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JEF
Interviewee: Frank Stanton
Session #15
Interviewer: Mary Marshall Clark
New York City
Date: June 15, 1994

Q:

We're testing sound here on June 15th, 1994 in Dr. Frank Stanton's office. Well, I can't resist starting this morning again--I mean, oral history is not usually driven by current events. But [laughter] I wanted to ask you some questions about the Fox purchase of eight CBS stations, and the implications of that--on two levels, I guess. One, the implications for CBS, and two, the implications that some newspaper articles have pointed out that the “ superhighway” must not be coming as fast as everyone thinks, if [Rupert] Murdoch is investing this heavily in a potential network. So could you comment a little on those two issues?

Stanton:

Well, let's take the defections of the stations first. It was inevitable, in my opinion, when Fox outbid CBS for the NFL [National Football League] rights that CBS would lose some stations, because Fox, in order to recoup some money against the investment in NFL, had to maximize its coverage. In order to do that in many markets it had to get stations where it didn't have affiliates, and the outgrowth was that Fox would chip away at the CBS lineup. It isn't nearly as serious, in my opinion, as the New York Times made it seem by putting it on the front page and so forth.

Fifteen years ago it would have been disastrous. Today, I think it's manageable--for two reasons. One, because there are many more stations on the air today; and second, because of cable. Two-thirds of the country is now wired for cable, and in many of the markets that CBS



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