Spurlott’s frustration was echoed by all NASCAR devotees in the county. George Newman, general manager of local cable provider RJ Fletcher Communications, issued a formal apology Tuesday evening for airing footage from freeway traffic cameras in place of the actual NASCAR race.
“I assume full responsibility for the dreadful error in judgment during today’s incident,” Newman wrote in a press statement. “Due to contractual disputes with our affiliate providers, RJ Fletcher was unable to obtain the rights to air the AdvoCare 500 race. Knowing that countless customers had paid extra for our Hillbilly Hotrods package, based on agreements that had not been formalized, I panicked.”
Newman admitted to working with an unnamed CalTrans official who allowed RJ Fletcher Communications access to stream live footage of traffic cameras along the 405 freeway in Southern California.
“I completely understand [viewers’] anger,” Newman said. “They watched freeway gridlock for hours and never realized it wasn’t the race. I’m sure they feel cheated and humiliated. And not that this justifies the actions I took, but our ratings for the ‘AdvoCare 500’ event surpassed nearly every other station’s numbers. My guess is because our footage showed about four times more accidents than the actual race.”
RJ Fletcher Communications CEO Rolf Funch would not comment on Newman’s current status with the organization or what punitive actions the company plans to take.
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