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Friday, October 14, 2005

WJR Dumps U of M for MSU

Bob Ufer must be rolling over in his grave. Just read on the Detroit News website that, starting next season, WJR will no longer carry Michigan football and basketball, broadcasting MSU games instead. Holy Huckleby!

Remember Ufer's classic line, "Broadcasting to you from coast to coast -- from the coast of Lake Michigan, to the coast of Lake Erie?" That's how far the WJR signal carries M games on the "Great Voice of the Great Lakes." Heck, growing up, when our family drove to Florida for vacations, we used to see how far down I-75 we could get before we lost radio contact with AM760. Seemed like it was just north of Macon, Georgia. WJR has greater reach than Radio Free Europe had at the height of the Cold War.

Now what station are the Michigan games going to end up on? WXYT? WWJ? Aren't those just a small step up from ham radio? If Ufe were alive, he'd have to change his signature line to something more like, "Broadcasting to you from...is this thing on? From the coast of that small man-made lake near Ypsi to the far reaches of Bellville -- on a good day if the wind is blowing just right..."

Boy, this season is turning out worse than I thought. Tomorrow I'm going to find out that U-M has been dropped by Nike and we're going to run out of the tunnel Saturday in our new B.U.M. Athletic Equipment uniforms, right under the big "M Go Blue, Ernie's Taco Shack Supports You" banner.


M82 said...

If "B.U.M." athletic gear doesn't work out, I hear "Big Dog" is interested.


Benny Friedman said...

At first I was saddened by this news too. But then I thought about it and it's no big deal. I hate this phrase, but it's true, today's WJR isn't our father's WJR. They have no sports presence - all of the Detroit teams are on other stations. Their ratings and their impact on the culture is nothing compared to when Ufer, J. P. McCarthy, and Jimmy Launce made our dads laugh. Besides, commercial radio is dead. If you want to hear music listen to your iPod. If you want news, get on the Internet. If you're in the car listen to your XM or Sirius. Besides, who's listening to the games on the radio? Every game is on TV. If you're out of the house while the game is on, you probably don't want to hear the radio since you're TiVoing the game.
I realize plenty of people don't do this and still listen to dinosaurs like WJR. But that audience is shrinking. The impact a station like WJR has now is minimal. In 1980 Michigan losing WJR would have been a big shift. Now, it's nothing.

Wangs said...

Good riddance. I was not a big fan of Beckman anyway. And there was something unsettling with me that the right wing yahoo station - that is WJR, today - carried my favoirte team.

My only hope is that our yachtsman ad gets blamed for being asleep at the switch and we get a full time ad - who will start to implement some of my stadium plans.

Yost said...

Benny, good points about folks not listening to the games on radio much anymore. But I think it's more about the pre and post game. I know when I'm in A2 for games, I listen to 'JR on the way to the game. Afterwards, on the way home, I'll often tune in for the postgame comments. And let's not forget the Ufer retrospective they do once a season or so. Since they own those rights, what happens to those clips? Will we never hear him anymore.

Wangs, as for Beckman, the thing I found troubling about his comments were when they asked him if he was going to do the MSU games now and he said, "I don't know" or something like that. You don't know? I thought you were supposed to be The Voice of Michigan Football not just a play-by-play man for hire. Can you imagine if they'd asked Ufe that question back in the day?

Yost said...


M82, I hear "Big Dog" passed b/c we've been playing more like "Untrained Puppies" this season.

Wangs said...

When our AD gets back from his most recent voyage, I hope he fires Beckman for insubordination. There is no chance that Ufer would ever have agreed to be the voice of Spartie futbol. He'd sit in the Big Quiet House and talk into his cassette recorder before he'd venture to East of Lansing. Gadzooks. It is outrageous.

Plus - doesn't WPAZ with Jamie Morris have a better post game show.