I mentioned a few hours ago that Danny Rouhier — a mid-day host on 106.7 The Fan, and loud proponent of D.C. baseball — offered some frank comments to Adam Kilgore for his “Nats have been disappointing” story.
As the Nationals’ losses piled up, “we’ve just sort of had to push it to the back burner,” Rouhier told Kilgore. “We’ve had to move away from the amount of Nats conversation we’d like to have. One of my missions is to make D.C. baseball popular. Without the team living up to their end of the bargain, it’s tougher and tougher to do that.”
Unbeknownst to me at the time, these comments were also noticed by Chuck Sapienza, the VP of Programming at ESPN 980. Sapienza posted a strong response on the station’s Facebook page, which I will quote at length:
Unlike our team’s “so-called” flagship station, you have ESPN980s word and commitment to extended and full Nats coverage. It should be unacceptable for a station to “back away” from covering a team just because they are injured and struggling.
ESPN980 is looking for ways to INCREASE Coverage…not back away. We built a studio at the fairgrounds for extended shows at games. We had a deal with Danny Espinosa, until his injury. We have Mark Zuckerman, a HOF voter, on the station daily. Thom Loverro, another HOF voter, attends more games than any full time sports talk radio host in town.
For a member of the Nats “so-called” flagship station to say, as losses pile up “we’ve just sort of had to push coverage to the back burner” and “We’ve had to move away from the amount of Nats conversation we’d like to have” shows the level of commitment the “so-called” flagship station, has towards the Nationals. Just watch, when the Nats win the NL East, and I KNOW they will, the same station that had “backed away from coverage” will be thumping their chests like they have been committed the entire season. DON’T BUY INTO THE HYPE just read their own words and admissions.
The Tigers had a poorer record last season and played in the World Series. When healthy, the Nats are one of the top teams in baseball, it’s just a shame you won’t hear that on their “so-called” flagship station until they start to win.
Well then. I asked 106.7 The Fan’s program director, Chris Kinard, if he had any response.
Here’s his reply:
Every show on The Fan talks Nats, every day on our local lineup. That’s 6 a.m. until midnight, every night. We have weekly shows with Davey Johnson, Mike Rizzo and Drew Storen. We have an extended nightly postgame show, Washington Baseball Tonight, after every game. We have a weekly magazine style show, Nationals Insider, every Sunday.
We are not the Orioles flagship station in D.C. Our logo is on the Nats Park press box, not the Camden Yards press box. We carry Nats games, not Orioles games. The great thing about this business is that listeners decide who to get their coverage from, regardless of Facebook posts.
Well then. If this whole episode prompts the stations to try to one-up each other in devotion to the Nats, that would be kind of fun.