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Date Posted: 11:31:35 07/20/16 Wed
Author: A Casual Observer
Subject: Behind the scenes of DK's operations

Some details about DK's operations from pieces and notes i've gathered over the past few weeks:

- The bellyaching over the Stanley Cup travel came from a real place of fear. Despite his bravado, DK's operation definitively operates on a month-to-month level, with very little runway. The failure of the Pens to clinch on home ice REALLY set him back.

- The recent "brick" initiative was *VERY MUCH* a quick cash grab to alleviate some financial headaches.

- Those financial headaches caused him to take on a business advisor...while i'd stop way short of calling this person an official employee, just know that DK at least realized in himself that he his not a businessman and as such reached out to someone for help.

- I'm not sure who gets paid what, but there is a "paid per pageview" arrangement with some of his writers, or at the very least his contributors...not sure the ins and outs of this one though.

- The Wickerham (photographer thing) stemmed from Wickerham's desire to sell some of the photos as well. The last straw came at the Stanley Cup parade when Wickerham took a hard stance that the parade was a public event, and thus he was going to sell the photos


The dude overexpanded way too quickly. And now he's barely holding on.

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Replies:

[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- I almost feel bad for the guy..., 16:55:40 07/20/16 Wed [1]

Almost.

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Former DK subscriber, 18:57:46 07/20/16 Wed [1]

But he still sent people to Dallas to follow Big 12 stuff for WVU, to the west coast for some HS football combine, and still sends people to Riverhounds games for their 2000 fans. Odd priorities at DKPS. Probably would have been smarter to handle only the "Big 3" pro teams and be done. And honestly what does he even need a photog for?

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- I've Seen This Movie, too, 00:44:03 07/21/16 Thu [1]

"The dude overexpanded way too quickly. And now he's barely holding on."

Oh, wait. I thought you were talking about Scaife.

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Ringo, 00:55:03 07/21/16 Thu [1]

I believe he's planning to send himself to Rio for the Olympics, too.

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[> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- The Cheap Seats, 07:50:49 07/22/16 Fri [1]

He is claiming that the local Hertz office is sponsoring his Rio trip.

I have no sympathy for him at all or the guys who left the Trib to join him. He trolls his own subscribers if he doesn't like what they criticize especially the " $50 brick" idea, which is solely just a not-for-profit fundraiser but what is amazing is that he has a certain segment of his fan base who were ready to buy those $50 bricks like they were real stock certificates.

He has had subscribers begging to pay more - which I am sure will happen once the new site/app are in place.

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Former DK subscriber, 08:08:58 07/21/16 Thu [1]

Just noticed today in addition to the social media director there is also a multimedia director. Why?!?!

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[> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Multisocial Media, 00:00:40 07/22/16 Fri [1]

Because they are 2 different things.

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[> [> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Former DK subscriber, 05:09:44 07/22/16 Fri [1]

Two different overhead things. There aren't that many videos there to necessitate a multimedia person, and the @DKPghSports twitter isn't doing anything that someone couldn't do in 60 seconds every few hours. Two staffers for that? No wonder he wanted basically $50 donations for a piece of foam.

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[> [> [> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- The Cheap Seats, 10:09:38 07/22/16 Fri [1]

The social media girl - the college student from Baltimore - maybe its like an internship and he's not even paying her?

Does anyone know if she's on payroll?

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Ego, 20:23:36 07/21/16 Thu [1]

Ego is the only reason to cover the olympics. There is almost no local angle and the waste of resources is astronomical. What a poor business plan.

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- A Casual Observer, 04:54:14 07/22/16 Fri [1]

Oh, and also........the rumors that he lets people go via text message is 100% TRUE.

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- The Band Played On, 07:42:47 07/23/16 Sat [1]

Mindblowing that he's now trying to take on The Fan with this whole radio initiative. No way a 20-25 minute podcast justifies hiring that blowhard Benz. When will he learn that he needs to scale back?

