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WKBN programming affront to Browns fans



Published: Sun, December 9, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

WKBN programming affront to Browns fans

I realize that the NFL and the FCC have rules that apply to programming rights for NFL broadcasts in markets that are within the radius of multiple teams. That being said, when there is a choice as to which game is to be broadcast, I feel that WKBN completely favors the Pittsburgh market and their fan base over the Cleveland market and fan base.

When FCC rules apply, I may be disappointed, but I understand the reasoning. However, when both franchises are either at home or away and playing at the same time, the Cleveland game should ALWAYS be shown. Youngstown is in Ohio, not Pennsylvania. I realize WKBN’s signal and your coverage goes into Pennsylvania, but the decision seems to be based entirely on money, not loyalty. Those of us who have grown up in the Mahoning Valley and have followed the rich tradition of the Cleveland Browns are being completely slighted by the more recent successes of the Pittsburgh franchise.

Our team was unceremoniously taken away from us in 1995 and moved to Baltimore. We patiently waited three years to reacquire our franchise as an expansion team and unfortunately have not had the success of the prior Browns franchise, but that does not make this region’s fan base completely that of the Steelers. WKBN’s decisions the past two weeks to black out the Browns and broadcast the Steelers is entirely unacceptable. At the very least, you should have split the two weeks giving the fans of each team the chance to watch their favorite team at least once.

Perhaps the ratings are a bit greater when the Steelers are broadcast, but that is in part the doings of WKBN by inhibiting the fans of the Browns from watching their team. Their fan base may very well be decreasing because WKBN continually favors the Steelers’ fan base over that of the Browns. Shame on WKBN. We are still Ohioans, the birthplace of professional football and Cleveland is the NFL team based in northeastern Ohio. Your decisions to broadcast the Steelers are as seemingly shallow as the reasons used by LeBron James when he, too, jilted Cleveland fans. Money and glory, but certainly not loyalty.

I am certainly not alone in my disgust of WKBN’s “business” decisions to favor the Steelers fan base over the Browns fan base in Youngstown, Ohio, not Youngstown, Pa. I will NEVER watch WKBN when the Steelers are being broadcast and I will encourage all Browns fans to do the same if they are not already boycotting your station.

James DeToro, Austintown


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