Destrehan Refuses To Allow Friday’s Football Game To Be Broadcast

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The audio broadcast for every Central football game for the past two years has been carried live at  In addition, this year has also allowed to stream the audio through the website.  The administration at Destrehan High School, Central’s opponenet in Friday night’s semi-final game, are refusing to allow ANY broadcast of the game.

I will paste in below the text of Jon Fine’s newsletter detailing his efforts to get permission to carry the game live.  I am baffled as to any possible motive for Destrehan’s decision and I applaud Jon Fine on his efforts.  Jon has taken away all possible reasons for any denial, yet Destrehan still refuses.  Feel free to register your opinion in the CHS Football forum thread at this link:  PLAYOFF FORUM  .

Here is the text of Jon Fine’s newsletter:



THURSDAY:  7:00PM-8:00PM:  THE High School Sports Show (from Fox’s Pizza Den): Radio:  The Score, 1210AM, Baton Rouge

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Baring major unforeseen circumstances, this week’s Central-Destrehan semi-final playoff game WILL NOT AIR on  Destrehan High School has refused permission to allow (and all other live media) to broadcast this game.  As this newsletter is being composed, there is still a miniscule possibility that we will be able to carry the game.  Unfortunately, it is a major long shot.  If Central should defeat Destrehan, the state championship between Central and the winner of West Monroe-Barbe is scheduled to be carried on 

FINE IDEAS  – By Jon Fine, co-producer, Broadcasting Network

   As expressed above, there is a 99%+ chance that we will not be broadcasting tomorrow night’s Central-Destrehan 5A state semi-final game.  Destrehan has denied any and everyone that wants to broadcast this game, including  This is reminiscent of last year’s Redemptorist-Parkview 3A state semi-final game.  Jon Fine Sports Productions had picked up Redemptorist playoff game broadcasts on The Score, 1210AM.  But not the Parkview game.  We were denied permission by Parkview Baptist.  The following letter exchange between Destrehan Principal Stephen Weber and yours truly took place earlier this week.  In a couple of places where some brief editing has taken place, I have indicated this with …………… co-producer Rick Cantu has expressed that he does agree with 100% of what I’ve written.  Central principal Bob Wales has  been very supportive of our efforts to get this game broadcast.                                                                                                                                         


Wednesday, December 2, 2008  (11:18am)

Jon Fine, co-producer Broadcasting Network

Mr. Stephen Weber, Principal  – Destrehan High School

Dear Mr. Weber,

We are in our second year producing Central HS Football Internet audio broadcasts. Every Central game in 2007 and 2008 has been carried on The Broadcasting Network (  Yesterday, I was told by Coach Robicheaux that there would be no broadcasts allowed at your semi-final playoff game with Central this Friday night.  This decision was confirmed in a conversation about an hour ago with Assistant Principal Mr. Bryant. They both indicated that in a 3 way meeting (Coach Robicheaux, Mr. Bryant and yourself) Saturday morning, this decision was rendered.

I am writing to ask you to please reconsider the unique set of circumstances surrounding our broadcasts and re-visit the possibility of our broadcasting this Friday night’s ball game on  All I ask of you is your time, consideration and, most importantly, open mind.  Kindly look over the following points, discuss them with Mr. Bryant and, briefly review them with Coach Robicheaux.–Obviously, his time is constrained.

Here is why we feel it would be beneficial for Destrehan HS to have Friday night’s game on

1.  Our audience is largely comprised of ……..(people) inaccessible to an out-of-town ball game and people outside the area that one could reasonably travel to see a high school football game.  Two examples of this latter category are a 1967 Central grad who lives in Garland, Texas and the Special Teams Coach’s in-laws who listen in Chicago.  So, a vast majority of the people who listen to the game on the Internet do so because there is no other alternative.  The gate would not be adversely affected by having this game on

2.  You could spread the word to Destrehan folks outside of the Greater New Orleans area that they can tune into the game.  What a service it could provide for hundreds, if not thousands of your alums and/or fans who can not attend the game!

3.  We are inextricably linked to Central High School.  They feel this is a tremendous service to their football program, school and athletic program.  We have been with them for 2 years, consistently.  Please ask them for their input.  Bob Wales is the principal……….If you’d like, 2 possible areas of discussion would be:  how important this broadcast is to Central HS….what effect our broadcasts have had on the attendance at Central and on the road the last 2 years.

