Thursday, September 21, 2000

Viewers comments on Olympic TV coverage

Survey: Even those watching don't like it

Sixty-six of the 126 readers who responded to our question "Are you watching the Olympics on TV?" said they are, but almost all had complaints. Here's a sampling of their comments:

I'm watching when it is the more common events. I hate the fact I have to rush home and see boxing on CNBC or MSNBC as opposed to NBC. I resent being subjected to constant channel surfing to see the events I want to see. Some of those which occur at two in the morning. I ought to get a Gold Medal for finding the event I want to see on the right channel.

- Timothy LaCour, Evanston

Since everything is on tape, there is no reason that they can't broadcast a two-hour highlight program in the early evening. Has NBC never heard of ESPN's Sports Center? That would give them a chance to show highlights of sports that are not regularly seen in the U.S., like team handball, or the equestian competition. After that, they could broadcast more complete competitions. They also need to tell the gymnastics commentators we get the idea that the landings are really important.

- Rob Ell, Cincinnati

I find it insulting that NBC chooses to show all of those feel-good stories about the athletes because they think that's what women want to see. Not me. It doesn't help matters that they show essentially the same stories over and over again. I Know that I saw the story about Lenny Krayzelburg at least twice. Yet I continue to watch because when they actually do show sports, it's OK. But does everything have to be tape-delayed? There must be something going on at 11 in the morning over there that they could show live at 8 in the evening here. Disappointing, to say the least.

- Sara Doddy, Columbus

I think not having any live events hurts a lot. Nobody wants to watch the events they just heard the results of on their drive home from work. I try not to hear, but you get bombarded with it.

- Jim Wolf, Cincinnati

NBC is spending way too much time on personal stories, all seemingly tragic. Could they please show a full night of uninterrupted competition? The other problem with the coverage is breaking up of event coverage. For example, in order to watch the men's gymnastics, one had to slog through several swimming events, including medal ceremonies (who needs this?). Overall, a poor job of coverage.

- Chris Norman, Anderson Township

I am watching on CBC from Canada's live and up-to-date. In the morning they show you their evening events as they are happening. At night (here) it's the opposite. I do not like the formate the U.S. stations use. Let's watch the events and not a person's life story.

- Dave Moore, Bethel

I think one channel should be live. I think they are underestimating the viewer. Some people would watch certain events live no matter what time it is. Hey, they stay up for infommercials. I am really going to hate the tape delay in track and field. You almost have to lock yourself up in the room not to hear the winners and knowing the results of track races really spoils the fun!

- Tonya Jawwaad, Cincinnati

I think the coverage and the games themselves have been wonderful. I look forward to watching them after work each night!

- Melissa Mills, Monroe

I think the coverage has been mediocre. On NBC they are doing too many sidestories instead of just covering the event. The coverage on MSNBC is much better. It also does take some of the fun out of it since you know the results before the event.

- Lynn Hartsough, West Chester

What a disappointment! Best way to watch: tape and replay, fastforwarding through the commercials and irrelevant features that seem to dominate air time. Disappointed that complete competitions are not shown. Dislike "hi-light" versions. I want to see all competitors in an event. How else do you get the international flavor that sparks the Olympics. The cable shows are slightly more comprehensive.

- Margaret Jordan, Oxford

1. Some live coverage could have been tried. The triathlon would have been a natural to try and see what the ratings might have been.

2. The NBC coverage is much to disjointed. Instead of building the drama of an event and milking the finish, NBC switches out of an event in the middle and moves to another venue for an hour before coming back to finish. If I am bored by the second event or if I am busy, I miss the end of the exiting event. This decreases my desire to get interested in the first place!

3. They should take advantage of the fact that they are reporting on tape and create an hour or so show about an entire event, summarize all two or three days and show it the night after the medals are given. Several events could be packaged and scheduled back to back.

- Gary Crawford, Maineville

Because of the Olympic time warp, NBC has too much time to do their video editing magic. In Atlanta, they had to stick with an event in real time. Now they feed us video bites and it is annoying. So, I watch in bites. And, less than in past years.

- Joe Thrailkill, West Chester

The fact that the events are shown on tape-delay is giving the network too much of an opportunity to run commercials. They run a commercial break after every event instead of having to stay with the live action as they had to do in 1996. You get to see one swimming event and then 2 minutes of commercials; two or three gymnasts and then 2 minutes of commercials. and some of the stories they are running are ridiculous. I used to think that they prepared those and ran them just to take up time between live events, but with the events all on tape-delay this year, I hoped not to have to sit through them. I mean, who really cares that some Australian guy played a tiny part in rescuing JFK during WWII? And who cares that the Sydney Opera house was just as big a disaster as the Paul Brown Stadium when it was under contruction. I mean, the athlete bios that they give you are pretty cool, but these stories that are "barely" related to the Olympics are a bore. I tend to do my "channel surfing" during these stories.

- Heather Wells, Norwood

I am watching but am disappointed that the sports reporters on all the local stations, as well as the newspaper, are revealing the results of the day's events. It takes a little away from the suspense of finding out who wins. The coverage on NBC has been great. The local stations and newspapers need to hold off printing results until the day's events are over.

- Lisa Florian, Delhi

Some events have been pretty boring, but others are very inspiring. I especially loved the bit with the fellow from New Guinea swimming for the first time in an Olympic size pool. He may have been slow, but he was trying with every thing he had. And he had lots of heart & courage.

- Glenna M. Juilfs, Cincinnati

I love the Olympics - I just wish more events were covered.

- Kathy Castle, Cincinnati

The only complaint I have, which is echoed by the others in my household, pertains to the commentators, specifically during gymnastics. They seem to be overly critical of the performances. Granted, I don't have experience in gymnastics or a trained observer's eye. I am impressed with the performances and appreciate the effort that is obviously put into every aspect of them. I can recognize errors and occasional less-than-perfect executions, but the commentators sound appalled by the utter lack of skill and concentration on the part of the athletes. "Wow, lighten up!" I almost want to turn the sound off and just watch in awe without hearing someone figuratively puke on the performance. Otherwise no complaints.

- Paul Tanis, Loveland

Thank goodness for the mute button. I tuned in NBC to watch Olympic sports coverage, not to hear a personal biography on every single participant. It's sports for God's sake. Show sporting events.

- Mark Waddle, Edgewood, Ky.

So far, the coverage seems pretty good. What I am most surprised of, is the fact that even though Tae kwon do is making its offical Olympic debut, it is not going to receive any real TV coverage. How are we supposed to get motivated to support the Olympics and its newest events when they get shut out by "Equestrian Dressing," or whatever they call it. Tae kwon do fighting is non-stop action that would keep the viewers' attention, but instead we get 100% support of the 9-year-old girl trying to negotiate a balance beam. It's unfortunate.

- Larry W., Eastern Cincy

I would like to see more of the actual contests and not so many stories about the contestants. It is confusing because of the time difference and the newscasters giving the results before you have seen the event. I am retired, but I am sure working people are suffering from loss of sleep.

- Joan E. Mettey, Cincinnati

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