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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: The Fan silences the fan


Brief and to the Point …

>> My Friday column discusses Frank Coonelly’s DUI, what it means to the Pirates and, infinitely more important, what it could mean toward victims of drunk driving. My thanks here go to the Pennsylvania chapter of MADD for their help.

>> On this very blog yesterday, we had a post up for you to discuss the topic yourselves. Bet you had no idea what a novelty that would be in Pittsburgh.

The folks who run 93.7 The Fan, Pittsburgh’s only 24-hour sports talk station, embarrassed themselves and their on-air hosts by prohibiting any talk of Coonelly’s DUI. It would get mentioned during the every-20-minute news segments, but the hosts were explicitly told to leave it alone.

And I’ll repeat: Those orders came from The Fan, not from the Pirates. They came from general manager Michael Young or program director Terry Foxx, and my understanding is that Young initiated it.

Why did this happen?

The Fan recently won the rights to broadcast the Pirates, to become the official flagship. And it could just be that someone who was either over-thinking that relationship or not thinking at all decided that they’d stand behind their new brethren and go easy on Coonelly. Never mind that doing things like this almost invariably backfire and make matters far worse.

Think about this for a second: It’s not just the hosts who were muzzled. It was the callers! It was the very people, the very consumers who make the station go!

And they thought they’d somehow slide through the day without anyone noticing!

This was beyond gutless.

Some good people, with a lot of integrity, work as on-air hosts at The Fan. But they were made to look like fools by this ridiculous edict. They deserved better, and their callers deserved better. For that matter, the Pirates deserved better, even in the context of Coonelly’s mistake.

Very late at night, once The Fan was getting called out on Twitter and even the national site Deadspin pounced with a blog entry, the higher-ups relented and gave Chris Mueller the green light to … you know, conduct an actual sports talk show.

Don’t be surprised if this story isn’t over.

Did I mention that the Pirates weren’t happy with The Fan for this?

>> If the Stanley Cup playoffs began today — they don’t — check out the 3-6 matchup in the East.

You know, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen grass there …

>> “The Steelers will never get under the cap!”

“They’ll never sign Mike Wallace!”

“They’ll … what … Ben Roethlisberger just gave them $8 million in cap space?”

“Oh. Never mind.”

>> Here is the chat transcript from yesterday.

>> I’ll be on TribLIVE Radio today at 1:45 p.m. to discuss the Coonelly column.

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