On Madden, Millions and Madness

Scott Hudson


Friend Romans, Pittsburghers, lend me your ears! I come not to bury Mark Madden – but to praise him.

In full disclosure, I worked with Mark Madden during my tenure in WCW and found him to be absolutely hysterical. Always â<80><9c>onâ<80> and afraid of nothing and no one. That approach cost him his job there.

Now, Mark Madden has been wished well in his future endeavors by Pittsburghâ<80><99>s 1250 ESPN Radio this week for his, uh, how you say, insensitive comments about the unfortunately lot in life that has recently befallen Senator Ted Kennedy. Suffice to say, Maddenâ<80><99>s comments were beyond the pale and well outside the bounds of good taste. But what did ESPN expect? Doris Kearns Goodwin?!

Let me get this straight: an edgy sports/talk host makes comments in reference to Senator Kennedy invoking the memories of his murdered brothers and an unseemly situation with a 28 year-old campaign volunteer and a questionable guard rail. He did not mention his race, color, religion, gender, sexual preference or national origin. Not my cup of tea but, sweet Jesus, is that a fireable offense?!

The answer is of course, hell no.

But, it is not my call and if I completely ended my listenership of Maddenâ<80><99>s station I would have to start one first. For the life of me I do not understand what motivates these suits in radio to believe (beyond all logic) that to get a number their hosts have to stir the pot, be controversial and confrontational and push the envelope only to then throw them under the bus when they cross some imaginary line of decency. Madden did not use one of the 7 deadlies on his show, didnâ<80><99>t broadcast live moaninâ<80><99> and groaninâ<80><99> full-on porn during his show, and did not advocate violence against anyone. He was doing what he was paid to do – piss people off. This time, he pissed off the people in the corner office instead of the corner bar.

Mark, hang in there. As I am sure you have heard – in radio you are hired to be fired.

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Is it September 1999 already?

I mean, it must be, right? One of the big two wrestling companies made an announcement Monday night that they were going to give away a pant full of loot to some lucky viewer via a method so vague that Stephen Hawking was left scratching his head.

Eric Bishoff tried the same thing 9 years ago on â<80><9c>Nitroâ<80> and had his proverbial million legs yanked from beneath him one week later by our corporate honchos. Now the WWE is committing gimmick infringement at its ugliest. My God, if they are going to steal from WCW, couldnâ<80><99>t they at least steal the nWo idea or the Goldberg push or at least something else we got RIGHT?!

One can clearly see Vince McMahon, his head shaved bald, reclining in the big chair at the head of the jam-packed conference table, cradling a Kofi Kingston action figure in his hands saying, â<80><9c>Iâ<80><99>ve got it! If we want ratings to perk up, how about we give away…..(pinky tip to lower lip with evil smirk) One Mill-ee-on dollars!â<80> (Sorry if thatâ<80><99>s been done.)

One million bananas would pay for 10 divas! 10! And Vince is going to throw it at a fan?! Who will, in all likelihood, be a plant brought up from FCW.

How do I know this is a last ditch effort with absolutely no planning? Because if this were a plan hatched in advance, it would have boosted the ratings during May when advertising rate cards are set, not during June when ratings traditionally tank anyway but no one cares. This reeks of desperation. On second thought – this just reeks.

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I close with the startling news that the WWE has released a plush, stuffed Boogeyman Bear just in time for the dads and grads gift giving season.

What next? An anatomically correct Beth Phoenix blow up doll? A Carlito apple corer? Remember, Christmas is just 210 short days away!

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