Sunday, October 23, 2005


When is the FCC going to start fining TV stations who interrupt pro football games with news of school closings and weather forecasts? Yes, I know there is a hurricane coming. I watched the Recommended Daily Allowance of hurricane coverage this morning. Wilma is not going to get here until tomorrow. I've planned accordingly and now I want to watch the game!

Station managers would say that they were ensuring the safety of their viewers by providing critical information about a potentially dangerous storm. Their true motive is less altruistic. The cut-ins, split screens and alerts crawling across the picture are designed less to transmit information and more to reinforce a brand.

Stations are willing to risk annoying viewers to convince them they're "on your side," "taking action for you," or that "we've got you covered" so that you might watch their newscasts. It would be like going to a restaurant and ordering a steak only for the waiter to remind you again that the day's special is fish.

Why do they do that? Simple. Stations make a lot more money from their local newscasts than they do from network programs. They'll weather the storm of angry callers for the sake of using popular shows to promote their storm coverage.

That's why we need federal intervention to restore our rights as Americans to watch football games unimpeded by the profit motives of local stations. I'm kidding about that but jeez.

1 comment:

Nunzia said...

hm... as a lover of football and given the fact that i work in telecom policy... i'll see what i can do... ;)