Why WTVJ and WPLG failed at being a News Station

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chase
Tri-County Chase

I’d like to offer my kudos to WFOR and WSVN  today. In case you missed today’s top story, there was a huge car chase spanning 3 counties, with excess speeds of 130 MPH. But you wouldn’t know that if you were watching WTVJ’s or WPLG’s afternoon soap operas. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the basic duty of  local news station’s to keep the public informed, safe, and out of harms way? WSVN broke into regularly scheduled programing to do just that; as did WFOR.   This pursuit wasn’t a short chase. It went on for nearly a half-an-hour, gaining national coverage on cable news stations, and other affiliates across the nation. Yet there was no mention of it on NBC6 or Local 10, both on-air and online. Local 10’s site, which claims to be “Just News,” didn’t have a mention of it until the chase was over. As for the joke called “NBCMiami.com,” nearly 30 minutes after the chase ended, there’s still no mention of it.

I would expect this from WTVJ, but I expected better from WPLG.

So what are your thoughts? Who’s right in this situation? Was WFOR and WSVN right for cutting into programing?… Or did WTVJ and WPLG do the right thing in not covering the story. Vote below.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. I thought car chases bring in $$$. Plus most of the network programming is on hulu or will reair in the next few weeks.

  2. If two local stations are already covering a story, then WTVJ and WPLG made the right decision. In my opinion, 4 local stations all carrying the same story is 3 stations too much.

    • @Bring Back Kelly
      So I guess when a hurricane is coming two station can cover it and the other two can continue regular programming.

  3. Extra kudos to WFOR, as they have the leading soap operas in terms of ratings, so they sacrificed something. Didn’t WTVJ give up their chopper? I still say, if you can’t make money in a major market with yur TV station, we aren’t going to do a telethon for you. Someone should go in and snag the license from the FCC. It can happen, technically, under the current rules. I wish it would happen, as a reminder to all these beancounters that we are talking about public airwaves.

  4. I’m in Atlanta right now and even the local Fox station broke the news live. I wasn’t able to stick around to see how long they covered it, but they did brake into regular programming.

  5. from what I understand, WPLG didn’t even launch their chopper until the chase was way up in Pompano Beach…what happened over there??? anyone know???

  6. a friend at WPLG told me they didn’t know about the chase until 7 broke in with it. Then I’m told, they couldn’t get a hold of their chopper staff. Sky 10 did launch, but couldn’t catch the chase until the end. I’m told everyone was in place in the station to break into programing, but the chopper getting there was the problem. PLG’s desk is horrible.

  7. Interesting…

    Funny that just a couple years ago WFOR was slammed by Dwight Lauderdale for breaking into CBS Daytime programming to report something which turned out to be false…which I thought was terribly unprofessional…and here now WFOR and WSVN are on top of their game…

  8. Also this chase was mentioned in updates on commercial breaks by WPB stations…all 3 of them…so kudos to them too :)

    • ACtually they all reported because the chase came into Palm Beach County (didnt realize that)….but still West Palm Beach stations all 3 of them were able to do something 2 of the stations in Miami did not…thats saying something

  9. I find it sad that two stations didn’t cover the chase, while it was being covered nationally. My mother had no idea about it because she was watching NBC 6. Thanks to WFOR and WSVN for making the welfare of their viewers a higher priority than their regular programming.

  10. WSVN ought to be the top-rated South Florida TV news station, in my opinion. They, along with WFOR really and truly put WPLG and the last-place WTVJ to shame.

    Maybe the managers at WSVN ought to air TV promo spots asking South Florida TV viewers… “Does that sound like South Florida’s News Leader to you?” Just an idea.

  11. PLG stopped doing news a while ago. now it’s just “feel good” stories and features that fill air time. It’s hardly worth watching “local 10″ any more.

  12. are you people for real? It seems like a bunch of high school kids on here. none of you have a clue. love the comment that car chases bring in money. that’s just stupid. yes, stations make lots of money when they don’t run commercials. PLG stopped doing news a while ago, now it’s just feel good stories. What does that even mean? ignorance folks.
    guess what, sometimes TV helcopters get there, sometimes they don’t. It’s not magic, it’s not skill, it’s about being in the right place sometimes and in the wrong place at other times. Get a clue people.

    • you can get a clue too. why are you so worked up over this post? btw my comment at the top was a joke. i guess you think jokes are stupid. i know how stations make money, i took classes in school on media management.

  13. There was a crash a few years ago in Phoenix between two News Helicopters jockeying for a lead position while covering a Police Pursuit:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Phoenix_news_helicopter_collision
    (yes, I know…Wikipedia).

    When it’s an issue of public safety, and one news station is on the scene faster than the others, it’s in the best interest of the PUBLIC to pool resources, and break into programming using the feed of the lead helicopter. It’s also better for the environment. There’s nothing wrong with giving a competitor credit, as long as it’s only once in a while. One station can’t be the quarterback all the time.

    When there’s a potentially life-threatening situation happening in the community, it’s the broadcasters’ responsibility to break into programming with important information.

    Assignment Desk people: always keep your eyes and ears open; stay on top of your scanner chatter, and watch your computer monitors for fire/rescue calls.

  14. This (the car chase) is really not the kind of story I like to see on TV or the web. I think most people feel this story is useless unless it injures many people or involves the mayor or someone of interest!

  15. This story became much more than just a car chase the moment the cops discovered $600,000 in the vehicle!

    A car chase is just a car chase and if it had stayed just that then the nay sayers would be fine. But by second guessing that “it is nothing but a chase” is exactly the mistake which can cost any news operation the bigger story.

    It may just be another car crash until someone finds out someone famoust/important was killed/hurt/involved in it.

    Then it is real news. That’s what happened here.

    This chase went national with CNN too. Looks to me like there are only two real television news operations in town and the past “leaders” are left with egg on their face.

  16. WFOR’s communication with their chopper crew is impossible. Listen to 450.6125 or 450.5875 (FM) in the morning and you’ll understand better. The news desk NEVER answers on the first call and they’re all rude to each other.

    Look at the bright side… between Metro Traffic and Local 10’s piss poor attempt at traffic gathering on their own, it’s all equal. You’ll never get accurate traffic information from a TV station in this market, and that’s a given.

  17. In the day, WTVJ was South Florida’s TV station. Throughout it’s impressive history WTVJ was well beyoond the curve on TV excellence. Then there were the sales. WTVJ has been sold more time than a Biscayne Blvd hooker. that’s when the decline started. Now the station, once recognized for its innovation, looks like every other station. Maybe things will change when NBC finally sells it. In the meantime, all of us WTVJ alumni are heart sick about what has happened to our alma mater.

  18. The other stations did the right thing in ignoring the coverage. They realized their programming, at least at the moment, was not directed at beer-soaked, tattooed, pot-bellied alpha males.

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