Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sports Media Report - Jan. 27th Update

In the midst of it all, WYTS 1230 in Columbus changes from talk to sports radio earlier this week. Normally not a top story for the week, and frankly it still isn't. But in the age of technology and the need for radio to embrace what surrounds it, this format change results in still another example of a blown opportunity for a radio station.

I learned of the format change and thought I would check out the station's web site. My expectation was to see a new station logo, the new programming lineup, sports scores and headlines, and probably bios and information about the voices which will be a part of this format. Maybe they were ready with the link to be able to listen live, and I could give it a sample from a few hundred miles away. Instead, all I saw was the station info combined with the Fox Sports Logo. Nothing more.

There wasn't even a "Contact Us" or links to anything else local or national. Nothing. No runs, no hits, and a group of errors. (Still nothing has changed in Day 2, as of this writing.) If WYTS had time to arrange a new affiliation and format change, one would think they would have the time, and the knowledge, to make their web site a part of this.

Sorry, but I'm not going back to their one page web site day after day to see if they have changed or improved it. There are plenty of other sites for sports headlines, and plenty of other sports talk shows to listen to, whether on my radio dial, on my satellite radio receiver, or streaming from most markets. This doesn't exactly have the excitement building to hear the programming, if their own web site can't tell me a thing about it, other than it might be Fox Radio Sports.

SAN FRANCISCO: KTRB 860 AM has brought back "Sports Byline USA" with Ron Barr and "Sports Overnight America" as it gets ready to host the Oakland A's broadcasts starting in just a few weeks from spring training. This is a homecoming, as Barr strated "Sports Byline" years ago while on KSFO.

NEW YORK - Cutbacks hit the TV side, as WCBS-TV 2 right now has one on air sportscaster. Sam Ryan is the lone survivor, as Sports Director and lead anchor Ducis Rodgers has been let go, along with morning anchor John Discepolo. Rodgers had been with Channel 2 for more than 5 years, working his way up from the morning sports anchor spot.

Meanwhile, Sal Marchiano unretired for a few days, filling in on WABC Radio doing sports updates in the morning filling in for Warner Wolf.

BALTIMORE & D.C.: Steve Davis is the latest Baltimore sports radio casualty, having been let go by WBAL Radio, which is reportedly paying him for the remaining months on his contract. Baltimore Sun writer Peter Schmuck will "fill in" among others. Davis has been a fixture in Baltimore for 15 years, having been a TV 45 sports anchor going back to 1994.

Across the market in D.C. comes word that MASN has decided to spice up the Nationals baseball telecasts by adding Rob Dibble as analyst. Fans know from Dibble's interesting commentary with ESPN, Fox, and XM, that he is not one to sugar coat. Doing the Nationals games this season will put that to the ultimate test. Dibble replaces Don Sutton, who reportedly will be named to his second stint with the Atlanta Braves broadcast crew any minute now. Sutton has already broadcast the Braves for 18 seasons, and would join Jim Powell in replacing (or trying to) the late Skip Caray and the retired Pete Van Wieren.

MILWAUKEE: It's nice to see one radio personnel decision that didn't drag on for weeks and weeks. Sports WSSP 1250 has already started Tom Parker in the role of Program Director, replacing Ryan Maguire. Parker was most recently in the Milwaukee market last year with leader WTMJ. Maguire was promoted to the P.D. spot on KSCP in Kansas City within the past month.

HOUSTON - Rice University basketball coach Ben Braun is now doing a weekly show on KFNC 97.5 through the current season, airing Mondays at 7 PM.

Houston Astros games will be broadcast in Spanish this season after all. KLAT 1010 AM now has a one-year agreement to continue, having handled the Spanish broadcasts since 2001. Francisco Romero returns for his second season.

On the TV side, Fox Sports Houston now plans to re-air their Astros telecasts (which is plenty since they could have 146 games this season) at 1:00 AM. In addition, they plan a one-hour condensed rebroadcast the following day at Noon.

ORLANDO - Sports fans seem to be getting their wish, at least in this market. After a one year abscence to try a Spanish format, WQTM 740 now plans to return to sports talk. The move comes a few days after the weaker signaled WHOO 1080 added some local programming to its lineup.

