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FOX 9 News Anchor Rant At Soccer Fans: “Don’t Cheese Us Off”

Earlier this weekend we reported that soccer fans in the Twin Cities were outraged after local affiliate FOX 9 News decided to break into live coverage of the UEFA Champions League Final to inform viewers that a tornado warning had been issued.

Instead of informing viewers about the warning by running a ticker across the bottom of the screen (the way that rival CBS affiliate WCCO Channel 4 did), FOX 9 News displayed a split screen for almost the entire second half of the live game. The Champions League Final match between Barcelona and Manchester United was relegated to a small screen in the corner of their broadcast, the sound from the game was switched off and the broadcast of the game was ended before the rest of the nation could see the trophy presentation. To add insult to injury, FOX 9 News weekend anchor Tim Blotz referred to the game as “The World Cup.”

Now, however, video footage has been released with audio of FOX 9 News anchor Tim Blotz telling viewers “don’t cheese us off” and admonishing them for expressing their opinion:

“I know a lot of you are calling the studios right now. Folks, I’m going to tell you, it does no good to call us. We’re going to continue with our weather coverage, ALRIGHT? So I’m going to end the debate RIGHT there.”

“So don’t call us. Don’t write to us on Facebook and cheese us off because, you know what, we’re sticking with this no matter what you say, we’re going to continue to keep our viewers safe.”

It’s one thing to keep viewers safe, but what FOX 9 News did was on the verge of weather porn. KMSP-TV FOX 9 decided to show weather news instead of the half-time show, but was it really necessary to continue the weather coverage for the last 40 minutes of the game? Would FOX 9 News have done the same thing if it was a NFL or college football game?

Thankfully the weather storm passed without an incident Saturday with no major damage reported according to the FOX 9 News website.

H/T Inside MN Soccer.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

66 Responses to FOX 9 News Anchor Rant At Soccer Fans: “Don’t Cheese Us Off”

  1. soonerscotty says:

    I have no idea what Fox news in Minnesota would have done, but in Oklahoma where people are equally attached to both “American football porn” and “weather porn” they’ll definitely preempt a college football game (college ball is king in Oklahoma).

    I cannot tell you the number of shows I’ve missed in Oklahoma so they could tell me it was raining 350 miles away from Oklahoma City where the news stations are based.

    All I could think when I saw this covered on EPL Talk the other day was “This must be the first time this has happened in Minnesota because this is standard fare for Oklahoma.”

    Sorry Minnesotans, you now understand this Oklahoman’s pain.

    • Nate says:

      Pain is stealing a city’s only ever winning franchise. Go Dallas!

      • Ryan says:

        It’s hard to call it stealing when the city’s leadership allowed the Sonics to be given away. Don’t fault Oklahoma for providing not only a high level of commitment from its fans but also from it’s city officials and ownership team. As soon as that happens back in Seattle they’ll be a new team on the way there. Sorry to stray from the sport this blog actually covers.

        • Nate says:

          You’re right, this is a soccer blog not basketball. One more point…

          Seattle leadership didn’t matter. The NBA owners all got a vote if the team could move or not. Only Paul Allen (owner of Seahawks and Blazers) and Mark Cuban voted for the team to stay. Can’t cheer for our local rivals so go Dallas.

  2. sucka99 says:

    If he really is a Man United fan, he must have switched off the coverage after the Messi goal knowing that there was no way back for them. That’s about the only sensible explanation because what they’re saying is laughable. FCC my ass.

  3. DP3 says:

    The guy’s attitude is completely wrong about this. The truth of the matter is, it was completely unnecessary to go to this extreme to “keep viewers safe”. Honestly, they’re already at home, if a tornado hits it hits. Even then, if they felt justified in doing this the way they did, you don’t go on air and scold the viewers for wanting to watch the biggest game of the year. Apologize for the inconvenience and move forward with your constant viewing of the weather map.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Nothing wrong with the split screen, it’s not like it’s too small to see. Our local station in Detroit took the entire game off during the World Cup before deciding a split screen would be better. Keeping people safe is ultimately most important.

