May the Fall of Citadel Be Only The Beginning

No, I don’t mean the baby blue colored school from Charleston, South Carolina. I mean Citadel Broadcasting. Sure, they are restructuring, which means their ultimate fall is delayed. But if the rest of their 224 station market is as pathetic as WJOX, let the band play as the ship sinks.

Our local Citadel chapter gives us The Opening Drive, The Roundtable and the Paul Finebaum Radio Network. On its sister station, it offers Dunaway and Brown. In my opinion, only one of those shows is worth a listen. Finebaum has great interviews, but that’s it. His callers make me want to shoot myself. D&B may be the only news outlet of any kind in Birmingham without an agenda to cover the University of Alabama in a negative light. The Opening Drive is radio fodder, and The Roundtable is radio sewage. If this is what Citadel is doing nationwide, how did their demise take so long?

The media as a whole is a problem. I was flipping channels with my better half this evening when we happened upon halftime of tonight’s bowl game, shown on ESPN. Now, ESPN obviously isn’t owned by Citadel, but hang with me. They were showing the top plays of 2009. As best I could tell, only two of the host of clips shown occured on CBS, which carries the premiere SEC game of the week. And at that, they were shown for a fraction of a second. Curious why, I had to explain to her that this “list” compiled by ESPN contained tons of clips from ESPN and ABC, both owned by the same corporation. So it was in their best interest to include tons of footage from their networks rather than cross broadcasting lines and dip into CBS’s love affair with the SEC. True, some SEC match-ups did take place on ESPN, but people love big plays in big games, and the big SEC games didn’t happen on cable. In other words, the “facts” of this list were skewed by the corporate interests of an organization in the business of making money off of college athletics.

The same could be said of the Heisman race. Suh and McCoy are from the Big 12. Who owns the rights to the Big 12’s “game of the week”? ABC. So naturally, who stands to gain the most from contenders from this conference? Who has the opportunity to produce talking heads constantly talking up candidates coupled with clips from their networks, shown in a national forum? And who is it that broadcasts the Heisman ceremony? You connect the dots.

Now, let me take  a break for a moment….I’m hearing you out there. “ITK, what are you getting at?” Simply this: Everything you read and hear in the media is tainted in some fashion. When the Birmingham News assigns a barracuda like Don Kausler to cover the Tide while Abarn gets softball throwing Charles Goldberg, you have to wonder. Not since my kids played coach pitch have I seen content like theirs lobbed over the plate to a hungry program eager to better its image. Abarn is painted as “the underdog who could” while Bama is depicted as the empire on the verge of a step backward. Chizik’s 7-6 season will be heralded as a building block for the future, while Saban’s was labeled somewhere between disappointment and failure. 

Even some message boards have their own agendas. One thing I’ve loved about this site is that all content is welcome. While (personally) I wish those who post here would refrain from vulgarity and profanity, nothing is off limits. As outrageous as some claims made in here may seem, the opinion (of the owner of this site) is that it will all come out in the wash. Scrutiny of outlandish rumors or ideas, or even mundane, run-of-the-mill information, will determine the legitimacy or lunacy of the information given. And that can’t be said for all online forums.I’ve discovered on one “Bama” site that if you post something the monitors don’t agree with, you’ll magically see your post disappear, with a warning issued the next time you log in. The Kremlin would be proud of that kind of operation. 

The beauty of blogging and Internet message boards is that information is transferred in its purest form. Even though there are obviously heavy self-interests and biases, information is dissected in the forum of public opinion. A rumor can’t live long if it doesn’t have merit, and ideas are exposed when multiple eyes see it from different angles. And though it may take a little while, the truth wins out in the end. But then again, it always does.

All media outlets have agendas and self-interests, and those outlets eventually have to answer for their transgressions. They just better hope that they’ve chosen their side wisely. I don’t claim to be an expert on Citadel broadcasting, and only see their company from the angle of their local radio station. But if the future of sports information is headed where it appears to be, companies in the business of reporting and talking about sports better get their acts together. The inmates are now running the asylum.