Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - December 29th Update

As the NFL playoff races again go down to the final weekend, the strong TV ratings are playing a direct role in the drama still to unfold.

We shouldn't overlook the moves by Fox Sports for Sunday (1/2) of putting 3 NFL games with playoff implications on at the same time. This will be an instance of helping the competitive balance and NFL fans while it is really based on generating more huge ratings for Fox.

Fox moved the Chicago at Green Bay and Dallas at Philadelphia games to 4:15 ET instead of keeping those as early regional games. Both of those games have NFC playoff implications, as does the N.Y. Giants at Washington game, originally scheduled for 4:15.

Fans have seen it happen in many past years where early games decide playoff fates instead and render a doubleheader game or two to meaningless. Not so this time around. The ticket holding fans should be thankful for this, since it gives each game more meaning. But is this really for the ticket holding fans?

Guess again. Since both Fox and CBS have doubleheader game telecasts, this is a huge push for Fox to win out over CBS on the regular season's final day. Having New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia's avid football markets glued to the screens during that time period, not to mention the Dallas Cowboys no matter what their record, should help Fox kill in the ratings. They'll kill CBS' telecasts of Tennessee at Indy or Jax at Houston. At least the fans benefit along with Fox TV, unless you want to find a "must see" early game.

NBC should do well again on Sunday (Jan. 2). Even with bowl game and the regular NFL Sunday "burnout" possibilities, NBC has the St. Louis at Seattle telecast which sends the game winner into the NFC Playoffs.

It remains to be seen if the Philadelphia Eagles show any effects of having played on Tuesday (12/28) night after the weather related postponement from Sunday. NBC did well with its Tuesday night prime time telecast. It was nice to see the game start right away after 8 PM ET instead of rehashing everything on another pre-game show. NBC will say that they did their pre-game show as scheduled on Sunday night, when they went 90 minutes instead of 75 before cutting away to game shows. What they won't say is that they wanted to get the game over with by 11 PM so that Jay Leno and their late night lineup would be on time. However, they didn't say it, and it didn't happen, as the game was delayed due to injuries and replay challenges.

Early returns (as of press time on Wednesday) show that NBC topped the prime time ratings with the Vikings' upset of the Eagles. It helped that fans in New York and Chicago had an interest in the game due to the playoff possibilities for their local teams.

But back to Sunday. It certainly was big news that the Eagles game was postponed until Tuesday due to the snowstorm. CBS had it on their bottom line scroll throughout most of its early game telecasts, which was understandable. What is curious is that every time the story scrolled across, it gave the 8 PM ET start time for the Tuesday game. No one was saying on Monday. I'm wondering if that was some sort of league directive. CBS would have no reason (or shouldn't have) to promote the start time of a game to be on NBC.

On Christmas Day, the NBA ruled the ratings, just as we thought. ESPN and ABC had ratings increases of 20 to 45% over last year's telecasts on that day, and this year a total of 5 games were televised.

You can't overlook that the Miami vs. Lakers (LeBron vs. Kobe) showed a 45% increase over last season's Christmas marquee game of Cleveland vs. the Lakers. Before you think "That was a different matchup", consider that both were LeBron vs. Kobe. In Miami, that telecast was ABC's highest rated NBA regular season telecast there. The earlier ABC telecast of Boston at Orlando showed Boston as the top local market for ratings, and was ABC's highest rated regular season telecast ever in Orlando.

The NFL Network telecast on Christmas night of Dallas vs. Arizona finished as the day's most watched program on cable TV. The Network can only dream of what their audience would have been if the Cowboys were having a good season or if that game had any playoff implications.

Meanwhile, now Time Warner Cable is in dispute with Sinclair Broadcast Group over carrying local channels in some east coast markets. This while thousands of AT&T U-Verse viewers subscribing to their sports package lost about a dozen of the Fox Sports regional networks mid-December with no announcement. While it may be easy to blame Fox Sports, AT&T makes up for that by continuing to charge subscribers to the package the same amount of money (unless they call to complain) even with far less channels. And the fans who are or would pay the expensive television bills still don't have a say - either way.

Congrats to Mike Pereira, named "Sports Media Person of the Year" for 2010 by Sports Illustrated for his roving commentary about officials challenges during Fox NFL telecasts this season. Going into the final weekend of regular season play, Pereira has correctly predicted the outcome of 49 out of 50 red flags he analyzed for the network.

Meanwhile, I understand that people in media like to have time off to spend with family around certain holidays. Yet, I understand that over the years many a media member has to do his or her thing on those days because sports increases for holiday audiences.

But here we go again. Too many sports talk hosts are on vacation this week, and it is one of the busiest sports weeks of the entire year. There is plenty to talk about. In many instances, sports radio callers are forced to discuss their opinions with part-time or replacement hosts. At least it is live and up to date programming, so I suppose I can live with it.

Not to pick on Dan Patrick again, but there is no excuse for "best of" repeats on his morning radio and TV show all this week. Especially within a few months of having added several major market TV outlets to the show. It seems like he has been airing repeats more often than in the studio. Sports happens every day. It is not like an entertainment show where actors discuss current movies.

C'mon, Dan. The next month you are taking off, get some players or fellow broadcasters to fill in for a live show. Or let your production staff do some hosting. Or record some topical interviews to keep it current. Instead, it drives listeners and viewers to other stations for live sports talk. If I were an executive with a regional TV Network or large or medium radio market that signed this show, I would be incensed at having my audience pissed away from part of morning drive. A vacation is one thing. Blowing off listeners and viewers is another.

DALLAS: The Ticket 1310 had an 18 hour charity marathon on Monday (12/27). To its credit, listeners were not bored with endless pitches for charity in between the same fans calling in with the same complaints as any other day. Instead, the station went the extra mile, with live guests including Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. Even though this is how it should be, it was good to hear, and also shows the level of competition among the sports stations serving the Metroplex.

BALTIMORE: Tonight's (Weds. 12/29) game between Towson University and LaSalle, as aired on WTMD 89.7, was a special one for Spiro Morekas. Now in his 20th season of calling Towson's games, this one marked his 1,000th broadcast.

YOUNGSTOWN OH: This past Monday (12/27) at Noon, WNIO 1390 did as rumored and dropped music to pick up Fox Sports Radio. The station will continue to carry Cleveland Cavaliers basketball, Pittsburgh Steelers football, and most Ohio State University broadcasts.

EL PASO: KROD 600 drops its talk format and will indeed become ESPN Radio on January 18th. The play-by-play the station has been carrying will continue on KROD. In addition to local high school broadcasts, the station will keep Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns football, and add play-by-play it can air without schedule conflicts from ESPN Radio. KHEY 1380 had carried ESPN locally.

FINALLY: As we wrap up 2010, let me take this opportunity to wish each of you a Happy New Year, and thank you for the comments and e-mails (positive and negative) throughout this year. The Broadcast Booth has been renewed for another year (its 3rd full year) and I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - December 21st Update....

The majority of sports fans associate holidays with whatever sport is prominent at the time. The one exception was Christmas Day, until the past few years. It wasn't that long ago that the NFL would be careful to schedule regular season and early playoff games on days other than Christmas Day itself.

In recent years, the NBA has come along and made Christmas Day its special holiday. The league has gone from one showcase game on Dec. 25 to a doubleheader, and now once again this year no fewer than five national telecasts dominate the day.

Chicago at New York starts it at Noon ET on ESPN, followed by the ABC-TV matchups with Boston at Orlando at 2:30 and Miami vs. L.A. Lakers at 5:00. ESPN takes over at night with Denver at Oklahoma City at 8:00 and then Portland at Golden State at 10:30. Nearly 13 hours of continuous live NBA action, including a couple of marquee matchups.

