Outdated, out of touch, and seemingly out of ideas, ROOT Sports Northwest is quickly becoming the Aurora Mall of local sports television. Those of you in your late-twenties or older may remember Aurora Mall, a once-proud shopping center in North Seattle that was razed in the early-nineties in favor of a Costco, a Home Depot, and a handful of smaller storefronts. The mall fell victim to a lack of tenants, a lack of shoppers, and ultimately a wrecking ball. Perhaps it could have been saved with a little effort from owners. Sometimes effort is all it takes.
Much like Aurora Mall, ROOT Sports Northwest is losing tenants and shoppers in its own right. Less than a year ago, the Pac-12 Network debuted and began broadcasting a number of sporting events that had previously been aired on ROOT. For fans, the change was a welcome one, as ROOT had done little to endear themselves to viewers over the years. With low-quality technology (Do they have HD yet? No, seriously.), lackluster original shows, and on-air personalities that failed to relate to viewers, ROOT wasn’t giving its customers what they wanted. When the Pac-12 departed, an exodus of the viewership commenced.
Months have passed and ROOT has continued to struggle. Look at their daily programming lineup and one can’t help but cringe. But rather than write the network off as a joke that will die a slow death, I’d like to think we can still save the region’s premier (by default) local sports network. How are we going to do that? With the help of Twitter, I asked people how they would go about improving ROOT. This was what they had to say.
1. Create fresh local programs that people actually want to watch.
With all due respect to the likes of The Mark Few Show, there has to be more engaging local television programming for ROOT to create and broadcast. Rather than lazily cruising through their weekly lineup of “All-Access” programs on Northwest teams and interviews with insipid coaches who won’t tell us anything we don’t already know, it’d be nice to see the network think outside the box and come up with fresh ideas for their viewing audience. Two simple suggestions:
-A regular roundtable in the style of Comcast Sportsnet’s Talkin’ Ball that puts local media-types on a panel to discuss newsworthy sports topics. By pulling talent from a variety of venues (sports radio, newspapers, social media, blogs, the teams themselves, etc.), ROOT could host a rich discussion on things people legitimately care about, with personalities that people truly want to listen to.
-A documentary series that examines historical moments in Northwest sports history. Think ESPN’s 30 for 30 with a local spin. Who wouldn’t want to hear about the inner workings of Washington’s 1991 National Championship season, the Mariners’ 1995 playoff run, or the Seahawks’ Super Bowl campaign of 2005? There are stories to be told that can be conveyed in a fun fashion. All it takes is a little research.
2. Be more socially active.
ROOT is to social media as Ashton Kutcher is to the Academy Awards — the two don’t really go together. A few members of ROOT’s on-air staff (Jen Mueller comes to mind) utilize Twitter and Facebook, but do so in the most boring of ways. Outside of posting links or making event announcements, there is virtually no interaction between ROOT, ROOT’s employees, and fans/viewers. Why is that? If organically-grown companies like Taco Time and Bartell Drugs can socialize with normal people, why can’t a local television station? Especially when that television station needs those viewers to survive.
The lack of a social media presence epitomizes how out of touch ROOT is with their viewership. If they aren’t soliciting fans for opinions, where are they getting informed ideas for their broadcasts? The network comes off as arrogant and aloof in their dealings with those who could be watching their station. That needs to change.
3. Inject life into the on-air staff.
The most popular response I got when I asked people how they’d go about improving ROOT: Fire _____. And you can fill in that blank with the name of just about any member of ROOT’s team.
Fact is, it’s not logical or fair to go around terminating the contracts of all the existing on-air staff. But if fans had their way, that might be exactly what would occur. No offense to Angie Mentink, Jen Mueller, Brad Adam, et al, but if fans aren’t responding to the people delivering them news and commentary, that’s a problem.
The solution isn’t to replace employees, but to surround them with individuals who will motivate and inspire. As viewers, we’ve endured the same on-air talent at ROOT for years. The most recent impactful hire made by the station came all the way back in 2008, during the Fox Sports Northwest days, with Nicole Zaloumis (who now works for the NFL Network). It’s been five years since someone new strolled into town and livened up the daily broadcast. That’s ludicrous.
There are any number of young, hungry, exciting TV sports journalists who could be hired at a reasonable rate and deliver results well above their pay scale. Why ROOT cannot commit to finding these individuals is absolutely perplexing. Short of being on the verge of bankruptcy (and for all we know maybe the station is on the verge of bankruptcy), there’s no excuse for not increasing talent on the squad. Just like any of the teams they cover, there should be some level of expectation when it comes to performance. And right now, the performers ROOT is employing simply aren’t cutting it.
