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Stars Could Get Help by Adding One More Voice

While the NHL’s free agency period may not be as covered as the NBA’,s the Dallas Stars are just as active as the Mavericks, pursuing the likes of Vincent Lecavalier and others that can give the likes of Jaime Benn much needed help on the front line. Time will tell which local team gets the fish they want.

But while they’re looking to make additions that wear sweaters and skates, the Stars might want to also consider adding help elsewhere. They may help themselves as much as anywhere with an addition on the broadcast side.

Few in DFW will argue that for years the Stars have had the best broadcast duo in the area in Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh. Brad Sham and Eric Nadel may be loved individually, but the Rangers booth has been a revolving door for years with their second announcer, and most Cowboy fans are still hoping that somehow Dale Hansen will make peace with Jerry and rejoin Sham. But Ralph and Razor.

But they can only do so much. As the team they cover looks to craft a new image, they need help in telling the audience about it. And their own equivalent of Pierre McGuire may be it.

Pierre McGuire, for those who don’t know is the “between the glass” reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the NHL. And he definitely is a bit of a lightning rod, as my Twitter feed during the playoffs had quite a few posts asking him to shut up.

But McGuire’s position in the broadcast team remains sound even if quite a few people don’t like how he carries it out. He is hockey’s sideline reporter, out there to talk directly to players, observe the scene from the benches and inform people of the essential “game within the game.” He is their version of Ahmad Rashad or Ken Rosenthal.

While all that can help a new generation of sports fans get to know hockey in the Metroplex, such an addition to the Stars will also help answer the biggest question many may have: “Who are these guys?”

With an influx of young, relatively unknown talent, the Stars no longer have the likes of Mike Modano, Brenden Morrow, Brett Hull, Ed Belfour or Marty Turco to draw in fans. Their biggest task in drawing fans (outside of, you know, winning again) lies in getting them to know the likes of the Benn brothers, Eric Nystrom, Loui Eriksson, Kari Lehitonen and others.

That’s where the third reporter comes in. Such a person could use breaks in game time, and possibly pre-game, to talk about the players as individual people, get the fans to know who they are.

This, of course, would be in addition to getting the viewers in closer to Lindy Ruff and how he operates. A new coach only adds even more uncertainty that fans need cleared up.

If the McGuire comparison is not a good one for you, then think of it as the Stars getting their own version of what Emily Jones does for the Rangers.

Now the only reminding question is who this reporter could be. Well, I know of a young lady with a real good sports knowledge and a great on-air persona – one who was recently let go from 105.3 The Fan…

Confessions of a Former Fan Fan

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So I guess the first question is: Why did I choose to start listening to 105.3 The Fan?

Well, it basically comes down to this: I wanted something other than SportsRadio 1310.

I’m not going to deny that for years, I had a beef with The Ticket and refused to listen. Even those reading this that know me as “the Hardline Nerd” should know my vendetta against them was even during that time and I only did that one appearance to appease a friend. I should elaborate on more details later.

But for now, back in 2009, I was needing something else. I was listening to 103.3, but outside of Galloway by that time, there was very little local stuff on there. And while I tried to deny it to my Ticket-listening friends, it was a problem. (Even though “local talk” in DFW still means 99.99 percent Cowboys, which isn’t much better for me…) So when I discovered 105.3 was converting into becoming a third sports station for North Texas, I was definitely intrigued.

Nothing really sparked my interest for the first few months – until Sean Salisbury was replaced with Richie Whitt as Newy Scruggs’ new on-air partner. Here was a name I knew. Richie’s Mavericks articles in the Star-Telegram had been must-read action for me as a kid, and I was honored to discover that my choice of college was the same as his. Here was a show I could listen to.

A year later, while Newy had to take some days off, Richie sprung a surprise guest host. It was Greggo, getting a third chance after getting bounced from the other two sports stations. I’ll admit – at the time I didn’t like Greggo; guilt by association from my issues with The Ticket. But as I continued to tune in, especially after Greggo eventually replaced Newy full time, I grew to like him and began to think other factors made me hate The Ticket instead of him. (Trust me, Ticket fans, I WILL let you in on those issues eventually.)

I was a dedicated “Fan fan,” not just tuning in regularly but attending their remote broadcasts and promo events with regularity. And it wasn’t just RAGE – I turned out for the G-Bags, Elf & Slater and the few times New School had promos. I wore their shirts whenever I could. I liked the hosts as people, even when I disagreed with them, and I could tell they were genuine. Pretty much everything about The Fan helped get me through some difficult times.

When did it start going south?

In a way, maybe the seeds were planted all the way back in early 2011, when the Rangers up and left The Fan, but more on that at a later date. At that point, it was awkward being a dedicated listener to just the flagship station of my most disliked team (well they were also the station for TMS, but still). But the people on the air were still ones I liked, and I assumed they weren’t going to just be shills for Jerry just because the games were on their station (yet another topic I’ll get to later).

