Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sports Media Report - January 21st Update

The actions by Clearance Channel on Tuesday most certainly have an immediate impact on sports radio as well as the entire industry. My phone hardly stopped ringing all afternoon. After all, it is far from coincidence that on the same day that CC's man George Bush is no longer leading the nation, that they slash hundreds of lives while the attention of the nation is focused on change. But that's for another column.

In San Diego, most of the local air staff of KLSD 1360 is gone, including Mike Costa, Jeff Dotseth, Chris Ello and Craig Elsten. And this comes after the newest ratings for the market show XX sports down more than a half point in the ratings (without much room to roam as it was), and ESPN 800 not even showing up in the top 30 stations. Then again, XTRA 1360 also had another poor showing.

In Cincinnati, Scott Springer is out as morning sports anchor on powerhouse WLW. Detroit's WDFN is now without a local sports staff, and that may be even more disappointing than the Lions' recent season. In Minneapolis, KFAN 1130 co-host Chad Hartman is now out after more than 18 years with the station, along with his afternoon show producer.

In Jacksonville, WFXJ 930's long time morning sports show co-hosts David Lamm and Joe Cowart were dismissed. Lamm had been on 930 AM since it began with sports talk in December of 1991. Thus far, the station is adding more Fox Sports (national) programming, although it has three more years on its contract to carry Florida Gators football and basketball broadcasts. I suppose if Clearance Channel has any more input, they'll probably only air the first three quarters of the games and then return to national call-ins to continue their theme of cutting back.

Even in their "home city" of San Antonio, word from the San Antonio Express is that WOAI Sports Director Walter Pacacrita is among those let go. In Syracuse, among the sports radio casualties was WHEN 620 Program Director Jim Lerch, co-cost of the "Bud & The Manchild Show" in afternoon drive.


The MLB-TV Network will go live from the diamond earlier than initially thought. They announce that they will televise the Caribbean World Series during the week of Feb. 2 to 6. A nice warm-up, in more ways than one, for the start of spring training. I am reserving judgement on MLB-TV, and doing so with great optimism, since right now it is tough to fill a one-hour news show six nights a week when there is about two minutes a day of actual news.

NEW YORK - WEPN 1050 has been able to re-structure its deal into more of a revenue share, and will continue with both Knicks and Rangers broadcasts that started on the ESPN station in 2004. This pact runs through the 2010-11 seasons. Look for more cross promotion, as WEPN is expected to get signage and promotion at Madison Square Garden, and many events at MSG (beyond the Knicks and Rangers) will be promoted on the air.

CHICAGO - WMVP 1000, the ESPN station, has dismissed afternoon co-host Dan McNeil after not renewing his contract. Rotating host Carmen DeFalco takes over, whether temporary or permanent. Carmen has filled in numerous times for McNeil in the past. McNeil had been hosting on WMVP for nearly nine years after coming over from (continuing) rival WSCR 670. Since Mike North was not renewed for mornings at WSCR last summer, McNeil was believed to have been the highest paid sports talker in Chicago.

LOS ANGELES - It looks like the recent "merger" of Fox Sports and KLAC 570 means a major reduction of local content. The station's "Loose Cannons" show is replacing Lakers analyst Mychal Thompson with Fox host Chris Myers, while their "Petros and Money Show" is going national. Now, there is some doubt about KLAC remaining as the flagship station for Tony Bruno's late night show. On Tuesday (Jan. 20), the station ran a "Best of Petros & Money" show.


DALLAS - It's a Ticket for the Stars. Not an awards show, but a change of radio venue, starting next season, for the NHL Stars braodcasts, ending their 15 years on powerhouse WBAP 820. KTCK 1310 The Ticket has a new five season agreement including new pre and post-game programming. For additional coverage, the Stars games will also be carried on 104.1 FM and 1700 AM.

WASHINGTON D.C. - The media and coverage woes continue for the Washington Nationals. WDCW-TV 50 will show just 20 Nationals games over the air for the upcoming season. The games will consist of most or all Sunday telecasts. This means that many to most of their telecasts will be directly against the TBS national game on Sunday afternoons. Thus, the one time a week (at most) that the Nationals are over-the-air, baseball fans will likely have a game involving two contenders to choose from. Not to mention Orioles games in most areas, with many telecasts featuring the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays.

St. LOUIS - Sorry to report the passing of sportscaster Joe May, who died of a heart attack this past Saturday (Jan. 17) at the age of 67. May was Sports Director of WIBV Belleville (a St. Louis suburb in Illinois) and also called some St. Louis University football during his 40 year career. Most recently, May was broadcasting high school games over an internet site.

MILWAUKEE - WSSP 1250 will soon have another Program Director, but in this instance it is for good reason. Ryan Maguire leaves to take over as P.D. at Kansas City's KCSP. Both stations are under the same ownership, and KCSP remains the flagship station for the Royals broadcasts. WSSP has named Steve Fifer as Interim Program Director but reportedly is seeking a replacement.

ATLANTA - 790 The Zone has a new voice on its "Mayhem in the A. M." morning show. Known as The Sports Babe, Cayci Johnson joined the show last week.

SACRAMENTO - Contracts to Jim Kozimor, who continues as pre and post-game host on Kings telecasts. Kozimor has been hired by the Universal Sports Channel, the cable channel co-owned by NBC, where he will call some olympics related sports events. The schedule is such that he is not expected to miss any of his Kings or occasional fill-in assignments on KHTK.

MADISON - Longtime Wisconsin Badgers voice Matt Lepay is off to a good start as morning drive co-host on WTSO 1070 after the station reduced the air time of Mike & Mike earlier this month. His co-host is his broadcast partner Mike Lucas. Hopefully, the station will consider letting this duo go for longer than the current 2-hour daily stint from 6:00 until 8:00 A.M.

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