Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sports Media Report - Oct. 30th update

A championship level gesture by the Phillies broadcast crew on Wednesday night. Harry Kalas would not normally describe the ninth inning of a Phillies game, but this was certainly not a "normal" game. Back in 1980 when the Phillies won their only previous World Series title, the local broadcasts were not allowed even on radio. This week it was pre-determined that Kalas would step in for the 9th inning of a potential Phillies clincher, and that's exactly what happened.
And thanks to FOX-TV for including the replay of Harry's call before they signed off of their post-game coverage.

It's hard to believe that some might be watching this coming Sunday's (Nov. 2) Colts vs. Patriots game on NBC-TV to see a brand new commercial rather than the matchup. But it could happen. MasterCard will debut its newest spot featuring Colts QB Peyton Manning. After securing rooms at hotels in what could be termed "rival" cities, hotel employees say things to Manning such as "Don't choke on it" when a fruit basket is delivered. Manning appears unphased. Hopefully the game itself will be the talk of the town on Monday, even if the hype is nowhere near what led into what I call "last year's game of the century" matchup.

The new NBA season is underway with a nice jump shot of its own. TNT has already reported a 14% increase in households over last year's opening night doubleheader.

Back on the NFL side, Westwood One has added two more voices to its upcoming radio coverage. Packers' voice Wayne Larrivee will fill in on a couple of Monday Night Football broadcasts, while Hub Arkush has been added as sideline reporter for the upcoming Thursday night series of games. Arkush serves as NFL analyst for Chicago's WSCR The Score after a prior stint on Chicago Bears broadcasts (where he once partnered with Larrivee).

CHICAGO - No word yet from Darin Jackson, who is expected to announce within the next week whether or not he will accept a move from the White Sox TV booth to the radio side. The delay could be (or could have been) Jackson waiting to be certain that Bob Brenly did not get the Milwaukee Brewers manager position. I have to believe Jackson would have applied for that position and tried to jump across town. Jackson, now that he is separated from Ken "Horrible-son" Harrelson (as many White Sox fans refer to him), actually could contribute a lot to a telecast as he showed a few years back on assignments from FOX-TV. Mercifully, a White Sox official has commented that if Jackson does not move to radio that the team will seek another voice to handle at least two innings of play-by-play. Hopefully no more of one voice covering all nine innings, such as Ed Farmer did throughout the past season with Steve Stone as his analyst.

PHILLY: Congrats to Howard Eskin of WIP 610 for winning the March of Dimes Achievement Award In Radio Lifetime Award. He will be honored next week (Nov. 6th) at the Philadelphia Hilton, as will be Phillies voice Chris Wheeler.

SEATTLE - Three cheers for Tyrone Willingham this past Monday night. Not because he was told he will be let go as Head Coach hours earlier, but because he showed up and did his weekly radio show. Not only that, but the show is broadcast live from a restaurant with supporters in the audience. Although for this show Willingham did not take questions from fans as he has previously, you have to give him a ton of credit for honoring his commitment under those circumstances.

St. LOUIS - WMVN 101.1 has added another sports update anchor to its upcoming all-sports lineup to begin at the start of 2009. It's a familiar voice in the market, as Chris Gardner will make the switch from soon-to-be rival KFNS.

PHOENIX - Diamondback's TV voice Daron Sutton is expanding his presence in the market, having been added as play-by-play voice for University of Arizona basketball on Fox Sports Arizona starting next month. FSN is only scheduled to carry six games for this season, allowing Sutton to continue handling Wisconsin-Milwaukee basketball telecasts in Milwaukee. Sutton has also handled some SEC hoops in past seasons.

MIAMI - The local sports talk ratings wars remain close through the recently released summer book. WAXY 790 finished 8th overall cmpared with WQAM at 12th. Yet, WQAM with Joe Rose finished ahead of 790's Sid Rosenberg in the morning during the hours the two are head-to-head. Some wonder whether 790 carrying the Marlins broadcasts had a positive or negative impact based on the Marlins' disappointing season, while WQAM's Dolphins show from 7:00 to 8:00 PM showed a significant increase.

SAN FRANCISCO - If you plan on watching Warriors telecasts on Comcast SportsNet you'll need to wait until game time. The team and the Network continue their feud, and once again the fans lose out. As of now, no pre or post-game shows are scheduled. Usually, the cable telecasts are the ones that feature the expanded coverage, such as with Comcasts coverage of the Bulls in Chicago and Celtics in Boston. Those regional networks include half hour pregame shows and follow games with extended post-game coverage including coaches press conferences.

KANSAS CITY - As of this week, there are now two fewer voices on KCSP 610 AM than just two weeks ago. Marty Wall, who had been co-hosting afternoons with Neal Jones, has been let go. This comes less than a week after Rhonda Moss was also a "cutback" victim. Jones continues to host afternoons, but no future plans for the show, in terms of solo or co-host, have been disclosed.

LOWELL - UMass fans now have a weekly 90 minute sports radio show each Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:00. "River Hawk Radio" is co-hosted by hockey voice Bob Ellis and UMass Athletic Media Relations Director Chris O'Donnell on WCAP 980. Those beyond the signal range can also hear the show as it streams on

RALEIGH - 99.9 FM The Fan will be adding "Mike & Mike" and Colin Cowherd's morning shows starting the first week in January. While the station claims that the local programming will remain, The Fan also plans to increase play-by-play coverage with ESPN's NBA and MLB radio broadcasts.

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