Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WNST continues to crumble


Back in a day Nestor Aparicio could bring it. He had the Baltimore shtick down pat and in many ways he was the spokesperson for the typical Baltimorean who reveled in embracing the underdog, black sheep of the family, ugly stepchild persona.

He delivered attitude, smack talk and proudly carried Charm City's inferiority complex banner for all of us.

He was once Baltimore to the core.

Slowly but surely he developed a following; and then his own radio station; and then an entire roster of competent sports talkers.

They understood what it meant to be a fan because they were all fans and while ego was always an issue for the diminutive Dundalkian, it never seemed to get in the way - at least for the listening public. Through hard work, an understanding of their customer and talent they were able to deliver a unique and desirable product despite their hamster powered AM signal.

But one day, Aparicio started to sniff himself a little too much and he really liked the aroma, you know sort of in a two dogs getting to know each other kind of way.

His ego became the 800 pound gorilla in the room, one that no longer was big enough for Terry Ford, Jeremy Conn, Rob Long, Bruce Cunningham, Aaron Wilson, Casey Willett, Bob Haynie and now Ray Bachman.

It wasn't that long ago that Aparicio was touting Bachman as the station's MVP. So after that and 14 years of dedicated service Bachman gets kicked to the curb.

Maybe such dedication doesn't fit the WNST business model any more.

Today the station and its affiliate website seem to be little more than a divorced wives club and all its members, instead of whining about their ex-husbands, they bitch and moan about the Orioles. Aparicio has invested an obsessive amount of time and energy criticizing the "very available man" Peter Angelos and in the process he's actually taken all of the Orioles owner's worst qualities and trumped each and every one.

In many ways WNST has become the Baltimore Orioles of sports talk radio.

The only difference is that one has cash flow and the other is flowing in a downward circle around the drain.

And in the end, we'll all have lost something through this slow death that was once a valued part of Baltimore's slice of Americana.

They really were once very good and they were the "station with balls."

Today sadly, they are little more than the station with PMS.

15 comments :

Moving in Stereo said...

Spot on! I feel exactly the same way. What a shame.

Get XM Siriusly said...

GREAT BLOG!

I can feel your frustration probably because I share it. When I'm traveling to other cities and dial into their sports talk, it crushes what we are forced to deal with around here.

I see that you defend Bruce Cunningham in your blog. Somewhat surprising given your past criticisms. Are you softening on him. I hope not because he's a boob and I would love to see Haynie replace him.

Glen from Charm City said...

Good points but as a Baltimorean I take exception to the inferiority complex issue and I don't need anyone to carry a banner for me for such nonsense.

Otherwise I agree with most of what is being said here.

Grumpy said...

Offseason filler Tony?

Yawn.

Tell us something we don't already know.

Joey from Brooklyn said...

They used to be a contenda, now just a pretenda, it's radio lite and they prefer Splenda, put the survivors in a blenda and senda them down the river.

Capisce?

Snoopy said...

I just got a bad visual of Nestor and Drew sniffing each other. Thanks Tony for nothing!

Nestor Aparicio said...

Go ahead and keep beating me up. You obviously don't get the business model and perhaps by the time you do it will be too late for you and this slick little project of yours will sound like an industrial strength toilet flush. And then I'll get the last laugh!

Jergs said...

Agree with you on all points. I used to enjoy listening too.

You just have to wonder if the radio portion will cease operations within the next year and all focus will be placed on the web.

Even though Ray and Bob were long time members of the roster both did not have the web presence that Nestor wants.

I just have no desire to listen to interns and guys fresh out of college give their limited take on Baltimore sports.

Steve Hasler said...

@Nestor

You claim Tony does not understand your business model. But really, what does that have to do with anything?

Sports fans don't really care your behind-the-scenes strategies for making money and keeping the business afloat. All we care about it the quality of your on-air and online product.

The on-air product has really fallen off, and that's too bad because there is plenty room in the market for strong voices. I listened regularly once. Now I don't listen much at all.

As an outsider, my impression is that the radio business has gotten rough, and the revenue simply isn't there anymore to support the talent. That part is not entirely in your control.

But you sound pretty confident that your business model is in great shape, so perhaps there is another explanation for the talent drain at WNST.

Which brings us to the website. Sorry, but I haven't become a fan of wnst.net. There is so much "business" crammed onto the pages that it's not exactly a fun read, for me at least.

I know you did a customer survey and I hope you found the answers you were looking for...or, if not, I hope you were willing to really listen.

Listening to the fans is something that some of us in Baltimore do a poor job of at times, isn't it? Some of us are so busy ignoring and deflecting criticism that we refuse to improve our product. Or we delude ourselves into believing that no improvement is needed.

