Following a recent item as to why John Raese is taking the demise of the Mountaineer Sports Network so personally, an industry insider sent this note:
"The idea that JR is taking the loss of WVU Athletics so personally because he built MetroNews and West Virginia Radio Corp. is interesting, but I think John's ego is ultimately tied to coin.
"The loss of WVU football and basketball means WVRC can no longer bundle their programming. Let's say you own WPKR-AM in Ona. Let's also say you want to carry the Mountaineers. What WVRC could do was make you an offer you probably couldn't refuse: You can get the Mounties for your station, but you also have to clear their pre- and post-game shows, plus you'll get a deal if you take Sportsline, and Talkline with the steam-released Hoppy Kercheval. It would also be nice if you would consider being a MetroNews affiliate.
"How many non-WVRC stations carry Hoppy and MetroNews just to get WVU football and basketball? Will they continue to do so if those shows aren't bundled with sports? That is the very real threat to JR's radio empire.
"Having said all that, I am not a fan of West Virginia Media Holdings. Their production values are horrible. The coaches' shows they do are unwatchable. I can't imagine how they could pretend to have the talent or resources to do any of the non-conference games plus the weekly coaches shows."
Points well taken. As noted here before, nearly 30 years ago, MetroNews built its identity through its ties to WVU sports, to the point it was able to vanquish rival statewide radio network Mountainet.
What will be interesting to see, as the WVU/IMG Sports radio network is assembled, is whether Raese will swallow his pride and have WVRC stations sign on as affiliates. Better to have a small piece of the pie than none at all.
Finally, congrats to Jann Hoke, director of the governor's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, for receiving one of 48 national Henry Toll Fellowships from the Council of State Governments.
Regarded as the nation's premier leadership development program for state government officials, state alumni of the Toll Fellowship program include Robin Capehart, Carte Goodwin, Brooks McCabe and John Unger.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.