Friday, January 24, 2003

Channel 9 Pulls Joke On Rival, But Channel 3 Not Laughing

Channel 9 Pulls Joke On Rival, But Channel 3 Not Laughing
posted January 24, 2003
The Channel 9 news director said he "pulled a joke" on rival Channel 3, but WRCB-TV officials were not laughing.

Tom Tolar, Channel 3 station manager, said it was discovered Thursday that a website had been set up for www.wrcb.tv - but he said those who click on it are directed to Channel 9.

Mr. Tolar said, "I don't think it was really appreciated. We contacted the appropriate personnel at Channel 9, and they said they would discontinue it."

Steve Hunsicker, Channel 9 news director, acknowledged he had set up the website. He said, "It was kind of a fun little thing to do to a competitor. It was meant as a joke. "I was kind of fooling around about two years ago. I had about forgotten about it."

Mr. Hunsicker said the site is already down. He said it was agreed that it will be transferred to Channel 3. He said in the competition between the TV stations "you will see some jabs in promotional pieces."

Jerry Lingerfelt, the TV 9 station manager, said he received a call from Channel 3 management and immediately agreed to take off the site. He said, "All kind of stuff goes on between the stations, but this was not meant to be mean."

Mr. Lingerfelt said you never know what you will get when you type in a website. He said. "One time I typed in newschannel9 and forget the nine. It took me to a porno site."

He said the website "is pretty important. We get a lot of hits on it and provide a lot of information." He added, "We haven't figured out a way to make money out of it yet though."

Mr. Hunsicker said the station got over 7 million hits on the Channel 9 website from Jan. 1 to last Wednesday. He said on Thursday it was swamped with people trying to find out about weather-related closings. He said it overloaded the server. Mr. Tolar said Channel 3 considers its website "just a service" and does not try to sell ads on it. He said last Thursday when snow was on the way, the site had over 17,000 visits and produced over two million hits.

Story courtesy of and copyrighted by The Chattanoogan.

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