Sunday, January 17, 2010

Did The Ticket Have to Be AWOL on the Night of the Viking Game?

So here we have the biggest Cowboy game in years.

And over here we have the most popular and famous sports radio station in DFW that prides itself on providing local programming, as opposed to competitors who offer a lot of network or syndicated nonlocal programming.

So why, after Norm and Donovan's two-hour post-game show (which is outstanding), does The Ticket shut down Cowboy coverage and go to a broadcast of a college basketball game – Wake Forest v. Duke, a game of no local interest?

There's a contract in this somewhere, some legal reason The Ticket had to broadcast that game. The advertising already sold, some kind of syndication deal to fill in content. But even though The Ticket might not have had foreknowledge that the Cowboys would be playing today – although the possibility could not have been all that remote – it was a certainty that the weekend would have featured the four playoff games, which would have been of considerable interest to the The Ticket demo.

So the Cowboy game might have taken Ticket programmers by surprise. But what would it have taken to pre-empt that worthless game for the sake of serving the faithful P1's who, I suspect, tuned in to The Ticket's two local competitors' football talk show in droves (like I did)?  Local stations pre-empt network programming all the time for matters of intense local interest.  There is unquestionably a financial hit in doing so, but that begs the question of where management's/ownership's priorities lie.  Maybe it would have been economically irrational to absorb the financial penalty from pre-empting that who-cares basketball game, but to the almighty demo, the effect was unmistakable:    In the P1 Nation's hour of need, The Ticket was, in effect, off the air.

On Sunday, The Ticket didn't seem like the premier sports-talk station in Dallas.

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