Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018
 

Live SF Pride broadcast axed

NEWS


m.bajko@ebar.com

B.A.R. society columnist Donna Sachet, left, and Michelle Meow anchored the Pride TV broadcast in 2013. Photo: Rick Gerharter 
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If you want to see this year's San Francisco Pride parade live, you will have to venture down to Market Street to view it in person.

For the first time in more than two decades a live broadcast of the parade will be unavailable, either online or on cable television. In recent years the online broadcast had attracted a global audience of more than 500,000.

Unfortunately for those viewers, the live feed has been axed this year because iHeartMedia, formerly known as Clear Channel Communications, is not sponsoring the Pride broadcast. In years past the company had provided live and uncensored coverage on a special website with the URL http://www.sfpridelive.com.

"Obviously, we are disappointed we don't have a live feed so people around the world can log in and see the parade live. It is unfortunate, but we hope to bring that back next year," said Michelle Meow, who since 2007, except for one year, has co-anchored the live broadcast of the parade.

Valerie Klein, director of marketing and activation for iHeartMedia in the Bay Area, told the Bay Area Reporter the reason for its absence this year is due to the company not receiving the sponsorship revenue needed to air the parade broadcast.

In an emailed response, Klein added that "nor did the partners agree to increase their contribution to cover the cost of an Emmy-nominated, union/professional production. We have high broadcast standards and were not able to guarantee those standards with our budget constraints."

Klein, who has served as executive producer of past Pride parade broadcasts, pledged that iHeartMedia intends "to work with SF Pride and the other partners next year and come back as the producers of the live coverage."

Meow, whose given name is Michelle Sinhbandith, class=st> learned of the company's decision last month. It coincided with Meow, who is the current president of the SF Pride Committee board, also learning that three people injured during shooting incidents at past Pride festivals had sued the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee.

At the time it was unclear if there would be any broadcast of the parade this year. But last week Meow told the Bay Area Reporter a taped broadcast would air on local cable channel KOFY TV20 Cable 713 at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 26.

She explained there wasn't enough time to find a new sponsor willing to cover the production costs associated with airing the parade live.

"The reality is we need sponsorship dollars to fund the capability to produce a live broadcast. It takes a little more from the technical needs to pull that together as well as the bandwidth to broadcast it," explained Meow. "We just did not have that infrastructure or sponsorship in place."

Meow said she couldn't estimate how much money is required to stream the broadcast live.

"I can't comment to the actual cost, since there was another company producing this for us," she said. "From the organization's point of view, in order for us to do this, there has to be some funds in place to pay for it. We need to re-examine that opportunity for next year."

Viewers will notice other changes to this year's televised broadcast, which Meow said will be five hours long. The anchor booth is being relocated from its longtime perch at Market and Sutter streets to near the corner of 7th and Market, close to the parade grandstands and a block away from the endpoint.

"We want to remind the contingents, since the broadcast will be more toward the end of the route, that they perk up and know they are going to be on camera for the broadcast," said Meow.

B.A.R. society columnist Donna Sachet, who has co-anchored the Pride coverage for years, will return. But online video personality Davey Wavey and SFPD Inspector Lenny Broberg, gay men who were part of iHeartMedia's broadcast team, will not be returning.

There had been calls for Broberg not to be included in this year's broadcast following media reports that he had called a deputy public defender a "bitch" and made derogatory comments about suspects.

Broberg told the B.A.R. he had no comment about not being part of this year's parade coverage.

This year's guest hosts will be lesbian comic Marga Gomez and transgender advocate Tiffany Woods. The street reporters will be drag queen BeBe Sweetbriar and journalist Oscar Raymundo, who writes the Confessions of a Boy Toy blog.

 

Broadcast changes nothing new

Changes with the parade broadcast are nothing new. According to SF Pride, the first station to broadcast the parade live was WB20, which is now known as KOFY TV, in 1995. Local station KRON 4 then took over as the parade broadcaster in 2003, airing a two-hour live broadcast of the parade that year.

In 2007 the station decided not to air the live two-hour broadcast because its license was up for renewal, as the B.A.R. reported at the time. It came amid the Federal Communications Commission taking a hard stance toward indecency, profanity, and obscenity complaints following a number of incidents on live TV, including Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

Pride reached an agreement between KRON 4 and Comcast that allowed a live broadcast of the parade to be seen that year on digital cable channel 99. The B.A.R. also reported at the time that Clear Channel would provide an internet broadcast of the parade, and KRON did air a taped showing.

In 2008, KRON 4 aired the parade live via a webcast, but then ended its broadcast agreement with Pride the following year. KOFY TV 20 came on as the main broadcaster of Pride, with Comcast channel 99 showing the coverage live and Clear Channel Radio airing it online via the SFPrideLive.com website.

Complaints about the 2009 coverage of the Pride, largely due to comments made by co-anchor Jai Rodriguez, of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame, led to another revamp of the broadcast in 2010. Sachet was brought back to co-anchor with Meow after not being part of the 2009 broadcast.

In 2010 SFPrideLive.com provided live online coverage as did Comcast Hometown Network on cable. In 2011 Clear Channel was named the "Official Radio Partner and Producer of Parade webcast and broadcast," with both KOFY and Comcast Hometown Network continuing to broadcast it.

Last year's coverage reflected the rebranding of Clear Channel, with the 2015 Parade broadcast produced by iHeartMedia and Pride Radio, with the live webcast found at PrideRadio.com. Comcast Hometown Network continued to broadcast the parade live on cable.

This year Pride's sole broadcast partner will be KOFY TV20 Cable 713, according to the information listed at http://www.sfpride.org/broadcast/. The channels will rebroadcast the parade footage at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 3.

In addition to SF Pride and KOFY TV, Airbnb and Weatherford BMW are sponsoring this year's parade coverage.

 

 

 

 






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