Another reason John Raese is taking the loss of the long-term, no-bid, no-pay deal for radio broadcasts of West Virginia University sports so personally, according to a former associate, is that unlike other parts of the Greer empire, Raese built the radio network himself, as opposed to inheriting it.
(Come to think of it, the video biography he put together for his latest ill-fated U.S. Senate campaign spent an inordinate amount of time on his radio stations and network, while it barely mentioned his co-ownership of The Dominion Post.)
The family owned Morgantown station WAJR-AM, mostly as an afterthought, but Raese saw value in radio, buying up other stations and, in 1985, creating the MetroNews statewide network.
Practically from day one, MetroNews' identity has been closely tied to WVU athletics. In its first year, long before West Virginia Radio Corp. had the exclusive rights to WVU sports broadcasts, MetroNews launched coaches' shows with Don Nehlen and Gale Catlett.
That -- plus the foresight to use satellite rather than less-reliable microwave links -- put MetroNews in position to vanquish Mountainet, the already established statewide radio news network that had more than 50 affiliates at the time, and frankly, had better personnel and newscasts.
MetroNews launched in August 1985 ... by that November, Mountainet was done.
Until very recently, MetroNews continued to air promos encouraging businesses to advertise on the network, saying it would allow them to affiliate with on-air personalities, including WVU coaches Dana Holgorsen and Bob Huggins.
It will be interesting to see if history repeats itself. Without ties to WVU sports, will MetroNews retain affiliates that aren't owned-and-operated WVRC stations?
Finally, as noted above, the August issue of Trains is out, and for only the fourth time in the magazine's 73-year-history, it devotes an entire issue to one state.
Arguably, there are few states where railroading has played such an integral role in the state's history -- right down to influencing the shape of the state. The issue's articles are quite interesting and the photography is exceptional.
I was particularly taken by a poignant cutline for a photo accompanying an article on the history of coal trains in the Mountain State. It states: "One car at a time, railroads haul away more of the state each day."
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.