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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 4, May 1978
Page 8
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 4, May 1978 - Page 8. May 1978. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 14, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5723/show/5721.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(May 1978). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 4, May 1978 - Page 8. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5723/show/5721

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 4, May 1978 - Page 8, May 1978, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 14, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/5723/show/5721.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 4, May 1978
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1978
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 8
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File Name femin_201109_540h.jpg
Transcript Continued from page 2 Q: What did you try to do to improve the situation in Houston? A: Well, we decided to test the theory that the public owns the airwaves, that broadcast owners simply lease them from the government, and that they can lose their licenses if they aren't responsible to the community. We felt women were a part of the community they have to serve. You know, as an individual you are powerless, but with an organization like NOW - a 50,000 membership - you have clout. National NOW's Media Reform Task Force was pretty sophisticated in license renewal and challenge contests. They had two national suits going which served as models for the rest of the chapters. So we took on KPRC-TV. Their general manager had a belligerent attitude toward women which he expressed to us on tape. Plus KPRC had the worst record for women employed. When we asked about their affirmative action program, we were told that the FCC did not require them to include women. Minorities, yes. Women, no. This meeting took place in December 1973. A year before, the FCC mandated stations to include women. So when we left the station we sent him a registered letter, asking for a copy of his station's affirmative action program. From that point on, their lawyer was present at all of our negotiating meetings. National NOW taught us how to monitor 24 hours of the station's programming over one composite week period in February. About 50 women were involved. This is where I first met Gabrielle Cosgriff and Lynne Mutchler, who are with Breakthrough, today. Gabrielle was the head of the NW-NOW Chapter's Media Reform Task Force. She was a real student of the media and we were soulmates from that time on. Lynne was a genius with computers and tabulated all of the resutarttfj^Jr monitoring project. She was our expert witness in one of our negotiating meetings with Channel 2. So, when we'd say, "90% of the voice-overs on commercials at your station are male." And they'd say, "You can't prove that." Lynne would flip through the computer print outs and say, "No, it's actually 92.7%." Q: Was there any visible progress during this period? A: Yes. A month after our first meeting in December 1975, the station hired its first woman hard news reporter, Carole Kneeland. Two months later, another news reporter was added and a woman anchor was on the air by April 1974. We credited that to the sensitivity of Ray Miller, the news director. Q: I know you were the national NOW spokeswomen at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention during that period and that you also testified at a Senate hearing. Did that help build your case with the local station? A: Yes, it did. The NAB came to Houston in March 1974 and so did Richard Nixon. Remember the Dan Rather incident where the audience applauded Rather when he rose to ask Nixon a question and Nixon asked, "Are you running for anything?" and Rather said, "No, Mr. President, are you?" Well, that was the mood at the NAB. I felt like 1 was at a Legionnaire's convention. Rather gave us our only relief . . . except for our own invention, that is. Outside we carried placards like NBC: When Will Women Meet the Press? Soap is Dope, Stop Soap Addiction-, and Annul the Newly wed Game. You can see how much good it did, but we did get local and national television coverage and we were able to at least vent our feelings on the image of women in the media. It could get some people to thinking. A month later the national NOW people helped me prepare my testimony a- gainst the appointment of Rev. Luther Holcomb, a white Texas Baptist minister to the FCC. He had been a real Nixon man and this was to be one of three Democratic seats on the seven-member commission. It was really a tough number to testify—I had never even appeared before city council—especially when Barbara Jordan and the Texas senators appeared and gave their pro-forma speeches before Kathy Bonk and I testified. All the TV lights were on for their glowing speeches. Barbara Jordan called him "a man of the cloth." Then they turned down the lights for our testimony. The late Senator Cotton slept through our testimony. Only the late Senator Hart and Senator Baker asked us questions. But the Washington Post gave credibility to our testimony, and two weeks later they reported that Holcomb withdrew his name because the Nixon connection became an issue. I