FAIRBANKS - It's a far cry from Hollywood and their ratings are yet to be seen, but Gov. Frank Murkowski is airing a half-hour television show each week on cable and rural television stations.
Murkowski said the program will be topical, and during a press conference on Friday he invited journalists to judge the program for themselves.
"It will be interesting to see how you view the objectivity," he told a room full of reporters. "You have media and so do we."
The 30-minute series entitled "Our Alaska" will air on GCI cable channels across the state at 7 p.m. Fridays and will repeat at 5 p.m. Sundays in some viewing areas.
It also will be aired on the Alaska Rural Communications Systems, which broadcasts to about 200 rural communities, on Fridays at 9:30 p.m., and on the University of Alaska television.
John Manly, the governor's press secretary, said the show will be informational and focus on the administration's initiatives.
"We think that we're going to put together some interesting and entertaining shows for people to learn a little bit more about what their government does, and what we as an administration are trying to do," Manly said.
Manly will host the show with Maureen Renkes, who is wife of Attorney General Gregg Renkes and a member of the Murkowski staff.
Manly said the show grew out of the 30 minutes per day of free time the governor's office holds on the ARCS, a TV network serving the Bush throughout Alaska.
Previously, the 3:30 p.m. spot had been used by Murkowski and past administrations to air press conference excerpts or the occasional interview with a commissioner.
The administration was able to switch the ARCS time slot to Fridays at 9:30 p.m. and secure free air time on the GCI cable network, Manly said.
The first program focused on the Longevity Bonus, which Murkowski vetoed from this year's budget. While the program featured Murkowski defending the veto, it also included senior citizens on both sides of the issue.
"It's good information and good news, and we have both sides of the issue in there," he said.
The Oct. 3 program will offer a different take on the governor's recent interview on "60 Minutes." The governor had complained that the segment was edited to remove some of his strongest arguments for an Alaska gas pipeline.
The administration will not hire additional staff for the show, Manly said. Advertising time will be purchased to promote the show, but the administration is looking for sponsors to offset the cost.
"We'll go to some folks that really like the governor and would like to support this," Manly said.
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