It has been an interesting few days for ESPN Radio 104.5 The Team (WTMM-FM).
The station is bringing in a brand-new manager in Armen Williams. Late-afternoon host Bruce Jacobs announced he is leaving the station Sept. 6.
Normally, those two items would be major news. But after what happened on Monday’s “Midday with Mike” show, they were just mere blips on the radar screen.
Mike Lindsley, host of “Midday with Mike,” received national attention, but for all the wrong reasons. An interview Lindsley thought he was conducting with former New York Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer, who was talking about steroids and how he and some of the Yankees used them, turned out to be a hoax. He was actually talking to someone pretending to be Spencer.
The real Spencer, who is a hitting coach for the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots, found out about it later Monday though a friend, and immediately began to say it wasn’t him.
Spencer contacted Lindsley and WTMM about the situation. Lindsley did an interview with him, and it first aired Tuesday during a rain delay of the Yankees-Los Angeles Angels game and was repeated on Lindsley’s Wednesday show.
It’s certainly a reporter’s worst nightmare to be duped like that. It’s also a shame that Spencer has to restore his reputation because of some idiot who thought he was being funny.
Now, what should the station do about the situation? WTMM and Lindsley have been ridiculed
nationally. Do a search on the Internet and see how many reports come up about the situation. Many are saying that Lindsley, who has been with the station for a few months, should be fired.
But let’s take a step back for a moment. At the start of Wednesday’s show, Lindsley explained that he reached out to the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to speak with someone about Mariano Rivera’s career. Lindsley was offered Spencer, and Lindsley said the two exchanged emails as to when he would come on the show. The time was set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.
But Spencer didn’t call, so Lindsley assumed the interview wasn’t happening.
“We came to the conclusion that around 1:32 that Shane Spencer was going to be unable to do this interview and a rescheduling of this interview was going to happen,” Lindsley said on Wednesday’s show. “At 2 o’clock, we received a hoax call from someone who claimed he was Shane Spencer.
“It was a complete dupe on us at 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio. It was a complete hoax and dupe on Shane Spencer, and it’s completely unacceptable. It’s bad for baseball, it’s bad for us, it’s bad in general and it does nobody any favors.”
So, what should happen to Lindsley? Is it a fireable offense? Absolutely, it is.
Will Lindsley be fired? That is the big question.
My gut feeling is that he won’t be fired. What will probably save Lindsley is the fact that the real Spencer agreed to be interviewed Tuesday to get the story out that he didn’t say the things that were attributed to him by the imposter. While Spencer was understandably upset, he didn’t lash out at Lindsley or the station.
However, Lindsley can’t and shouldn’t escape some sort of punishment. A one-week suspension should be the most likely choice.
But the station should put Lindsley on notice that if he has another major screwup, his career at WTMM will be over.
First local show
WPTR-AM (1240), which a few months ago became the Capital Region’s third all-sports station, will debut its first locally produced sportstalk show on Sunday, Sept. 15, it was announced Wednesday.
Anthony Marino and Ken Jubie will host a one-hour program every Sunday at 9 a.m., said Neerav Patel, chief operating officer of Empire Broadcasting Corporation.
“We’re very excited,” Patel said. “We’re going to focus a lot on local sports in the Capital Region.”
WPTR is affiliated with CBS Sports Radio.
FS1, F2 debut
It was touch-and-go for Capital Region viewers as to whether or not they would see today’s launch of FOX Sports 1 and, to lesser fanfare, FOX Sports 2.
FOX and three of the major TV distributors — Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and DISH Network — were holding out. But on Thursday, the sides came together and worked out a deal. So, no one here will miss the debut of FS1 and FS2.
“We are thrilled that virtually all pay-television customers across America will have access to FOX Sports 1,” Mike Hopkins, president of distribution for FOX Networks, said in a statement. “This network launch is a major milestone for Fox and will alter the sports television landscape. We are grateful to our distribution partners for making this all possible.”
FS1 will replace Speed Channel on the systems. TWC subscribers will find FS1 on channels 665 and 1877. DirecTV customers can tune into FS1 on channel 219. DISH subscribers will find FS1 on channel 150.
FS2 will replace Fuel. FS2 will be on TWC channel 677, DirecTV channel 618 and DISH channel 398.
Today is also the day that NBC Sports Group debuts its English Premier League soccer coverage.
NBCSN and NBCSN HD will have the Liverpool-Stoke City match at 7:45 a.m. followed by Arsenal against Aston Villa at 10 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD televise defending EPL champion Manchester United against Swansea.
NBCSN and NBCSN HD will televise the Alabama Stakes and Sword Dancer Invitational from Saratoga Race Course today at 5 p.m. . . .
CBS6 (WRGB) and CBS6 HD have ArenaBowl XXVI between the Arizona Rattlers and Philadelphia Soul at 1 p.m. today. Former WNYT sportscaster Andrew Catalon will call the play-by-play. Former
Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs and College of Saint Rose men’s basketball announcer Ari Wolfe will serve as a sideline reporter. . . .
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel-50 and TWCS-1803 HD will televise four Syracuse men’s basketball exhibition games from Canada. It starts Wednesday when the Orange face McGill at 6 p.m. The other games are against Bishops (Thursday, 7 p.m.), Carleton (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) and Ottawa (next Saturday, 7 p.m.).