Dandy Don Fortune is not coming back – not that I know of anyway – not physically. For one thing, he’s older than God now and he didn’t exactly depart the Cowtown in grand style. Everyone from then halfway young WHB sports yakker Kevin Kietzman to Star bloviator-in-chief Jason Whitlock couldn’t say enough about how old and out of it Fortune was.
WHB even mounted a billboard campaign called “Lose a Fortune.”
Remember that one?
So how long ago was it that Fortune got run out of town? Five years? Ten?
Try a dozen.
However what goes around comes around and with the passage of time even youngsters like Soren Petro start to get a little long in the tooth and – how do you say – predictable
“Petro and Kietzman are starting to become Don Fortune,” says sports radio junkie-turned-scribe Craig Glazer. “They’re set in their ways and they say the same stuff. They’re knowledgeable but they’re just so predictable.
“The problem with Petro and Kietzman is you know what you’re going to get. They’re not controversial anymore. I think they play it pretty safe. I listen to 610 Sports more now, but when I do listen to Petro and Kietzman, I almost know what they’re going to say before they say it.”
That’s basically what happened with Fortune, says former Entercom honcho Bob Zuroweste, Fortune’s boss.
“It’s all about brands and people are brands and you’ve got to freshen your brand,” Zuroweste says. “Because when brands get tired people want something new. And what has to happen is 610 Sports has to give people something that’s different and better and let people know about it. That’s what branding is, being different and better and letting people know.”
What can WHB, Petro and Kietzman do to prevent their further slide?
Nothing,” Zuroweste says. “As long as they’re not being challenged, they’ll be okay, but if 610 Sports hires the right people they’ll be in trouble. It’s all about the people and the content.”
A handful of years back, Kietzman dug up Fortune to fill in for him while he was on vacation and Fortune told the Star the “Lose a Fortune” campaign never really bothered him.
“Bull hockey,” says a source close to the situation. “That’s total bullshit. That bothered Don a lot – I mean, it sounds pretty good to say what he did – but I was there and it bothered him. He wasn’t distraught but he was like, ‘Why are they doing that? Why are they doing that?’
“Fortune’s audience wasn’t going to go away but he was not appealing to the demo that appealed to advertisers. As Fortune’s audience got older it wasn’t appealing to advertisers. And Fortune just got tired of the fight like Denny Matthews and he retired. Denny Matthews is tired of the fight, but nobody’s got the guts to push him out. Denny Matthews was dead 15 years ago, he didn’t put out any effort then.
“Kietzman has a lot more weaknesses than Soren. Kietzman has his ego, basically every commercial is him selling something and he’s got some sort of character questions based on some of the stories about him. Plus he’s arrogant, he’s cockey. Just ask somebody what they think about Kevin Kietzman. People like Soren Petro more than they do Kevin Kietzman.”