Yesterday while Barack Obama was being sworn in as president, one of America's largest broadcasting companies was busy cutting 1850 jobs and hoping it would slide under the radar with all the inauguration news. That part of the plan didn't work so well. Clear Channel's hand had already been tipped, with articles in the New York Post and Wall Street Journal. There will be plenty more stories today, as an unbelievable number of good and talented people around the country lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Two you may have heard of were David Lamm and Joe Cowart of 930 the Fox in Jacksonville. There were many more. How can all local programming at a consistently strong rated station like 1130 the Fan in Detroit just be gone? Andrew Siciliano and Ben Maller, both excellent hosts for Fox Sports Radio who'd been with the network since it began, both got cut as did another program. What happened yesterday was a direct result of the consolidation ushered in by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowing a media behemoth like Clear Channel to form in the first place. As we've seen quite a few times lately, deregulation is not a good answer for every policy question.
Tonight my two markets intersect as Florida basketball comes to Columbia to challenge South Carolina. This is a critical game for both teams. The Gamecocks can't lose home games if they want to have any shot at the NCAAs, and UF would love to get a second SEC road win. If you believe SI.com, no one in the SEC is a lock for the NCAAs this year, which seems a little extreme to me. Ten wins in conference would guaruntee UF a spot, meaning they could play .500 ball after this and get there if they win tonight. Devan Downey, point guard for SC, is a terrific player but the key to this game is front court player Mike Holmes. If Holmes is playing hard he will be a matchup nightmare for UF. If not, this is one they should be able to win. I'll be discussing it with JC and the QB in my old time slot on the Star 99.5 at some point today.
Word all season had been to expect an extraordinary crop of talent to go pro early in the NFL draft this year due to concerns about a new rookie salary cap starting in 2010. Roger Goodell promised that would not happen, and apparently players believed him. Thanks to Brandon LaFell of LSU pulling his name out at the last minute, this year's crop of early entries turns out to have been the smallest in nine years. That means any team who trades away a 2010 first rounder this year better get something amazing in return, because that draft will be stacked.
Urban Meyer may have two national championships, but he's playing second fiddle to Rich Brooks when it comes to having his own signature vehicle. That's right, you can now buy your own Brooks Edition Ford F-150 truck. Word is the truck runs well at first but the wheels fall off in November.