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We Interrupt this Program

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Breaking news during non-newscast programming means cutting into regular programming, and not everyone is happy about it. Today when Eyewitness News pre-empted “Young and the Restless” to bring you live coverage of the potentially dangerous situation at Central Connecticut State University, viewers called in angry that their soap opera was being interrupted. In this case, we interrupted two daily dramas. “Bold and the Beautiful” was the other.

This is nothing new, in fact it dates back decades. It may be hard to believe, but viewers called to complain about our breaking news the afternoon of November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Our former news director and retired vice-president of news Dick Ahles recently told me as Walter Cronkite had America on the edge of their seats waiting to learn whether their president was dead or alive, viewers inundated the station with calls complaining “As the World Turns” was being interrupted. Really. Yes, as Cronkite was reporting the historic and traumatic events that transpired in Dallas, there were some in Connecticut more concerned about the fictional events in the fictional town of Oakdale.

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Breaking news is what we do, and for urgent matters we do cut into programming to bring you crucial information. I realize it can be disappointing to miss Victor and Nikki’s eighth marriage and divorce on “Young and the Restless” or menopausal Brooke defying reproductive odds with yet another accidental impregnation by one of her in-laws on “Bold and the Beautiful,” but rest assured breaking into soap operas is something WFSB does not do lightly, or frequently, in fact it is a rare occurrence. However, we are always standing by ready to go when breaking news should happen.

Strangely today, our special report that we interrupted regular programming for was itself interrupted by wait for it.. …an emergency test. No joke.

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16 replies »

  1. People can go to CBS.com and watch Y&R online. Yes, the coverage can be overkill at times, but that’s your job.

  2. Mr. House, it’s not that you cut in to programming, it’s that you cut in for hours repeating the same stuff. The media does the same thing during snow storms. You don’t seem to realize that the people watching stuff like these extended weather reports are home already. The ones who need the information are working and can’t watching TV. The media goes overboard. The information needs to be reported. So report and then update. I don’t need to know that the snow is falling and it’s intense. I can see out my window and I can get the weather outlook on my computer. Same for today. I don’t need to hear “to recap, CCSU has has a man contained” It’s overkill.

    • I agree completely. To stay on the air just to repeatedly repeat and replay every scene and word is just plain stupid. Those of us that are a home get it and don’t need to hear it over and over again. But by the same token, when one would like to know the score of a local high school game or who won, you never hear or see it because your to busy reporting on pro sports.

  3. It was a bunch of nothing… Yesterday was vague coverage, repetitive but no one knew anything worth reporting at the time. I can see needing to know critical info, but if it’s not available then I don’t see the point….

  4. Ditto to “Alliestp” above. Break in – fine, the public has a right to know. However, you knew nothing! Interviewing students on the street who knew absolutely nothing and were guessing as to what was happening, who it was, what they were wearing, what they had on them for weapons. Come on! You do better reporting than that. And to repeat for 2+ hours the same guesswork as to what may have been happening. Not quite the same as an actual event where the President of the United States was shot and we were waiting for news as to the outcome. Not the same at all. You should be ashamed even defending the stations decision. I would be. Oh, and I wasn’t home. I was at work.

  5. The coverage was long and nobody had any news to report. It is not just that the soap opera was cut, It is that we heard the same thing from 50 different people and in the end it was a stupid action that caused all of the commotion. I hope the person has to pay for all of the police time and manpower it took to cover this. By the way you can catch up on the Young and Restless at 7PM on channel 100! You do a great job otherwise, it just got old fast as no one was telling you guys anything.

  6. All that coverage and the station was only repeating itself! Trying to make news. In reality it was ALL for nothing! A young man out for the W/E coming home to campus to change clothes from his holloween custom and is arrested! Simply explainable, but as society would have it, let’s make something out of nothing!

  7. The problem I have is that u and all of the other stations talk about the same shit. Leave my program on until u have something to report. U don’t have to stay on for 6 hours and say the same crap over and over and over and over. Get my message😈😈😈😈😈😈

  8. Amazing isn’t it that 50 years after Mr. Cronkite went on the air with the first national tragedy to be broadcast live we haven’t learned that tv life goes on (and now can be caught up with online). CCSU could have become the next West Virginia Tech and those in the immediate neighborhood would need to know for their safety. If viewers didn’t want to watch the coverage – turn the tv off! I did.

  9. A ticker on the bottom should be sufficient until all the facts are known, then a short break into programming with the news, I find it frustrating as well when the same thing is repeated time and time again no matter what show is presently airing. BTW Dennis, Y&R is in Genoa City ;-).
    That being said…. I think most of the time the media is in over kill drive, with all these shootings, etc., it gives too many nuts out there ideas with thoughts of…wow, look at all that coverage. if i do this or even better, I’ll be famous too!

  10. I agree that repeating things over and over gets old fast. We need to know but you also have other channels like 3-1 up to 3-4 can’t you at least keep the soap opera on one of those channels. News is news but we don’t have to keep hearing it over and over the same words from several people. I do not have cable or dish or anything like that and being retired you get sick of watching a repeat with no updates for hours. Put it on so everyone knows but only do updates if something new happens.

  11. I agree with of the above a huge waste of time and resources . tell the new and get off . stop say the same thing over and over and over again Linda Botti

  12. Have to agree with the rest. The media was all over this far too long. The questions asked by the reporters both on scene and in the studio were getting ridiculous. I can see cutting into programs now and then if something new was happening but that wasn’t the case. You all do the same thing with weather conditions. All the media did yesterday, was give this fool way too much air time.

  13. I totally agree with what you are all saying. I mentioned Y & R could be watched online, but that really isn’t the point is it? You’re right, comparing the incident at CCSU to the assassination of a President? C’mon. Dennis; you’re smarter than that. The bottom line is you guys went over the same nothingness for hours. You want to break in with real/factual information when you get it? Great! Guys, what this really is is a P*ssin* contest between stations for ratings.We knew what we needed to know within the first 5 minutes; and then when you knew what happened, it would have taken you 5 minutes, maybe 10 that it was a Halloween costume.

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