It’s pretty obvious that UC fans and the Cincinnati media don’t get along. At least the most vocal and well-informed within the fanbase don’t. They claim the media is a clique-like group of Debbie Downers, paradoxically overjoyed to promote the negative story while washing the positive one under the rug. On the other end is the media who claim that UC fans are too silent, never showing the interest to talk about the Bearcats and overall unwilling to invest in their programs.
Tensions boiled over a couple of weeks ago when Bearcats linebacker Solomon Tentman called ESPN 1530’s Lance McAllister out via Twitter, to which the radio host snapped back:
@sollyt01 then don’t look…or get over it
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) February 3, 2013
@sollyt01 or don’t be so paranoid
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) February 3, 2013
Now Lance has since apologized but it was clear that pressure from Bearcats fans or a possible reprimand from his bosses forced him to own up to his mistake. While things have since died down a very noticeable rupture between the fans and the media still remains as the two appear very much at odds with each other.
The purpose of this piece is to speak to all three groups separately because I think I understand each side of the story and hope this might be a first step to mending the fences. To begin I’ll explain each of the “audiences”. The first is the UC fanbase which I think is pretty self explanatory. The next is the electronic media. Of course I speak of the radio show hosts who garner a majority of the airtime on Cincinnati’s primary stations 700 WLW and ESPN 1530. The hosts include Mo Egger, who I’m fairly certain is an avid Bearcats fan, and Lance McAlister, who I’m not so sure, among others such as Bill Cunningham, Mark Amazon, etc. You can also add the television personalities such as George Vogel and Ken Broo to this group.
Finally is the print media, which obviously includes the usual suspect the Cincinnati Enquirer (Bill Koch, Paul Daugherty, etc.) but could extend to more regional and national newspapers as well. I’ll address them both the electronic and print separately as they are two very different animals. Excluded from this are Paul Dehner Jr and Dan Hoard. The fact is both of them are employed in some capacity by the University of Cincinnati and couldn’t say a negative thing about the sports teams even if they wanted to.
So let’s begin.
To The Cincinnati Bearcats Fans
I get it, I’m one of you. I, like you, wished that there was non-stop talk about anything and everything UC sports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But here’s the thing, whether you like it or not the sequence of importance in the city of Cincinnati is as follows:
- A thousand feet of nothingness
- Everybody else
And since the electronic media is in the business of making money, understandably they will tailor their content to meet the needs of the majority of their listeners to drive ad revenue. As such 700 WLW/ESPN 1530 will always skew heavily towards raising topics about the Reds and Bengals over the Bearcats, Xavier, the Cyclones, and high school sports. It is what it is and unless either of those franchises up and moved to another city, that hierarchy will never change.
The best thing you can do is accept that fact and initiate the conversation yourself. If you don’t believe that they are talking up your favorite university, call in and force them to discuss a topic related to the Bearcats. Take it from me, it works! A few weeks ago, I called into Mo Egger’s show to talk about the point guard situation for UC post-Cashmere Wright. Most of his topics that day were surrounding the Reds and Bengals and he brought in a variety of guests to tell some stories about both franchises. But I ignored the agenda and called in to talk some Bearcats basketball. And whad’ya know, he took my call and we discussed the future at point guard for next season and beyond. It was only 5 minutes but it just goes to show that it’s easy to be proactive and force the issue with the electronic media if you aren’t happy with the current situation.
To The Electronic Media
I understand that you are hamstrung by investors and corporate bigwigs who are obsessed with driving profits and discussing anything related to the Reds and Bengals moves the needle more than topics on the Bearcats. However it’s in your best interest to promote city’s main university that houses 41,000 students, boasts over 250,000 alumni, many of whom live close to Cincinnati itself, and is the largest single employer in the city. Literally hundreds of thousands of people in the Cincinnati area are in some way connected to UC. The potential market is large, growing, and deserves to be catered to. Oh by the way this is a university that is experiencing a golden age in football and a revitalization of the basketball program, the school’s most followed sports.
If there’s anything I’ve learned since starting this blog about a year and a half ago it’s that Bearcats fans are starving for information on their team and you have the opportunity to meet their needs. There is no reason why there should be so little chatter on the airwaves about UC sports. Look, if you can devote time to talk about the Reds’ options at catcher 2 months before the actual season begins, you can take 30 minutes or an hour to discuss the Bearcats’ shooting woes in the midst of the most important stretch in Cincinnati’s schedule.
Overall I think you do a solid job covering UC athletics but you can absolutely do more and in the end your company would benefit greatly from it. At the end of the day, though, I doubt your interest in promoting UC athletics. I think the personalities on the radio/TV like the Cincinnati Bearcats well enough but I just don’t see anyone in this city’s media sticking their neck out in defending UC’s football (or basketball) program like Bob Valvano did for Louisville.
To The Print Media
The Enquirer is hopeless.