No date or local talent has been announced yet, but Dan Sileo, plus Mike Tuck & Shot Doctor are among those reportedly under consideration. This leads to the possibility of Shot Doctor going head to head against longtime partner Jerry O'Neill hosting afternoons on WHOO.

SEATTLE - While the market waits for KIRO to begin its Mariners coverage, KJR-AM is looking to expand its reach. KKHO in Tacoma has just added KJR morning host Mitch Levy, and afternoon's Dave Grosby and Mike Gasineau from 3 - 7 PM (Gastineau goes solo from 5 - 7.) The station is also adding Fox Sports programming overnights and weekends.

St. LOUIS - Just how much competition will the market's new FM sports station have to conquer? The recent ratings, from prior to the first of the year, show KFNS AM-FM and KSLG combining for just over 3% of the 25-54 males audience. That is down 6% from the same period a year earlier.

RALEIGH-DURHAM - It looks like the BCS has taken over the radio ratings. Everybody is number one in sports. The Fan 99.9 FM claims it is the top rated station from the most recent ratings, beating out sister stations 850 The Buzz and 620 The Bull.

At the same time, Buzz and Bull management issued a release that those stations combined to be the number one source for sports radio.

Then again, none of those entities topped a rating of 1.5. Maybe they should all work together to draw fan and advertiser interest in sports radio.


The Super Bowl and all the hype always signal the last couple of weeks before the start of baseball spring training. I'm not sure if it is a media thing or not, but for some reason several American League teams still have yet to announce starting times for the majority of their home games. This is unusually late for this, since schedules need to be printed and single game tickets need to be printed.

ESPN has announced the lineup for its first 2 months of Sunday Night Baseball telecasts. Peter Gammons will stay in the studio now, and Steve Phillips will be on site with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan for the coming season. Looks like they are planning on saving the New York and Boston teams until later in the season, other than the seemingly mandatory ESPN Red Sox-Yankees on April 26th. For the early season, Chicago teams will be shown on 4 of the 9 telecasts.

Here is what ESPN has announced thus far:

April 5 - Atlanta at Philadelphia (ESPN2)
April 12 - Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee
April 19 - St. Louis at Chicago Cubs
April 26 - New York Yankees at Boston
May 3 - Chicago White Sox at Texas
May 10 - Tampa Bay at Boston
May 17 - New York Mets at San Francisco
May 24 - Milwaukee at Minnesota
May 31 - Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

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.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Red Rush passes away

Sorry to learn of the passing of "Red" Rush at the age of 81 this past Sunday. Rush was one of the most enthusiastic play-by-play men of any era, having shined in the Chicago and San Francisco markets during the 60's and 70's, and even into the 1980's.

In Chicago, he called baseball, basketball, and hockey. He is remembered for being the voice of the Loyola Ramblers on radio during their 1963 run to the NCAA Championship, and then joining the late Bob Elson in the White Sox radio booth for the 1966 and 1967 seasons. He replaced Milo Hamilton when Milo left Chicago to join Braves radio booth for their first season in Atlanta in '66. Red also handled TV play-by-play of (and I'm showing my age here!) the WHA Chicago Cougars in WSNS-TV in the mid-70's.

The hockey stint was upon his return from San Francisco, where he was hired by Charlie Finley for radio play-by-play of the Oakland A's. (The Finley Farm in LaPorte Indiana was easily within range of the White Sox radio games, so Finley knew what he was getting.)

Rush later went on to handle Warriors basketball and a variety of other Bay Area assignments.

Yet, when the story first broke, the Chicago Tribune misspelled his real first name, Wresley, calling him "Wesley". The San Francisco Chronicle got his name right.

I was fortunate enough to meet Red on several occasions while working in Chicago in the early and mid-70's. As a result, I already miss him as a person, as well as from his broadcasting days.

Heaven is having its most enthusiastic week in a long time. No doubt about it. Thanks, Red!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sports Media Report - Jan. 13th Update...........

The next few days could go a long way toward addressing the perception among millions of sports fans around the country about the "New York media bias" they perceive regarding sports reporting thanks to the NFL matchups to determine the Super Bowl participants.

