CBS affil chief plans to stay on

Kennedy to hold seat despite heavy criticism in NFL deal

NEW YORK — Despite heavy criticism about CBS affiliate board chairman Howard Kennedy’s handling of the CBS requisition of cash contributions for the NFL, it looks like Kennedy will keep his chairman seat.

However, for quite a different reason, there could be a change in the position of chairman for the NBC affiliate board. NBC affiliate board chairman Ken Elkins, the prexy and CEO of Pulitzer Broadcast Co., has offered to step down because his company is for sale.

Two sources on the CBS board and Kennedy himself said there’s been no request for Kennedy to step down. He has been criticized for giving CBS the impression that most CBS affiliates are willing to contribute money to the network to help it pay its $4 billion NFL contract.

“I’ve got thick skin,” Kennedy said. “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”

“He should resign in service of the cause, but that won’t happen,” said an executive from a station group with CBS affiliates. “Howard has now learned the limits of his position.”

As for the NBC affiliate chairman position, sources on the NBC affiliate board said that last week Elkins offered to step down as chairman. Elkins was not available for comment Monday. But, during affiliate board conference calls Thursday, Elkins said he would leave it up to the rest of the board to decide his fate as chairman, according to board members.

“Ken’s in an awkward position,” one NBC affiliate board member said. “If CBS buys Pulitzer, he’s going to have conflicts of interest.” So far, no decision has been made about Elkins. The NBC affiliate board has scheduled another conference call for Wednesday.

Elkins received high praise for his work as affiliate board chairman from other board members.

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