Thursday, July 19, 2018

Make Us Happy Campers This Year

The start of NFL training camps is a time that millions of fans look forward to as it signals that the football season is almost upon us. If only most of the sports media would be able to keep this in proportion. The first day or two with players reporting and coaches giving an early impression is the welcome sight.

However, after that we have day after day of hype forced upon us which has all of the glamour of a blowout exhibition game. It's the endless hours of sports radio "covering" the local team in camp.

There will be the "We will be live from training camp on Thursday morning!" promos. The beat writers and reporters seem to interview each other constantly in hope of creating a story bigger than the third string linebacker missing the last 10 plays of the afternoon drill because he sneezed.

We will hear about which of the rookies will start at safety in the exhibition opener as if this matters to the hard core fans or judging the point spread.

It has gotten to the point where if and when some actual important news is made during training camp it loses impact because so many other reports that don't matter have watered it down. Player interviews can be interesting, but only when they are more in depth than every player liking his team's chances to improve this season.

Same with the TV side. We realize that ESPN and Fox Sports have endless hours to fill all day long and that both networks air NFL games and related programming. This should mean that both networks should have access to every player, team management, and league officials throughout training camp. However, it seems that we get the "Who will be the opening day QB for (name of team)?" question and speculation all day long on every show.

In this respect, it's as though there should be training camp for the media. Bring us quality interviews, facts, player information which could be good for those who go to great lengths to plan their fantasy team(s). There is plenty of room for improvement over interviewing other reporters for their opinions and straining to come up with minor and useless news items.

On the baseball side, the fact that the All-Star Game ratings were reasonably consistent with last year's should not be considered a surprise. Even though most fans are glad that this game no longer determines home advantage for the World Series (as was the case last season), it means that this game is back to being nothing but an exhibition game.

In the old days before interleague play and every MLB game televised locally, the All-Star Game was a rare chance for fans to see certain players bat and play the field. Now, we get to watch players around baseball daily with local and national telecasts. Seeing them in the All-Star Game is nowhere near what it used to be. The feeling here is that a "flat" rating, consistent with last year, is a positive, since it shows that all who want to watch did so once again.

To that point, Nielsen Media has confirmed the Fox Sports findings about the general success of baseball telecasts on local and regional networks. For roughly the first half of the 2018 season, 11 regional sports networks which show MLB teams finished first in the prime time ratings among all TV networks. The next 11 teams on the list all rank in the top three for prime time. Thus, many fans are no longer compelled to wait for their local team player to get his one at bat in an exhibition game.

Chicago Cubs fans, however, need a scorecard for this weekend's 5 game series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Not to tell the players. It's to find the telecast.

This may be a first when each of the 5 games will appear on a different channel locally. The series opener on Thursday (7/19) is the ESPN featured game resuming after the break, which is an exclusive telecast also serving Chicago. The Friday afternoon game appears locally on NBC Sports Chicago.

On Saturday, the teams have a make-up game which makes it a day-night doubleheader.
The Saturday day game will air on WGN-TV, while the night game will be a Fox Sports regional telecast. For the finale on Sunday, it will air on WLS-TV as part of its 25 game telecast package. There you have it. Five games on five different outlets.

At least most of them know it is a five game series because of an earlier postponement. However, WLS-TV Channel 7, which airs 25 Cubs games and has already had its share of embarrassing moments, forgot to check the schedule of the only only local team whose games they air.

On Wednesday (7/18), WLS-TV sportscaster Jim Rose told viewers that the Cubs and Cardinals "start their four game series tomorrow". We take it he includes the game his station will air as one of them.

ESPN/ABC has announced its college football announcer pairings for the coming season. The biggest change is the return of Sean McDonough to the ESPN Saturday prime time game, where he will work with Todd Blackledge. Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit continue as the ABC Saturday night crew, while Steve Levy, Dave Pasch, Mark Jones, Beth Mowins, Adam Amin, and Bob Wischusen continue in the Saturday positions.

Jason Benetti and Kelly Stouffer will now team up mostly for Friday night telecasts, especially after Benetti's commitment to Chicago White Sox television ends in September. One announcing team no longer in the mix, and who will be missed, is Mike Patrick and Tommy Tuberville. Patrick is no longer with ESPN after 35 years of calling games there.

Speaking of change, the Westwood One radio broadcast of Monday Night Football will have a new analyst this season. Boomer Esiason announced (on his WFAN Radio show) that he is giving up that role effective immediately, and will only do the opening night broadcast from Philadelphia on Thursday Sept. 6. During his time, Boomer worked with Howard David and Marv Albert before current play-by-play voice Kevin Harlan took over.