Although I haven't seen recent figures for TNT, ESPN reports a 35% increase in viewers for the first 24 telecasts of the current NBA season over last season. It looks like the Christmas Day marathon will help that trend to continue.

Granted, not everyone is fine with sports on Christmas Day. But for the many of us who grew up with maybe one or two games of any kind shown on Christmas Day, this is a holiday gift in its own right. There were some lean years when the "Blue Gray" college football game was the only game being shown, and this was a boring 'all-star' collection of college players blended together. Even with the jokes about "the gray tradition year after year", that game only served to make the day more frustrating.

After all, New Year's Day is for college football, Memorial Day and Independence Day are for baseball, Labor Day used to symbolize the start of the NFL season and now has gone back to baseball, and Thanksgiving is for the NFL (especially with the addition of the 3rd game in recent years). The NBA has been sharp in claiming Christmas, as well as the Martin Luther King holiday as its own with a lineup of national games.

The week started off with still another NFL domination. After another Sunday Night Football "win" for NBC, the possible final game of Brett Favre on Monday Night scored well for ESPN. Like it or not, Favre is big news and the ratings reflect it. It would be easy to say "Wait a minute. The Bears were going for the NFC North Division title", which they clinched.

Yet, with the Vikings already out of any post-season possibility, the Vikings hosting the Bears actually scored a higher TV audience rating in the Minneapolis market than it did for the always present Chicago market.

The Minneapolis area rating was reported to be a 48.5 compared to a 40.7 rating for the Chicago market. While it's true that the game was played at the University of Minnesota stadium which may have peaked local curiosity, the belief is that Favre made the ratings difference.

Even on a national level, ESPN Monday Night Countdown (the pre-game show) scored a 3.5 rating, the show's best ever. As a result this show's top 3 most watched episodes (including this past Monday) were all prior to games with Favre and the Vikings.

(The telecast audience ratings for Minneapolis and Chicago are based on both the ESPN telecast and a simulcast of the feed on a local TV station in each market. Since it is the same telecast, there is no need to show the local splits.)

While Fox Sports Radio shows some audience growth, its national morning show shrinks to one offering starting on January 3rd. The "Zakk & Jack Show" with Zakk Tyler and former QB Jack Trudeau remains in Fox's 6 to 9 AM ET spot. As a result, Stephen A. Smith will need to yell his comments at other times of the day, which he will do as their full-time NBA analyst. It took just 5 months for Zakk & Jack to prove themselves since the network only started to carry their Indianapolis based show in late July of this year.

Another great idea from MLB Network comes to fruition during January. The Network allowed fans to vote for their favorite games of the past 50 years, and MLB Network will air the "top 20" during the month.

Congrats to Dave Van Horne, one of the great baseball voices of the past 50 years on making it to the Baseball Hall of Fame next July. Van Horne started with the Montreal Expos in 1969 and has been the voice of the Florida Marlins since 2001.

Chicago Cubs fans now have something to look forward to, as radio voice Pat Hughes was signed to a 5 year contract extension earlier this week. Hughes has been calling the vast majority of innings of Cubs games on radio for the past 15 seasons on WGN Radio. Hughes will have a new broadcast partner for 2011 once a replacement is named for the late Ron Santo. It is not yet known if WGN will add an analyst who will also do some innings of play-by-play and take some of the load off Hughes, who has called upwards of 8 innings of every game for the past few seasons. Yet, this is not certain, based on the WGN Radio trend over the years of having a cheerleader in the booth ahead of another true broadcaster.

WGN Radio, meanwhile, is bringing back sports programming to its 7 to 10 PM time slot starting next week after a few month's absence. Dave Kaplan, who just had his role with Comcast SportsNet expanded last week, will be the primary co-host on weeknights when there are no Blackhawks, Cubs, or Northwestern University basketball broadcasts.

BOSTON: After somewhere around 13,000 sports talk shows over the years, this coming Sunday (12/26) will be the final one for Eddie Andelman. His final show airs on WTKK 96.9.

St. LOUIS: Long time sports host Kevin Slaten found a way to return enthusiastically to KFNS, where he returns starting January 3rd. Slaten had been dismissed back in 2008 after he aired an interview with Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan who thought it was a private conversation.

The move was made possible by the recent new owners of KSLG 1380 Sports Radio purchasing KFNS. Since KFNS has the better signal, management is really only switching Slaten over to KFNS while Jeff Vernetti, Jeff Gordon, and Brian McKenna will move over to 1380 and continue in afternoon drive there. Word is that Slaten will add a co-host during January.

KSLG is bringing back Howard Balzer to host from 1 to 3 PM on weekdays, rather than only appearing on football related shows and segments for the station.

CINCINNATI: If and as the Bengals game vs. San Diego does not sell out for this coming Sunday (12/26), it would mean that Cincinnati fans would wind up with a New York City doublehader on the tube. CBS would carry the Jets vs. Bears game in the 1 PM slot before Fox shows the Giants at Green Bay game as the doubleheader game. It's actually not New York bias, as in both cases there are playoff implications for each participating team.

BIRMINGHAM: The Alabama vs. Auburn rivalry in November also carried over to the radio ratings. WJOX-FM sports radio showed a significant audience increase during the ratings for that period and rose to 3rd in the market, trailing a pair of music stations.

SOUTH BURLINGTON VT: The new year will start with network hopping among some all sports stations. WCPV-FM Champ 101.3 will pick up ESPN Radio, while airing a local sports show with Rob Ryan from 4 to 6 PM. WCAT 1390, along with WFAD 1490 Middlebury and WRSA 1420 St. Albans, will drop ESPN and pick up Fox Sports Radio. The area will technically have 3 all sports stations, as WNMR 107.1 Shelburne will continue with Sporting News Radio except for its local 4 to 6 PM sports show. WCPV will also now carry New England Patriots football and Vermont Lake Monsters basebal instead of WEAV 960 talk radio.

LUFKIN TX: ESPN Radio will be simulcast on both 1260 AM and 103.3 FM beginning with the new year. The FM signal had been off the air in recent months.

May Santa bring all of the sports game broadcasts and talk shows better ratings!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - December 16th Update....

Here we are well into the NFL, NBA, and NHL seasons, with the endless string of meaningless college bowl games about to be thrust upon us, and college basketball getting ready for holiday tournaments and then conference play.

Yet, the sports media has added to the collection of rumors and speculation it "reports" with some bizarre stories over the past week.

Some of the media has reported on a publicity stunt the NHL Atlanta Thrashers tried earlier this week. On Wednesday (12/15) morning, the team's web site and social media pages "reported" that Trash was arrested. That's the team's mascot, folks. The "story" that the mascot had stolen a Zamboni and drove it 25 miles on I-85, and that the mascot was arrested by Gwinnett County Police.

Yet, the Atlanta Fox-TV affiliate "covered" the story, while it also got mentions (even if not taken seriously) on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's web site.

On Tuesday, Mike Felger on Boston's 98.5 WBZ-FM The Sports Hub used time during his show to discuss a local web site doing a "Wed, Bed, or Kill" game in which men are supposed to vote for which they would choose among three Boston area female TV news or personalities. It seems Felger didn't like that many voters came out in favor of "Kill" for Sara Underwood, who happens to be Felger's wife. One of the outside news accounts of this incident reported that a National Organization of Women spokesperson was "surprised" that Felger used his show to discuss his wife and this "poll". So much for any children listening to a sports show wanting to talk about the Patriots and Celtics play this week.

