Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sports talk radio Hee Haw

I’ve never been a fan of 105.7 The Fan’s Bruce Cunningham. Even back in a day when he was on WNST it was solely Aaron Wilson who gave his Saturday Football Show street cred.

That’s not to say Cunningham doesn’t have his loyal following and I suppose that’s good for CBS Radio in Baltimore. I’ve likened Cunningham’s gig to sports radio Hee Haw. I was never a fan of that show either but Hee Haw did have a 10 year run (also on CBS) and an even longer run in syndication.

Cunningham isn’t a flavor for the real sports aficionado. He’s for the casual listener who doesn’t mind him eating his lunch on air and one who is more interested in silly little anecdote’s, Ray Lewis’ favorite color and Motown trivia than real sports talk. The only time that you get any of that weekdays between Noon and 2PM, is when sidekick Mark Zinno interviews an interesting guest or when Mike Preston is actually allowed to talk in between Cunningham’s man-crush schoolgirl giggling over The Sun’s controversial columnist.

Consequently I’ll often pass on the show, opting instead for well, just about anything else.

What might keep me listening to 105.7 between Noon and 2PM?

Two words – Bob Haynie.

Relegating Haynie to pinch hitting and the player shows is a crime. Opting for Cunningham over Haynie in this desirable time slot is the equivalent of playing Marcus Smith over Anquan Boldin; Marty Domres over Bert Jones; Glen Gulliver over Cal Ripken; Wally Pipp over Lou Gehrig.

Have I made my point?


Anonymous said...


Oh yeah and a HeeeeeeeeHaw!

Captain E said...

The most accurate thing that Cunningham says is, "I don't know." Wonder if he owns that bar in Federal Hill?


Champ Kind said...

I love you madly, San Diego.

Phil said...

You should stick to football. You do that well. When you write about this kind of stuff(local media bashing), often it comes off as sour grapes and childish. To make it worse, you add the ridiculous comments (that you create) from fake posters (like Captain E and Champ Kind) who only seem to respond when you go after people like Cunningham, Nestor, and the like. The whole thing is beneath you, actually. You add a lot of positive things that are quite insightful regarding the Ravens but it's hard to read you when you talk media. That's just my humble opinion.

Tony Lombardi said...


I appreciate your comments and concerns. I think you raise some valid points and I'll accept the criticism.

It might not change anything. It's a media oriented blog entry geared to criticize one talker and praise another and if even in a small way I can help make that change that any intelligent sports fan would want, I'll smile happily.

But I'm not holding my breath. The suits at CBS must like what he's doing.

As for your accusation that I've entered my own comments here, I'm way too busy for that. I'm only responding to yours because I believe you are sincere and trying to help. For that I thank you.

Harryos29 said...

Harryos29 Oct 20th Regarding HE HAW.
Tony, I think you analyzed his show before. If you wrote this to find out who listens between 12 & 2: I think you found out. Being Retired, I listen for the Days when Preston is on there and I think Zinno is solid.
That is all I have to say.

Jerry said...

Phil, what part of what Tony wrote isn't true in your opinion? Personally I'd love to see Haynie on in that slot. Maybe Cunningham would be better off on Saturday again paired with Aaron Wilson.

Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I've listened to Baltimore sports talk radio, so this may not have been the situation with Bob Haynie anymore, but I listened to him a few times back when he was on WNST and had a very simple observation that might explain why he's struggled somewhat in his radio career at times.

It seemed like every time I turned on his program, he talking NBA or indoor soccer or some random sport. The average Baltimore sports fan wants to hear about the Orioles and the Ravens -- and that's about it. Talking about New York Knicks back court or whatever is something that is going to get 9 out of 10 Baltimore sports fans to flip to another station. You've got to play to your audience, and your potential audience, and talk about what they want to hear about.

Also, and it might just be nostalgia talking here, but I like Bruce Cunningham. I remember way back when his Saturday Ravens show was a Saturday CFL Colts/Stallions show. He's got a long history in the market and that counts for something with a lot of people who like hearing a familiar voice every so often.

Phil said...

@ Jerry--
It's not that Tony is wrong, per se....I jush wish he stuck to football. Number one, this is a Ravens website. Number two, Cunningham and Tony are competitors in some respects (both competing for an audience)and in my opinion, this complicates Tony's points because he has a natural bias. Plus Tony has had his own show in the past... Number three, he's gone after Nestor and Cunningham so many times that we all know how he feels. Tony's faithful readers (and he has many) all know how he feels about the state of Baltimore sports radio.

