Fayette County

TV guys get their kicks

Today is not just Kentucky vs. Georgia at Commonwealth Stadium, it's our meteorologist can out-kick your meteorologist.

It started with Bill Meck's daughter asking the WLEX-18 chief meteorologist to enter a contest sponsored by Pieratt's, the electronics retailer.

The prize: A $5,000 home entertainment package including a 52-inch television, Blu-ray player and home theater system.

To get it, the randomly chosen winner would have to kick a 35-yard field goal during halftime at a University of Kentucky home game.

Sure enough, Meck won. But his selection has started a controversy that will now see rival weatherman T.G. Shuck of CBS affiliate WKYT-27 also attempt a field goal at Saturday's game against Georgia.

After learning of Meck's opportunity, NBC affiliate WLEX began promoting his contest appearance on newscasts, which irked UK sports partner WKYT and IMG, the company that manages the deal involving the station and university sports.

"You've got a minor problem in that you've got WKYT and IMG are the official media partners of UK with an $80 million contract," said Larry Chiles of advertising agency Meridian-Chiles. Meridian-Chiles handles Pieratt's and also advises WKYT, Chiles said.

"WKYT was rightly concerned that a competitor was going to be there on the field doing something," he said.

After hours of conversations, Chiles said WKYT, Pieratt's and IMG were on board with a "fun solution" that would create a field goal contest by adding Shuck and also have Bruce Pieratt of the electronics store dress up as a referee.

"The crowd would eat it up," Chiles said.

And Pieratt's agreed to give away two entertainment packages.

But Chiles said WLEX protested because Shuck was a kicker on his high school team and at Georgetown College.

"Nothing good could come out of that," said Meck, who thought about but ultimately didn't try to walk on to Iowa State's football team in 1982. "This is just supposed to be something fun."

WLEX General Manager Tim Gilbert said the station thought the entire ordeal was "getting pretty petty."

"WKYT's response to this is a tremendous overreaction," he said. "It shows very clearly that God has a sense of humor. I can't stop laughing about this story."

And what is really fun is that Meck's name was not the first one drawn. But the first name drawn did not include any contact information.

In the end, Chiles said, a deal was brokered to have Meck kick the field goal in the Pieratt's contest as planned.

And Shuck will now attempt a field goal, hand-picked in a separate contest sponsored by the state Office of Highway Safety.

Pieratt's will provide the same prize for that contest, though it's unclear to whom the prize will go. Shuck and WKYT think it will go to a charity, but Chiles said the prize will go to a UK student.

Meck, despite his daughter's disappointment, will donate his prize to the Salvation Army if he's successful.

"All I want to do is get the ball up in the air," he said.