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Radio voices Chris King and Steve Mears silenced

Islanders president Chris Dey last week told radio announcers Chris King and Steve Mears their contracts will not be renewed for the coming season. Madison Square Garden Network made television announcers Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe available for a radio simulcast, so Dey chose to cut payroll by letting King and Mears go.

King, 48, has been part of every Islanders radio broadcast for the past 15 years, including the last 11 years on a full-time basis as analyst and color commentator. Mears, 29, has handled the radio play-by-play duties for the past three seasons.

Although Rose and Jaffe are a superb television team, their style is tailored to that medium, describing instant replays, diagramming plays and conversing about the game. A radio broadcast is more detailed and more wordy in terms of play-by-play description, while the TV crew relies more heavily on the pictures to tell the story.

Madison Square Garden holds the Islanders' television and radio rights and made the simulcast signal available to the Islanders in similar fashion to what it has done with the NHL Buffalo Sabres. MSG is owned by Cablevision, which owns Newsday. Cablevision also owns the NHL Rangers and NBA Knicks, but it maintains both TV and radio broadcast teams for those franchises.

It's still possible King will do pregame and postgame radio shows, and he might even land a full-time job elsewhere in the organization. Most likely, Mears will try to continue his hockey announcing career elsewhere.

Hard to believe that, at a time when the franchise has an opportunity to turn things around with the drafting of John Tavares, it cuts back the number of people who tell the team's story to the public. Who will conduct the postgame soirees at Doolins' Pub after home games at the Coliseum now that King and Mears are out of the picture? They were devoted members of the franchise "family," and no one worked harder at their jobs.

In a story in Wednesday's edition of Newsday, King describes the announcing job he held as his "dream job" and said he would be "thrilled" if he's allowed to remain in the organization in a fulltime capacity. Mears also thanked the Islanders for the opportunity they gave him and said he will miss the relationship he and King developed with the fans.

"I'd like to convey my appreciation to the fans," Mears said. "We had a lot of fun in conversations , in e-mails, on Facebook and talking at Doolins' Pub. I'm happy the team is headed in the right direction. It was great to work with Chris King, and I'm happy to call him and his family my friends."

Comments (47)

How does James Dolan continue to get away with his coluding, conflicted interest monopoly?

Also how is he still allowed to use it to impose his will on his on ice rival and business competitor?

Someone explain to me the rationale for not also cutting the Ranger Radio Broadcast?

Somebody Call 911

A crime has been committed on Long Island (again).

I'm going to miss those guys. King is way better to listen to than Howie, at least Jaffe is staying.


How a man who does not know what a blueline is has his job is comical

Writing is on the walls folks...

A) cut backs
B) no free agents
C) high profile draft pick
D) Wang doesn't have his wubby arena
E) Places like KC hosting games

Open your eyes folks!!!!!

This is embarrassing. I bet they'll use the cost savings on more Lighthouse paraphernalia. This organization continues to amaze with new levels of FAIL.

Totally agree! Seems like the first to get cut is something affiliated with the Islanders. Maybe Dolan has over extended his monopoly over the Tri-State area.

Boycott MSG & Cablevision (who own Newsday)

Read the article again folks...This was DEY and WANGERS decision!

Wait, the Islanders were still on radio?

sucks to hear that. King was an excellent listen.

" Hard to believe that, at a time when the franchise has an opportunity to turn things around with the drafting of John Tavares, it cuts back the number of people who tell the team's story to the public."

Kind of like how Steve Zipay outworks and outblogs you about 7-1 in the only paper with an Islander blog unless it's time for anonymous quotes about the coach or complaints about the injury policy (the same one the Rangers used btw) is this why you were AWOL when our goalie starts the all-star game?

Funny but you did not write this last year when Cablevision owned Newsday eliminated the Isles pregame show to open the season or when the Dolan's refused to allow live internet preseason games on ITV making Dey wait for three days to show a game announcers were sent to to cover it live for us while Msg showed every preseason game for their team on television.

