Friday, February 8, 2008

WPIX passes on parade - a Giant fumble!

Just about every channel was at the Giants' big bash. Ch. 11 set its sights lower - way lower - airing "Jerry Springer".

Thursday, February 7th 2008, 8:52 AM

Ch. 11 set its sights lower - way lower - airing 'Jerry Springer.'
The Giant's ticker tape parade or Jerry Springer, a tough choice? Not for me. BD
There was a massive parade to celebrate the Giants Tuesday, but if you were watching WPIX/Ch. 11, you missed it.

It was the only local station not to carry the parade live, and that was a big dumb mistake.

Instead, station brass offered the trash of shows hosted by Jerry Springer, his former bouncer Steve Wilkos and more.

Bad, bad move.

"It really is an important time for everyone," Ernie Anastos said on WNYW/Ch. 5. "It's so positive for New York."

And that's why WPIX should have flushed the TV toilet and gone with the parade.

Sure, one could make the argument that if everyone else had it, why should Ch. 11 bother? Or, that sticking with regular programming provided an alternative.

And that's exactly the spin Ch. 11's general manager and vice president Betty Ellen Berlamino put on the decision Tuesday.

"It's not like the market was deprived," Berlamino said late Tuesday. "Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with one station being an alternative viewing."

If you keep with that line of thinking, why switch out when there's a steam-pipe explosion or some other news event? Everyone else is on, so why bother?


Of course not.

Here's why: Covering major events - good and bad - is how news divisions build trust and loyalty. And, last I heard, the new head of Ch. 11's parent company has said the focus should be on local issues.

More important, the parade was a major event, and a good one for the city.
"It's fandemonium," NY1's Cheryl Wills said in the leadup to the parade.

"We always knew it would be a super Tuesday, a political Tuesday, but this is a super, super Tuesday," Chris Wragge said on WCBS/Ch. 2.

Unless, of course, you were watching Ch. 11.

People lined up to get a spot along the parade route well before dawn. Giants jerseys were seen all over New York. It was a big, big day.

"This is just a thrilling, thrilling morning to be a New Yorker, to be a Giants fan. Even if you're a Jets fan, you're happy the Patriots lost," WABC/Ch. 7's Jamie Roth said over a screaming crowd.

Ch. 11 did cover the traffic implications during the "CW 11 Morning News," with Julie Cheng stationed on Broadway to talk about the building excitement. And the anchors reported on the parade each half-hour until 9 a.m.

Then, poof, it was gone.

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck told WNBC/Ch. 4's Otis Livingston the impact of winning the Super Bowl hadn't sunk in until Tuesday morning.

"Once we turned the corner out of the Holland Tunnel and saw all the people here," Tuck told Livingston, "it sunk in."

Just not at Ch. 11.

Berlamino said since the station doesn't air football games, she didn't think viewers would turn to it for parade coverage.

"Watching the coverage," she said, "I felt we made the right choice."

However, she did say Ch. 11, which carries Mets games, would go live with the Johan Santana press conference. And she vowed to cover a Mets ticker tape parade when they win the World Series.

When the parade was beginning yesterday on lower Broadway, fans where chanting for the Giants players riding by.

Over on Ch. 11, "Jerry Springer's" audience was chanting "shake it now" to a stripper.

That said loads about decision-making at Ch. 11.

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