Monday, September 26, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Is It That (1) Richie Whitt Is Out at the Observer, or (2) the Observer is Getting Out of "Full-Time" Sports Reporting?

Thanks to Confessor Shaggy to alerting this site to Richie Whitt's farewell to The Observer, or its farewell to him.

Richie tees it up as the Village Voice organization "downsizing" by eliminating "full-time" sports.

This site has no idea whether this is the case, or whether, as less charitable minds might wonder, Richie's bosses got a little uneasy with him commenting on an industry segment (DFW sports radio) in which he is prominently employed, and writing about a team (Cowboys) that his station carries and whose game-day shows he hosts. 

Now I'll tell you right now that I don't find that to be a terrible conflict.  To the extent that it is, it is a disclosed conflict and readers and listeners can make up their own minds.

But there's something else:  He's become a little newsier himself than perhaps his editors are entirely comfortable with.  There was the Greggo blowup, and the widespread suspicion that he was anonymously commenting on his own stories hoping it would blow over.  (I know of no confirmation of this.)  That, if confirmed to his supervisors' satisfaction, would be tough to take, and his proximity to Greggo eruptions make him radio news in a way he hasn't been in the past, casting a somewhat fuzzy conflict into much sharper relief.

Well, maybe this will give him more time to keep an eye on Greggo.  Although I doubt that his Observer gig would ever threaten to make him wealthy, if he lost the Fan exposure, he'd vanish entirely.

All further evidence, if any were needed, that partnering with Greg Williams is a high-wire act.

I'm not a RaGE hater and I've defended Richie's Observer work.  I don't listen to RaGE often, I don't find it consistently entertaining, but I've found things to like about it from time to time.  I wish him well.

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310

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SPECIAL TO GYPO NOLAN:  What can you tell us about this?


Anonymous said...

I just read RW's own "Last Supper." While I can kind of see where VVM wants to cut out a sports section of an otherwise leftist, activist, hipster, extremely "s*** that white people like" entertainment weekly, cutting him out of the website doesn't make much sense. Especially when you see how many people they have writing on the food blog alone. Something tells me that the Plainsman's assessment is more right than wrong.

I've never been a fan of RW. And my God, his photo alone (and the one he posted up is a recent one) makes him hard to like. Middle age crisis, much? I think he's an awful writer, a poor talk show host, and might even be a bit on the shady side of things. But I don't like to see someone lose their job. Lucky for him, he still has his radio gig. For now, at least. If he ever does get another job in the print media, maybe he'll think twice before making cryptic "last supper" remarks about others' employment. Eh, probably not.

The Plainsman said...

Anonymous, good point. I'll bet Sportatorium is one of the more popular online Observer features, and that Richie's sportsy articles are the reason a lot of people pick up the OnDeadTree version at their local kiosk farm.

So why cut him for economic reasons?

Gypo Nolan? Gypo Nolan?

Anonymous said...

Wow. This site is just becoming more and more about baseless speculation and irresponsible sensationalism.

They cut Sportatorium for economic reasons. Whitt is a name. He costs a lot of money. He probably makes more than all the City of Ate bloggers combined. Though I'm sure they'd like to keep all those clicks, I doubt he's worth it any more, especially when they can do a sports blog in the same model as CoA. Watch - they'll introduce it sooner or later.

The commenters and blog host here are really treading into ridiculous territory.

Gypo Nolan said...

Not my area of expertise.

Fozzie Bear said...

Hey Richie "Anonymous" Whitt, nice to see that you follow this blog!

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about Richie Whitt.

The Plainsman said...

Two Anonymi back:

This site is NOT "more and more about baseless speculation." I am confident that it has about the same percentage of baseless speculation that it has always had.

And while I'm on the subject: Richie did a lot of cover stories for this mag in addition to this weekly stuff. That output has to be replaced, and I would think they would want to replace it with something with the potential to be as popular as stories about local sports. How much less will that cost them? I dunno, this "cost-cutting" story seems at least slightly suspect to me. Seems to me the economic move would be to have asked Richie to take a pay cut, although I'm guessing that even a featured and frequent writer for a free weekly doesn't pull down that much to begin with. Hey, it's baseless speculation, but it's GREAT baseless speculation.

Most recent Anonymous:

And it is NOT true that "nobody cares about Richie Whitt." This site's hits go way up when Richie and Greggo are featured, as do the comments.

The Plainsman said...


Has Village Voice Media itself said anything about "downsizing" in Dallas? I looked for accounts of an announcement but didn't see any. This isn't so suspicious in itself, companies aren't anxious to publicize things like that. But have any of our media followers out there heard anything about anyone other than Richie being let go? Do we have a source other than Richie and two-Anonymi-back that his separation was economically motivated?