Also this week WAKS 96.5 FM in Cleveland began airing a digitally edited version of a Jay-Z song, "Empire State of Mind". Normally, this wouldn't make a sports media column, but this isn't normally. Only this station (as of press time) edited the song so that the word "LeBron" is not decipherable. Station officials were quoted as saying they did so based on the recent negative reaction toward LeBron James when he returned to Cleveland with his Miami Heat earlier this month. Wonder how listeners will feel when they purchase the song and then clearly hear the Lebron reference.

All 3 of these stories are from within the past week. Here we are with sports radio stations growing for the most part, more regional and national full-time sports TV networks, and tremendous ratings for live sports events all year. I'd like to think we could all focus on the games and the players and coaches instead of hoping we can return to that.

Then, there is the story of Penn State's Joe Paterno calling into WDAE Tampa with host Steve "The Big Dog" Duemig, and Paterno being unable to hear the questions. Several sports and non-sports web sites have links for fans to be able to hear this mishap.

Many are blaming the 83 year-old Paterno for not being able to hear the host and for a botched interview attempt. You have got to be kidding. WDAE should be embarassed beyond belief and have blocked the audio clips from airing all over the place (including The Howard Stern Show). How did Paterno get on the air if he couldn't hear the host? If JoePa could hear the producer prior to going live, it tells me that Duemig should have put Paterno on hold and waited for his producer(s) to correct the technical glitch before continuing. If the Coach could not hear the producer either, they had no business putting him on the air and causing that to happen.

If WDAE can't handle a live interview, that is something for listeners to consider. Whether you are for or against Paterno remaining active at Penn State is not the issue here. That some media members are so willing to have him be embarassed by something that is not his fault is an issue. Or it should be.

Snow in Minnesota causes anger in Connecticut. The unfortunate collapse of the MetroDome roof and the moving of the Giants vs. Vikings game to Monday Night caused some havoc for TV viewers. Fox Sports retained the rights to the telecast on Monday night, with much of the game going up against the scheduled ESPN Monday Night Football game. Thus, Fox was only able to the Giants - Vikings game in approved "home" markets. Those were New York City and Albany NY (Giants), along with Minneapolis, Rochester (MN), Duluth, and Mankato MN.

Efforts by politicians in Connecticut did not get the game televised over-the-air in Hartford or New Haven, primarily due to fighting over the revenue for advertising between Fox and ESPN. ESPN reportedly refused to let the Fox affiliates carry the game, while Fox would not let ESPN2 take its telecast feed because ESPN2 would have been able to substitute its own advertisers.

Once again because of greed some fans are denied the opportunity to see a game on TV. What should they have done in CT? Let both the Fox affiliates and ESPN2 show the game and let the fans decide which channel to watch. Just like when NFL Network let both NBC and CBS show the Patriots game on a Saturday night at the end of their quest for an undefeated season a few years back.

Fans in the Baltimore area didn't care. The ESPN telecast of the Baltimore vs. Houston game on Monday night drew a 43.1 rating when combining the ESPN telecast with a local TV station, nearly double the ratings of the telecast in the Houston area.

Tuesday night's (12/14) NHL telecast of the Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia game wound up as Versus' most watched regular season game the network has ever had and the most watched regular season game on cable since December 2003.

DALLAS: The success of the Rangers and the sports stations carried over to the Rangers getting a new radio home starting next season. KESN 103.3 begins a 4 year deal to carry the broadcasts, while ESPN Deportes KZMP 1540 will carry the Spanish broadcasts. The broadcasts move from KRLD-AM, which had split up weekday and weekend broadcasts last season with another station. This move brings the stability of the broadcasts being on one station, as it is likely the Rangers will have priority over the Mavericks broadcasts during spring conflicts. Nothing official about that yet, however.

KRLD-FM continues as the Cowboys flagship, while the Stars continue on The Ticket 1310.

MINNEAPOLIS: The Twins broadcast booth will seem like it was for the Yankees for several years, as fans will need a scorecard to find out who will call each game during the 2011 season. John Gordon has decided to reduce his schedule for his 25th season with the team to just 90 games. Former Twins voices Ted Robinson and Bob Kurtz will each work about 25 of the other games. Robinson continues his duties for NBC while Kurtz handles play-by-play for the NHL Wild.

Adding to the mix will be Kris Atteberry, as the Twins' studio host will handle some play-by-play for about 45 games. Lead analyst Dan Gladden will do about 135 to 140 games, with Jack Morris returning to handle about 25 broadcasts. There will be a quiz later. At least all of the radio games remain on KSTP 1500.

CHICAGO: David Kaplan will have expanded duties for Comcast SportsNet Chicago for the upcoming baseball season. In addition to hosting the daily talk and interview show, Kaplan will act as studio host for most Cubs telecasts. He is also expected to return to WGN Radio Sports after the first of the year.

BOSTON: Comcast SportsNet has added Bob Neumeier and Nicole Zaloumis to the fold. Neumeier, well known for his stint on WBZ-TV, starts as a sports anchor on January 3rd. Zaloumis comes over from the Big Ten Network.

ESPN 970 will have Stan Savran hosting 10 AM to Noon beginning in January. Savran, who hosted when ESPN was on 1250, will begin his show about one week after the Steelers' season concludes. Yet, the late morning time slot already has a Steelers flavor. "Tunch & Wolf" with former Steelers Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley currently airs in that spot.

NASHVILLE: Sorry to report on the passing of Nick Hunter at the age of 67. Known as "Nick The Stick" for more than 20 years on sports talk radio, most recently with George Plaster on The Zone 104.5. He stayed on the air into November after having been diagnosed with cancer in September.

Yet, many fans were not aware of Hunter's 'double life'. He spent more than 40 years in the record business in a variety of promotions and management positions for CBS Records, Epic Records, Warner Bros., Electra, and Atlantic. He worked with Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Johnny Paycheck, and Hank Williams Jr., among others. He will be missed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

There is justice - Marvin Miller NOT going to Baseball Hall of Fame

I have said my piece on this before, but already feel the need to speak up again since the media is actually spending even more time and space about Marvin Miller, as if there were any reasons in the first place that Miller and the Baseball Hall of Fame should even be in the same sentence. Today (12/6) Miller again failed to receive enough votes for the Hall. That this was even a possibility is sad.

Marvin Miller never played, coached, or managed in the big leagues. He never owned even a portion of a team. He was not an executive for a major league teams, nor a broadcaster. You know, those prerequisites for everyone else in the Hall. There were 25 players on the roster for each team during most of the season, and 40 on the roster at other times. Never, not even during the war years, did teams ever have to scramble to fill space on the rosters.

Deserving players in the Hall of Fame such as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio played long and amazing careers, mostly for one team, and did not leave baseball with fewer than 10 major league seasons completed. No one forced these guys to continue at the sport they clearly excelled in. Some of the accomplishments of just these 2 players (hitting .400 for an entire season, 56 game hitting streak) have still not happened since they did it, and they did it mostly with almost half of the number of teams in the big leagues today. In other words, against much tougher competition on a daily basis.

Baseball had already begun its expansion process in 1961, which was before Marvin Miller came to baseball.

Since Marvin Miller came to baseball, there are still 25 or 40 men on each team’s roster. Due to further expansion, pitchers and hitters are facing comparatively weaker competition than the Hall of Famers inducted during and prior to the 1960’s did. Yet, we have only had one real threat to a batter hitting .400 in the past 50 years. Not one pitcher has won 30 games in one season in more than 40 years. While we have had some single season home run records set, those are tainted in the minds of many because of steroids because neither the players union nor management took action against when it would have made a difference.

