Mike Silva's Sports Media Watchdog » Blog Archive » Sports Media Watchdog 2012 Stock Up/Stock Down

Sports Media Watchdog 2012 Stock Up/Stock Down

By Mike Silva ~ December 30th, 2011. Filed under: Sports Media Watchdog Awards.

I am going to start a new annual tradition, as I will recap my personal media “stock up/stock down” going into each year. This is my personal list that involves my bias and taste, so feel free to add what you think in the comments section, Twitter, or Facebook. I am sure if you polled 100 people you would get 100 different answers.

By the way… this is in no particular order.

Also, none of this is personal and my views are as a reader, viewer, and listener. All of these guys work hard and have paid tremendous dues to get to the point where they are even worth being in the media landscape discussion.

So here we go; the Sports Media Watchdog 2012 Stock up/Stock Down list.

Stock Up 

Brandon Tierney (Sportsradio 95.7 FM KBWF San Francisco) - Underused and underappreciated at ESPN 1050, Tierney headed west and took the afternoon drive slot on the up and coming Sportsradio 95.7 in San Francisco. BT is teamed up with San Francisco 49ers analyst Eric Davis from 2 to 6 pm. Going from mid-day on 1050′s weak signal to drive time in a major sports market is a huge upgrade. It’s no surprise that since his arrival, the station has seen their ratings double in that time slot. Tierney is one of those radio hosts that “gets it.” He understands the need to interact with fans, embrace independent media, and use facts to host a solid show. He is one of the few radio hosts that attempts to get into the locker room and talk to the players like a reporter. One of BT’s best attributes is that he shows that you can be a fan and a professional in the business. I still think he will ultimately be back here in New York where he belongs… at least I hope to see him come back.

Boomer & Carton (WFAN) - Surprised I called them winners? What’s fair is fair. I can’t stand the narcissistic Carton who, by the way, should apologize for using audio from my site without citation. Anyway, that’s old news as WFAN’s Morning Show has become #1 in many key radio demographics this year, ahead of even Mike Francesa. The Quarterback and the Cockroach have blended fake outrage, attractive early-twenties girls, silly games, and sophomoric comedy into a radio powerhouse. I don’t get it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working. My prediction is this show has a shelf life and we are already moving past the peak. Let them enjoy it, as I suspect there are storm clouds on the horizon. Carton can’t handle prosperity and there are rumors the two aren’t as chummy off the air as on. Recently, they had a dispute the day before Thanksgiving weekend over an Esiason tweet. Not enough to bring them down, but it shows you their status is clearly on shaky ground.

Alan Hahn (Newsday and MSG Network) - There was nobody better on the Knicks beat than Hahn. His “Knicks Fix” in Newsday was the authority on the team and will be missed as he is joining the MSG Network full time. Hahn will go down a newspaper star during the darkest period of the franchise. His move to MSG is a win for the network, but a loss for Knicks fans that want good content, analysis, and inside information. Nothing personal against the remaining scribes, but I suspect team coverage will be lacking with Hahn absent from the scrum. I also wonder if Hahn will be able to be as honest and analytical working as a house reporter. Only time will tell.

Michael Lewis (Author of Moneyball) - How many authors can turn a simple book into a decade-long industry debate? Michael Lewis did that and even got Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill involved as the book “Moneyball” hit theaters this past September. Amazing that a simple idea like market inefficiencies could be launched into a two hour film that focused on the eccentric Oakland GM, Billy Beane. Agree or disagree with the concept, Moneyball is my favorite baseball movie to date; quite possibly my favorite sports movie all-times. It gave us tons of content to debate during the wild last weeks of the 2011 baseball season. Haven’t seen it yet? Read my review here.

NBA Writers Ken Berger (CBS Sports), Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo! Sports) - Hahn could be in this category as well, but we already went over his virtues. I could mention so many others, but these two guys were who I was going to daily to see what, if any, progress was being made during the NBA Lockout. They were also two of the guys I looked to for accurate and updated information about the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors last season. If there is something you want to know about the NBA, Berger and Wojnarowski are where you first need to look.


