Setting the Record Straight
A story in the sports section of the Peoria Journal sent me scrambling to research Bradley basketball because I felt the writer had made several errors. He wrote that current basketball fortunes could lead to a return of thousands of fans and a new found home court advantage. I hope he’s right, but how he got to that conclusion was seriously flawed. He wrongly stated Bradley basketball had been going downhill since 2001. His exact words were, “Only a couple of times since 2001 have they posted truly outstanding home court records.” He stated the average home team wins 67.6 percent of the time.
Let’s examine the facts. In 2002, Bradley hired Jim Les as coach who inherited a team that had lost 20 games the year before. So, the first year his home court record was 7-7. The next year it was 11-4. We would die for that today. Les got even better. In 2004, he was 12-3 and the next year 13-1, followed by 15-3, 13-6, 14-4 and 10-5. I think those remarkable home seasons exceed the writer’s false assertion that Bradley had just a couple (couple as in two) outstanding home court records. And let me remind folks that was when Creighton and Wichita State were in the Missouri Valley.
Let’s also set the record straight on attendance for Braves basketball under Coach Les. In 2002, games averaged 9,072 and the next year it was 9,351. Every year during the Les tenure more than 9,000 fans per game came to cheer Bradley players. New president Joanne Glasser fired Les in March, 2011, after a season that saw Bradley go 8-9 at home though attendance declined by only 890 fans. That year Bradley lost two of its top starters, Sam Maniscalco and Taylor Brown, to health issues. Everyone agrees attendance rapidly declined under Joanne Glasser after she fired Les and allegedly told Athletic Director Ken Kavanagh to start looking for a new job. Glasser brought in Geno Ford to coach and we know what happened. Average attendance last year was a poor 4,936, and over-all season total was 82,318, the lowest in over 40 years. Things will get better…we hope.
Larry Nelson, owner of WOAM-AM, has put the station on the market to sell along with its FM translator. The on-and-off-the-air station has been broadcasting good music via the Internet from Nelson’s home base in Plano, Illinois, for several years. There’s no station office in Peoria or any local sponsors or employees. Nelson would not quote a sale price, but he bought it from Bob Kelly of Kelly Communications for a reported $100,000. Though it has an education license, it can be converted to commercial.
Many years ago the Peoria Journal once owned radio and television stations. In 1954, it held 91 percent of the stock in WTVH radio at 1590 on the AM dial, and WTVH-TV. The company was named Hilltop Broadcasting, and its president was Henry Slane of the Peoria Journal Star. In 1959, the newspaper sold WTVH for $600,000. It’s interesting the Peoria Journal is seeking a return to broadcasting, in this instance, with a stab on the Internet. This effort at a time when both the AM and FM dials are loaded with over 23 local radio stations while the Internet lists
38,222 stations from which to choose. I had a brief experience with Internet radio and found it to be appealing to a top of 48 loyal listeners. The newspaper has an excellent web site as do local TV stations, but they’re wasting time trying to do radio…again.
I had the pleasure of attending the Change of Command Ceremony at the 182nd Air Lift Wing, Saturday, Nov. 4. After 13 years, Colonel William Robertson relinquished his command to another Peorian, Colonel Dan McDonough. Following the change of command ceremony, it was announced that President Trump had authorized promotion of Robertson to Brigadier General and was named Chief of Staff of the Illinois National Guard. How proud we can be of these two distinguished leaders. Another reminder that we don’t have to go out of town or out of state for leadership in Peoria and central Illinois.
This is the December issue so I want to wish everyone and their families a Merry and Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. I also want to give thanks to the people who’ve made our morning radio show, “Breakfast with Roger and Friends” on FM 90.7 so popular and successful. Thanks to Suzette Boulais, John Meisinger, Mike Olson, Jim Bixby, Phil Salzer, Norm Kelly, Steve Young and Dr. Gene Sidler and special guests like Bob Larson, Becky Rossman, Rachel Reliford, Jim Ardis, Mike McCoy, the Disharoons and others too numerous to mention. Special holiday wishes for our loyal listeners who make it a joy to visit with them every morning! God bless!