Brian Kerhin

The ins & outs of the rules about the NFL on TV

August 20th, 2014 at 3:16 pm by under Sports

Each year, near the start of the NFL season, I post this blog about the rules and guidelines used to determine what games air on what network and when. There are several changes this year, which I will address as we go.

* The rules are crafted between the NFL and networks which carry the games (FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network). Local affiliates (i.e. WLUK-TV) have little control in the process – and are sometimes at the mercy of the decisions made on-the-fly by the network.

* Because we are the home market station for the Green Bay Packers, we are guaranteed to show all of the Packers games on Fox. This year we have nine of those (so far). Home market status means the local station will air ALL of the game. If the Packers are the late game, such as in Week 2, if the early game is running long, the network (CBS, in this example) will cut away from it to show all of the Packers game – even if that means viewers miss a great ending.

* Starting a few years ago, to help alleviate that problem, the NFL moved the kickoff time of the primary nationally-televised doubleheader game from 3:15 to 3:25pm.

* We air every NFL game we can. If we have a post-game show, it’s not replacing a game that’s available to us. As of now, we have three “Locker Room Live” post-games planned: at Detroit on Sept. 21, at Minnesota on Nov. 23 and at Tampa on Dec. 21.

* Just because FOX has games in both the noon and 3:25pm slots does not mean we can air two games every week. The networks (generally) alternate doubleheader weeks. Sometimes we can air two, sometimes we can’t. FOX has at least one late game each week because of the west coast home NFC games in Arizona, Seattle and San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean we can always air them. It’s not our choice – it’s league & network rules. The upshot here: the on-air promos don’t necessarily translate to games on air for Fox 11.

* FOX assigns us the other games, based on regional interest or national importance. This means we usually get NFC North games. We can request a change, but the network doesn’t have to grant it.  Each week, usually on Wednesday or Thursday, we post which game will have on our Facebook page, and it will be in our news ticker.

* For non-prime-time games between teams in different conferences, the network of the visiting team gets the rights. That’s why Fox 11 will have the Packers at Miami and Buffalo games, and CBS will have the New England and New York Jets at Green Bay games. New this year, however: It is now easier to shift games of national interest between Fox & CBS on Sundays. This tool may be used to even out the number of games aired on each network, or to get a high-interest game in the late timeslot, even if it’s on the ‘wrong’ network. We’re not quite sure how this will play out yet.

* Even if it is a Fox doubleheader Sunday, Fox 11 can’t air a game at the same time as a Packers home game. This year, we do not “lose” the ability to air any games because of this rule. However, the same rule applies that on a CBS doubleheader week, WFRV can’t air a different game during a Packers home game on Fox 11. (So, WFRV can’t air several noon games). The only exception to this is Week 17, when both networks get two games because of playoff implications.

* Local fans are guaranteed to see all of the Packers games on local broadcast stations, even if they are on cable (ESPN or the NFL Network). Those networks put the games up for bids to the local stations for the right to air them. I don’t know who has the rights to the Dec. 8 Atlanta game, but it’s not Fox 11.

* The local stations have no control over the flexible scheduling. For the last 12 weeks of the year – up from seven last year – the NFL may decide to change games to give NBC a more attractive game in its Sunday night time slot. Games may also move between the early and late doubleheader slots. Thursday and Monday night games do not change.

* Specifically, NFL on FOX games scheduled in Weeks 5-10 are part of the NFL’s flexible schedule plan. During this period, flexible schedule can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into prime time and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.

* Additionally, NFL on FOX games scheduled in Weeks 11 – 17 are part of the NFL’s flexible schedule plan. After consultation with FOX Sports, the NFL will determine start times on these dates, with a game or games possibly moving to the late afternoon broadcast window.

* There is another new wrinkle to the schedule this year: a Sunday morning game. Detroit plays Atlanta in London on Oct. 26. The pregame show starts at 8am, with game coverage at 8:30am. We will have one other game that day.

* While there are few preseason games on network television, the rights to the majority of preseason games are sold by the teams to stations of their choosing. The rules described above generally don’t apply to the preseason.

Given all of that, here is the tentative schedule for the NFL on Fox 11. Remember, the assignments for the non-Packers games very possibly could change based on how the year develops – so please don’t call in December complaining we aren’t airing a specific game just because it’s on this list now. That said, we should have games in all of these timeslots.

If you have any questions, post them below!

