monday. “This is not news, this is marketing. I already feel dirty!”

From the blurb, I presumed it was just a simulcast of Clinton’s show-long appearance on 60 Minutes. I’m not familiar with the protocols of network radio affiliates, but this does seem a bit heavy-handed.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Peter says:

    This is odd, and I think overstated by Drudge. The Infinity memo looks like its referring to CBS-owned radio stations, as it doesn’t reference Westwood One who handles the distribution of CBS content to affiliates. If we’re talking about stations that are affilated with CBS Radio and not owned by them, they don’t have the contractual right to force them to run this. (I used to work at a CBS affiliate and was the liason between the station and New York.) However, the fact that it says Infinity leads me to believe that Drudge’s use of “affiliates” is mistaken…that “O and Os”, or owned and operated stations, would be better. This is still kind of odd — I’m sure, for example, KMOX in St. Louis is salavating at the chance to have their high-rated drive time programming pre-empted by higher ups.

  2. James Joyner says:


    An interesting distinction. I assumed he meant owned and operated as well.

  3. HH says:

    Clinton’s book is by Knopf… Is that related to Viacom? Even if not, how many shares of Knopf stock does Don Hewitt own (Drudge keeps asking this about Viacom stock as well, and never gets an answer of course)?

    Hewitt created a great news program and its last years became nothing but commercial after commercial for ideological books, most of which benefited the corporation which owns said program. How the mighty have fallen.