I’m a day late posting this, so my apologies in advance.
I was contacted late last week concerning an open letter that would appear on ESPN980.com recommiting the station to covering the Caps. I responded that while it is great that station management is focused on expanding Caps coverage, actions speak louder than words and if the on air talent does not get on board, management’s good intentions will end up as broken promises.
I understand that after the Scott Hannan trade, the afternoon drive time team joked that they’d “spend the next hour breaking down the trade”. I’m wondering if they laughed while they said it. That right there has been the problem in the past. Hockey is not their cup of tea and seem to only talk about it when they have to and even then with disdain.
Chuck Sapienza, Director of Programming for ESPN 980, replied to me that they “have many big time Caps/Hockey fans” and are trying to change the negative perception of the station. Perhaps it is due to new blood in station management roles. Perhaps it is due to the other sports station across the street spending quality time covering the team.
The whole issue is not necessarily that Caps fans don’t know where to go to get coverage of the team. There are plenty of outlets to find such info. The point is being able to grow the sport and turn the casual fan — and even those that have never watched — into a hockey fan. Until those “new fans” are exposed to the sport in a positive light, it won’t happen.
Either way, let’s hope promises made are promises kept, but as I mentioned in my input, most Caps fans will believe when they see/hear it.
Here is the open letter:
My name is Chuck Sapienza and I am the new Director of Programming for ESPN980. When I took over this position in late August, one thing became evidentially clear: my station has a credibility problem with you, the fans of the Washington Capitals. Historically speaking, I am sure part of the issue stems from a lack of coverage for the Caps on my station. I am writing you today to let you know of my commitment to Caps Nation to expand coverage on ESPN980. As part of this commitment, I am pleased to announce that we have added 2 Caps insiders to ESPN980 that will provide exclusive radio coverage 6 days a week.
The first is Mike Vogel. Voges will add ESPN980 to his many duties. As you know, he is the senior writer for WASHINGTONCAPS.Com. He can also be read at DUMPANDCHASE.com and is a regular on CAPS365. The second is former Cap Alan May. May picked up over 1000 PIMs during his 5+ seasons in Washington and is the lead analyst for Comcast Sports Net. Vogel will be on Tuesdays @ 4:25 pm; Wednesdays @ 1:20 pm; Fridays @ 3:30 pm and Saturdays @ 11 am. May will be heard Mondays @ 12:50 pm; Tuesdays @ 2:30 pm and Thursdays @ 4:45 pm.
I know your first question is “Why did it take so long into the season to do this?” I have been working on this since training camp; it just took time to work out all of the details. I wanted to kick off the season with this duo, but organizing this takes time to come together. I am sure you have other questions about ESPN980 and its coverage of Caps Hockey and you can always e-mail me at email@example.com.
I hope this step shows that we are committed. This is just the 1st step in what I promise will be expanded coverage of your favorite team. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions and as Goat yells “LETS GO CAPS!!!”