Week 1, Sept. 7
Buffalo at Chicago, noon
San Francisco at Dallas, 3:25pm

Week 2, Sept. 14
Detroit at Carolina, noon

Week 3, Sept. 21
Green Bay at Detroit, noon

Week 4, Sept. 28
Green Bay at Chicago, noon
Philadelphia at San Francisco, 3:25pm

Week 5, Oct. 5
Chicago at Carolina, noon

Week 6, Oct. 12
Green Bay at Miami, noon
Dallas at Seattle, 3:25pm

Week 7, Oct. 19
Carolina at Green Bay, noon
New York at Dallas, 3:25pm

Week 8, Oct. 26
Detroit vs. Atlanta, 8:30am
Chicago at New England, noon

Week 9, Nov. 2
Washington at Minnesota, noon

Week 10, Nov. 9
San Francisco at New Orleans, noon
New Giants at Seattle, 3:25pm

Week 11, Nov. 16
Philadelphia at Green Bay, noon
Detroit at Arizona, 3:25pm

Week 12, Nov. 23
Green Bay at Minnesota

Week 13, Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving)
Philadelphia at Dallas, 3:30pm

Week 13, Nov. 30
New Orleans at Pittsburgh, noon

Week 14, Dec. 7
Tampa Bay at Detroit, noon
Seattle at Philadelphia, 3:25pm

Week 15, Dec. 14
Green Bay at Buffalo, noon
San Francisco at Seattle, 3:25pm

Week 16, Dec. 21
Green Bay at Tampa Bay, noon

Week 17, Dec. 28
Green Bay at Detroit, noon
St. Louis at Seattle, 3:25pm


Details for the baseball ‘game of the week’ on Fox 11

April 29th, 2014 at 8:07 am by under Sports, Uncategorized

We’ve had a few people ask when the Fox Sports coverage of Major League Baseball will start – and the answer is “it has – but hasn’t.” I will explain.

The last few years, the Fox Sports coverage was aired Saturdays on local Fox affiliates, including here at Fox 11, starting in April. However, this year the network moved some of the schedule to the new Fox Sports 1 cable network. So, games have been airing there for a few weeks.

The coverage on the broadcast network, including on WLUK-TV, starts May 24, with prime time games through July 12. Games are at 6pm each of those weeks.

As of right now, the only Milwaukee Brewers game on that slate is the June 14 game against Cincinnati.

The All Star Game is also on Fox 11, on Tuesday, July 15.

The coverage shifts back to Fox Sports 1 after that for a few weeks. Games return to Fox 11 on Sept. 6 for the final month of the season. Those games will start at 11:30am.

We will post the matchup in our news ticker each week, and also make a Facebook post on game day.

If you have any questions, post them below.


Is it “Christmas” or “Holiday”?

November 12th, 2013 at 2:40 pm by under News

Is it “Christmas” or a “holiday”?

I bring it up now because we have published a list of the area’s Christmas and holiday parades.

It seems like there’s a debate every year about the uses of those two words and which is appropriate. Over the years, we’ve received calls, emails and tweets either asking us about it or scolding us for using one or the other.

Here’s the approach we use in the newsroom: It is not up to us to name or label someone else’s event; we report on what goes on in the community.

That’s why we will refer to the parade in Appleton as a Christmas parade – that’s what the organizers call it. And that’s why we called Green Bay’s parade a “holiday” parade – that’s what the organizers called it.

It is station policy to not shy away from using the term “Christmas.” If it’s a Christmas event, we will certainly say “Christmas.” At some point, our anchors will wish you a Merry Christmas. But it’s also not up us to change what someone else is doing or how they describe their event. If you don’t like it that the Green Bay Packers, for example, call their tree a “holiday” tree, we suggest you contact them directly.

That said – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.


NFL on TV rules

August 5th, 2013 at 11:23 am by under Sports

With the start of the NFL season upon us, I thought an explanation of the rules governing broadcasting NFL games might be helpful. Hopefully, this will answer some of your questions about game assignments and the process used.

* The rules are crafted between the NFL and networks which carry the games (FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network). Local affiliates (i.e. WLUK-TV) have little control in the process – and are sometimes at the mercy of the decisions made on-the-fly by the network.

* Because we are the home market station for the Green Bay Packers, we are guaranteed to show all of the Packers games on Fox. This year we have ten of those (so far). If the Packers are the late game, such as in Week 1, if the early game is running long, we will cut away from it to show all of the Packers game – even if that means viewers miss a great ending.

* Starting last season, to help alleviate that problem, the NFL moved the kickoff time of the primary nationally-televised doubleheader game from 3:15 to 3:25pm.

