Friday, April 10, 2009

Radio Silliness

WGCH carried coverage of the 16-18 year-old division of the Babe Ruth World Series in 2002. It was my pleasure to be at the microphone for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and national championship, along with Mark Rosen, Sean Kilkelly, and Ian Handwerger. 'GCH was prepared to call many other games in the tournament but we were not allowed due to a so-called "exclusivity" held by Cox Radio, locally known as WSTC and WNLK.

Yet what I remembered was that 'STC and 'NLK didn't carry any games! Their fine Sports Director, my friend Matt Levine, called some games for other stations (sending a feed to Missouri, I think). It boggled my mind but there wasn't much I could do about it. We weren't allowed to call any action until the quarters.

At least we were allowed into Cubeta Stadium in Stamford, and I filed live reports throughout the early rounds.

According to Bob Raissman in the Daily News, Chris Russo isn't allowed to take his Sirius Satellite Radio show into either Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, due to
...exclusivity clauses, invoked by Mets radio rights holder WFAN and Yankees broadcaster WCBS-AM (CBS owns both these outlets)...
So you ask: "Why?" I wondered the same thing. Again, from Raissman:
The answer to that question, according to WFAN operations boss Mark Chernoff, whom Russo accused of acting in a "petty" manner, has nothing to do with emotions or rivalries - only money.

"We pay millions and millions of dollars for the rights to the teams. As part of the deals we get that exclusivity," Chernoff said Thursday. "That's what we are selling to our advertisers. If we allow another radio station in (the stadiums), what we're selling becomes saleable for someone else. That makes absolutely no business sense."
I'm sorry, I would love to work at The Fan and I've criticized them in the past, so why stop now? This makes no sense to me. I understand competition and all, but why be so petty? I see no harm in letting 'FAN, WCBS, 1050, and Sirius in. Would they, or can they, stop ESPN Radio's national arm from doing a show, or anybody else? You can't stop, say, Red Sox radio from doing a live show, so what is the harm?

What Chernoff is trying to say is that, remote broadcasts cost money. Radio generates money from ad sales. If WFAN/WCBS allows another station to come to where they have this "exclusivity", then this other station can sell ad space on the show so recoup the cost of the broadcasts. In short, the potential exists for lost revenue for all involved, hence farewell to the exclusivity.

Fair enough but why Sirius? Russo isn't a direct competitor - something Mike Francesa himself said a while back.

In the one case, Russo wanted to do his show from the parking lot at Giants Stadium, and still got told, "adios." Not even spring training was fair game for the Doggie.

I can barely understand not letting another station in the ballpark, let alone a national satellite outlet.

Can't we all just get along?

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