Related topic: Do either the Morning News or the Star-Telegram report regularly on media news? Other cities I've lived in have had columnists who do nothing but that, and some where there is a regular sports media column that would be all over the Richie/Greggo drama. (I suppose I could buy a paper once in awhile, but it's easier to ask you guys.) I'd like to speculate less baselessly, and promote only responsible sensationalism, but we must make do with the evidence before us. It's hard if no real reporter is reporting on this stuff (other than the subject of the newsy item himself).

Shaggy said...

Barry Horn is supposed to be the sports media reporter for the Morning News. He's absolutely terrible.

DinosaurMex said...

It must be tough to have so fragile of an ego as to have to scour the internet looking for any and all things written about you... and then feel the need to comment on them with "anonymous" postings or names like "nothing going here." The price of "fame," I guess?

The Plainsman said...

In fairness:

We don't know that any pro-Whitt comments here are authored by Richie himself. That the Observer cut him loose for purely pecuniary reasons is an entirely credible scenario and, in fact, is the only scenario that anyone involved has advanced (even though it was Richie himself -- I haven't seen any Observer denials). Other than circumstantially, we have no information to the contrary. So I have no trouble believing that pro-RaGE or -Richie readers are writing in to defend him. I'm happy to hear from them.

The Nation is, however, free to draw its own conclusions, as always. Just wanted to make clear that this site does not have an editorial position on the identity of any anonymous Richie commenters here.

It may be wimpy, but fair's fair.

Anonymous said...

Okay, this one's weird, even for Greggo. Why is he tweeting Rhyner?

Hey @theoldgreywolf ..remember...we were in NYC when we learned we had a job at LIVE 105.3...we turned down...Russ Martin took it..and.....
11 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

The Plainsman said...

Wow. Greggo waxing nostalgic.

Reaching out to a guy who completely ignores him about some long-past event.

Things must not be good in the House of RaGE.

He's lonely for his old pal and the good old radio days.

So RaGE continues to shivver and totter.

Anonymous said...

Anon who thinks this site is speculating baselessly here.

1. I'm not RW. In fact, I'm someone cheering for the disappearance of RW from all local mejia. Read what I actually wrote without knee-jerking.

2. Greggo tweets Rhynes all the time. Last night was egregious, but not out of the ordinary. He also tweeted Dongovan, Grubes and Bob. Sadly, Grubes and Bob replied... but they're just nice guys.

3. Seriously, this blog is getting ridiculous with speculation that goes nowhere. The Plainsman said it himself - the hits and comments go up for this type of thing. Methinks he's simply looking for both, trying to be the TMZ of the Ticket world. Pretty sad.

I'll just make one more comment: "A home for those who love almost everything about The Ticket, and who would like to discuss -- respectfully and fondly -- their thoughts on how (and whether) to eliminate the 'almost.'"

The Plainsman said...

I don't blame Anon for not liking speculation. That's fair.

But this site has always had fun taking bits and pieces and trying to figure out what's going on. I may have more readers than I used to, but it hasn't increased the informed-guessing content since I started this thing about 360 posts ago. Given Whitt's increasing profile as a newsmaker, and no evidence other than Whitt's that the move was motivated by "downsizing" anyone but him, it is not "ridiculous" to speculate that his departure may have had something to do with recent events. It may be speculation, but it's by no means insupportable.

And do I want to make this site appealing to increasing numbers of readers? Yes. I try to keep the joint entertaining without getting (too) personal and crtical, and I try to give everyone an even break -- talk about what's good as well as what might need adjustment. That includes Richie and Greg.

And you know, no offense intended, Anonymous, but I think that the foregoing would be obvious to a regular reader of this site and follower of the Richie/Greggo story, as you suggest you are. So while I am happy to receive your well-written critique (really), I'm suspicioning that you have an agenda of your own that we're not hearing about. Your accusations of irresponsibility on this subject are not well-founded, so while I accept your denial of being Richie, I'm thinking there's some other reason you've taken the time to be critical of the site and its readers.

Will you share?

DinosaurMex said...

Well said, Plainsman. I think you're spot on about this disgruntled, anonymous commenter. And by the way, the Greggo tweet is pretty dang awkward! I guess it, like everything else he does, will be blamed on the Ambien. By the way, am I the only one who finds it a bit scary that there's a doctor out there who keeps prescribing his/her patient with a med that obviously has deleterious effects upon said patient? Effects that are played out very publicly.

DinosaurMex said...

Oh, and to the disgruntled Anonyomous: I think it is you who needs to reread what he/she wrote. There is no indication whatsoever of your claim that you want RW out of local media, at all. You merely state what you think to be the reason as to why he/you? was/were let go from the Observer. Very detailed reasons, I might add. If you are also the Anon who wrote that no one cares about RW, that still doesn't support your claim of wishing RW gone from the market. So please don't get haughty; and don't ask of others what you aren't willing to do, yourself (closely read your comments).

