Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Clearance Channel strikes again

Sorry to start off with a sports and media loss, but sorry to learn of the passing of Glen Gondrezick from complications after a September heart transplant at the age of 53. Gondrezick spent 17 years as commentator on UNLV basketball broadcasts following a 6 year NBA career. He had even returned to the microphone this past season after the transplant to join play-by-play voice Jon Sandler. Glen played at UNLV under coach Jery Tarkanian during Tark's first season at UNLV back in 1973-74. He will be missed.

While this past weekend's NFL Draft telecast is not a ratings leader, it does attract a loyal audience over the course of 2 days of coverage. But perhaps the most interesting statistic isn't about the career of a high draft pick. It is the finding that the market that had the highest single market rating for ESPN's coverage during the first five hours on Saturday does not have an NFL team. What it does have is a local university which regularly sends its top players to pro football and obviously adds to its following.

The top local market for the NFL Draft coverage was Columbus OH. The next 4 cities on the list were all NFL cities, as New Orleans, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee round out the top 5 cities.

DALLAS - The long anticipated announcement about Cowboys radio has been made, and it turns out the Cowboys will return to the FM dial, as 105.3 FM The Fan will carry the pre-season, regular season, and any post-season broadcasts starting with the coming season. The Ticket 1310 AM had carried the games for the past 3 seasons but stopped after the originally 5 year rights deal was shortened to 3. The Ticket had won the bidding away from KLUV 98.7 FM which had the previous deal, and remains a sister CBS station to The Fan. This will reportedly be a revenue share, and this time the actual length of the contract has not been disclosed.

We look for long time voices Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg to continue to anchor the broadcasts, but word is that The Fan will hire the announcers, whereas Sham and Laufenberg have worked for the team itself in recent years. It should be a formality.

The timing is ideal for The Fan, based on the March ratings and how it shows the current state of sports radio in the Metroplex. The key demographic of Men 25-54 showed The Ticket with almost double the daily audience of ESPN 103.3, and more than a 4 ratings point lead over The Fan. Long timer Norm Hitzges continues as a sports talk ratings leader for The Ticket. Got to believe that The Fan is counting down the days until the first Cowboys broadcast.

PHILADELPHIA - After a nearly 4 year rivalry, ESPN 950 and its Mike Massanelli afternoon show has overtaken rival WIP 610 with former partner Howard Eskin in the Men 25-54 demographic for the recently announced March ratings. Actually, Massanelli's increase happened in just one year. Overall WIP continues to whip ESPN 950 but 950 is showing signs of growth over the past couple of months.

MINNEAPOLIS - The minor league baseball St. Paul Saints are considered as being in the biggest market of any minor league team in the country, but now boast major league coverage. Not only are all 96 regular season games broadcast on 1330 AM with Sean Aronson(while some minor league teams do not cover all of the road games), but Saints games will all be televised in some form. The team will have 8 of its Saturday games shown on KSTC-TV 46 (which also shows Timberwolves and Wild games), with Ron Johnson and Dana Kiecker on the call. But the coverage won't stop there. The non-Saturday away games will be seen on the "Saints Cable Network" which consists of local access channels on various systems in the Twin Cities area. In addition, Saints home games can be viewed (free) on

DENVER - There is hope for fans in nearby Boulder and Parker who have had problems receiving Mile High Sports from KCKK 1510 AM which has carried most Nuggets and Avalanche broadcasts. The station has received FCC approval to increase its night signal from 5,000 to 25,000 watts. The increase will be gradual, with the signal expected to be at 19,000 watts within the month.

HOUSTON - As you probably know by now, Clearance Channel was at it again earlier this week with cutbacks on still more local personalities across the country. Houston sports radio felt the pain as Brad Davies and Craig Roberts are now gone from morning drive on KBME 790. Typical of the Clearance Channel hodge-podge left in its wake is the revised KBME weekday schedule. They now carry Dan Patrick's syndicated show live (which at least is better than those stations which delay it for several hours and air it after previewed games on the show have been played) from 8 to 11 AM. Surviving hosts Ted DeLuca and John Lopez now regularly work a split shift all week, airing from 6 to 8 AM and then coming back from 11 AM to 3 PM.

KTRK-TV Channel 13 laid off Sports Executive Producer Robert Leake.

CINCINNATI - More from Clearance Channel. Sports blogger C. Trent Rosecrans and 3 producers are gone. On the air, WCKY morning host Alan Cutler is gone. At least Cutler still has a position to keep him busy, as he continues in his Sports Director role for nearby WLEX-TV in Lexington.

