Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Satellite radio quagmire

Monday June 12, 2006

Very disappointing news. The ABH reports today that Georgia remains without a satellite radio deal and will remain one of the few holdouts for at least the short-term.

“We’re probably in the best position as that goes right now because we’re not locked in one way or the other,” says assoc. AD Alan Thomas from Athens, well within range of 960 WRFC AM and WGMG 102.1 FM. Thomas goes on to show how great this position is by noting that Georgia and Arkansas are the only SEC schoools still on the satellite sideline. Those foolish ten SEC schools who chose to serve their fan bases must be incredible suckers.

There are several sticking points. Will satellite deals in the future be arranged on a conference basis as TV deals are, or will they be handled by individual schools as radio deals are? Also, Georgia would like to make sure that any satellite partner carries the Georgia audio for all games instead of choosing one broadcast or the other when both schools are carried by the satellite network. That’s reasonable; we all expect to hear Munson, but it doesn’t seem like enough of a showstopper to keep Georgia off the satellites.

I’m especially frustrated because I’m in the market for satellite radio, and I am/was waiting on Georgia’s decision to influence mine. Georgia always seems to be behind the technology curve whether it be streaming media, online ticket ordering, or even Web sites (this very site was launched in 1995 partly out of frustration over Georgia’s meager online presence at the time). I guess I shouldn’t expect anything different on the issue of satellite radio. Georgia is approaching the choice of a satellite radio network as if they were signing away Herschel’s first-born.

Meanwhile, Georgia continues to pocket nice G-xtra subscription fees for those out-of-towners who want to listen in. And WSB/Cox, who look to renew their radio contract with the University soon, certainly won’t mind the lack of satellite competition for listeners for their only remaining sports programming.

TANGENT: I’ve been very grateful to the CSS network for doing a lot for University of Georgia sports. We watched with envy as the population of Florida supported the Sunshine Network, but the combination of Fox Sports South (or whatever they call themselves now) and CSS has done reasonably well to serve UGA fans. Given the passion and admitted provincialism of college fans in the South, I think a network dedicated to SEC and ACC sports could do well. I wonder what Fox has in mind with the recently-acquired Turner South network.

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