Unfortunately, we start off with a sad note. Former New York Giants radio analyst Dick Lynch passed away at age 72 on Wednesday following treatment for Leukemia. Lynch was a star at cornerback for the Giants during the early 60's and also played for the Washington Redskins prior. He began radio commentary for the Giants 40 seasons ago. He will be missed, but at least he goes 'up there' with his Giants as defending champs.
Meanwhile, TBS is gearing up for its post-season baseball coverage which begins next week. Their executives have to be the happiest TV people on earth, considering the possibility (at press time) of having 2 Los Angeles and 2 Chicago teams featured in the first round, along with the New York Mets and Boston. For that matter, we'd have to include Tampa Bay in the mix. Even if attendance at Rays home games is embarassing, Rays' TV ratings have increased as much as 95% during the course of the now concluding regular season.
TBS is expected to unveil their plans for additional on-site reporters on Thursday (Sept. 25th) along with expanded pre-game and online coverage with live blogging from baseball experts. The network will show all four first round series followed by the ALCS.
The arrival of October also means the start of TV scheduling for college basketball. ESPN is going to pull an all-nighter for the students (and many an alum!) who want it all when the regular season tips off. The network has planned to follow its Monday Night Football NFL telecast on Nov. 17th (technically Nov. 18 at 12:05 AM) with none other than Memphis hosting U-Mass in their season opener, as shown live.
But it doesn't stop there. At 2 AM ET they will televise the midnight PT start of St. Mary's hosting Fresno State, with Hawaii hosting Idaho State at 4 AM ET. Yes, these will all be live. Tuesday Nov. 18th will then feature live games starting again at 10 AM ET and leading into the Kentucky vs. North Carolina telecast in prime time at 9 PM. Seriously.
The college football primary telecasts have been selected for Saturday Oct. 4th. CBS has selected Kentucky-Alabama as its SEC national telecast. ESPN will show the Auburn vs. Vanderbilt game later that same day, with Nebraska vs. Missouri as its prime-time choice. The Florida-Arkansas game early that afternoon will be shown on Raycom.
NEW YORK - I'm glad to see that the closing ceremonies at Yankee Stadium and the game itself were well received and drew solid ratings in the NYC area. ESPN did a tremendous job with the event, making it special even for those who are not Yankees fans. They captured it as a special moment for all of baseball, which it was. Thanks!
LOS ANGELES - Best wishes to radio sports veteran Joe McDonnell, now with 570 KLAC. Big Joe is recovering nicely from a dislocated shoulder. Speaking of radio veterans, Rich Marotta celebrates 17 years with KFI 640. Both have been a part of the L.A. radio and media scene for more than 20 years. I first met Marotta when he was Sports Director of then oldies KRLA and worked with the legendary Bill King on L.A. Raiders football broadcasts.
ATHENS - Let's make this a positive. Congratulations to 86 year old Georgia play-by-play legend Larry Munson. He decided to retire earlier this week and will not call the Georgia-Alabama game this Saturday after all. Munson had been calling the home games for the past couple years after 40+ years of tremendous service. Scott Howard, who had been calling the road games, will now handle all play-by-play, with former Georgia QB Eric Zeier on commentary. Howard also takes over the Monday night coaches show on the University of Georgia radio network. Definitely the end of an era, and my only disappointment is that this story did not receive more play in the media.
St. LOUIS - WMVN will be "movin" from music to all-sports as of the first of the year. The station is expected to switch to holiday music in November and begin ESPN sports programming on its 100,000 watt signal on or after New Year's Day.
AKRON - Tony Bruno's upcoming syndicated show will be carried live at 10 PM on WARF SportsRadio 1350. Normally not a big deal. But it is deja vu for Bruno in a big way. This station has already carried Bruno's show when he was ESPN Radio, then when he with on Fox Sports Radio, and most recently brought him back again via Sporting News Radio. He will start on WARF on October 6th. The station also carries Dan Patrick live middays via the same syndicator.
MILWAUKEE - Brett Favre TV might not last as long as thought in the Milwaukee market. Thus far all 3 Jets games have been shown in Milwaukee, including this past Monday (Sept. 22) night vs. San Diego. The Monday night telecast showed a 42% drop from the average ratings from the first 2 Sunday telecasts, even though the Monday game was unopposed by other football. In fact, the previous Monday's Philadelpha-Dallas game had a higher rating in Milwaukee.
We'll have to wait for the next chance, as the Jets will not be shown in Milwaukee for the first time this season this coming Sunday (Sept. 28). This is due to Fox having their telecast, but it conflicts with the Packers vs. Tampa game.
PHILLY - Time flies when you are having fun. Would you believe it? WIP Sports Radio celebrates its 20th anniversary. Congrats!
ALBANY - WFOX 980 will be making a change in their 3 to 6 PM show starting October 6th, as they replace Fox Sports' Chris Myers afternoon show. No problem there. Until you learn that it is to replace it with Dan Patrick's syndicated show. Obviously, still no local programming in afternoon drive. To make matters worse, Patrick's show will be on a 6 hour tape delay. And they start this during the MLB Division Series, airing at a time when there could be one or two weekday afternoon games the first three days of that very week. Games that Patrick would be previewing. Sure wish I had a client station in the Albany market going after men 18-54 in afternoon drive.