Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tennis Traffic

More than a few people have found this blog lately by searching for information about my predecessor WTSP traffic reporter Meredyth Censullo. Little watched as the station's morning show may be, she had her fans. Unless there were politics behind the scenes I don't know about -- and don't want to know about -- she was simply a casualty of a station shakeup.

The first candidate to become her permanent replacement came in Friday. She's a recently laid off radio DJ -- replaced by a syndicated Ryan Seacrest show -- who has no previous TV experience. She seemed nice and I enjoyed having company during what can be an unventful shift.

My temporary workplace drew some fire for choosing Dr. Phil over Roger Federer. Tropical Storm Hanna blew the U.S. Open tennis men's singles final from Sunday to Monday afternoon.

When Federer won his 13th career grand slam title, many Tampa Bay viewers could not watch. According to the St. Petersburg Times angry calls flooded WTSP when it decided to run its regular programming during the 5-8 p.m. time the tennis match would have aired.

The gist of the comments were "how could you blow off tennis 'history' to air a talk show?" Here's the thing: The 5-8 p.m. period is one of the most profitable for a station. Local news and syndicated shows bring a station a lot more money than network programs.

Had the station aired the tennis match, it would have felt the wrath of people who can't live without Dr. Phil's sage guidance. And they probably have more time to spend making complaint calls. When forced to choose between two evils, pick the one that will make you more money.

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