4. Hire a stylist.
This is a nit, but it’s one I think many of us share. The other day, a friend and I were sitting down to lunch at a bar when the latest episode of Mariners All-Access popped up on a nearby flat-screen. There before us stood Jen Mueller, adorned in a black ROOT Sports polo shirt with black pants that turned her outfit into a glorified ebony onesie. We spent five minutes lamenting what we were seeing. It was awful, just awful.
Thing is, Jen’s a fairly attractive woman, yet here she was dressed like a dude on the golf course, wearing something less pleasing to the eye than the uniforms employees are forced to don at Sports Authority.
Frankly, it’s not hard to dress nice. It really isn’t. But we’re not all capable of picking out the right clothes all the time. That’s where a stylist comes into play. A stylist could pick out fashionable attire for the few on-air employees ROOT actually has. They might also be able to intervene and make sure the hair looks good, the makeup has been plastered on okay, and no one is stepping in front of the camera on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction.
And no, it should not be hard to find a stylist. The ROOT Sports Northwest headquarters is located in Bellevue. Bellevue! Within a 10-mile radius of their building, I guarantee at least 100 stylists can be unearthed. This is an area home to Nordstrom, one of the premier clothing retailers on the planet. You can find a damn stylist. Just takes a minute to look.
5. Commit to broadcasting certain leagues and certain games.
After losing much of their Pac-12 coverage to the Pac-12 Network, ROOT has spent much of the 2012-2013 year airing a hodgepodge of sporting events across a variety of different leagues. There’s been some WAC programming, some WCC junk, a little Big Sky, a few Division-II games, even a smattering of Pac-12 action. But nothing has been consistent. And as a result, fans have never really known what to expect from ROOT throughout the football and basketball seasons.
ROOT won’t be getting the Pac-12 back anytime soon, if ever. Outside of Mariners baseball, they really have nothing when it comes to sporting events. So rather than try to please everyone with a potpourri of viewing fare, why not commit to an entire conference or an entire team and thrill the crap out of certain niche groups? It’s better to have a few people really happy with what you’re doing than a number of people indifferent to you.
Maybe that means signing on to be the home of the Big Sky Conference, or telling Central Washington University that you’re going to do them a solid and air all their basketball and football games. It really doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you do something different than what’s currently being done.
6. Stop re-airing everything.
For the love of God, we already saw the Mariners lose once. We don’t need to see the same loss over and over and over again throughout the week. We get it. You have nothing to air besides infomercials and replays. At least infomercials will help pay the bills and won’t thoroughly piss off sports fans. Re-airing shitty games for lack of anything better to air is stupid.
For example, if the only song I had on my iPod was Clay Aiken’s Invisible, I wouldn’t set my iPod to “Repeat” and listen to that crap a thousand times a day. No, I’d just go to the gym and work out in silence because listening to nothing would be better than listening to Clay Aiken all afternoon. You get my drift? We’d rather watch nothing than see the same effing game five times a week. So stop it. Just stop it already.
7. No more excuses.
Every time we criticize ROOT, the response we get in return is that as a regional sports network, ROOT doesn’t have the money, personnel, or bandwidth to maximize their place in the market and deliver everything we, as viewers, could possibly want.
Essentially, ROOT’s excuse for being sucky is that they flat-out can’t be any more than that. Are you kidding me? That’s garbage and everyone knows it. There are so many things that could be done on the cheap to improve the viewing experience at ROOT that you can’t help but scoff at any excuse the station might make about their situation. You’ll only struggle if you choose to struggle. On the flip side, you can be something special if you have the desire to be that.
ROOT, your network has become nothing more than a punch line to most sports fans. But the good news is you can be more than that if you want to be.
You’re the only Washington-based regional sports network, you have the Mariners (for now, at least), and the chance to impact local fans is still there. You have a wide-open market in this region. I suggest you start listening to your viewers, listening to your tenants, and capitalize on this opportunity you have.
Aurora Mall was once razed because there was too much competition from other malls in the area. Luckily, there are few competitors when it comes to regional sports networks in the Northwest. A wrecking ball is poised and ready to swing if need be. But it’s not over yet. There’s still time to salvage your viewership, ROOT. Good luck.
Filed under: Sports Media
When I was a freshman in high school, I had a friend, Stephen, whose older brother would frequently give me a ride home after class. Every afternoon, without fail, Stephen’s brother had the AM dial tuned to 950 KJR. And every afternoon, as the three of us rode home, we listened to Dave Grosby and Mike Gastineau talk about sports.
Prior to that point in my life, I hadn’t really been exposed to much sports talk radio. Sure, I listened to games and postgame shows and the like. But the rest of the time, I lent my ears to music. R&B, hip-hop, and goofy soft rock that years later would somehow work its way onto my iPod and become a novelty of sorts. Sports radio, back in those days, just wasn’t my thing. Until those rides home my freshman year.
Groz with Gas, as it was called, was an odd show to me. Here were two middle-aged men dissecting the local and national sports scene, all while joking around about nearly every subject they touched on. It was different, unlike anything I’d really experienced before. These two knuckleheads would banter and giggle, and we would do the same. They entertained us with jabs at a Godawful Sonics bench, a floundering Mariners bullpen, a perennially mediocre Seahawks squad. They managed, somehow, to make failure funny. And here we were, as teenagers, enjoying the humor.
As I went through high school and college, I continued to listen. Not just to Groz or Gas, but to everyone. Under the wrong circumstances, sports radio can be a breeding ground for idiots to voice uninformed opinions. But in this town, at least, it didn’t feel like that at all.
Time went by. I graduated college. I got a job. I ended up here, now. In my spare time, I have this website. And a Twitter account. And thankfully, a handful of people who engage with both of my creative outlets. I’ve been pretty lucky with all of that. Lucky enough to get a little publicity here and there, some airtime on the radio now and then.
As things have turned out, I’ve been fortunate enough to actually get to know some of the people I’ve grown up watching on television, reading in the newspaper, and listening to on the radio. People who are more or less in the public eye, who seem far removed from those of us who are definitely not in the public eye, but turn out to be real, genuine individuals once you sit down and start talking over beverages.
In recent years, as I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of people that I’d known of, but never really known, I’ve encountered a mixed bag of personalities. For the most part, however, the majority of those (for lack of a better term, we’ll call them “public figures”) public figures have been pretty cool. Nice, forthcoming, gracious, and likable. When you meet people like that, you can’t help but believe in the greater good of everyone around you. And when you believe like that, when you truly convince yourself that people are generally well-intentioned, life just seems to get better every day. So many of those people who I’ve met, who I’ve gotten to know, who I’ve become friends with as I’ve moonlit as a writer, have made my life better. They just have. To say it any other way wouldn’t do the feeling justice. Their presence, their hospitality, the kindness they’ve shown me — some wise-ass kid who started up a rinky-dink blog — has meant more than the world. I cannot overstate my appreciation for how they’ve treated me. It’s been awesome.
Of course, as time has passed, things have changed. They always change. It’s inevitable. One minute you’re watching season two of Boy Meets World and Cory actually sounds like a boy; the next minute you’re watching season three of Boy Meets World and Cory still sounds like a boy, albeit a boy with a slightly deeper voice. So yeah. Can’t avoid change. It’s always there.
Things have changed. And as they’ve done so, a lot of those things I grew up with have disappeared. Take a look at my hometown, for one. Back in my day (only old people get to use that expression), Bellevue was a McDonald’s, then an Arby’s, then some other stuff, then a Safeway, a Baskin-Robbins, and a few banks. Then change hit. Now it’s luxury apartments, an empty building where Safeway used to be, and Lincoln Effing Square. Change shit all over my memories as a kid. I don’t even get to see the water fountain outside Bellevue Square anymore because they turned it into a rock arrangement. Who the hell does that? That water fountain was a gem. And they nuked it. Jerks.
Not surprisingly, change has taken its toll in other realms, as well. Notably, in media. Where a newspaper means next-to-nothing to today’s high schoolers. Where a breaking story can be crammed into a 140-character text box and called good. Where, thanks to social networking, we’ve all become reporters in a certain sense. Change isn’t bad by any means. I mean, I can speak firsthand to its benefits. I’ve been impacted directly by many of these changes. Without them, my opinions would be completely irrelevant (in many cases, my opinions continue to be irrelevant, I realize that. But at least now they’re a little less irrelevant than they would have been without social media). But at the same time, even the most beneficial changes have negative consequences. And today, I sit here reminded of that.
I don’t know what may have occurred behind the scenes. I don’t know why this guy I had the pleasure of getting to know a little bit decided to leave the only job he’s had for more than two decades. But I do know that I will miss hearing his voice on my car radio in the afternoons. I will miss hearing his opinions on a daily basis. I will miss knowing that, whether I’ve had a good day or a bad one, he will be there to distract me as the sun sets on my drive home.
The first time I formally met Mike Gastineau, he looked me in the eye and said, “Alex, I don’t believe we’ve met yet.” The guy addressed me by name before we even knew each other. Which is just flat-out cool. You do that to anyone and you’re guaranteed to be on their good side for life. We shook hands and we met and we’ve crossed paths a few times since. He’s a good dude. I can tell you that. And not just because every single person I trust who knows him has led me to believe it, though they have. You won’t hear any media member in this town speak ill of Mike Gastineau’s character. He is one of a rare breed. The talking head full of snark and wit who, somehow, has managed not to piss everyone off. Remarkable, really.
I don’t know how it is in other cities across America, but here in Seattle there are all these media types who genuinely like each other. It’s crazy to witness. It’s crazy to be a part of. We’re friends, we hang out, we’ll drink together, we’ll play ball together. We enjoy each other’s company. And I get to be involved in that. Because of these good people who appreciate the stupid shit I occasionally come up with. I don’t really understand it. I just go with it.
It wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t start listening to sports radio at some point along the way. That is what got me interested in doing all of this. And the first voice I heard, that year I was riding in a car with my friend and his older brother, belonged to Mike Gastineau. The same guy who would one day greet me by name before we even met. That guy.
Everyone will have their stories. There are always stories when you’re an icon. But this is my story about a guy who is moving on from having impacted so many people in this town, including myself. I wish him all the best, thank him for his kindness, and look forward to our next beer together. On to the next adventure, Gas.
Filed under: Sports Media
I believe in my friends. They’re good people. All of them. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t be friends with them. It’s that simple. Not that I’m some expert on relationships or anything. But I feel like I’m a pretty decent judge of character. And what my friends have is quality character worthy of my faith. There’s no doubt in my mind. As a result, from time to time I use my bias towards these friends of mine to sell the world on the things they represent.
Today is one of those moments I’ve chosen to be selfish about a few of my friends. You may have heard of these particular people in passing before. They are, in no particular order, Ian Furness, Jason Puckett, Josh Sabrowsky, and Ashley Ryan. They all work for Sports Radio KJR (950 on your local AM dial; 102.9 on local FM), they’re all good at what they do, and they all happen to thrive at their jobs from 1:00-3:00 p.m. each weekday. Furness is the lanky Canadian host of the show bearing his name; Puckett is the plucky, wise-cracking everyman sidekick; Josh is the easy-target/producer; and Ashley is the girl who knows sports and has boobs…or something like that.
Now before I go on, let me address the obvious question: Am I biased? Well yes, clearly I am. That would be the natural inclination, of course. These people are good to me, and hopefully I am just as good to them. But you know what, whether I’m biased or not is irrelevant. Because you cannot deny when something is both efficient and effective. And that is precisely what the midday show on KJR happens to be.
Each day, the Furness Show takes the air for a mere two hours and provides relief. Relief. That’s it. It’s a breath of fresh air. To those of you who listen to sports talk radio on a regular basis, you know how seriously hosts — and, in turn, callers and guests — can often take themselves. It’s kind of a joke. Here we are talking about adults playing games and instead of having fun (which is what sports are all about, keep in mind), we’re more apt to turn this into something along the lines of a nuclear treaty discussion.
Furness, Puck, Ashley and Josh are different. They genuinely enjoy working with each other. They have an even-keel perspective on the world around them — something that many sports radio hosts lack. They’re hilarious. They aren’t stupid. They’re not pompous. They aren’t ignorant. And they aren’t willing to roll over and die for the listener. Which means they actually stand for something that matters to the people.
Here’s the thing about talk radio: the goal is to rile the masses. How does one do this? By capitalizing on irrationality and helping the unintelligent listeners get emotional about inane bullshit. It’s the type of thing that I’m sure has turned many of you off from talk radio entirely. Frankly, I don’t blame you. But if you’re in that group and seemingly couldn’t care less about broadcast banter, you might find as we continue here that the Furness Show is actually worth caring about.
By not succumbing to the listener, Furness and company are doing you, the astute sports fan, a favor. They’re bringing you discussion you can tolerate, in a format that makes sense and is enjoyable to listen to. They know what they’re talking about, they debate interesting topics, and they employ a format that allows them to display their affinity for one another. It’s absolute aural pleasure. Aural sex, one might go so far as to say. And who doesn’t like aural sex?
For those of you who do know a thing or two about sports radio, you may be avoiding the Furness Show because it’s a “Coug show,” meaning it’s for Washington State Cougar fans, by Washington State Cougar fans. Fact is, the Furness Show is as much a “Coug show” as this website is a traditional sports blog.
