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Missing the Rabbit Ears June 20, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

In my continuing efforts to respect my part-Canadian roots, I tried to watch the final game of the NHL championship last night, while on the road in a nice Seattle hotel. Heck, it was on broadcast TV. But no, Belo, which owns both the NBC affiliate KING as well as a UHF outlet KONG, opted to send the NBC feed of the game to KONG. It ran some — to my mind, anyway — lame local magazine program instead.

Now this was perhaps the right decision for a leading Seattle station faced with an Edmonton-Carolina final that started at 5PM and ran into prime time. But my hotel, which has some 30 channels, does not have KONG.

One could say this is an argument for (currently undeliverable) total consumer choice. More realistically, this shows the potential perils of multicasting to narrow audiences. And some of the quirks of the current hub and spokes, network/affiliate carried-by-MSOs system that’s in the midst of some wrenching changes.

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