Tuesday, July 9, 2013

One That Should Not Have Been Reported

Even though it is the media's job to report stories, and I'm among those that finds too much speculation and not enough actual reporting, there are certain things that should go unreported. One such example came last week, when a few stories came out about jerseys of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who was recently arrested in a murder scandal.

Shortly after this occurred, I saw and heard several stories about how the Patriots were accepting Hernandez jerseys being returned and offering to replace them at no cost with a jersey of another Patriots player. It was quite understandable that this received media attention. Whether you think this was a necessary move or a nice gesture by the team, that information needed to be reported to sports fans.

However, to my dismay, there were a couple of stories that came out a couple of days later about how Hernandez jerseys were selling for and being offered on Ebay and other auction sites for upwards of $2,000. One of those stories reported on an actual sale that fetched into four figures. In this instance, this was a story that should have gone unreported.

Do we really need to teach young people to hang on to memorabilia of an accused murderer for possible financial gain?

My answer is no, we don't. I wish the reporters that checked this story out would be spending more time at team practices and actual games looking to break stories that are informative to sports fans.

What has become of our newspapers lately? The saying "If you build it, they will come" seems to be as forgotten as the afternoon paper with all of the late box scores from the night before. Sure, they are in business to make money, but until recently their "business" was to provide quality and informative content to serve their audience. In return, advertisers would be more than willing to spend in order to reach their target audience, and subscribers would renew every few months and further support the publication(s).

One example is last week's announcement by the Miami Herald about the E-book they published all about the Miami Heat and their NBA Championship run, complete with photos and a recap of their just concluded post-season. Once upon a time, the major newspapers in cities which have championship teams would rush to put out at least one extra section with the photos, highlights, and recaps of a championship season. These sections would be included within a Sunday paper or perhaps on a specified weekday, with the idea of increasing the circulation for that day. In addition, people remember the section and the newspaper for a long time as they save them, with a reinforced image of that newspaper being a primary source for coverage of their team.

Yet, the Herald did not give away its book. Anyone who wanted one had to go online and pay $3.99 to get it. This is not to say that the Ebook wasn't worth $3.99 for all it contained. This is not a book review. My bet is that this "offer" turned off more Heat fans than it turned on. Once upon a time, the whole idea behind doing such a book was to give a lot of people a compelling reason to buy a particular issue. Maybe some who bought will also be impressed with the other content to consider buying more editions of the paper or maybe add a Sunday or full subscription. That same $3.99 could have gone for a couple of Sunday papers or for a week of buying the entire paper. Instead, those who paid the $3.99 now have little to no added reason to read the regular editions of the paper.

Elsewhere, it was reported by the (excellent) Awful Announcing web site that the Boston Herald will be unveiling an online news and sports stream within the next few days. The Herald's web site is expected to have a sports program with news and comments from fans via phone calls and social media.

Wouldn't the Herald be better off to use their personnel to better report the sports news and write the columns instead of copying other sports shows online? How is this going to help sell more papers if fans can go online and stream the information for free?

For that matter, why would Boston fans need to go online to the Herald site when they have their current sources as well as the fierce competition between WEEI-FM and WBZ-FM for the sports talk audience?

In both of these instances (Miami and Boston), sports fans are being asked to go somewhere other than to the newspaper itself to get the information they might want. This is the same thing I have been saying about radio stations. If the newspapers (and radio stations) had continued to do the job of reporting and discussing sports well enough in the first place, chances are the sports information available online and via social media would not have caught on as much or as quickly. Instead, they are chasing when they could have still been leading.

On top of this, Gallup poll results announced just this week showed that more than twice as many consumers get their "news" from the internet than from newspapers. If they aren't thinking about the local newspaper, chances are that includes their web sites.

Meanwhile, last week's no-hitter in Cincinnati thrown by Homer Bailey led to some interesting live TV moments in the minutes that followed the last out. MLB Network, which happened to be originating a live national telecast, has reporter Sam Ryan ready on the field for the first interview. During that time, Bailey was doused by his happy teammates. Yet, Ryan stayed on live and padded until Bailey dried up with a towel enough to answer a couple more questions.

That was probably not the way Bailey wanted to celebrate. And it showed moments later when Fox Sports Ohio's Jeff Piecoro decided to ask Bailey about the one walk which, as it turned out, kept him from a perfect game. Bailey responded with a profanity and Piecoro and the Reds' broadcast crew were left to apologize right after.

SAN FRANCISCO: Great news that Hal Ramey returned to KCBS Radio last week, returning after successful surgery on his vocal chords that has had him off the air since February.

CHICAGO: WGN Radio, riding on being the flagship radio station of the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, has now gone to all sports every weeknight from 7 PM until midnight. The David Kaplan Show will air on nights that WGN does not have a Cubs, Blackhawks, or Northwestern University game broadcast. On the nights of "full" shows, the 11 PM to Midnight hour will be hosted by Jordan Bernfield and Mark Carman and include a recap of earlier interviews and highlights.
Kaplan will continue to host "Sports Talk Live" on Comcast SportsNet Chicago most weeknight evenings before the radio show begins.

St. LOUIS: WGNU 920, licensed to Granite City IL, has decided to enter the sports talk derby now that KFNS has gone away from it. Starting the first week of August, McKernan & Company (with Tim McKernan coming over from KFNS along with Doug Vaughn and Jim Hayes) in the morning, followed by Frank Cusumano. Bryan Burwell, Joe Strauss, and Charlie Marlow will host early afternoons, with Kevin Slaten to handle 3 to 6 PM along with (former Cardinals standout) Jack Clark as his co-host.

Our readers over 50 may remember WGNU from when Harry Caray came to Chicago to do White Sox radio in the early 70's, and WGNU became an affiliate so that Harry could still be heard in the St. Louis area.

ATLANTA: Georgia Tech football and basketball games will now be heard only on WYAY 106.7 FM starting this season, as the games will no longer air on The Zone 790. It seems odd that The Zone would lose local play-by-play at this time, especially with the recent changeover of its morning show from Chris Dimino, Stake Shapiro, and Nick Cellini.

LAS VEGAS: They haven't yet established odds of which radio sports network will go where locally, but at this rate.....

Now KMZQ 670 has dropped Yahoo Sports and picked up Fox Sports Radio for all times other than its weekday morning syndicated talk show. KWWN ESPN 1100 and 98.9 continue to dominate the local sports radio market (although only at a 1.6 overall rating most recently), while KXST 1140 barely shows up in the ratings as a CBS Sports Radio affiliate.

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