No replacement named as of press time, although Kurt Warner is expected to be the choice.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Will The Sports Rights Bidding Wars Go Up or Down?

Whether or not the even bigger media giants are willing to engage in bidding wars over sports telecast rights will have a huge impact on pro sports over the next few years. As Disney continues to be in the running to take over the Fox Sports regional networks, we also had the approved merger of AT&T taking over Time Warner.

Since AT&T will now own Turner Sports, it adds MLB and NBA regular season and post-season games to the fold, along with the NCAA Tournament. With this deal also including DIrecTV, AT&T also takes over the Sunday Ticket package adding the NFL to the mix.

AT&T already owns three of the regional sports networks (Houston, Pittsburgh, and Seattle regions). Impressive as that is, it is fewer regional sports networks than now rivals NBC Sports and Fox Sports own and operate, as well as not as many of the biggest markets.

Their regional network in Houston has been a struggle to build, although the success of the Astros has helped to draw a much bigger audience than was the case earlier on. Prior to AT&T taking it over, the previous version of the network suffered from cable and satellite providers refusing to pay the high prices to carry it.

Even without all of the major carriers, the Astros Monday game against Toronto, for example, wound up with the biggest audience for the night on Houston TV.

Speculation on what AT&T will do in the near future is varied. Some think they will invest heavily in sports rights in order to make it difficult for Fox, ESPN (if separate in the future), and NBC Sports. Others think they are only worried about maintaining the Sunday Ticket package because of the difference it makes for the DirecTV service. They may not wish to spend as much for TBS and TNT because they have other strong programming.

In addition, they may not want to find themselves in a messy negotiation, such as they came out of in Houston and still exists five seasons later with the Dodgers telecasts still not available to the majority of local TV households.

Just as former players are always a part of NFL telecasts, we can say the same for retired referrees. NBC has added the recently retired Terry McAulay to its Sunday Night Football broadcast team. McAulay is also expected to be a part of the network's telecasts of Notre Dame home games. CBS has added another former NFL referee, Gene Stearatore to its NFL coverage starting with the coming season. In addition, Steratore will also help with their college hoops coverage, having also served as a Big Ten official.

ESPN has renewed Dan LeBatard and Jon Weiner (Stugotz) for another four years. In addition to their midday show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews, Stugotz will continue with appearances on SportsCenter, while both will continue their local show in Miami on WAXY 790.

The Radio Hall of Fame announcements this week included a couple of sports shows being honored for induction. Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic being honored for the now defunct "Mike & Mike Show". In addition, Mike Francesa was also named, with this announcement coming weeks after his return to WFAN New York's afternoon show.

ST. LOUIS: No more "Sports Krap". Ownership cut the KRAP changed 1350 away from sports to simulcast it with KSLQ-FM 104.5 and its music format.

EVERETT WA: Rumors of a format change were rampant as of press time for KRKO 1090. Earlier this week, host Jeff Aaron announced on Facebook that he was doing his final sports show for the station, but does not appear (as of press time) to be leaving the station. Aaron has been with KRKO since 2002.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Out Foxed Again

Another week in the life for Fox Sports. Bloomberg reports that World Cup viewership, combining the Fox Sports and Telemundo (Spanish) coverage, is already down roughly 44% from the 2014 coverage. Although we will consider that the U.S. team is not a factor, as was the case in 2014, there is cause for concern as the World Cup unfolds.

Last weekend, Fox had the U.S. Open coverage, including their interview with the legendary Jack Nicklaus during Friday's Round 2 coverage. That would have gone better if they hadn't lost the audio during the interview, and were not able to recover it. This was after their portion of the Round shown on FS1 aired a sexually explicit exchange.

On Saturday (6/16), their U.S. Open coverage of Round 3 was the reason that Fox Sports delayed its prime time baseball games by one full hour. We don't know how many baseball fans tuned in at the time each of the other Saturday prime time telecasts began, saw the golf coverage, and had no idea there would be baseball later on. This is the same Fox Sports which does a series of prime time Saturday telecasts which don't begin until May in order to promote its All-Star game coverage.

SAN FRANCISCO: Although Gary Radnich has no intention of slowing down from his KNBR 680 gig, he announced that he is retiring from his long time sports anchor role at KRON-TV. He is expected to do his last sportscast sometime in August. What makes Radnich even more interesting is how he has done his TV reports so factual and without personality but goes on KNBR and shows one of the stronger personalities of all of the Bay Area sports talkers. He joined KNBR back in 1992.