4.  In my conversation with Mr. Bryant, he mentioned 2 major concerns that precipitated your decision to have this a media-free game:  A.)  distractions for Coach Robicheaux and B.)  you can’t allow 1 media outlet permission and deny all the others.  (A third, holding the gate down, was discussed.  Yet, Mr. Bryant indicated that there should be a sellout on Friday night. Even if there was massive live media coverage of the game, Mr. Bryant projected that there would most probably be a sellout.  So, I am not addressing this concern.)

A.)  If you’d like, we would set up on the Central side.  If you’d like, we’ll even pay to get in.  We’ll set up in the stands.  You won’t even know that we are there.  Normally, we talk to the opposing coach prior to the game.  We will not do this for this broadcast.  So, there will be zero distractions for Coach Robicheaux or his staff.

B.)  I believe that the fact that we are Central’s official broadcasting team (the voice of the Wildcats if you will) should differentiate us from all other broadcasting outlets.  We’re not just picking them up for the playoffs.  We don’t do a game of the week.  We’ve done every Central High School Football game, again, for the second straight year.  NO OTHER BROADCASTING OUTLET CAN CLAIM THIS.  If a TV station is denied access to this game, they can broadcast another ball game.  A radio station can do likewise.  With us, there is no other alternative.

Perhaps, another angle to take with other broadcasters might be to offer them to come do the game on a conditional basis.– If they can do this without any distractions to Coach Robicheaux, they can broadcast the game.  Tell a radio station where to set up in the press box.  If you don’t have room, let them sit in the stands.  They don’t even have to contact Coach Robicheaux.  Do this with TV stations too.  If they sit in the stands, charge them, so that you don’t take away from the gate.  These are the parameters that we would work with to announce this game.  If you’d like, set these guidelines for all broadcasting outlets aspiring to announce Friday night’s game.

(A digression:  For the record, I believe you should allow all broadcasting entities to announce this game.  I think every effort should be made to reasonably accommodate all legitimate broadcasting entities.  If this is Coach Robicheaux’s domain, it might take him 15 minutes to accomplish this for all parties combined.  Of course, this means no access to the Coach, no interviews, no telephone lines for him to coordinate, etc….each broadcasting team is entirely responsible for their entire production.  You just provide them the space.  If you do want to do these other things to assist the media, it might take an additional 5 hours of his time.  In my opinion, it would be well worth it.  Yes, it takes away 5 hours of preparation.  But, it comes with the territory, and would really benefit Destrehan HS and high school sports.   Will Urban Meyer and Nick Saban spend time with the media prior to this week’s SEC Championship game?  But, I opine.  I DO RESPECT YOUR PREROGATIVE TO DO WHATEVER YOU DECIDE.  I’m just presenting a different school of thought.)

5.  We also produce Internet broadcasts for Live Oak HS, Walker HS and carry Internet broadcasts for Denham Springs HS and Sulphur HS.  One day we’d like to have 40 or 50 Louisiana high school’s games (including Destrehan) on our network.  One day, when financially viable, we’d like to pay these schools weekly right’s fees.

My company produces Denham Springs football and select basketball radio broadcasts (15th year). We also produce a weekly radio show featuring Central, Denham, Live Oak and Walker in it’s third year.  We have done 12 hour broadcasts from LSU’s Bayou Bash on 3 radio stations (including ESPN, 1560AM, NO), largely featuring Louisiana high school coaches and players–Coach Robicheaux and 2 players were on for 45 minutes last year.

Yes, there is a profit motive in this.  But, in most of this, it is very small! co-Producer Rick Cantu and I believe in high school sports, believe in high school football.  This is the last bastion of true sport in the country.  College and pro sports have become one huge commercial enterprise, a disgrace.  We, as a company, put in an enormous amount of time into this.  If you calculate the hours and what we make, we are well below minimum wage.

The point of all of this:  We need to do this game!  Not for the money.  For the credibility of what we do.  For the prospective sustenance of our operation.  You can’t announce a football team’s games for an entire year and then not have it’s state semi-final game!!!!!!!!!!!!  AGAIN, WE VERY MUCH RESPECT YOUR DECISION AND THE RIGHT TO MAKE THIS DECISION.  From our vantage point, though, we do a heck of a lot of good for high school athletics in Louisiana.  Ironically, we’ve scratched the surface of what we can accomplish long-term.  If we can’t announce this game, it would amount to the second straight year I’ve been denied announcing a team’s state semi-final game in Louisiana. Obviously, that just doesn’t get it.  It might be time to pull out of high school football in Louisiana, or, start thinking like the colleges and the pros–just do the HS games and HS programs that make money.  This would probably reduce my/our high school programming in Louisiana by at least 75%, 100% if we pull out all together.  Plus, there would be limited room for growth.

