TV station fights for equal access to Bloomsday race
By Jim Lynch
and Spokane Chronicle
A Spokane television station locked horns with Bloomsday officials Thursday in a squabble over coverage rights of Sunday’s race.
KREM threatened to file a court order to force Bloomsday to give it the same access to filming the lead women runners as KXLY.
Bloomsday allows KXLY to drive a small all-terrain vehicle on the course to film the lead women through the race. Race officials don’t want another vehicle clogging the streets..
“I have reservations about having even one ATV weaving in and out of the runners,” said Richard Eymann, safety director for Bloomsday. “Having two is dangerous and I won’t have it.”
KREM gave Bloomsday a 3 p.m. Thursday deadline, stating if it did not get a favorable response to its request for equal race access it will seek court action. The deadline passed without court action.
Paul Brandt, KREM news director, said legal action would be based on the “freedom of the press” to cover “a public event on public streets.”
Brandt said he understood safety concerns. “I don’t want to put another vehicle on the streets,” he said, but noted there should be “equal rights for everyone.”
He also said he believes KXLY, sponsor of Bloomsday’s corporate cup, receives preferential treatment because of its involvement with the race.
KREM and KHQ ride on the media truck that follows the race leaders. KXLY films the leaders from its own pickup truck with equipment it bought specifically for Bloomsday. The three stations share access to two helicopters and station more than 40 cameras along the race.
But only KXLY has a mobile camera following the lead women.
KREM would not be considering legal action if KXLY allowed KREM to air its women’s race footage for its 5 p.m. broadcast Sunday. KXLY refuses to give footage of the women’s race to KREM because its news program begins a half-hour before KXLY’s 5:30 p.m. Bloomsday coverage.
Dawn Bayman, director of local programming at KXLY, said the station will share its footage after it is aired, but not before.
“We have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in our (Bloomsday) coverage over the past 10 years,” she said. “We feel we need to protect our investment.”
A KREM attorney declined comment on the possibility of filing a court injunction other than to say that everyone is still talking and she’d know more Friday.
Duane Swinton, attorney for The Spokesman-Review and Spokane Chronicle newspapers, said he thought KREM’s potential freedom of the press suit wouldn’t have much of a chance.
“I don’t see how KREM can force their way into this,” he said. Swinton also noted that it is commonplace for media credentials and access to operate on a first come, first serve basis during public events.
Eymann said KXLY made its request to follow the women with an ATV back in January. He said KREM didn’t make its request until the past couple weeks.
Friday, May 1, 1992