Even though Philadelphia is a major media market, the perception is that this year's NFC Championship is not "the same old teams". Actually, that's a fact rather than a perception. The N.Y. Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers (the biggest TV and radio draws in the NFC) are all at home watching. Philadelphia and the Arizona Cardinals will battle it out on Sunday for the right to play in the Super Bowl two weeks later.

Just how will this week play in the New York media, especially with the Giants having been eliminated to the surprise of many? Will WFAN and WEPN devote talk time specifically to the Eagles vs. Cardinals? Or will they continue to let listeners sound off about the disappointment the Giants and Jets brought instead?

From a national perspective, the possibility exists of an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl for the first time ever, if the Eagles and Steelers both win on Sunday. In addition, the possibility exists for Philadelphia to be a surprise winner of both the baseball and football championships, and overtaking Boston as the current "city of champions".

On the AFC side, the Steelers are a known commodity, based on their recent success as well as their strong years during the 70's and into the 80's recalled by the older fans. They are a much easier "sell" than the Baltimore Ravens who are not well known to the casual fan.

There is the theory that it doesn't matter which teams play in the Super Bowl because it will generate the large audience anyway. But I believe that NBC would prefer an all Pennsylvania matchup for the big game. Again, the Steelers have the big game reputation, and Philadelphia is a large market with the possibility of the city being a 2 sports champion.

If it winds up being Baltimore vs. Arizona in the Super Bowl, we might just have the ultimate test of whether or not people care which teams are in.

HOUSTON - As of this week, Fox Sports Houston is now separated from Fox Sports Southwest. This will result in more local content for more than 4,000,000 households stretching into Louisiana. FSH already carries the vast majority of Astros and Rockets telecasts. In fact, only 12 games are targeted to air on KTXH-TV this coming season. The "Houston Sports Beat" show is expanding from once to twice weekly. Speculation is that FSH was expanded with an eye toward preventing one or both teams (Rockets, Astros) from starting their own TV network. In Chicago, Fox Sports Chicago has been defunct for two years when the White Sox, Cubs, Bulls, and Blackhawks joint ventured with Comcast Cable to form Comcast SportsNet which handles the majority of telecasts for all four teams there.

On the radio side, the recent monthly radio ratings show the Houston markets four sports radio stations combined (that is combined!) for a 2.7 market share overall. Ooops.

DALLAS - The Cowboys are done for the season, but not in the media. There is still a couple more weeks remaining in the negotiation period for the Cowboys radio broadcasts for next season. Word is that 105.3 The Fan is trying to secure the broadcasts from 1310 The Ticket.

On the TV side, the new Cowboys Stadium will be hosting more prominent events beginning this summer. ESPN has a new five-year deal to televise a Labor Day weekend "season opening" game which will be played there as a neutral site. This coming September the game will pit Oklahoma against Brigham Young. You read that right. Oklahoma's season opener will be played in Texas. How about them Cowboys? But I can top that. In addition the Cotton Bowl football game will also take place at the new stadium. It moves from The Cotton Bowl (also the name of the stadium which hosted the game all these years).

Congrats to Dave Barnett. The University of North Texas graduate who has been with ESPN for 13 years, has joined the Texas Rangers radio team. He replaces Victor Rojas who left to join the new MLB-TV cable network. Barnett will move over to TV when TV voice Josh Lewin is away handling assignments for Fox-TV. Barnett will continue doing college football and hoops for ESPN. He is no stranger to the Metroplex, having handled Mavericks play-by-play on TV for most of the 80's. He also spent seven seasons doing San Antonio Spurs telecasts.

SAN FRANCISCO - The search for a new radio voice of the 49ers is over. Long time sportscaster Ted Robinson will call the play-by-play on radio starting next season. Robinson has done play-by-play for several teams and drawn some network assignments for NBC-TV over the past 30 years.

BOSTON - Talk about the end of an era in Boston sports! 70 year old Gil Santos is retiring at the end of January after 38 years as WBZ Radio morning sports anchor. But Gil is not retiring completely. There is the matter of his play-by-play role for the Patriots games, and that will continue.