Sure, Furness and Puckett are Washington State University alums. But they’re far from the stereotype of the college homer. They’re objective and they have a grasp on reality, two things we want in all individuals, let alone radio hosts. And if there’s any doubt about that, just look to the two people who comprise their quartet: Ashley is a USC alum and Husky fan, while Josh is both a Washington grad and card-carrying purple-and-gold diehard.
On top of all that, there’s a basic understanding among many of the local media members that Furness and Puckett are GGTKs — or as Gem Diamond explained in the class ring episode of Saved By the Bell, Good Guys To Know.
Take one look at Twitter. No other sports radio hosts in this city interact with their fellow media members the way these two do. It’s like there’s a fraternity they happen to head up. It doesn’t matter if you write for The Seattle Times, The Tacoma News-Tribune, The Everett Herald, work on one of the TV news stations, or happen to lend your voice to the airwaves just as they do; Furness and Puckett get along with you regardless. They just do. And that’s a rarity in the media business. It doesn’t happen often. Not to this magnitude, at least.
To a fan, what that means is that the people you trust to bring you the news, trust these guys. Ipso facto, you should trust these guys, as well. And yes, I just like saying “ipso facto.”
There has to be a point here, I suppose, and there is. I’m lobbying for the Furness Show to get more airtime. Two hours isn’t enough. In the world of radio, two hours is miniscule. These guys deserve better. They’re exceptional at what they do and they have a passion for doing it. You have to respect that, whether you like them or not. Most people can’t say that about their jobs. Most people go to work and languish for eight hours. But for two freakin’ hours a day, these four individuals work as a unit to talk about sports in a unique way that makes sense to a normal human being. I appreciate that. And I’m guessing if you’re reading this article and enjoy this website, you might appreciate that, too.
So I’m imploring you to do what you can to make this cause worthwhile, to help them get more airtime. Listen to their show. Follow them on Twitter: @IanKJR, @JasonPuckettKJR, @AshleyLolaRyan, and @KarateEmergency. Write letters to the station, if you feel so compelled. Just support these guys. Not because they need the support necessarily. But because it never hurts to go out of your way for good people. And that’s really what they are: good people. Good people who happen to have a product that you may find interesting.
Filed under: Sports Media
I’ll tell you what it is first, then I’ll give you the back story. It is a weekly podcast featuring myself, producer extraordinaire Josh Sabrowsky, traffic diva Ashley Ryan, and the Tacoma News-Tribune’s Ryan Divish, hosted by Sports Radio 950 KJR, published through 950KJR.com and SeattleSportsnet.com, and available through iTunes.
There you have it.
So how did this come to fruition?
Very simply, it started with a karate emergency. And for the record, “Karate Emergency” is now my new favorite quote. Because nothing says “emergency” quite like karate.
Josh and I were headed to play some pickup basketball with my brother at the Northgate Community Center on Thursday evening. We go every Thursday for open runs. We play ball with high school kids who talk a lot and make us feel better about our fading game and aging bodies.
We walked up to the entrance on this particular evening and saw all our underage constituents sitting outside the gym, shooting the sh*t by the doorway. They told us the gym was closed. We walked in to see for ourselves. There were a handful of people doing karate underneath the hoops, to which I remarked, “You know, you can do karate anywhere. It doesn’t have to be in a gym, where people could be playing basketball.” Josh concurred. I don’t know if he was just tolerating my bitching or in total agreement. Either way, I appreciated his acknowledgement.
We walked over to the front desk.
“Is this going on all night?” I asked.
The lady behind the counter nodded. “Yeah,” she said, “it was a kind of a last minute thing. An emergency.”
Josh and I looked back over at the collection of 40-year-old citrus belts who were trying to master stretching along the baseline. An emergency? Really?
We walked out of the gym. I called my brother, who was still on his way to meet us.
“Don’t come,” I told him. “They have an emergency and the gym’s closed…yeah…yeah…no…an emergency for karate.”
“A karate emergency,” Josh chimed in.
“Yeah,” I told my brother, “a f***in’ karate emergency. Can you believe that? What the hell?”
I hung up the phone. What to do now. 7:00 p.m. on a Thursday evening. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Naturally, we headed for a bar. In our basketball attire. On Queen Anne. Just down the block from Josh’s place. Being a Queen Anne native himself, I texted my friend Jerry Brewer and told him of our impending plan.
“Jerry,” my text read, “if you’re in the hood and available, Josh Sabrowsky and I are headed over to Sully’s for a drink.”
