Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Followup Note to "Weekends are Tough for The Hammer"

I agree with the sense of all commenters   that this is not going to end well for Greg Williams.  (See previous article and comments.)  Whether he's still under the influence or not, and we hope not, he seems unable to compartmentalize his professional life and keep it between himself and his employers.

I don't know much about broadcasting, but I know quite a lot about the way large companies, and especially public companies, are put together.  Bacsik was out almost instantly at The Ticket because of ONE WORD in his Tweet.  The Ticket could live with a Latino boycott, but Cumulus could not take the PR hit.

If He Who Can Only Rarely Be Named can't keep from mortifying his bosses, he's going to go.  Put Greggo and Richie out of your minds for a few minutes, and think about the guys they answer to, and the guys those guys answer to.  Their weekend is worse than Richie's and Greggo's.

"We don't shy away from Twitter controversy," says Richie Whitt.  I didn't hear that statement, but I accept Confessors' reports as accurate.  Think about what that means:   This isn't "controversy" in the sense of "I have a hot sports opinion about whether Dez Bryant is a goldbrick."  It's "controversy" in the sense of "unauthorized disclosure of confidential company information."  Richie saying that they don't shy away from Twitter controversy is equivalent to saying:  "We embrace self-destructive public airing of internal discord." 

Greggo has forced guys like Richie (for whom I continue to have some sympathy) to triage the damage he's done, and Richie's chosen to deal with it by embracing it.  (Query whether ignoring it might be a better strategy.)  But it can't work.   Greg's behavior reflects on the judgment of Fan and CBS managers and executives -- not just among listeners, but in the industry.  They look like fools if they let it continue.  They cannot tolerate this kind of loose-lippedness much longer.

And it's not like Williams has proven himself a ratings star.  The only downside to his release would be that some Fan guys would have to admit that their faith in Greggo's "this time I'll be good" story was misplaced, not to mention a lot of publicity dollars down the drain.  Hey, it looked like a good move at the time, didn't it?  We can all say aww, we knew Greggo was going to do the Greggo again eventually, but to put two well-known media figures against The Hardline -- one of them a former Hard Guy -- was a smart move at the time.   They were in the ratings tank then, and still are -- the hurt from admitting that it didn't work would go away fast.  But professional damage up the chain of command if there's a truly catastrophic meltdown, where all the warning signs were there, will linger with some suits who do not want failures, much less notorious public flameouts, on their resumes.

[Offbeat:  Here's a scenario to consider -- unlikely but anyone in business has seen more exotic theories conjured up by employment lawyers:  Hammer takes the position that this kind of public confession is therapy for his various addictions -- the "reconciliation" scenario that Anonymous posited.  He gets fired for them (presumably for insubordination) and then he claims that he was dealing with a disability known to his employer before he was hired (1) that did not affect his on-air performance, and (2) that were not "accommodated" by his employer.  That's a suin'.]

There's nothing wrong with reaching out to old friends and colleagues.  It's the public digital trail that's the problem while you've got current colleagues -- colleagues who have gone out on a limb for you -- who deserve your full concentration and loyalty.

I don't want Greggo to fail.  I don't even want him off the air.  I'm just saying that he's bumping up against some institutional dynamics that are going to make it very difficult for him to hang around much longer if he keeps doing what he's doing.

As Bob Newhart said on that old Saturday Night Live skit:  "Stop it."

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Anonymous said...

An earlier poster sarcastically suggested you start calling this site "My Greggo Speculation". It seems to me that it's your site and you can do whatever you want. If he doesn't like it he can go to hell. I'm a P1, but I also listen to other sports stations sometimes. So I'm interested when you have something to say about them. Also, I appreciate the time and effort you put into this and that it gives us a forum to speculate and comment.

DinosaurMex said...

I second that!

The Plainsman said...

Thanks, gents, if gents you be.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a lot to what you say, Plainsman. I want to see not only Greggo, but also RaGE, succeed. Not because I'm a fan of the show, but because it makes for a more competitive and thus better market. Radio station wars, the kind they used to have in the 70s and early-mid 80s, are great. They enliven the market by energizing the hosts and the loyal listeners. Having said that, you can't have a true station war if one of the stations (and in this case two of the stations) is a non factor in the market - future sports bar owning, Disney funded, and all.

Anyway, like I said, I hope Greggo does well.