The DEFEND Cleveland Show

A day of being a fan of “The Fan”? The August 30th, 2011 DC Show Report

In case you didn’t hear, WRUW’s transmitter is down because the electricity to the building that gives home to our signal is without power. And if all you use is your radio to listen to the radio, how could you? You old fashioned stickler. With no electricity for said transmitter my 15,000 watt Monday morning power of throwing my voice was gone too. So, I ranted all morning in frustration and I did it solely for the broadcast of our online stream and archives. hooray.

All said, this made for a pretty bad day for me. Not knowing that we were off until 30 minutes before showtime, only made it worse. After all, why should CBS and their new (to Cleveland at least) 24-7 sports network that launched yesterday called, “The Fan”, be left to have all the FM fun?

Now don’t think that I see having other voices in town as a bad thing; I actually view it as quite the opposite. I welcome competition to the mix, and that’s something with EPSN’s KNR networks being the only all-sports-all-the-time option around, we’ve not had. It is “sport” we’re all talking about here, and what’s there to talk about in sports if there’s no competition. Kind of seems it would/should be inherent, right?

However, after I spent my time being internet only and not too unlike your neighbor’s podcast they do on their iPhone, I, like I had been doing all morning before my show, tuned into this new competition in town and listened to Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber and his late afternoon/early evening daily drive time program with co-host Dustin Fox, called…wait for it…yeah, “Bull & Fox”.

“The Bull”, who did a weekend show on WFAN (The Fan’s flagship station out of New York) before taking this gig, and this show named “Bull & Fox”, first had me wondering how having more than one host named after an animal makes it seem like everyone must actually have to be nicknamed after some animal kingdom predator to even be on the station (The Fan in NY also has Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, its most popular host). At least Dustin, a fringe NFL player without any current offers who’s spent more time on practice squads than on rosters, at least has a true Ohio pedigree having been born in Canton and played for OSU. And more importantly regarding this particular notion, his last name is literally “Fox” and not just some unfortunate nickname given to fit the bill.

Beyond that obvious first route of surface consideration, I mostly wondered how well a New York host, “the Bull”, popular only for being a New York sports talk host, and coming directly from being that, in New York City, would play in Cleveland.

In other words, he’ll be seen as a Yankee fan to a lot of Cleveland listeners, true or not, while having a daily Cleveland show. Good thing “The Fan” doesn’t have a market in Pittsburgh I guess.

I’ve known of this for sometime as I was sent the promo released by WKRK 92.3 FM by pretty much everyone I know over a month ago. And not long after that I read this by Peter Pattakos for his blog, Cleveland Frowns. The title says it all, “Does Cleveland need a guy from New York to tell us about our sports teams?”

I decided to reserve my own judgement until the launch though. Knowing that Pattakos’ reaction would justly be a common one, I wanted to actually hear it for myself before I passed judgement on its validity. It didn’t take long to hear this as being the obvious obstacle for “the Bull” however when not but two minutes after tuning in, I listened to this come from his equal mix of gravel and hoarse voice:

“So I went to my first Indians game over the weekend…took the wife and kids…it was great, great park. And I can’t believe how cheap the seats were.” – Adam “the Bull”, aka, the guy from NY.

“I bet, especially with the prices you were probably used to paying, it was probably 1,500 dollars cheaper” –Dustin Fox, and though it should be clearly noted I’m paraphrasing all of this, do take further note how he didn’t specifically say “the Bull” was use to paying new Yankees Stadium prices. Even though no other park has prices that exorbitant. And if you know anything of the Yankees home at all here in Cleveland besides home runs fly out of there better than they do in Colorado, you know of its expense.

Then, “the Bull”, ignoring “the Fox” for having outed him, and probably as such, directly against their script, said something that made it with failed subtlety as if he were now pandering to his new audience, or, hiding his tracks. Or, most likely, both. He exclaimed, “…yeah, Progressive Fiel…no wait, Jacob’s Field! The Jake. You know, I’m not ever going to call it Progressive Field…the Jake is a great place to see a baseball game.”

You know what, Adam, if you were not ever there to see a game back when it was called Jacob’s Field, before it changed now 3 years ago, I won’t fault you for it. Since that is admittedly the case though, you need to call it what it is.

If you’re going to pull this off legitimately and build an audience as you build your Cleveland existence, you need to call everything as all you personally know it as. In this case, you need to call it Progressive Field. If you don’t, more than just myself will surely find fault in your delivery at worst as a lie, and at best, as pandering to your new employers, who are not WKRK, but actually are the fans of Cleveland.

If your notes given to you on how to relate to them also includes that you might want to refer to “The Q” as “Gund Arena”? Let me help you there too, don’t do that either. Which is only made even more important since it was changed to “Quicken Loans” 3 plus years ago as well. You know, back in the days where you were undoubtedly paid to spend a large part of being on-air opening your arms and proclaiming Lebron as definitely headed to the New York Knicks, Cleveland be damned.

Who knows though, maybe you’re more of a Rangers fan.

After one day, all told, and even still, much like what I’ve said on-air about WFAN coming to Cleveland over the last month, and spent the first hour of my show emphasizing yet again yesterday…on the internet…I’m excited to have another station in town also dedicated to sports. The mix up of the landscape as a result might actually mean it could get better. Even if by default. And let’s face it, without any competition, KNR has become what it’s like for all those folks that feared change and are still in a rut stuck using Time Warner Cable from the days when it was the only real premium channel television source offered. You know who I mean, the friends you have who come over to watch your NFL ticket each Sunday.

KNR and the majority of who and what it offers locally, not syndicated by their affiliation of ESPN, is terrible.

That said, I listened to the “Kiley & Booms” show on “The Fan” to start the day yesterday and today too. I won’t say I like it yet, but I can see that I might regularly flip between it and the syndicated offering from KNR at those hours of “Mike & Mike”. Again, options. And that alone is already better than having a monopoly with KNR, and way better than having 92.3 FM playing a mix of hits from the 90’s that everyone should have long grown tired of, back in the 90’s. Variety is good, and change will likely be good if what you have prior to it, isn’t really. If we’re fortunate, maybe some of the more atrocious offerings of KNR will eventually be forced off the air within this variety and change. And that would definitely be good.

Now if only there was something to do to get Chuck Galeti off the air in Cleveland. That guy makes me want to move to New York.


-Mike James


PS – for further reading on what Cleveland is saying after one day of “The Fan”, check out what Craig Lyndall and a Cleveland sports blog I’ve appreciated for some time now, “Waiting For Next Year“, had to say with this article:





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Posted by on Aug 30 2011. Filed under Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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