Houston GM Says Sorry to Race Fans

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KPRC GM Jerry Martin is doing what he can to try and calm down some very pissed off Formula 1 race fans.  

The station made the decision not to run Monaco Grand Prix and it appears that it wasn't a popular one at that.

Race fans have been hammering the station with phone calls and on social media.

Martin took to the station's website with a letter of apology:

"I wanted to let you know that we heard from many Formula One fans this weekend regarding our decision to air our local news in lieu of the Monaco Grand Prix. We will reevaluate the decision for next year's race. That evaluation will not only be based off ratings data, but also the amount of viewer confusion caused by not airing the race after NBC promotes the coverage heavily in their programming. 

Our rationale for not airing the race was based on KPRC being a "news comes first" local television station, which includes holiday weekends. That is why you will see us break into popular programming to air breaking news or severe weather alerts. We also took into account the Houston market under indexes in the national ratings when it comes to motor sports; and, the race was available live via the web and on a delayed basis on NBC Sports Network. I know this rationale does little to assuage your emotions regarding this matter since you are fans of F1, however, I do understand what it means to be a fan of racing. In my past, I was on the Indy 500 Festival Board and attended the race every year, and in some years with a pace car. I also went to the F1 races in Indy and witnessed firsthand the passion of F1 fans. 

So I can honestly tell you we will give it very close assessment for 2014-2016 races and make our decision public well in advance of the race.

Also, we are airing the Formula One Race (Canada) on June 9 at 1 p.m., the Formula One (USA, Austin, TX) on November 17 at 12:30 p.m. and Formula One (Brazil) on November 24 at 10 a.m.  

Jerry Martin
General Manager, KPRC"

The letter didn't seem to do much to calm down the viewers. Most of the comments on the webpage with Martin's letter are negative.

Here is one example of a viewer letter:

"Jerry, Jerry, Jerry – is this the best response to this debacle you can come up with? Lame, lame, lame for so many reasons; here's one:

With respect to your rationale that KPRC is a “news comes first” local station, how does that explain your showing “infomercials” from 8-10am? Instead, perhaps you could have arranged a delayed broadcast of the race starting at 8am, after the hour and a half of morning news was finished. Better yet, you could just have done a normal length, half-hour news program, then joined race coverage live with the parade lap at about 7am. Either solution would have been far superior to what you chose.

Besides, if “news comes first” is truly KPRC's operating philosophy (and not merely some marketing slogan), logically wouldn't you regularly interrupt NBC's Sunday Night Football at 10pm to show the local news? Go ahead, try that – I dare you ..."

The viewer makes a great point.

The bottom line is, it wasn't about the race or about news....or was all about money. The news doesn't comes first, the money does and that was the reason why KPRC preempted the race. 

Of course, we really doubt Martin and KPRC are going to admit to that.