T4 In Rockwall said...

I think everyone should man up and choose some kind of user name. Anonymous is sometimes a cop-out to write what you want and not have to stand by it. I know I've said some things on this site that weren't endearing to all, but my name is right there next to my name. Sorry, a little off subject, but I read so many comments from "Anonymous" and really would like some of them to stand by what they're saying.

The Plainsman said...

T4, it's interesting that you bring this up. I was just thinking about the same thing. It would be more fun if regular Confessors would assign themselves a name. However, there's an honor system with that -- commenters can change names, or adopt someone else's name, and there's not much I could do about it. (A name plus a picture like you offer -- that's much better.) In general, I think that our regular commenters who give themselves a name are consistent in using it, and I haven't heard any complaints about name thievery to date.

I also think that commenters who are putting together a body of work on this site (that may be a bit grandiose) take more care with their Confessions, since they may be recalled at a later date.

What brought this to mind was our skeptical Anonymous who seemed to think that he had given an impression that he wanted Whitt out of DFW, when today's posting did not support that interpretation. It made me think (oh oh, here comes some more baseless speculation!) that maybe HE thought that WE knew he was the same Anon as some past Anon who had reported his desire to expel RW from the metro. Nope -- Anonymi (other than Anon B and even the rarely-sighted Anon C) who post are pretty much out of sight/mind after a new article appears.

So yeah, it's more fun if Confessors have a unique identifier -- again, as long as personal attacks are kept out of it.

And this particular critical Anonymous is a pretty fair draftsman. His work is very nicely composed, if (my judgment) sometimes ill-founded. So I hope he continues to check in. And if he has some connection to Richie/CBS/Cumulus that gives him some extra credibility, that he would so advise.

If he's even a "he."

Anonymous said...

oh, its a "he" alright. i know how little dickie whitt writes. he gets real defensive in regards to being fired from previous jobs. the facts, are when a company lays you off, they find you no longer an asset to said company. the observer is going nowhere. in fact, an observer sports blog will reappear in the near future.
he claims to have left the star-telegram to accept the observer position a few yrs back.
the truth is he was told to accept the layoff or be fired.

ap said...

Very off-topic, but did anyone happen to catch Bacsik's Greggo-related tweet earlier today? I can't remember Mike having a working relationship with the Hammer, so it was a bit surprising to see this cryptic tweet.

Note - Bacsik's tweets have been protected ever since his unfortunate incident, so the link may not work. The text is as follows:

"You might want to listen to 105.3 The Fan in the 5 o'clock hour with RAGE. @TCUWhiteTrash just sayin."

DinosaurMex said...

Saw that, too, ap. I'm definitely tuning in to hear what transpires. It could be an interesting thing since Bacsik is still very good friends with all Ticket hosts, board ops, etc. I wonder if this leads to him being hired (or is the first step in a process already begun)? Like I've said on this blog a few times: I really think it's going to get interesting here in Dallas Sports Talk Radio Land over the next year.

Anonymous said...

"I'm suspicioning that you have an agenda of your own that we're not hearing about. "

No, I just think you're being stupid for no reason. It's clearly about money, but you're trying to drag it out to be something else. Something that benefits you. I don't like that.

DinosaurMex said...

Enough, Whitt. We know it's you. If you're going to come on here and defend yourself, that's great. It's your right. Indeed, someone like myself welcomes it. But don't insult us (like you did your listeners on the Twitter/Greggo imbroglio and now the claim to Bacsik that "we don't shy away from Twitter controversy"). Admit it's you and then we can all have a fruitful discussion.

The Plainsman said...

I actually laughed at that last one, Anon:

(1) This is the whole point: It isn't CLEARLY about money -- it's only REPORTEDLY about money based on the report by the one person who has an interest in that characterization. Has The Observer or Village Voice Media issued any information on this? If it says "we downsized Richie for economic reasons," then speculation over. They haven't, to my knowledge. I've searched for it. No luck. I will welcome and publicize any information that they have done so.

Well, Anon? Whaddya got? Give me some non-Whitt confirmation of Mr. Whitt's characterization of his separation and I'll make it a headlined article.

(2) What is "stupid" about thinking that The Observer/VVM may have had reasons other than pecuniary for Mr. Whitt's release? It may be right, it may be wrong, but why is it stupid?

(3) How does speculating that Richie's recent Greggo-related adventures had something to do with his separation benefit me? You know how much money I've made off of this site? Zero dollars. (And now my ads have disappeared -- gotta work on that.)

(4) Who, exactly, is dragging this out?