ESPN Affiliate Delays Podcasts; Announcer Rips Into His Bosses For Cluelessness
from the so-shortsighted dept
Ah, the shortsightedness of old school entertainment companies knows no bounds apparently. The latest is
Disney-owned ESPN ESPN 980, a local radio station that uses the ESPN name, who seems to think, foolishly, that making it more difficult for fans to listen to its radio programming will somehow be better for them. The details are that ESPN 980 used to release podcasts for its shows, making listening convenient for people who either wanted to time delay their listening, or who couldn’t listen on a radio very easily. But, because ESPN 980 execs only focus on radio ratings as the key metric, they made the shortsighted calculation that they should make it harder to listen to the podcasts, in the misguided hope that it might drive more listeners to the radio version. The execs there claim that this is how it needs to “protect its ratings.” Of course, that’s ridiculous. If people can’t listen the way they want to, they’ll listen to something else. ESPN 980 is deluding itself if it thinks that people will still bend to ESPN 980 rather than expecting ESPN 980 to bend to them.
Not surprisingly, the on air talent seems to get this a lot more than the folks making the decisions. While the station insisted that star radio host Tony Kornheiser “understands” why ESPN 980 is doing this, and isn’t upset about it, listeners to Kornheiser’s show apparently sensed his views were a bit different. As noted by Dan Steinberg:
?The policy is gonna kill the show,? [Kornheiser] said, with typical subtlety and restraint. ?It?s simply going to kill the show….That is the problem. You?re listening to this a day late. That?s the solution around here, the solution to getting more people listening live. And by the way, there?s a great glee with which I am told that my ratings are bad. There?s a great glee. The people around here seem to think that this is charming, and that if I only did what they wanted, everything would be right in the world.
?But it doesn?t work that way. It doesn?t work that way, because of the way audio is delivered to America. It?s delivered on demand. And if when you demand it you can?t get it, you?re not going to listen to it.
?Here?s what?s going to happen in the next five or 10 years, boys and girls. There?s not gonna be football on television any more. It?s all gonna be in your computer. That?s the way it?s gonna work. It?ll be brought to you by people like Google, brought to you by people who are search engine people, and I know nothing about this. There?s no way to make any money any more doing it the old way. The old way is not just old, much like me ? it is dead.
?That?s the old way. People don?t want that any more. They?re not going to sit around and wait for things….The people who run radio stations, they?re apparently not adapting to the new culture and don?t truly understand how it works and what people want? Management believes differently than I believe. I still do the show. I?m not running away from the show. I just wish it were more accessible, quicker, to more people.?
He seems to get it a lot more than the people who are paid to get it.
Update: Aha. Turns out that this was the local station, ESPN 980 — who merely licenses the ESPN name — who made this decision. And, it appears that ESPN itself makes it easier to get access to the show. Blame goes to the local radio station.