    • DP3 says:

      But again, how “unsafe” is someone that is already at home watching tv. Again if a tornado lands on your house, what is there to do really?

      • soonerscotty says:

        You can be very unsafe…even at home watching tv…just ask the folks in Joplin or any of the 1000 places that have seen tornados on the ground during May alone.

        • DP3 says:

          But that’s my point exactly. You’re already home, unless you have a shelter, there’s really not much else you can do. Showing non stop coverage of the weather is not going to change that. Thankfully in this case nothing serious happened.

          • soonerscotty says:

            With today’s radar being able to show you block by block updates there is a very lot you can do and when and when 20 minutes can be all there is between you watching the tele unaware and the ability to get your family into some sort of safe area in a home it is extremely important.

            Thankfully, nothing happened this time, but god forbid if something had happened and someone was hurt or killed because of a bloody footy match that you could watch on repeat later that evening on FSC.

          • Stacy Richardson says:

            DP3, you are so, so wrong. If you are at home, you have places to go which are relatively safe and places which are relatively unsafe, even if you do not have a formal shelter. Many of the people who survived the EF5 in Joplin are alive today because they went to the relatively safe places in their houses. People need to know when to go to the “safe” part of their house. And they find out by WATCHING TELEVISION.You are absolutely incorrect to state that if a tornado hits your house, it makes no difference what you do. Absolutely wrong.

          • Nick says:

            @Stacy – I’m in agreement with you, but what the station up here did during this game is something we in MN affectionately call Weather Terrorism. They droned on and on for 45+ minutes with only presenting one new piece of information about 25 minutes in. While I think their initial interruption of the game to inform us and explain was warranted, going on and on and on and on and on about nothing was simply annoying and then the helmet-haired one’s hubrisity was just poor form.

            They should’ve switched the screens so the game was the larger of the two after the initial presentation, but kept the audio on the weather. We can all read a map and listen, we don’t need to be bludgeoned (sp?) with it.

  5. Evertonian says:

    Here in St.Louis we had a “Thunderstorm warning” in the viewing area. They had a ticker across the bottom of the screen for a thunderstorm that was in a county in Illinois at the farthest edge of the viewing area that may of had a population of 100 farmers. It was there until maybe the 79th min of the match. Of course during the commercials at half time it disappeared.

    • jeneria says:

      That’s what pisses me off. The commercials get free reign, but the broadcast you’re watching has to share space. If it’s really such a dire situation, wouldn’t you want it to run during commercials also?

  6. MennoDaddy says:

    This isn’t soccer related, but just yesterday here in northern Indiana our local ABC affiliate cut away from the Indianapolis 500 with 13 laps to go to do a 45 minute extended “weather porn” update due to some severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings passing through the area. All of northern Indiana and southwest lower Michigan missed one of the most exciting endings to an Indy 500 in decades.

    I understand the need to keep viewers safe. But considering that a couple of funnel clouds were sighted but none touched down and the worst of the damage was a couple of trees falling over, we would’ve been exceptionally happy even with a sound-free split screen. Instead, we got nothing.

  7. dodge_buck_night says:

    He says right in the clip that they’re contractually obligated to interrupt programming, so there’s no need to pretend that this is some soccer-unique victimization. Programming that people feel is more important than informing the public of potentially life-threatening storms gets interrupted all the time, every year, and an unfortunate few choose to bombard their local stations with complaints as opposed to gaining some perspective.

    Maybe you could cut the station a little slack here. They’re trying to navigate a potentially devastating event, looking for storm reports from their viewers & contacts and are instead having to dedicate resources to fielding telephone calls from soccer fans who feel being relegated to a split-screen is unacceptable. I’m not sure if the names of the towns of Joplin, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Oklahoma City mean anything to you or not, but we’ve lost an inordinate amount of people to particularly devastating storms in the last two months. The deadliest tornado of all time hit only a week ago. The soccer-victimization / “look-how-stupid-these-non-fans-are” angle is already played to an extremely nauseating point, but to do it in this particular instance is incredibly insensitive.