Thanks for your time, consideration and open mind.  I will give you a phone call as a follow up to this letter tomorrow morning at 9am………………………..

The views expressed above are my own and do not necessarily express the views of Central HS or Rick Cantu.  But, I think they do!!


Jon Fine, co-producer, Broadcasting Network (



Wednesday, December 2, 2008 (11:59am)

I respect your appeal sir, but our decision has been made.


Stephen Weber, Principal, Destrehan High school



December 3, 2008  – (10:29am)

Dear Mr. Weber,

I’d like your HONEST reaction to the following scenario:

It’s year 2009.  Destrehan has won 30 straight football games, 2 straight 5A championships.  The whole greater New Orleans area is enrapt with your program.  WWL Radio offers to carry your games, paying your school $1,000 per game.  Destrehan goes undefeated in the regular season, wins its first 3 playoff games and then faces Central at Central in the state semi-finals.  Destrehan has now won 43 straight games, starting to attract some national attention.Cox TV wants to pick up the game.  A radio station in Baton Rouge desires to carry the ball game.  Cox just does a game of the week.  The station also has done a game of the week.  Central says no media allowed.The game, by the way, is clearly going to be a sellout.  Central says:  no distractions, can’t allow WWL and turn down the others.  WWL says, hey wait a second, we’ll broadcast from the stands, paying for the tickets…we reach 40 states at night.  You won’t know we’re there.  No distractions at all for Sid Edwards  or for that matter anyone at Central.  WWL says: we’re the official radio station of Destrehan.  That should give us precedence over any other media.  But, you know what, why don’t you allow other media to come in under the same set of conditions we’re proposing:  broadcast from the stands, they buy tickets, no distractions for Central.  Also, WWL says, sorry Destrehan, but if we can’t do this game after carrying all of your other games this year, subsequently, we’re no longer going to be carrying Destrehan games or any high school games in the future. Our credibility is shot if we’re your official station, carry all of your games and then can’t broadcast the state semi-finals, by far the most important game of the year.  We’ve made a major commitment to Destrehan HS and high school football in general.  As you know, high school sports are starving for publicity.  And now, we can’t do this ball game!?!  No thanks.  We’re through with this…. Central knows all of this. They say:  sorry about this, a decision has already been made…. What would you think about this scenario from a Destrehan perspective? How would you view the decision made by Central principal Bob Wales?  What would you think about the Central administration?  Would you feel that Central was considering the feelings of Destrehan High School?

Would you be of the opinion that Central was being inflexible, rigid, it’s decision flying in the face of common sense, common courtesy  and common decency?  What would you tell hundreds, if not thousands of Destrehan fans throughout the greater New Orleans area and the country, several elderly/infirm who have been listening faithfully to Destrehan football each week on WWL and whose only access to this ball game is through WWL?  Would you wonder how Central could justify such a decision?  How would you approach Central, your partners in this playoff game, with this set of circumstances?

Thanks for your time, consideration and HONESTY.


Jon Fine



As I am typing this, at 9:50pm, Wednesday, I have not received a response from Mr. Weber.  In between my e-mails, he did e-mail me:  “I would appreciate if you would not e-mail me again”.

To all Central fans (and for that matter Destrehan fans and high school fans) that intended to listen to this broadcast on, we’re so sorry.  Relatively speaking (this is not cancer, Iraq, the economic meltdown), this is an absolute, unequivocal, unambiguous, irrefutable, undeniable, completely avoidable TRAVESTY.  Rick Cantu and I hope you understand how hard we’ve worked to try to get this game broadcast.  The above letter exchange is indicative of the effort put forth in the last 3 days to have this game carried on

On a lighter note, maybe we should blame Josh Ward.  He was Redemptorist’s announcer last year and is Central’s announcer this season.  Looks like Josh is the common denominator!!

Perhaps our only hope is LHSAA commissioner Kenny Henderson.  After e-mailing him Tuesday,

Mr. Henderson and I spoke Tuesday evening.  Although sympathetic to our cause, he indicated that Destrehan was well within its rights to disallow media coverage of this ballgame and it was not the commissioner’s role to influence Destrehan or mandate that Destrehan relent.  (I do agree with Mr. Henderson.)    Mr. Henderson, however, did say that he would call Mr. Weber and would e-mail or call me after this conversation.  I look forward to hearing back from Mr. Henderson.  Unfortunately, I don’t expect to hear any good news.