On The Flip Side: Time To Get Sirius

Anybody catch the Howard Stern show this week? The self-aggrandizing radio shock jock surely outdid himself in the field of hubris, even adding a post-game program to discuss all the great moments in the morning’s broadcast.

But somewhere during Artie Lange and George “Stop Calling Me Sulu” Takei’s conversation on their “hormone” differences, it dawned on me — this is where college hockey needs to be.

The frustration of many college hockey fans is to develop a deep affinity for a program as an undergraduate and then suddenly wake up one morning in the real world. No more dorm room, meal plan, classes that only meet on Tuesdays. Instead, life expects you to have what is called a “job,” and this “job” often may be located miles from the Ag.

Suddenly, no more hockey games, no more Fridays with Sasquatch.

Like any addict going through withdrawal, there are plenty of places to get a college hockey fix. The occasional game on CSTV, religious reading of USCHO and the flaming posts on the message board may satiate the fan beast for a moment, but it is not enough. It is time for college hockey and the NCAA to truly get Sirius.

I know that the NCAA already has a contract with XM. But XM doesn’t have Howard, and they’re squandering their college exclusivity by not broadcasting hockey games. The college hockey commissioners need to find a way to get on satellite radio. Instead of little radio talk shows streamed over the Internet, I need to also be able to hear “Tuesday @ the Rink” in my car coming home from work.

Quite frankly, the limited size of the college hockey audience makes television broadcasts profitable for only a few teams. The appeal of satellite radio is in its comprehensiveness. If Sirius can find room for “Hair Bands of the 80s” and a “Radio Korea” channel, then surely there has to be viability in an ECACHL channel. More people have to want to hear the Beanpot tournament than listen to old broadcasts of “Little Orphan Annie” on the Radio Classics channel.

Sirius paid Howard Stern $500 million to broadcast High Pitch Eric on the toilet for 24 hours. College hockey would come much more cheaply.

All it takes is a little creativity to fill up the airwaves. Since satellite radio does not have FCC restrictions, dead airtime could be turned over to the players. Union’s leading scorer, Josh Coyle, has just been ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the season. Give him a half-hour time slot. Tell him he has to talk about Shakespeare. Let the Cornell defense crank its top-10 party tunes. Bring in Ted Donato, Jerry York, and Jack Parker for a show entitled “Boston Accents.”

Think about the cross-channel promotions. The Martha Stewart channel could air specials on how to decorate a dorm room for $5 or to dress yourself as a true Fighting Sioux on only $10 and some leftover prison clothes. The religious channels could invite Pat Robertson to declare that it is the will of God that __________ lose this week (no way I’m filling in that blank).

If the New Jersey Devils once upon a time were a Mickey Mouse operation, maybe it’s time that Radio Disney declares some schools a Minnie, Goofy, and Daffy operation. Perhaps then Miami just might become an NCAA champion. Dreams do come true.

After all of the news, analysis, and pure shenanigans there would be games. Lots of games. Glorious games … and those involving Brown.

On a cold Friday night driving to the local watering hole in Montana, you could tune in to WHRB and hear Harvard. It would be one more sign that college hockey has entered the upper echelon and a godsend to all of us who have to toil in areas without our favorite sport.

The time has come for college hockey to get Sirius.

P.S. Though I am a proud Sirius subscriber, I own no stock in the company, nor would I otherwise benefit from this column except for joy.