Santos will be back for his 31st season (combined) of calling the Patriots next season on WBCN (sister station to WBZ) and doesn't plan to stop there. He began calling the Pats in 1966, stopped after the 1979 season, and returned to stay in 1991. Long time analyst Gino Capelletti is also expected to continue in that role.

SEATTLE - Kevin Calabro is back in the news this week. The former voice of the NBA Supersonics remained in Seattle when the team moved to Oklahoma City. Starting April 1st, Kevn will host a daily 3 hour show on KIRO 710 under its upcoming sports format. KIRO will compete against KJR in the sports talk segment, but KIRO having both the Mariners and Seahawks figures to make it more than an upstart, especially with Calabro on board.
Calabro has been handling Pac-10 football and hoops for FSN Northwest this season along with soccer telecasts locally.

College hoops fans, and especially U. of Washington fans, are not happy about FSN's decision to not show this Thursday's (Jan. 15) UW game against Oregon. The Network is going with Oregon State vs. Washington State followed by UCLA vs. Arizona for this week's doubleheader. Fox Sports holds exclusive rights, but there is no room to move it, as Comcast SportsNet already has the Portland Trailblazers NBA game on its schedule. After Thursday, only two of the UW games are not yet scheduled to be televised into Seattle.

BALTIMORE: Give a radio station owner a chance to cut costs and he will take a mile, to coin a phrase. Or, he will take afternoon drive instead. Just as sports talker Rob Long announced he is leaving WNST 1570 for mornings at Fox 1370, WNST owner Nestor Aparicio filled the gap right away. Nestor is in rotation for the next two weeks as host of the afternoon drive show. And as of February 1st, he plans to handle the show full time. So much for the expression "Don't quit your day job!".

CLEVELAND - Speaking of afternoon drive sports hosts, WKNR 850 has hired 2-time Emmy winner Michael Reghi to host its 3 - 6 PM show. Reghi has a long local history, including 12 seasons as analyst on Cavaliers TV which ended in 2006. He "replaces" "Munch" Bishop, who has been promoted to Sports Director of WKNR, 1540 "KNR2" and their web sites.
Bishop will continue to host the pregame shows for the Browns and Ohio State football broadcasts among other assignments.

CHATTANOOGA: The "Max'd Out" sports show is coming to Chattanooga. Literally. Max Howell is relocating from Jackson MS and will originate his show from 1 to 4 each afternoon from the ESPN 1370 studios as of this week. The 68-year old Howell used to host "Southern Sports Tonight" from Atlanta. "Max'd Out" will also air in 20 other markets throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi and will emphasize SEC sports.

MADISON: WTSO 1070 has added The Jim Rome Show to its midday lineup.

Monday, January 12, 2009

a positive to the Yankees' spending?

Before you laugh off the headline and remove your link to this blog - give this a moment's thought.

Every sports fan, baseball or otherwise, has definite thoughts about the significant spending spree of the Yankees over the past few weeks. So far this off-season, they have spent more than the value of some pro sports franchises on 3 players. Some argue that the front office is doing all it can to produce a winner for this year and beyond, which is more than certain teams seem to attempt. Others argue that this over-spending is driving up costs to the point that we will all be priced out of going to sports events in person, even once or twice per year, at this rate.

I'm all for a team to outbid another for a particular player, but this is insane. Yet, I see one positive about what the Yankees have done, and for all I know, are still doing when it comes to free agents.

One of the overlooked methods the players used to create their outrageously high salaries was the baseball collusion lawsuit, which they were able to prove. Ever since, the owners have been more or less forced to overspend on players.

Well, now the Yankees have signed two players for amounts among the highest paid ever at their positions. So as far as I'm concerned, the rest of the free agents out there don't have to get anywhere near what they think they should.

The Yanks have, in effect, made it possible, for the other teams to hold the line on additional spending. Maybe even to dump off some of the huge salaries they are stuck with. This is the year they can do it.

Why? Because based on the Yankees' payroll, there is no way these greedy players could win another collusion suit. The "average" MLB has already gone out of sight higher than ever, even though more free agents remain unsigned than signed for the upcoming season (as of this writing).

The other owners don't have to get silly this year. Let's hope they heed this advice.

