NFL rules for local stations (1 Viewer)

dragon002

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Mar 7, 2005
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Almost while no one was noticing a month ago, the NFL took a giant step toward virtually eliminating coverage of its games by local television stations. At its meeting in Orlando, Fla., the league initiated legislation that would prohibit local station photographers from working the sidelines at its games.

In effect, this means every station in the country will rely solely on the network feed of the games rather than the work of its own people.

It is a stunning blow to local television, although the NFL says otherwise.

"We're being consistent with what every other sport does," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "They don't allow [local] cameras to shoot their games. We've had the luxury of having more space but that has changed. There's too much congestion on the sidelines.

"Highlights will be fully available and this won't affect the fan."

Needless to say, television stations around the country believe otherwise and are angry.

In Pittsburgh, John Steigerwald of KDKA-TV, who has been covering Steelers games for about 20 years, took exception to the NFL's stance.

"If they don't see the difference between using network video and what we shoot from the sidelines, they're idiots. That's an insult to the intelligence of anyone who knows anything about television."

Stations do use network video, particularly in sportscasts immediately after the game. But throughout the week they rely heavily, if not exclusively on their own footage.

Shawn McClintock, the news director at FSN Pittsburgh, explained. "It really affects our coverage more on Monday through Saturday than on Sunday. We send two photographers to every game, home and away. If we know we're going to do a story later in the week on a specific player or coach, one of our photographers will shoot game highlights and the other will be isolating on a particular player."

Without such footage, the features on the players just aren't the same.

The change affects FSN Pittsburgh more than the other local stations because it produces a 30-minute sports show seven days a week.

Steigerwald pointed out other ways the local coverage is so important.

"When the guy ran onto the field in Cleveland last season, Michael Chalik [the KDKA photographer] had the shot of James Harrison body-slamming him. The network didn't have that."

Steigerwald also pointed to other shots -- Bill Cowher leaving the field; fans hanging over the railing to get closer to the players as they head to the locker room; players speaking to the camera -- that the networks don't get.

"Unlike baseball, there's only one game a week," Steigerwald said. "We need stories for six more days. We need more of a variety of shots."

The Radio-Television News Directors Association, a 3,200-member organization that includes the news director at local stations in every city with an NFL franchise, sent a letter to commissioner Paul Tagliabue, which, in part, said:

"When electronic journalists are denied the ability to report on a news event with their own microphones, cameras and production crews, it allows newsmakers to determine the content of the news, a result that is inconsistent with our society's democratic values."

The banning of local photographers is not yet formalized, but is expected to be before the NFL starts playing games in July
 

charper1

Bourbon Tester
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May 18, 2004
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I'm Nationwide
My rant-o-the day!

I say good riddance Dragon; the local affiliates and the NAB are the scourge of DBS users everywhere. While I understand this story is not really about market protection in the pure sense, I am however, hoping this is the beginning of the end of the old-fashioned affiliate system, in favor of a solely network system. It needs to start somewhere, although I know I will not see its completion in my lifetime.

A C&P of my previous simple plan to eliminate them:

Why in the hell are we still allowing the NAB, local affiliates and Nielsen to bully the FCC? We all would be better served if the FCC just finally put an end to the illegal monopoly of the stone age affiliates and DMA system. All the networks need to do 'AT LEAST' is an east, central, mountain, west and pacific network feeds beamed to all cable and DBS providers and just allow their end users/subscribers to CHOOSE and to PAY for whatever they want; one feed, some, or all. True freedom of choice and open market. This also holds perfectly true for the sports leagues as well. There system is almost there, just end the blackout rules.

Then just do away with the system of the out of touch affiliates and allow your local news, weather and sports to go back to radio and newspapers where they belong. If someone LOCALLY wants to provide a public OTA version of local news, sports, and weather, let them do it on their own dime and generated local ads and without network backing and coat-tail riding. Then maybe the entire country could get the programming they so desire without all the red tape and double talk we have now thanks to the NAB and the affiliates and their "fight at any cost" to protect local monopolized revenue.
 
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