When the Barons clinched their playoff berth on Saturday against the Texas Stars, very little mention was given to the team. The KFOR newscast had extensive Thunder coverage, University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State sports coverage, high school sports coverage and at the very end of the newscast, a mention of the Barons clinching their berth. Even on the nights that the Tier-2 Arena Football team, the Bricktown Brawlers, plays, they'll show highlights of their games before the Barons. A concerned viewer expressed their thoughts through the KFOR website and received this response from their sports director, Bob Barry Jr.
From: "Barry JR, Bob"
To: [Name rescinded]
Subject: Barons Coverage
Didn't really understand your rant [name rescinded]...but it sounds like you want more coverage of the Barons when the playoffs begin. We'll try to provide that but while you suggest no one cares about the Thunder, OU or OSU[Viewer did not suggest "no one cares" -ER] - our expensive audience research shows hockey doesn't even register on the viewers list of what they want to see.
We have shown highlights of probably 60-70% of the Barons home games this year and we had previews of the Barons playoff trip to Hamilton today on our 5-6pm Sportscasts. We'll continue coverage for as long as they remain alive - but we'll also provide a heavy dose of Thunder, OU and OSU sports because - quite frankly - that's what the majority of the audience wants to see the most. And, as I said, it's not even close. ALL high school sports draw more interest than hockey among our viewers too. In fact, even though we carry several regular season NHL games on NBC, those ratings are among the lowest of ANY program the network carries in the OKC television market. Sad, but true.
And it sucks to say that if you were to ask any of the other 3 major news stations in OKC, you'd probably get pretty close to the same answer. Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman has been the only person in the city to give the team any type of extensive media coverage, and it's been well appreciated among the fans here. I'm going to give the team as much coverage as I'm able to, because it deserves a lot more than they're getting right now, especially with the playoff run.
-Written by Eric Rodgers-