credit NOW with that victory! Women don't need drive, for a successfull career... from Cambridge Glen Condominiums As an independent, upwardly mobile woman, you're focusing a great deal of time and energy developing your career. With so much happening, the one thing you don't need to worry about is mobility to work. Cambridge Glen is a new adult Garden condominium community. It offers the convenience and excitement of an urban lifestyle with the privacy and security of a suburban community. Things like card controlled automobile access, intercom controlled pedestrian access, and covered parking all contribute to total peace of mind. In addition, composition shingled roof, fire walls, a fire alarm, and abundant use of brick provide personal property as well as investment protection. Located inside Loop 610, in the growing Plaza Del Oro planned community, Cambridge Glen is just 10 minutes from downtown Houston, ihe Galleria area, and Green- way Plaza. And just minutes from the Medical Center and Rice University. But just as important as security and convenience, Cambridge Glen offers you a home you'll feel good about coming home to. There are four spacious floor plans available, ranging from 986 sq. ft. at $39,950 to 1,174 sq. ft. for $49,950. These floor plans include 9-foot ceilings downstairs, vaulted ceilings upstairs as well as "energy checked" insulation. Other standard amenities include a self-cleaning double oven, washer, dryer and refrigerator with ice maker, private patios and balconies, fireplace and wet bar. All this plus 95% financing with no closing costs, makes Cambridge Glen the perfect place to call home. Come see Cambridge Glen today. Gracious condominium living by Montgomery-Yoder Corporation. 8100 Cambridge Drive • 713 741-6245 So, yes the impact tuterea aown nome. After all this activity, the stations knew we were quite determined. Q: Well then, did you challenge KPRC- TV's license? A: No, we signed an agreement instead. Our lawyers in Washington were disappointed, I know. Certain people here felt the station showed signs of good faith by the changes in the news department and that these trends would continue to other departments. But after all that work, I wish we had filed a petition to deny their license, because looking at the station today, not that much has changed. I tried to hold out for a monthly women's magazine show. A 30-minute 60 Minutes kind of program, but they wouldn't agree to it. The most we got was a Women's Advisory Council, which turned out to be a ladies' auxiliary group. We could only recommend the composition, so guess who was sitting across the table from me at the first meeting-Wanda Schultz, founder of Happiness of Womanhood. This is the way they diminish our effectiveness. We did get to produce a television pilot. The station met all the production costs. Rhonda Boone and I co-produced it in April 1975. I think they pre-empted Adam 12 one Tuesday evening at seven to air Just Like a Woman. The reviews were excellent, but we couldn't find any Houston corporation with the courage to fund it. Shell, Texaco, Conoco, Southwestern Bell, Foley's. They all admitted it was excellent, but they wouldn't sponsor it. Texaco held out to the last second. The day before it aired, Texaco's pr chief told me that they had just signed up Bob Hope to do their national promotions and all their budget was going to him. We wanted only three thousand dollars for five months work for five of us. Q: What did you do after that? A: I went to the mountains. In New Mexico. I was pretty discouraged. I saw a lot of dreams go up in smlpke, as they say. I went back east to visit my family. I spent several months there. Nothing was drawing me back to Texas. I felt like it was pretty hopeless territory. My husband and I separated the day I did get back. I would say that was the lowest point of my life. Q: But you started Breakthrough a few months later. What changed your mood? A: Bill Moyers may be surprised to read this- I'll send him a copy to be sure he does read it-but it was something he said in an introduction to a panel discussion on the image of women in the media. It was at the Austin Conference on Women in Public Life, a sort of prelude to the IWY conference. It was November 1975. He told the audience that he had recently been the guest of a British writer and was struck by a painting the author had on the wall. It was of a woman's body and it started at her ankles and went up to her neck. No head. He flew back to the states, picked up a copy of the New York Times with a story announcing Bella Abzug's entry in the U. S. Senate race. The photo v/as the back of her hat. Again, no head. He looked at the audience and said grimly, "That's the way the media regard you." That did it. I realized nothing had changed or would ever change unless the image of women in the media changed. I had tried films. Television. Now it was time to try newspapers. But this time it would be different. We would own the paper. We would no longer be dependent on the media to cover women's news. We'd cover it ourselves. Anais Nin was right. All this activity by women made for a very interesting, well balanced culture. Next month: The Breakthrough story. An interview with editor Gabrielle Cosgriff. Plus Breakthrough Personal Account stories by other staff members. And more. MAY 1978 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH