After nearly 40 years of being a Capital Region sports institution, John Graney decided the time was right to hang up his microphone and enjoy life.
The 70-year-old Graney worked his final sportstalk show on WGDJ-AM (1300) last Sunday, ending a remarkable career. In addition to his sportstalk show, Graney was sports director at CBS6 (WRGB) in the early 1990s.
“It was probably overdue,” Graney said about retiring. “I think everybody knows when it’s time to walk away. I see too many people trying to stay on their jobs too long. I know I wasn’t as good as I used to be because I had lost much of the passion that I had for sports.”
Graney said he sill love sports, but not in the way he used to.
“But I was one of those people who used to be lovingly called ‘nuts,’ ” Graney said. “I was that way for a long time. To be a good sportstalk show host, you almost have to be a nut. I was no longer a nut.”
WGDJ program director Paul Vandenburgh said Graney will be missed.
“John was a real professional,” Vandenburgh said. “He always brought class, integrity and first-rate knowledge to his broadcasts. It was a joy to be associated with him for the last 15 years, and I hope he enjoys many years of good health in his retirement.”
Graney started his show in 1973 on WQBK-AM (1300), and it was an immediate hit with the Capital Region.
“I was very lucky coming along when I did,” Graney said. “When I got on he air, if you wanted to buy a car at that point and time and wanted an FM radio in that car, you would have to order it extra. It would cost more. Every car came with AM radio. That’s how much AM radio dominated the radio airwaves. AM was it. Nobody wanted to be on FM. That has changed totally.”
What has also totally changed is the rancor that has become sportstalk. Where once the hosts listened to what the callers had to say, now some hosts are just looking to make a name for themselves by being rude.
An example of that occurred this week. When the Albany Devils announced that ESPN Radio 104.5 (WTMM) would broadcast 38 games this season, Don Ferlazzo, a Devils’ fan who writes a blog for the Times Union, asked program director Brian Noe if there would be any additional Devils postgame coverage on the station. After Noe replied that there wouldn’t be, Ferlazzo tweeted the response.
When Noe, who also hosts a show on the station, saw that, he shot back to Ferlazzo to “get a hobby.”
Yep, real professional.
The story caught national attention on Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy blog. Noe tried to defuse the situation with an apology on his blog.
“It’s very unfortunate for numerous reasons,” Noe wrote. “It’s regrettable that the Albany Devils are about to start their season with this type of negative attention. We should be excited for an upcoming season, not dealing with a mess that I have a role in. I apologize to the Devils.
“It’s very unfortunate that readers will take headlines like, ‘WTMM program director to hockey fans: ‘Get a hobby’ as gospel. They believe the headline entirely when this was never the case. I told one person to get a hobby, not all hockey fans. Not only do they believe it, many have reacted in a harsh and hateful manner via Twitter by basing their feelings on an inaccurate headline.”
But this only proves my point of a couple of weeks ago, when the station unceremoniously fired
Brian Sinkoff and replaced him with Bruce Jacobs. Sinkoff established a local presence for the station and talked local sports. His dumping for an outsider proves the station wants to talk more national and less local. Noe’s apology won’t alter that perception.
We need more John Graneys. Unfortunately, those type of people aren’t ratings-grabbers.
It turns out that Sinkoff went out a winner.
The Arbitron ratings for July-September came out, and Sinkoff’s show had a 1.5 rating for the 3-7 p.m. time slot among males 25-54. That tied for first with WGY-AM (810) and FM (103.1), which airs political talk.
In cumulative listeners, Sinkoff’s show ranked third with an average of 20,100 listeners. WPYX-FM (106.5) was first with 21,800, and WGY was second with 20,200.
Here are the college football games and NFL games that will be televised over the next several days.
The game schedule will also include Internet broadcasts on ESPN3.com. Most ESPN and ESPN2 games will be on ESPN3.com.
Announcers, in order of play-by-play, analyst and sideline reporters, are in parentheses. Announcing pairings and game broadcasts are subject to change.
CBS6 and CBS6 HD — Buffalo at N.Y.
Giants, 1 p.m. (Jim Nantz/Phil Simms).
FOX23 and FOX23 HD — Philadelphia at Washington, 1 p.m. (Sam Rosen/Brian Billick/Laura Okmin); Dallas at New England, 4:15 p.m. (Thom Brennaman/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver).
NBC13 and NBC13 HD — Minnesota at Chicago, 8:20 p.m. (Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth/Michele Tafoya).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Miami at N.Y. Jets, 8:30 p.m. (Mike Tirico/Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Michigan at Michigan State, noon (Dave Pasch/Chris Spielman and Urban Meyer/Quint Kessenich); Ohio State at Illinois, 3:30 p.m. (Bob Wischusen/Bob Davie/Heather Cox); Florida at Auburn, 7 p.m. (Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge/Holly Rowe); Arizona State at Oregon, 10:15 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Erin Andrews).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Indiana at Wisconsin, noon (Beth Mowins/Mike Bellotti); Alabama at Mississippi, 6 p.m. (Mark Jones/Ed Cunningham/Jeannine Edwards); Oklahoma at Kansas, 9:15 p.m. (Carter Blackburn/Brock Huard/Shelley Smith).
Time Warner Cable Sports-1 and SNY HD — Louisville at Cincinnati, noon (Mike Gleason/John Congemi/Eamon McAnaney).
ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Utah at Pittsburgh, noon (Rob Stone/Danny Kanell); Georgia Tech at Virginia, 3:30 p.m. (Pam Ward/Dan Hawkins); Clemson at Maryland, 7 p.m. (Clay Matvick/Brian Griese/Allison Williams); Prairie View A&M at Alabama State (same-day tape), 10:30 p.m. (Adam Amin/Jay Walker).
MSG and MSG HD — South Carolina at Mississippi State, noon (Dave Neal/Andre Ware/Cara Capuano).
Big Ten Network and BTN HD — Purdue at Penn State, noon (Tom Hart/Derek Rackley/Lisa Byington); Northwestern at Iowa, 7 p.m. (Eric Collins/Chris Martin/Dionne Miller).
ESPN3.com — Toledo at Bowling Green, noon (Michael Reghi/Doug Graber); Navy at Rutgers, 12:30 p.m. (Dave Popkin/Adam Archuletta); Florida State at Duke, 3 p.m. (announcers TBA); Ball State at Ohio,
3:30 p.m. (announcers TBA); Western Michigan at Northern Illinois, 3:30 p.m. (announcers TBA); North Texas at Louisiana Lafayette, 5 p.m. (announcers TBA); Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 6:30 p.m. (Dave Weekley/Rene Ingoglia); Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (announcers TBA); Louisiana-Monroe at Troy, 7 p.m. (announcers TBA); Idaho at New Mexico State, 8 p.m. (announcers TBA); Utah State at Fresno State, 10 p.m. (Trey Bender/Jay Taylor).
MY4 and MY4 HD — Miami at North Carolina, 12:30 p.m. (Steve Martin/Dave Archer/Mike Hagewood).
Time Warner Cable 3 Sports and TWCS-3 HD — Robert Morris at UAlbany, 1 p.m. (Rodger Wyland/Zach Bye).
CBSN and CBSN HD — UNLV at Wyoming, 2 p.m. (Ari Wolfe/Blaine Fowler/Andrea Lloyd); Alabama-Birmingham at Tulsa, 8 p.m. (Dave Ryan/Rich Rodriguez).
CBS6 and CBS6 HD — LSU at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. (Verne Lundquist/Gary Danielson/Tracy Wolfson).
ABC10 and ABC10 HD — Oklahoma State at Texas, 3:30 p.m. (Sean McDonough/Matt Millen/Samantha Steele).
SNY and SNY HD — South Florida at Connecticut, 3:30 p.m. (Jim Barbar/Christian Fauria).
Versus and Versus HD — Penn at Columbia, 3:30 p.m. (Randy Moss/Ross Tucker/Carolyn Manno); Stanford at Washington State, 7:30 p.m. (Ted Robinson/Glenn Parker/Akbar Gbaja-Biamila).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Florida International at Arkansas State, 8 p.m. (Mark Neely/Ray Bentley).
ESPNU and ESPNU HD — Bethune-Cookman at Norfolk State, 7:30 p.m. (Anish Shroff/Jay Walker).
CBSN and CBSN HD — Ashland at Saginaw Valley State, 8 p.m. (announcers TBA).
ESPN and ESPN HD — UCLA at Arizona, 9 p.m. Rece Davis/Craig James and Jesse Palmer/Jenn Brown).
ESPN and ESPN HD — West Virginia at Syracuse, 8 p.m. (Joe Tessitore/Rod Gilmore).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — Rutgers at Louisville, 8 p.m. (announcers TBA).
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