Sports trumps Saddam news...

Mark Laurence
Sat Dec 30 10:09:04 EST 2006

On Dec 30, 2006, at 3:20 AM, Bob Nelson wrote:

> How news of Saddam's execution was covered locally:

None of this is too surprising, and I think each station made the  
right call, except for one.

> --WTKK started a delayed version of Laura Ingraham, with host Tammy  
> Bruce, but she barely finished
> introducing herself when the CNN News feed kicked in with details.  
> And WTKK stayed with it for just over
> 3 hours!

That's a smart move, as most talk show listeners, especially the  
conservative types,
would be interested in this development.  The decision was made  
easier because
the alternative was canned issues talk that couldn't possibly be  
keeping up with
the news.

> CNN Headline
> News...and outside of a TOH update on Saddam at 11 pm, they were  
> giving you Scott Peterson stuff
> on Nancy Grace, then the always important Showbiz Tonight. Saddam who?

That's the one wrong call.  CNN Headline News during prime time is an  
They should change their name or their programming.

> --WRKO, too busy with dribble-dribble Celtics basketball, though I  
> think they got into it via Coast to
> Coast (with a fill in) at 1 am

This is the right call.  There were several places to hear the news,  
but only one place to
hear the Celtics game.

> --WBZ too busy with shot--score!!! Bruins hockey, but Jordan Rich  
> came on about 11:35 pm or so
> with a slightly extended show.

This is the closest call, but I think WBZ did the right thing.  The  
larger question is whether
a station that positions itself as "all news" should go after sports  
franchises at all.  WBZ
isn't really all news anyway, so that puts less pressure on them to  
drop everything for a major
story.  But once they made the commitment for Bruins hockey, they  
should stay with it.

> --WBUR had coverage via BBC but I was mostly listening to 96.9

Another good call.  WBUR's choice was between a canned and outdated  
talk show,
or what they did.

For a true national emergency, everyone should drop their formats and  
people what they need to know.  That's what happened during 9/11.   
But Saddam's
execution is no emergency situation.  In fact, for a long time after  
it happened, the
coverage on the cable news stations was of the "we can't confirm  
anything but we can
speculate" style.

I was watching the Bruins game on NESN, when I saw a story on my  
computer that
reminded me that Saddam was about to die.  I thought that was more  
interesting than
hockey and switched to CNN.  But that should be my choice as a viewer/ 
listener, not
something the station inflicts on me.

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