Still digging, but I yet to see a Marvin Miller “accomplishment” that would enable ‘Hall of Fame’ to be included in the conversation.

Sure, Miller had a huge influence on baseball, and the entire pro sports world for that matter, as well as sports fans and non-fans. His helping to sever the ties between players and teams after only 4 years took away the incentive for teams to spend to more thoroughly scout, coach, and develop players and their all-around skill levels. There is no more “rebuilding” years since teams now can try and buy their way out of a poor minor league system.

The fans are now priced out of going to games on a regular basis. Season tickets are now mostly corporations and businesses, or individuals sharing tickets to go to a few games each year because that is all they can afford. Kids can no longer go by themselves (2 or more friends) to a summer day or night at the ball park, buy a general admission ticket, and form the love for their team and its players for a couple of bucks out of their allowance. Not only have ticket prices skyrocketed, but fans are also gouged for parking and concessions, and maybe for binoculars having to sit hundreds of feet further away from the field so that executive suites can be below them.

Those who are not even sports fans are paying outrageous fees for their cable or satellite TV each month because of the regional and national sports networks having to pay millions of dollars for TV rights to the games, only to force consumers into helping to pay these costs each month.

These prices are in place so that a backup catcher can make over one million dollars for next season alone, even if he only plays in 20 games.

So those of you who honestly believe that Marvin Miller deserves to be recognized should contact the Players Association and have the millionaires Miller created at the fans’ and non-fans expense build him a shrine, and leave the Hall of Fame to the deserving baseball players, managers, owners, and broadcasters.

I’m not done yet. It kills me that some of the same people who think Marvin Miller should be honored are not complaining because George Steinbrenner also did not make it to the Hall of Fame. Even though Steinbrenner was an owner (and therefore a true baseball person), it seems to me he and Marvin Miller did exactly the same for the players and their financial windfalls. How are these two any different?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - December 6th Update......

In addition to soaring TV ratings for live sports events, sports radio stations have generally increased their collective audiences over the past few weeks as well. Maybe it really is each feeding off the other.

The unlikely meeting of the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers in the World Series was a ratings factor for both markets according to the mid-October to November 10th ratings released this past week.

The Giants were a big factor in San Francisco's KNBR 680 which finished #1 in the market (for what is believed to be the first time), literally doubling its audience since the September ratings. In Dallas, the Rangers' station KRLD-FM increased its ratings by .7, more than 2 1/2 times its audience from November 2009. In addition, KESN ESPN 103.3 also shows an increase of .9 overall, giving the top 2 sports stations more than a combined 1.6 ratings increase there.

Other major markets also reflected more sports radio success in overall audience. (These reflect the overall radio audience, rather than just the 25-54 demographic.)

In Boston, WEEI finished #7 overall in the market, while Sports Hub WBZ-FM increased a full ratings point and finished 9th overall, which gives the Boston market 2 of top 9 rated stations being all sports.

Detroit's WXYT-FM The Ticket is now tied for the #1 spot overall (after previously having sole possession of the top spot), yet lower rated rival WDFN showed a .3 overall audience increase.

In Chicago, WSCR The Score 670 increased its audience lead over rival WMVP ESPN 1000, while play-by-play coverage seems to be more significant. WBBM-AM 780 came in #1 overall in the market while the NFL's Bears are off to their best season since 2006, and WGN Radio showed an audience increase as the NHL Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks broadcasts continue even while there has been change and turmoil with that station's daytime lineup.

NYC showed WFAN 660 holding steady and finishing #12 in overall audience, while lower rated WEPN ESPN 1050 went up .3.

Philadelphia, with the Phillies post-season run in progress early in the ratings period and the Eagles in contention, shows WIP at #8 overall, while KYW 1060 with its news format including regular sports updates being a solid #1.

St. Louis fans continue to flock to relative newcomer (less than 2 years on the air) WXOS, which gained again to finish #9 overall, its first ever top ten appearance. WXOS now has more than 5 times the total combined audience of KFNS and KSLG.

A similar story in Pittsburgh, where newcomer KDKA-FM rose .9 overall in one month and finished #12 overall, with WEAE-AM now having dropped .7 overall just since the September ratings period.

Yet, the sports radio competition has not made a difference in Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami in terms of overall audience.

L.A.'s KSPN went up .2, but only to a 1.1 overall rating, while KLAC 570 dropped from what little it had the month before. Miami's WQAM dipped .2 to now be only #25 in the market. A combined audience rating with WQAM and WAXY would not make the market's top 20. Sports fans seem to be drifting elsewhere in Atlanta since the Braves' fast post-season exit. WCNN dropped .8 overall and is now out of the top 20, while WAXY remains behind.

Even with the NFL Texans having an improved season, Houston sports radio has a problem. KILT dropped to #25 overall, dropping .3 in the ratings. Those listeners went to KBME (up .1) and KFNC (up .2).

On the TV side, several key markets got an NFL Manning doubleheader on Sunday (12/5), including many on the east coast and in AFC home team markets. Among the Fox-TV opening games was the Giants hosting Washington with Eli Manning at QB for New York. The primary double header game which followed was Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts hosting Dallas.

For all of the NFL's TV ratings success this season, LeBron James' return to Cleveland last Thursday (12/2) on TNT beat the Philadelphia vs. Houston NFL telecast on NFL Network by more than 22% nationally, which included a rating better than 25 in the Cleveland market. It wasn't the highest rated NBA telecast of the young season, as Miami's season opener vs. Boston continues to hold that distinction, as of now.

Hardly a day or week goes by without TV sports fans somewhere being stuck in a war between rights holding networks and cable and satellite providers. Now the biggest such "war" is between Comcast SportsNet California and Dish Network. Dish subscribers are now (as of press time) still without the San Jose Sharks and Sacramento Kings telecasts, among others. This comes after Dish had pulled MSG Network (including MSG Plus) in certain east coast areas in October. Dish acts as though its web site is a reasonable response. The real issue is that the fans have no say. The cable or satellite providers should be able to deliver ANY network a subscribing fan wants, if he or she is willing to pay the price. Period. The phone companies don't stop us from calling certain area codes, so they shouldn't be able to stop us from receiving channels we want as long as we are willing to pay for them.

The NBA has inked another international deal, this one to bring 2 regular season telecasts per week, plus playoff games, to India, effective immediately. The result will be a record number of live telecasts available to the country with 1.2 billion people.

WILLIAMSBURG WV: What do you do when your radio station broadcasts both football and basketball, and games are about to overlap?

My answer would have been very much different from what 92.3 The Tide and 107.9 BACH-FM did on Saturday (12/4). It seems that William & Mary's basketball team had its opening game at Noon at VCU in Richmond, with the pre-game show scheduled for 11:30. However, William & Mary's football team had a 1:30 home game vs. Georgia Southern and a 1:00 pre-game show scheduled.

Granted, the basketball game was shown live on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. However, that was no reason for the radio stations to leave the basketball broadcast at 1:00 for the football pre-game show, leaving the basketball broadcast to only stream at They should have either put the basketball game on another station, or reduced the commercial load and had a knowledgeable studio host switch back and forth between the two broadcasts based on time outs, the closeness of the games, and scoring opportunities within the football game. (Since it was the same school, they would not upset one school or set of fans vs. another by switching around.)

LOS ANGELES: It's another difficult season for the Clippers, but even their long time broadcaster suffered an upset last Wednesday (12/1). Two accidents nearby on an interstate caused Ralph Lawler to drive only 6 miles in 6 1/2 hours and miss the Clippers home game broadcast vs. San Antonio that night. Lawler has been calling Clippers games (talk about earning combat pay!) since they were the San Diego Clippers in the early 80's. The game was also memorable because the Clippers actually won.