HOUSTON: While the sports talk stations continue to collectively struggle for audiences, more lineup changes are being made. KBME 790. Sean Salisbury has been hired away to co-host afternoon drive starting on July 9th, which coincides with the start of NFL training camps. No co-host has been announced as of press time. Salisbury replaces Jason Braddock and (former Oiler) Sean Jones, who were both let go prior to their scheduled June 18th show after almost one year together.

KILT 610 has brought in Adam Clanton, formerly of KBME to work fill-in and weekend shifts. Clanton is remembered for being dropped last month by KBME after a disagreement with controversial morning host Josh Innes was picked up live on the air.
As it goes with Houston sports station ratings, we shall see if this makes any difference in the months to come.

RICHMOND: Sports anchor Jermaine Ferrell is moving but staying in house at the same time. He is shifting from WFXR-TV to sister WRIC-TV where he will become the weekend sports anchor. He will serve as a sports reporter for WRIC during the week.

PHILADELPHIA: Sorry to learn of the passing of Big Al Meltzer earlier in the week. Meltzer began on Philly TV in 1966 at WPHL Channel 17, later working at KYW-TV Channel 3 and NBC Channel 10. He retired from (then) Comcast SportsNet in 2003. He is especially remembered for his basketball coverage of the 76ers and the Big 5.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Major League Radio Ratings Impact

The Nielsen radio ratings for the period of April 26 to May 23rd are out for the larger markets with more interesting developments than usual.

Special attention goes to the New York City results with the return of Mike Francesa to afternoons on WFAN, which technically began a few days into this ratings period. WFAN showed an overall audience increase of more than 20%, finishing at #5 in the market. Francesa scored higher ratings than Michael Kay on WEPN-FM, although the ESPN station also gained in the ratings, showing a .4 of a ratings point rise.

In the always interesting Boston sports station race, WBZ-FM Sports Hub went up .2 overall and finished #5 in the market, with WEEI-FM dropping .4 and finishing #9. Boston continues to dominate for sports radio in a single market having two stations in the top nine.

Chicago's WSCR The Score 670 rose .4 and finished #8 in the market as its lineup revisions for afternoons and midday continue to bring higher ratings, along with Cubs broadcasts. WMVP ESPN 1000 dipped slightly, again finishing well below WGN Radio. WGN, continues to struggle overall, falling out of the top 20 since adding White Sox play-by-play in time for another disappointing season.

The improved play of the Giants and the (eventual) championship run of the Warriors kept KNBR 680 with strong ratings, finishing #6 overall. Even KGMZ-FM The Game continued to make progress, adding another .4 of a ratings point to finish only one rating point behind KNBR in the San Francisco ratings. Yet, in the separate ratings for the adjacent San Jose market, KNBR more than tripled KGMZ's overall ranking.

Major movement in Dallas for KTCK-AM The Ticket which jumped .8 during this ratings period to a 4.1, good for #6 overall. KRLD-FM dropped to a 2.3 rating, while KESN ESPN lags well behind at 1.1. You may recall that it wasn't that long ago that all three stations were bunched together.

The recent slump of the Twins factored in WCCO 830's drop of .8 from the previous month early in its first season since 2006 airing the Twins broadcasts. KXFM-FM The Fan tied WCCO at #8 in the market.

Those large markets which regularly do not fare well with sports talk stations continued the trend during May. Once again, none of Houston's three sports stations made the top 20 overall. KBME-AM was the only one of the three to show more than the 0.8 rating which both KFNC-FM and KILT-AM finished with.

Similar story in Los Angeles. Even though the majority of TV households still cannot get the Dodgers telecasts, radio flagship KLAC 570 held at a 0.9 rating, slightly behind KSPN-AM 710 which inched up to 1.0. However, neither station cracked the top 25.

Miami's sports stations also each failed to crack the top 20 while each generated no better than a 0.9 rating. That was shared by WAXY-AM 790 and WQAM-AM, while WINZ showed only a 0.3.

The impact of baseball play-by-play on radio showed up from analyzing the April ratings. Although lowly WINZ Miami held steady in April (with the same 0.3 it showed for May), the only station with play-by-play which dropped during that time was WGN Chicago with its White Sox broadcasts.

