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"Wall $treet Week' still sets standard in TV financial news

Re: Wall $treet Week time-tested but showing it, June 7.

Since 1980, I've had the honor of working on the staff of Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser, and since 1981 I've been the program's producer.

I didn't recognize that program as portrayed by Ian Johnson of the Baltimore Sun in his article in the Times.

What Mr. Johnson failed to point out is the remarkable achievement of the program. Since November 1970, it's been on the air, with Louis Rukeyser as host. It has truly been an incredible television success story.

Wall $treet Week is still the most popular source of investment advice in journalism. Yes, the ratings aren't as high as they once were. But, with the inroads of cable, no one in television enjoys the same ratings they did. How many other programs on television during the 1982-83 season remain on the air today?

When Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen wanted to talk to an audience about President Clinton's economic proposals in March, on what program did he choose to appear?

When Sanford Weill, the chairman of Primerica, wanted to explain to a television audience why he engineered the largest brokerage house merger ever, on what program did he choose to appear?

Just a few days ago, in a landmark broadcast hailed by viewers across North America, Wall $treet Week originated from Japan.

The program remains the forum of choice for countless other business opinion leaders from all around the globe who choose to appear on our program instead of on other business programs.

While CNBC and CNN do a fine job covering business, in no way do they pose a threat to our program, as Mr. Johnson suggests. Our audience and impact dwarf theirs.

As for the ridiculous assertion that our program shortchanges mutual funds, we have presented countless programs on the mutual fund industry and on the selection of mutual funds. On Friday, we'll be presenting yet another one.

I am regularly inundated with calls, letters and videotapes from the mutual fund community, who want desperately to appear on the program precisely because our audience is so valuable to them.

Did Mr. Johnson choose to ask the people who run these mutual funds if they think exposure on our program might assist in marketing their funds?

Did Mr. Johnson ask our three national underwriters, Prudential Securities, Travelers Corporation and Massachusetts Financial Services, who all signed long-term agreements in 1992 to continue to support our program?

If only Mr. Johnson had thought to ask before he wrote, then perhaps he might have written a more balanced and truthful story.

Rich Dubroff

Producer

Wall $treet Week

with Louis Rukeyser

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