The May radio ratings across the country showed more movement among sports radio stations than previous months have in some key markets. In Los Angeles both KLAC 570 and KSPN 710 showed increases, with KLAC almost doubling its audience over the past year. As we mentioned earlier, Dallas' KTCK The Ticket continues its solid lead against local competitors. That is even more impressive when you note that the 4 sports stations in Houston do not even combine for a bigger morning drive share in Houston than The Ticket has in Dallas.
In Chicago, even though the passion among baseball fans remains high (with both baseball teams coming off 2008 Division championships) the Cubs and White Sox radio broadcasts are not making a dent in the ratings. WSCR showed little movement at night vs. ESPN Radio WMVP with the Sox games, while WGN Radio ratings continue to struggle even with the addition of Cubs play-by-play to the past 2 ratings months.
My theory remains that the fans who enjoy baseball on radio prefer the old school professional broadcasters who focus on the game and only the game. White Sox broadcasts are handled by Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson, both former players, and while Farmer has improved significantly over the years, has not been well received by many fans. Cubs legend Ron Santo was a legend on the field but usually offers little more than a few cheers. And did I mention that TV ratings for both teams have shown increases for this season?
Overall, it's a week filled with comings and goings on the sports radio scene.
CHICAGO: Great to see WSCR 670 "The Score" get rid of its overnight syndicated programming and go live and local. Now, the 50,000 watt station only needs to either get Dan Patrick on live during the midday or switch to a live show after 10 PM or following its White Sox broadcasts. Saving money is one thing, but airing a show previewing games which have already been played by the time Patrick's show finally airs doesn't do a thing for the audience.
Better yet, the station has brought back Les Grobstein as host from 1 to 5 AM. Many remember this walking encyclopedia of sports from his days on WLS Radio in the late 70's and early 80's and through several sports talk and reporting gigs in the Chicago area ever since.
PHILADELPHIA: Sorry to learn of the death of 54 year old Gary Papa, who most recently was Sports Director of Channel 6 Action News, and died last week after a battle with cancer. Papa had been off the air for about 6 weeks, having been on Philadelphia TV since 1981. He had been Sports Director since 1990.
SAN DIEGO: I don't think anyone is surprised, but XX Sports Radio will have a "fill-in" host from 5 to 9 AM next week (week of June 29) when Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith are off. None other than Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, known for his long time stint on the former XTRA Sports 690.
Hamilton is an ideal fit for Southern California because of his knowledge of sports around the country. With thousands of transplants living in the San Diego area, this is a key to success in a market where the talk does not always center around the Padres and Chargers in season.
Speculation is already underway that this is an audition for Hamilton to return, especially since the station will need at least one more host by the end of the Padres baseball season. XX Sports carries extensive pre and post-game talk for its Padres broadcasts, which run through September.
Speaking of XTRA 1360 (its current incarnation), the station has a 2 year extension for its Chargers football broadcasts to run through the 2011 season. The new deal reportedly gives the team more ad time to sell rather than cash, which to me is a win-win for the team and the station.
The Chargers can package air time along with game programs, stadium signage, and sponsorships, while the station pays less out of pocket for the rights. KIOZ-FM 105.3 (yes, Rock 105.3) will also carry the games along with expanded pre and post-game shows. Josh Lewin is currently under contract to handle play-by-play only through the coming 2009 season. Word is that Lewin's contract will be extended, along with Hank Bauer, to coincide with the extension of the radio pact.
MIAMI: Sports 560 WQAM is finally going to be all sports. While it has been understandable from a revenue standpoint that WQAM kept 30+ year market veteran Neil Rogers on middays with the station's only "non-sports" talk show, the new sports show will make for a consistent format. Rogers accepted a buyout of his multi-year contract and is expected to retire.
BALTIMORE: WJZ-FM The Fan 105.7 is adding NFL coverage to its play-by-play roster starting with the coming season. The Fan has signed for the Westwood One package of Sunday, Monday, and Thursday NFL broadcasts. It already carries the Orioles along with University of Maryland sports. The NFL Ravens continue on WBAL 98 Rock this season. Baltimore is already one of the rare (but growing number) of major league markets to have both its MLB and NFL teams games broadcast on FM.
ALBANY: Clearance Channel strikes again. But at least it's not another batch of firings. Just a lack of hiring. WOFX 980's Big Board Sports Show continues to be hosted by Rodger Wyland, and remains the only regularly scheduled local sports show on the station. But now, when Wyland takes a day off or goes on vacation, there are no more subsitute local hosts, such as Channel 13's Andrew Catalon. On those days, WOFX instead runs a live airing of The Dan Patrick Show, normally heard during the afternoon on tape delay.
Then again, they probably considered voice tracking a sports talk show from New York City or Buffalo.
Wyland is now likely to be the most nervous and tense person ever to take a vacation.
CHATTANOOGA: WTZO-FM 105.1 has a new deal for University of Tennessee Chattanooga football and basketball starting this season, complete with coaches shows and a daily update to be known as "Mocs Sports Today". Until now, the football and basketball broadcasts were on (other) separate stations. Jim Reynolds has been named to continue as play-by-play voice for both sports.
TBS Sports has presented a steady diet of New York and Boston for much of its Sunday MLB Game of the Week showings this season. But this is going overboard. Since ESPN is carrying the Yankees and Mets on Sunday night, TBS is showing the Red Sox at Atlanta game this coming Sunday (6/28) with Chip Caray and Buck Martinez on the call. However, TBS just showed Atlanta at Boston this past Sunday. Yes, the same matchup 2 weeks in a row. But their response would be that it isn't always Boston and New York. They do have the Milwaukee vs. Chicago Cubs games scheduled for July 5th.
On the college football side, the Pac-10 Conference has announced a portion of its national and regional TV schedule. (The balance will be announced one to two weeks prior.)
2009 PAC-10 FOOTBALL TELEVISION SCHEDULE (Pacific time)
Thu., Sep. 3 7:15 p.m. Oregon at Boise State ESPN2
Sat., Sep. 5 12:30 p.m. San Jose State at USC FSN
7:00 p.m. Maryland at California ESPN2
7:30 p.m. LSU at Washington ESPN
Sat. Sep. 12 1:00 p.m. UCLA at Tennessee ESPN
5:00 p.m. USC at Ohio State ESPN
7:15 p.m. Purdue at Oregon FSN
8:00 p.m. Oregon State at UNLV CBS College
Sat., Sep. 1912:30 p.m. USC at Washington ABC
12:30 p.m. Utah at Oregon ESPN
3:45 p.m. Cincinnati at Oregon State FSN
7:15 p.m. Kansas State at UCLA FSN
Sat., Sep. 26 12:30 p.m. California at Oregon ABC
Sat., Oct. 3 12:30 p.m. Washington at Notre Dame NBC5
:00 p.m. USC at California ABC
Sat., Oct. 17 12:30 p.m. USC at Notre Dame NBC
7:00 p.m. Washington at Arizona State FSN
Sat., Oct. 24 5:00 p.m. Oregon State at USC ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
7:15 p.m. Arizona State at Stanford FSN
Sat., Oct. 31 4:30 p.m. WSU vs. Notre Dame @San Antonio NBC5:00 p.m.
USC at Oregon ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Sat., Nov. 7 5:00 p.m. USC at Arizona State ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Sat., Nov. 28 ABC 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame at Stanford ABC
7:00 p.m. UCLA at USC FSN
Thu., Dec. 3 6:00 p.m. Oregon State at Oregon ESPN
Sat., Dec. 5 12:30 p.m. Arizona at USC ABC