The novelty of either team winning its first Stanley Cup in team history still produced solid local TV market ratings for cities with NHL teams. With the Las Vegas market being the highest rated, next were Washington DC, Baltimore and Richmond. The only market in the top 10 for clinching Game 4 not specific to one team (Richmond is a secondary market for DC/Baltimore) was Ft. Myers, which somehow had the 8th highest local audience.

SAN DIEGO: KWFN-FM 97.3, which recently turned to a sports format in order to keep the Padres broadcasts, named Adam Klug as Program Director. His background includes two years with ESPN Radio and having worked as a producer for Doug Gottlieb's show.

ASHEVILLE: WMXF-AM 1400 Waynesville now simulcasts Asheville's 92.9/1400 simulcast, including its local programming and ESPN programming. In addition the Waynesville station adds University of North Carolina football and basketball broadcasts.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Solid Memorial Day Weekend Viewing

Sports fans are looking forward to a Memorial Day weekend filled with sports, topped off by the Indy 500 on Sunday (weather permitting).  The NBA Conference finals will air, and the Stanley Cup Finals begin on Memorial Day.

This weekend also marks the debut of baseball on Fox Sports after being buried on FS1 each Saturday until now. Fox starts off by favoring the big markets for its primary telecasts, showing the Yankees vs. Angels in most markets, ahead of the Cleveland vs. Houston matchup of two first place teams. They will also air the San Francisco at Chicago Cubs as their third regional game, spending as little as possible by bringing in Cubs TV voice Len Kasper to handle play-by-play for Fox.

The radio ratings for April and early May released a few days back show that New York's WFAN is making a comeback of sorts which actually began prior to the sudden return of Mike Francesa to afternoon drive. The Fan showed a .8 of a ratings point rise from the prior month. WEPN ESPN came in with one-third of the total audience of WFAN, holding the same overall rating number for the third consecutive month.

Boston's sports stations continue strong with both being among the nine most listened to stations in the market and both showing audience increases. WBZ-FM Sports Hub rose .3 of a ratings point and finished as #6 in the market, while WEEI-FM rose one full ratings point to finish #9 in the market.

Baseball made a difference in the Chicago ratings. WSCR The Score 670 increased by .9 of a ratings point over the previous month as the Cubs regular season began and finished #6 overall. WMVP ESPN 1000 dropped by .1 during that time. The first month of the regular season with the White Sox games now on WGN Radio had an impact. The team's dismal start, combined with the NHL Blackhawks not making it into the post-season, caused WGN to drop again. WGN has now lost more than one-third of its overall audience over the past two months.

San Francisco's KNBR jumped back into the market's top five stations with a .9 rise, with help from the Giants having a better start to their season and the Warriors on their way to at least the Western Conference finals. KGMZ-FM The Game rose .2 and gained slightly but is still well behind KNBR.
Detroit's WXYT The Ticket rose to #6 in the market, moving up .8 of ratings point.

WASHINGTON D.C.: Even with the sale recent sale of WTEM, the Redskins broadcasts are expected to remain on the station. They will also air on WMAL 630/105.9, meaning that the games will air on three frequencies.

HOUSTON: Once again none of the three sports stations made it into the market's top 20 stations in the ratings, but KILT is making changes to its weekday lineup starting on Tuesday (5/29). Paul Gallant moves from being buried in the night slot to mornings with Mike Meltser and Seth Payne. KILT is bringing back Fred Davis, putting him on middays with John Lopez and Landry Locker. Davis replaces Cody Stoots who was let go in this change.

CHICAGO: Former Bears and Jets running back Matt Forte has joined NBC Sports Chicago as a Bears analyst and is expected to appear on the network's game day surrounding coverage.
Shae Peppler has joined WFLD-TV 32 as a full-time sports anchor and reporter. She is also known for previous work on the Big 10 Network.

ATLANTA: WXJO 1120/104.5 has completed its format change, dropping sports talk in favor of a gospel format.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Let The Yankees - Red Sox Hype Begin

Many of us often joke about how the baseball media seems to stop the world every single time the Yankees and Red Sox play, no matter what the circumstances. It already seems as though every one of these meetings must, by law, be nationally televised. If ESPN, Fox, or TBS don't have the game, MLB Network takes it and makes it one of their showcase games they produce.

As ESPN thinks that every baseball fan has Tuesday (4/10) on their calendar as being the much anticipated date of the first regular season matchup of these two teams, they have taken this to an even higher level.

This is so unbelievable that it almost bears watching just to see if ESPN is serious about their plan. They issued a Press Release about their pre-game coverage. So help me, they did. For an April weeknight meeting two weeks into the season.

