UPDATE 5:30 P.M. EDT
CBS Radio Las Vegas has backed down from its intention to ignore the Golden Knights NHL team in their inaugural NHL season.
“With six radio stations in Las Vegas we have always prided ourselves on informing, educating and entertaining listeners and supporting the local communities we serve. However, we missed the mark in an internal email that instructed our stations to no longer report on certain aspects of the Golden Knights, the city’s first and only major league sports team,” Tony Perlongo, CBS Radio Las Vegas senior vice president and market manager, said in a statement provided to The Post. “This was an error in judgement on our part and we deeply regret it. We will of course cover the team, first and foremost on Sports Radio 1140 and on our music and news/talk stations as it makes sense for those formats and audiences. We apologize to the Golden Knights, their fans and our listeners and look forward to rooting the team on when the puck drops in a few weeks.”
In April, the Vegas Golden Knights announced their games would be aired locally on radio stations owned by Lotus Communications, namely its Fox Sports Radio affiliate that has signals on both the AM and FM dials. According to the Review-Journal, Lotus beat out bids from CBS Radio Las Vegas and Beasley Broadcasting for the right to air the NHL expansion team’s games and related radio content such as pregame and postgame shows.
CBS Radio Las Vegas apparently has not gotten over this rejection. Last week, Operations Manager J.B. King sent out an email to all CBS Radio Las Vegas employees, telling them that, in their world, the Golden Knights do not exist.
Longtime Las Vegas broadcast journalist Ron Futrell posted the email on his website:
Tue 8/8/2017 8:57AM
Vegas Golden Knights
To: @CR Las Vegas All Employees
Just wanted to pass along this info….a decision has been made that effective immediately, there are to be no further mentions of the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey team on any CBS/LV radio stations or any of our social media platforms. This includes, but not limited to, on sale ticket mentions, player/coaches interviews, plugging locals to sing national anthem, TV broadcast schedule, etc. It is now the responsibility of the Golden Knights’ chosen radio partner to help accomplish their goals, not ours. We are asking you to include ‘show’ pages, as well. We need to show a united front on this issue. If you have anything already planned around the team, please cancel. If you have any ‘best of’ bits around the team, please do not air and find another piece of content.
I am out of the office this week, but will answer any questions next week when I return. For any immediate questions, please see Tony.
Thanks, Have a great week.
According to Futrell, only one of CBS Radio Las Vegas’s six stations deals specifically with sports and it does not have much in the way of local content, instead delivering CBS Sports Radio’s national shows and, strangely enough, broadcasts of Chicago Cubs games. But still, the six stations will be ignoring Las Vegas’s first professional sports team.
“We have a lot of other things to cover, the Knights don’t work into our coverage,” Tony Perlongo, general manager of CBS Radio Las Vegas, told Futrell. “We have an amazing amount of content. We support their (the Golden Knights) success in the marketplace, but that will depend on their partnership that they’ve already developed.”
Not even the team’s scores?
“We don’t really give the scores of sporting events as it is,” Perlongo said, though Futrell notes that his stations do indeed mention Cubs scores and those of other Las Vegas sports teams (UNLV and the Las Vegas 51s minor league baseball team, for instance).
As sports media consultant Jason Barrett points out at his blog, a move like this wouldn’t fly in a place like New York or Philadelphia, where the pro sports teams are so entrenched that purposely ignoring them on a sports-talk station — seemingly out of spite because their games are broadcast on a competing station — would constitute radio malpractice. But to play Devil’s Advocate, Las Vegas isn’t like New York or Philadelphia in that its status as a pro sports town hasn’t even truly begun yet. One would think that few people would be seeking out Golden Knights news and updates from those CBS Radio Las Vegas stations, especially the ones that have nothing to do with sports.
Still, it’s a pretty bad look.
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