The adding of still more syndicated programming on WCKY means that only Lance McAlister will be the only local host, handling 3 to 6 PM some weekdays. Of course, with Clearance Channel involved, Lance will share duties among 2 stations, instead hosting the 6 to 9 PM sports talk show on WLW on nights when the Reds do not play. When that happens, Mo Egger will handle the afternoon spot on WCKY. More sports adjustments will be made, as Cutler is also reportedly out as Bengals Radio Network host after 8 seasons. Scott Sloan remains on WLW, but will now handle the "Extra Innings" Reds post-game call-in show.

At this rate, I suppose if a Reds game gets rained out after the scheduled start time, Clearance Channel will probably air a voice tracked sports talk show from another market talking about an American League team for 3 hours.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Remembering Merle Harmon

Sorry to hear about the passing of Merle Harmon at the age of 82 a few days back. Merle may have been the best example ever of the "you know and enjoy the voice but you don't know the name" derby. I have a hunch that way too many sports fans reacted to news of his death by saying "Who?". They should have known and recalled his contributions to sports broadcasting right away.

In addition to his work on NBC and other networks calling a variety of sports, Merle Harmon made a local impact as one of the first primary voices of the Milwaukee Brewers. He was their in the early days when the Brewers were a new American League franchise, having moved from being the Seattle Pilots for a matter of months.

Harmon was actually the lead radio announcer for the Brewers for several years. This was back when only a small package of games were televised at all, and radio was everything to the baseball fan. His number two announcer was the legendary Bob Uecker, including the years that "Ueck" was making appearances on Johnny Carson and doing color on ABC-TV Monday Night Baseball and even some of their playoff and World Series coverage.

The sounds of "Merle and Bob with ya from Milwaukee" would go across much of the midwest via WTMJ Radio. The pair got along great and it showed on the air. For a couple of years, they would actually do a joke or a quick comedy routine at the start of the broadcast, and that is something I never heard anyplace else. Even their goofy routines such as "wearing this heavy jacket to keep insulated from the heat on the field" could bring a chuckle to the serious baseball fan.

Harmon was their when the Brewers finally started getting up to speed, as the likes of Robin Yount and Paul Molitor came up from the minor leagues and joined the Brewers. In later years, Harmon moved on to Houston, continued his work for NBC, and opened up a series of souvenir stores. These days, fans can buy official team merchandise from several chain stores, but the stores bearing Harmon's name were among the first to open up this marketplace.

Thanks for the memories, Merle!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remembering Harry Kalas and more

It's one team for their home games, but here comes another example of radio being passed up and overlooked. The Seattle Mariners have expanded their "at game" Nintendo DS services as of Tuesday's home opener.

This dedicated wireless network sends audio play-by-play, some game video, scores, and now chat to those at the stadium with dual-screen Nintendo DS devices as a free service at Mariners home games. The Mariners are even allowing free rentals for the first half of the season after having charged $10 during the past two seasons. (Makes more sense - it's not a "free" service if you pay $10 and you are already at the game!)

This feature is now available for food ordering. To top it all off, Nintendo has added a partnership with ESPN to provide sports headlines and columns, according to Looks like ESPN wants in as a ground floor opportunity since it would normally not partner with just one team.

The story indicates that this application will only be available via certain Nintendo DS models and not via mobile phones.

But the use of the Nintendo DS at Mariners games is another sign of the times. Older baseball fans will tell you to a (person) about the days of bringing a radio to a baseball game. Or if you didn't, someone nearby had one playing.

It was the days of going to Dodger Stadium and feeling like the game didn't actually start until Vin Scully said it did. Or listening to Dodgers games when Scully would give a score such as the Giants losing and you could hear the cheers as the crowd heard him. Or Ernie Harwell echoing around Tigers Stadium or Harry Caray in St. Louis and then Comiskey Park in Chicago when he did White Sox radio in the 70's.

But these days, you can go to just about any baseball stadium and not even realize the game is on the radio. Or you have a radio broadcast on a few seconds delay so that if you are at the game you don't hear the play until after you have already seen it.

All the "extra" game information, except for live video and ordering food, used to be available by listening to the radio broadcast. I agree that ESPN is involved in this because they see this technology spreading to other stadiums and probably other sports to increase the information flow and to add to the fans' experiences. While the radio stations carrying the game wonder what is happening to the size of the audience.

Meanwhile, I had 3 thoughts race through me when I heard the sad news that the baseball and the broadcasting world lost Harry Kalas on Monday.

First, I thought about how even more happy I was that the Phillies let Harry call the 9th inning and World Series clincher for the Phillies last October. Now it is as though he quite literally lived for that opportunity.