* We air every NFL game we can. If we have a post-game show, it’s not replacing a game that’s available to us. As of now, we have five “Locker Room Live” post-games planned: Sept. 15 (Redskins), Sept. 22 (Cincinnati), Oct. 6 (Detroit), Nov. 10 (Philadelphia), and Nov. 28 (Detroit).

* Just because FOX has games in both the noon and 3:25pm slots does not mean we can air two games every week. The networks (generally) alternate doubleheader weeks. Sometimes we can air two, sometimes we can’t. FOX has at least one late game each week because of the west coast home NFC games in Arizona, Seattle and San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean we can always air them. It’s not our choice – it’s league & network rules. The upshot here: the on-air promos don’t necessarily translate to games on air for Fox 11.

* FOX assigns us the other games, based on regional interest or national importance. This means we usually get NFC North games. We can request a change, but the network doesn’t have to grant it. In Week 1, for example, we will likely show Minnesota vs. Detroit. Because it is two divisional teams, that’s unlikely to change. Each week, usually on Wednesday or Thursday, we post which game will have on our Facebook page.

* For non-prime-time games between teams in different conferences, the network of the visiting team gets the rights. That’s why Fox 11 will have the Packers at Cincinnati & Baltimore games, and CBS will have the Cleveland & Pittsburgh at Green Bay games.

* Even if it is a Fox doubleheader Sunday, Fox 11 can’t air a game at the same time as a Packers home game. This year, we do not “lose” the ability to air any games because of this rule. However, the same rule applies that on a CBS doubleheader week, WFRV can’t air a different game during a Packers home game on Fox 11. The only exception to this is Week 17, when both networks get two games because of playoff implications.

* Local fans are guaranteed to see all of the Packers games on local broadcast stations, even if they are on cable (ESPN or the NFL Network). Those networks put the games up for bids to the local stations for the right to air them. I don’t know which local station has the Nov. 4 game vs. Chicago, but it’s not Fox 11.

* The local stations have no control over the flexible scheduling. For the last seven weeks of the year, the NFL may decide to change games to give NBC a more attractive game in its Sunday night time slot. Games may also move between the early and late doubleheader slots. Thursday and Monday night games do not change.

* While there are few preseason games on network television, the rights to the majority of preseason games are sold by the teams to stations of their choosing. The rules described above generally don’t apply to the preseason.

Given all of that, here is the tentative schedule for the NFL on Fox 11. Remember, the assignments for the non-Packers games very possibly could change based on how the year develops – so please don’t call in December complaining we aren’t airing a specific game just because it’s on this list now. That said, we should have games in all of these timeslots.

If you have any questions, post them below!

Preseason
Friday, Aug. 16
7pm: Tampa Bay vs. New England

Sunday, Aug. 18
6pm: Indianapolis at New York Giants

Sunday, Aug. 25
3pm: New Orleans at Houston

Regular Season
Week 1 – Sept. 8
Noon: Minnesota at Detroit
3:25pm: Green Bay at San Francisco

Week 2  – Sept. 15
Noon: Washington at Green Bay

Week 3  – Sept. 22
Noon: Green Bay at Cincinnati

Week 4 – Sept. 29
Noon: Chicago at Detroit
3:25pm: Philadelphia at Denver

Week 5 – Oct. 6
Noon: Detroit at Green Bay

Week 6 – Oct. 13
Noon: Green Bay at Baltimore
3:25pm: New Orleans at New England

Week 7 – Oct. 20
Noon: Chicago at Washington

Week 8 – Oct. 27
Noon: Dallas at Detroit
3:25pm:  Washington at Denver

Week 9 – Nov. 3
Noon: Minnesota at Dallas

Week 10 – Nov. 10
Noon: Philadelphia at Green Bay

Week 11 – Nov. 17
Noon: Detroit at Pittsburgh
3:25pm: Minnesota at Seattle

Week 12 – Nov. 24
Noon: Minnesota at Green Bay
3:25pm: Dallas at New York Giants

Week 13
Thursday, Nov. 28
11:30am: Green Bay at Detroit
Sunday, Dec. 1
Noon: Chicago at Minnesota

Week 14 – Sunday, Dec. 8
Noon: Minnesota at Baltimore
3:25pm – Seattle at San Francisco

Week 15 – Sunday, Dec. 15
Noon: Chicago at Cleveland
3:25pm: Green Bay at Dallas

Week 16 – Sunday, Dec. 22
Noon: Chicago at Philadelphia

Week 17 – Sunday, Dec. 29
Noon: Green Bay at Chicago
3:25pm: To be determined


MLB on Fox 11 schedule announced

March 13th, 2013 at 7:36 am by under Sports

The Major League Baseball season is less than a month away – and that means that the MLB on FOX is close to returning, as well.

