I have stated it many times before through emails and previous blog entries that the sportscasters of the world have no say in the programming on a television station. Many times, our management can be handcuffed as well and Wednesday night's Duke/North Carolina game is a shining example.
I'll give you the background of what's going on: As many sports fans know, there is no bigger regular season college basketball game on the schedule than Duke/North Carolina. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN, but will be blacked out in ACC markets. The game is scheduled to air on CW 21 at 9pm as part of Raycom's ACC package. Here's where we run into a problem. The CW network contacted my general manager, Billy Huggins, on Tuesday afternoon and said that if we pre-empt CW programming (which runs until 10pm), we will lose our affiliation and with that every CW program.
In a nutshell, CW is pulling a powerplay on us to air 90210 over one of the greatest rivalries in sports history. To our management's credit, we did everything we could to fix the problem. HTC is airing the game LIVE on cable channel 6 and the CW will air the game on a one hour tape delay at 10pm, but there will still be hundreds of phone calls expressing their anger and dismay. I'm with you! I'm hoping that anyone who reads this blog can understand that we were backed into a corner 24 hours before the game airs. Things will be confusing because people will go to ESPN and it will not be on because of the blackout, then they will go to CW 21 and see some bad acting at the Peach Pit and not Coach K and Roy Williams matching wits on the sidelines. Then they'll get on the phone and blast us.
I'm hoping anyone who reads this blog understands a couple of things:
#1: You should be mad - so am I!
#2: It's not the sports guys fault
#3: It's not WPDE management's fault
#4: HTC is awesome for getting it on channel 6 live
#5: I'm breaking up with the CW - no more Christmas cards, no more "hey that show isn't so bad", it's over.
If I was at home and didn't see the Duke/UNC game on at 9pm as scheduled, I would be befuddled and angry just like many of you will be. The explanation doesn't make it any better - it just gives you the background that you normally don't get when you call to complain.
UNC/Duke LIVE on HTC Channel 6 at 9pm
UNC/Duke LIVE on CW 21.2 on digital antenna at 9pm
UNC/Duke on tape delay at 10pm on CW 21 if you don't have HTC cable