On Oct. 28, WBAL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Baltimore, left the Eagles-Cowboys game toward the end to switch to Redskins-Giants. Based on information from the NFL, it was reported Oct. 30 ("Into Thin Air Went Eagles' Winning TD") that Channel 11 was not contractually bound to switch. It was. (RP 11/13/90)
There's nothing you can do about it.
You were watching the Eagles-Cowboys game on Sunday and Philadelphia, down 20-14, was driving.
Poof! You weren't watching the Eagles-Cowboys game.
You've heard it all before: A city with a football team -- in this case, the Redskins, who were at the Giants -- must see its team's road games from start to finish, according to Val Pinchbeck, the NFL's vice president of broadcasting and production.
The CBS affiliate in Washington, WUSA-TV-9, ducked out before the Eagles scored the winning touchdown -- with 44 seconds left. Many viewers immediately switched to the CBS affiliate in Baltimore, WBAL-TV-11, and saw the winning pass even though Channel 11 left before the game ended.
Stations in the home teams' cities are "bound contractually to leave" at 3:59 for 4 o'clock games, said Susan Kerr, director of communications for CBS Sports.
There is a window of about 90 seconds that allows stations a transition from one game to the next. Naturally, commercials fill that air time.
Pinchbeck said only Channel 9 is bound to switch, it being the local affiliate. Channel 11 is not bound, he said.
But Emerson Coleman, Channel 11's director of broadcast operations, said his station is in the home market and therefore is mandated to switch.
Stations are supposed to warn viewers of impending switches, though none came on WUSA-TV-9. Coleman said his station aired such a warning at 3:56.
Coleman went on to say his station left the Eagles-Cowboys game at about 3:57, after the touchdown. He said that during the break, he "called in and spoke to the master control operator and told him to go back to the Eagles game. We stayed with the feed as long as we could" before going to the Redskins-Giants game.
Channel 9 wound up missing the first couple of plays of the Redskins game because there was an operations problem at CBS -- a switching error -- and all that was on the screen was a CBS Sports logo.
Channel 11, meanwhile, was having all sorts of problems that Coleman blamed on "network trouble with the signal." He said the Redskins game finally went on about 4:04, but soon after the Eagles game came back for "eight seconds" before the Redskins game came back for good.
In case you missed it, the Eagles won, 21-20.