Thursday, June 26, 2008
KOMO-TV Bumps NASCAR Again In Seattle
When the Nationwide Series swings over to the ABC Broadcast Network this weekend, it brings a very positive exposure for the series on a broader basis. Unfortunately, it also brings KOMO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Seattle, WA.
For quite some time now, the senior management of that station has decided to try and hide behind the FCC rules about children's programming to avoid losing thirty minutes of local station news on a Saturday morning. Well, that is one viewpoint. The station has an entirely different perspective.
This is The Daly Planet column from April of this year talking about the station pre-empting the NASCAR Countdown show from the Talladega race. This set off a flurry of emails between TDP readers and the local station management.
Here is the email response from KOMO-TV's representative:
"Due to time zone differences between Talladega and the Puget Sound area, the NASCAR Nationwide Series pre-race show was scheduled at the same time as ABC’s children’s programming on the West Coast. Broadcasting the pre-race show would have meant pre-empting “The Suite Life of Zach & Cody. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) places children’s programming in a special protected category. As such, anytime a station wishes to move a show classified as Educational and Information Children’s Programming, the pre-emption must be accepted by the FCC. The FCC is not always generous granting those pre-emptions."
While this sounds great, it certainly does raise a very good question. Just how do all the other ABC affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone handle the situation? ABC stations from San Diego to Portland will be dealing with exactly the same situation on Saturday from New Hampshire. NASCAR Countdown starts at 11:30AM Pacific Time.
Perhaps, the other stations make the live ABC Network Sports program a priority and solve the problem. Even for KOMO-TV, the solution seems to be pretty simple.
The station has a one hour weekend morning newscast at 8AM followed by three hours of children's programming ending at Noon Pacific Time. Apparently, the FCC believes that a re-air of The Suite Life with Zack and Cody that will be also be airing on The Disney Channel qualifies for this category.
In order to maintain the three hours of children's programming and still get to the NASCAR Countdown show as scheduled, the morning newscast would have to be reduced from one hour in length to thirty minutes.
Seattle area residents would get their morning news, Seattle area children would get their Saturday morning TV shows and Seattle area NASCAR fans would get the full network television presentation from ABC Sports.
It seems that the only thing that would be affected in this solution is the thirty minutes of lost local advertising sales for KOMO-TV when the news is reduced to thirty minutes. That is a very different look at this situation from the one offered by KOMO-TV's representative.
If you are a Seattle area or Pacific Time Zone NASCAR fan, perhaps you can offer your views on this post by clicking on the COMMENTS button below. Tell us if we have all the facts straight about this situation. Seattle residents can tell us what their relationship has been with KOMO-TV where NASCAR is concerned. TDP readers have been emailing to remind us of this situation and we would like to hear from others.
Comments can be any length and the rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to offer your opinion.