‘Sports Central’ will be missed

And just like that, it was off the air.

Fellow Mirror sportswriter Cory Giger was told on Monday that his long-running talk show — “Sports Central” — was no longer a part of the programming on Toona 1430 WVAM.

Add that to the fact that ESPN Radio was removed from WVAM several months ago, and the list of sports avenues on that station continues to dwindle. The reason given for the cancellation sounds way too generic for me.

“The new corporate policy in effect is in part because of the format switch to oldies,” Giger said.

What is not understood is that if Giger’s show, which has been on the air since Jan. 5, 2009, breaks up the format of oldies music, who’s to say that someone in the corporate world won’t believe that the Pirates, Steelers, Penguins and Penn State sports won’t break up the format?

Could they be removed from the station’s format? Who knows? A year ago, if you would have told me that ESPN Radio would be gone, I wouldn’t have believed it. Same with Giger’s show. During Penn State football season, you’d be hard-pressed to find an opening to call in to the show because the lines were busy. Though summer time was hard on the number of calls each day, I would argue that for nine months, especially during football season, his show was solid local radio.

But no more. For a show that was started by former Curve GM Rob Egan, 10-plus years of Giger was good for a debate, a discussion or an argument for two hours a day, five days a week. It’s just hard for me to believe that there is sports talk radio in State College, Lewistown, Punxsutawney, York and Allentown, but not Altoona.

Giger took to social media on Monday afternoon to thank his fans and Forever Media, which owns WVAM. He was much more diplomatic than I would have been. He wanted to go on the air Monday to at least say goodbye, but was told he was not allowed. He still took the high road, and even got some good news after hearing about the termination of his show.

“Within two hours of finding out, I had three other opportunities offered. I don’t want to say what they are, but I do hope to be back on the air very soon,” he said.

But there are still people who get into their car in Blair County, and have absolutely no place for sports radio unless they have SiriusXM, which is satellite radio. Because of what Forever Media did with ESPN several months ago, I’ve found certain stations that come in at different times of the day on my radio that carry ESPN.

Early in the morning, usually between 6 a.m.-8 a.m., you can find ESPN on AM 1520 out of Buffalo and 1530 out of Cincinnati, or sometimes AM 1000 out of Chicago. After 8 o’clock at night, those stations start to come back in pretty clearly, too.

If you are really hard-up, like me, AM 980 out of Washington, D.C. comes in on your dial, depending on where you are in Blair County. Also, AM 660 out of New York City comes in really well at night, and that station makes for good listening because of the chutzpah shown by Big Apple sports fans.

So I guess if I want to talk sports with Cory Giger, I’ll have to do it from my desk here at the Mirror, but it was a lot more fun when I could do that from my kitchen, or my car on the ride to work. From the looks of his Facebook page, the fans of his show seem to agree with me, too.

Scott Franco is a copy editor/sportswriter who can be reached at sfranco@altoonamirror.com

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