October 12, 2011
The New Jersey Devils' AHL affiliate, the Albany Devils, partner with ESPN-affiliated radio station WTMM (104.5 FM), which will broadcast 38 games in the 2011-12 season.
Now, we all know that when ESPN has a sport or sports team on its television airwaves, coverage tends to increase. Apparently, the same does not hold for its radio affiliates.
Blogger Don Ferlazzo of the Albany Times-Union reached out to WTMM program director and show host Brian Noe about whether "the local ESPN affiliate would break tradition and allow hockey into the local sports talk conversation." The result of that email exchange was this Twitter exchange above.
Yes, that would hashtag "Get a hobby."
Local hockey fans are understandably a little cheesed off that the radio home for the Albany Devils wants them to take up stamp collecting instead of fighting for coverage. From Puck Daddy reader Laura Folos:
As a lifelong hockey fan with a son that now plays mite hockey, this media response to hockey is disgusting. Albany Devils partnered with this horrid station (by all standards) called "The Team" and only broadcasts away games. A far cry from the old days, where we used to listen to John Hennesey on the radio when we couldn't make it down to the arena for the game. Now, when a local reporter twittered, he was met with a response and hashtag that said #getahobby. We fought hard to keep hockey in Albany and welcome the A-Devs. How can a sports radio even act like this to something that could bring them tons of listeners and bring the A-Devs needed press, coverage and more tushes in the seats?
From PD Reader Courtney Cutler:
Very disrespectful of us fans here in Albany, that in many cases NHL-wise, are fellow NJ Devils fans. Perhaps some other NJ Devils fans would like to know of this treatment. How can our attendance be better in Albany if this is way the team's local radio station thinks of the fans.
As U.S. hockey fans, we have to deal with this from sports radio stations large and small around the country. And from newspapers. And from television sportscasts. We've written about it before: There are gatekeepers who aren't into hockey or don't understand it or don't think it plays. Our jobs, as activist fans, are to let 'em know we're there, in the words of Reg Dunlop. Editors, publishers and producers respond to the audience. If the audience is strongly declaring "cover hockey," they will — if not because it "deserves" coverage in their eyes than to placate you.
I say this as a former editor at a newspaper: They're listening. Let 'em know we're there.
UPDATE: Here's the Bryan Noe response from his radio show today, claiming his comments were taken out of context (but not exactly apologizing to the fans). Via reader Joe S.: