In the last week, since the public announcement that 93.7 FM (B-94) in the Pittsburgh market was changing to a sports format, I have had this recurring nightmare...
With the potential for a fresh slate of new, local sports talk folk to emerge on the radio scene, I fear that CBS Radio is going to absolutely destroy a golden opportunity to resuscitate Steel City sports talk from the dregs.
This nightmare, first of all, contains a format that runs any syndicated national programming. There are enough sports fans in Pittsburgh to keep local phone-in shows operating around the clock and the advertising dollars flowing.
Secondly, during non-syndicated shows, this nightmare station features a line-up of Pittsburgh "personalities" that have plenty of opinion, but virtually no statistical back-up. Or no personality at all. The phantasm shows include Ellis Cannon, Mark Madden, and Rocco Demaro (unlistenable voice, topics often unrelated to sports, and Mr. Gimmick, respectively).
Finally, this nightmare station will not allow for its hosts, whoever they may be, to be overly critical of any Pittsburgh sports team, even if that team is deserving of it.
I'll admit, it's a tough dream to shake, even upon waking.
To Terry Foxx of CBS Radio (and formerly of ESPN Radio):
- I implore you to consider that "name recognition", especially in this sports market, is not necessarily a good thing.
- It is time to infuse some new blood into a very dry and wanting program schedule. I challenge you to hire at least two fresh voices for the weekdays that will air either morning drive, midday, or evening drive. They can even be on the same show, if you prefer.
- There are very few sports talk shows currently in the Pittsburgh market that I make it a point to listen to. Rehashing the same, familiar people will not make 93.7 "The Fan" a hit. In fact, it will make the station seem like the place where the leftovers go to die.
- Please consider changing "The Fan" to some other catch phrase. "The Fan" is probably the most overused name in sports radio. New York has one, St. Louis has one, Denver has one...heck even nearby Columbus, Ohio has one. Try something like "The Score", which is less pervasive. Sure, Chicago has one, Jackson, Mississippi has one, but it's not nearly as bad as "The Fan."
An FM station that is 100% dedicated to sports talk in the City of Champions (and the Pirates) is a tremendous idea, but by falling back on stale/superficial personalities (or worse, out-of-town personalities) will kill it faster that you can say "The Fan."
(as a side note to all fans of the current B-94 who are up in arms for a different reason: Just listen to Kiss-FM 96.1. It's the same station. Really. I can discern no difference.)