(even Sid Rosenberg is worried about the career prospects of Colin’s accomplices)
Salon’s King Kaufman calls Colin Cowherd’s desperate, ill-concieved attempt at silencing The Big Lead, “the latest battle in an ongoing war between sports-talk radio and sports blogs, one that hardly seems like a fair fight. One side is a medium that’s essentially unchanged since the 1970s, an industry whose only idea since the Carter administration has been to keep getting more “in your face.” The other side is, so far in its brief history, constantly adapting, changing, self-correcting, reinventing.”
Talk radio’s response to the World Wide Web, possibly the greatest communications revolution since Gutenberg built his printing press and certainly the greatest since television, was to say, “Hey, you can listen to our radio show on your computer now!”
If Cowherd had shut down the Big Lead by hacking into its servers, which I would think is something ESPN brass could have imagined, would he have gotten away with it? The issue is that he attacked and shut down a competitor, using the radio airwaves, which are a federally regulated public trust. The exact method he used is beside the point.
Imagine if you killed someone by drowning him in a giant vat of cinnamon pudding and you got off, the district attorney saying, “There’s no law against drowning someone in a giant vat of cinnamon pudding because it never occurred to anybody that someone would make cinnamon pudding. But make no mistake! The next guy who kills someone with a giant vat of cinnamon pudding …”
What’s happening here is that Cowherd is a man of limited imagination who’s working in a medium that’s being rendered increasingly irrelevant by another medium. And the only thing he can think to do is lash out.
There’s a real challenge here for Cowherd and the others who do the same job: Respond. Fight back. Change sports-talk radio, make it better, figure out its unique strengths, the things it can do better than the blogs, and do those things.
Maybe there’s someone in the radio business who can think of some ways to get sports-talk radio to start sounding different from how it sounded 30 years ago other than by making it louder, crasser, more “edgy” and “in your face” and various other false-bravado tough-talk labels in the Jim Rome playbook. More smack.
That person is clearly not Colin Cowherd, who’s busy making the most of the fact that he has a larger audience than any blog while the getting’s good.
I’m not entirely sure that Cowherd has a larger audience than any blog. I mean, yeah, it stands to reason there are more people listening to “The Herd” than reading this site, but if Colin’s audience really was so large, shouldn’t there be a bigger outcry over ESPN employing an announcer who can’t tell the difference between the Japanese and Chinese?