I so wanted to talk about this last night, but the Net was down here in Virginia due to a massive storm in the afternoon. Better late than never, so here I go...
This actually affects those of us here in the DC region, but when I finish this story, don't be surprised if I haven't struck a nerve with any of you. It's about radio, and how Dan Snyder fails to understand the phrase "restraint of trade".
But if you've known my writings here in FanNation, you know there's always a backstory. And brothers (and sisters), I got a doozy of one here.
First, the headline. Red Zebra Broadcasting, the company set up by Dan Snyder to broadcast Redskins games on radio here in the DC region, has come to terms to buy 3 AM stations from Clear Channel. One of those 3, WTEM-AM...known as "Sportstalk 980"...once upon a time used to be the flagship station of the Redskins. That is, until Dan Snyder got greedy.
Snyder's owned the Skins since 1997. Thus, he had to deal with the owners of WTEM in order to have the games carried. So when the contract ran out following the 2000 season (or 2001; I don't know for sure), Danny Boy took the act over to WJFK-FM, owned by Infinity (now part of CBS Radio).
But there was always an ulterior motive in Snyder, to rid the Redskins franchise of everything that reminded fans of Jack Kent Cooke's legacy--from taking Cooke's name off the facade of the stadium Cooke built (and renaming it FedEx Field) to firing Frank Herzog, the longtime play-by-play voice of the Skins, in 2003. That last bit forever feeds my contempt of Dan Snyder, BTW. But, I digress.
It stuck in Snyder's craw that he could not control the view Redskins fans have of him. So when the radio rights were up in 2006, Danny Boy decided to change that. The question was, HOW?? The answer became, start your own radio network...which he proceeded to do by buying 3 Spanish-language stations and transforming them into "Redskins Radio". (Or, as I call it, the "Dan Snyder propaganda machine". I wrote a blog long ago about this corporate incest of Snyder's; try to find it sometime here in RFA.)
So now it comes down to this deal for WTEM and 2 other stations. Here's the problem: WTEM employs more than a few ex-Redskins (Brian Mitchell among them) who aren't shy about pointing out what's wrong with the franchise. And I applaud them for that. With this deal, I (and I'm pretty sure, my fellow Skins fans on here) fear Snyder's stooges (read: Larry Michael, et.al.) will swoop in and fire them en masse.
Apparently Snyder's not heard of the First Amendment.
Let me be honest, I don't know how this is gonna shake out. All I know is, when one man controls all of sports-talk radio in a region, diverse opinions go out the window. Ever ask yoursleves why, in Third World countries, the first thing anti-government rebels do when they seize power...is take over TV and radio?? Because they know the truth...that "the media is the message". How else to brainwash the masses??
And isn't that what's happened across the sports media spectrum?? James Dolan owns Cablevision, but also the Knicks and Rangers (and the MSG network); Tribune owns (owned??) WGN radio and TV, but also the Cubs. I'm sure there are other examples around, but you see my point. This Snyder deal smacks of the same type of stench.
I hope to God I'm wrong on this...but I'm afraid I might not be. THAT'S the scary part...