Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Smith Hits Pay Dirt, but Local Television Is Blocking It Out

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Smith Hits Pay Dirt, but Local Television Is Blocking It Out

Article excerpt

The football Cardinals were in St. Louis for 28 seasons, many of them forgettable. Maybe that's why it looks as if Jackie Smith will be all but forgotten by local broadcast outlets on Saturday while he's inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Those wanting to watch Smith become enshrined better scurry over to the ceremonies in Canton, Ohio - or at least find someone with a satellite dish.

Smith becomes only the second member of the St. Louis Cardinals to enter the Hall, and the first since Larry Wilson in 1978.

"We're going to blow this up real big, because this is a big deal," KSDK sports director Mike Bush said.

It might be big on Channel 5's newscasts, but it apparently isn't big enough for KSDK - or any of the other local TV stations - to preempt the Saturday morning array of cartoons and children's shows with the induction ceremonies.

Cable's ESPN2 will be televising the festivities, beginning at 9 a.m. But none of the major local systems pick up that network. An ESPN2 spokesman said the coverage could have been made available to any St. Louis station on conventional television, but none requested to pick it up - although KTVI may make a late pitch today.

So, unless there's a late change of plans, viewers will be inundated with children's fare such as "Ninja Turtles," and "Land Of The Lost" instead of seeing Mr. Smith go to Canton.

That's a shame. There will be plenty of wrap-up material later in the day, but TV's appeal is its immediacy - something the local stations have woefully overlooked.

On the radio front, neither the station that carried the Cardinals when they were in town (KMOX), nor the new all-sports station (KFNS) has scheduled live coverage - although KFNS sports director Bob Ramsey said the station is looking into it.

Catching Up: Those willing to wait will have several chances to see highlights of the ceremonies. …

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