If they don't, and continue to raise ticket prices and the overall cost of being a fan to the point of no return, they are risking damage with fan relations for the future.

After the owners gave up in 1996 and rendered the strike in 1994 meaningless by caving in to the players outrageous demands, I made a half serious + half in jest comment:

Come spring training, I would review the rosters, past performance, upcoming projections, farm system, stadium, and attendance histories of all of the MLB teams. I would use this to determine which team I would root for during the upcoming season.

Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Choosing fandom based on a bunch of statistics and intangibles?

But it isn't. Never was. That's how the players look at us as fans. The players don't give it back or accept a hefty pay cut when they don't achieve the expected statistical level. They expect us to buy game tickets based on a projected first place finish. If the team comes in 4th place, we don't get any of our ticket money back.

Now, thanks to the Yankees, the owners can collectively not spend one more dime on free agents and increasing existing contracts. The Yankees have already raised the average salary level another notch. No need for the other teams to further this along.

This is the remaining owners' collective chance to hold the line on the cost of free agents. The players wouldn't have a leg to stand on if they want to cry collusion, based on the rise of average salary no matter what else happens.

As a fan, I would like to look at it like this. If "my" team gets rid of $10,000,000 of salary for the coming season, and is expected to draw 2,500,000 in attendance for the season, they should then lower all ticket prices by $4 each. The team "savings" get passed along to the paying customers, as it should be. If "my" team saves me enough money, and performs at or above expections during the season, I could reward them by attending one or more additional games.

C'mon 29 owners. This is your chance!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sports Media Report - Jan. 6th update

Matt Millen may have made his biggest news earlier in this NFL season by getting fired as General Manager of the winless Detroit Lions, but I'll tip my hat to him for coming up a winner as we start it up for 2009.

If you go back in time a few years, you will recall Millen's excellent work as a game analyst along with Dick Stockton on Fox-TV's NFL coverage. That helped lead Millen to the role he took on with the Lions. And then, the Lions went on to have the poorest record in the NFL during his tenure.

So why do I consider him a winner? It is because he is right now managing to do what effective and successful executives do. Turning a negative into a positive.

In case you missed it, Millen went on NBC-TV this past Saturday during their playoff coverage and calmly answered every question that was thrown his way about the Lions. He spoke up and took the blame for the team's failure. On national TV. No pointing of fingers, no excuses, no bitterness toward the organization or anyone else. It is rare enough to get an honest answer from an adverse situation, but Millen went where few others dare.

Matt Millen is not about to be hired by another NFL team, no matter how much blame he accepts and how much he tells people he has learned. I have never met or talked with Millen personally, but I see where this is leading without having to hear it from him.

He isn't looking to be hired by another team. He is looking to be hired by another network, and knows to return to the analyst role which brought him the positive recognition in the first place.
Fans and reporters alike are giving him credit for speaking the truth on national TV no matter how much it hurt. Deservedly so.

The first result of this is that Millen has been hired by NBC-TV to be a part of their Super Bowl telecast. Let's face it. NBC would not have a struggle on its hands to find air talent for the Super Bowl telecast.

If Millen had been unwilling to be interviewed, or had gone on NBC and pointed fingers and appeared bitter, there is no way he would have been near a microphone or camera on Super Sunday.

Instead, he figures to shine with honest analysis on Super Sunday, after which he can sit back and field offers from TV and cable networks for next season.

He can go back to the role that made him successful and which he is obviously more comfortable, and successful, with. In this day of people in the real world worried about their jobs, and free agent players out there without new contracts, Millen found a way to create instant demand and likely a solid position for her services for years to come. That is great management.

Speaking of the NFL, now that the regular season is over, I wonder if the leagues media powers that be will examine the Baltimore-Washington market and its fan base between now and July training camp.

Fans of the Ravens and the Redskins should no longer have to miss out because of exactly where they live. The NFL, as of now, still considers Baltimore and D.C. as two different markets despite being within 50 miles of each other and sharing TV and radio station signals. Again this past season, most Ravens games appeared on WJZ channel 13 in Baltimore and on WUSA channel 9 from D.C. The Redskins appeared as a "secondary market" team (according to NFL TV policy) on Fox 45 from Baltimore, in addition to primary coverage of most games on Fox channel 5 from D.C.