Stock Down

Mike Francesa (WFAN) - The Sports Pope continues to dish out the ratings, but it’s more due to a lack of competition and the fact he’s become a characterture of himself. Younger fans tune in more to mock Francesa than get any “hard hitting” analysis. He is devoid of facts and appears to spend very little time preparing about the topics he discusses. I sometimes wonder if he watches sports anymore. The fact he makes a reported $5 million dollars a year makes this one of the more abhorrent efforts in all of media. Even more laughable is how out of touch he is with modern technology. He doesn’t embrace any blogs, Twitter (unless you count the fake version), and made a fool of himself by promising “revolutionary technology” on the show come the Fall. Hello Mike, it’s almost 2012, where is this new technology? Think of any great player holding on towards the end of their career and that is what Francesa has become. Very sad, and I believe it will only get worse as the end of his contract nears.

Frank Isola (NY Daily News) - This is a perfect example of a man that can’t handle two-way dialogue. I once felt bad for Frank because the MSG gulag picked on him for being honest about the shortcomings of Isiah Thomas, Jim Dolan, and the dysfunctional Knicks. It seems that experience has embittered Frank to the point that he has stopped doing what he is paid for – providing analysis on the Knicks. I called out Isola on Twitter numerous times for making lame jokes during games and not responding to fans. He also didn’t take kindly to my assertion that he really didn’t have credibility in covering the Yankees this summer since he doesn’t follow the team daily. Frank’s response (in a private Twitter message) was to encourage me to not follow him. Think about that response for a minute. Frank works for the dying newspaper industry and he is telling me to stop reading or following him. Great business model, eh? I actually was trying to help Frank, but you could only lead a horse to water, you can’t make him drink. In the end, Isola blocked me from Twitter so I can’t even tell you if he’s taken my feedback and improved on his stale game. Oh, and for the record, he threatened to beat me up if he saw me at the ballpark.

Michael Kay (YES Network and ESPN Radio) - How someone that is paid to be a Yankees shill can host a New York sports show is beyond me. Kay has showed limited range on his bread and butter sport- baseball- so it’s no wonder he struggles in a more general setting. Another master of fake outrage that loves taking unnecessary and uneducated shots at the Mets, and obnoxiously connects every sport back to Yankee pinstripes and tradition. Some Kay classics this year were as follows:

- Wondering what a father tells his son when CC Sabathia was not elected to the All Star Team.

- Claims the Mets kept Jose Reyes on the disabled list to purposefully fall out of the pennant race so they can trade K-Rod and Beltran.

- Compared recent editions of the Mets to the 1962 team (a recurring Kay theme when the Mets are having difficulties).

- Called Mariano Rivera the best player in New York this year. I love Mo, but has he heard of Stoudemire, Sanchez, Anthony, Manning, Reyes, Granderson, or Cano?

- Says Carlos Beltran wasn’t worth his contract. Would he feel the same way if he signed with the Yankees in ’04?

I could go on and on with more stupidity, but we need to move on.

ESPN 1050 New York – Even the rights to the Knicks, Rangers, and Jets can’t help these guys. A banner year of incompetence for the World Wide Leader in Sports’ New York radio affiliate. They dump their best show, Tierney and McDonald, only to replace it with a has-been in Mike Lupica. Making Michael Kay your anchor host is the radio equivalent of a baseball team calling a below league average fifth starter their ace. Steven A. Smith? Don’t get me started. Let’s not forget the signal still is an issue, one that probably would have marginalized whatever inroads they could have made against WFAN. The suits in Bristol should be embarrassed they can’t compete with a station run by a failed rock radio DJ. The FAN is there for the taking and they continue to play the radio version of the Washington Generals. You can change the hosts, program director, or the wall paper in the studio, but until you get a better signal and smarten up the suits in Bristol, 1050 is going to be a radio wasteland.

BBWAA- Completely blew the Bill Conlin situation with a silly statement and insincere follow up. I respect the writers a great deal, but there are way too many that clearly don’t put the time and effort into their trade – specifically when it comes to voting for the Hall of Fame. Their aversion to being open to those that are internet-based is petty, mean, and short sided. I realize that a ton of BBWAA members don’t agree with all the positions of the association, but I wish those with influence would take a long look at bringing this organization into the modern era.


