The employment practices of Washington's broadcasting industry were sharply critized and warmly defended yesterday at a hearing by the D.C. City Council's committee on employment and economic development.
Clarence V. McKee, a lawyer and former Federal Communications Commission official who dealt with minority employment matters, told the hearing that officials statistics "do not...indicate specific patterns or practices of discrimination" by local stations.
"However," McKee continued, "they do indicate the need for more black males, females and Hispanics in top managerial and sales positions in both commerical radio and television."
The proportion of professional employes, including reporters and writers, was 26.8 percent in 1977 and the total of sales employes was 25.9 percent.
Washington population is about 75 percent black. The population in the entire metropolitan area - the so-called "market" served by the television stations - is about 25 percent black.
Council member Douglass E. Moore (D-At Large), a candidate this year for council chairman, repeatedly said he would push after the election "to write the toughest law you've ever seen" to spur minority hiring. He also called for balck ownership of a least one local television channel.
Officials of the three television stations that are affiliated with major national networks all defended their policies, saying they are striving for improvements in hiring and promotions as jobs become available.
The hearing was chaired by council member Wilhemina Rolark (D-Ward 8).
John J. Rohrbeck, vice president and general manager of WRC-TV, which is owned by the National Broadcasting Co., said his station has more minority employes and the third largest number of women employes of any television station in the nation.
Ron Townsend, business director of WTOP-TV and WTOP radio, which are owned by a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co., cited a large number of minority personnel in key managerial and policymaking positions.
Tom Cookerly, general manager of WJLA-TV, said statistics showing a high proportion of white males on station payrolls results chiefly from the seniority of veteran broadcast engineers who have union security in their jobs. The station is owned by Joe L. Allbritton, publisher of The Washington Star