Don't get me wrong. I love Tony's work. I'd just like to see him use his impressive creative abilities to dig deeper and deeper into the Ravens and less into Nestor, Uncle Fester (Damon), and BC.

Phil from Frostburg said...

TL, I'd be interested if instead of blasting WNST (previous posts, not this one), you could provide some insight on why they're doing what they're doing. It's a mystery to most people who have listened to them. They're now down to one credible host, having gotten rid of everyone else for what is claimed to be inability to raise adequate sponsorships to justify their salary and/or lack of embracing social media responsibilities. But how do you grow your brand when you obliterate your talent and don't bring in similar talent? It seems like the Pittsburgh Pirates strategy for the radio business. I just don't get it.

Tony Lombardi said...


Businesses in the media are struggling because advertisers more so than ever before are demanding value in advertising. They have trimmed budgets and are looking for more economical yet just as effective forms of ads.

The newspaper business is dying. Radio and TV are suffering as well for different reasons. Traditional radio is challenged by satellite and viewing habits in the country are changing with on demand products and DVR/Tivo which encourages acceleration through TV ads. The value there has dropped.

WNST in my opinion had a great niche. Baltimore sports delivered by Baltimore sports fans. And they did it well.

Nestor when he wanted to be was as good as there was on a local level; Bob Haynie's style is unique in the way he combined intelligence, fandom, humor and a laid back feel. Rob Long's show was hip and insightful.

Now that's all gone...

Mix in the shrinkage of ad dollars in the market, a weak signal made worse by 105.7 the Fan's booming FM sound and the emergence of Fox 1370 on to the scene and suddenly WNST can't make ends meet.

So they trim back the talent because they can't afford it; replace them with people who are looking to make their mark and therefore willing to take less pay and/or willing to sell ads and you see the result.

To overcome signal issues WNST wants to market itself as a web company first. The problem is that their website has limited direction. They want to be the of Baltimore sports and that's a fine goal but they don't have the content to deliver. Perhaps they are hoping that internet radio, once it becomes more mainstream and available in your car, will level the playing field with signal issues.

But then what will it matter when the quality of the programming isn't the same. Content is king!Moreover, what's to prevent many others from entering the sports talk market by way of the internet? Perhaps we even get back in the mix and offer Ravens programming powered by 24x7.

It looks to me like a slow and unfortunate death for WNST, Baltimore's little sports talk engine that once "could".

Jerry said...


Your last response to Phil must have inspired more story telling from Nestor Aparicio. Don't know if you've seen his most recent long winded rant but he goes on and on about how WNST's website is dominating the local market. What an insult to his sponsors and to sports fans in general. How lame to present a questionnaire to their own constituents and then present the results as if they weren't biased. It's like sending a poll to Martin O'Malley supporters and then asking them which political party they support most. Anyway I digress. Why bother with a website that only talks about how great they are or how bad their competition is or whine about the Orioles or how WNST is the black sheep of the sports media.

I don't know why I even care. Maybe it's because I like what they used to be but now they are nothing more than a melting pot of douche bags. I feel sorry for the guys over there who actually seem like decent people. I hope they are not spoiled by the insufferable punks that have teamed to ruin a nice little thing they once had going on over there.

Oh and isn't it interesting that instead of presenting their war and peace blogs on one page they now cut it up to make you click through to the next page. What a cheap way to add traffic to their site and yet another way to deceive their sponsors.

I'm done. I now need to shower again.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame, but the wrong people are on sports talk radio today. Get rid of Bruce Cunningham, Mark Zinno, Bulldog, everyone at WNST except Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark. 1370's top stars are Jerry Coleman and Rob Long. That is who I listen to regularly. Bob Haynie should have his own show midday on 105.7 the Fan. Tony Lombardi and Aaron Wilson should be on the radio as well. There should be much more talk about the Ravens and less about every other team and sport. This is a football town first. Always has been, always will be. When will the radio executives wake up and smell the coffee?

Mail Man said...

Glenn Clark is a douche bag and Forrester is insufferable. Good to see one or both follows Tony's blog and posts here. And forgive me if this is deemed blasphemous here but sorry, I would not listen to Aaron Wilson and Lombardi. Boring!

C'mon man. Wilson is like listening to paint dry. Yes I said listening. Lombardi, I liked his show but c'mon man, can you please stay in one place for a bit? I admit, I did like the way you interviewed people dude. You seem like you cared. But it is nice to catch you every now and then on Rob Long's show. The two of you should team up more and lose the other guy, Crazy, Jazzy or whatever the f his name is. Dude is way too negative but he does seem knowledgable. Maybe he needs some trim.