Monday, February 26, 2007

Down With Big Brother! - The O's Policy with Talk Radio...

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."

Davis says he's expressed his concern to the team saying "The fans deserve to have their questions and concerns addressed, and not to be stonewalled by O’s brass. I hope the Orioles reconsider this decision." (wbal.com)

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.

4 comments:

hrb said...

First, the O's haven't denied fans the right to ask management questions. They are just making you do it on its new radio partner.

Second, I don't think they could change the policy if they wanted to. I'll bet they sold the exclusivity as part of the new radio deal. When the Redskins were on CBS stations, they were pretty restricted on how much access to players and coaches they could provide to other outlets (especially radio).

Rip Angelos for selling out but not "censorship".

My final thought is "Who cares?" What will the fans actually learn from management's (and player's) canned responses to callers?

Oriole Magic! said...

The hell it's not big brother censorship stuff. If you think for a second that Angelos hasn't had a long talk with all the coaches and front office staff about what they can and can't say about the team you're kidding yourself.

And the deal with WJFK makes sure that the coaches won't ever have to field any calls that don't fall into the pre approved 'happy fan' catagories.

Granted this is a standard business decision. I'm not allowed to speak on behalf of my company publicly of I'll lose my job. But then again I'm not the face of my company. Perlozzo and Flanagan are the face of the Orioles and they shouldn't be restricted in what they can and can't say to the fans, and especailly shouldn't be shielded from the fans who have something bad to say.

hrb said...

But didn't Duquette and Flanagan do a Q&A at the ESPNZone? Anybody could've walked in there and asked a question unfiltered. Doesn't seem to be in line with a general policy of shutting out the fans.


I don't think Perlozzo, Flanagan, Duquette, et al would say much of anything of substance anyway. they would never say anything negative about a player or prospect so as not to anger players, bruise egos or hurt someone's potential trade value.

Plus, you can get access to the management...on CBS radio stations.

I find myself in the odd position of defending Angelos here but i'm really not. My point is that he is operating out of greed (more money for exclusivity) not communist bloc stonewalling mentality.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

HRB - Dempsey and Flanagan did indeed have a Q&A with the fans, & yeah they were than open and answered everything everything asked.

The problem I have the new policy is that radio and talk shows are very much fan driven, and I guess when a longtime staple changes, people are upset and sense that O's employees must tow the company line and only interact with fans on affiliate stations.

I am not so much calling it censorship, but it hurts outside stations and perhaps dilutes the radio atmosphere, in turn leaving the team above criticism in their own house.

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