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Minutes of Y's Men Meeting of May 4, 2017

Jon Stashower

Jon Stashower started his career at a radio station in New Haven.  It was a prosperous station at the time although John didn’t make much money.

For economic and career advancement reasons, he moved to WFAN in New York City.  Up until that time, the station had played music, but it now had the rights to the Mets games and ventured into the sports talk programing mode.  Its first year was disastrous, but the owners then purchased WNBC.  WNBC had the popular Don Imus as its morning show.  This attracted an audience and sports talk radio began to take off.

Again, for career advancement, Mr. Stashower moved to the new ESPN.  This station also started on a shaky financial footing, but by 1993 it had turned profitable and began to expand rapidly.  It was then purchased by Disney, which could fund its growth and give it the marketing it needed to really explode.

Jon left ESPN in 2012, which turned out to be good timing as the network is presently tied to enormously expensive contracts with the sports leagues while millennials are now getting sports on their phones, computers and tablets and ignoring cable networks.  Consequently, the subscriber base for stations like those owned by ESPN is diminishing.

Another factor affecting those in the sports broadcasting business is the massive consolidation in the industry.  Many of the sports outlets are owned by the same people and they are consolidating the people needed to provide the programing.  This is leading to a reduction in the number of jobs even as the number of sports outlets increases.  Plus, sports broadcasters are no-longer needed to update listeners on developments.  The Internet makes this information available to all on an almost instantaneous basis.

Q&A

Q.  Can you say anything good about any of the Badger teams?

A.  The Badgers have really good football and basketball teams.

Q.  When will the UConn Women’s Team get in a decent league?

A.  UConn women dominate, which is not good for the game, but they didn’t take advantage of joining when leagues were formed so they ended up in a weak league.

Q.  What is the effect of Sirius Radio and why didn’t you ever switch to TV?

A.  You can be on the air much longer on the radio then you can on TV.  Sirius Radio is now doing well I believe.

Q. What can we do to expand your audience?

A.  Audience is not that important.  My broadcasts are found in a number of different mediums and are difficult to predict when they will be aired.

Q.  How do you stay current on all sports?

A.  You have to do a lot of research, but most information is available to all at the same time we get it.

Q.  Why not talk more about players not getting an education?

A.  There is so much money in the business that it tends to drive out discussions about things like education.

Q.  How is Cleveland going to do in the playoffs?

A.  The Cavs are playing well, but will be underdogs.

Q.  What is a slider and how has pitching changed?

A.  The slider is a type of curve ball.  The biggest change is that players now play all year and that makes for increase wear and tear.

Q.  Are we overdoing sports?

A.  The seasons are too long.

Q.  Any comments about Aaron Judd?

A.  The guy is amazing.  Loads of talent.  It’s exciting.

Q.  Why so many pitching injuries now?

A.  The pitchers used to throw slower and the yearlong playing leads to more injuries.

Q.  When did the high strike zone move from letter high to waist high?

A.  The strike zone is too small in my opinion.

Q.  Is golf declining in interest?

A.  Golf has fewer players now and none of the pros have Tiger’s charisma.

Q.  Any thoughts about games being fixed?

A.  I think the pros have too much money to lose if they are caught.  It could happen in college games where the players don’t get paid.