Friday, January 30, 2009

Up and down the radio dial in Baltimore

The local airwaves are now packed with sports talking heads. Baltimore has 1 ½ major league sports teams to go with 4 radio stations with an all sports format. And now that the only real major league team in town has completed its season, one has to wonder if all four can survive.

Advertising budgets are being slashed all over and it has had a clear affect on print media. Press Box now publishes its paper only once per month v. weekly; The Sun’s parent company Tribune Co. has filed Chapter 11; and now the Baltimore Examiner is closing shop on February 15.

The sports talk stations that can survive might be those with the best sales forces or those that can manage costs most effectively – or both! This might have something to do with Nestor Aparicio’s return to the airwaves on a semi-regular basis now that Rob Long has moved from a station powered by two coffee cans, a piece of chord and an underappreciated rodent to one powered by 50,000 watts. It might also help explain why a talent like Steve Davis gets the boot while Anita Marks gets a one year extension.

Staying with radio, here are a few thoughts from the 24x7 peanut gallery (that would be me) on the sports radio landscape with all due respect to our Media Watchdog…

Let’s start with 105.7 The Fan…Is Bruce Cunningham really that corny or is it just a bad act? From his tee shots down the fairway to his tough guy act to his navigational buoys to his mad love for Baltimore, he is sports talk’s Hee Haw without the laughs – at least not the laughter the “aforementioned Bruce Cunningham” tries to evoke. The show is a train wreck yet it lures me in not because I expect to learn anything, but instead it’s my eagerness to hear the former DJ stick his foot in his mouth. And much to my delight, as certain as a bear does you know what you know where, Bruce delivers again and again…Can’t you just feel Scott Garceau’s pain at times sitting across from the Ultimate Sports Chick?...Props to Mark Viviano and Ken Weinman – smooth, insightful and amiable.

Over to FOX 1370 and their 50,000 watts…I have to wonder sometimes what they’ve done with 49,000 of those watts. The signal in Harford County and along the I-83 corridor is very substandard…What is not substandard is the hustle of Jerry Coleman. That said I would prefer to hear the opinions of Coleman and his many guest co-hosts more regularly than the raw, unedited press conferences that at times have already been played by other sports talkers earlier in the day. And by the way, when does a radio station stop being “all new”?...Props to Coleman and station manager Bob Pettit for luring Rob Long and his Chicken Box Fridays.


Anonymous said...

I do a lot more "sports talk" surfing now that we have more stations with sports talk. My analysis is as follows:

WNST - I listen to Drew Forrester and Bob Haynie. I really liked Rob Long, but I refuse to listen to Nasty. He is a lousy interviewer and interupts everyone he talks to. He is the downfall of his own station. He ruined the Super Bowl coverage with his altercation with the Dallas station "The Ticket".

105.7 The Fan - This station has gained my respect. I like Mark and the Bulldog, and I listen to Scott and Anita. Frankly, I think their show is very informative and their sports' guests are top notch. They interview Oriole players, which is something WNST does not do.

1370 - I like Jerry Coleman and his guests as well. Again, another alternative to WNST in the afternoon. I may give Rob Long a try in the morning when I get tired of hearing Bob Haynie always talking about the Terps.

1300 - Too much national sports for me, loved the X Factor with Tony Lombardi. That was the best show on radio, hands down.

WBAL - I felt bad that Steve Davis got the boot. I enjoyed his show and the John Harbaugh show. He will be missed.

Not the Anchorman said...

You nailed it with Cunningham. He's like the guy in high school who thought he was the S&*T meanwhile people he assumed were his friends laugh at him behind his back. Cunningham is a little like that Biff character on Back to the Future.

Cunningham should go Back to WNST where no one can hear him.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more about Cunningham. He's a pretender with serious inferiority issues that transcend the airwaves. Forrester is clueless in my opinion as well but thinks he's big-time. They're each over their head in a one inch puddle

Amber said...

LMAO! I watched Anchorman this weekend and I thought the same thing. By the way why does Bruce still have that old Fox 45 picture up on the 105.7 website?

Ain't FM grand?

Tony Lombardi said...

This was brought to my attention by someone with knowledge of Press Box and I thought to be fair, it should be posted here for purposes of accuracy and clarification:


Nice blog on local media. I like that you have the guts to speak your mind about the local scene.

I would like to offer one clarification. PressBox did not go from a weekly to a monthly publication due to falling ad revenue. In fact, we billed 22% more this January than in January of 2008 (Across all of our media platforms.) PressBox is not a newspaper that does other things... we are a sports media company that has a newspaper, web sites, radio shows, custom publishing, events and more. The money saved by going from a weekly to a monthly was invested in more writers for the expanded coverage in the monthly paper, online content and our newest project... a weekly television show "Inside PressBox." The TV show will air each Sunday from 11:30am - noon on ABC 2."

Discerning Ear said...

I have a friend that works at CBS and she told me that CBS wanted to bring Aaron Wilson over with Bruce Cunningham to 105.7 The Fan for a day or two but Cunningham resisted. From what I'm told he was tired of hearing that Wilson carried their show on WNST.

Sometimes the truth hurts!Cunningham would do well to have Aaron back and inject some intelligence and insight into that show.

Anonymous said...


Be careful. Bruce might want you to meet him at CBS' parking lot so you can duke it out. He's a bad, bad man. Just ask him.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments on Bruce...

We had him as a guest at our organization's meeting once. He was GREAT, funny and entertaining, but I sensed that it was only as long as HE was in control. When things don't go his way, he can get very defensive.

I remember listening to him on the radio a few years back. This guy kept calling and admittedly, was harassing him...but Bruce's reaction was almost the equivalent of...I don't want to play anymore. I am taking my ball and going home.

I remember that during his talk to our group, he made a sarcastic remark to one of our more sensitive members who ended up trashing him on a message board and NOW…he won’t come speak to us unless that member is no longer a member.

Perhaps these are justifiable reactions to someone who is bad mouthing you, but maybe a little too sensitive for a media member that must interact with an audience, don’t you think?

Chasing Amy said...

Add "Michael Phelps apologist" to the list of descriptions for Cunningham.

I had to laugh today when he called out some Philly sports talk host for not being prepared. Baltimore's Ron Burgundy is the King of Poor Preparation. Just ask Aaron Wilson.

Alan, from Towson said...

Hey Bruce,


Anonymous said...

Bruce Cunningham is awful!

Besides his boring delivery, he has a temper and sounds like a little kid if you don't agree with him. He definitely has an inferiority complex and seems like a nerd.

I tried listening past the boring voice but there was no substance. I was annoyed his snickering at some respected sports figures/personalities and turned off his worthless babble. (I listen to music instead on my lunch break.)

Baltimore sports fans deserve better than this JERK!