EXPLAINED: How KPRC 2 decides how long to keep a press conference running on live television

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Why do you always cut off the President of the United States in the middle of his televised speech and why don’t you cut off President Donald Trump when he is giving an obvious campaign stump speech?

These two questions and variations of them both, are by far the most we receive here at KPRC 2 on any given day. No matter what else is going on, whenever the president talks live about the Coronavirus situation, we will receive a ton of response with the majority being from unhappy viewers.

Let’s be clear. These questions center on press conferences being broadcast on KPRC Channel 2. It does not apply to the streaming of those press conferences on Cick2Houston.com or on Facebook. We stream all press conference uninterrupted from start to finish online.

So what is KPRC-TV’s policy when it comes to the president’s speeches? What is the criteria for broadcasting his speeches and why does KPRC 2 sometimes cut-away instead of staying through the conclusion of the press conference?

There is no simple answer. We are in a national emergency. KPRC 2 (and other broadcast stations) is licensed by the federal government to serve the public by broadcasting information during an emergency. It is our duty and our moral obligation to give the government (local, state & federal) an outlet to deliver critical information to residents.

That is why we have regularly interrupted the normal broadcast schedules to broadcast the mayor, county judge, governor and presidential updates. Our dilemma is when the president veers away from critical information and starts discussing non-emergency issues.

KPRC 2 has given President Trump an enormous platform to deliver much needed information and his press conferences are for the most part informative and newsworthy.

However, during the past of weeks or so, the president’s press conferences have moved away from emergency information. At that point, I have made the decision to leave the press conference and return to regular programming. I have made similar decisions during the county judge and Houston’s mayor’s news conferences as well as Governor Greg Abbott’s pressers.

The bottom line is that KPRC Channel 2 will continue to air these press conferences during this national emergency. How long we stay with each of the individuals is determined by how much critical information is being delivered by the government during the news conferences.

Dave Strickland is the news director for KPRC 2 in Houston.