NEW YORK: A report from Newsday was not confirmed at press time that 1010 WINS will soon have a new morning drive sports anchor, and that it would be Sid Rosenberg. Speculation has it that Rosenberg will handle the duties from the WQAM Miami studios each morning and then continue to host afternoon drive on CBS sister station WQAM.

CHARLOTTE: Mark Packer (the son of basketball expert Billy Packer) is no longer hosting afternoons on WFNZ The Fan 610 (as of Thanksgiving weekend) after his contract ran out. The station had guest hosts filling in this past week and has yet to announce a replacement after 13 years with Packer. Yet, Packer continues to syndicate his program to 14 other stations, including Raleigh, Charleston, and Greensboro. In addition, his WJZY-TV 46 "Southern Fried Football" and sports commentary segments will continue as usual.

PROVIDENCE: Providence College basketball remains in the spotlight for 9 straight Thursdays returning January 6th on Sports Radio 103.7 WEEI at 7 PM with the (Coach) Keno Davis Show. Airing live from a local restaurant, the show (which aired last Thursday 12/2) is hosted by Dale Arnold (who co-hosts middays). Arnold is known for having done some play-by-play for the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins over the years and for having been with the station since its inception nearly 20 years ago.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - November 29 update

The Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest sports weekends of the entire year, yet some radio and TV stations clearly overlooked when scheduling programming for the sports fans. It's not that the personalities do not deserve some time off, but it is that we as sports fans deserve a realistic alternative instead of being kicked to the curb.

There I was on Thanksgiving morning turning on my TV. It was 3 hours before the first NFL game started. NBA news including Miami being on a losing streak. The night before in the NHL saw the first regular season meeting of Chicago and San Jose who met in the Western Conference finals in the spring. Plenty of college football to come over the next 2 days. College hoops tournaments going at all hours.

Silly me. I turned over to watch some of the Dan Patrick Show, now that it has recently gone to a TV simulcast on many of the Fox Sports and Comcast regional channels. A rare chance for me (and other sports fans) to watch the show for more than a few minutes.

What did I see? A "Best Of" show. Worse yet, for the sake of this column I tuned in on Friday morning as well, only to find a repeat of a show from earlier in the week.

On both mornings, ESPN was live with its "radio" shows on TV, as in Mike & Mike and The Herd, whether with substitute hosts or not.

Several of the sports radio stations across the country that I checked also had substitute hosts on, even on Friday morning. At least it was live programming with current sports, even if it wasn't with the regular name hosts.

But there is no excuse for The Dan Patrick Show to repeat and essentially blow off its audience. It has only been within the past few weeks that Patrick's show went to the TV simulcast, and that markets like Chicago were able to hear or watch the show live. And this is how sports fans are treated?

Here was a chance to show thousands of potential "new" viewers (and listeners) what the show is all about. Instead, we get repeats? Sorry, but Patrick could have, at the very least, recorded his predictions and thoughts about the upcoming Thursday NFL games. He could have had fresh interviews in the can. He could have had a guest host, maybe even a celebrity of sorts, host a live and current show and make Thanksgiving fun and special for his current and potential new audience.

What about Black Friday? Patrick and his show totally blew it again. A lot of sports fans had the day off, with millions of people spending more than usual amounts of time in the car with shopping or road travel. The chance to listen for an hour instead of 5 minutes. And all we get is a repeat?

I have liked Dan Patrick for years, but now consider myself offended that his show was not live on either day. Black Friday is not a legal holiday. Now I'm back to my normal schedule on Monday with little time to watch or listen. But now it doesn't matter in the future.

What a blow for the regional TV sports networks. They are trying to capture the sports fan audience during times when there are not any games being shown. And they lose a golden opportunity like that. I'm glad I'm not an advertiser, paying to reach an audience that had no reason to watch or listen.

Same for the sports radio stations with substitute hosts. With all of the events going on over the weekend, that was prime time for sports talk. I'm sure these hosts would criticize an NFL coach for playing his reserves in a game which did not sell out since fewer fans than usual were in attendance. But that's what these stations and programmers just did to us sports fans.

Even though ESPN has mostly substitute hosts, at least they kept it live and topical. They get some credit.

Note to station programmers. Fans want to hear and talk sports from the 'starting lineup' more often than only on working weekdays.

As you might expect, the holiday weekend had its share of TV viewers. The Dallas vs. New Orleans game was the best rated Thanksgiving game on Fox since 1995, while the New England vs. Detroit game was CBS' best on turkey day since its return to NFL coverage in the late 90's.

The Sunday Night Football game with San Diego beating Indy, even becoming a blowout in the 2nd half, was the top rated TV show for the 12th week in a row, and even drew a bigger audience than last year's Thanksgiving Sunday telecast which featured the Steelers.

Curiously, Norfolk, Richmond, and Albuquerque, were among the top 10 metered markets for the Sunday Night Football telecast.

CBS also scored well with Friday's Auburn vs. Alabama telecast, as the game is now the highest rated college football telecast of the season.

Too bad that fans had fewer radio and TV sports outlets and were reduced to substitute hosts to discuss all of these games over the weekend. But the hosts needed their time off, so screw the audience.

Meanwhile, Sports Byline USA Network has added a boxing show, hosted by Pedro Fernandez, and airing early Saturday afternoons.

SAN FRANCISCO: Somebody wasn't paying attention last Tuesday (11/23) during the CSN Bay Area "Chronicle Live" show. Nearly 5 minutes of a discussion segment was interrupted by camera shots with little or no sound from camera shots before the Oregon Ducks basketball game vs. Texas Southern, as indicated on graphics which came on the screen. Surprised viewers saw multiple camera angles showing one of the teams practicing, and another shot of the empty chairs with microphones for the announcers to eventually do the open for the game telecast.

Although it took nearly 5 minutes for viewers to be returned to the botched TV segment (which made no acknowledgement of the cutaway), CSN was lucky that no one at the nearly empty arena knew the cameras were on live TV. Boys will be boys, but in that instance they didn't know.

MIAMI: With all there is to talk about regarding the Heat's slow start, Dennis Rodman tried to do all he could to upstage that last Tuesday (11/23) morning. Rodman had called into Jorge Sedano's show on The Ticket 790 to comment on the Heat when a female voice became prominent along with an obviously distracted Rodman. Yet, instead of cutting the interview short, Sedano asked Rodman if he was "getting it on", and allowed Rodman to reply that she "was sucking something" on the air. You could say that the call wasn't for Rodman to talk about the Miami Heat. He wanted the world to know that he was "in heat".

WASHINGTON DC: Steve Czaban has been renewed for 2 more years on ESPN 980 as a result of his success upon joining the station earlier this year.

TOLEDO: Sorry that we overlooked this last week. The death of Frank Gilhooley in late November marked the end of an era in Toledo baseball. Not only did Gilhooley call Mud Hens baseball for more than 20 seasons from the mid-80's until 2007, but his 60 years on the air in the market included plenty more. His play-by-play went back to the 1950's and the then Toledo Sox of the American Association. He passed away at the age of 86.

AKRON: Akron Aeros baseball will remain on Fox Sports 1350 for the next 2 seasons, as the station will carry all 142 games. Jim Clark returns for his 19th season of play-by-play, while afternoon co-host Ken Carman will return to the booth for his 2nd season.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - November 21st update

It's time for the sports media to ease off on the rumors and speculation and return to reporting. As in being thorough on a story. Sports "news" is supposed to be "news", and not positive public relations. There were two major incidents over the past week which demonstrate the need for reporting to return.

