Area radio stations on the Penn State Football Radio Network don't expect to see a loss in advertising dollars as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal that rocked the university.
Dave Davies, vice president and general manager of Forever Broadcasting in Altoona, which carries games on ESPN 1430 WVAM-AM and WRKY-FM, admits some advertisers have been hesitant but sales are going well.
"We have sold ten Penn State sponsors so far and I expect seven more to commit in the next several weeks. Penn State football has been very profitable for us," Davies said. "We have not lost any longtime sponsors and we have three new Penn State sponsors."
Advertisers' response also has been strong in Centre County, said Scott Cohagan, general manager of Forever Broadcasting in State College, which carries Penn State games on WBUS-FM 93.7 and WQWK-AM ESPN 1450.
"The local businesses we sell to have been very supportive in support of the team, the program and the radio stations," Cohagan said. "The ones who committed early have stayed with us. We continue to sell and have got some new advertisers. We have not lost anyone because of the scandal."
Advertisers in Bedford and Tyrone are continuing to support Penn State football.
"We haven't had any problems reloading the same sponsors. The general consensus here is while the Sandusky thing was awful and some people at the university didn't handle things properly, we are not putting the blame on the football program or the team. Our sponsors also think the NCAA over-reacted," said co-owner John Cessna of WBFD-AM, Bedford, which has carried Penn State football for more than 50 years.
Cary Simpson, owner of WTRN-AM, Tyrone, a longtime member of the football network, said his station hasn't lost any sponsors.
"One of our clients said we are proud of the team and the obstacles they are going to overcome and we are with them all the way."
Advertisers in the Altoona market have a lot of options as his stations also carry the Pittsburgh Steelers and Altoona Area and Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic high school football games, Davies said.
There is an ebb and flow in advertising, he said.
"Sometimes we have clients who rotate back and forth between the Steelers and Penn State," Davies said. "At the end of the day, advertisers, those who have supported Penn State will be loyal and enthusiastic. Blair County and its fan base will be excited with this program."
His sales representatives are focusing on the positive aspects of Penn State, Davies said.
"What we are trying to sell is the fact Steve Jones and Jack Ham are covering these games, the guys who have stayed are guys that are interesting and we should follow them. They (advertisers) need to know the interest from the fan base can translate into sales," Davies said. "With the new coach, Bill O'Brien, there are a lot of positive things moving forward, it will be valuable to them as a member of the Penn State broadcasts."
Cohagan said he has been encouraged by the community support for the football team.
"The support in the community is amazing. There are signs in business windows that say 'We support Penn State football' throughout the downtown, in Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap; it is like that all through Centre County," Cohagan said.
Once the season starts, hopefully the media attention will turn toward the games, Davies said.
"Once the season is reality and we stop hearing about [Tim] Curley, [Gary] Schultz, [Joe] Paterno, [Graham] Spanier, the Freeh report and the NCAA every day and start talking about Xs and Os, blocking and tackling, offense and defense, people will realize Penn State football has survived the worst possible scenario and will see the team and the community have come through with flying colors," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.