Last week, Lino Rulli talked about Father Leo Patalinghug's new show, "Stirring the Pot" which would air on Sunday night's at 7 p.m. eastern time during Advent. Fr. Leo always does a great job whenever he's on Greg and Jennifer Willit's morning show, so I was really looking forward to hearing it.
So Sunday night, as my future bride Allicia and I are driving back from visiting her family in Massachusetts, we turned to The Catholic Channel. But instead of seeing Fr. Leo's show on the display, we see the following:
Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame. Tip-off at 7 p.m.
Say what? This brand new show that got hyped up on the channel gets replaced by a basketball game? Good grief, that's incredibly lame.
As a regular listener of The Catholic Channel, I've gotten used to Notre Dame sports interrupting programming. I don't mind that The Catholic Channel airs Notre Dame football, as it is almost always played on Saturdays, and does not interrupt live shows. Basketball, on the other hand, has a nasty habit of bumping Father Dave's Busted Halo Show and sometimes the last 30 minutes of Lino's show.
Anyone remember last year's Roast of Lino Rulli? With 20 minutes left in the show, Notre Dame pre-game basketball interrupts one of the funniest segments the show ever had. Pre-game! Not an actual game, but pre-game, which is nothing more than commercials. And while that was VERY infuriating, what happened Sunday night was the straw that broke the camel's back.
I really love The Catholic Channel. But this contract with Notre Dame sports HAS TO GO! Axe it, terminate it, please just get rid of it. Here are a few reasons why airing Notre Dame basketball makes absolutely no sense.
1. The Catholic angle. Notre Dame is a Catholic institution. But so is Boston College. So is Georgetown. So is Holy Cross. Gonzaga too. Why doesn't the channel air their games as well? It's wildly unfair that Notre Dame is the only Catholic university that gets their games aired on the station. If I was a huge fan of any of those colleges, I'd be a little bummed out. If airing sports is a must, why not embrace the fact that you are The Catholic Channel, and air different Catholic college sports? That's a suggestion, however, that I hope they don't take me up on, because of reason number two.
2. This is a religious station. I love sports. I watch the same NFL Network show all morning (on mute with Gus on the radio, obviously). I live and die by Boston Celtics wins and losses, and I'm still a little grumpy about the mediocre season the New England Revolution had. But if I want sports on Satellite Radio, I have plenty of options. ESPN, Mad Dog Radio, a ton of play-by-play options. When I turn to The Catholic Channel, I don't want sports: I want religious programming that will inspire and entertain me. Sometimes when I get off of work, I need a little pick me up. And hearing basketball in place of faith/fun is a real bummer.
3. No promotion at all. Ever listen to a Notre Dame event? Despite it being on The Catholic Channel, there's absolutely ZERO promotion for any of the channel's shows. You won't hear commercials for Lino, Fr. Dave or Bob Dunning during the game. It's all commercials for sports, xerox printers, etc. They totally hijack the channel. Notre Dame sports does not bring new listeners to the channel, because other than the receiver saying "The Catholic Channel," you'd never know you were listening to a religious station. If they're going to take over the station, at least throw a bone to the shows that are getting bumped.
4. It's everywhere else. It's not as if The Catholic Channel is hiring its own people to braodcast Notre Dame sports. They're all done by the Notre Dame sports network, which means the games are available everywhere. There are plenty of open play-by-play channels on Sirius XM that could easily broadcast the game. It shouldn't be done at the expense of programming that regular listeners love.
In closing, I beg and plead with those who run The Catholic Channel: Please stop airing Notre Dame sports during live/new programming. It does nothing but anger your listeners and interrupt shows that we enjoy so much. Notre Dame isn't the only Catholic university, so it's wildly unfair that they get all of their games aired when others don't. Aside from that, they don't promote The Catholic Channel during events, there's space on other stations for it, and I would dare say that most listeners change the channel when it comes on the air.
We're a lot more interested in faith than a preseason basketball game.