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WNED-TV program delay leads to predictable and smart criticism

It is time to clear up a couple of mysteries at WNED-TV.

How did it manage to air a Tony prediction show two weeks after the awards were handed out?

And what happened to its high definition feed on Monday on Time Warner Cable?

Let’s start with the Tonys.

If WNED-TV delays the airing of any popular series, the chorus of disenchantment from area viewers is pretty predictable.

In one recent case, the public broadcaster’s decision to delay a program was pretty laughable.

As a reader from Amherst pointed out, WNED carried an episode of the syndicated program “Theater Talk” that predicted the winners of the Tony Awards two weeks AFTER the award show hosted by Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth actually ran on CBS.

Needless to say, there was little fun at the homes watching WNED-TV at 12:30 a.m. Monday since viewers already knew that the musical “Fun Home” and the play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” had won two weeks earlier.

“Is there intelligent life in your programming broadcast decision?” the reader asked television management. “Your habit of scheduling programs well after the PBS broadcasts is most frustrating also.  Especially when there is national publicity for a program and then not to find it on our local station. One would expect you would capitalize on that instead of diminishing your viewership when we are forced to play detective to find if and when it might appear on Channel 17.”

The reader, Earl Kunz, provided another laugh in his email to the station.

“I do renew my membership each year but now think my return is decreasing to the 7 percent level in my satisfaction,” he wrote, making fun of WNED’s promotional campaign seeking financial support in Western New York.

Kunz also added a smart suggestion for other viewers frustrated by Channel 17’s delays.

“I have purchased a $39 streaming device that uses my existing Wi-Fi and the free PBS channel streams most all of the highly publicized programs beginning the next day allowing me to watch them when they are new and at my convenience,” he wrote.

But back to the delayed airing of the Tony prediction show of “Theater Talk.” How did it happen?

WNED Station Manager Ron Santora explained that when the series episodes are scheduled the titles of the programs aren’t given to the local station.

“It was just missed that they were doing the predictions,” said Santora. “If we had recognized this show was specific to the Tonys, we would have put it on closer to the time of the awards.”

WNED viewers also helped it solve another mystery this week – the loss of its high definition feed on Monday on Time Warner Cable.

Santora and the station staff were unaware of the problem until the station received calls and emails about Time Warner carrying the standard definition on WNED’s high definition channel.

The station manager said he watches WNED off the air without cable and it had come in high definition, indicating it was a TWC issue.

WNED called TWC on Tuesday morning and the issue was quickly resolved.

Still, it is pretty sad that the station needs to discover such things from viewers.

The Buffalo Bills quarterback issue isn’t close to being resolved. Early in preseason training, there were media reports here that suggested third-year quarterback EJ Manuel was in danger of being cut.

On Monday, the ESPN reporter who covers the Bills, Mike Rodak, suggested that Manuel is now the favorite to be the starter and it is veteran Matt Cassel who is in danger of being cut to save $4 million in cap space.

Of course, it is a little too early to take any predictions seriously since there haven’t been any passes thrown even in a preseason game. There are no sure things. This isn’t like watching Tony predictions on WNED-TV.

NBC has canceled “Hannibal” after three short seasons. With its local and national ratings, the cancellation was  predictable. Strong reviews from critics probably helped it last as long as it did on a broadcast network. It hasn’t done very well locally. The first two episodes after the end of the May sweeps had 2.0 live ratings on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate. The third episode had a 2.4 live rating. Those are the kind of numbers that usually lead to cancellation. The remaining episodes in the third season reportedly will continue to air this summer.




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