These were the Donovan McNabb contract story, and the rules changes for the Northwestern vs. Illinois football game.

I should be reading about reporters being fired or reassigned after the McNabb story was botched so badly. On Monday, it became a huge story that Donovan McNabb was signed to an $80 million dollar contract. Discussion immediately began on practically every all-sports radio and TV outlet, and throughout work places around the country as to McNabb's real value to his team and the league, and how such a contract rates against other greats of the game. It seemed improbable to many football fans.

All of a sudden, less than 48 hours later, the very same media QUIETLY started reporting that this new contract could actually be valued at as (comparably) little as $3.5 million dollars, depending upon this season and each subsequent season.

While the more recently reported deal may seem more realistic to football fans, that is far from the point. Where is the outrage?

What about the hours and hours that experienced and "expert" reporters and sports analysts spent talking to fans about the supposed $80 million dollar deal?

If I were still the Sports Director of a radio station (or held an equally responsible media position), I would have been spending time and effort to track down the "reporter" and sources of the original story, and then try and find out why he or she was not disciplined. We, the fans, have been duped one way or the other, depending upon which "report" is accurate.

I'm not willing to accept the "ooops, just kidding" approach to this story that the sports media gave me. Those fans who spent hours talking about and listening to sports shows and reactions about the supposed $80 million dollar deal wasted their time.

Now, I can understand that every sports talk host and sports anchor has little to no reason to verify every national story. But I don't understand how it took more than a day to change this story. We, the sports fans who listen, watch, read, and support our favorite sports news and talk outlets, deserve better.

Then, there was the college football game (Northwestern vs. Illinois) played at Wrigley Field on Saturday (11/20). The hype was understandable in terms of that having been the first football game played in that baseball venue in 40 years.

However, it is not the sports media's job to hype the game to that extent. It was bad enough that Illinois lost to the University of Minnesota at home the week leading into the game and lost its momentum for the season. It should have been noted that if it wasn't for this game having been scheduled for Wrigley Field, very little attention would have been given to it.

Instead, fans, especially in the Chicago area, were subjected to extensive coverage of Wrigley Field being set up for football, including the very limited room at the end of the east end zone.

Then, on Thursday (11/18), just two days before the game and after literally weeks of preparation, suddenly the Big Ten Conference decides to alter the rules and have both teams drive toward the same end zone. The teams would switch bench positions for each half. And so on.

As a result, I became angry and disappointed with the sports media for the second time during the week. Where was the outrage?

For the benefit of sports anchors, show hosts, reporters, and writers everywhere, I'll list the questions which should have been raised by this:

What advantage goes to the team which wins the coin toss and would want the wind for the 4th quarter?

What about the fans who had tickets in and near the east end zone, who paid full price and not have an opportunity to see red zone action close up?

Why do the players have to adjust to their team's bench and coaching staff being in a different location from one half to the next?

If the one end zone was considered unsafe, why did it take several days to make this decision? What was different 2 days before the game from a week earlier when the field was considered to be ready?

Since the dimensions of a college football field do not change, how was the game allowed to be scheduled at Wrigley Field in the first place?

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Instead, what did we get from the media? We got the "Let's see how this works with special rules...." approach to continue to hype interest in the game. While I can understand ESPN and ESPN Radio taking that approach, since ESPNU had the telecast, it was not only ESPN that kept up the hype.

The Big Ten Conference made this last minute "decision". Or so the media reported. Does this mean that Northwestern, the Chicago Cubs, and every other organization associated with allowing this game was fine with college players playing under "unsafe" conditions?

THAT should have been the story to discuss and write about. This was an embarrassing story that went unreported as such.

So there I was hearing, seeing, and reading about how the Minnesota Vikings could fire coach Childress if they lost on Sunday. As if that is a sports "story". Whether you are Vikings fan or not, that is not exactly a positive sports story. (In fact, it's really speculation and not a story at all!)

Worse yet, it was INSTEAD of the real story about the McNabb contract and behind the troubled Northwestern vs. Illinois game.

At this rate, my personal sports news gathering each day will come from watching and listening to certain game broadcasts and telecasts, and from looking at the standings and transactions sections only. Hopefully those will continue to be accurate.

Meanwhile, just before changing the rules for one of its games, the Big Ten football championship game, which debuts on Dec. 3, 2011, will be televised on Fox Sports, which has the rights to do so through the 2016 season. Next year's game will be in Indianapolis. No word as to whether or not both end zones will be used.

BOSTON: Maybe it's because the Red Sox were out of the race by mid-September. Or maybe it is simply a fever pitch among Boston fans. Celtics ratings on CSN New England were up 27% after its first 9 telecasts of the season, while Bruins' ratings have risen by 33% on NESN. The Bruins telecast ratings include the 2 games from Prague at the start of the season which were shown live with late morning starts, not prime time like the other games.

Those who remember the early days of ESPN will remember Jimmy Myers from doing the sports updates during the week in between programs. Sorry to report that Myers is no longer doing his weekly show on WTKK-FM Boston, having done his final show on Halloween when the station did not renew his contract. It was his work in the 70's at WBZ-TV which helped Myers land the ESPN gig. Here's hoping he will join another outlet.

St. LOUIS: WXOS 101.1 continues its ratings success story, moving up to 14th overall in the market in the most recent ratings period after less than 2 years on the air. The male 25-54 age group reflects its success, as WXOS more than tripled the audience (in that demographic) of both KFNS and KSLG combined.

Fox Sports Midwest is expected to announce the new arrangements for its Cardinals TV announcers for next season, now that it will show as many as 150 games. Word is that the delay is because of the possibility that Rick Horton is under consideration for a spot in the Washington Nationals' TV booth.

HOUSTON: Brett Dolan, one of the voices of the Astros, will call the Nov. 27th college hoops game between Houston and TCU on radio, filling in for Tom Franklin.

BANGOR: WVII-TV 7 is now 2 weeks into the initial 13 week run of its The Sunday Sports Page show which airs at 11 AM. Co-hosted by Pat Spekhardt and Brian Sullivan, the show features highlights from recent local and regional sports along with interviews and round table discussions. If successful, the show would expand into a 52 week run.

LONGWOOD VA: WMLU 91.3 has received the Virginia Association of Broadcasters "Outstanding Sports Coverage Award" for a public or non-commercial station for the second year in a row. Keenan Crump (Sports Director) and Nate Epstein (Assistant Sports Director) accepted the award. The Longwood University campus radio station airs the school's basketball and baseball games.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - November 9 update.............

The speculation had been around for weeks, but the news made official that Jon Miller will not be back for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball still hits hard. There was no solid reason given for the change. Miller wasn't called out for saying anything controversial or considered not politically correct. I don't recall him issuing an apology for anything he said. Nor do I recall him missing any games he was scheduled to do. (Not doing a game because he was being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is different.)

More importantly, I don't recall hearing or reading a major complaint about his work, and that goes back 21 seasons on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Here we were one year ago with the media swamped with complaints about Chip Caray messing up on TBS' post-season coverage that led to his being replaced before this just completed season.

Yet, Jon Miller does his job well year in year out for 21 seasons. Shouldn't he be rewarded and not demoted?

Maybe it is the baseball purist in me that still yearns for the tradition of the game that vanishes even further every season. It's bad enough we have teams wearing different uniform tops every game, the constant changing of players, games shown and broadcast over different stations over the course of a week, and constant media speculation about personnel.

