The Revolution Is On!

By Jeff Munn

There was a song recorded during the Sinatra era that I think of often these days. Its opening lyrics were…

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round;

They all laughed when Edison recorded sound

Thirty years ago, if someone had said there would be 24 hour a day sports programming on radio, it would have been the spark of tremendous laughter. The internet? Never heard of it. Heck, we thought in 1986 one ESPN channel was enough.

The last line of that song? Ha Ha Ha, who’s got the last laugh now?

I’m bringing this up because of what I’ve discovered in the months since my work schedule lightened up. There’s a ton of great stuff for sports fans to read, listen to, and watch.

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to the Gwinnett Braves battle the Toledo Mud Hens. The Triple A affiliates of the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers have rosters full of familiar big leagues names and prospects who have already made an impression in the Arizona Fall League.

YOU are reading this on a website devoted entirely to Arizona sports – even ten years ago, that idea seemed a little far-fetched. After all, a 30-minute nightly Arizona sports show never really got traction on Fox Sports Arizona.

I have told a number of students in the Cronkite School at ASU over the years that forms of media that people have written the obituary for are not dying. They’re just evolving.

I may be one of the last people to go out and pick my newspaper off the driveway in the morning. I can read the local paper online. Writers were on the bandwagon years ago. When the late Steve Schoenfeld left The Arizona Republic for a job writing about the NFL on the web, someone asked him why he would take such a risk. Schoenfeld’s response was perfect – no deadline, and no word limits.

All Sports radio is now as frequently found on FM as it is on AM, and at some point in the future, FM will be the dominant frequency. You know what’s next – an all-football format, all-baseball, etc.

If you like to read, and as a baseball fan I do, look at how many nationally-known writers have left newspapers to work for MLB.com. The Schoenfeld philosophy works there too. Better yet, on MLB.com, every story can be accessed for free.

Television? Let’s see, there are five ESPN channels, another one on the internet, four of the Big Five college conferences have their own network, Texas has one all to themselves.

My friend Brad Cesmat came to Phoenix in 1993 to do a sports show on radio from 6:00-9:00 weeknights. In 2016, you can get Brad’s show anytime. Want to watch and listen to Brad at 3:00 a.m.?

Have at it. No, I’m not going for the joke there.

Newspapers are we know them (or knew them) are changing rapidly. Does it mean print journalism is going the way of the dinosaur? Absolutely not. The way we get the story is the part that’s changing.

TV was supposed to destroy movies, cable was supposed to destroy local TV, satellite radio was going to end music formats on over the air radio, etc. That didn’t happen, but just about everything else the visionaries have predicted has.

From your computer, you can listen to any level of baseball, including colleges, you like. I’m listening to Tony Schiavone broadcast the G-Braves right now (know that name? A long time ago, Schiavone hosted NWA Wrestling on TBS taking with guys like Ric Flair and the Road Warriors). Tonight, I’ll check out my buddy Russ Langer in Las Vegas, and yes, spend a little time with Vin Scully.

This is a revolution. And, we’re all benefitting from it.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Emilion Bonafacio is leading off the 12th for the Braves….