Much maligned NHL blackouts and their effect on hometown fans viewing their teams has been a hot topic lately. Even more has been discussed is the apparent crumbling of Bailey Sports Networks. I am not a media industry expert, but what if I told you there is a potential solution to at least some of the problems Canes fans face as we try to cheer for our team.
One piece of my solution is in fact older than me, but part of it I have only had since 2019. I got a new one in 2021 and I carry with me everywhere I go. Recently I found a piece of my solution as old or maybe older than my first solution. I can use it at work. I can use it at home. I can use it on the move. What is it that can be so diverse in age and mobility yet still help my Carolina Hurricanes fix every game?
That’s right. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I can listen to the Canes on the radio.
Best of all the NHL blackouts do not work on radios.
As long as the team broadcasts the game, I can get every Hurricanes game piped straight to my house on an actual radio. Because I am a luddite, I have not one but two radios at my house and they both work. One is an ancient “portable” unit that still has to be plugged into the wall. It picks up the broadcast just perfectly. The other is a Bull Admiral tuner also hooked into a RVC record player from my dad’s college days. Both radios are in fact older than me, and I listen to every game I can on them for…..free.
But if that is not cool enough for you, there is always streaming the coverage of the radio to your smart phone. I have one of those too. I am not afraid to listen to the game at work (I work nights) as I slog through the weeds that are my “real” job. If it is particularly quiet or a Sunday game, I might even listen on a desktop computer as I work. This option is not as free, since I still have to pay for my smartphone but the cost compared to streaming is pretty low. Especially when all I really want is to pull for the Hurricanes during the season. On the rare occasion I am out and about, I can listen to the game on my car’s radio. It’s a 2019 model I got with 8 miles on it, but all the miles I have tacked in it since do not affect the radio. It came free on the car. A car was pretty critical to getting back and forth to work, so I look at the cost of listening to the Hurricanes included in the price, making it a negatable expenditure.
Listening to the games has given me a different perspective and appreciation for the speed at which it is played. To cover a sport so fast with words, Mike Maniscalco has to work fast and accurately to capture it. And boy does he! Plus you get the color commentary from Tripp Tracy who never fails to make me laugh at least once during a broadcast. While they cover the game for both the radio and TV for Bailey Sports, they always do both well. Best of all there is never NHL blackouts or network battles to deal with.
Nothing beats watching hockey live. When I can, I will make it to a bar showing the game or better still actually go with my partial season ticket package. I love a game at PNC Arena better than most things, but not as much as others. I have been to some great games recently, including the come from behind win against San Jose. When I cannot make it to a live game because of my schedule or NHL blackouts keep me from saddling up to a bar for a few hours of cheer, I always have Mike Maniscalco, Tripp Tracey and my trusty radios. Luddite, I may be, but I never worry about getting my Carolina Hurricanes games.