Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sports Media Update - Sept. 2nd

Nice to see a sports radio show behind the breaking of a sports news story, even if it is not your typical sports story. Yahoo Sports has confirmed that indeed Dave Carmichael on Sacramento's KHTK was involved in breaking the improbable story about the NBA's Ron Artest contacting and "making up" with the fan who started the memorable brawl in the Pistons-Pacers game a few years back. Artest has been a frequent guest and contributor on the show going back to his days of playing with the Kings.

What makes this story even more bizarre is that the on-air discussion about this between Carmichael and Artest has taken place even though Artest is now a member of the L.A. Lakers. Yet, without the Sacramento radio show, this story might not have gotten out. In this sports reporting era of trade, hiring, and firing rumors making up the supposed headlines as often as the actual games, it is good to see at least one radio station breaking a story.

There haven't been very many NFL pre-season games I have made any sort of effort to watch, but last Sunday's Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos game was certainly a rare exception. The teams that participated in the biggest trade of the past couple of years and who are not scheduled to meet during the upcoming regular season going head to head. I can't help but wonder how big of a factor the Jay Cutler trade was in NBC's decision to air this one nationally, but that decision paid off.

The Bears' win with Cutler's dominant first half gained NBC the distinction of having the most watched pre-season game in literally 5 years. (Yes, literally as the last big pre-season draw as Dallas vs. Tennessee on Aug. 30, 2004.) It wound up being NBC's best Sunday prime time audience since, well, the Super Bowl this past February. For at least the first half, the two teams played the game as if it really had meaning, and it made a difference to the audience well beyond Denver and Chicago. Even more unusual is the fact that 3 of the top 10 "metered markets" for the game were from markets which do not have an NFL franchise. Oh, and the NFL doesn't want us to know, but another of those top 10 markets for the Bears vs. Broncos telecast was Jacksonville, which is facing having most or all of the Jaguars home games blacked out this season due to poor ticket sales.

Then, this past Monday night, the Vikings' pre-season game with Brett Favre also scored well for ESPN. Here's hoping the TV networks will start picking pre-season telecasts based on trades, signings, and significant changes in the future.

The MLB Network continues to make new and great strides practically every week with their innovations and coverage of the season. Now, they are adding still more live game telecasts to the mix in addition to 2 games most Thursdays and 1 on Saturday nights.

They are scheduled to show 2 games on Monday (Labor Day), with the Red Sox at White Sox at 2:00 ET and the Yankees hosting the Rays at 7:00 ET. MLB Network is also planning to cover the playoff races by adding live game telecasts for the final 3 Tuesdays of the season on Sept. 15, 22, and 29th. They will announce which games as the dates draw closer. Meanwhile, TBS will use its opening for a prime time telecast on Friday night Sept. 25th when they will originate the Red Sox at Yankees telecast. Now if we can only get some closer division races..........

College football is back big time starting this week with a ton of national (and some regional) games on tap (shown by ET):

Thursday’s games
7:00: South Carolina at North Carolina State, ESPN
7:30: North Texas at Ball State, ESPNU
8:00: Eastern Kentucky at Indiana, BTN (Big Ten Network)
9:00: Utah State at Utah, MTN
10:15: Oregon at Boise State, ESPN

Friday’s game
8:00: Tulsa at Tulane, ESPN

Saturday’s games
12:00: Akron at Penn State, BTN
12:00: Navy at Ohio State, ESPN
12:00: Minnesota at Syracuse, ESPN2
12:00: Kentucky at Miami (Ohio), ESPNU
3:30: Georgia at Oklahoma State, ABC
3:30: Illinois vs. Missouri, ESPN
3:30: Baylor at Wake Forest, ESPN2
3:30: Nevada at Notre Dame,NBC
3:30: Jackson State at Mississippi State, ESPNU
7:00: Brigham Young vs. Oklahoma, ESPN
7:00: Louisiana Tech at Auburn, ESPNU
7:00: Northern Illinois at Wisconsin, BTN
8:00: Alabama vs. Virginia Tech, ABC
9:00: Buffalo at Texas-El Paso, CBS College
10:00: Maryland at California, ESPN2
10:30: LSU at Washington, ESPN

Sunday’s games
3:30: Mississippi at Memphis, ESPN

Monday’s games
4:00: Cincinnati at Rutgers, ESPN
8:00: Miami (Fla.) at Florida State, ESPN

DENVER: ESPN 1600 continues to push for listeners against Mile High Sports, and they are hoping that local legend John Elway can come through in the clutch for them. Elway will join Channel 4 anchors Vic Lombardi and Gary Miller each Monday morning at 8:00 local time right through the morning after the Super Bowl. They also have former Bronco receiver Ed McCaffery scheduled to join their morning show each Tuesday morning for still more analysis.

ATLANTA + ATHENS: Former University of Georgia defensive end David Pollack will be an analyst on "SEC Gridiron Live" on Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southwest beginning this week, with the first run of the show at 10:00 PM ET on Wednesdays. Former NFL standout and analyst Randy Cross is also on this show.

PHILADELPHIA: As mentioned earlier, Bob Salmi will not return to the 76ers telecasts for the coming NBA season. The announcement has been made official that Ed Pinckney will replace Salmi on the Comcast SportsNet telecasts working along with Marc Zumoff.

ORLANDO: Talk about an impact player! Dwight Howard has emerged as a force in the NBA and the upcoming season reflects that. Yet, the Orlando Magic Radio Network will actually benefit more on the financial side than the TV side. The national or regional network TV schedules announced by ABC, ESPN, and TNT already have 24 games of the Magic scheduled. The scheduled 10 appearances on TNT and 5 on ABC are exclusive telecasts, which means that Sun Sports or Fox Sports Florida cannot show those games. Thus, fewer revenue opportunities from TV advertising whereas the Radio Network does every game.

Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida are splitting up every game which can be shown. David Steele returns for play-by-play and former Magic coach Matt Goukas will again provide commentary on.

DALLAS: The Fan 103.5 has just added Richie Whitt as official co-host for middays along with Nevy Scruggs. This means no more rotating with Richard Durrett.

ALLENTOWN: The Fox 1470 adds a local sports show from 9:00 to 11:00 AM beginning this Saturday (9/5). Keith Groller will host "Calling All Sports", with the local newspaper columnist focusing on Penn State and Philadelphia Eagles football along with Phillies baseball and local happenings.

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