Stan Collymore has explained that his talkSPORT contract was withdrawn because of legitimate criticism of its new owner, News Corp.
In a rant via Twitter, he says he wants to continue broadcasting in one way or another, either syndicated with a traditional station or a set up using new media.
He also says it’s an uncertain time but potentially exciting one too with many people offering support, opportunities and expertise to “keep the show on the road”.
He announced on Tuesday his contract offer has been withdrawn and the station confirmed it had decided not to renew it. talkSPORT’s owner Wireless Group is expected to be taken over by News Crop after clearance later this year.
Here’s his statement in full:
“Wanted to thank everyone firstly for a mind boggling amount of appreciative messages over the last couple of days. From the UK to Australia and USA and everywhere in between I’m genuinely humbled at how Call Collymore and Feist Night was listened to on the night shift in Manchester, morning drive to work in Melbourne , afternoon run in Cape Town. Truly staggering!
It’s an uncertain time but potentially exciting one too with many people offering support, opportunities and expertise to “keep the show on the road”.
I don’t want, nor do listeners or viewers I’d guess, a bedroom set up, ranting at a wall and putting it out as a podcast. They want the technical excellence of traditional broadcast outlets, with the flexibility to watch or listen whenever and wherever they like but also have set times, their times, like MNFN where my idea was simple 7 years ago. You get in from grafting, you run a bath , and have some time to yourself, nodding in approval or shouting at the phone or radio in angry disagreement. That’s why I do it, that’s honestly why I’ve done 500 games on the road in the cold, the snow, the rain , to entertain, hopefully inform and most importantly give people something to feel a part of.
My shows had huge audiences. Imagine being up against the BBC 5 LIVE, Sky Sports machinery at 4pm on a Sunday when United play Arsenal yet get callers calling in for 2 full hours, with 26% year on year growth doing it! Unbelievable Jeff!
I know I have baggage, I know my past is unpalatable to some, but I’d like to think I left that guy behind nearly 20 years ago, and the reaction of journalists, broadcasters, sportsmen and women on Twitter over the last 48 hours perhaps showed many only now judge me on who I am now and what I do now. And that fills me with much pride.
Unfortunately that past makes some who make the decisions edgy and nervous, and why wouldn’t they be? A guy who at least tries to tackle issues, clubs, stigmas and false narratives basically makes the top men nervous, as it could be their job on the line( a wrong assumption). So the audience and broadcaster who bring in the sponsors, ratings and entertainment, reflecting fans views across the country end up with banal, straight men who toe the line, never say anything too controversial and frustrate the audience into switching off or fast forwarding. I took some unpopular views on Luis Suarez at LFC, Everton under Bill, my own club Aston Villa’s senior players and of course England over many years. Who else does? Really? Who talks mental health stigma on sport and life? Or calls legitimately for the Sun to be shut down because of its deeds over many years? Or how the FA and Premier League at a time of plenty somehow manage to increase tickets for you the fan, along with less grass roots funding or obscene short prices for your kids? Anyone?
How about following England fans and seeing the idiots and those who just wanted to have fun, portraying the truth of a 35 thousand strong support infiltrated by several hundred idiots? Anyone report fairly on them, or shall we just call them all scum, just for having a flag and a few beers? Or secrarianism, not dealt with by any Scottish paper or outlet, but by me, who got the sack from BT Sport for my trouble because the obscene chanting live on their screens was simply ignored.
I’m no saint, I don’t profess to be, but using Twitter since 2008, Periscope in a new, aggressive fashion during Euro 2016, tackling important issues on air or in print shouldn’t be sidelined, or marginalised, because if it is, then what we see or here becomes a mouthpiece for those who don’t wish to give you raw, unfiltered honesty, but want to guide you away from controversy, truth, thorny subjects which surely we all crave and want, in football or life?
I’ll leave it to the reader to decide as to why a thorough, comprehensive contract was withdrawn ( my card was marked after week 1 of the Euro’s) after huge numbers, popular shows and unprecedented growth in the week where a company now has a monopoly of print, radio, tv and video clip content for our great league, the Premier League, one which is getting less and less about fans, never mind long standing fans, but consumers, and consumers who are given little real choice as to who they hear or watch and what they hear or watch on tv, radio or print.
My broadcast heros are Alex Jones and in particular Howard Stern (I like neither mans politics by the way), who took the decision to break away from traditional media and set up on their own. Both men now say what they want, when they want and have huge numbers who engage with them along with A listers who now join a queue to get on their shows. But it was a long climb for both with sackings aplenty over the years before what they do could simply no longer be ignored.
I love the people who follow me on Twitter, those who agree, those who give me stick without resorting to old stereotypes, because that’s what makes me tick as a broadcaster, namely opinions, reaction to a fast moving football world, insight from me to you and you to me, and a rawness that simply has to be real, not manufactured or staged.
I want to continue Call Collymore to the biggest amount of people possible, and I will, syndicated, with a traditional station or a set up using new media. It will be on a par with the very best media outlets or it won’t be for me. It must be interactive with callers, social media and honesty otherwise it won’t be for me.
In summary, I intend to go nowhere. I’m a full time, award wing broadcaster with more games as a broadcaster and player under my belt than anyone else on our island, likewise more phone in hours solo in the last 8 years than anyone else. It was me who created Feist a Night, it’s concept, and aim, and that debate, with a worthy opponent will happen too.
Many people are gutted that I’ve gone, many are happy, but I’ll leave you with this. If you’ve helped a company near double in size while entertaining, getting big names on, using new methods to engage with the listener and winning awards, yet have a contract withdrawn because of legitimate criticism of its new owner, what does that mean for what you currently watch, or listen to or read?
I’d suggest everything. You know what you want, rather what you’re told or manipulated into reading, watching or listening.
See you soon!”