Is The Fan cheering for Kravitz and Eddie?

January 19, 2010
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In radio, you don’t generally fire one program director and bring in a new one to stand pat. Especially when you’re a relatively new market manager. Those things are done to change course.

So I have to wonder what’s going on at WFNI-AM 1070, better known as The Fan.
Charlie Morgan, who took the helm for Emmis Communication Corp.’s four stations (WIBC-FM, WFNI-AM, WYXB-FM and WLHK-FM) in September, told me recently, “It’s not nearly as dramatic or ominous as everyone makes it out to be.”

I guess that depends on your point of view. I’m guessing Kent Sterling feels it’s pretty ominous, since he was fired suddenly as program director of The Fan and WIBC earlier this month. Sterling had been with Emmis since March, 1993, so he was no flavor of the month.

To his credit, Sterling had nothing bad to say about his former employer, stating simply, “Those guys want to build their own team, and I’m not on it. I was the coach under the previous regime, and I understand that.”

Sterling called the meeting between he and Morgan “a surprise and a little hazy.”

That’s not all that’s a little hazy. The future of The Fan—and its marquee talent—must be put in that category.

Let’s start with this; The afternoon show hosted by Indianapolis Star sports columnist Bob Kravitz and former Reebok executive Eddie White celebrated its second anniversary Jan. 7.

Anniversaries generally mean contract renewal time. I’ve learned that much from Jimmy “Mad Dog” Matis, who was terminated this month by Clear Channel’s WFBQ-FM 94.7.

If I’m a relatively new market manager, bringing in a new program director, I don’t think I’m extending the contract of two of my highest paid and profile employees.
Not without an evaluation from the new program director. After all, why am I bringing this guy in to begin with? Answer: To evaluate the station’s talent and direction.

Alan Furst, Emmis’ new director of talk programming, and David Wood, The Fan’s new program director, will have lots of input on whether Kravitz and Eddie are with The Fan long-term.
Furst and Wood assumed their new duties Jan. 11. I’m guessing they know where the men’s room is by now and where to get a good sandwich or slice of pizza for lunch downtown. I bet they’re just about ready to get down to business.

One thing is certain, long-term contract or not, Kravitz and Eddie will be in place at least through the Super Bowl, and probably a bit longer. With the Indianapolis Colts on a run, and this town going crazy for Colts coverage, Morgan would be a fool to make a change now. And Morgan is no fool.

And there’s this: JMV. Radio sources keep telling me JMV is headed to Emmis. The former afternoon host of The Drive with JMV on Clear Channel’s WNDE-AM 1260 certainly knows his way around a broadcast room.

“At this point, I have no openings I could consider JMV or anyone else for,” Morgan told me when I asked him about that scenario.

I believe him. At this point, there are no openings. But with no contracts weighing Eddie and Kravitz down, they could blow away on a gentle spring breeze.

Speaking of the spring, that’s when I’m guessing JMV’s non-compete contract with Clear Channel runs out. Clear Channel officials confirmed for me that JMV does have a non-compete contract. They wouldn’t tell me when it expires, but almost every source in radio told me they generally last six months.

Hmmm. JMV suddenly quite his gig with WNDE in November. Seems like kind of a foolish move for a man with one child to support and another one on the way. JMV is lots of things, but he’s no fool either.
The last time I talked to him, he told me he wanted to lay low for a while. I suspect his hibernation will end in May.

And what about Dan Dakich? The former IU basketball player and coach occupies The Fan’s 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. slot. Morgan professes to love his show. Of course, he professes the same thing about Eddie and Kravitz’s show too—to me anyway.

But, you know, in this region, you don’t take firing a guy with IU ties that run as deep as Dakich’s lightly.
Even a new program director knows that much.