Meanwhile when Msg President Michael Bair tried to defend it you did not write one word critical of him of your boss.

Looks like Dolan wants to eliminate that TV contract he has to pay Wang until 2030 by doing everything possible to restrict it's media access to the fans and to get his hands on the Coliseum just like they did in Hartford.

If Greg Logan criticized the president of Msg like this he would be out of a job by tomorrow.

Howie Rose is actually going to do some work, is he going to talk Mets all winter or just Rangers.

If Msg holds the Islander radio rights don't they have an obligation to market and showcase all the teams the same? I guess when you pay a team 300m to hide them because of fear or competition you can do what you want.

But we all know former Ranger beatwriter's Logan, Staple and long-time Ranger fan Mark Herrmann will not touch that along with Ranger fan Neil Best.

Personally I think this is a **** decision. I dont want that annoying blonde chick from the in-game giveaways and promos doing actual interviews with players, I certainly hope they arent even thinking of that.

And you know, I used to always put the radio on after games to listen to the radio postgame, too. If I could still get games in then Id still do the same. Unfortunately... so many people have trouble getting the radio show in anymore that they are mistakenly thinking that people not listening means that people do not like or want to listen to the radio broadcast. Its not the case.

Posted by Chris M | July 21, 2009 21:23 This is embarrassing. I bet they'll use the cost savings on more Lighthouse paraphernalia. This organization continues to amaze with new levels of FAIL.
And why would MSG do that? Speaking of "fail", why dont you stick to discussing or complaining about what the article is actually about (which is worth complaining about IMO) instead of making ridiculous claims of causality in regard to the development group?

Steady, I'm with you on this one. Over the last few weeks and leading up to the draft, I was thinking maybe he's off base, just be patient. But the unwillingness to even float a few buck (we have PLENTY) on a guy like Tanguay or a legit enforcer (though 4MM for Orr is IN-SANE), coupled with the lack of coverage, and the preseason shenanigans, I think we're in trouble.

I want to be wrong, trust me. I've invested 30 years in this team, even from down here in DC the last 10, but any legit business person can see that Wang (who by most accounts has always been a somewhat savvy businessman) is setting this up to sell it off to the highest bidder.

Seriously though, Chris Dey? That guy is a joke.

As a metro area person, it disappoints me that the Isles' won't have a radio team anymore. I met Mears at a Ranger game and he was really cool. Seemed like a talented caster. King was good too. Part of the problem might've been that you couldn't always find the Isles on the radio. Bloomberg had them sometimes.

Coming home from Ranger games, I can remember being confused as to where they were. What ashame. Feel bad for Isles fans and of course for Mears and King, who did solid jobs.

People, as much as I loved listening to King...the radio reception sucks. I haven't heard a clear isles radio broadcast since they used to be on 1050 ESPN (back from the wideman days when the broadcasts were really awesome). If the islanders could save money by not having these broadcasts, then what are you going to do. Plus, it's not like Howie's never done hockey radio. The tough thing will be adjusting, and for that reason I think the tv broadcast will be similar to that which would be played on the radio to benefit listeners, since tv viewers can obviously see the play develop in front of them.

They tried that here, and it didn't work well. I think it's a bad decision (one of several) for a team that want to grow its base.

You guys keep acting like Dey is doing this to save money?

So if that's the case how come Mr Botta is being paid by the Islanders for a team sponsored blog, why are the Isles offering King anything if it's all about the money and trying to save it?

Why is Corey Witt still blogging for that matter?

Cablevision owns the Sabres television contract and does the same thing with the radio side did Dolan force them to make the change or make the radio coverage so poor there was no choice?

Notice how with CJ Papa, Logan words it as Msg has decided not to renew while with Dey and the Isles someone was outright fired?

Msg fired Papa or the Isles decided not to bring back King and Mears.

