Bench orders benched HS broadcaster


Bench orders benched HS broadcaster back in the game, for now. A radio station which had been barred from broadcasting local high school football by a local school district has been granted access to games by court injunction. The school board was upset about a series of negative news reports broadcast by the station.

The radio station is Prosperitas Broadcasting Systems’ WCBC-AM, a Cumberland MD news-talker. The issue with the Allegany County School Board began in 7/06 over a funding glitch, and heated up further in 10/06 when one of the station’s reporters was able to simply walk into five schools unchallenged, leading to a story about lax security.

The Virginia Tech shootings dredged that issue back to the forefront, and the upshot was the station being barred from the press box of a key high school football stadium. It was also excluded from the board’s press release list.

In the court hearing, according to reports, Judge Andre M. Davis told the school board that its request for prior knowledge of such reports was shakey. "I’m having a hard time believing that’s really the way it’s supposed to work," said the judge. "I’m not sure that we can slice the First Amendment that nicely."
The case remains pending, but WCBC will be able to broadcast games and will be reinstated on the PR list for now.

RBR/TVBR observation: Say what you want about this station, but it clearly earns an A+ in Localism on its next report card.