Program offers unbiased political discussion to local audience
A clinical professor in the Executive Education program in JSOM, just celebrated his television show’s 26th year of production.
Dennis McCuistion and his co-founder, producer and ex-wife Niki McCuistion started the show, titled “The McCuistion Program,” in January 1990. The informative show, which discusses socioeconomic and political issues, now airs every Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on KERA, with episodes posted online as well.
“We realized that television by large doesn’t have a lot of programming on social, economic and political issues,” Niki McCuistion said. “We do our very best to show diverging viewpoints … so that’s why we went forward with the television program — to get good information out so that people could make up their own minds. Good television is really needed.”
The show provides an unbiased view of important issues by bringing in people of opposing viewpoints and having discussions.
“A good part of it is a lot of reading and research to find the very best people who can give their voice and their opinion,” Niki McCuistion said.
It covers controversial topics such as China’s economy, the past, present and future of health care and freedom of press issues. The show also brings in guests. Some important people featured on the show include Buell Frazier, the man who drove Lee Harvey Oswald to work on the day he assassinated John F. Kennedy, and Flemming Rose, who was notorious for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Working on a show that has no bias towards a certain viewpoint for 26 years has had an effect on McCuistion, he said.
“I think the thing that has been the most interesting change is the exposure to so many different points of view,” he said. “It’s easier for me to see both sides than it ever was before.”
The McCuistion Program attracts a local and national audience of viewers. McCuistion has received positive feedback about his show from those around him.
“One of my rotary friends said to me one day, ‘I used to watch your program occasionally and still do occasionally. I started watching it every weekend and found out what smart people watch,’” he said.
The nonprofit show used to air nationally on several stations throughout the country, from Indiana to Montana. Then the stations raised prices for national exposure, which led to it airing locally on the PBS station in North Texas.
The show has remained fairly consistent throughout its 26-year run.
“First we started doing the show at an hour. Now it’s only 30 minutes because it’s easier for people to watch 30 minutes than it is to watch an hour,” McCuistion said. “Other than that, I don’t think the show has changed a lot. Our tagline is talking about things that matter with people who care, and so we have stayed pretty true to talking about things that matter.”
McCuistion said they tried to make the show a television program to air on UTD TV, but the plans fell through. Still, McCuistion pointed out UTD is one of his biggest supporters.
“I don’t know that we have made a lot of impact on campus from the show,” McCuistion said. “But we’d like to make it something that every student knows about.”