Now let me just preface this next part by saying that Jerry didn’t end up coming with us, and really he doesn’t relate to our story in any way from here on out. I just wanted to share his response text with you because I think it’s hilarious. And frankly, everyone should see Jerry’s hilarious side.
“Awww snap!” wrote Jerry. “I’m out with [my wife]. Damn, that’s my spot!”
I held the phone up so Josh could see. We died laughing.
We ordered food and drinks. Let me tell you something. This bar, Sully’s, sells $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR, to the initiated) in 16-ounce cans. It’s literally the greatest deal at a bar you can find. So we hit that up. Then we ordered some bar food. The type of bar food that will make you wish you hadn’t eaten in the three or four days prior. Chili cheese fries and buffalo wings. Goodness covered in more goodness. It was beautiful.
We ate and drank and talked. We caught wind of the MILFs in the corner “eye-f***ing us” (Josh’s words, not mine) while avoiding the advances of a creepy guy who was trying to get in their pants. Perhaps it was our basketball attire that was blowing their minds. Or maybe it was the fact that we were likely the only people under 30 in the venue at that moment. Who knows for sure. Either way, it gave us something else to converse on.
We started talking about KJR and the roundtables that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of. We discussed the up-and-coming local sports media contingent that, through technology and social networking, has a chance to revolutionize this city’s consumption of news. We inflated our egos and made animated gestures as we expressed opinion after opinion through booze and bombast.
And then the idea hit.
“Hold on,” said Josh. “This idea just hit me smack in the face and I need to interrupt you.”
I don’t remember what I was talking about at that moment. But it wasn’t all that interesting. So I deferred.
“What about a weekly podcast?” he asked. “With four people. You, me, Ryan Divish, and one more.”
“Divish is key,” I remarked (take note, Divish, when you consider your involvement in this project that you currently know nothing about). “And you know who else is key? Ashley.”
“Ashley! Yes!” Josh exclaimed. “Hold on, I’m gonna BBM her right now.” And indeed he proceeded to do just that, whipping out his Blackberry like a man possessed before asking the glue that will undoubtedly hold this group together if she would be a part of this alcohol-fueled moment of inspiration.
Two minutes later, we had our answer: “ABSOLUTELY!” So Ashley was in.
Now it was up to our fourth wheel, the definitive cog, the engine that would make this thing go: Divish.
“You need to work on him,” Josh stated.
“I will,” I replied. “But first we need to blow this thing up so he can’t say no. Because we need Divish. Divish is the absolute tits. He makes radio shows better, and he’s more than just a journalist, you know? He’s more like a brand name. Along the lines of Mitsubishi or Toyota. One of those Japanese brand names. He’s like that. He’s that important. He’s an absolute gem.” (I may have embellished certain parts of that last quote, but frankly, it’s all true.)
We decided we would have a better chance of adding the last member of our team if we a) posted our plan on Facebook, b) posted our plan on Twitter, and c) posted our plan here, in the form of this article. If we could build excitement around this idea, petition it to our audience, then beg and plead with promises of beer and pizza, maybe, just maybe, Divish would join us.
So what do you think, audience? This sound like anything that might intrigue you? The plan, as alluded to in the opening paragraph, is to record our weekly podcasts in KJR’s studios, then stream them online through 950KJR.com, this very website, and iTunes. Grab-ass for the masses. It should be entertaining, if nothing else.
We’d also likely bring in guests to keep things lively, and do some other fun stuff, as well. We haven’t finalized anything just yet, but barring some epic fail, this project is a go. Stay tuned as we polish up the details, but for now, get excited! We’re going global.
Filed under: Other Sports, Sports Media
Shameless self-promotion, I know. Not that anyone should have any shame in promoting themselves. Screw that. From now on, I’m calling it Super Fun Self-Promotion. The connotation is decisively positive. And we’re having Super Fun, which is always a good thing. So consider this Super Fun Self-Promotion and not shameless. Win.
Anyways, I feel like I’m nagging you a bit on these radio appearances. I feel like my dad, giving me a lecture on investing in my retirement fund or driving Asian-style in the far right lane. I don’t want to be a nag. So just listen to the program, will ya? If not for me, then for Ian Furness, Ryan Divish, Jason Churchill, or Chris Fetters, who will all be in attendance, as well. We’ll be discussing social media, new media, blogging, that sort of thing. We did it once before, back in July, and it was off the chain. If the chain was here…our show was all the way over there. That’s how off the chain it was.
