Monday, May 02, 2005


I broke a story on the radio Monday morning.
Now it may not be a big deal to you, but journalists love being the first to tell you the news.
I got a tip that Ben Wallace was going to be named NBA Player of the Year. I gave the tip to our sports update people and they told the world that Wallace was going to receive the award later at a press conference at The Palace.
During the break I listened to WDFN's sports update and there was no mention of Wallace winning the award.
Later in typical WDFN fashion the station ran promos saying "as you heard here first" Ben Wallace was named NBA defensive player of the year. It is a farce both stations have employed in the past. They've guarantee breaking news first even when they get scooped.
And I wonder do the stations think people are stupid?
The answer is yes. I used to battle with management when I was at The Fan about boasting about breaking news first.
Here is what I was told. If you say something enough times people will believe it, even if it is a lie. So I was told that it is OK to lie and deceive in radio. That is pretty amazing considering a number of people want to fire Free Press columnist Mitch Albom for lying and deceiving his readers.
There should not be one standard for radio and another for newspaper. But there most certainly is.
One time the update person on WDFN got on the Internet and read a Los Angeles Times story about the Lions interest to sign a free agent. They repeated the story, failed to credit the Times , and then ran promos about how it is first to give us the news.
I protested saying the station was taking credit for the hard work of some reporter in Los Angeles.
When I was at The Fan I broke the news that the Pistons were going to hire Larry Brown as Pistons coach on the day they fire Rick Carlisle. But WXYT claimed it got the story first. Once the Fan finished third behind WRIF and WXYT on a story, but claimed it got the story first.
I broke the story on WXYT saying former Michigan booster Ed Martin died. Of course the Fan claimed it broke the story first. That one still makes me chuckle considering a Martin relative called me and told me and said I was the only journalist the family would contact.
So what is the point?
Do you listen to a station because you believe it breaks news first?
Do you listen to a station that outright lies to you?
It's a joke that needs to stop


Blogger Jeff Mitchell said...

I often wonder how stations claim they are the first, unless they've got contacts everywhere, someone else probably had it first. But I know one thing, I'll listen to Terry, he is "the truth"!

2:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay Terry I am glad that you acknowledged that both stations do it. But for me I don't listen to you and Mike for breaking garbage I listen because of the content that you guys deliver. I used to listen to Sean exclusively then I got word that you had a show so at first I flipped back and forth but later on it was exclusively you guys. For example, you guys talked about an off beat but important topic as far as race which in my opinion was the only topic that could trump the pistons. Now here is my question In my opinion, you guys are alot better than the Big Show, Stoney and WoJo. Is it possible that the station would make a switch. Let's face it your ratings ( as Rashid would say ) don;t Lie.

3:13 AM

Blogger Jack Labrador said...

Oh, come on Foster. XYT does the same sort of thing. Not only that, they've been ripping WDFN of from the get go. THey've stolen everything from the Fan's logo to that "Remember the time you spent listening to.." update ending line

9:21 AM

Blogger Tom said...

I don't care who breaks what first, as long as I hear about it correctly and with an intelligent discussion. Who is first with what doesn't matter to me, as long as I get the right info. I don't listen to either station for what they do first with news. As far as the lying part, I think this level of lying about who did what first is different from completely making up stories like Mitch did.

9:35 AM

Anonymous Rob V. said...

Breaking news is incredibly overrated, and all it does is draw attention to the pissing match between the local media outlets.

I listen to sports talk for analysis and opinion. I couldn't care less who has some (typically insignificant) story first. Besides, it's not like one outlet is going to have an exclusive report that can only be heard on that station. If a story breaks on 'xyt, it'll be on 'dfn in less than 10 minutes, and vice versa.

10:06 AM

Blogger Erik LaBelle said...

I agree completely on your take. I don't really put a lot of value on media outlets claiming to be the first to break news. If a story is legitimate and is big news, most reputable outlets will have report of it within minutes of each other. I don't listen to team 1270 because of their ability to capture news as it breaks, I listen to it because I like their shows.

10:34 AM

Blogger T Foster said...

Read my blog. I admit WXYT has done it also. I ripped both stations. I simply commented on a story that I had a heavy hand in. The thing is the stations believe the public cares about this. The bottom line is do you entertain and inform. That is what we must strive for. That is how we get you to listen.

10:42 AM

Blogger T Foster said...

One more thing. Newspaper reporters work hard to break stories. I hate it when a newspaper writes breaking news and a reporter on the radio reads it, reports it first and then the stations claim "as you heard here first." Radio is filled with people who take credit at other people's expense.

10:44 AM

Blogger billfer said...

I'm just tired in general of the pissing match between the stations. I listen to the shows/personalities rather than the station. Therefore, I'm going back and forth throughout the day anyways. When there is a big story, typically I'll be flipping back and forth to hear the different takes on it.

11:50 AM

Anonymous grande said...

love your blog man...

i listen to the station that is talking about what i wanna hear about... it doensn't make a difference to me who has a story first... i've had a hard time believing a lot of what the media says for a long time... your stories about stations lying about who got a story first only supports my hesitancy...

i must admit though that personalities do play a part in who i want to listen to in some degree... any chance of you and regner teaming up again??? you guyes were BY FAR the best pair on sports radio... or would that be faux pas???

4:09 PM

Blogger CPG said...

I agree with you Terry both stations should not be I mean stealing other people's work. I find it funny that both stations only give credit to reporters for the story if it is their "insider". I love you T but your partner is an idiot and needs to go. Bring back the docs and stick their partners on weekends!

5:30 PM

Blogger CPG said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:30 PM

Blogger AlexanderNevermind said...

I agree it doesn't matter who 'breaks' a story first - just report it accurately. What bugs me is when both stations promo the 'scoop' to death - that doesn't make me want to tune in more, especially if its a stupid scoop that affects nothing but hype. Its the topic you're talking about now that determines if I stay or if I go to track 3 on the CD player. As for honesty in the radio biz, do you ever hear Drew & Mike in the morning and think they're live then realize its a 20 minute recording from the previous week or earlier in the morning? They do it all the time.

5:51 PM

Blogger kdog1 said...

Isn't ESPN the king of the "breaking news" syndrome. Steven A Smith basically read an emailed press release about the Chris Webber trade and claimed that as breaking news. ESPN's Len Pasquarelli reports that the Sun rose at 6:17 am this morning. ESPN is the king of this stuff. And no matter which station breaks the news first, it's usually the station that has a unique take on a story that gets the most attention.

10:40 AM

Anonymous jeremy said...

That “heard it here first” crap drives me nuts. One of the funniest things you can hear is when the fan, and others, say, “The Associated Press is reporting . . .” and then they later claim they first reported it. No you didn’t, the AP did. And if I subscripted to the associated press news wire, I would have heard it the same time you did.

10:52 AM


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