Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

MICKEY FURFARI

October 10, 2013

WVU game broadcasts exposure limited in state

MORGANTOWN — For the first time in some 70 years, you can’t tune in on a Morgantown AM radio station and listen to the broadcasts of West Virginia University football games.

What’s more, it’s most likely, limited, that will be the same sad situation for both men’s and women’s basketball as well as WVU basketball games. Only an FM station that reportedly doesn’t have nearly the range of Morgantown’s AM WAJR, is the lone option accessible.

Apparently you can blame the powers-that-be at WVU and IMG College, which this year signed a partnership for media rights, etc., that is to pay the university 16.1 million per year. Money is the chief concern today, isn’t it?

Despite a claim that this sad predicament could have been avoided, a West Virginia Radio Corp. official denied that IMG ever offered game broadcasts to WAJR.

As a result, WVU games no longer are on any of WVRC’s radio stations which now number 41.

That’s certainly unfair to countless West Virginia residents -- and this should be a major concern for the land grant university’s Board of Governors, President Jim Clements, Athletic Director Oliver Luck, et al.

Interestingly, neither the ailing condition of the Mountaineers’ football program (from donors a big source of WVU revenue, when it’s going well—sports in general) were not mentioned in Monday’s State of the WVU address.

Dr. Clements zeroed in strictly on academics, as he undoubtedly should have. That’s mainly why any college was founded.

However, isn’t athletics still part of the academic process at WVU and all other such institutions?

If so, that program ought to be controlled as all other areas, shouldn’t it? If so, someone in authority should inform the current WVU Board of Directors.

If that panel has taken any action on what appears to be a worsening crisis in the athletic program, the public has yet to be informed and it has a right to know!

Getting back to the West Virginia Radio Corp., which has a lawsuit against WVU’s BOG and several individuals, it has provided great programming annually since at least 1942, as the Mountaineer Sports Network for WVU.

Yet no one at the university seems to be grateful. This happens to be a different era, and perhaps exposing gratitude is a thing of the past.

WVRC’s 41 radio stations would cover most of West Virginia. Those are located in major cities Morgantown, Clarksburg, Charleston, Cumberland, Md., Elkins, and Beckley.

Since IMG College took over, I’ve noticed that many of its radio stations are located in much smaller towns and areas in W.Va.

Unfortunately, there are some listeners in West Virginia and adjoining states which can’t tune in WVU games on radio.

Isn’t that a really sad situation?

Even my good friend Lester Shaffer and his family are victims. They live off Pa. 857 at the Pa. state line and can’t pick up game radio broadcasts.

Shaffer, who has worked in Morgantown for several years, is a long-time follower of WVU and misses not being able to listen to game broadcasts.

“WAJR’s high-powered signal could be picked up as far as the Pittsburgh area for years,” Shaffer said. “And there are probably thousands of WVU alumni in that vast metropolitan area.”

Shaffer also noted that a lot of people like to turn off TV announcers and listen to Tony Caridi on the radio while watching the telecast.

 

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MICKEY FURFARI