Florida hotels black out station’s newscasts
FLORIDA — Several Florida hotels have begun to black out the television newscasts of a Fox affiliate, saying the station’s sensational coverage of crime is irresponsible and scares tourists.
Victor Farkas, the owner of two Miami-area hotels with 340 rooms, began blocking all the programming of WSVN-TV in May.
Continental Companies, a Miami-based hotel management company with seven hotels containing more than 2,200 rooms in south Florida, has asked its cable carrier to block the news broadcasts of WSVN-TV, a spokeswoman for the hotel company said.
Farkas said he blocked WSVN because of an “unnecessary” amount of “bloodiness and body bags” on station news programs. Guests also complained about the broadcasts, he said.
Continental’s decision is meant as “an appeal for more responsible broadcasting of the news within our community,” the company’s president said in a written statement in early June.
The company criticized WSVN’s “method” of reporting, but would not specify what about the broadcasts it found objectionable.
A spokesman for WSVN said that the station simply addresses viewer concerns through its news coverage. “I’m out in the community and unfortunately crime is the No. 1 concern of our citizens,” said the spokesman, Charles Folds, in a written statement.
Robert W. Leider, executive vice president and general manager of WSVN-TV’s parent company, Sunbeam Television Corp., said in a statement that the blocking will have no impact on the station’s broadcasts.
“It is our job to cover the news and we will not censor our newscasts to placate the hotel industry,” he said.