Like it says in the headline up there, we’ll be going on air at 1:20 p.m. and sticking around until about 2:00. Three ways to listen (heh, three ways):
1) 950 on your AM radio dial…you know, the frequency you rarely use. The one that doesn’t play music. Outside of Radio Disney, that is. And the Spanish language stations. That one.
2) 950KJR.com. This is where you can catch the live stream. The nice thing about the live stream is that there’s no seven-second delay. So if anyone drops an f-bomb, you’ll catch it here.
3) In-person at Dino’s Pub in Renton. That’s where we’ll be broadcasting. Join us if you can. That way, you can see what five radio faces look like.
It’s gonna be a blast. Be sure to tune in! Thanks for the support, as always!
Filed under: Sports Media
That’s what makes Ashley Ryan special. Not only does she say things that will make you giggle, but she does so unintentionally in front of thousands of listeners.
For those of you who don’t know Ashley, she comes to you live each and every weekday from the State Farm Traffic Center. You might hear her on various ClearChannel stations throughout your radio dial, but she’s arguably most famous for her work with Sports Radio 950 KJR.
That’s where this audio clip comes to us from. I just happened to be tuned in on Wednesday afternoon when Ashley uttered the sentence you just heard in the sound bite. In context, she was speaking directly to my good friend Josh, who was reading a lengthy list of guests scheduled to join host Jason Puckett for the afternoon show. Out of context, she had a Grade-A “That’s what she said” moment.
Lucky for us, Josh is as devious as I am and took the liberty of saving the audio for everyone’s enjoyment. Hence, we can now immortalize the words.
Yes, loyal readers, that’s why we give this week’s victory to Ashley. Because if it wasn’t for her, we might not get to have fun at anyone’s expense today. And it’s Friday. So we could really use that fun. On with your day…
Filed under: Sports Media
Because we don’t watch enough of the news anymore. And these 11 folks need our attention. They demand it. They crave it. It’s why they’re on TV.
11. Andrea Nakano, KING 5 News
Andrea is the newest kid on the block when it comes to the local TV sportscaster scene. She’s been tasked with filling the shoes of the now-departed Lisa Gangel (Kerney), which is akin to handing David Pauley a baseball and asking him to take over for Cliff Lee.
To say that Andrea has a lot of pressure on her shoulders would be an understatement at this point. However, she seems to be fitting into the role nicely so far and has yet to run off and marry one of our local professional athletes. Good for her.
10. Jen Mueller, Fox Sports Northwest
Jen Mueller spent nearly two years living in the shadow of Nicole Zaloumis’s cleavage. As soon as Nicole and her funbags left town, it was time for Jen to shine.
A true professional in every sense of the word, Jen’s added some spice to the FSN lineup by seemingly getting hotter every time she appears on your television set. Perhaps it’s the lighting, the makeup, the hair…or maybe one or two other things.
9. Brad Adam, Fox Sports Northwest
Bradam is so popular that his hair has its own Twitter account: @BradAdamsHair. Enough said.
8. Mike Ferreri, KOMO News 4
You might not know Mike Ferreri, but rest assured he’s quite possibly the nicest sportscaster on this list. He interviewed me once when I was part of the Dawg Pack at UW and I’m pretty sure an angel with a harp followed him around playing theme music for the dude.
And when we finished the interview, I wanted to hug the guy and tell him he deserved better than a backup role. Because if you weren’t aware, Mike has been the backup sports anchor at KOMO for nearly a decade now. Frankly, I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the Carlos Del Valle Award for Backup Sports Anchorship (an award I just created, by the way, in honor of former KING 5 backup sportscaster Carlos Del Valle) than Mike. Keep fighting the good fight, Mike. You’re the Charles Gipson of local sportscasters. Everyone wants to see you get off the bench.
7. Aaron Levine, Q13 Fox News
Aaron Levine’s claim to fame is that he was a finalist on the original ESPN Dream Job. Remember that show? Yeah, neither does Levine. He didn’t win. So don’t bring it up around him. I guess the answer to “What happens when you lose out on your dream job?” can be found in Levine’s ending up here in Seattle.
That said, working alongside the likes of beautiful people like Lily Jang and Walter Kelley is no nightmare, I’d have to imagine. And come on. Let’s be honest. A party animal like Aaron Levine working for ESPN? If Steve Phillips is boinking ugly interns and Sean Salisbury is texting everyone pictures of his dong, you know Aaron would be running around the set naked, high on PCP or something. He’s got to be better off here. No doubt.
6. Angie Mentink, Fox Sports Northwest
You know what? Angie Mentink gets a bad rap. Yeah, FSN as a whole kinda sucks. There’s no getting around that. But I actually like Angie. And I’ve always liked Angie. And I think she does a good job. So there, it’s been said.
