Management of WPXI Pittsburgh is keeping its fingers crossed that tonight’s final game for hockey’s Stanley Cup between the Penguins and Detroit Red Wings doesn’t go into overtime and continue past midnight. That would mean analog-only viewers would miss the finish.
At WPXI, the NBC affiliate in Pittsburgh, station management has been working overtime to head off a DTV nightmare scenario.
The decisive seventh game of the Stanley Cup hockey championship series is tonight. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings square off on NBC at 8 p.m. and so it’s likely the game will be decided before the DTV deadline.
But there is a chance the game could go into overtime and past midnight. If that happens, analog over-the-air viewers could miss the end of the game. They would not be happy.
WPXI GM Ray Carter reached out to Chris Pike at KDKA to see about delaying the analog cutoff if the game runs over. (Pike owns the CW station that is scheduled to take over WPXI’s analog channel at midnight).
Pike gave his OK, but WPXI’s attorneys nixed the notion.
“They said we needed to vacate that analog space at the prescribed time and we could not carry the game past that time even if we wanted to and another station granted us permission to do so,” said Carter.
So Carter and his team have developed an alternate plan to alert analog fans.
A red-lettered crawl will be added to the analog signal at the beginning of the game as well as for first 10 minutes of the second and third periods about the possible disruption. The text hasn’t been finalized, but Carter says it will run along these lines: “In the off chance that the game goes into overtime and runs past midnight, we strongly encourage you to make arrangements with a family member or friend who has a digital TV or digital service to watch the rest of the game at their home. Again, this will only be necessary should the game run past midnight.”
Otherwise, Carter reports that the transition is going according to plan. On Wednesday, the red-lettered crawl began running for analog viewers announcing what was ahead.
“Since we began running that crawl the calls have really picked up. [We’ve had] about 300 yesterday and maybe 125 so far today,” said Carter.