    • Don says:

      If they felt it was that important they should at least had a contingency….it is unacceptable what they did and how they went about it. What is insensitive about 1) expecting they have a contingency to show the game on a different FOX channel or 2) Recognize the important of this game and show weather updates using a ticker on the botton like other stations did for the VERY same storm?!?!? What is nauseating is the insensitivity of the FOX folks they way they went on about calling the game the “World Cup” and carrying on about how they were doing soccer fans a favor by showing the game in that small split screen box…what would not save you is watching weather updates on TV..what would save you is the tornado siren or getting to a low lying area which most Minnesotans know well to do….I just cannot buy this business of they were more interested in public safety…any news person with a shred of common sense would have weighed the occasion and taken the event in context and at a minimum transfered CL coverage to another station..I really do think the weather terrorism is disgraceful and for me it takes my already skeptical opinion of FOX to new lows…for me all it says is the fact they didn’t even know what the game was shows why the disregarded it to the extent they did…

  8. Short Corner says:

    We often go with Weather Terrorists here in Minnesota, not Weather Porn (although that’s a good one). You should see the winters here: They get people totally hooked freaked out over potential severe weather in this state. The ironic thing is that when there’s severe weather here, people are conditioned to turn away from whatever they’re watching and go to WCCO (the CBS affiliate mentioned above). Given that the weather guys and anchor said nothing new after the first 10 minutes, there’s no reason not to put the sound on the match and not on the clowns talking to hear themselves talk.

  9. rej4sl says:

    Yup we really are conditioned to the weather in Minnesota. WE are pre-progrrammed to head to the basement when the sky turns a certain color. And we have tornado sirens which go off if there is a touchdown in the county which did not go off on Saturday. The guy was offensive and the report was not block by block but the same continuous drawl. They could easily have switched to another local Fox owned station to show the remainder of the game. They could easily have been polite about it. What now is the precedent for the Super Bowl, Stanley, Cup and World Series are they now fair game to be taken off too.

  10. dean carlson says:

    The problem is there are at least 5 other stations showing weather info. If I was more concerned about the weather than soccer I could change the flipping channel. Plus the storm was tracking way south of the cities and the vast majority of people in the Twin Cities area had NOTHING to worry about. Epic fail on Channel 9′s part and will definitely affect what channel I’ll watch for news and weather.

  11. Juan says:

    Wonder if they would have done that if the Vikings or the Twins were in the Super Bowl or the World Series.

  12. rej4sl says:

    Glad the game is on FSC today we have another storm and it is on the FOX 9 channel again – we would have had yet another split screen. I hope this does not go on all season as it will get boring – every time we have weather they take the t.v. programs off.

  13. Lyle says:

    In light of how dangerous tornadoes can be… good on Fox News in Minnesota. There is more to life than soccer; certainly for most people in Minnesota, I’d imagine.

    • Don says:

      Yes there is more to life than soccer but we Minnesotans expect more common sense from our news people…all we ask is don’t treat soccer fans like they are irrelevant and treat the biggest game of the soccer calendar year like a high school basketball game….they should know better…have a contingency for such a big event and don’t patronize soccer fans by showing ignorance of the event (that you don’t even know what its called)….I’m sorry but the way they went about weather terrorism was unnecessary…there are better ways to cover weather….I am not buying this “saving lives” v “showing the game” argument that FOX proponents are coming up with….they should admit their mistake apologize to soccer fans and either broadcast the game in future on FSN or just give up the rights to a channel that recognizes the importance of the game and affords it due respect…

      • Lyle says:

        Yeah, I don’t agree with you at all.

        • Nick says:

          Lyle – life is more important than soccer, especially if you don’t have a horse in the race. However, they droned on and on for 45+ minutes with only presenting one new piece of information about 25 minutes in – and that was actual movement of the storm to cancel an existing warning and adding a new one. While I think their initial interruption of the game to inform us and explain was warranted, going on and on and on and on and on about nothing was simply annoying and then the helmet-haired one’s hubrisity was just poor form.

