Chris Queen

Adding Insult To Injury: Cable Station “Forgets” To Air O’Donnell Ad

Posted on November 1 2010 4:37 pm
Chris Queen hails from Covington, GA. Check out his blog, Random Thoughts From The Revolution, and follow him on Twitter.
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As if Christine O’Donnell didn’t have enough trouble. She’s struggling behind Democrat Chris Coons in the Delaware Senate race, with polls showing her behind by as much as 29 points. She’s been forced to fend off accusation after accusation maligning her character. She was laughed at uproariously in a debate when she stated that the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. (It’s not.) Now, on top of all that, she’s having to deal with a cable station failing to air her infomercial.

The O’Donnell team was looking for a chance to give her flailing campaign a shot in the arm, so they produced a 30-minute ad (essentially an infomercial) entitled We The People Of The First State. Because the ad was conceived and produced so late in the game, network stations in the Delaware and Philadelphia markets simply didn’t have the time to air it. So the team went to a public access cable station, Delaware Channel 28, who agreed to air the spot. They had every reason to believe that the ad would run as promised.

[O’Donnell] told supporters at a Tea Party Express rally on Sunday in Wilmington to watch that night at 11:30. “Tell everyone to tune in,” she said at the rally.

“1 minute until the premiere of our 30 minute feature. Tune in to meet all the heart warming people I’ve met on the campaign trail. Ch. 28,” O’Donnell tweeted Sunday night.

But the ad never aired.

A few minutes later, O’Donnell tweeted: “Okay… this is NOT our show! Must be a programming mix up. We will get back to you…”

Then on Monday morning, O’Donnell’s campaign issued a press release saying the ad would air on Channel 28 at 10 a.m. The candidate tweeted: “The Inspiring TV show about Delawareans will air at 10 am and 3 pm today on Channel 28. Please watch this before you vote.”

And again, it did not air.

“This isn’t our show either! We are told channel 28 ‘forgot’ to air it…both times… even though we paid for the time slot last week,” O’Donnell tweeted shortly after 10 a.m.

I don’t have a preference in this race, but I can’t help but feel that something is fishy here. I’ve never worked in broadcasting, but I have a hard time seeing how a cable station can forget to air an ad that takes up a whole block of programming time. Rush Limbaugh said on his show on Monday that, from his years of broadcasting experience, broadcasters don’t simply forget to air paid programming. Ed Morrissey wrote:

They forgot? Well, it’s certainly possible, but it seems a little strange. A last-minute buy from a client would come at a premium price, and one might expect a cable provider to treat it with more care.

Later on Monday, Tim Qualls, an executive producer with Delaware Channel 28, blamed the unaired spot on the O’Donnell campaign, stating that the team failed to turn the video into the station in time for it to air. That may be the case, but Channel 28 has shown some major irresponsibility in one of two ways. Either the station was irresponsible in forgetting to air the spot, or they were irresponsible in telling the O’Donnell camp that they forgot to air the spot and then passing the buck to the media. And, regardless of which story is true, the folks at Channel 28 may wind up with egg on their face over the whole mess.

Either way, I wouldn’t blame O’Donnell or her supporters for being a tad bit suspicious.

Chris Queen is a freelance writer and communications consultant based in Covington, GA. Check out his non-political thoughts on his blog, Random Thoughts From The Revolution, and follow him on Twitter.

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