Next was the philosophy shared by some that when a person passes away, let it be while doing what they loved most to do. That makes it fitting that Harry was literally in the Phillies' broadcast booth at the time. (The only exception being the added shock and sadness for the Phillies crew that had to go on the air moments later and then call the day's game.)

And then my thoughts flashed back to 1975 when I first met Mr. Kalas. From knowing then broadcast partner Andy Musser (through his doing NBA Chicago Bulls road games at that time), I would act as a statistician for Musser when the Phillies came to Wrigley Field in 1975 and 1976.

At that time, Musser did most of the game on radio, with Kalas coming over from the TV booth for the middle innings. I remember Harry being extremely polite and appreciating my trying to add some more information. And I remember getting to watch a professional in action first hand. In fact, I'll never forget it.

Moving along, the MLB Network has been nothing short of amazing, and this is after one week on the job. The live studio show running during the games on weeknights is already must-see TV for the serious baseball fan not watching his or her favorite team. One example was Monday night (4/13) when they were doing a "live look-in" from Minnesota with the tying run on base.

Suddenly they cut away, which seemed odd. But what they did was cut over to the Cincinnati at Milwaukee game live because the Brewers had the bases loaded in a one-run game at the time. That was "more important". After the Brewers failed to score, they then showed the tape of the outcome of the Twins at-bat from "moments ago" to complete these 2 key moments for the fans. Awesome!

This comes on the heels of MLB Network adding more live telecasts. Thursday night games aren't enough. They are picking up feeds on Saturday nights, as originally planned. But now these will be in addition to their Thursday telecasts!

They have announced the schedule of Saturday games for the coming month:

April 18 — San Diego at Phil­adelphia, 7 p.m. ET

April 25 — Philadelphia at Florida, 7 p.m. ET

May 2 — Oakland at Seattle, 9 p.m. ET

May 9 — St. Louis at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. ET

May 16 — Colorado at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. ET

Former pitcher David Wells has just been added to the TBS Sports broadcast booth. Wells' outgoing personality figures to be a good addition, and will be a part of some of TBS' Sunday afternoon package.

Wells has always enjoyed the media. I recall the time in mid-May 1998 that Wells very willingly went on Howard Stern's radio show and talked about a wide variety of subjects in addition to baseball. On his very next start, May 17, 1998, he pitched a perfect game against Minnesota.

Then he did one exclusive radio interview the next morning. He went back on with Stern and listened while Howard kiddingly took credit for getting Wells in the right frame of mind for the perfect game.

TBS shows the new Yankee Stadium this Sunday (4/19) with the Yankees hosting Cleveland.

NEW YORK - WEPN 1050 has revised its evening lineup, staying local while going up against Yankees and Mets play-by-play on other stations. Seth Everett now handles 7 to 10 PM during the week along with a Saturday afternoon shift when there is no ESPN play-by-play, and Bill Daughtry will be heard from 10 to Midnight.

CHICAGO - WRTO 1200 AM will carry 20 Cubs broadcasts in Spanish in a new deal just announced that will begin next Tuesday vs. Cincinnati. This is the first time in 14 seasons that there will a Spanish broadcast for select Cubs games. The station already carries select White Sox home games, with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's son handling color on some of those broadcasts. Talk about having an insight!

Those of you that remember the sports encyclopedia known as Les Grobstein from his days on WLS and in the late 90's on WSCR can hear him again, however brief. Les now hosts "Weekend Sports Report" on Saturday mornings on suburban Chicago WKRS radio. The station streams at, and you can hear Les each Saturday morning from 7 to 8 AM Central time.

HOUSTON - Even though Milo Hamilton will handle 6 innings of Astros home radio broadcasts this season (compared with 7 innings last season), Milo was honored last week with the naming of "Milo Hamilton Way" outside of the stadium in Houston. This is Milo's 25th season calling the Astros on radio. As long as that is, that is still less than half of Hamilton's outstanding MLB broadcasting career.

MIAMI - Still no official word on a replacement for Sid Rosenberg on 790 The Ticket. Jorge Sedano is still believed to be in the running, likely pending current negotiations between Sedano and the station.

KANSAS CITY - KCSP 610 has tweaked its local lineup in conjunction with the start of the Royals' season. "Chris and Cowboy" with Chris Hamblin and Cory Anderson moves from late morning into the 2 - 6 PM afternoon drive slot. Nick Wright moves from nights into the 9 to 11 AM slot, and will follow Roger Twibell and Josh Klinger's morning show. Neal Jones (former afternoon host) is no longer with the station.