          They should’ve switched the screens so the game was the larger of the two after the initial presentation, but kept the audio on the weather. We can all read a map and listen, we don’t need to be bludgeoned (sp?) with it.

  14. Lyle says:

    Weather porn probably saves lives and limits property damage, by the way.

  15. somervillain says:

    Can’t believe some people are defending the station. As someone who grew up in Tornado Alley, I can tell you there was absolutely no need for that split screen ridiculousness. There is no reason weather alerts couldn’t have been delivered via the ticker at the bottom of the screen like the other rival stations did. Whether they were showing a syndicated television program or the biggest sporting event in the world in 2011 as was the case this time, reducing the program they are showing to a picture-in-picture and talking over it is so, so unnecessarily idiotic.

  16. Jim says:

    WCCO wasn’t the only station in the metro that ran the ticker, so did KSTP and KARE. I said it yesterday, it is good that they take the time to inform the general public, but I really wish there were a way to only interrupt programming for those that are directly affected by the storm. Hopefully at some point they will come up with a system that allows this to happen.

    Pretty funny to hear Blotz go off. I was watching the storm coverage pretty closely because I have a lot of friends in the affected area, but I missed this rant. This isn’t the first time they have kind of gone on a rant about people being upset with the interrupted programming.

  17. joe m says:

    It’s about their overal actions, attitude, and time allotted.

    There’s a difference between a 2-3 minute interruption split screen then a ticker. There’s a difference between doing split screen and having audio on the game.

    “Eh whatever, you weirdos can have your World Cup later or something” is the attitude that is the problem. There were lots of compromises that could have been made, but weren’t, in the face of increased weather hysteria ratings.

    • The Gaffer says:

      The story definitely has an anti-soccer undertone, too, from both the FOX 9 News team and many of their viewers who don’t give soccer the respect it deserves. For example, here are some of the sick comments by FOX 9 viewers on one of their Facebook pages at http://www.facebook.com/FOX9.IanLeonard

      “I noticed that most of the pissed off ones are Chinese, Hispanic or white trash. Interesting.”

      “If your life revolves around soccer…mental issues are obviously abound.”

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Lyle says:

        Oh no an anti-soccer undertone and disrespect from people who don’t care about soccer. Oh no… those rubes need to be educated and made to respect soccer. Haha.

        Get over yourself dude.

        Some people don’t like soccer and they don’t have to. That’s your problem to deal with.

        • Sterling says:

          So why the heck are you on a soccer only blog if you “don’t like it”? Go back to watching “Rednecks and Hillbillies Turning Left”.

        • Fish says:

          Lyle, seriously. I don’t like nascar, so I don’t go to nascar talk forums, it would be a GIANT waste of my time … just saying.

  18. Dean Winchester says:

    I am so happy I live in Canada. American’s just do not get it. The globe for you guys ends at the Atlantic and the Pacific. The mentality of the announcer just goes to show how feeble minded the American public is about a sporting event that makes American pedestrian sports look average.

    The FOX anchors tirade was uncalled for. The people who were already in their homes would not be able to escape unfortunaely. How could you cut to a split screen for a Champions League Final? I only wish this had happened in England, that anchor would no longer exist. I was able to watch the entirety of the match here in Canada through the International and Sky sports feed.

    At the end it just goes a long way to show the world that the American psyche toward football will never change. I know the Gaffer and many ex-pats try their best to bring the game to light here in North America (U.S.) but the idiot-ism shown by FOX News 9 speak for the whole U.S.A.

    I am just grateful I don’t love in the United States, and that I don’t have to put up with American stupidity.

    • Nate says:

      Wow dude, the little fish that swims by the great white wants to complain about the free meals?

      Americans get knocked for there global ignorance but you choose Minnesota of all places to say that soccer will never catch on here?