I knew The Fan’s ratings were not good, but I didn’t care. I’ve supported soccer and UTA sports; I don’t follow anything just because it’s popular. This was my station, and as far as I was concerned, nothing would change that.

But then came March of 2013 when the first bomb was hit – in the form of a Facebook post from a Miss Jasmine Sadry saying The Fan was not renewing her contract. I had known Jas for just about a year, and to know the type of person and worker she was, it was infuriating to hear that just like that, she was gone. No one at the station was allowed to even talk about her departure, just make it seem like she never existed in the first place. It was a cold 180-degree turn from how the station had handled departures before. I couldn’t bring myself to listen to New School again, just out of principle. It didn’t matter how much I liked Shan and RJ, management was essentially telling me as a listener, “forget about that stupid chick, she was nothing, just listen to who’s left.” It was condescending to me, and I couldn’t stand for it.

But it wouldn’t be the last blow.

It was April 2013 – the Monday following Race Weekend at TMS. I tuned into 105.3 a few minutes late – and heard Kevin and Cory from the K&C Masterpiece. Hmm, RAGE had to take the day off, I first thought. But when they came back from first break and didn’t say they were filling in for RAGE, I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I immediately went to The Fan’s website, and sure enough – no mention of RAGE on it whatsoever. Minutes later, the posts came on Facebook from Richie – RAGE, Dead and Gone.

And with that my status as a Fan fan: Dead and Gone.

I didn’t listen to another minute of K&C’s afternoon run, even though I kind of liked their show. No need to; I knew they wouldn’t last. Anyone with half of a sea monkey’s brain knew who was coming in, and that wasn’t going to keep me around.

The bridge burning began for me – at least for the people behind the scenes at 105.3. A very long and intensely heated war of words with one B-bag of a sales rep who obviously thought I was loyal to the brand and not the people. She was dead wrong, and let’s just say we should never meet face to face again. I’ll tell you more later.

You can say all you want about The Fan doing what it has to do to make more noise in the ratings battle; I don’t care. Clearly, trying to do better in the ratings means catering to people who aren’t like me. Fine, I’ve been there too many times before. I don’t follow the popular crowd; I make my own decisions. But when you kick away the people I was loyal to and you treat me like a sheep by essentially saying, “forget those other guys, watch our new guys,” don’t expect me to acquiesce.

Am I wasting space on the unlimited World Wide Web saying this, coming off like a whiny fanboy? Well, I can’t blame you for thinking that. All I can say is, it’s therapeutic for me to get this out in saying how a station’s management gave the shaft to friends of mine that I think deserved better. And if you don’t think I’m wasting your time, feel free to stay tuned.

The End of RAGE and a Fan Fan: Prologue

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And with that, both sides have come out. Or at least the two differing ends on the side that got tossed out.

After weeks of wondering and speculating, in one week-long, five-part exposé, Richie Whitt laid out his details on what led to the demise of the Richie and Greggo Extravaganza on 105.3 The Fan.

Hopefully, you’ve read it by now, and if not, you can always check out the link above, but here’s the Cliff Notes version. Basically, Greggo was never really clean or sober, according to Richie. He missed way too many days for reasons never given, he bailed out on his co-workers and he alienated sponsors. Richie tried to take the high road while hoping management would change things and save the rest of them. And then Gavin Spittle took over and cut the rug out from everyone.

So how do I feel, as someone who Richie called RAGE’s biggest fan and who helped Greggo briefly as an editor to his blog?

Sad. Definitely sad to read how not just a show, but a friendship, was destroyed.

While I’d love to find a way to believe both sides, Richie is the one I have to trust the most. I know a lot of people don’t like him, but I can see he’s genuine. And hey, I know a lot of people don’t like me because of my views and opinions, so maybe that’s why I can gravitate to him.

I feel I should be more angry at Greggo than I am, but I’m not. Maybe it’s a result of knowing the guy enough to have liked him, so I don’t want to think anything bad of him, but not being close enough to have the full feeling of betrayal. All I have is the feeling that I wish this hadn’t happened with anger directed at other people that I still think do deserve it. Because I feel even without Greggo’s indiscretions, RAGE was doomed and not for the right reasons.

It’s a complicated issue, more complicated than I ever thought something like this would be. The only thing I think I can do is lay it out in my own words, how not just a show but a station got undercut in my opinion and good people I came to know, like and admire got screwed. Maybe you’ll want to read it, maybe not, but I think getting it out will be therapeutic for me.

So strap in and get ready, my Rowdy friends. You’ve heard the side of the people behind the microphone. Now, over the next week, it’s time for a loyal listener to give his take on when something he was loyal to was taken away.