Recently, the Baltimore Orioles have instituted a new policy about talk radio and the fans who call into the various shows in the city and the surrounding area. According to WBAL, Orioles management, including Jim Duquette and Sam Perlozzo have been barred from taking calls from fans from stations besides CBS affiliates, ESPN 1300 or WHFS 105.7 (from wbal.com).
Steve Davis, a radio host on WBAL alerted the fans after finding out the new policy:
He says "They’re both great guys and wonderful interviews, and enjoy their interaction with the fans. I’m very disappointed for the listeners and callers. We had people call in to talk to them, as they always have, and Perlozzo and Duquette were told by the Orioles that they couldn’t interact with the listeners."
Oriole Magic’s Mike Boehm goes off about this issue in an eloquent fashion, and I can hardly blame him at all.
Like the mythical “Big Brother” in the novel, ‘1984’, it seems like the Orioles in order to have further control of their product want a greater say in what their employees say to media outlets.
In a corporate sense, I can understand why it is done.
However, in the world of sports, and especially talk radio which is fueled by debate and much as chatter, what the Orioles are doing sets a real bad precedent.
Fans who buy the $9 seats to those who have spent tens and hundreds of thousands on corporate suites, the customer has the right to hold someone accountable for the product on the field and have a line open to voice complaints, or praise.
The team is taking people’s money, and traditionally talk show radio has been a way to voice their concerns.
Now, the new policy has taken the people’s voice away. That’s fine, and I understand why the Orioles would do it from a business viewpoint, but it is horrible customer service.
This is not an issue about winning or about the last nine years of losing — it’s about fan interaction, accountability & the feeling that the higher ups care what the fans think, whether it be positive or not. I’m a huge O’s fan, and have been for years and it seems every year it’s harder to like the organization in spite of the losing.
Maybe the Orioles’ brass will reconsider the new policy, but taking away the privilege of the fans to interact with team executives (a staple of talk radio) only adds to a further disconnect between the team and the fans today.
If anyone from the organization reads this blog, hopefully you’ll reconsider the new policy – you’ve upset a greater number of fans out there.