Saturday, April 10, 2010

Get Bucky off WTMJ!

I just sent the following to UW Athletics. We'll see if they say anything about it, but I have a hard time believing I'm the only one that thinks this way.

"I am writing to discuss your alleged Milwaukee Badger sports afilliate- 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee. This station has consistently given short shrift to the Badgers as a priority and has consistently denigrated the university on its non-sports shows, and as a former Milwaukee resident, season ticket holder, and Badger Fund contributor, I would recommend finding another station to house Badger games in the largest media market in the state.

WTMJ has what can at best be described as an inconsistent basis for broadcasting Badger games. Badger basketball is frequently pre-empted for Bucks' regular-season games and Brewers exhibition games. Weekly Badger talk shows and coaches' programs are sent to other stations with no consistent home or broadcast, and Badger hockey (including tonight's title game, check to the left side of the link) is nowhere to be found on TMJ. Yet WTMJ constantly promotes itself as "Wisconsin's sports leader," and uses calls from Matt LePay as a key part of that branding. With thousands of UW grads and many more fans in the Milwaukee area, we deserve the ability to find our Badger broadcasts and programs on a single station and at the times that the games are occuring. The much smaller Marquette constituency has no problem locating their shows on 1130, WISN, but Badgers do not get the same luxury in a town they should have preminent status in.

In addition, WTMJ constantly denigrates this great unviersity on their airwaves. Daily shows hosted by people such as Charles Sykes and Jeff Wagner mock the university's culture and academic acheivements. Those of us that love this university and all that it is associated with are insulted when we hear a Charles Sykes promo in the middle of our Badger games, and do not need to hear those loudmouths disrupt our enjoyment of listeneing to Badger games.

Sykes and Wagner also act as a favorable front group for politicans such as Scott Walker and Glenn Grothmann, who are in favor of drastically cutting state funding to the university, which drives up to tuition to unaffordable levels for many Wisconsinites and Badger fans. TMJ talk show hosts are also are heavily associated with the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), an institution that threatened the UW's commitment to fair and quality research by signing a contract with faculty member Ken Goldstein. WPRI further sullied the UW's reputation when Goldstein had to back out of the contract because WPRI was manipulating the results of his research to fit their anti-UW and public services agenda. This great university does not need to be associated with a station that uses itself as a platform to constantly knock down the UW.

Such a move away from WTMJ could give a serious boost for UW sports and in how it is portrayed in local Milwaukee radio. There are two other Milwaukee all-sports stations that would love to have Badger sports full-time in WSSP (1250AM) and WAUK (540AM). Both already carry Badger sports as the secondary home for Bucky when WTMJ pre-empts Badger programming for professional sports or their daily talk shows. In addition, both have commitments to other teams that can be described as minor at best (1250 has the Admirals), and both would probably be willing to make those commitments secondary to taking a full load of Badger football, basketball, and hockey.

Either station may pay more than WTMJ in order to establish itself as a Badger station, especially given that those listeners would then continue to listen to their stations when the Badgers are not on the air. In addition, 1250 or 540 would not have talk show hosts who denigrate the university like WTMJ does today, so I believe a move to one of these stations would be a win-win for the university, the station, and the grads and fans that closely follow Bucky in the Milwaukee area. It is not coincidental that WTMJ's station ratings rise in Fall, when Badger and Packer football is in full swing. Radio consumers stick with the station that they get their sports or other key programming from, and there is little doubt that many Badger fans do the same with WTMJ. This means that station is still on WTMJ when their talk-show hosts come on during the day and spew their anti-UW and Madison agendas.

In closing, I would recommend making WTMJ pay for their second-class treatment by UW by looking elsewhere for its Milwaukee affiliate, and am curious to know when Badger Sports Properties' contract expires with WTMJ. I have little doubt that there are thousands of Badger alums and fans such as myself that would like to see a permanent home for Bucky in Milwaukee, and away from a station that rips it whenever the games aren't on.

A double alum, football season ticket holder, and lifetime Badger,
Jake ******"

P.S. Another reason to get Bucky off WTMJ. Journal Broadcast Group has given nearly $15,000 to Walker this election cycle already . In addition to being patently unethical (how can reporters cover Walker fairly when the bosses are giving him cash?), Scotty boy's the one without the college degree. You think he'll care about the UW or any other type of higher education when he's in office?Edit: Capper notes that it's a refund of previous ads of Walker's on TMJ that never ran. But that reiterates the point, because radio stations make money on selling ads, and you don't want to piss off your clients.


  1. It appears that the money from Journal Broadcasting is a refund for money spent on commercials that didn't run when Walker was running for re-election as county exec.

  2. Capper- Thanks for that explanation. I'll give TMJ a pass for that (but not the disgraces that pollute their airwaves during the day).

    However, let's also keep track of ads bought by candidates, especially on stations with talk shows. Let's see if we find some advertising/reporting "synergies", sort of like how drug and insurance companies buy all the ad time on the Sunday morning network shows.

  3. As xoff pointed out at Whallah!, the real money saver/maker is all the free air time Sykes, Belling and the rest give to Walker.

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