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[whitespace] Maggi Scura Wake Up: Maggi Scura convinced viewers to support KNTV--now the station may abandon Santa Cruz viewers altogether.


Thanks for Nothin'

With Monday's announcement that KNTV NewsChannel 11 will become an NBC affiliate in July 2002, the screwing of Santa Cruz broadcast viewers is almost complete.

Back in the fall of 1998, NewsChannel 11 anchor Maggi Scura made a heart-felt on-air appeal to viewers to contact the Federal Communications Commission and beg them not to force KNTV's owner, Granite Broadcasting, to sell the station. Granite had recently purchased San Francisco-based KOFY-20 (now KBWB), and FCC rules didn't allow ownership of two stations in the same market.

Scura said that if KNTV were sold, it might lose its ABC affiliation. This, she said plaintively, might mean that KNTV "could simply disappear."

The FCC allowed Granite to keep the station, thanks in part to Scura's appeal and the viewer support she generated. But guess what? As far as Santa Cruz broadcast viewers are concerned, the station will likely disappear anyway.

Last September, less than a month after the FCC approved Granite's continued ownership of KNTV, the station sold its ABC affiliation back to the network for $14 million, saying it wanted to concentrate on local news and leave KGO the sole ABC affiliate in the Bay Area.

Now, with KNTV becoming an NBC affiliate, Santa Cruz viewers will face two likely scenarios, neither of them good.

Since KSBW Channel 8 in Salinas is already the NBC-designated affiliate for the Monterey Bay area, network broadcast programming will be duplicated for overlap areas like Santa Cruz, according to Joseph Heston, KSBW president and general manager. Cable viewers, meanwhile, will lose access to Channel 11 altogether during network programming.

The other possibility is that Santa Cruz broadcast viewers will lose the KNTV signal. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, KNTV may be forced to move its transmitter farther north to accommodate its new Bay

Area coverage area for NBC. So not only will Santa Cruz viewers lose ABC broadcasting in the deal--the thing Scura pleaded with viewers to help prevent--they may lose one of their four stations altogether. The only option left for local ABC programming appears to be at a price through cable, if KGO is made available.

Officials from Granite Broadcasting did not return several calls from Nüz requesting comment.

Grade Expectations

Judgment day is fast approaching for UCSC's Narrative Evaluation System. Following a recent push by some faculty members to kill the NES, the school's Academic Senate will meet Feb. 23 to decide its fate.

Opponents say the narratives lower the school's academic rep and hurt students in the postgraduation job hunt.

"Narratives must be optional," says math professor Tony Tromba, who believes narratives restrict students' options more than grades do.

UCSC alum Brant Smith, CEO and founder of Image Smith, begs to differ.

"That's total and complete horse shit, and they know it," he says. "If those arguments were true, and narratives really hurt students, alumni would come back to the campus and say 'you cheated us.' That has never happened. Narratives are consistently rated one of the most important factors in the education system at Santa Cruz."

During its Dec. 3 meeting on the NES, the Academic Senate referred a motion to kill narratives to the Committee of Educational Policy. According to CEP chair George Brown, the committee will propose Feb. 23 to table that motion and substitute one that would institute mandatory letter grades while keeping the narrative evaluations.

"There is a concern that students are choosing not to come to our campus for this reason," Brown says. "High school teachers, advisors and parents ... may elect not to send their students to Santa Cruz because of an apprehension that it will reduce their professional opportunities."

How the Senate will decide is anyone's guess--"The meetings are very unpredictable," Brown says. Students are less than optimistic about the Senate's voting in favor of the school's black-sheep system.

"There are enough faculty who just want mandatory grades and don't care about narratives," says Kenneth Burch, vice chair of external affairs for the Student Union Assembly. "Grades don't foster learning. They foster competition, and I'm here to learn. If they want to treat me as a product they are just trying to put out, then I'll go somewhere else."

Chomic Relief

Imagine Nüz 's surprise Tuesday morning, picking up a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle at the corner of Pacific and Walnut and seeing front-page copy fighting Props 21 and 22. Prop. 21 proposes increased penalties for juvenile offenders, while Prop. 22--otherwise know as the Knight Initiative--would ban gay marriage.

Upon closer look, Nüz realized it wasn't the Chron at all, but the San Francisco Chomicle, a quasi-legal, four-page advertisement wrapped around the actual newspaper.

Pranksters hit up news racks from Santa Cruz to San Francisco, leaving their handiwork to ignite voters and confuse readers--although a disclaimer at the bottom of the ad reads: "None of the groups listed above ... were involved in the production or distribution of this publication in any way."

Anita Deasis, a staffer at the Oakland-based Freedom Winter Critical Resistance, said she saw the paper on her way to work.

"I thought it was good journalism. It wasn't until I got into the fourth page, and I saw the front page of the real Chronicle that I realized it wasn't the real paper."

The hoax lists 13 no on Prop. 21 and Prop. 22 organizations. When contacted by Nüz , they all swore no prior knowledge. They also requested their names and numbers be reprinted in Metro Santa Cruz.

"I think it's awesome," says Kim Miyoshi, statewide field director for the Committee to Defeat Prop. 21. "It's an attack on a newspaper that has not been very supportive in highlighting what Prop. 21 will do to young people if it is passed."

Miyoshi wasn't alone in her support for the renegade publishers. "People are taking actions into their own hands," says No on Knight spokesperson Tracey Conaty. "They feel incredible threatened by 21 and 22."

"These political screeds are a nuisance. There's nothing entertaining or clever about them," says Chron director of news operations David Hyams, remembering an annual Chronicle parody that disappeared in the '80s. "We used to love that parody. With a parody, at least there's some wit. We admire wit."

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From the February 16-23, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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