DALLAS — WFAA is set to air a one-hour statewide debate between Texas GOP gubernatorial candidates Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry on January 29, at 7 p.m.
“The Belo Debate: Perry Versus Hutchison,” will originate from WFAA studios in Dallas, and air live on Belo Corp. television stations in Houston (KHOU), San Antonio (KENS), Austin (KVUE) and on Texas Cable News (TXCN). The debate will also be streamed live and archived on the Web sites operated by Belo broadcast and cable companies, and on the Web site operated by A. H. Belo Corporation’s newspaper, The Dallas Morning News.
In Belo markets, Spanish stations and public broadcast stations will be permitted to carry the debate live. Outside Belo markets, all television stations may carry the debate live. Radio stations, regardless of their market location, may broadcast the debate and will access the audio via the satellite feed. The debate will available in Spanish on WFAA’s SAP channel.
WFAA veteran news anchor John McCaa will serve as moderator. Panelists for the debate include senior political writer Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News, news anchors Len Cannon of KHOU, Sarah Lucero of KENS and Terri Gruca of KVUE.
“As Texans prepare to cast their votes, the opportunity to watch the leading candidates face-to-face can be critical in understanding their platforms,” said Mike Devlin, WFAA president and general manager. “WFAA has a long history of producing such high profile political debates, and we are once again pleased to provide our viewers with this important public service.”
The process for selecting candidates is based largely on the rulings and findings of the Federal Communications Commission and other bodies. The criteria for participation includes whether a candidate: receives significant levels of public support in independent public opinion polls, e.g.15 percent, which is the minimum used by the Commission on Presidential debates; has received substantial campaign contributions from varied sources; has previously held significant public office(s); has received a substantial level of votes in prior elections for the same or comparable office(s); will be reported by news agencies in election night returns; and, has received significant news coverage from a wide range of media outlets.
The FCC and other bodies grant stations the right to exercise good faith news judgment in determining which candidates participate in televised debates, and to use reasonable news judgment in reaching such decisions, with the intent to neither promote a candidate nor create a disadvantage for a candidate.