Monday, September 27, 2010

Radio killed the radio star

This wasn't the first time "they" pulled the plug on Stan and Guy. But once again, Pittsburgh is left without the most trusted men in Yinzer sports.

ESPN Sports Radio 1250 will cease to exist after this week because Mickey and Minnie decided that childish radio shows such as Hannah Montana will somehow be more lucrative in this cradle of sports than, well, sports. I knew something wasn't right while driving to the grocery store yesterday morning and 1250 had a national feed talking about the Cowboys instead of the Steelers. Really? The freaking Cowboys! I immediately turned the dial to NPR to find something more interesting.

But this was just a precursor to the real tragedy. ESPN Radio is pulling out of Pittsburgh and firing the entire staff. I ridiculed Ken Laird earlier this year when he erroneously predicted the end of the Bruce Arians era. However, I still think he is a good reporter with excellent insight on the Steelers. Hopefully he will be able to catch on with another radio station in the region.

This decision to end Pittsburgh's most prominent sports radio station is just another example of the demise of journalism. Whether it be newspapers that try to offer token services on their websites or radio stations that can't compete with bare bones staff, it's clear that the viewer/reader/listener no longer wants to pay for his/her services.

And that makes me sad, because this isn't the first time sports fans have faced cutbacks. Fox Sports Pittsburgh neutered us two years ago when they ended SportsBeat and the Steelers postgame coverage. For some bizarre reason, they kept the postgame show of the Triple-A team that currently plays at PNC Park.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and this decision by Mickey Mouse proves that fact. We do not want to pay for news, but we are quickly realizing that the only free services we can find nowadays are barren news pages and dead airwaves.


  1. It truly was a sad day in yinzer-dom on Monday when I turned on Stan and Guy expecting to hear the Charlie Batch support hour. Instead, the online player was blank. No Colin Cowherd, no iCarly, just nothingness. I knew it was coming down the pipe because Smizik has been all over it, but to kill the station Myron Cope built during Stillers season seemed especially cruel.

  2. At least we still have Vinnie Richichi on The Fan!

  3. This was reported last week, so the Monday void should not have been a shock.

    The rest of the story includes a paragraph about ESPN seeking another radio outlet in Pittsburgh. No, nothing is signed, but the stories all include a paragraph of intention to find another home for ESPN programming after December 31, programming that would include a local component.

    The explanations also include the fact that a Canonsburg radio station now has the rights to the Disney programming. Their contract expires on December 31. This expiration gave Disney an opportunity to move to a station with more widespread coverage. Who knows about the Disney programming on a Canonsburg station? I don't, but have no reason.

    The connection between ABC, ESPN and Disney is included under the same roof. So, those who make these decisions had all the chips to shuffle, to do what they wanted. I didn't know there was a big market for Disney programming for children, but what do I know. As I heard the story, Pittsburgh is one of the very few major markets that does NOT have Disney offered over a large coverage station. In other words, Disney was in search of a bigger outlet, and found one in their own family.

    All that being said, there is competition for the sports listeners in Pittsburgh. Perhaps the management saw the competition taking away market share, and felt they weren't competitive. Local sports talk has never been very settled. The turnover, both on radio and television is very high. The stability is not like it was 20 years ago.

    I think we can all be sure that Stan and Guy will show up someplace after a very short respite. Like in the past, they just migrate to the next place, take up where they left off, and continue.

  4. Although Bob Smizik did announce last week that ESPN was changing formats, it still was a shock to the system to hear the regrettable Colin Cowherd on the radio instead of Stan and Guy. And as Smizik pointed out in one of his online columns, ESPN 1250 was winning the ratings battle, but just not making enough money. I'm sure it will be much cheaper to run national feeds.

  5. Speak of the devil, Smizik just posted this blog...

  6. I never got a chance to listen to Stan and Guy in their current incarnation because I'm at work when they were on, but I did "love the show" when I could catch it. However, I already had abandoned ESPN radio in the mornings in favor of the fan because I could no longer stomach the incessant fellating of LeBron James by the Mike and Mike show. I long ago gave up caring about the NBA, and there's just way too much hoops talk on that show for my tastes. I'll go with the all-local-content station. It's not the greatest, but at least I don't have to listen to what color LeBron's poop was on a given day.