Mainstream Names to Watch in 2012

Two guys to watch in 2012 are Dino Costa of Mad Dog Radio and Sid Rosenberg of WQAM in South Florida. I like both of them (even though they don’t appear to like each other), and I have a feeling they may push themselves into a nomination this time next year. Costa does an overnight sports show on Sirius XM Mad Dog Radio that is a combination of sports talk and politics. When I listen to him I think it’s the Fox News of sports radio. Rosenberg has done a good job of combining sports, politics, and entertainment on his South Florida based show. Both have their own personal sites and have embraced Twitter. Neither is similar, but I think each gives you something when you listen.

I also think Kim Jones of the YES Network continues to grow. Instead of going the “info-babe” route (see Erin Andrews), she did some hardcore reporting during the Penn State Sandusky scandal. Jones proves that you don’t need to focus on style to be successful in radio and television when you are content driven. Amazing what a female can accomplish in the sports industry when she is focused on her job instead of becoming America’s next top model.

Howard Megdal is what I would call a “tweener” as he writes for both mainstream (Journal News, ESPN, NY Times)  and independent (Capital NY, Perpetual Post, MLBTR, NYBD) publications. The author of three books, his most recent- an e-book called Wilpon’s Folly- will go down as the authority on the Wilpon financial mess. Megdal was the only member of the media that took the time to connect various pieces of information available to come to the inevitable conclusion: the Wilpon’s can’t afford to own the Mets. Despite denials from the team and MLB, it appears that Megdal played the role of Paul Revere when all of us, including me, were denying the Mets were on the precipice of financial disaster. In the spirit of full disclosure, I know Howard personally and we have worked on projects together, but that has nothing to do with the aforementioned praise.

As I mentioned over at nybaseballdigest.com, I think David Cone is someone to watch in the YES Network booth in 2012. He embraces new stats, provides interesting analysis, and has a good sense of humor. He probably belongs in the SNY booth instead of YES.

The TNT studio of Shaquille O’ NealCharles BarkleyErnie Johnson, and Kenny Smith is still in its development stage. All I could say at this point is they intrigue me and haven’t annoyed me yet… definitely a group to watch in ’12.


Blogs and Independent Media

Stock Up - Bob’s Blitz - Bob Mantz Jr. has taken a simple mission statement- “blitzkrieg of sports, pop-culture, and stupidity. Plus Bob’s Babes and top YouTube videos”- and turned it into one of the more popular blogs out there. Bob has been mentioned on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” many times this year, to the point where it seems good old B&C don’t need to do anything to prepare for their work day. Just wake up, show up to Hudson Street, and read the Blitz from 6 to 10 AM.

Stock Down - Amazin’ Avenue - I like these guys, I really do. According to their Twitter page, they take pride in “evidence based analysis, subjective commentary, and MS Paint.” In recent months the MS Paint seems to have been a prominent theme. That’s not all their fault, the Mets are hard to cover, but you have to give me more than photoshopping. They have a long-running feud with me from 2009 because I had the audacity to question advanced baseball metrics. Despite some being long on numbers and short on common sense, many of their members are good baseball fans that read my site. What bothers me most about these guys is their pseudo “religious wars” against others in the industry that don’t share a similar point of view. For example, if I get linked up in their morning “Applesauce” column, it mysteriously comes down within an hour. Funny, did I die and wake up in the blog version of the Soviet Union circa 1950?I knew these kids were the college dorm of blogs, but to be that sensitive to a diverse opinion is very disappointing; especially since many appear to be on the younger end of the spectrum. Isn’t that when you are supposed to be open-minded? Again, there are many good guys over there, but I think it’s time for them to self-evaluate and clean up some of the individuals that are marginalizing a good site. They were on the rise in 2009 and a place I went to frequently. I don’t see the same bright future today, unfortunately.

Independent Media Name to Watch: Tommy Dee of SNY’s The Knicksblog and Charged.FM. Tommy is helping to put together a new type of site that combines entertainment, fans, venues, and content into one place. His analysis on the Knicks is right there, if not better, than most veteran guys on that beat. His lead NBA writer, Moke Hamilton, is an emerging force in the industry. Charged actually had video and broke the story (kudos to Jake Langbecker) of the fight between the two cameramen who were covering the NBA lockout.


That’s it for 2011, see you in 2012. Hopefully it will be a year of growth for this spinoff.

Happy New Year!

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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