WABC Wants in on Mayoral Debates


When WABC wasn't picked this year as one of the stations to hold a debate for the office of NY Mayor, they decided on plan 'B'.

They'll have their own private debate.

The station has decided to air a privately held mayoral debate after getting shut out by the city agency responsible for running the debates this year.

The official debates — coordinated by the NYC Campaign Finance Board — are scheduled for later this year and will air on NY1, WCBS and WNBC, the NY Daily News has learned.

But WABC is hoping to have it’s own horse in the race on Sept. 3.

“We are proposing a live debate... at 7 p.m., one of the most watched hours on Channel 7, with an average audience of more than 800,000 viewers,” wrote WABC general manager Dave Davis in a letter obtained by The News to potential candidates.

“The debate will take place in WABC's ‘Live! With Kelly & Michael’ ... This facility was expanded and renovated in 2012,” he wrote. The debate will be broadcast live, but the studio will be closed to the general public, he said.

Getting left off the official debate schedule, said Davis, is nothing more than a nuisance.

“We’re in the process of sending out letters to all of the announced candidates,” he said.

Davis said he is confident that WABC will host other citywide debates this season, including sessions with both parties’ nominees for mayor, public advocate and comptroller.

To promote the station’s prominence in the proposed mayoral debate, WABC would partner with Spanish-language channel Univision, WNYC and the League of Women Voters.

“We’ll have the most-watched mayoral debate,” Davis said.

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