The WB strikes again

By Gus Bode

Yesterday’s game was incredible.

I listened to Jermaine Dearman post-up on a Northern Iowa defender. I heard Kent Williams swish a three-pointer. And that Stetson Hairston steal was the best I have ever heard.

It probably looked nice as well, but I wouldn’t know.


Neither would any other Saluki fan in Southern Illinois because Wednesday’s game at Northern Iowa, like eight other men’s basketball road games this season, was not televised in Little Egypt.

Not that Mike Reis does not do an amazing job on 95.1 FM, but it is still not the same. As a bitter blind man said in an old Saturday Night Live sketch, “Have you ever listened to a sunset?”

SIU fans are being pushed around Ned Flanders-style and are expected to accept the beating with a smile.

So the question becomes:who is the Homer Simpson doing the pushing? Who is denying Saluki fans their God-given right to watch their favorite team?

No, not PBS. They will cover three road games and a home game this year. Though I, along with the Saluki marketing department, would like them to cover more road games, it’s still more than can be expected of a non-profit TV station.

Each road broadcast costs WSIU around $5,000, and that does not include staff time. According to WSIU Broadcasting Service Director Candis Isberner, the station would love to broadcast more road games, but does not even have enough money for the games they do cover.

Is it Channel 3?


Despite being a station with a Carbondale focus, they cannot cover SIU games without alienating two-thirds of their audience in Kentucky and Missouri, so it would be unfair to ask them to take on that burden.

“It would be fiscally irresponsible for any of the network channels to air our games,” said Michael Trude, Promotions/marketing director for Saluki athletics.

Also adding to the difficulty, Channel 3 is an ABC network affiliate and is penalized financially for not showing network programming.

So whose fault is it that my ears were doing all the seeing Wednesday night? Who should Saluki fans turn their uncontrollable rage on?

The villain of this story is Warner Brothers.

Yes, the WB. The same group of soulless, heartless frog lovers who robbed Southern Illinois Cubs fans of about 90 games a year that would have otherwise been televised on WGN. They have screwed over the South once again.

Way, way back – in the long, long ago – before Bruce Weber even knew what a Saluki was, KBSI 23 would broadcast mid-major games from around its coverage area. Each year, those good people from Cape Girardeau, Mo., would cover six SIU games, four Southeast Missouri State games and three Murray State games.

Everything was peachy. The world was at peace. Police invited criminals to dinner, it never snowed, administration and faculty held hands and sang songs, the streets of Carbondale were paved in gold and SIU Arena was built out of candy.

Suddenly, KBSI became a WB affiliate and was forced to air “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Honey I Did the World a Favor and Ate That Stupid Frog” instead of intelligent, thought-provoking and relevant material – like sports broadcasts.

Like Channel 3, KBSI cannot pre-empt network programming without suffering a financial penalty from its overlords. It was forced to discontinue coverage of the games, leaving SIU fans bathing in liquid nitrogen.

The sad truth is that pending a gigantic financial contribution to WSIU, a severing of the KBSI-WB alliance or a gigantic earthquake that shrinks Channel 3’s coverage zone, things will remain the same. Saluki fans will continue to rely on technology made obsolete at the World’s Fair in 1939 to keep track of their team.

But there is a ray of light at the end of the picture tube. Channel 49 out of Paducah, Ky., which is, ironically, a WB affiliate, offered to carry games, though they do not have enough money to originate them.

Would they let SPC originate the games? Doubtful. But it seems there is no other solution.

So unless the WB dissolves, which I have spent many nights praying for and spent countless hours researching voodoo rituals to eliminate, SIU fans are stuck with radio.

Let’s just hope the WB has no interest in 95.1 FM.

Michael is a junior in journalism. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Egyptian.