When are some of you going to acknowledge Newsday is owned by the Rangers and their media fans want this team out to save hundreds of millions of dollars.

When the Isles pre-game is cut out again or they get a five minute post-game again this year you going to blame that on Dey too? Did he invent the name Msg+ or come up with false advertising on HD games and was it Wang who invented Metroguide long ago to really drive down Islander ratings?

After the Toronto series in 2002 Dolan went on WFAN and on television Russo grilled him on Metro and hiding the Isles playoffs and he laughed his head off.

Lamoriello is the only reason Metro was dropped, he would not renew the Devils contract with their games hidden on that station a few years ago.

Perhaps a few of you have not figured out Msg wants to limit the Isles fan base.

Robert Irsay meet Art Modell meet Charles Wang.

The only thing missing is some kind of Baltimore connection.

The downsizing of the Islanders, both on and off the ice, continues.
A "youth movement" that guarantees entry level NHL salaries for the bulk of it's players for years to come.
Complete elimination of any semblance of a PR department.
Cutbacks in marketing and sales, despite the drafting (BY DEFAULT) of one of the biggest names to come along in the NHL in years.
Allowing a home grown college star, a walking billboard born and raised a slapshot away from NVMC, to sign with the team's biggest rival.
Eliminating, nay selling out to their biggest rival's media conglomeration, radio broadcasts of the games.

All point to a long term plan headed in one direction.
Making this item in Wang's Empire a very sellable asset.

And Off The Island.

In the meantime, all attention to these maneuvers by Wang have been diverted by the apparent goodwill that exists between Kate Murray and Robert Art Wang (who will heretofore be called RAW by yours truly) as hope springs eternal for the LH Project.

Forget about any October deadlines.....Murray will drop Wang faster than Joey Mac dropped slap shots come a successful election day victory in November.

At which point, RAW will have all of the justification he needs to cut the deal that will leave Islander fans chafed.

Just my opinion.....from two time zones away.

As much as I am going to miss those guys...it's a smart economic move. Whether we signed top free agents or not, why not just transfer the signal to radio as well. It's alot easier and it takes two less salaries. The only reason those guys were hired was because we couldnt get that signal. Unfortunate but had to be done.


You raise some valid issues and points.
But I can't blame Dolan for doing what any cutthroat overseer of a multibillion dollar behemoth would do.

Nature of capitalism.

Problem is....we have a cutthroat overseer of a multibillion dollar behemoth who won't step up to the challenges presented by Dolan and has given every indication that he has thrown in the towel.

You guys may be right. I understand the writing may be on the wall, but I choose to enjoy the last few months of some possibility they'll stay. It may be an exciting year for all we know. Freakin Isles… even when things are going in the right direction the fans somehow get dissaponted

Islander 505,

What do you want Charles Wang to do, walk away from 300m dollars in television contract money and a binding contract he has no reason to break, file a lawsuit?

That's the one lawsuit Dolan is finally going to win, the Isles get paid Dolan can do whatever he likes to hide them and if you recalled pulled their games off TV a decade ago and invented Metroguide.

Should he sue like the Mets did when their lease was up and games were getting pulled off TV or go through what the Yankees had because Dolan refused to show them for over a year on Cablevision?

This day came because Dolan has been limiting Islander coverage and content for years and limiting their media market, how can you build a radio audience when the person who owns the TV rights will not even show games or any special programming and all the content comes from Msg?

No team could build a radio audience with that hanging over them. which only makes money more tight.

It's absolutely cut-throat and winner take all. Dolan wants the Isles out, his tv payments to Wang gone and his teams in Nassau Coliseum to save hundreds of millions.

You really think Cablevision pays the Isles, Devils and Sabres all this money to give them as much exposure as their own team?

"We can't get good play by play guys with this arena" is the call of the day.

