Paul Farhi of the WASHINGTON POST reports Washington Nationals’ radio broadcasts this season featuring Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler, “attracted a cumulative weekly audience of about 26,500 from May through July, the most recent period measured by Arbitron.”
(We now join a Nationals Radio Broadcast, already in progress)
The scary part? Farhi writes that the owner of the radio stations broadcasting the games says the ratings numbers are probably a little high:
Bonneville Int’l VP/News & Programming Jim Farley, whose company owns the stations, conceded that the “actual radio audience for the Nationals is ‘probably lower’ than the average reported by Arbitron.”
Farley added, “There’s no storyline for this season. Who’s the hero? Who’s the big star? Even the (famously terrible) ‘62 Mets had Marv Throneberry. The Nats don’t have a character like that.”
The Nats don’t have a character? Apparently Mr. Farley is unaware of Lastings Milledge’s Myspace page.
(Great hed from WaPo - had to cap it)
The worst part of all of this is that Slowes and Jageler are being associated with those stinkbomb numbers. I worked as a MLB and minor league radio announcer for nearly ten years, and I can tell you that the contract status of broadcasters is often (inexplicably) tied to the success of the team.
I know of two cases in which the jobs of baseball announcers were probably saved by their team winning the World Series. One was the 2002 Angels, which featured the duo of Rory Markas and Terry Smith. Both are good guys (I worked with Terry on AAA Columbus broadcasts have met Rory a couple times), but were hired by the Disney regime. Rory and Terry had barely been on the job when Arte Moreno bought the club and as we all know, it isn’t uncommon for new ownership to come in and clean house.
But when the Angels won the Series, Rory and Terry were forever tied to that championship. Both remain with the club to this day. I’m not saying they definitely would’ve been let go when Disney sold the club, but from what I heard at the time, it was a possibility.
Another example was the ‘96 Yankees. I was working in the organization at the time as one of the club’s announcers for the AAA Columbus Clippers. There were rumblings around that time that John Sterling’s job status was less than rock-solid. But just as Sterling’s slippage was starting to be whispered about in broadcast circles, the Yankees won the ‘96 Series - and then began their championship run. And now Sterling is a Yankee for life.
(John Sterling, still a Yankees employee. Just be sure to not get behind him in the dessert line.)
I’m not saying any of the aforementioned deserved the pipe. I’m merely pointing out how the radio and TV broadcast biz really works. Besides a precious few, there’s no untouchables.
Today I’m starting a regular feature. Spotlighting the hottest sports ticket of the day.
For that, I’ve turned to the ultimate inside source, the largest ticker broker on the west coast, My Boy Barry: “The Dodgers disembark in D.C. to face off against the Nationals. With Manny Ramirez coming to town, maybe Nats fans will finally show up at their spiffy new ballpark for once. Also tonight, the Red Sox & Yankees renew their rivalry in the Bronx, much to ESPN’s relief. And Toronto hopes that Roy Halladay can sway the Jays to victor-ay over the Rays. Oy vey!”
Scarface fans know where I’m going with this. Listen to the end of the clip if you can’t figure it out.