An Athens, Ga., television station, with the help of the Small Business Administration, is planning to air the first nationwide weekly news magazine program geared toward small businesses.
The program, Small Business Journal, is scheluled to premier on Feb. 28 on any public broadcasting station that wants to show it. The program's producers said yesteray after a nine-minute preview of the show that they hope the program will be picked up by public broadcasting stations in the fall.
The program is supposed to include profiles of small-business people and policy makers as well as hard news and critical reports on the government when newsworthy, said the program's host, Dick Brundage.
Brundage is an SBA assistant regional administrator for public affairs in Atlanta. He said he sees not conflict in his role as host for the show and working for the SBA. The SBA also provided initial funding of $26,000 for the program, but SBA spokesman Chuck Searcy said that he hopes the program will receive outside funding. "It's not suppose to be a government program," Searcy said.
"I don't have any compunction at all about news," Brundage said. "It could be good or it could be bad. If the SBA does something good, that's news. If they are doing something that needs criticism, well" that's news too, Brundage said.
"I want to make sure that there's absolute separation between the program and the SBA," Searcy said. "The editorial content is strictly determined by" the Athens public television station. If news critical of the SBA arises, "It would have to go on. It would have to," Searcy said.
The program is meant to parallel and complement the public television show, Wall Street Week.
Information on the 30-minute weekly show describes it as "a first-hand look at how small-business owners throughout the nation are coping with such problems as high inflation, rising interest rates, energy shortages and other pertinent situations."
Pasquale and Brundage said they were "99 percent sure" that the District public broadcasting station, WETA-TV, would air the show. The station's programming director, however, couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.