If Wang bought out SMG or stayed out of this affair and let Gutkowski continue his negotiations AT SMG'S OFFICES WITH SMG LEADERSHIP, we'd have a new arena by now and a better than 30th team instead of Chris Dey and Chuck Wang's tragic joke.

Cable ALLOWED Howie and Joe to be used on radio. WANG and DEY cut King and Mears and refused to hire a real GM and give his fans a playoff calibre team.

Let's get angry at Cable and not the real culprit of our woes. If we won more, we'd get HD as cable makes money from viewership and is already paying about $20M this coming year for those ratings/ad revenue. (I hate Cable and Dolan, FWIW)



Penny wise and pound foolish. Can't see the forest for the trees. A joke.

C Dey is about the biggest horse's butt ever along with his father in-law. This is an NYI decision not a Dolan decision. Dolan didn't have a gun to Dey's head to do this. Dolan gave NYI the option of simulcasting and Dey CHOSE to get rid of radio announcers. Just like he CHOSE to ignore many fans complaining of the bad radio coverage last season by renewing the same lousy radio coverage for next season.

Dolan didn't tell NYI to leave Bloomberg 1130, that was Dey's decision. And they wonder why this joke of a minor league franchise always has the lowest attendance and ratings. It's because of off ice things things like this along with the on ice product. The marketing has sucked forever but Dey has taken it to new lows. For the biggest market in the country not to have the team's games heard on clear terrestrial radio with their own radio announcers is ridiculous. This is the NY metropolitan tri-sate area NOT Buffalo or Dallas. I can't stand Howie Rose and would turn the sound down on the TV to listen to the radio guys.

Not that this will ever happen in our lifetimes but what happens if NYI ever makes it past the 2nd round of the playoffs? That's when local TV coverage ends and all the games go to Versus or NBC or TSN or HNIC. Do we get those TV feeds simulcasted on the radio?

Can't wait for a decision on the Lighthouse so Cholly can sell the team and take his bonehead son in-law with him or wake up and fly right.

Hey, look, BillyIsles is using the name NYIFC.... not None of Your Business or Rag Contraction. Billy, maybe you can invade Hockeys Future, the Mike Must Go site..... maybe the Yahoo Isles Best List with phony names and add your thoughts. Do you still use the BillyIsles AOL name? But remember, no name dropping.

I live in Rochester in sabres land as an isles fan. The sabres have been simulcasting since at least '92 when I moved here, before they were on MSG. What I have noticed is that on TV, there is too much chatter because they have to cater to the radio listeners when describing the action.

I warned you all !!

I have been saying it all along ! OPEN YOUR EYES folks...

My firm was sold to another in the same manner.

A) cut backs in the back office
B) started hiring smart college kids instead of seasoned pros
C) my normally readily available president was no longer available
D) new vp's took the place of the people that had been here forever

Guys ...Wang is doing exactly what I warned u all about.....I pray I am wrong....But it is so obvious!

The isles have positioned themselves PERFECTLY to be sold !!

Cheap payroll....High profile kid for future...Laying off not needed people...Wang not having his arena...Wang no longer visable...A puppet GM...A puppet coach....

Wake up and scream before it is too late !!!

Watch the Ghosts of Flatbush .... Same reason O'malley left !!! And no one thought it was possible!

Please don't use the girl Dina to do pre & post game on TV,.....that would be a horrible move and would look even worse than this move. Please use Chris King, not Butch, King could even fill in for a few games for Howie - No matter who they pick that person should Know Hockey like King or Deb Placey. This is just another cost cutting move by the low budget Islanders....they are over hyping Tavares to cover up for the fact they aren't picking up any free agents. I hope all of the people buying tickets are thinking this year will be a huge turnaround from Last year, they are still going to finish in the bottom 5 of the NHL. Don't let the Tavares smokescreen cloud your ticket buying judgment this year. Wang only cares about the Lighthouse Project and the Islanders are just a pawn in the game to get this project... Look below:

