Storm of protest6/25/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern
WFLA-TV Tampa, Fla., cut from the U.S. Open for a thunderstorm warning last week, but the real storm came when the station had to field thousands of complaints about missing some of Tiger Woods' record-smashing march to the title.
The station quickly apologized. The station broke into the final minutes of NBC's Dateline that night for station anchor Yolanda Fernandez to issue an on-air apology for the station, later echoed by sports anchor J.P. Peterson, who called Woods's triumph "the most dominating performance in golf history, and we failed to show its conclusion."
Dan Bradley, wfla vice president of news, said the pre-emption was "a bonehead call." Station President and General Manager Rick Rogala, thanking complaining viewers for "taking the time to contact WFLA-TV about your concerns regarding our U.S. Open coverage," agreed that it was the wrong call and said, in similar situations, the station will inform the public without breaking into programming.
The decision was reportedly made by a meterologist new to the station.