      36,000 fans a game here in Seattle for a team that would be mid table in the Championship.

      • Keith says:

        What does Seattle have to do with Minnesota?

        • Nate says:

          Seattle is part of America. The guy above says “Americans just don’t get it”. In Seattle we get it. There are plenty of towns in America that get it. If you think your town gets it too feel free to contribute.

          • Keith says:

            Nope my town doesn’t get it.

            Ann Arbor is addicted to Michigan football, Michigan hockey, Michigan basketball, and Red Wings hockey that’s it.

    • BBC says:

      Wow dude, the little fish that swims by the great white wants to complain about the free meals?

      ________
      LOL

      Can’t wait for the Oil sands to produce oil so we can invade. I don’t hate Canada. . . just Canadians

    • joe m says:

      American stupidity? Nah, just “it’s not interesting to us” mentality. I bet they’d cut to weather in the UK if they were showing the Super Bowl or World Series. Doesn’t mean it’s not any less important to people.

    • Keith says:

      Yeah, Canada doesn’t have any crazies either… err besides the prairie provinces (“Welcome to Oil Country”) and Newfoundland and Quebec. (I’ll give you Ontario, Montreal and BC.)

      I’m glad I don’t live in Canada with funny money, summers that last one month, a queen of another nation ruling over me, or have to decide between Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, and Jack Layton ug.

      Yes the US has lots of problems but lets not pretend Canada is a perfect utopia to the north of us.

  19. Dean says:

    P.S. I would strongly reconsider ESPN reclaiming the rights for the Champion League Final as no interruption wold have occurred if they had the rights.

    FOX dropped the ball big time.

  20. Common says:

    Just find an online free stream Jesus stop bitching

  21. HulkieD says:

    I don’t live in their market, but I think KMSP was in their rights to pre-empt programming; like it or not, “tornado warning” is kind of a big deal, especially after the devastating outbreaks we’ve had this year. We’ve had similar situations where the Fox affiliate pre-empted sports for weather and was faced with calls from viewers wanting the sports.

    Having said that, I found the clip appalling for the on-air behavior of Tim Blotz. Double-boxing the game was one thing, but to show basically that level of contempt for your audience, even if it may be a fairly small portion, is just blatantly unprofessional. And if this is an ongoing thing as one person indicated, then it speaks poorly to the talent and the management of KMSP for allowing that kind of behavior on their air. That, to me, is the real problem, not the fact that they doubleboxed the game.

  22. MarkB says:

    I live in Birmingham AL, possibly the most “weatherphobic” city in the country. Any time there’s a tornado warning all of the local stations switch to full screen full coverage. I mean these people would pre-empt GOD for a tornado. It used to piss me off, but that all changed on April 27th when a tornado touched down three blocks from my house. Now I’m quite happy that they do that, since staying alive rates pretty high up on my priority list. That being said, the deal in Minnesota was handled pretty poorly.

  23. Smokey Bacon says:

    What a load of sh*te. If it was a Twins game, they would have the ticker going. Well done to those that called in to give these clowns some stick.

  24. J Wu says:

    If you want to contact Tim Blotz about his disgraceful attitude during Saturday’s broadcast, his email address is tim.blotz@foxtv.com. His Twitter Handle is http://twitter.com/#!/TimothyBlotz

  25. Carolyn says:

    I’ve been arguing for a long time that UEFA, the English FA, La Liga, Seria A, Bundesliga, etc. should review very carefully the bids for US TV rights. Right now, as far as I know, they only look at the money being offered and sell the rights to the highest bidder. They should also look at how the games are going to be televised. Ruining the viewing experience doesn’t help in promoting the sport which is what these bodies should also be concerned with rather than just the money they receive.

    I am annoyed when ESPN/2/D use the ticker during games. What the local Fox affiliate did is also unacceptable and their response to viewer complaints equally unacceptable.

    Until UEFA, the FA and other bodies exercise some regualtory power I’m afraid things won’t change.