OK, so I didn't specifically tune in to Sunday Night Baseball because of Jon Miller, or even to hear Joe Morgan talk himself into and out of the same thought throughout the game. Yet, no matter who replaces Miller, it's going to be a bit harder to want to tune in on Sunday nights. Another constant has been taken away from us, and this time for no reason.

Meanwhile, the sports world lost another of its long time voices with the passing of Bob Fulton last week. The voice of the University of South Carolina football and basketball teams for 43 seasons died at the age of 89. It was fitting that his last football broadcast was the January 1995 win over Virginia in a bowl game, the school's first ever bowl win.

Maybe it's time to make the "I said it, but maybe I didn't mean it" statements a bigger issue. Saying something to make headlines and draw media attention shouldn't count. Actually, it shouldn't happen. Two examples within the past week bring this to mind.

Last Friday (11/5) Michael Kay had Isiah Thomas as a guest on his NYC show on ESPN 1050, and said on the air that Thomas "will become GM of the Knicks". There was nothing further said to back up this claim, which Isiah didn't even address. And, nothing further on any of the sports reports or columns since (as of press time). When you consider the sources that ESPN has, along with how many rumors ESPN "reports" (even if they are reported as rumors), you have to wonder about such a statement from Kay. Yet, the comment was picked up by a couple of NYC media members, and here I am bringing it up. It's as though people will forget about Kay's comment, assuming that Thomas will not get any such position with the Knicks, yet his show generated the additional publicity.

However, it's not just media personalities making a statement and eventually looking to get out from under. University of Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward went on KJR-AM Seattle during the pre-game show on Saturday (11/6) and said on the air that rival University of Oregon has become "an embarassment" as an academic institution.

By the time I heard about this, Woodward had already issued an apology to anyone offended by the comments.

I can always understand when an apology is issued over something in print, since the context of a comment can easily be challenged when people are not able to hear exactly what was said. Woodward's comment was made on a radio show when potentially thousands of listeners heard it at the time. That makes an apology tougher to take.

Combined, these two incidents are examples of people on both sides of the microphone saying things over the air that shouldn't have been. Some credibility would be nice, especially with the number of sports outlets trying to stay on top of the competition.

MLB Network continues to provide fresh programming even as the off-season gets into full swing. On Monday (11/15) the Network will premier it's "Baseball's Seasons" with an episode recapping the entire 1990 season. Then on Nov. 29th they will premier the episode about the 1971 season.

Now if only MLB Network would put more effort into getting onto AT&T U-Verse, Dish Network, and other cable and satellite systems that don't offer it. All consumers deserve the same opportunities.

PITTSBURGH: WBGG 970 might be too excited about becoming an ESPN Radio affiliate and dumping Fox Radio Sports. Even though it doesn't make the change until Janury 1st, the station's web site is already promoting its lineup revisions and boasting about the change. This does give us confirmation that the (local) Joe Bendel show will continue from 4 to 7 PM. The station continues as the flagship station of the Steelers and Penguins, as well as being the West Virginia University football and basketball outlet (when no conflicts occur).

CHICAGO: The White Sox are on the way to becoming the first MLB team to be involved in their own HD Radio channel, most likely in time for the 2011 season. This is an addition to last week's announcement of a new 5-year deal to continue on WSCR The Score 670. One of the CBS FM station HD channels will be devoted to the White Sox.

Although this is not my marketing blog, the HD channel should really be all about marketing. In order to make this work, the team and station should be working to put HD Radios into the hands of White Sox fans. Give them out to full season ticket holders. Have them as prizes during station promotions and perhaps to selected callers throughout their sports talk days and nights. Offer significant discounts or free incentives from participating advertisers and retailers. Get HD radios into the hands of fans for nothing or pretty close to it.

This is the sort of thing which could make HD Radio worthwhile by offering a niche but mass appeal channel. To insist that fans spend $50 to $150 to purchase an HD Radio to hear it would only limit the audience. The ideal solution is to also stream the channel, which would benefit fans and advertisers the most, although it would not further HD Radio. Yet, if the idea is to have a constant vehicle of all things White Sox for the fan base, this will be something to keep an ear on.

BOSTON: The sports radio competition continues to thrive with WEEI and WBZ-FM, and smaller outlets and trying to get into the mix. This past Sunday (11/7) brought the "Upton & Lobel" to WXKS 1200 from 9 to 11 AM. The hosts are Bob Lobel (formerly of WBZ-TV 4) and Upton Bell.

WCRN 830 Worcester offers "The Henry Schwan Show" from 6 to 7 PM on Sunday nights, and currently has only one sponsor. On Halloween night, Schwan had plenty of time for personal reflection on the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins. It seems no one called in. Just think if he were on HD Radio.

Comcast SportsNet is adding Bill Walton to some of its Celtics coverage for this season. Walton, who has a part-time schedule on Sacramento Kings telecasts, will work with Mike Gorman on the team's 6 upcoming telecasts (on CSN) from the west coast, starting with a Portland and Phoenix swing in late January. Dave Cowens will add to the studio coverage on a few dates, including the Memphis game this coming Saturday (11/13).

HOUSTON: Calvin Murphy's recent work talking Rockets basketball with Rich Lord and Robert Henslee on KILT could well lead to a regular and bigger role with the station. Those of us who remember Murphy's excellent playing days might say that he could "reach new heights" with his radio career. (For those who don't remember, Murphy was 5' 9" as an NBA standout player.)

VANCOUVER: Market veteran Rick Dhaliwal has a new radio home. He has been added to CKWX 1130 as a sports anchor, in effect replacing Geoff Rohoman and Jason Benner in the process. Scott Russell continues handling afternoons.

WICHITA: Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall began his weekly radio show on Monday (11/8) on KNSS 1330, this season doing the 6 PM show live from a local sports bar and inviting fan participation.

VALPARAISO IN: The recent success of Valparaiso University's basketball team in the NCAA tourney has helped to expand the team's regional radio coverage for the upcoming season. In addition to local WAKE 1500 and WEFM 95.9 Michigan City IN, WJOB 1230 Hammond will start by carrying 14 games this season. WJOB's signal reaches part of the southern tip of Chicago and several southern suburbs.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - November 2 Update......

Another example of an NBA player using the media to make news took place within the past few days, but this is much different from the LeBron James signing which became a TV event instead of a news conference.

For all of the gossip and speculation that appears within sportscasts and on the sports pages these days, it is practially refreshing to see a pro athlete concerned about his comments enough to the point of taking to the media on his own.

Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat took matters into his owns hands. It seems that last Tuesday in Boston Bosh commented to a Toronto Sun reporter to the effect of "It's all about being on TV, and if a player has great statistics and you don't see it, it doesn't matter". (Not exact quote.) It seems those comments were taken by Raptors fans as a slap against the Raptors, for which Bosh had been the marquee player until joining LeBron and the Heat this summer.

Even though Bosh no longer plays for Toronto, he and his agent reportedly contacted Toronto's FAN 590 and Bosh went on the air last Thursday (Oct. 28) to explain the comments to host Doug Farraway. Bosh indicated that his comments were not intended to be a reflection on the fans and media coverage in Toronto.

Agree or not, it's interesting that Bosh chose radio over the newspapers, likely so that his voice could be heard addressing the situation. It is wonderful to see radio be able to use its edge over the print media, and in this instance, also TV, by being able to get live reaction first.

It is also interesting that this story got very little media coverage, considering what a major use of all-sports radio this was. Generally, the sports stations do not have nearly enough player interviews, especially from their local teams, considering their resources. Yet, this was a case of a player (technically no longer local) actually making news on a sports radio station.