Get this. From 4:00 until 5:00 ET, ESPN2 shows Intentional Talk with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar (in conjunction with MLB Network) and air some of batting practice of the upcoming Yankees vs. Red Sox game. And there is more.....

At 5:00 ET, ESPN2 follows with "Around The Cage". This one hour show will be hosted by Karl Ravech and include John Sciambi, Rick Sutcliffe, and Tim Kurkjian, promising manager and player interviews.

Of course, SportsCenter follows at 6 PM ET. The network assures us in this Press Release that there will be more live updates from Ravech and Kurkjian as the network leads into its live telecast at 7 PM.

After all, fans wouldn't want to miss out on seeing if the grounds crew finishes on time and the starting pitchers really do start warming up in the bullpen.

Seriously. ESPN issued a Press Release and promises hours of pre-game coverage for an early season baseball game. It's amazing that they allow other MLB teams to play their games at any point in that three hour window.

While this goes on, ESPN finally started their new morning show, the one that got delayed for three months, last week. The "Get Up" show came in with ratings down roughly 8% from the same week one year ago. No surprise here. They were so worried about having a new studio and other production issues addressed that they gave viewers and ESPN Radio listeners three months to sample other morning shows before finally starting this one.

Speaking of bizarre, NBC Sports offers a new twist on their expanded coverage of televising every NHL Playoff game again this season. They plan their usual excellent job of scheduling, calling upon sister channels such as CNBC to help with overflow coverage. This post-season, however, they are moving two telecasts to, of all places, The Golf Channel.

On April 18th, The Golf Channel airs the Devils vs. Lightning game, followed by the Ducks vs. Sharks, in what will be the first non-golf live event shown on that network. Since those are both Game 4 of the respective series, these telecasts will definitely occur.

It will be interesting to see how that fares. An interesting way for NBC to call attention to The Golf Channel, even if for one night.

Speaking of calling attention, it's hard to believe that ABC and NBC openly conceded the sports viewing audience to the final round of The Masters on Sunday (7/8). Both the NBA and NHL begin their playoffs this week, while both leagues have battles in the standings for playoff positions still very much in progress.

Yet, ABC did not have a Sunday afternoon telecast of an NBA game at all, while NBC did not air an NHL game. As we point out with baseball and even the NCAA Tournament, networks which televise them need a consistent presence during the regular season. Telling viewers their sport "can't compete with golf" seems absurd, especially with the millions of dollars they spend on rights fees.

At least NBA TV came through with a live quadruple header of games on Sunday, although chances are not enough viewers were aware. This came after ABC had very strong ratings from its Saturday night (4/7) NBA telecast.

SAN DIEGO: Next up on the "bizarre" list is the situation with the Padres and 97.3 The Machine. As of press time, there has still been no word from the Padres about the rumored possibility the team would pull the team broadcasts off this rock station after the social media controversy last week.

So far, no sign of Kevin Klein on the morning show. Now it has been discovered that Entercom, which owns the station, has registered three web sites including "". The station also just added Dan Sileo to its midday lineup, acting as if the controversial host would not necessarily focus on sports.

The only other full time sports station in San Diego is XEPRS The Mighty 1090. This all raises the possibility that the 97.3 could go as far as to remove Klein, and the rock music format, and go all sports in support of its Padres contract.

Since there has been no action (again, as of press time) taken by the Padres about their broadcasts, it would lend credence to this possibility.

SAN FRANCISCO: Now that KGMZ 95.7 The Game has finally developed some traction in the ratings, the station has given a multi-year extension to Damon Bruce, host of afternoon drive. Bruce has been with the station since 2014.

HOUSTON: SportsMap 94.1, among the sports stations struggling for ratings, has added Stephen A Smith from ESPN Radio to its midday schedule, airing after local programming with Charlie Pallilo.

CHICAGO: In an amazing twist, Dan McNeill is off the air after just two weeks since returning to WSCR 670 The Score afternoon drive. McNeill revealed that a medical procedure left him with a paralyzed right vocal cord. There is no set recovery time. The station is currently rotating among its other hosts and anchors to work along side co-host Danny Parkins.

Finally, a sad note. The sports media lost Joe McConnell, most recently the voice of Purdue football prior to his full retirement in 2009, at the age of 79. McConnell is known for having called NFL post-season on Westwood One in the 80's, and play-by-play stints with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. He also called baseball for the White Sox radio and TV from 1980-84 after a couple of seasons calling Twins games. Before that, he called the Indiana Pacers on radio in the late 70's.

