CBS Radio in Las Vegas Backtracks on Plan to Freeze Out the Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are very much a thing. With a full roster, a new stadium that's shiny enough for The Strip and an Oct. 6 inaugural game set, the Golden Knights have officially arrived on the NHL landscape. But CBS Radio in Las Vegas initially tried to totally disregard the existence of the city's only professional sports franchise.
The stations' operations manager, J.B. King, sent an email last week to employees with explicit instructions to completely ignore the nascent franchise. Ron Futrell (a Las Vegas CBS TV sports anchor, who says his netowrk has no association with the radio station) acquired a copy of the email:
"Just wanted to pass along this info….a decision has been made that effective immediately, there are to be no further mentions of the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey team on any CBS/LV radio stations or any of our social media platforms. This includes, but not limited to, on sale ticket mentions, player/coaches interviews, plugging locals to sing national anthem, TV broadcast schedule, etc. It is now the responsibility of the Golden Knights’ chosen radio partner to help accomplish their goals, not ours. We are asking you to include ‘show’ pages, as well. We need to show a united front on this issue. If you have anything already planned around the team, please cancel. If you have any ‘best of’ bits around the team, please do not air and find another piece of content.
I am out of the office this week, but will answer any questions next week when I return. For any immediate questions, please see Tony.
Thanks, Have a great week.
Futrell spoke more about this on his podcast and provided some much-needed context on this weird situation: CBS lost a bidding war to Lotus Broadcasting for the Golden Knights' radio rights, and Futrell speculates that the Golden Knights have not bought advertising on CBS. Thus, the CBS Radio brass is upset with Golden Knights management and has decided that completely shutting them out is appropriate revenge.
“We have a lot of other things to cover, the Knights don’t work into our coverage.” CBS Radio Las Vegas general manager Tony Perlongo told Futrell. “We have an amazing amount of content. We support their (the Golden Knights) success in the marketplace, but that will depend on their partnership that they’ve already developed.”
That's pretty passive aggressive, and I'm not a fan of a radio network denying its listeners of complete coverage because of a business dispute. It sucks when fans can't watch their team because of the business and politics of media (looking at you, Charter Communications and DirecTV.) This whole thing was really lame all around, but it turns out the radio station will indeed acknowledge the Golden Knights after all.
A rep for Perlongo provided SI.com with the following statement:
“With six radio stations in Las Vegas we have always prided ourselves on informing, educating and entertaining listeners and supporting the local communities we serve. However, we missed the mark in an internal email that instructed our stations to no longer report on certain aspects of the Golden Knights, the city’s first and only major league sports team. This was an error in judgment on our part and we deeply regret it. We will of course cover the team, first and foremost on Sports Radio 1140 and on our music and news/talk stations as it makes sense for those formats and audiences. We apologize to the Golden Knights, their fans and our listeners and look forward to rooting the team on when the puck drops in a few weeks.”