However, there were instances where Ravens games were bumped from the D.C. station and Redskins games from the Baltimore channel. Also, some of the "secondary market" stations were denied seeing some of the regional or national doubleheader games which would have been permitted under "home TV" rules.

What adds to the irony is that it was during the term of Richard Nixon as President that he was a factor in getting the NFL to allow home games in the event of an advance sellout because Nixon wanted to see all of the Redskins games on TV.

When you consider that MLB allows equal access to the entire area for radio and TV coverage of both the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Natonals, it provides another reason for the NFL to revise its policy. This is not an issue where the NFL has two teams in one general market, which includes the Giants and Jets in NYC and 49ers and Raiders in the San Francisco area.

While fans around the country gripe about not getting a few of the games exclusive to the NFL Network, just one market has a bigger gripe about missing out on games on Sundays. Yes, it is time for change.....

OAKLAND - The A's will be movin' on up the radio dial and closer to civilization for the upcoming season. For some fans, it will seem like they are returning to the radio. No more 1550 AM and its limited coverage, especially for night games.

KRTB 860 AM has a new one-year deal to put the games on the news/talk station. The station also airs both Stanford basketball and football, and has already announced an increase in the number of spring training broadcasts to 17.

Ken Korach, Ray Fosse, and Vince Cotroneo will continue as the A's radio team, and Robert Auan is expected to handle the post-game show.

Having their games on 1550 AM reminded some of the older fans of the season almost 40 years ago when Charlie Finley couldn't get a radio station and had the A's games broadcast on a college radio station. Again, the A's "graduate" to a better signal.

NEW YORK - A good start to the year for Yankees TV voice Michael Kay, as his afternoon show on WEPN 1050 is expanding by one full hour. Starting on Monday (Jan. 12), Kay will be heard, along with co-host Don LaGreca, from 2:00 until 7:00 PM. No word yet on who, if anyone, will work with LaGreca on afternoons when Kay's Yankees assignments conflict.

The joke going around the office is that Kay needs the extra time in order to calculate the Yankees payroll each week.

BOSTON - The Big Show on WEEI will continue to be "Big" for years to come. The station has signed Glenn Ordway to a multi-year contract to continue on his 2:00 to 6:00 drive-time show.

MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Journal reports that Brewers radio voice Jim Powell is a leading candidate for the Atlanta Braves radio booth. Powell's Georgia roots include his having graduated from the University of Georgia. The Braves need to add another voice following the retirement of Pete Van Wieren (who retired after more than 30 years) and the death of Skip Caray.
Powell has been in the Brewers' booth for the past 13 seasons, the longest of any of the partners with Bob Uecker. Among those who have come through the Brewers' radio booth over the history of the franchise are Merle Harmon and Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes.

On the football side, the Packers' disappointing season is reflected in the TV statistics showing that the Packers telecasts for their just concluded season were the lowest in more than 15 years. Adding to this is the fact that the Green Bay season opener, a Monday night game vs. division rival Minnesota, was the highest rated game of the entire season.

The joke going around the office is that the Jets' telecasts won't feel the ratings pinch nearly as much next season if Brett Favre retires from New York.

St. LOUIS - The new sports station at 101.1 FM, now underway after months of hype, has scored a touchdown with the addition of the Rams broadcasts starting this year. This 2-year deal moves the team over from KLOU-FM, and is believed to be a revenue share. 101.1 FM also carries St. Louis University hoops in addition to their local drive time sports talk.

ATLANTA - WFOM 1230 from Marietta has become "The Fan 2", picking up ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike for mornings and Mike Tirico and Brad Van Pelt during the afternoon. This gives some of the market a choice among 3 "sister" sports stations. "The Fan" at 680 AM continues to air mostly local sports talk, although it continues to carry Colin Cowherd. 1340 AM is now known as "The Fan 3" and airs Fox Sports and other syndicated shows.

But that's not all. While the "3 Fans" are a combination, 790 "The Zone" competes with a stronger signal. However, their programming consists of a heavy does of Sporting News Radio.