June 15, 2013 Updated: June 16, 2013 at 10:48 am
Bob Kolody sat down in his Woodland Park home Wednesday to watch the first game of the Stanley Cup finals, a game that would become one of the most dramatic and entertaining in the NHL history.
"I'm from Chicago," Kolody said. "I live for the Stanley Cup. I've waited a long time."
The game was not being shown on KOAA, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs. Station management moved the game to an alternate channel while choosing to cover the Black Forest fire, which claimed the lives of two residents and destroyed 483 homes.
The channel where KOAA moved Cup coverage was not available on DirecTV, Kolody's satellite provider. He could not watch his Blackhawks win in triple overtime over the Bruins.
Kolody was evacuated from his home in last summer's Waldo Canyon fire. He understands the immense interest and fear the fire produced.
Still, he wanted to watch his game.
"I know the fire is a big deal for people," Kolody said. "But how many more stations do they need the fire coverage on?"
KOAA heard from more than 100 disgruntled hockey devotees. I heard from several, too. This was a complicated mess.
I requested an interview with KOAA news director David Randall. He declined my request and instead issued a statement.
Here's part of it:
"With nearly 40,000 people in Colorado Springs unable to return to their homes and thousands threatened at the time, I made the decision that I believe best served the community," Randall wrote in an e-mail. His decision, Randall wrote, came from "deferring always to the safety and well-being of our community."
Sorry, David, but there's a better way. KOAA could have made a more considerate, sensible choice, one that served the information needs of all of us interested in the fire - one of the biggest local news stories of this decade - along with the desires of those of us who love hockey.
On Thursday, I took a break, in a way, from fire worries and fire coverage to watch Dwyane Wade and LeBron James carry the Heat to victory over Air Force grad Gregg Popovich and the Spurs.
The fire concerned me, for many reasons. My home is a couple of miles from evacuation zone, and dozens of friends were in danger.
KRDO provided constantly updated, detailed information about the fire in text at the bottom of my screen. During halftime, the station moved to live fire coverage, and during the second half KRDO's journalists were prepared to break into the game if required.
"We were ready to go on the air if something broke," said Tim Larson, KRDO's general manager.
My safety and well-being never were in danger, and if I wanted to view images while listening to reporters talk about the fire, I could have switched channels.
Like most of you, I own a device known as a remote.