  26. Henry says:

    Personally, I’d like to thank KMSP; I usually watch the big games in a little picture in picture … it’s just as good after all and they saved me the bother of setting it up. Also, I hate that trophy presentation nonsense and usually flick to the weather channel when that comes on. Public safety is important and I could never have followed that storm properly with a ticker along the bottom of the screen or from frequent updates or from the multitude of websites & media I had access to. I also heard it was a bit of a dreary world cup game, so it’s not like I missed anything. Good job all around KMSP.

  27. Yespage says:

    Looks like KMSP has a sub-channel, could have preempted the 9-2 channel programming with additional weather info. If it was really dangerous, people could have changed the channel, it isn’t as if they show commercials during these severe storms. There is no revenue loss.

  28. Harry says:

    Million dollar question. If this was the Super Bowl, how much of a big deal would is have been

    • MennoDaddy says:

      Straw man argument, because the Super Bowl happens in February and tornadoes don’t tend to strike North America in February. Anywhere.

      The analogous weather event related to the Super Bowl would be a blizzard, most likely, and that isn’t a “OMG GET TO YOUR BASEMENTS NAO” kind of scenario. That kind of situation would most likely result in a weather crawler and the occasional 30 sec break-in, but not 45 minutes of continuous weather alert coverage.

      • Harry says:

        You so missed the point. The main idea of my question is regardless if it was a tornado, blizzard, hurricane, freezing rain, 2nd coming of Jesus, whatever…would the same thing had resulted if this was the Super Bowl…the NEAREST equivalent to the UEFA Championship and the most watched game in the US? And I am not sure where you are from but severe blizzards have been enough for some TV stations to show coverage for HOURS.

        2 years ago there was a blizzard that occured in most of the US right around the time of the Colts v Saints game and trust….there was a ticker going by most of the game.

  29. CM says:

    The station absolutely did the right thing. Sometimes idiots need to be pulled to safety by their hair, kicking and screaming, if needed, for their own good.

    • Henry says:

      CM, I respectfully disagree. Public safety is a priority, but there is absolutely no reason why they could not have returned to the game with regular updates from the weather (plus a permanent ticker). Everyone watching their station at that time was watching the game; that was their captive audience who would have been kept safe by these measures alone. Yet they acted like they had to save Minnesota, in this self-righteous tone, for people that weren’t watching their station … it made no sense.

      And it was their condescending comments that really ‘cheesed me off’.

  30. Bill says:

    First everybody its REQUIRED BY LICENCE TO BREAK-IN DURING SEVERE WEATHER BEACUSE IF YOU WERE IN THE STORM YOU WOULDN’T CARE ABOUT SOCCER ANYWAY. YOU WOULD CARE A BOUT THE WEATHER AND KEEPING SAFE

    • Harry says:

      Your CAPS LOCK was stuck huh?

      • Matt says:

        Apparently.

        Bill, I am a bit curious regarding the nature of your post. You seemed to be quite ready to give your opinions with multiple points. What happened? Did you realize that the problem was not that FOX 9 broke into the coverage? No one on here, or anywhere for that matter, had a problem with Fox stepping in to alert people of the weather event. They have a problem with essentially comandeering the coverage for the rest of the match. Had they broken in, given the update in the 2 minutes it would take to articulate the situation, and inserted a permanent ticker to keep people informed, no one calls the station. No one writes a story online. Twitter and facebook don’t start going crazy with this story. And no one outside of the Twin Cities area finds out that Tim Blotz is a douche (because all of us here in the Cities already knew that).

        Hopefully you came to this realization, and therefore stopped typing, knowing just how asinine you were about to sound. My advice to you for next time: decide not to post anything at all.

  31. KT says:

    The whole FCC argument is such crap and that along with the derogatory tone of the anchor was the most upsetting part of this. WCCO (CBS), KSTP (ABC), and KARE 11 (NBC) were all airing their regular programming and had a bulletin at the bottom of the screen about the severe weather. Only Fox 9 had the weather porn. They created this FCC excuse to validate their coverage. It was very disappointing

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