Game of the Week broadcasts begin Saturday, April 6. For much of the season, the games will be at 2:30pm Central. However, from May 25-July 13, the games will start at 6pm.

The Milwaukee Brewers are currently scheduled to be on Fox 11 six times. That could change as the season progresses.

May 4 – St. Louis Cardinals
June 10 – Philadelphia Phillies
June 29 – at Pittsburgh Pirates
July 6 – New York Mets
September 7 – at Chicago Cubs
September 14 – Cincinnati Reds

Fox 11 plans to put the listing of which game we have in the news ticker and on Facebook each week. We usually find out by Thursday which game we are airing that Saturday.

And, as always, Fox Sports has the All Star Game, which will be played July 16 at Citi Field in New York City. Fox will also carry one league championship series and the World Series.


WHERE DID FOX 11 GO?

October 1st, 2012 at 2:44 pm by under News

WHERE DID FOX 11 GO?

Given the number of recent phone calls, emails and messages we’ve received about where our station is – and now is not – being carried, I thought I would try to explain the issues for everyone.

First, some background:

Industry-wide, the country is divided into 210 markets. The largest is New York City, with Glendive, Montana, the smallest. The Green Bay-Appleton market is the 69th largest, with about 445,000 television homes. Each market has defined boundaries. Our has 17 counties.

However, our market does not include Sheboygan County – which is in the Milwaukee market. And it doesn’t include Michigan’s Upper Peninsula beyond Menominee County.

Why is that important?

The Fox Network is enforcing contract language with companies that retransmit our signal – i.e. TimeWarner or Charter Cable – that only the affiliate for that market be provided on a channel lineup. As such, our signal has been removed from the channel lineups in those areas I mentioned, such as Sheboygan, where just WITI will be provided.

This is not something that is being done at our request, despite the claims of some providers. And we aren’t particularly pleased to losing some of our faithful viewers.

While the Fox Network programming may be the same on WLUK as it is on WITI, many other shows – particularly our newscasts, football shows and ‘Living With Amy’ – are unique to our station. If a cable company chose to carry our signal for our local programs, they would have to block out all the network shows that are duplicated from FOX – and cable companies typically do not provide a channel when they have to block out so many programs.

Viewers losing us through a cable or other provider could try to get our signal with an antenna, but we cannot guarantee success given the distances involved.

We would offer this advice, however: make sure to get an antenna that receives a VHF signal. As assigned by the FCC, WLUK’s broadcast signal is on Channel 11.1. The other stations in the market all use UHF signals (i.e. WBAY is on 23.1). Some stores sell antennae that only receive UHF, so that won’t help you trying to reach us.

Switching providers – such as from cable to satellite – won’t help, either.

The network is not “picking” on WLUK. In fact, we would expect that in Fond du Lac County – which is part of our market – that systems there will be seeing WITI removed from the lineup at some point in the near future for the same reason.

As for why the network would do this, it comes down to protecting the local affiliate within a select market.

If a viewer in Sheboygan County watches “American Idol” on WLUK and records that with Nielsen, we do not get ratings credit for it because it’s outside our market. And because that viewer didn’t watch WITI, they can’t get credit. So, the local affiliate doesn’t get any credit for a viewer that watched American Idol. With Fox 11 taken off the Charter system, now viewers there will have to watch WITI for American Idol – and the station and network will get the appropriate credit.

We know it may not make a lot of sense. The Sheboygan high schools are in a conference with the Green Bay schools, for example. Or maybe you just like our newscasts better. We thank you for that. However, in this case, we are the ones being caught in the middle.

You can still check out many of our stories and features at fox11online.com or through our Facebook page. We do not stream entire newscasts due to a variety of video rights issues.

We again want to offer our thanks to the viewers that we have served over the years.


The rules for airing NFL games

August 30th, 2012 at 8:25 am by under Sports

With the start of the NFL regular season just around the corner, I thought an explanation of the rules governing broadcasting NFL games might be helpful. Hopefully, this will answer some of your questions about game assignments and the process used.

* The rules are crafted between the NFL and networks which carry the games (FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network). Local affiliates (i.e. WLUK-TV) have little control in the process – and are sometimes at the mercy of the decisions made on-the-fly by the network.

