Put aside the fact that Frank Coonelly, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, was cited for DUI just before Christmas, only to have the news of it finally see the light of day today. The Pittsburgh sports-talk station that reached an agreement in September to broadcast the Pirates' games has now told its hosts they may not discuss the situation, or to field calls on the air from listeners interested in talking about it. The topic apparently may only be discussed on the station in news updates. The decision by station management at 93.7 KDKA-FM, The Fan—a CBS Radio-owned property—is currently being tossed around Yinzer circles on Twitter, and a source has just confirmed it to me directly.
According to this story from late last summer about the station's purchase of the Pirates' broadcast rights, it's not the first time KDKA-FM has caved to appease a local sports team with whom it has such an agreement:
Pitt, for example, was not happy with some of the commentary it received from The Fan hosts during last football season. That unhappiness resulted in some changes in the pre and post-game hosts.
It's also not the first time the Pirates have expressed such hyper-sensitivity over how folks in western Pennsylvania perceive them. Last May, a suburban bar owner called off a rather clever promotion offering progressively discounted beer every time the Pirates lost. Team employees first sent around an email requesting that people boycott the establishment. The bar's owner finally gave in after receiving a call from a Pirates executive who refused to call off the boycott. The executive who made that call was Frank Coonelly.
UPDATE (9:43 a.m., Feb. 24, 2012): The station relented sometime after this post went live last night at 8:35 p.m.