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- RobertoSan, 11:58:13 07/23/16 Sat [1]

I am a subscriber at DK's site. I was also a subscriber at PG Plus when they had it. Frequently, i would send Micco feedback on how bad the PG web model was. Take their advertising. The model they use would have been outdated even in the 90s. And why don't you have an online portal to sell Pittsburgh sports merchandise and make a small commission off of that instead of making almost nothing on local ads that most online readers dont' even care about considering a lot of the readership for the online sites is outside Pittsburgh too.

Speaking of DK, he is selling DK branded merchandise. Who the hell buys that except for some of the few delusional self branded lunatics on his site?? Who would walk around the city with a DK T shirt? He would make a smaller cut on Steeelers or Pens merchandise, but he could make it up in volume instead.

I will give DK credeit for one thing. This is a tough business that is in a major transitory phase. If someone here had a better solution, you would have started a site yourself. DK does strike me a little as revelling to much in the cult of DK. I can't stand the subscribers who kiss his ass on that site. But that's on them. If you are DK, do you blame him for hustling each day to make that site work? He has done a better job promoting his site than PG and Trib combined. Triub's sports subscrition years ago was a massive failure. So was PG Plus. DK is busting his ass getting sponsoships. And there will be times he will look desperate. And I don't condone the way he says goodbye to people on his staff he gets rid of. Like how he got rid of the PItt beat reporter. I guess Jason Mackey returned the favor in kind when he bolted without notice.

Still overall, the DK experiment has been a good one for the local sports media. Someone can build on this and maybe come up with a better site in the near future.

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[> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- OK Dee Kay, 08:58:19 07/24/16 Sun [1]

"why don't you have an online portal to sell Pittsburgh sports merchandise and make a small commission off of that"

Are you serious? The NFL sends cease-and-desist orders for playing five-second video clips of games, never mind trying to sell merchandise. It's completely illegal.

But that aside, the only people who care about DK are the man himself, the lunatics who subscribe and the people on this message board. Otherwise he's a minor irritant on social media (aka a troll) to other sports media in town.

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[> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Former DK subscriber, 09:44:13 07/24/16 Sun [1]

There's a reason why you only see comments from the delusional lunatics who kiss his ass...

He deleted numerous comments from people questioning if the $50 brick scheme was a thinly veiled attempt to pay for Benz. And these weren't posts with profanity, personal attacks, etc. If you delete the dissenters all that is left is blind praise.

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[> [> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- The Cheap Seats, 20:56:37 07/24/16 Sun [1]

He also deleted a non-profanity subscriber comment a week earlier when he first floated the idea of the $50 brick. The person works at a non-profit and knows firsthand that the brick idea is a no-no for a for-profit company.

He's a huge hypocrite. He allows subscribers to bash each other - asks for decorum among the Pitt,WVU and psu fans yet will delete those comments who offer a push-back to his thoughts.

Then to allow subscribers to offer thoughts ( more like criticism) when he has staff turnover plus the fact that he floated his own suggestion that the Steelers beat is challenging ( intimating that Mackey couldnt do the job adequately and left for an easier job.) I only wish Mackey resigned via text.

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[> [> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Question, 06:35:15 07/25/16 Mon [1]

Not defending his online activities -- but why couldn't a for-profit company sell some kind of brick? Seems like there would tax implications or accounting issues to deal with (the vrick purchase would not be tax deductible for the buyer, and Dejan would have to count this as income) but I don't see why it couldn't be done (note: I am not a tax attorney, just curious about the legal issue).

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[> [> [> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- The Cheap Seats, 06:35:40 07/26/16 Tue [1]

He could sell the brick as an income generator because he would be selling a foam brick from his merchandise store.

It is just a horrible look to sell a foam brick for $50 when the cost for him is probably less than $5 - hence the pushback from some readers. Raise the rates if he wants but a fundraiser that solely puts money in his backpocket for basically nothing in return is kind of low-brow but should we expect anything different from him when you are known to fire people via text message.

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Berky, 23:42:55 07/24/16 Sun [1]

DK needs a Steelers reporter in a hurry and I have the answer. Alan Robinson. Late of AP and Trib. Has covered the Steelers for 30 years and knows what he's doing. Workaholic who will write a lot. He can be a handful but leave him alone and he'll be OK.

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[> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Master disaster, 08:22:47 07/25/16 Mon [1]

Alan Robinson is an excellent reporter but not a good match working for someone like DK, to put it mildly. I'd give that relationship about three weeks.

