FanZoneGate™ Update: WJFK Boss Wants No Part of Feud After Getting Schooled By Dan Snyder!
Somebody should tell Sam Rogers that feuds are good for radio. He won't take my word for it.
Rogers is Senior Vice President and Market Manager of CBS Radio for the DC cluster, which means he's the boss at WJFK, the city's new sportstalk station and rival to Dan Snyder's WTEM.
Rogers' station also tried to create a rivalry with Snyder in the parking realm. But Snyder crushed him right out of the gate.
Background: Last week, WJFK, which calls itself "The Fan" in its catchy/creepy jingles, wildly promoted the FanZone, a parking lot near FedExField. The lot was marketed as an anti-Snyder haven, where on Redskins game days there would be no tailgating restrictions and folks could pretty much come as early and stay as late as they want. Parking at the FanZone, according to the WJFK pitch, would also cost a lot less than Snyder charges.
Within days of putting the passes on sale, the WJFK web site announced that FanZone season passes were sold out.
But come the day of the Skins first preseason game against Pittsburgh, there was no such thing as the FanZone. Folks who followed directions to the WJFK lot instead found what was called the Copper Lot, a parking lot operated by Snyder. Karl Swanson, a spokesman for the Redskins and Snyder, told me a couple days ago that WJFK started selling parking passes before it secured the rights to operate a lot on the alleged FanZone site. Snyder swooped in and leased the land WJFK wanted, thereby kaboshing Rogers' first big promotion for a station that was supposed to be Snyder's competition.
Crushing blow, right, Mr. Rogers?
"This was a business deal, it didn't go my way," Rogers tells me. "That's it. No story here."
"Didn't go your way? 'No story'?" I ask Rogers, unable to hide my disdain for calm professionalism.
I'm thinking: You market yourself as the anti-Snyder, and watch as Snyder shows you who's boss by taking over your new sport station's first big promotion, and all you can say is it didn't go your way?
So I ask, Isn't it more accurate to say that Snyder, the owner of the rival sportstalker, crushed you guys?
"I wouldn't say that," he says. "Just a business deal. All the parties are discussing the matter. No story."
But but but...Isn't it also true that there's a posting on DCRTV today that says Snyder's WTEM has jumped ahead of WJFK in the local radio ratings, with Snyder in 19th place and WJFK in 20th? That's gotta hurt! It hurts, right?
"No," says Rogers. "You don't look at the overall audience. We're doing fine. I'm very pleased with WJFK."
Please, somebody convince Rogers that a big ol' public brouhaha with Snyder would be a boon for his station. Or, well, I'm gonna have to find something else to write about.