Personally, I consider McConnell to have been the greatest football announcer I ever heard. He had a genuine enthusiasm for whatever team he was calling. I can't believe he didn't get more opportunities at the national level. However, from knowing him and getting the privilege to work with him (I did statistics for him on most Bears broadcasts during the 1980 season), I had a hunch that he preferred the simple midwest to the spotlight of the national media.

We'll miss you, Joe!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

If You Show The Games, They Will Come

No surprise here that the NCAA Tournament Championship game suffered a 30% drop in the audience compared with last year and more than 10% less than the 2016 game. Just like with its baseball package, Turner Sports keeps forgetting that people don't know to look to them.

After four months of seemingly thousands of college basketball telecasts on numerous local stations along with regional and national networks, Turner Sports does not have any sort of package, even with a weaker conference, but expects millions of casual fans to somehow know that they had the Final Four this season.

While TBS, TNT, and TRU aired regional games, the casual fans could find telecasts on CBS at the same time.

Granted, it's hard to completely fault Turner Sports. You would think that for the many millions of dollars they pay to the NCAA just for the Tournament package they share with CBS that they would be entitled to some degree of a regular season presence.

Speaking being entitled, baseball fans are entitled to have their local teams available via their regular TV outlet for games which Facebook streams around the country each Wednesday afternoon this season. We understand that Facebook spent millions of dollars with MLB for this package, which includes MLB itself producing each telecast and providing the announcers and staff.

However, MLB and Facebook need to understand that most fans are paying more for their respective cable/satellite package every month because of the presence of these regional sports networks which air the games. This past Wednesday (4/4), the complete exclusivity that Facebook has prevented the Mets from airing on SNY and the Phillies from airing on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

That meant two large markets having no direct local telecast. With many of the fans at work and unable to watch a stream, they were deprived of a chance to see their local team. Those NYC and Phillies fans that were able to watch the stream of the game may have preferred something other than a phone or other small screen.

It would have been interesting to be able to compare local team viewership between the regular telecast ratings and how many more picked up the telecast on Facebook given both options.

Instead, it wasn't until the morning of the game before SNY showed alerts that it could not show this game. The NBC Sports Philadelphia web site had a blank spot on their schedule that morning, showing their schedule before 1:00 and nothing until after 4:30 for the afternoon.

Because of the fan backlash, teams which have upcoming Wednesday afternoon Facebook telecasts are now taking the lead and alerting their fans early that the games will not be shown locally. The impact is even larger throughout Canada where many of the Blue Jays games are shown regionally or nationally via SportsNet. The network has put out social media alerts telling fans that the scheduled Blue Jays streams on Facebook on April 18th and May 24th will not be available for telecasts, but will be airing on the SportsNet Radio Network.

Facebook did report rougly 4,300,000 views "of at least three seconds" of the Phillies vs. Mets stream with 1,200,000 "reactions" on the platform. One good thing for those watching is that, at least this time, there were no actual commercials, with between innings filled with game related content. Next Wednesday (4/11) it will be the Brewers vs. Cardinals, with the Blue Jays vs. Royals on April 18th.

Sorry, but we should all click on the "dislike" button unless they keep local team telecasts.

BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON D.C.: Baseball fans throughout the region that can't afford cable/satellite and/or have already cut the cord can forget about seeing either the Orioles or Nationals this entire season. MASN, in separate statements, clarified that MASN and MASN2 will be the "exclusive" channels for each team's games throughout the season. None of their games will appear on a local over the air channel, other than any of the few Saturdays when Fox Sports airs one of the teams on a regional basis.

SAN DIEGO: Still no word as of press time regarding the fate of Padres broadcasts on 97.3 even though the Padres' first home stand of the young season just concluded. Kevin Klein, hired as morning man and taken off the air following his controversial "Jump" social media campaign which completely backfired.

Klein has still not gone on the air (as of press time) for the morning show, yet has yet to be terminated from the station. The possibility still remains that the Padres will attempt to revoke the contract with the rock music station and quickly move to another local radio station.

CHICAGO: Former Cubs outfielder and ESPN analyst Doug Glanville has joined NBC Sports Chicago. Although not an actual part of the network's pre and post-game programming, he is already a part of other Cubs related programming along with providing web site content about the team.

ALBANY: Although the local Mets radio affiliate changed starting this season (as we reported a couple weeks ago), the local Red Sox affiliate stays in tact. Fox Sports 980 has extended its affiliate contract through the 2020 season. The station has aired the games since the start of the 2012 season.