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[> [> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- George, 03:50:08 07/26/16 Tue [1]

Isn't three weeks the standard length of service for a lot of DK employees?

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Ed E. Torial, 12:05:39 07/26/16 Tue [1]

Real funny too, when you click DK's "media kit" link on the "Advertise with Us" option, it gives you an error message and ultimately gives you no info. Interesting he doesn't want to put his real #s in writing.

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[> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Radio listener, 18:35:56 07/28/16 Thu [1]

How do you guys see all these DK subscriber comments, arguments and ass kissing? When I look on his site each article is a short excerpt with everything else behind the pay-wall.

I'm not a DK subscriber, obviously, but someone in the comments here wrote DK was irrelevant which I have to disagree with. He or his main guys Johe & Mackey(former), are/were everywhere. I listen to a lot (too much) local sports talk radio and it just sounds like DK guys are on the air way more than all Trib and PG beat writers combined. Like every sports radio show had at least one DK guy on during their time slot almost everyday.
(What PG hockey writers are even on the radio?)

So from a radio listener perspective I would say we probably get most of our "insider" beat writer info from the DK guys. Or at least that's the perception.

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[> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Bladed Wedge, 05:31:53 07/29/16 Fri [1]

I think that it is a perception. I would agree that his writers are everywhere. I don't understand some of the idea behind the local talk radio having so much DK presence. In a way, isn't he a competitor to these stations?

Let's face it, the average Yinzer fan can only absorb so much info about the local teams. Why would you want to pay for it? Most of that info is nothing but a tsunami of vomit.

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[> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- The Cheap Seats, 06:47:01 07/29/16 Fri [1]

Soon after the New Year, DK signed a deal with Clear Channel for his guys to appear exclusively on their stations which includes Savran, Madden,Todd and Crowley. The Fan mgt hates him so its either Clear Channel or nothing for his people. Mackey was a fill-in host when Savran was on vacation/hospital stay a few times in May and June and Kovacevic does the same when Madden is off.

Yes, Kovacevic and Yohe have been on a good bit - Molinari is very rarely on the radio and Bomboulie from the Trib is occasionally on both Savran's and Starkey's show.

I like Bomboulie the best out of all of them. He's not afraid to say something to upset the apple cart and think for himself. The DK guys will never rock the boat with opinion or criticism. The Steelers and Penguins are that site's cash cows so its no surprise that Kovacevic saves his venomous diatribes for the Pirates because he has always said the Pirates are 3rd when it comes to page views on his site.

As an aside, I am a subscriber that is just about ready to cancel my subscription - I just find the owner's arrogance and lack of humility along with a huge ego to be something that I cant justify in my mind to give him my money.

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[> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- The Cheap Seats, 07:15:45 07/29/16 Fri [1]

Regarding the over-the-top ass kissing, its quite pathetic. If you didn't know better, he's a Pulitzer Prize winning thespian on the level with Frank DeFord, George Plimpton, Jim Murray or any other pure opinion columnist from 35 years ago if yiu listen to some readers.

In this town alone, Collier, Rossi, and Starkey run circles around the owner's ability as a writer. I never subscribed to read him, unlike a lot of his fan club.

To read comments during the Pens playoff run such as'Im crying at my desk" or " This was so great, Im waking up my son and making him read this" or " You're driving me to tears and Im a 50 year old man who doesn't even cry at funerals" or ' Worth every penny - you need to raise your rates, I feel like I am stealing from you."

So when he gets push-back like he got for the $50 brick idea - he pushes back with his arrogance and ego. He even compared his brick idea to the Pens selling a foam finger, saying no one complains when the Penguins charge an exorbitant sum for a low-cost item, why cant I do it?

If there is karma, he will get his comeuppance some day.

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[> [> [> Re: Behind the scenes of DK's operations -- Former DK subscriber, 13:46:15 07/30/16 Sat [1]

I agree DK is overrated by himself and his "lunatics" and the buttkissing by his fanboys is way over the top...

But he's at least better than Rossi. Not complimenting DK it's just that low of a bar. I mean hell his social media girl is probably better than Rossi.

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