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.

14 comments:

tallglassofmilk said...

It sounds easy enough to just move the children's programming up, but that doesn't necessarily work for affiliates for two reasons: advertising and ratings--the two things that keep television networks and stations in business.

News and children's prgramming are different advertising packages. Their regular news advertisers aren't paying to showcase their products to kids. And those who sponsor the children's shows lose viewers if the programming is bumped up because many don't keep up with tv listings. The station may have dedicated sponsors in those time slots and be unable to be flexible.

Of course, it's possible the members of management belong to the Washington State "I hate NASCAR club": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdlWPfNAUwQ. I have no idea.

But if this has been going on for "quite some time now," I'm left wondering why NASCAR hasn't made other broadcast arrangements in the Seattle market.

RivenSky said...

This makes me ashamed to be a Seattle resident and glad that I'm moving to Charlotte in August. No one watches Komo News anyway.

Sorry... this whole Seattle/NASCAR thing makes me so angry I have a hard time rationalizing anything.

Anonymous said...

This is yet another example of Seattle being their typical, ass-backwards selves. Glad I'm blowing this hellhole.

lohur said...

JD,

Having lived north of Seattle all my life, I've had to endure KOMO's excuses every year.

For years, they taped-delayed "Monday Night Football." It wasn't until the last few years that MNF was on ABC that they aired the show live.

They use the same 'children's programming' excuse with regards to college football start times in the fall. We can't watch the 9 AM PT broadcast of east coast and midwest teams for the same reason they're bumping the NASCAR pre-race show.

Congrats KOMO, thanks to the internet, now everyone knows your poor programming decisions.

Anonymous said...

JD - Check your email for the list of West Coast stations & their schedules ...



TGOM - Dan Springer told me that he purposely put those anti-NASCAR goofs in the video for that report ... He interviewed a bunch of people in Downtown Seattle and Bremerton, then picked the ones that looked/sounded the most biased / ignorant ... So, it was a Pro NASCAR / anti-idiot propaganda piece ...

KOMO-tv pulled this same stunt last year to the Busch races ... as well as a big time soccer game ... all the while using the children's programming as an excuse ...

Other West Coast stations are airing a different amount of children's programming in order to carry the pre-race show live ...

The Portland station owned by Fisher (who also owns KOMO) is pulling the same stunt too ...




There are a lot of NASCAR / racing fans in the greater Seattle area ... We got over 6000 people to attend a "Back the Track" rally on a rainy Thursday night in January a couple of years ago and people only had about 1 week's notice ...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

At least they are telling you up front that it will not be shown.

What really chaps me is when espn moves the race from channel to channel so we can see the

The DVR doesn't know they moved it so it happily records little league baseball games and other such nonsense.

Gymmie said...

@anon 3:16--Oh I know! That was such a mess last year! Luckily I was home and received all the channels, but folks without Classic or access to the 360 site where slighted. And all of us without access to the 360 site were all slighted at least once.

And then the abrupt "end" of the pre-race just as the invocation/anthem were starting, I believe it was Memphis or Nashville I forget the race.

And the slight to Reuti because they couldn't take a few extra minutes to give him a proper VL interview.

Dot said...

JD,
I just checked the shows for tomorrow on ABC. At 10:30am "That's So Raven" is on and at 11:00am, paid programming. I'm in Las Vegas so I don't think we have different FCC rules. If NASCAR fans kill the programmers at KOMO TV, is it justifiable homicide?

Richard in N.C. said...

I'm not sure I fully understand the terms of an affiliate's agreement with ABC and how much "power" ABC has to control what network programming KOMO carries - but ABC surely can refuse to renew the contract with KOMO when it ends.

Anonymous said...

The Portland, OR affiliate KATU has always done the same thing and aired the children's programming instead of NASCAR Countdown. According to KATU's website, they will be airing NASCAR Countdown tomorrow at 12 pm PT istead of airing it live at 11:30 am PT. So it looks as though KATU is choosing to solve the problem by tape-delaying the race by 30 minutes. This is unbelievable.

colette said...

It looks like the broadcast schedule in Los Angeles is the way it should be. The local ABC affiliate has Good Morning America Weekend at 7am PT, children's programming between 8am and 11:30am, with NASCAR Countdown starting at 11:30am. And it looks like ESPN2 is still doing a rebroadcast of the race at midnight.

Andrew S. said...

According to the FCC website, which can be found here

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/childtv.html

The Suite Life of Zach and Cody can air anytime between 7am and 10pm although I am not sure it qualifies as educational or instructional programming

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 3:16pm - JD's got the column up because I complained (fruitlessly) to KOMO-tv & Fisher Communications after 'Dega ... Their spokesperson told me that they'd be pre-empting the "NASCAR Countdown" show for Loudon & Watkins Glen too ... They did it with Bristol and Talladega as well ... They did the same thing last year too ...


Anon @ 7:23pm - KATU and KOMO have the same owner ... Fisher Communications ... Though, the schedule for KATU says they're gonna air the pre-race show at noon & the race at 12:30pm, you'll have to watch & let us know IF they in fact do that & you see everything 30 minutes later than the rest of the USA ...



Fisher's owns many tv & radio stations on the West Coast ... But, KOMO and KATU are their ONLY ABC affiliates ... All the rest are CBS or FOX ...



The irony of the whole thing is: In the response from KOMO-tv's spokeperson (who I think is the station mgr), she misspelled the name of the show that's going to be aired at 11:30am instead of the pre-race show ... Her misspelling was not limited to my emails as JD & a newspaper reporter/blogger got the same response & misspelling ... So, clearly the woman has NO clue ...



andrew s. - The FCC considers it to be "children's programming" because the main stars are still kids & it's shown on Disney Channel (as well as ABC) ... But, if you've seen the show, you'll know it's a cute show, but only "educational / informational" if you want to learn how to get into mischief & cause mayhem/havoc ... LOL