Who makes these decisions?

If I don’t write this post, I think I am going to explode. I’ll give you a heads up saying that this is not going to be a happy post. LOL

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a NASCAR fan. I don’t miss a race unless there is absolutely no way to watch it (then I’ll record it so I can watch it later). This week’s race was on tonite. It was the first of 11 races (the last 11 of the season) where the races are on ABC. The race tonite was the last race before the “Chase to the Sprint Cup” or simply, the Chase. For those of you who don’t follow NASCAR, the Chase is basically the playoffs for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series … 10 races to determine the championship. Not all of the drivers in the series have a chance to win the championship. Only the top 12 drivers after this race make the Chase. So it was a very important race.

My local ABC station is WDAY (in Fargo, ND). For whatever reason, WDAY decided that the local news broadcast was more important than pre-race show. That was their first mistake. I was upset enough at WDAY’s programming decisions that I sent them an email via the form on their website. I was very civil in my email. This is what I sent them:

ABC is carrying the NASCAR race tonight at Richmond, VA. It is the first of 11 races that ABC is carrying (the last 11 of the season). Tonight’s race is the last race before the 10 race “Chase”. The “Chase” is NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. Tonight’s race will determine who will be in the “Chase” and who won’t. There are several drivers that are very close to making it or falling out.

I am extremely disappointed that WDAY has chosen to air the local news at 6pm rather than the pre-race show. I understand that there are people who want to see the local news. But you need to understand that there are also people who want to watch the pre-race show. Since this is the last race before the “Chase”, there are lots of stories to be covered. I (and numerous other NASCAR fans in the region) will miss those stories. If this was an NFL wildcard game or a game that determines who makes the Superbowl, would WDAY show the news rather than the pre-game show? I find it hard to believe that they would. So why is WDAY not showing the pre-race show tonight?

WDAY could have aired the local news at 5:30pm. But instead, they have chosen to upset numerous fans by not airing the pre-race show. I hope that this is not a sign of things to come. There is another race (a ‘playoff’ race) that will start at 6pm local time (on Oct 17). I hope that WDAY does not preempt the pre-race show for that race for the news like they are doing tonight.

I have more respect for WDAY than any other station in Fargo. However, I am extremely disappointed in their decision about the pre-race show tonight. Please do not make me lose respect for your station by doing this again.

Then, the Notre Dame – Michigan football game ran long … cutting into the NASCAR pre-race show by about 20 minutes or so. Rather than going into the NASCAR coverage, WDAY decided that they were still going to show the local news broadcast. That was their second mistake. The news broadcast wasn’t over until after the opening ceremonies began. They didn’t join the race coverage until the opening prayer had already begun. So I didn’t get to see the pre-race interviews with those drivers who were on the bubble for making the Chase … and it was a tight field this year.

Would WDAY preempt the pre-game for an NFL game that decided who makes it into the playoffs or the Superbowl? I find it hard to believe that they would. So why did that do that for NASCAR? Completely unacceptable. I didn’t send another email. I thought that the email that I had sent earlier was enough to get my point across about not showing the pre-race show.

Then WDAY made their third mistake … the one that “broke the camel’s back”, so to speak. They left the post-race coverage after the interview with the winner in Victory Lane was completed. The post-race coverage wasn’t done, but they decided to leave anyway to show the local news. Excuse me? What about those interviews with the drivers who made the Chase? From what I found out, ABC continued coverage until around 10:45pm central. That means that I missed 15 minutes of coverage … of interviews with those drivers who made the Chase. That’s completely unacceptable.

I called WDAY right after they left the ABC coverage for the local news. The lady I talked to had no clue what was going on. I highly doubt she passed anything I said along to the appropriate person. All she told me was that since the winner had been declared, they were free to leave the coverage. WTF?!? Are you freaking kidding me? That’s messed up. You couldn’t delay the news 15 stinking minutes?

Needless to say, WDAY got another email from me. I wasn’t quite as civil as the first one that I sent, but I wasn’t vulgar either. I just don’t understand how they can make decisions like this. The second email I sent is here:

I would like to know WHY WDAY left the NASCAR broadcast before it was done. Tonight was the last race before the “Chase” (or the playoffs for NASCAR) begins. There are a lot of stories about who made the Chase and who didn’t. Yet WDAY chose to leave after the Victory Lane interview for the local news.

This is completely unacceptable, especially since WDAY decided to NOT show the pre-race show. How can you not show the pre-race show and then leave the post-race show early? Would you do that for the NFL? I think not.

I really want to know who is making these programming decisions. How can you justify what was done tonite? I really want to know. Please send me a response explaining things. It has been at least 10 minutes since WDAY left the post-race broadcast, and I have been told that ABC is STILL on air with the post-race show. Completely unacceptable WDAY.

I have no idea if I’ll get any response from WDAY. I honestly won’t be surprised if I don’t get a response. That being said, I really hope that I do get a response. I really want to know why the programming decisions that were made regarding this race were made. There is one more nite race that will be aired on ABC, on October 17th. This race is scheduled to start at 6pm central. I am hoping that the decisions that were made tonite (skipping the pre-race show) will NOT be made for that race as well. I know that I am not the only NASCAR fan in the WDAY coverage area. I mean, we do have a dirt track in our backyard (the Red River Valley Speedway), so there are race fans out there, and I’m sure there are local race fans that are NASCAR fans as well. A race fan is a race fan is a race fan.

I’m still riled up about this. I need to find some way to calm down so that I can get some sleep tonight. I’m just glad that I was able to watch NASCAR Now on ESPN2 and Victory Lane on SPEED to see interviews with the drivers that I’m sure ABC interviewed during the post-race show that I didn’t get to see.