Anonymous said...

Tony, this is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you. Perhaps.

I know you. We've watched football together, drank beer together and been friends for a while. I'm not using my name here because I'm sure this would put a strain on our friendship and I don't want that. So I'm going to do what a friend should do and I'm going to tell you why and how you've changed.

Before writing your blog about Nestor and his crumbling ship did you contact him? Did you reach out to him to ask him why he let Ray Bachmann go? Did you? I guess you didn't. But there you are today taking your shots at Nestor even though you honestly don't know what went into his decision.

You've gone from a man who loved his Ravens and loved football to some kind of expert on all things sports. I have news for you Tony. Your making yourself look bad. You wrote something about Nestor getting a sniff of himself. Well, my friend (and I am your friend) you are just like him these days. You got a sniff of yourself and suddenly became better than everyone else.

I'll try not to give myself away with this but I'll confess that I've advertised on Nestor's station before, recently in fact. Want the truth about Ray Bachmann? He didn't read my advertisement right and when I called the station to tell him he said, "take it up with management bud". I said, "But Ray, you just read it 5 minutes ago, I'm taking it up with the guy who read it" and he said, "Look, I don't have time to f*ck around with you, take it up with management, they are the ones who write the scripts."

I'm not saying that's what got Ray fired. I don't know what happened, but I know Ray was out of his league on the air and I guess Nestor got enough complaints that he said enough is enough. But I don't know what happened to Ray so I don't write blogs about it like you.

Worst of all Tony, is that everyone around you knows you hate Nestor. You and I have talked about him before and your edge for him comes out every single time. You never say a nice word about the guy which is fine, that's your right, but to come on this site that's a football site and trash him is pretty unprofessional in my mind.

My business has had success advertising with WNST. I've played golf with Drew Forrester and when I needed a prize for a charity golf tournament I was involved in last year Drew went out of his way to get me something signed by the Ravens.

I'm not saying everything WNST does is perfect, far from it. But this was over the top from you Tony and you should be bigger and better than this.

And I should say this too because it's under your control. To have one of your staff members make a reference to Nestor missing a finger (high four) and making fun of it in this blog is completely unacceptable. I wonder how your advertisers would feel if I or anyone forwarded them that comment and asked them about their ADA policies and how they like advertising with a company that makes of people with a disability? I run a business that is ADA friendly and I know about all that stuff. You should be ashamed to let that comment be posted here on your website Tony.

We will see each other soon I'm sure, particularly with Purple season just around the corner. I hope you take this the right way Tony. I'm not the only friend of yours who has seen you change over the last year or two. Others have seen it to.

I hope you issue Nestor an apology for the four finger comment and I hope the old Tony Lombardi comes back for football season. Not many people like this Tony Lombardi.

Will from Hereford said...

I didn't see anything about a four fingered comment but I know Tony personally and I also know that if anything, because of some things that have happened in his life that he is extremely giving and a great guy who works his ass off to put his kids through private schools that he probably can't afford.

A true friend of Tony's would have contacted him directly. I think this note is bogus and if anything I give Tony props for putting it out there and approving this comment at the risk of being ridiculed. Nice job random guy for WNST.

The Bob said...

@ Anonymous: I don't see where this blog is all that unfair. Tony seems to be a bit frustrated by the changes for the worse at WNST. I think he was balanced here and complimentary at the beginning. Sometimes the truth hurts. Deal with it!

Southside Baltimore said...

@nestor

You suck.

Steve Hasler said...

@Anonymous,
I find it odd that you criticize Tony for slamming WNST without first contacting Nestor personally to ask why Bachman was let go. Yet you turn around and slam Tony without contacting him personally (I assume you didn't contact him to say that you were anonymously posting your opinion of him).

Tony was critical of the business practices of one of this town's few sports radio stations. Seems like a good topic for a local sports website to delve into. You on the other hand seem to have a personal problem with Tony. Is this really the forum for addressing it?

Are you truly speaking as a friend, or do you have another agenda?

Perhaps it's fair for you to question Tony's criticism of Bachman's firing without the benefit of an investigation into all the details. But I believe it's fair for Tony to question the string of WNST personalities who have been shown the door-- nine, and I can think of a tenth--while we, the sports fan, are left listening to the unending personal grudge match vs. the Orioles that passes for sports talk at WNST.

justin said...

I am told nestor asked everyone to take a huge (50%) pay cut and told everyone they basically would be working on commission based upon the ad revenue they generate...dont know if its true, but one thing is for sure...nestor is an EPIC DOUCHE!