Tampa Bay’s CBS affiliate, WTSP – 10 News, faces a difficult programming decision for next Wednesday when local sports will likely national politics.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be playing the Washington Redskins in an exhibition game which kicks-off at 7 p.m. At about the same time, the Republican National Convention will be into its “We Can Change It” lineup of speakers which include Jeb Bush, Pam Bondi and Tim Pawlenty. The night will also include remarks from vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
What will the station decide to air? The Bucs or the Republicans.
The likely answer is a no-brainer: The Bucs.
The argument from 10 News will be that the RNC proceedings can be found on a dozen or so other stations, while only WTSP will be airing the Bucs game. No doubt the station will win the ratings battle next Wednesday because Bucs coverage undoubtedly draws better than elephant coverage.
Still, if it is decided to air football instead of politics, it is yet another example of the networks and its affiliates de-prioritizing coverage of political conventions.
Until last night, when the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac threatened to interrupt the RNC and forced planners to move-up the convention’s schedule, the networks did not plan on broadcasting from the RNC on Monday. Instead, they would air episodes of ‘Castle’, ‘Grimm’ and a rerun of ‘Hawaii Five-0’.
Jonathan Bernstein thinks this would be a mistake:
[T]here’s no way that you can gather that many activists, political professionals and politicians in one place and not have a whole lot of fascinating stories to tell, many of which will help the American people understand what each of our major political parties are about in 2012. Isn’t that news? There’s also the platform, the ticket, the other candidates the parties want people to know about (and all those candidates they don’t want people to know about), the donors, the party-aligned groups and what they want … aren’t all of those things news?
I have a request for comment in with WTSP and I will update my story after I hear back from someone at the station.