  • Fire Eddie
    I actually like Kravitz on the radio, even if I don't always agree with him. Eddie White, on the other hand, is completely annoying to listen to. I could see Emmis teaming JMV and Kravitz.
  • No JMV
    JMV is very annoying on the radio. He kind of reminds me of a Jim Rome Lite. Please don't put him back on the radio.
  • Worse and worse
    Late afternoon sports radio in Indy is intolerable. Unfortunately the morning isn't much better. In a city on a Superbowl run, we deserve better. Kravitz and Eddie are the worst thing I've heard with the possible exception of Stephen A. Smith.
    • Change in the Air
      You are right about one don't make these type of management changes to stand pat. I have a sneaking suspicion, like you, that JMV will be on Emmis. In what capacity, I'm not sure. I think the Kravitz and Eddie routine is growing stale. I could see JMV and Kravitz teaming up, with Eddie being shown the door. He brings no sports knowledge to the show. Only his "friends" who end up as interviews on the show. I also think Mad Dog was a casualty of the Mark Patrick signing. Q95, other than Bob and Tom, is a fading light.
    • I always wondered who was Kravitzs master. I mean if he digs up some good dirt or a good interview comes along, does he give it the Star or WFNI first?

      I have never been a fan of Kravitz. Or better known as Bronco when he was on Denver. He has always come across as a carpetbagger pretending to be a local when he was not and is not.
      • Fine Tuning the Fan
        One thing Charlie Morgan could do to help the Kravitz & Eddie show is challenge Bob Kravitz to come up with original comments on his radio show - instead of reciting the content of his Star column earlier that day. He does the same thing when he's on WTHR and it makes you think he doesn't have anything else to say.

        While I'm no fan of Eddie White, with his arcane sports references and who he used to know in the sporting world, I cannot imagine JMV partnering with Kravitz on a radio show.

      • Annoying and stupid
        Eddie is extremely much that I bought satellite radio to listen to real professionals discuss non bias sporting news. Bob is ok, at least he has a 2nd legitimate profession..what is Eddy's? professional beer drinker? woman ogler? cigar smoking?
      • Know Your Facts
        Bob is an IU grad. If that is not local enough for you then you must want a homer who has never been outside of I-465.
      • Should look elsewhere for changes
        I personally find Kravitz and Eddie to be informative (especially during pro football season). They are nutty at times, but not really to the point of being obnoxious. If they're looking to get rid of a broadcast, how about Dan Dakich's slot. I find him extremely annoying and I don't like the way he is rude to his fans all the time. Besides, up until a couple of years ago he hardly followed football at all. Am I supposed to follow his "in-depth coverage" of all things Colts?
      • Local sports radio is weak
        See my title. Eddie White and JMV are just local radio meatballs. Dakich has no business being on radio. They dropped the national show, the Herd, for a guy who appeals to 60 yr old Bob Knight fans. Kravitz is the most intelligent and rational guy on locally and is a great complement to a radio guy. Mark Patrick is a good radio guy. It's too bad those two can't team up. Local stations should just play national espn radio all day. They have the better shows, especially from 10am through the evening.
      • Kravitz was born in Long Island, High School in Chicago, College at IU, Internships in Cincy, Boston and Knoxville, First job in New Jersey. Then on to San Diego. That was all by the age of 25. Then on to two years at SI. Cleveland Plain Dealer and 10 years as Bronco Bob in Denver.

        So how does an undergrad at IU qualify him to be local? When he came here, he presumed to wade knee deep in issues such as class basketball as if he grew up with single class. Sorry, when Gannett bought the paper, they chased off all of the local reporters and the quality of reporting hit the rocks.
      • Bring Back JMV!
        I hate that JMV left WNDE and the national morning show went from Czabe to Stephen A. Smith. I was forced to take Mike & Mike in the a.m. and Eddie & Kravitz in the p.m. over Mark Patrick. Would be nice that I could pick back up on at least one of my two favorite drive time sports talk show personalities.
      • fair and balanced
        I thought JMV was doing a great job and more than held his own against Emmis and all the advertising that the Fan did. Can't wait to hear him back on the radio...Drive time sports time is so bad now that I may be forced to (shudder) listen to Dennis Miller on 1430am
      • JMV
        JMV was by far the best sports show in town. If he took over for Kravitz and Eddie, it would be a hit. I have to listen to 700WLW all day now...
      • Local Sports
        Personally I would like to see Greg Rakestraw back on the air. I doubt that will happen with his new gig at Hometown Sports Indiana but I always enjoyed him on AM950. I enjoyed when he filled in on Kravitz and Eddie and I think he would make a good addition to the show. I like Kravitz because he isn't always a homer when it comes to the Indianapolis teams. Sometimes the local on-air talents are such homers that it is hard to get an unbiased opinion. Without the local guys we would never hear about our local teams. The Colts, Pacers, Boilers, and Hoosiers aren't exactly national favorites so if we only got the ESPN shows we'd never hear about our favorite teams, except when we are in the playoffs. I wouldn't be upset to see Eddie go but I like what Kravitz brings to the air.
      • Bring back JMV
        I miss the dude. Its not WNDE's fault that S.A. Smith is on in the morning, thats a Fox deal but yeah it blows.