BATON ROUGE - It seems that spring college football games are becoming quite the rage. This coming Saturday's (4/18) LSU spring game has been moved to a 5:00 PM local time start and will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network with Jim Hawthorne and Doug Moreau. This includes powerhouse WWL New Orleans. In addition, the broadcast will be available nationally on XM Satellite. No announcement (yet) about pre and post-game coaches shows for both squads, but it wouldn't shock me at this rate.

PROVIDENCE: WPRV 790 will continue to carry N.Y. Yankees broadcasts after its second annual format change. Thus, area Red Sox fans can continue to monitor the rival Yankees. The station has been "The Score" until last spring's switch away to an oldies format. For this spring and however long, the station changes to business and personal finance programming. Then again, with the price of baseball tickets these days, this is probably a more fitting format.

SPRINGFIELD MA: This market is far enough away from Providence for this to be counter programming, so we'll put it out there as a coincidence. 1450 AM has just changed call letters to WHLL "The Hall" and changed from (you guessed it) oldies to sports radio. The majority will be ESPN Radio including Mike & Mike in the morning, and "The Hall" will also carry Yankees baseball.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Who's paying attention?

I was watching "Baseball Tonight" on ESPN on Sunday (April 12) when during a commercial break the local Comcast Cable commercials were running. On came a promo for the free preview of the Extra Innings package.

On paper, that sounds like good placement for Comcast to run a baseball on TV spot during ESPN's primary baseball show. However, this commercial happened to air 20 minutes AFTER the final out of the last game available during the free preview which ran all week.

Thus, a baseball fan who did not know about the free preview and who tuned over to see which games were on would have then found out that they missed everything. In other words, careless scheduling of a spot, even if it was for a free offering from Comcast.

By the way, I am again NOT purchasing the Extra Innings package. They continue to black out local games. Their argument is that I can see them anyway. My argument is, as a Chicago White Sox fan, that I would pay the fee for the season to be able to watch the OTHER team telecasts against the White Sox in order to escape the horrible announcing that White Sox fans are subjected to on the local telecasts.

For that matter, I don't think that cable telecasts of local teams should be blacked out either, such as when on ESPN, TBS, and starting this year on the MLB Network. I am also paying an exhorbitant fee to my cable company just to watch TV. The cable companies pay these networks to carry the programming based on the number of subscribers. The networks showing the games (except for MLB Network) pay millions to MLB to carry the games.

Thus, I feel that I should get everything available for the amount I am paying and the cable companies and leagues have no right to black anything out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sports Media Update - April 7th

Cheers to the new MLB Network as it showed right away on Opening Day (Night) that it will capture and retain a lot of baseball fans every night throughout the season. For those of us that love ESPN Baseball Tonight, the MLB Network's MLB Tonight won't shock anyone by being different than ESPN, but it will make it seem like Baseball Tonight is on live for hour after hour. It's a dream come true, especially for those of us baseball fans who grew up in an era when radio was the dominant source for live baseball and only a fraction of the games were televised.

Meanwhile, Fox-TV gets its Saturday Game of the Week package underway this Saturday (4/11), and again this year will have a game every Saturday. Most weeks the telecasts will start at 4 PM ET, with certain weeks moved ahead 1/2 hour due to NASCAR telecast schedules.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox

Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, April 18, 2009 (*3:30 PM ET)

Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees

St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, May 2, 2009 (*3:30 PM ET)

New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves

Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

Saturday, May 9, 2009 (*3:30 PM ET)

Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New York Mets at San Francisco Giants

Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Texas Rangers

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees

Texas Rangers at Houston Astros

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks

Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers

Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox

Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New York Mets at New York Yankees

St. Louis Cardinals at Cleveland Indians

Chicago White Sox at Milwaukee Brewers

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tampa Bay Rays at New York Mets

Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Milwaukee Brewers at Detroit Tigers

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves

Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Arizona Diamondbacks

Saturday, July 4, 2009

New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins

Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

Baltimore Orioles at Chicago White Sox

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Oakland Athletics

Saturday, July 25, 2009

St. Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies

Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox

Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves

Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves

Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks

Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New York Mets at Chicago Cubs

Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers

Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox

Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians

San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Saturday, October 3, 2009


NEW YORK - No word yet about the future of ousted WNBC-TV Sportscaster Len Berman, being forced out this month after nearly 25 years with the station. Also no word yet about whether Channel 4 will continue with a regular sports segment or not on its newscasts. I'll keep saying this. These local TV stations cutting out their sports segments are making a mistake if they want ratings from the male audience.

These stations are really telling the "casual" sports fan to tune over to a local or regional cable sports channel and/or to ESPN to get scores and highlights. I'm betting they will - and will do so INSTEAD of watching the local news. There are nights when I would rather get local highlights and headlines in a 4 minute segment than sit through a half hour of sports news that doesn't excite me in order to see the highlights important to me.