Subtracted: Added: Savings of about 7 mil
Guerin 4.5 Tavares 3.6
Comrie 3.5 Roloson 2.5
Sillinger 2.3
Hilbert 700
Pock 685
Joey Mac 500
Danis 500
McAmmond 400

Back to in game stuff:
My opinion is Rich Barabi the in game guy highlights guy should have been let go before King & Mears....they don't even show full highlights of what happened b/c they only show Islander high lights....so if you are at the men's room....and comeback 2 min later - you don't know who scored for the other team - on top of it the Islanders not have many highlights on their own. Show full highlights....save the in between period player interviews for the people at home watching on TV. People don't really need to see Tim Jackman trying to explain what happened in the 1st period when the islanders are losing 3-0.

Bring back the find the puck under the helmet on the scoreboard, that's something everyone likes...including kids

Sorry for the rant but that is just my opinion

Posted by Brian | July 22, 2009 09:57 Please don't use the girl Dina to do pre & post game on TV,.....that would be a horrible move and would look even worse than this move. Please use Chris King, not Butch, King could even fill in for a few games for Howie -
If Dina moves to TV I would pretty much puke... she doesnt sound like an real hockey fan at ALL and annoys the crap out of everyone I know. Id love if King was working WITH Butch and the Maven, not INSTEAD of Butch.

I'm curious about whether Greg looked for an official statement from the Islanders. There were no lines in either the blog or the article about seeking comment from the Isles.

Buried in the morass of idiotic ranting into which the comments page on this blog frequently devolves was a line about Steve Zipay's blog coverage being better than Logan's. The difference is that Logan treats his blog as a professional journalist ought to, writing lengthy articles and analysis, while Zipay writes a fan blog that he updates with whatever thought he might be having at a given moment. Coupled with the fact that Zipay writes like a seven year old, I'll take Logan's style any time. There are enough Islanders fan blogs already.

Id love if Dougy Weight would talk to me. Then, and only then, would I stop cutting and pasting all over blogs.

Only Idiotic post I see is yours Ryan.

Dina is hawt

I'm on the fence on this one as far as the Islanders being responsible for it. I know that Media, in general, is under a lot of pressure. Everyone is getting it for free on the Internet and when they watch TV it's on a PVR. Zap the commercials. Less advertisers, Less media service.

On the other side, Radio is way different than TV. It would drive me nuts to listen to a TV broadcaster tell a story assuming I can see the action and he doesn't have to describe what is going on.

As far as moving the team, it would suck. But I think it all rides on getting a new arena. No new arena, no team.

Kevin T.

How do any of you know whether Dolan told Dey take it or leave it with a simulcast and that their Msg employees Rose and Jaffe had to be the ones on it not allowing King or Mears?

You going to blame Dey for CJ Papa being axed by Msg too, oh that's right Msg did it so it' has to be worded as not renewing the contract, he was not fired.

Only the Isles fire or silence people but when Msg does it we have to get the politically correct we decided not to renew the contract non-sense.

Remember during last season when Msg would not allow a pregame, Msg President Michael Bair commented and defended the decision as did Neil Best who put down the Islanders while he lobbies for more Ranger radio coverage on LI. A month later Bair gave them back the pregame.

Did you enjoy not watching preseason games last year even on the internet for three days because Cablevision would not allow it?

Mets, Yankees, Islanders, all had lawsuits with Dolan and were kept off television with the Yankees off for a full year, go ask the Jets what they think of Dolan after what happened a few years ago with their stadium in Manhattan. The NHL had a lawsuit with Dolan who wanted to settle and reportedly had to pay 15m in legal cost in February.

This is what Dey is up against and sure he's cutting expenses even with all that money they will need to finanace the LH.

Get ready for Newsday's pay subscription service too, going to blame Dey and Wang for that?

Charles Wang is on WFAN Thursday afternoon at 4pm 7/23.

