The $1,800 ad which ran in the television section of The Washington Post, and a similar ad in The Washington Star on Wednesday, advised viewers not to miss a special primetime showing of "The David Suskind Show" featuring "Dwayne Andreas . . . one of the world's largest grain processors" whose last appearance on the same program had "stirred up a storm of interest across the country."
What the ad didn't tell viewers was that the Archer Daniels Midland Co., which Andreas heads, was paying to bounce the popular "Starsky and Hutch" from its regular 8 to 9 p.m. slot on Metromedia's Channel 5 and was also paying giant ADM grain and soybean company controls an estimated 75 percent of the gasohol market, spent much of the hour telling his viewing audience what a salvation gasohol is going to be on this energy-starved planet.
Shortly before the November election, ADM promised to announce plans to build a $250 million gasohol plant in Des Moines.
Andreas, a close personal friend of former president Jimmy Carter, is also the man who bought the Carter family's peanut warehouses in Plains, Ga., earlier this month. He persuaded Carter to drop the administration opposition to alcohol trade restrictions before Congress last year. On Dec. 3, Congress passed a tariff on imported alcohol, which will result in raising the price of foreign-made alcohol.
David Susskind, whose syndicated interview show airs in Washington on Channel 5 at 1 a.m. on Sundays, said yesterday that Andreas has been "underwriting" his shows when they appear on public television stations in other cities through the family's "Andreas Foundation."
Susskind and Andreas are connected by marriage. "Our children used to be married to each other," Susskind said.
Susskind added that he had introduced Andreas at the beginning of the show as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of ADM, a pioneer in the new technique of gasohol and a "terrific supporter of this program on public television stations around this country."
Susskind said Andreas had decided to buy the interview and move it to prime time because "he liked it" and worried that "nobody would see it" at 1 o'clock in the morning.
Ordinarily, the show would have run in the wee morning hours.
But ADM paid what one source familiar with Channel 5's billing rates for "Starsky and Hutch" estimates at somewhere between "$5,000 to $15,000" to move the show into prime time on a weekday.
A Channel 5 spokesman said the station had "accomodated Susskind" in making the change.
According to Susskind, the show runs on public television stations in many cities, including Miami, New Orleans, Providence, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and South Bend Ind.
The Andreas Foundation, in effect, "underwrites" him in many of those locations, he said.
"He [Andreas] sends money to public stations . . . it's a grant," Susskind said. "They take my show and spend the money in other ways."
Susskind said that he didn't see anything wrong with the arrangement with Andreas, but that if other people saw "sinister implications" he would not show the program in other cities where it is scheduled to be advertised and aired in upcoming weeks.
Susskind said that ADM is paying for the ads.
A spokesman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said yesterday that that Susskind's interview with Andreas probably would be "unacceptable" as a PBD program "because it seems to violate our underwriting guidelines." However, he said, individual PBS stations around the country can "set their own standards."