* Because we are the home market station for the Green Bay Packers, we are guaranteed to show all of the Packers games on Fox. This year we have nine of those (so far). If the Packers are the late game, such as in Week 1, if the early game is running long, we will cut away from it to show all of the Packers game – even if that means viewers miss a great ending.

* New this year: To help alleviate that problem, however, the NFL has moved the kickoff time of the primary nationally-televised doubleheader game from 3:15 to 3:25pm. Even though the original schedule released by the league doesn’t reflect it, the Packers games vs. the 49ers (Sept. 9) and Saints (Sept. 30) will start at 3:25pm. As of now, those are the only two Green Bay games affected. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the late games will start at 3:25 – just the games on the network with the doubleheader.

* We air every NFL game we can. If we have a post-game show, it’s not replacing a game that’s available to us. As of now, we have five “Locker Room Live” post-games planned: Oct. 7 (Colts), Nov. 4 (Cardinals),  Nov. 18 (Lions), Dec. 2 (Vikings), and Dec. 16 (Bears).

* Just because FOX has games in both the noon and 3:15/3:25pm slots does not mean we can air two games every week. The networks (generally) alternate doubleheader weeks. Sometimes we can air two, sometimes we can’t. FOX usually has at least one late game because of the west coast home NFC games in Arizona, Seattle and San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean we can always air them. It’s not our choice – it’s league & network rules. The upshot here: the on-air promos don’t necessarily translate to games on air for Fox 11.

* FOX assigns us the other games, based on regional interest or national importance. This means we usually get NFC North games. We can request a change, but the network doesn’t have to grant it. In Week 1, for example, we were assigned Washington at New Orleans for the noon game but we requested the be Rams vs. Lions. We will find out next week which game we get. Each week, usually on Wednesday or Thursday, we post which game will have on our Facebook page.

* For non-prime-time games between teams in different conferences, the network of the visiting team gets the rights. That’s why Fox 11 will have the Packers at Colts game, and CBS will have the Jacksonville & Tennessee at Green Bay games.

* Even if it is a Fox doubleheader Sunday, Fox 11 can’t air a game at the same time as a Packers home game. On Oct. 28, for example, we will only air the second game of the doubleheader, and can’t air any of the four early Fox games (ATL @ PHI, WSH @ PIT, CAR @ CHI, SEA @ DET). The same holds that on a CBS doubleheader week, WFRV can’t air a different game during a Packers home game on Fox 11. The only exception to this is Week 17, when both networks get two games because of playoff implications.

* Local fans are guaranteed to see all of the Packers games on local broadcast stations, even if they are on cable (ESPN or the NFL Network). Those networks put the games up for bids to the local stations for the right to air them. I don’t know which local station has these games, but it’s not Fox 11.

* The local stations have no control over the flexible scheduling. For the last seven weeks of the year, the NFL may decide to change games to give NBC a more attractive game in its Sunday night time slot. Games may also move between the early and late doubleheader slots. Thursday and Monday night games do not change.

Given all of that, here is the tentative schedule for the NFL on Fox 11. Remember, the assignments for the non-Packers games very possibly could change based on how the year develops – so please don’t call in December complaining we aren’t airing a specific game just because it’s on this list now. That said, we should have games in all of these timeslots.

If you have any questions, post them below!

WEEK 1
Noon – St. Louis at Detroit, or Washington at New Orleans
3:25pm – San Francisco at GREEN BAY

WEEK 2
Noon – Minnesota at Indianapolis

WEEK 3
Noon – St. Louis at Chicago

WEEK 4
Noon – Minnesota at Detroit
3:25pm – New Orleans at GREEN BAY

WEEK 5
Noon – GREEN BAY at Indianapolis

WEEK 6
Noon – Detroit at Philadelphia, or Dallas at Baltimore
3:25 – NY Giants at San Francisco

WEEK 7
Noon – GREEN BAY at St. Louis

WEEK 8
3:25pm – New York Giants at Dallas

WEEK 9
Noon – Arizona at GREEN BAY

WEEK 10
Noon – Detroit at Minnesota
3:25pm – Dallas at Philadephia

WEEK 11
Noon – GREEN BAY at Detroit

WEEK 12
Thanksgiving, 3:25pm – Washington at Dallas
Sunday – Noon – Minnesota at Chicago
3:25pm – San Francisco at New Orleans

WEEK 13
Noon – Minnesota at GREEN BAY

WEEK 14
Noon – Chicago at Minnesota
3:25pm – New Orleans at New York Giants

WEEK 15
Noon – GREEN BAY at Chicago

WEEK 16
3:25pm – Chicago at Arizona

WEEK 17
Noon – GREEN BAY vs. Minnesota
3:25pm – to be determined, based on playoff races


College football on Fox 11 & CW14

August 27th, 2012 at 4:01 pm by under Sports

More football!