Get it, Angie.
5. Chris Egan, KING 5 News
If there was an award for Most Socially Connected Local Sportscaster, Chris Egan would win it hands down. The dude is all over Facebook — which is a great resource if you have lots of friends and want to look at photos of college girls doing crazy things like taking their tops off whilst drunk; let’s not kid ourselves — and yes, even Twitter (@ChrisEgan5).
I have hung on Egan’s every status update and Tweet from day one, and there are moments when the things he has to say will make me laugh out loud.
Sure, he might be Paul Silvi’s backup, but the guy knows what he’s doing. He’s like the Justin Bieber of Seattle sportscasters, making the internet his bitch for the good of his career. We can all appreciate that.
4. Tom Glasgow, Fox Sports Northwest
Tom Motherf**kin Glasgow. The Godfather.
Is there a TV station in Seattle that Glasgow hasn’t worked for? The dude has been everywhere in this city and he keeps on keeping on no matter where he goes. I don’t know if he’s a clubhouse cancer, a prized commodity, or just a G-money pimp, but I’ll tell you what, this man is a legend on the local sportcasting scene. Sure, that’s just my opinion, but trust me on this, I know my local sportscasters.
For me, Glasgow makes FSN tolerable. And there’s no one else out there that gives it to you straight the way he does it. He’s like a smooth blues riff on a vintage guitar. Old school, but still hip. That’s what it takes to be the Godfather.
3. Paul Silvi, KING 5 News
Paul Silvi could be higher on this list, but the guy kinda has that diva aura around him that keeps him from being one of us. Even in spite of his longevity in this town, it just feels like we’ve never really connected with Silvi. Yeah, he’s been around since the Tony Ventrella days (and even the aforementioned Carlos Del Valle days, I’d wager), but that doesn’t make him lovable.
I don’t know. If I had to compare Silvi to anyone it would have to be Ichiro. He’s solid, he’s an All-Star, he does his job well. But at the end of the day, he doesn’t quite speak our language. And that can be tough to overcome.
2. Eric Johnson, KOMO 4 News
Eric just made the switch from the sports desk to the news anchor seat at KOMO, but that won’t stop us from putting him on this list. One-hundred percent of children surveyed demanded that we add the creator of Eric’s Little Heroes on here or else we’d be subject to loud screaming on airplanes and having the backs of our seats repeatedly kicked at Mariners games. Personally, I can’t deal with those kinds of threats.
On a personal note, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with Johnson once or twice in the past, and unlike some other people on this list, Eric is straight-up humble pie. If anything, he deserves to have a little attitude after all the years he’s put in at KOMO. But all of that success has apparently not gone to Eric’s head.
A good guy who does a great job. You gotta love Eric Johnson.
1. Steve Raible, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News
Steve Raible isn’t really even a sportscaster anymore. He’s KIRO’s lead news anchor, but got his start in sports and still presents the sportscast every now and then.
On top of that, he’s absolutely phenomenal at his job. I’ve never heard a bad word spoken about Steve Raible, and if I did, I’d be shocked. Talking sh*t about Raible is like talking sh*t about Mother Teresa. You just don’t do it. But if you do, you’re probably going to hell.
In addition to his TV duties, Raible is also the play-by-play voice of the Seattle Seahawks, a team he used to be a wide receiver for back in the day. Turns out he’s a better newscaster than a football player, which is saying quite a bit since he wasn’t too bad of a pass-catcher, all things considered.
He’s been around this town longer than any of his sportscaster colleagues, and as a result, he’s basically God. Not The Godfather, like Glasgow. Just God. The holy overlord. That’s Steve Raible for you.
Filed under: Sports Media, Top 11
Tune in to the Ian Furness Show on sports radio 950 KJR AM Wednesday afternoon at 2:15 to join Ian, Chris Fetters of Dawgman.com, Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News-Tribune, and myself as we discuss blogging, new media, and other fun stuff.
We’ll all be in studio together (so it won’t sound like static-y crap, because let’s face it, we all hate that), plus you can stream the feed live through your computer by going to 950KJR.com.
It’ll be an absolute blast. I hear we’re hiring strippers, KY Jelly wrestling matches will undoubtedly ensue, and by the end of the afternoon we should all be kickin’ it to Notorious B.I.G. as we sit mellowed out sipping on Purple Drank. In the immortal words of Biggie Smalls, it’s all good, baby, bab-ay.
Don’t miss it. You’ll seriously regret it if you do. Seriously.
Filed under: Sports Media