Twice the ‘Face,’ Just Not Across the Nation

By Chris Ariens 

“Face the Nation” expanded to an hour last Sunday, but about a quarter of  the nation didn’t see it. They couldn’t have, at least not on their local CBS station.

The one-hour edition of the public affairs show airs, in full, in 62% of the country. Another 14% of CBS stations carry the hour, but split in two. KHOU in Houston airs the second half hour Monday morning at 2am. Same goes for New Orleans’ WWL and Memphis station WREG. Other stations have decided to pass on the second half hour altogether, including Cedar Rapids, IA, Dothan AL, Flint, MI, and Wheeling, WV.

Because it does not have full U.S. clearance the show will continue to be rated for its first half hour only. Competitors have complained this is CBS’ way of keeping up their average. CBS says they have no choice, since the show has incomplete clearance.

Many CBS affiliates are contractually obligated to carry other Sunday morning programs — most of the religious variety. And since the extra half hour is coming from time that belongs to the affiliates, some may be in no hurry to give up the extra dollars.

But CBS execs have faith that clearance will increase. And when it does, the show will begin to use an hourly average.