Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Preparing For Golf Complaints

Tee times pushed to threesomes starting at 8:00 Sunday morning ahead of expected storms means the golf you may not see in person will be on tape-delay on television...and here's why we don't delay the reports on the radio.

Complaints from listeners and surfers that we "ruin" the experience have been commonplace for radio and websites ever since the Olympics took center stage in huge multi-billion dollar deals with the TV networks sending home those signals from halfway across the world, and it makes sense: who wants to take time off from work to watch the Olympics at 9:00 in the morning when they're live? It's a sign of how small our world becomes when satellites and broadband mean time zones are irrelevant.

So should radio and the web hold off on reporting results to allow television viewers to savor the experience without spoiling the ending?

We've made the editorial decision that the strength of our medium -- radio and the web -- is the ability to cover the story now, as it happens and we'll see that play out again tomorrow with the Bridgestone Invitational. Our hourly reports on the radio will include the leaderboard results, with the winner likely not only finishing at 18 but in all likelihood wheels-up, jetting off from CAK hours before you even turn on the tube to watch CBS-TV's coverage. It is what we do, ever since Edward R. Murrow and company elevated broadcast news to the level where we can see and hear it now. The web takes that coverage anywhere there is an Internet connection.

We apologize for the inconvenience but respectfully note life isn't on digital delay; if the world's top golfers are in by 3:00, we'll report they're in. The TV coverage won't pretend to be live and there are good reasons for CBS to delay the coverage, just as our reasons for not delaying the coverage hold fast.

The media landscape is changing, nothing more so than the reality of deadlines existing in real time. Newspapers have set deadlines allowing them to build coverage over a period of hours, even days; broadcasters operated with top-of-the hour radio newscasts and news at 6:00 and 11:00. Those rules are now in the past just as surely as your acceptance of cellphones putting you in touch with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

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