        JMV can stand on his own, but pair him with Kravitz, and they would rule the Indy airwaves. Clowning on each other and what not. I cant imagine that isnt in the cards somewhere in the emmis office.
      • Good God people
        Sterling was fired because years ago he sent sympathy flowers to Morgan when WIBC won a ratings battle a few years back. Schoettle is such a hack, he wouldn't know that because it takes real reporting skill. There is all kind of sports talk talent if some of these stations would spend a nickel cultivating it. Hopefully Emmis does that, brings in JMV and some of his connections that do some shows with him.
      • Floral police
        Thanks Mike, for that interesting piece of information. I'm quite sure you are right. Charlie harbored so much anger over the floral arrangement sent by Kent years ago that he canned a person he saw eye-to-eye with regarding every single topic in the industry. Brilliant ascertion. Wow, I should have had a V-8!!!!
      • Like It All
        I like all the local shows. We love Dan Dakich and I think Kravitz AND Eddie are great. Very funny. They get the best interviews. My kids listen to it and even my wife (who does not like sports) listens because she enjoys their talk. I go to the bars to meet them and I have to admit Kravitz is not too friendly but Eddie tells us some great stories. I am a FAN of the FAN.
      • Not the best
        Bob Kravitz can't do a show by himself, but he's thoughtful and knows a lot about football. Eddie, unfortunately, is an inch deep. He knows everybody and nothing. I think there's a lot of sense in the idea that 1070 would do better with JMV, even though he's not the best, either. I'd look to a new show with JMV and Michael Grady (who knows a lot about basketball) with Kravitz in a diminished role.
      • KEEP IT
        We spent the last two days (and nights) with 1070 The Fan. We saw them at the Colts pep rally. Then saw them at Jillians. Then saw them at Fox Hound up north. You have to go see these guys. Fun is the word we use. Just the most entertaining show since Bob and Tom started. Both guys are different but are so good at what they do. We have never had a show like this in town. Quite refreshing. I sat next to a young man in medical school at Jillians. He told me the only thing that gets him through the day is K&E. Then a lady shows up from Carmel and says the same thing. These guys are going to be national some day and we can say we saw them first.
      • Colts Wave
        Let just say that all of this attention and love that K and E are getting here by Jenny * Nick is either familial or they don't realize that these two are just riding the wave of the Colts. Good for them, but in the long run they won't get it done. Matt the Floral Police might as well be Sandy the Clown he knows so much. I think that it will interesting to see when/if JMV comes back and if he does go to the 50K watt station with ESPN and the properties Emmis has. Look he was beating those guys with 5K watts and only Purdue, up until the Colts began running this town this past fall. We will have a fun, truly local, and non-bloviating show.
      • JMV & Eddie
        IF JMV goes to Emmis, he would be the biggest fraud ever. He has put down ESPN and Kravitz for as long as I can remember. Who in his position would be dumb enough to burn bridges like that? His going to The Fan regardless of his pairing with Kravitz would make him a bigger phony than Eddie, who is the biggest homer imaginable. Eddie is so overly positive that he almost takes the enjoyment out of being a local fan sometimes. Kravitz and predecessors like Bill Benner can be constructively positive without being over the top cheerleaders. That's something worth listening to.
      • Eddie White
        The sportstalk in this city has been so lukewarm over the years that longtime listeners from Indianapolis confuse it with excellence. The Fan clearly was built for the long run. Eddie White, Dan Dakich, and Bob Kravitz have never done radio, and it takes time to develop. And they have developed. The measurement of a host is in his ability to communicate a unique and informed perspective in an entertaining way. In what way, based upon that criteria, have these shows not succeeded. The ratings have been very good recently. There are a lot of comments in this thread critical of Eddie. Criticism is the hallmark of a strong talent. Rush Limbaugh is loathed, and so are Dick Vitale, and Stephen A. Smith. Howard Cosell was both the best loved and most hated man at TV - at the same time. For a show to be a huge success, only 10% of the available listeners need to love a host - that leaves 90% who can hate. Indifference is the enemy of talent, not hatred.

