Category Archives: Sports Media

Hookers, Media Feuds, and the Ego that Binds Them

Long before Mitch Levy allegedly plunked $160 in cash upon a bedside table in anticipation of a good old fashioned happy ending, The Seattle Times had already determined they’d be severing a long-standing association with Levy’s employer, Sports Radio 950 KJR.

The newspaper and the radio station had no real reason to be on the outs were it not for Frank Blethen, the publisher and CEO of Seattle’s paper of record. Blethen, who has been at the Times’ helm since 1985, was done with the relationship for various reasons – chief among those being a certain level of frustration over KJR’s criticism of the Times’ controversial stance on two different Seattle arena proposals, as well as perceived criticism of the paper itself. As a result, Blethen chose to enforce a moratorium on Times writers appearing on both Sports Radio 950 KJR, as well as “competing media” in the local Seattle area. The Times would later clarify its stance, singling out KJR as the sole outlet from which writers were explicitly forbidden, while also adding that some semblance of managerial permission would be required for employees to appear on-air with other local entities. Previously, this lack of autonomy had not existed.

By now we know that the Times cited “off-color” and “sexist” remarks from KJR radio personalities as the reasoning behind their imposed operational changes. However, that language didn’t emerge in an official statement until Thursday, August 31st, which might not mean much if it weren’t for Levy and his fateful blunder nearly a week earlier.

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Update: The Seattle Times Bans Sportswriters from Local Radio, TV

*Updated 8/31/17

In what is sure to be hailed as a brilliant public relations maneuver by absolutely no one, The Seattle Times has decided to prohibit their entire sports writing staff from appearing on local radio and television for the foreseeable future.

Beginning September 5th, Times sportswriters will be barred from the Seattle airwaves at the behest of management, preventing reporters and columnists from fulfilling previous commitments to local sports radio stations and television outlets. Once imposed, the ban will primarily have an impact on entities like Sports Radio 950 KJR and 710 ESPN Seattle, where many of the Times’ stable of writers would often appear.

Citing “competing forms of media” as the reason behind the embargo, the Times seems willing to sacrifice much-needed exposure for… ego, perhaps? Because make no mistake about it, this decree comes straight from the top and is a direct result of hurt feelings and a bruised manhood.

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Columnist: Sandwiches, cartoons more important than Ali

geeIn the wake of the passing of Muhammad Ali, journalists the world around rushed to their typewriters to pen poignant recollections of the greatest boxer who ever lived.

Not to be outdone, one local writer shared his distinct absence of memories on the champ and offered a unique take on Ali’s place in history: squarely behind sandwiches, He-Man, and Thundercats. While other scribes opted to celebrate the fighter’s athletic prowess, his transcendent personality, and his altruistic character, this one did not.

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Breakdown Breakdown: Dissecting Video of Bob & Jenks

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Special thanks to The Seattle Times for posting video of our special friends, Bob Condotta and Jayson Jenks, Seahawks beat writers. We’ll periodically review their video breakdowns and provide analysis here. We call it “Breakdown Breakdown.” Enjoy.

0:00 – Bob and Jenks come to you live from a wetland.

0:07 – Jenks doesn’t know what to do with his hands. He’s also holding the mic weird. It’s not a salad fork. You can grab that thing like you mean it.

0:12 – Bob enters the conversation at 12 seconds. He’s the most 12.

Also, he dressed up for this and I’m not sure you people appreciate that enough. He’s sans hoodie, for one thing. What if it rains? Bob is willing to go hoodless and put his hair at risk for the good of this video. He’s usually clothed in weather-adaptable attire, but not today. Today he’s adorned in a charcoal sweater straight from Mossimo’s 1999 boy band music video collection. I own a similar sweater and, when paired with a spritz of PoloSport, it can be quite the aphrodisiac for thirty-somethings.

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Athletic Supporters Send Jerry Brewer to Bullets

shvxAs the owner, general manager, and sometimes point guard of a rec team of increasingly unathletic amateur basketball players, I’m here today to formally announce the sad news of the departure of a fellow Athletic Supporter teammate of mine.

Jerry Brewer, who supplemented his time as a power shooting center by moonlighting as a columnist for The Seattle Times, has been dealt to the Washington (D.C.) Bullets, ending his tenure with the Supporters. The move will subsequently necessitate a career change for Brewer, who will be leaving the Times for a similar position at The Washington Post.

In his time with the Supporters, Brewer emerged as a favorite of the team’s five or six fans. Recognized for his matching green warmup suits, as well as his inability to corral wayward behind-the-back passes from guard Ryan Divish, Brewer etched himself into rec league lore by successfully bringing back the spectacle sport strap, not seen since Kurt Rambis last played in the NBA.

Brewer may best be remembered in Seattle for his time spent off the court, however.

Occasionally penning stories that geriatrics loved to forward via “the internet mail” to their grandkids, Brew established himself as one of the most respected voices of the sports fan in the Pacific Northwest.

When he wasn’t waxing poetic about athletics for the Times, Brewer seized the opportunity to start a family, seducing a woman, marrying her, spawning a son, and even adopting a kitten. He also made time for his buddies, often showing up to local watering holes in crisp sport coats while everyone else donned tattered t-shirts and worn jeans.

For this scribe, at least, Brewer will be remembered as a friend and confidant who helped foster an ability to piece words together in a captivating way. While anyone can write, Brew would devote entire afternoons to sitting at a bar, discussing life, and inspiring the ideas that materialized into print for a twenty-something lazy-ass. That he once triumphantly captained a mission to get that same lazy-ass to 1,000 followers on Twitter will never be forgotten, either.

As our pal departs for the other Washington, we remember karaoke renditions of Gin and Juice, a knack for incorrectly spelling words that describe acts of human nature, and that one time a whiny kid on an opposing team threw a basketball at Brewer for reasons unknown.

Jerry, no matter what all the internet haters say, we don’t think you’re weird at all. In fact, we’ll miss you. And we wish you well as you depart your adoptive home for a new adventure.

In exchange for Brewer, the Bullets will send 48-year-old forward/center Pervis Ellison, who averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds in the 1991-1992 season, to Seattle.

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Saving ROOT Sports Northwest

root_sports_northwestOutdated, out of touch, and seemingly out of ideas, ROOT Sports Northwest is quickly becoming the Aurora Mall of local sports television. Those of you in your late-twenties or older may remember Aurora Mall, a once-proud shopping center in North Seattle that was razed in the early-nineties in favor of a Costco, a Home Depot, and a handful of smaller storefronts. The mall fell victim to a lack of tenants, a lack of shoppers, and ultimately a wrecking ball. Perhaps it could have been saved with a little effort from owners. Sometimes effort is all it takes.

Much like Aurora Mall, ROOT Sports Northwest is losing tenants and shoppers in its own right. Less than a year ago, the Pac-12 Network debuted and began broadcasting a number of sporting events that had previously been aired on ROOT. For fans, the change was a welcome one, as ROOT had done little to endear themselves to viewers over the years. With low-quality technology (Do they have HD yet? No, seriously.), lackluster original shows, and on-air personalities that failed to relate to viewers, ROOT wasn’t giving its customers what they wanted. When the Pac-12 departed, an exodus of the viewership commenced.

Months have passed and ROOT has continued to struggle. Look at their daily programming lineup and one can’t help but cringe. But rather than write the network off as a joke that will die a slow death, I’d like to think we can still save the region’s premier (by default) local sports network. How are we going to do that? With the help of Twitter, I asked people how they would go about improving ROOT. This was what they had to say.

1. Create fresh local programs that people actually want to watch.

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