It's not personal, it's just business
By NEIL DWYER
College Contributor Network
Art and commerce. It's a very tricky shotgun marriage in all different fields, but especially in the world of broadcasting. So many big conglomerates like NewsCorp or Time Warner own several networks and newspapers, which then creates a conflict of interest if anything starts to smell bad in the mothership. There are also times in sports broadcasting when networks will report information against the teams on them, which leads to the question, "What's the line?"
The Miami Hurricanes absolutely tanked in the last quarter of their season. On Nov. 14, they were 6-3, riding a three-game winning streak and looking ahead at their best chance to beat Florida State in years. The 'Noles came in undefeated, but vulnerable, with a shaky first-half offense. However, as they have done all season, FSU cranked up the sound in the second half and pulled off the 30-26 win in Miami. From there, the 'Canes lost their last two to mediocre Virginia and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh hadn't beaten Miami in EIGHT GAMES!
'Canes fans haven't exactly warmed up to Al Golden in his four seasons as head coach. There has been a cloud of discontent hanging over the program from fans who don't feel he's Miami enough or doesn't have a winning mentality, anonymous members of the board of trustees, and former Hurricanes themselves. So, a few days after Miami's disastrous season finale against Pitt, WQAM afternoon drive host Marc Hochman got a phone call from a UM confidant.
I'll share the info at 3pm on 560 WQAM. Again, I just got off the phone w/ him/her. He/She says Golden might be gone by tonight.- Marc Hochman (@MarcHochman) December 2, 2014
Right after that, Miami AD Blake James confirmed to AP reporter Tim Reynolds that Golden is their man for the foreseeable future. Now, for those that don't know, WQAM is the flagship radio station of the Hurricanes Radio Network. So Hochman "breached" that relationship to break a story, and UM wasn't pleased.
I've been accused by Univ of Miami of being a bad journalist- Not knowing basic tenets of journalism. I spent $100,000 learning that at UM.- Marc Hochman (@MarcHochman) December 5, 2014
However, journalism is a rat race. Every publication, radio station and network is trying to beat their competition every day. How do you do that? You get the best ratings. How do you get ratings? You create attention through either outlandish personalities or, especially, by breaking stories. "You heard it here first" is one of the most powerful phrases in the media. It says, "Hey local region, check us out! We're your No. 1 breaking news source!"
I've said it before and Ill say it again. Hochman was only doing his job. He had a source. He defended himself by saying he's not a journalist and he doesn't have "sources," but it's a source. If you as a member of the media trust a source and feel it will help your outlet, you have to run with it.
I'll also offer the other argument that Hochman has nothing to do with UM other than doing a show on the flagship station. It'd be another thing if a UM employee or the Canes' play-by-play broadcaster, Joe Zagacki, went on air and said they heard this and that about Golden.
I've had young broadcaster friends say that Hochman was throwing darts. Throwing darts is accusing Golden of going out with some woman that's not his wife; making serious accusations about someone's character without proof. Within the football bubble, however, and getting a story about the future of a coach who has had four disappointing seasons (especially the last two with all the talent they've had) isn't out of bounds.
Hochman's had his detractors, Miami Herald columnist Barry Jackson among them. He's had his supporters, Local 10 sports anchor Will Manso among them:
"@WillManso: Folks around UM said to be mad at radio station for silly story? Save anger for 6-6 football team." <<--Support from a friend!- Marc Hochman (@MarcHochman) December 3, 2014
Yes, this was long, but the argument of art and commerce has continued to stretch out over time, and in many, many cases, commerce wins. I'm fighting for art.
Neil Dwyer is a senior at the University of Miami who loves the Yankees, Giants, 'Canes and screaming about all three. Follow him on Twitter: @neildwyer1993