        The Fan is right where it should be. I'm sure the people who run The Fan know it. Sterling assembled the pieces, so I assume he knew it. Hopefully, he was shown the door for reasons other than disagreement over the direction of The Fan, although I suspect the crazy story above regarding flowers is apocryphal.
      • Sandy the Clown
        First things first....Sandy the Clown is Kent Sterling, he has stated this before on message boards on Second, I find it interesting that he compares Eddie White to Rush Limbaugh, Dick Vitale and SAS. Eddie is lacks any true local knowledge. He can speak around the edges on almost anything, but his actual knowledge of things other then PR and NFL are very limited. He states that he no longer works at Reebok, but yet he is always at the plant. Disingenuous is a word that comes to mind when thinking of Ed White. Kent Sterling needs to recognize that sending mourning flowers to a competitor is bad taste. He needs to realize that the station that he ran for two years still sounds like a high school station. So interesting also that Sandy the Clown aka Kent Sterling references himself in the third person.
      • My thoughts
        First, many markets have local sports shows for the afternoon drive. In most markets, it is terrible and Indy is no exception. Part of the reason this is the case everywhere is that the quality of the caller is poor at best. JMV's typical call "I tell you what, if we get Sanders back I think we will win it all. I will hang up and listen". A local guy cannot go Rome on such calls or it will start to add up and they will be left with no callers.
        JMV just brought nothing of interest. He had no shtick and there is not enough content to have to stick. In however many years on the air, his only bit of slang or shtick was the world 'helpside'. If that is it, you are bad. He was.
        I understand Mark Patrick is a step back in time, which is not such a great idea. But he at least has better than local talent. now I know his national show did not work, but he was good enough to get 'called up'. No one would sniff JMV for national.
        Kravitz is okay at best. Eddie is terrible. Seems like as nice a guy as there is, but he is bad.
        I suspect we will always have local talent for the afternoon drive so the city can talk local sports. I think MPOS will be around for a while. I think K&E is doomed, sooner or later. JMV on 1070 is not going to do any better than K&E, but maybe it would be cheaper.

        The life of the sports radio fan is tough. I have liked and lost Tony Bruno in the AM two different times. I have lost CZabe once. Those made me sad. I will not be sad when SAS is gone in the morning, which will happen.

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      1. Great article and post scripts by Mike L (Great addition to IBJ BTW). Bobby's stubborn as a mule, and doubt if he ever comes back to IU. But the love he would receive would be enormous. Hope he shows some time, but not counting on it.

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      4. Jim, your "misleading" numbers comment is spot on. This is the spin these posers are putting on it. News flash, fans: these guys lie. They are not publicly traded so no one holds them accountable for anything they say. The TV numbers are so miniscule to begin with any "increase" produces double digit "growth" numbers. It's ridiculous to think that anything these guys have done has awakened the marketplace. What have they done? Consolidate the season so they run more races on consecutive weekends? And this creates "momentum." Is that the same momentum you enjoy when you don't race between August and March? Keep in mind that you are running teams who barely make ends meet ragged over the summer to accomplish this brilliant strategy of avoiding the NFL while you run your season finale at midnight on the East Coast. But I should not obfuscate my own point: any "ratings increase" is exactly what Jim points to - the increased availability of NBC Sports in households. Look fans, I love the sport to but these posers are running it off a cliff. Miles wants to declare victory and then run for Mayor. I could go on and on but bottom line for God's sake don't believe a word they say. Note to Anthony - try doing just a little research instead of reporting what these pretenders say and then offering an "opinion" no more informed than the average fan.

      5. If he's finally planning to do the right thing and resign, why not do it before the election? Waiting until after means what - s special election at tax payer expense? Appointment (by whom?) thus robbing the voters of their chance to choose? Does he accrue some additional financial advantage to waiting, like extra pension payments? What's in it for him? That's the question that needs to be asked.