Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Syracuse NBC affiliate preempts 'The Voice' for baseball

Frenchie Davis performs on 'The Voice'
Tuesday night, NBC’s ‘The Voice’ went live for the first time, and after six weeks of preliminary rounds, viewers were finally able to vote for their favorites. Unfortunately, Syracuse area fans were not able to watch the show as it aired live because WSTM, the local NBC affiliate chose instead to air the Yankees/Red Sox baseball game. A crawl at the bottom of the screen during the game informed that viewers that ‘America’s Got Talent’ would air in its entirety at 10 p.m. and ‘The Voice’ would be broadcast Saturday at 8 p.m. on CW6.

I contacted WSTM Wednesday morning and was told that contracts to broadcast the Yankee games are agreed upon six months in advance. The station cannot anticipate what shows will be preempted by the games and they are contractually obliged to air them. So why not air ‘The Voice’ on an alternate channel as it is broadcast live? Apparently, the powers that be at WSTM feel that showing it on Saturday is adequate.

I asked about the upcoming schedule. There is no Yankee game next Tuesday (6/14), but there will be a game broadcast June 21 that will preempt the semi-final round of ‘The Voice.’

It’s been a while since NBC has had a reasonably successful reality singing competition, so perhaps the WSTM powers-that-be need a little refresher in the viewing habits of fans of this genre. First, viewers tend to become very engaged in these shows, watching from the beginning and connecting to the contestants. ‘The View’ had two weeks of blind auditions and four weeks of “battle rounds,” essentially building up to the first live show where fans could finally vote. Syracuse-area fans have invested six weeks in a show and don’t get the payoff.

Although ‘The Voice’ is nowhere near as popular with viewers as is ‘American Idol,’ not showing the first live performance show locally would be like pre-empting an ‘Idol’ performance show for an in-season hockey or NBA basketball game. I wonder if FOX 68 would dare do that?

Bottom line, we want to see the shows that are advertised when they air, not five days later. I can watch online, but would have much preferred watching from the comfort of my bed on Tuesday night.

We’ll see if WSTM makes any concessions to viewers on June 21. If you want to call, the main phone number is (315) 477-940. Meanwhile, you can watch the complete episode here.

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