While Fox has a strong sports lineup – the NFL, NASCAR and Major League Baseball – we are pleased that the network is adding significantly this year to its college football lineup. When combined with the college football slate on CW14, we’ve got three of the country’s best conferences – ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12 – on our stations.

The action starts this Saturday, Sept. 1. Start your day on CW14, with the ACC Blitz pregame show at 11am, followed by a game at 11:30am.

For much of the season, Fox 11 will have doubleheaders on Saturdays, with games starting at 3pm. That won’t happen the first few weeks, however, because we’ve still got the major league baseball game of the week

The schedule for the first three weeks is posted below. After that, games will be determined each week. We will post the games on our Facebook page and put the information in the ticker in the newscasts.

Sept. 1
11:30am – Elon at North Carolina on CW14
3pm – MLB: Cardinals vs. Nationals on Fox 11
6:30pm – Hawaii at USC on Fox 11

Sept. 8
11:30am – Ball State at Clemson on CW14
3pm – Baseball game of the week, teams TBA, on Fox 11
6:30pm – Nebraska at UCLA

Sept. 15
11:30am – Connecticut at Maryland on CW14
3pm  – Baseball game of the week, teams TBA, on Fox 11
6:30pm – USC at Stanford

Fox 11 will end the season with the Pac 12 Championship on Nov. 30, the Big Ten Championship on Dec. 1, and the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4.

Thanks for watching. We hope you enjoy the coverage!


Regarding the latest Philbin story

March 7th, 2012 at 3:51 pm by under Uncategorized

Earlier today, we posted information regarding the conclusion of the investigation into the death of Michael Philbin, the son of former Packers offensive coordinator and current Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin.

We have received several comments critical of us for reporting the information. Here’s why we believe it’s appropriate to report.

* We have followed the tragic case from the beginning. It makes sense to report the conclusion of the case.

* The incident was the subject of many rumors. By reporting the final determination by authorities – an accidental drowning – hopefully that puts some of the rumors to rest.

* When the Oshkosh Police Dept. sent us the release, included a statement from Coach Philbin and the family. We did not ask for such comment. It was provided to us. If you read it, it is a powerful statement from a grieving family. It includes a warning to not mix illegal drugs and alcohol. Because of the references to illegal drugs, etc., I’m not sure it would make total sense without the information from the police report.

* Our stories have included other information about Michael Philbin, including that he made the Dean’s List and had a 3.4 GPA at Ripon College.

We understand this has been a tragic situation for the Philbin family. It is not our intent to add to the family’s pain. We have respected the wishes of the family and Packers organization in matters related to coverage of the event, the funeral, questioning the coach about the incident, and so on.

But, the fact remains that the accidental drowning death of a college student – whether it was Michael Philbin, the UW-Stevens Point incident a week ago, or the several incidents near the UW-La Crosse campus – is indeed news. The Philbin family’s statement today indicates its hope this incident can serve as a lesson to others. I think it would be irresponsible of us not to report it or to share those sentiments. And it would be irresponsible to withhold information as well.

And, as always, we appreciate your feedback.


“Christmas” or “Holiday”?

November 21st, 2011 at 8:46 am by under News

Is it “Christmas” or a “holiday”?

It seems like there’s a debate every year about the uses of those two words and which is appropriate. We’ve received a few calls, emails and tweets either asking us about it or scolding us for using one or the other.

Here’s the approach we use in the newsroom: It is not up to us to name or label someone else’s event; we report on what goes on in the community.

That’s why we will refer to the parade in Appleton Tuesday night as a Christmas parade – that’s what the organizers call it.

And that’s why we called Green Bay’s parade a “holiday” parade – that’s what the organizers called it.

It is station policy to not shy away from using the term “Christmas.” If it’s a Christmas event, we will certainly say “Christmas” – such as when we air a mass Christmas Eve. At some point, our anchors will wish you a Merry Christmas. But it’s also not up us to change what someone else is doing or how they describe their event. If you don’t like it that the Green Bay Packers, for example, call their tree a “holiday” tree, we suggest you contact them directly.

That said – Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.