Meanwhile, telecast regulations take effect this coming Saturday (4/11) when the Mets fans won't be able to see most of the first hour of their game at Florida. Fox-TV has the exclusive window until 7 PM ET, and the Marlins start their game this Saturday vs. the Mets at 6:05 PM ET. SNY will have to join the game in progress. The game is not scheduled to be televised locally, so it is only Mets fans who are effected by this.

The best idea to work around this is probably the one used by Comcast SportsNet Chicago last season when faced with the same situation for a White Sox telecast. They provided details on the bottom ticker until the telecast started, in progress, almost an hour into the game. Then, right after the game and the post-game coverage was over, they immediately replayed the entire game from start to finish.

SEATTLE: It started on Monday (4/6) when KIRO 710 went all sports on Opening Day to also kick off the return of Mariners broadcasts. The station is carrying ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike Show live starting at 3 AM.

It will be interesting to see how KIRO does with Mariners and Seahawks play-by-play and a heavy dose of ESPN programming against KJR continuing with a lot of locally originated sports talk. While a lot of "major league" markets already support two or more sports stations, Seattle does not have teams in all 4 major pro sports. KJR does carry University of Washington football and basketball, giving it a play-by-play edge with hoops during the first quarter.

SAN DIEGO: Seeing an opportunity, KSWB Channel 5 is adding a regularly scheduled sportscast to its 10 PM Newscast beginning Monday May 4, and has hired Ross Shimabuku from a Phoenix station to handle the duties. The station's "Game On" 15 minute weekend sports recaps will continue at 10:45 PM each Saturday and Sunday with Troy Hirsch remaining as host. XETV Channel 6, which is no longer the local Fox-TV affiliate, had dropped sportscasts last month.

TAMPA: WFLA Channel 8 has laid off sportscaster Dave Reynolds in a cost cutting move. Reynolds reportedly was given the news during a workday just after returning from covering a press conference.

BIRMINGHAM - As of this week, the Atlanta Braves still do not have a Birmingham station carrying its broadcasts. This sort of thing is where the impact of the big signal major market stations not carrying the games has its impact. Had this been years ago when the Braves were always on WSB, this wouldn't have been an issue, as fans could have received the WSB signal most nights. Now, they are stuck unless they subscribe to XM. WJOX will continue to carry ESPN Radio's baseball broadcasts locally.

LITTLE ROCK - The Sports Animal 920 AM made its debut this past Monday (4/6) including the Shawn & Wally Show from 4 to 7 PM. Otherwise, it will be syndicated fare including Jim Rome and Dan Patrick along with Fox Sports programming.

On the TV side Fox Sports Southwest Plus has offered cable providers in Northwest Arkansas a baseball package including 50 Kansas City Royals telecasts, in addition to more than 100 St. Louis Cardinals games and about 15 Houston Astros telecasts for this season. They are scrambling to get the Royals telecasts in place in time for the coming weekend. This is finally being done even though Kansas City is the closest MLB franchise to Northwest Arkansas. In addition, the Royals now have a AA minor league team in Springdale, Arkansas. There is also now an agreement in place to show the 50 Royals games in parts of Oklahoma in addition to a Cardinals package.

SIOUX FALLS: KSOO 99.1 becomes an ESPN sports station beginning on Monday (4/13), except for a local afternoon show. However, the local show, co-hosted by Brad Peterson and University of South Dakota play-by-play voice Warren Swain, is scheduled to air only from 3 to 5 PM.

Believe it or not, this will give Sioux City two sports stations. KWSN 1230, which dropped ESPN programming last month, has now decided to carry Fox Sports Radio. KWSN will continue its assortment of regional play-by-play including the Minnesota Wild hockey games and Minnesota Vikings football. The station will also keep a local late afternoon show hosted by John Gaskins.

BLOOMINGTON/NORMAL - Plenty of regional MLB games will be available on Comcast cable in these twin central Illinois cities, but it will actually not be quite as many as it could be. In addition to White Sox and Cubs telecasts, the cable system will carry 110 St. Louis Cardinals games. Sounds good, except that the package is for 130 games. Fox Sports reportedly offers the 20 "additional" games to cable systems for an additional cost to help cover production costs.

Huh? So by Comcast Bloomington not carrying these games, Fox doesn't get its "production costs" fee, yet they are showing the games in St. Louis and some other markets anyway. I wish these cable companies and teams would realize that us fans pay a lot of money for cable TV and that we shouldn't miss out on programming that is available.