Radio issues might cause ‘purple static’

August 28, 2007 | Drew Forrester

If last night’s debut edition of “The Ray Lewis Show” is any indication of what’s to come, the Ravens might want to call a quick team meeting and lay down the law for a handful of their rock-star players.  It seems there’s already tension in the air and the season hasn’t yet started.

When I arrived at WNST this morning and checked my e-mail, I had two less than-than-thrilled Ravens fans who went to Canton last night with hopes of seeing Ray Lewis’ radio show, only to be shocked with a $25 per-head “cover charge” to gain entry into Ray’s restaurant where the show was being aired.  That was $25 to get in – food and beverage extra.  One guy – get this – had his 2-year old son on his shoulder and was told, “the little guy is 25 bucks too”.

Now, in the matter of full disclosure, this $25 charge had evidently been advertised on the radio station that Ray’s show is airing on…perhaps it’s thrown in there at the end, when the listener’s curiousity has already been satisfied and any information at the conclusion of the commercial is just “white noise”.  I’m not sure, frankly, because I haven’t heard the commercial(s).  But clearly, some people heard about the $25 per-person charge and some didn’t.

Throughout this morning, I received numerous (now up to 13 or so) e-mails from others who went to the restaurant to try and score a look-see at #52, only to be told “it’s $25 to get in and reserve a VIP table”.  Most, evidently, took a pass.  One listener who did make it in wrote me and said his estimate was that there were 35 people upstairs actually watching the show.  I repeat: that came from ONE person and ONE person only and it is not substantiated in any way.

Tonight, Bart Scott’s radio show debuts.  Tomorrow, Jon Ogden has a show.  Thursday, it’s Willis McGahee’s turn.

I wonder if they’re all going to charge $25 per-head?  Or maybe $20?  And if those three let people in “for free”, will they get any pressure from #52?  You know, it would go something like this:  “C’mon Bart…I’m charging $25 a head and you’re at a place not a half-mile from me the next night and you’re letting dudes in for free…that’s hurtin’ MY chances of getting $25 a clip next week, my brother.”

Make no mistake about it, this radio “static” could become an issue for the Ravens in ’07.  I’ve talked with two members of the club’s front office in the last three weeks and they’ve both acknowledged – independent of one another – that the organization is concerned about the plethora of shows, guests, time and energy spent, quality of the shows, etc.

Speaking specifically about Ray, now, since he’s the only one who’s had a show this week, I can’t help but wonder…what he was thinking last night?

What on earth could $850 or so mean to him at this point in his career?  35 people paying $25 a head…is it really worth it?  The man has made upwards of $30 million in his career.  $25 per-head?  Hell, Mr. Greengenes doesn’t even get that for a 3-hour concert at the Recher Theater.

Ray’s already receiving a HUGE (think phone number-ish) stipend/payment for his weekly appearance on the show.  I know the amount and it’s s-t-a-g-g-e-r-i-n-g.  It is – without question – WELL worth his time.  So, with his pockets stuffed and his free checking account set up at the bank, why pilfer $25 from the very people who are already shelling out $55, $90, $110, etc. for tickets to see him play football 8 times a year?  I understand the synergy between having the “Ray Lewis Show” at Ray’s restaurant — I don’t even consider that double dipping…after all, the show has to be aired somewhere, right?  But it looks like Ray has said to himself, “well, I’m not selling a whole lot of pit beef and green beans on Monday nights…so why not close the place down, charge $25 per-person and see if I can’t sell some merchandise and a couple of beers at the same time.”  Not a bad idea, actually.  But is the $25 per-head really necessary?  To a guy who’s made $30 million?

Hasn’t it come time for Ray to stop worrying about “cashing in” and start worrying about “going out in style”?  I don’t know how much longer he’s going to play.  Knowing Ray – as driven and energized as he is – he might have five years left in him.  Who knows?  But shouldn’t his final years be more about “icing on the cake” and “giving back” and “establishing a bond with the city” and not so much about peddling a mini-Ravens helmet with his signature on it for $85?

I heard today that Dawan Landry is charging $20 for his autograph at a show in a few weeks.  As silly as that sounds to me, I can also see Landry’s issue – he’s a torn ACL or a ruptured achilles away from perhaps NEVER having his big payday, so he might as well get it while he can.  Landry is probably still in the “I need money” mode.

Ray should be in the “I want to help the people who have helped me” mode.

He could start by making friends with the fans – the ones who have supported him, in good times and bad, in healthy years and the not-so-healthy years…in the winning years and the losing years.

Monday night didn’t seem too friendly.

The fans deserve better from #52.