Too bad. Those guys did a good job!!!!! Sometimes I have to catch parts of games on the radio, going to miss those guys......


How many times are u going to look the other way for Wang? Too much adds up. There comes a time when u must open your eyes!

Look at the mans past...He is a liar and a cheat!

Can explain to me how the Islanders cutting their radio team because they are cost cutting is the Rangers fault?

I don't get it

I haven't been able to hear the radio at all this past year and even before that it would depend on where I was. Being in NJ, if I wasn't able to actually watch a game on TV it was because I had somewhere to go, so I would tune into the station but it was hit or miss whether you could actually get the game or just loud static.

That said, you always hate to hear about people losing their jobs. Maybe it's me but Logan's article doesn't clearly lay out exactly what happened so I can't "blame" anyone. I just hope the Isles can find a way to keep the guy (King) who's been with them for so long and even said he hopes he can somehow stay with the organization. Loyal employees are usually hard workers and well worth the effort. And a pay cut is better than having no job at all. Best of luck to both of them.

Metal Chick really makes this blog unbearable, nothing anyone says pleases her. Her poor husband must be beside himself. Pity.

Islanders signed Martin Biron.

can't have enough goalies apparently

This was the Islanders move and had nothing to do with Dolan or cablevision. So many retards in a small confined area makes for tough reading...

Great move. King is not cut out to be a play by play man and sounds like a college communications major. Mears is not an NHL caliber announcer, not yet, but he is much better than the Devils' radio play by play man Matt Loughlin. It's been amateur hour too long on these radiocasts and too painful to listen.

Islanders have not had a true radio team since Barry Landers and Bob Nystrom were teamed in the early 1990s. (Honorable mention to John Weidemann, who would have been better off if teamed with Sparky.)

I volunteer to do the games for free and will foot my own travel bill. Hello Calgary in February! Who do I call?

I don't know if i buy that Dolan wants to destroy the Isles. He owns the broadcast rights and would love to see the Ranger-Islander rivalry go back to what it once was. If anything this is Wang saying that the team is not going to draw again until the Lighthouse Project is built.

And I do think we are on the way to the big rivalry again, with the young guys the Isles are developing and the young core of the Rangers, once the Isles are competitive again the rivalry will heat up.

That being said, I think you Isles fans should be a little easier on Wang. Yes, he sometimes makes awful decisions and is an embarrassment (my team's owner is Dolan, I can empathize), but he also has been a giant rock for what was a shaky financial situation with this franchise. These types of cuts are a chicken and egg proposition. If no one is listening and they can't get enough ad revenue to pay for the on air talent, is it the team's fault? Well maybe it is because they aren't putting a great product on the ice. But if you don't get people listening, and going to the Coliseum, you can't afford and/or attract the talent that could generate interest in the team. That is why Taveres seems like a great fit for you guys because he's saying the right things and seems to want to bring this team back. It won't be an overnight proposition though.

See, there is only one looney critical of the Rangers for the Isles firing their radio team. It is looney Billy Isles. Billy has been booted from web sites like the Isles Hockeys Future Board because he cannot take criticism of the Isles (from Isles fans). He is downright paranoid of the Rangers and considers anything negative to the Isles to be a Ranger conspiracy. He has been flooding message boards with his rhetoric for years. He started with an AOL account using the name BillyIsles. You may know him here as "Rag Contraction" or "None of Your Business". He is now using NYIFC which is his own website. He used to flood the Islander Fan Board of Mike Must Go because he couldn't stand the criticsim that Isles fans were giving their team. He was cornered by the moderator of an Isles Yahoo List because he was name dropping. A sad, sad individual.

I'm not sorry that CJ got cut. He had ZERO chemistry with The Maven.

I enjoyed the Isles radio team... If you get XM Radio, you could hear their broadcasts from all over the country at least for home games.. They are also available on the NHL.COM website....

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