Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “bad radio”

Quick hits on the second-place Tribe

Some quick thoughts in the aftermath of the Cleveland Indians falling back into second place after losing to Detroit on Thursday by a score of 6-2.

We had the opportunity to work from home today and, by luck, the Indians were playing an afternoon game.

But for some ongoing reason that continues to vex us, SportsTime Ohio decided they were not going to televise the game. Why? Who knows?

This is one of those situations we will never figure out. The announcers and the equipment are already in Detroit – why are you not televising the game?

So we were forced to turn back the clock to 1942 and listen to the Indians on the radio. Which isn’t a bad thing, really, we all know Tom Hamilton in the man and all, but the drawback to listening to a game on the radio are the insipid commercials you have to endure from WTAM.

Promos for Glenn Beck and Mike Trivisonno, First Energy, some kind of hot dogs, we don’t know. It was mind-numbing and an embarrassment, to put it bluntly.

We thought the guy was bad on Sirius, but he’s got nothing on WTAM.


We’ve been feeling sympathy for the Tribe’s starting pitchers as the team has gone through its recent offensive slump – scoring two or fewer runs 10 times in their past 15 games.

It can’t be easy taking the mound knowing if you give up a couple of runs the game is essentially over.

But those sympathetic feelings have been tempered lately as we’ve watched the Indians put up a couple of runs only to see the starter go out the next inning and give those runs right back.

It happened Wednesday with Fausto Carmona – after the Tribe put up four runs in the fourth to come back from a 3-0 hole, Carmona gave a run right back to the Tigers in the bottom of the inning.

Same thing today – the Indians actually scored twice in the top of the first and then Mitch Talbot gave both runs back to the Tigers in the bottom of the inning.

Is it really too much to ask these guys to hold a lead when the Indians actually get one?


Cord Phelps (.063 average since being promoted) was never going to turn the slumping Indians around by himself, but having him in Cleveland may be paying dividends nonetheless.

Since Phelps joined the team last week, Orlando Cabrera, the likely candidate to lose playing time to Phelps, has hit .313.

So, if nothing else, Phelps presence has lit a fire under Cabrera’s butt.

Nothing But Static on the Dial

With three pro sports teams in town, along with what is probably the largest Ohio State following outside of Columbus, you would think that we would have top-notch sports talk on the radio in Cleveland.

Well, think again. From the soupy drek of local and syndicated shows on WKNR, to what passes as sports talk in the afternoon on WTAM, Cleveland sports fans can be excused for asking “haven’t we suffered enough?”

The sad part is that it wasn’t always this way. I’m old enough to remember listening to Pete Franklin, who hosted Cleveland’s Sportsline radio show from 1966 to 1987 (if you can find Terry Pluto’s book on Franklin, You Could Argue But You’d Be Wrong, grab it).

Franklin knew what he was talking about, he had the ear of the fan and the local teams knew it. He could get 40,000+ fans into the old stadium by promoting I Hate the Yankees Night. He helped get the Cavs out of the grasp of Ted Stepien and worked to bring back Joe Tait.

Who in town has that kind of power today?

Now, if you want to talk sports on WKNR, you have to wait for the syndicated Mike and Mike Show (oof) to finish before Tony Rizzo comes on at 9 a.m., followed by more syndication with Jim Rome (why?) before Michael Reghi and Kenny Roda (double why?) come on at 3 p.m.

Think about that for a minute: in the 12-hour period from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., we only get six hours of local talk? You don’t think there’s enough going on sportswise in this town to warrant more than that?

Rizzo and Reghi are good examples of the current state of Cleveland radio – they’re both nice guys that are miscast in their current roles. Reghi is a solid announcer – I enjoy his work on MAC basketball – but not much of a talk show host. Same with Rizzo – he’s entertaining doing 4-5 minutes on the nightly news, but put him in front of a mike for three hours (well, more like 75 minutes when you factor in commercials, sports tickers, commercials going into and coming out of sports tickers) and there’s not enough there.

It’s not even worth talking about the abomination that is WTAM.

The big question in all of this is why? Why do Cleveland fans put up with this? Why don’t we demand quality? I can see where this may have worked in the ’70s, when WTAM’s signal was the only thing you could pick up on the radio and there were only five channels on the TV.

But in the age of The Well-Educated Fan, where all the sports information we could ever dream of is at our fingertips, why is this acceptable?

The one thing that saved my sports sanity was becoming a Sirius subscriber in 2005. No longer was I tied to dinosaur radio, and having a choice in what I listen to is wonderful. If you’ve never had a chance to hear real sports talk, take a listen to this clip from the NFL Channel’s Training Camp stop in Cleveland.

Maybe that’s the answer. If fans turn away and refuse to listen to what’s on local radio just because it’s there, if they go somewhere else – be it satellite radio, the Internet or wherever – then maybe we’ll finally get the level of sports talk radio we deserve.

Because, seriously, haven’t we suffered enough?

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