CBC back on the hot seat

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S -- The CBC is once again embarrassed and apologizing to curling fans after pulling the plug on the broadcast of an in-progress game at the Scott Tournament of Hearts. Earlier in the week, the network vowed it would not break from coverage after a torrent of fans complained to the CBC and threatened boycotts of the products of curling sponsors because a round-robin game last Saturday night between Saskatchewan and Quebec was not shown to its completion.

But it happened again Thursday night during the final draw of the round-robin when a game between Manitoba and the Territories on digital station CBC Country Canada was cut off just as Manitoba skip Jennifer Jones was to deliver her last shot.

"Straightforward, it was a mistake, a human error in Toronto at the Country Canada control room," said Christos Nikitopoulos, senior manager of programming services for the CBC.

INEXCUSABLE ERROR

"They went off and they shouldn't have. It caught everyone off guard here, and it shouldn't have happened."

The CBC is limited under CRTC regulations to 12.6 hours of sports programming per week on Country Canada.

The glitch happened on the same day the Canadian Curling Association held a news conference to address the broadcasting nightmare at the Scott.

The CCA reminded fans that boycotts of sponsor products could result in no curling being shown on TV.

But the sponsors are concerned about the situation, and took another hit following Thursday's break from coverage.

"The minute I got back to my hotel room and turned on my computer, the e-mails started pouring in again," said Stephen Blythe, Scott Paper's marketing director.

Warren Hansen of the CCA said yesterday a meeting has been scheduled for Monday between CBC Sports executive director Nancy Lee and CCA president Barry Greenberg to discuss the issue.


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