Tuesday, July 8, 2008

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It, Especially For Old Fashioned Political Reasons

If only most marriages ran as smoothly as that between the Mountaineer Sports Network and West Virginia Radio Corporation.

For over sixty years West Virginia University sports have been broadcast over the network affiliates of WVRC. This arrangement has given WVU total control over its marketing and promotions while giving WVRC and Metro News high visibility and decent profits. Now outgoing president Mike Garrison wants to add disrupting this arrangement to the Magical Misery Tour of his presidency.

Garrison and others argue that bidding out the rights to broadcasts represents the wave of the future. Syracuse, Connecticut, and others do this currently. Others argue that WVU's arrangement reflects the much more profitable broadcast model that professional sports franchises utilize. One could certainly argue that this model works better for WVU, since its sports have been described as the state's "professional" teams (meaning that the audience responds to the teams in the manner that big city residents treat their professional franchises.)

What few people have said outright is that this may be nothing but hardball politics. West Virginia Radio Corporation is run by former GOP US Senate candidate John Raese. Metro News' most visible personailty besides play by play man Tony Caridi is political commentator Hoppy Kercheval. Kercheval has a daily radio program and online commentary. He grew into an outspoken critic of Garrison over the past several months.

Could this be an old fashioned Bogg Hogg type political revenge ploy? Hopefully Garrison will not be permitted to do the university any more damage before his fall departure.


This is Bob Hertzel's column that discusses the issue. Although discussions have been in the works for some time, it is interesting that the issue has just recently come to a head.

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