It’s time for an update on the 810/610 Radio Wars.

The last month has been a particularly active one in the war for the Kansas City Sports Talk listener as we’ve had a head coach fired, bugged conference rooms, two outstanding college basketball teams in the top 10 in the country and the Super Bowl.

But it’s important to see how these stories are covered to make sure we’re getting the straight story. Sadly, it doesn’t seem that we have a true trustworthy source.

The start of January was occupied almost entirely by Todd Haley vs. Scott Pioli. And Haley’s charge that his personal cell phone was bugged and others charges that the Chiefs front office is an absolutely miserable place to work.

Kent Babb, who wrote the highly electric article for The Star (and whom we got to interview for the Royalman Report) is a regular guest on What’s Right with Nick Wright on 610 Sports. So he spent his time doing interviews there. The Star also gives Sam Mellinger to 610 Sports.  The coverage of the story on 610 was very sympathetic to the Babb article, with the exception of Bob Fescoe’s program, that destroyed it. Much of that was chronicled in Greg Hall’s article. There even got to be a little dust up between Fescoe and Nick that played out on the air. Stay classy, boys.

Sports Radio 810 spun the story the completely opposite way and their front was nearly unanimous. The Chiefs, you see, have a contractual arrangement with 810. They are “business partners.” So, one wouldn’t expect there to be much in the way of objective reporting, or even interviewing the objective reporters there.

I did, however, get Kevin Kietzman, Between The Lines afternoon drive host and part owner of Union Broadcasting to send me a short response to an e-mail I sent.

I can assure you that Union Broadcasting has never, and will never, determine any on air coverage based on business partnerships.
–Kevin Kietzman
Well, glad we got that cleared up. **Cough** Smoke N Fire **Cough**
So, by this point, I was figuring that 810 was completely unreliable, on just about anything that they could sell advertising for. But that 610 might just be holding steady as “the voice of the fan.”
Until yesterday.
Yesterday was National Signing Day for Colleges and most of the day was spent discussing Dorial Green-Beckham’s surprising signing by Missouri. That seemed to be the biggest story of the day, but it’s also Super Bowl week as well as MU/KU week, so I figured there’d be only minimal discussion on High School kids signing with colleges.
So, when I tuned into Nick Wright’s show at 2, I was surprised. What followed was 64 commercial-free minutes of a live press conference with Kansas football coach Charlie Weis as he talked about all 20 of his signees in painstaking detail.
It’s not just that this is Kansas Football, who, by the way, finished dead last in the Big 12 last year with an 0-9 record in conference play. This would’ve been an embarrassingly boring press conference to cover if it was Mizzou, Kansas State or Johnson County Community College.
We’re talking about prime network advertising space here. That money is having to come out of somebody’s pocket.  610 Sports IS the flagship of the Jayhawk Network. Was this part of an agreement? Who thought listening to this boring laundry list of heights and weights of 20 grown men was a good idea?
Publicly, Nick seemed against the move to cut off 64 minutes of his show. On Twitter, he responded to a tweet from me denouncing this move:
@GetNickWright: Please believe me [REDACTED]. I wish we were [REDACTED].

And publicly to all his followers:

@GetNickWright: Once when I was hosting middays I was late to my own show and Roger Twibell had to host for me… Today replaces that as my career’s nadir.
But, it just goes to show you that Sports Radio is a business, and it’s a business of making money. If you can make a buck while pushing more important stuff to the side, you make the buck.
The losers here in the Radio Wars, are the fans.