The Great Voice goes Green

Ah, Autumn.

In Michigan, that means so many great things. Fall colors, back to school, start of hockey season (when we’re lucky)…

It also, of course, means football. For most Detroiters, it’s all about Michigan football. As the defacto home team, UM has enjoyed the spoils of victory. No doubt, their history in the sport is quite impressive. Regardless of the fact that they’ve won fewer National Championships than MSU in the past 50 or so years, the Wolverines have done quite well over the last 30 years.

One of the many benefits of the popularity of UM football is an inordinate amount of press coverage, and clear media bias within Detroit’s newspapers. We Spartan fans can yell until we’re “blue in the face” — wouldn’t matter a bit. Joe Sixpack wants his Meeechigan football, and he’ll get it, by God. Michigan has also benefitted from having a clear channel (no capitals, please) radio flagship. Since 1977, Michigan football and basketball (yep, they still have a team) games have been carried by the uber-conservative WJR-760 AM. Even growing up a Spartan fan (and later graduating from MSU), I can remember the games being carried on Saturdays. It really did spell Fall to me. The station, with its 50,000 watts of power, can be heard “in 38 states and Canada”, according to the station’s PR team. The Maize and Blue were extolled virtually unimpeded in most of the country, signifying the grandeur of the winged helmet and their most recent Rose Bowl loss.

So yesterday, when WJR announced that they had ***gasp!*** dropped UM for MSU, well, the Wolverine fans were simply put out. This was pure blasphemy — it was one thing for them to fail to renew a working deal with Michigan, but to then turn around and cover the Cow College to the North? Unfathomable.

Yes, Joe. It’s ours now. It was even suggested by the players involved that there was a “substantial momentum shift” going on between the two schools’ athletic program. Now, am I naive enough to think that they’re making the switch for the football coverage? Not on your life. This has much, much more to do with the basketball programs than anything. As I pointed out in a previous article, I have accepted MSU’s ‘little brother’ status in the football rivalry. But basketball — with 20 or so more games to broadcast than football, will be a real boon for The Great Voice.

The next questions will involve announcers: will Beckmann and Brandstatter actually stay and broadcast MSU football? The answer is NO FREAKIN’ WAY. Those two have UM toilet paper in their house, in every john. Ain’t gonna happen. There’s not enough money for Beckmann to stay, and as we all get to read in the Detroit News, he’s not fond of the poor. Buh bye.

This is a great day for MSU. I’m not a fan, at all, of WJR’s independent programming: Rush, Dr. Laura and the rest of the Bush apologists (it’s hard to imagine there are ANY left) all reside at 760. But, this move is a symbolic sea-change in college sports.

And now, my daughter will grow up as I did, listening to football games on WJR on Saturday afternoons.

1 Comment so far

  1. Stacey (unregistered) on October 14th, 2005 @ 11:53 am

    Haha, yeah, I thought you might post about it. I was just so surprised!

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