Originally posted on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 9/11/13
Why all the tumult about the Mets being replaced by the Highlanders on WFAN? This change of scene has ‘opportunity’ written all over it. WFAN was a bit of a revelation in 1987, when they introduced the all-sports radio format in the biggest market in the nation, but there’s been nothing ground-breaking ever since, especially as it pertains to Mets broadcasts, where little has been invested. In fact, that’s the same music that leads in and out of the Mets broadcasts that was written and performed for WFAN and the Mets in 1987, some 26 years ago. And other than the loss of the iconic Bob Murphy, nothing much else has changed. In other words, and not to demean the outstanding broadcast team of Howie, Josh and Ed, the production is stale In radio, it all starts with a great broadcast team, which the Mets are lucky enough to possess. CBS will find out that Mets fans are very loyal and they will also discover that few, if any, current listeners will tune in to hear the incessant employer-biased drivel that emanates from John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. The truth of the matter is that WFAN owes much of its early success to the eminently discussible and winning Mets teams of 1987-1990. Other solid periods included 1997-2001 and 2005-2008. For the new station, there may be a better synergy with SNY, who could potentially produce the broadcasts with their extraordinary resources. The end result may be far more fulfilling than what has been delivered by the folks at The FAN. Assuming the broadcast team moves along the dial with the Mets, a new broadcast partner will provide some real opportunity to expand the brand with some out-of-the-box baseball programming and ingenious marketing that should employ digital technologies and social media. This might also mean that the old Mets radio network will have to be re-constructed in the tri-state area and especially upstate. But we all know that every Mets fan will follow the Mets to any outlet with the hope and expectation that the broadcast product is elevated along with the on-field product.How about a more highly developed pre- and post-game show? What about a daily feature on the Mets minor league affiliates? Bring in a features person (along the lines of the enormously talented Kevin Burkhardt) and produce interesting “insider” segments and even more focused interviews. Radio really lends itself to more in-depth segments with coaches and front office types, which can also include call-ins from listeners. And while Waldman may not be anyone’s cup of tea, there is every reason to bring a high-quality, insightful and baseball intuitive female reporter to the fore. The Mets and SNY, would be wise to investigate purchasing a clear-channel (50,000 watt) station, and counter-programming against WFAN and ESPN, while creating a synergy not only with SNY, but with MLB Network, which is arguably the best single-sport network on the planet. But regrettably, Wilpon resources may not be able to carry off such an acquisition at the moment. They say opportunity is the residue of design. It is also said that risk-taking is free. The next 5-7 years will belong to the Mets in NY. The Highlanders will struggle to stay competitive if they continue to want to stay below the luxury tax threshold. This move may prove very auspicious for the Mets and their fans, who deserve a more creative and contemporary bent to their broadcasts. Send the best message you can to the folks at CBS Radio and stop listening to The FAN the moment Josh Lewin signs off the post-game show on the final day of the season. And don’t look back because the future will be far better than what we have been getting for the past decade or so.
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