From the General Manager

WRAL has hoops; prime programming shifts

Posted January 6

ACC logo - white on blue

It’s that time of year again. Time when ACC basketball enters conference play, and when the Triangle’s local teams hopefully make a run for national prominence. WRAL is proud to have been the home of the ACC Network for decades and presents many of these games. However as great as the tradition is, and as high as interest is in these games, it creates programming bottlenecks in primetime and on weekend afternoons.

Here’s how we typically handle primetime preemptions:

Generally we have two options to pick between for broadcasting preempted programs – air them at their normal time on WRAL2 or play them overnight on WRAL. We know that neither is a perfect solution for all households, and CBS rules will not allow us to do both. The problem with airing on WRAL2 is that satellite and some cable homes do not currently receive our secondary channel. Airing programs overnight solves that problem, but creates an inconvenience for many viewers, especially those without a DVR. Considering both options, we feel making them available to all households overnight is the best solution.

So for instance, Tuesday night, Jan. 7, North Carolina State takes on Notre Dame at 9 p.m. WRAL will carry the game live, and with Notre Dame having just knocked off its new conference rival Duke, there should be a lot of local interest.

At the same time, CBS will be premiering its new show “Intelligence” followed by the popular program “Person of Interest.” So what to do with the CBS shows?

“Intelligence” is scheduled to air at 1:37 a.m. Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and "Person of Interest" is scheduled to follow at 2:37 a.m. One more twist. If the primetime basketball game goes past 11 p.m. (which they often do), the remaining programming lineup for the night slips. So to be sure to record your program, the best bet is to extend the late-night recording window by one hour.

Also a programming note: CBS has scheduled a replay of the premiere of “Intelligence” Friday evening at 8 p.m.

That is generally the drill for primetime preemptions. Weekend afternoons represent a somewhat different set of challenges and therefore decisions. CBS Sports has worked hard to develop relationships with conferences around the country and often has basketball games on weekend afternoons of some significance. When they are scheduled at the same time as ACC Network games, we have to balance local interest in ACC teams with CBS Sports’ games and at the same time live up to the contract we have with the ACC Network. That’s easy when Carolina, State or Duke are playing. But it gets trickier when for instance Oklahoma State is playing Kansas on CBS at the same time Wake Forest is playing Clemson on the ACC Network as is the case on Jan. 18. In this case we are sticking with CBS on WRAL and Wake/Clemson will air on WRAL2.

We also have a different set of choices to consider to resolve these afternoon conflicts. Our ultimate goal is to make the greatest number of viewers happy, but we realize that every decision may upset some segment of the audience. So as the season progresses, WRAL will be broadcasting what we believe will be the games of greatest local interest and moving secondary games to WRAL2 or on several occasions FOX50. We know that WRAL2 has limitations in its reach, but because the games are live sporting events, we have ruled out the option of delaying the programs to an overnight time period.

Speaking of WRAL2, it can be found on most cable systems servicing our viewing area, and is easily received via antenna in most households within 50 miles of our antenna. Many satellite homes are now using antennas as a supplement to the DISH or DIRECTV lineup.

We know that this is complicated, but we hope you realize that we do not take these decisions lightly, we certainly do not let any loyalty to any local college athletic programs influence our choices, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause our viewers.

11 Comments

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  • bggnet2000 Jan 8, 10:13 a.m.

    The best solution is for the federal government to drop the monopoly that is given to local broadcasters. Technology would allow me to stream any CBS channel that wishes to stream over the Internet. So if the local CBS broadcaster (WRAL) decides not to carry CBS content at a reasonable time, then give me the choice to get it somewhere else. As a matter of fact I have DirecTV, which transmits a number of CBS channels, but the law says I can only receive WRAL. That's nonsense. Frankly WRAL needs to decide if it is a CBS affiliate or an ACC broadcaster.

  • SummerlovinWinterhater Jan 8, 9:55 a.m.

    I don't even watch shows that are on CBS anymore. I've found many shows on ABC, NBC and Fox to now watch. No sports getting in the way of those (and they are all on hulu also!)

  • UpChuck Jan 8, 8:06 a.m.

    Did you people (bitter complainers) just move here? This has always happened and will continue to happen. Like a previous poster said, since you seem to have an internet connection, why don't you use it to watch your show instead of complaining about a basketball game on this forum? Yes, people in this area like to watch their local ACC teams play. Get over it.

  • Tax Man Jan 7, 4:37 p.m.

    Why do they do this? Why not show the game on a sports network for those folks who want to watch a game? Can't ESPN use one of its fifty channels to show this game and just leave the regular programming on schedule? Or cannot this station provide the regular programming on another network at its regular time? We have several hundred programs available how hard is it for TWC to open up a special channel for these unscheduled games? Or put the sports event on at 1:30 am when those folks are up and watching and I am sound asleep. Or just make the DVR so it will automatically record these events no matter what their schedule does.

  • North Raleigh Dad Jan 7, 4:05 p.m.

    Well got to give you credit for the explanation WRAL, but I can't help but wonder if your decision is based more on the bottom line than what viewers want. I'm sure you sell far more local commercial time during basketball than on the CBS primetime lineup. Fine by me if that's the case but don't try and tell us it's what the viewers want. If you really wanted to please the viewers you would put basketball on WRAL 2 and keep the primetime lineup like it is. Guess the only problem with that is advertisers won't pay top dollar for a spot on a WRAL 2. Free enterprise is what the country was built on, just level with us.

  • teecee Jan 7, 2:45 p.m.

    If you pay for satellite or cable the local channels get paid too.

  • kikinc Jan 7, 2:32 p.m.

    You're not paying for CBS. It's an over-the-air station.

  • mbmims Jan 7, 1:08 p.m.

    Why doesn't CBS license it's good programming to another channel and let WRAL be its premier sports channel. That way I wouldn't have to be inconvenienced all year long following the changes necessary to see the programs I want to see. I'm paying for this and maybe I should drop it all together. I'm exhausted.

  • kikinc Jan 7, 9:43 a.m.

    mirandap-Here's a hint, since you obviously have an internet connection:

    http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_mentalist/

    You can watch full episodes there starting the day after the original airing.

    Be done with the station. You won't have another CBS affiliate to watch, so the only one that loses is you.

  • jbwhite2 Jan 6, 11:44 p.m.

    A better solution would be to allow this market to have a second CBS station (and to be fair, a second ABC, NBC, and Fox). That way, Greenville's or Greensboro's station can show the CBS programming, and WRAL can show the basketball game. This is what I had living in CT - both CT and NYC stations - everyone won. This is why they have Syndex rules - to protect WRAL and the like. TWC - you have unlimited channels and a statewide franchise - so get to it!

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