NBC affil airs HBO in video feed snafu

Dec 16, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Salt Lake City area viewers were treated to an unexpected sneak peak of HBO during their morning news Wednesday. The “free preview” occurred on NBC affiliate KSL-TV, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and included a snippet from HBO’s comedy program “Mr. Show with Bob and David.”
At about 6:30 a.m. during morning news show “Eyewitness News Today” some viewers saw silent video from the HBO show for about 14 minutes, though they could still hear KSL anchor Terry Wood.
The station received about 50 e-mails and phone calls from viewers, said news director Brink Chipman. Local cable company AT&T Broadband looked into the situation and discovered that the snafu originated on its end. A video feed was switched incorrectly, causing HBO programming to be seen on Channel 5, KSL’s channel, instead of HBO’s regular Channel 6, said AT&T Broadband spokeswoman Barb Shelley.
The system is in the middle of a $140 million upgrade and construction is ongoing at the headend, Ms. Shelley said. “We feel terrible and have reviewed our procedures to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she said. She laughed and added, “Who knows? Maybe some people will sign up for HBO as a result.”
KSL seemed good-natured about the situation. The 14 minutes of the comedy show did not feature any nudity or “weird stuff,” Mr. Chipman said. Still, some viewers with closed captioning reported that the text contained some adult wording, including a phone number for “1-800-Gyrlz,” he said. The station planned to offer an explanation to viewers during its morning show on Friday.