The inevitable football vs. baseball on TV comparisons will be flying throughout this week, especially with the World Series' final 2 games both being directly up against NFL telecasts.

At press time, early numbers indicated that the Giants' clincher on Monday night on Fox-TV drew bigger ratings than Monday Night Football on ESPN. Yet, NBC beat Fox on Sunday night with Sunday Night Football, even though this is the first time that NBC went ahead and televised a game up against the Sunday World Series. (And you know there are some NBC execs counting lost revenue from past years after that move.)

Yet, it appears that while Fox-TV scored well vs. its overall competition for the World Series that this year's will come in as the 2nd least watched World Series in recent years.

For NBC-TV, the trend continues among the Top 10 metered markets for Sunday Night Football. Other than NFL markets and Las Vegas, the 2 markets making the top 10 for the night were Richmond and Norfolk, which have scored very well in this category throughout the season.

On the World Series side, it turned out that the San Francisco market had higher audience figures than the Dallas market for every game of the World Series. Regionally, Austin and San Antonio were among the Top 10 metered markets for the World Series.

As the World Series ended and free agent talk starts, we have to pause and wonder whether the Giants' Game 5 win would be the final one that Jon Miller described for ESPN. The voice of Sunday Night Baseball for the past 21 seasons and the lead ESPN Radio voice in recent years now has an expired contract. Same for analyst Joe Morgan. It seems odd that Miller would not be locked up for next season and beyond.

ESPN might have rubbed it in to Fox and to some extent to MLB on Tuesday night (Nov. 2). It's "Bottom Line" scroll just happened to "report" that the World Series ratings were down this season. How that was "breaking sports news" and was given equal billing to scores, hirings, and transactions is beyond me. Face it, if ESPN had shown the World Series, that "report" would not have appeared the night following its conclusion.

The latest radio ratings, this for the mid-September into mid-October period, are coming out this week, showing the impact of the division races and post-season baseball in the cities involved.

As mentioned last month, we focus on the overall audience ratings, rather than the 25-54 male focus that other reporters seem to treasure.

In New York, WFAN and WEPN combined for a .5 total increase in overall audience, with WFAN 660 finishing 11th overall in the market. WCBS 880 showed well, no doubt helped by its Yankees broadcasts along with the all-news format.

Los Angeles listeners continue to not pay much attention to sports radio. KSPN and KLAC each rose .1, but combined their ratings would not make the market's current top 20.

Chicago's ratings saw movement among the two sports stations, even though they would not make the top 10 if combined. WSCR The Score dropped .3 and finished only 18th overall, while rival WMVP ESPN rose .4.

One Giants step for San Francisco radio was taken by KNBR 680, which rose along with the Giants' run to the post-season. KNBR went from a 3.6 to a 5.2 overall and finished #2 overall in the market. KTCT-AM also rose .4, normally a nice increase but it seems pale in comparison to KNBR's. With the ratings period having ended before the NLCS finished and the Giants in the World Series, the sports numbers figure to remain strong.

In Dallas, the Rangers' post-season run along with the Cowboys doing anything had its impact on sports radio as well. KTCK The Ticket led the 3 stations and showed a .2 increase. Rival KRLD_FM went up .6, while KESN still trails but also rose .4.

Philadelphia listeners were talking Phillies and Eagles. WIP 610 showed a .7 increase to #9 overall, while WPEN rose .5, giving both sports talkers a combined rating which would be 4th in the market.

However, in Houston, even though KILT leads the pack of 4 sports stations and rose .4 overall, the 4 stations combined wouldn't have made the market's top 20 stations. If this keeps up, 25-54 will be the sports radio listener estimate instead of an audience demographic when it comes to Houston.

Elsewhere, CBSC, the CBS Sports college TV network, is giving a free "preview" via some systems this week in an attempt to attract more viewers and subscribers. Carrying this Saturday's (Nov. 6) Utah-TCU telecast won't hurt. Fans of both teams might be hurt, as the strength of this telecast and the ability to attract "new" viewers could be keeping CBS from showing this matchup to a wider audience.

HOUSTON: The announcement of a Comcast Sports Regional Network for the Houston area starting in 2 years may or may not spell the death of Fox Sports Houston. After being forced out by similar moves in Chicago and other cities, FSH has 2 years to try and hold its own and prepare for losing both the Astros and Rockets after 2 more seasons.

Whether national Fox Sports programming, Big 12 Football, and coverage of the University of Houston and Rice sports will carry the bulk remains to be seen. Surrounding coverage of the Texans will also likely be threatened (if not upstaged) by a Comcast Regional Network, as these provide expanded NFL post-game and weekly programming in their other existing markets.

This will mark the end of an era. Fox Sports Houston was originally HSE and has carried the majority of Astros telecasts since 1983 and had the Rockets games most of those years.

CHICAGO: The Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks are still winners in the young NHL season. Not in the standings but in the TV ratings column. Comcast SportsNet Chicago aired 10 regular season games during October and reports a 77% ratings increase over last October. Both its pre-game and post-game shows have doubled their audiences compared with the first month of last season.

DePaul University basketball will have most of its basketball games aired on WSCR 670 starting later this month, including all of their (Big East) Conference games and the majority of the non-conference games. Zach Zaidman and Laurence Holmes will broadcast every game, with those not airing on WSCR being streamed online.

CINCINNATI: With the Bengals hosting Pittsburgh for Monday Night Football on Monday (11/8), Mike & Mike will do their ESPN Radio and TV morning show from Cincinnati that morning. WCKY 1530 is giving away tickets to attend the broadcast at the West Club Lounge inside Paul Brown Stadium.

SACRAMENTO: A tough week for listeners to and employees of KHTK 1140 this week. As of this week, Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear is now the only host (schedule permitting) of the 4 - 7 PM spot, as co-host Mike Lamb was let go, as was Program Director Mark Evans. Lamb and Napear were teamed for the past 6 years until this week.

CLEVELAND: Sports anchor Tony Rizzo will be out at Fox 8 as of December 31st after nearly 15 years there. As of now, his WKNR 850 "The Really Big Show" continues on weekday mornings.

WINNIPEG: The recently started Sports Radio 1290 is adding a Saturday morning hockey show starting this Saturday (11/6), as The Illegal Curve Show debuts from 10 AM to Noon. Plans include having current and former NHL players as guests as often as possible.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - October 26th Update.....

Cleveland Cavaliers basketball won't be the same as the season starts, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with LeBron James. All but 2 of the past 40 NBA seasons have brought us Joe Tait as the voice of the Cavs. This new season was supposed to be Joe's final season leading into a well deserved retirement, and a chance for fans and media around the league to honor him on his last visit to each NBA venue.

However, Joe is having heart surgery this week, and it comes after a bout with pneumonia. Tait is not expected back until at least 2 months into the season, and that is considered "best case" at this time. Mike Snyder will step out of the pre-game and post-game studio role and handle radio play-by-play (along with Jim Chones on color), most likely for as long as he is needed on WTAM 1100 Cleveland and WAKR 1590 Akron.

Hardcore Cavs fans bemoan the loss of LeBron James. Longtime basketball fans have the loss of one of the best basketball play-by-play voices for an indefinite period of time. Here's hoping for a great recovery by Tait, and that it be enough to keep him around for one more FULL season after that.

Football and baseball continue to rack up the TV viewers during this busy sports month of October. TBS finished its post-season baseball coverage with a 9% increase in overall viewership for its Division Series and ALCS coverage. The New York vs. Texas ALCS Game 6 telecast finished as the 2nd most watched program in 34 years of TBS, helping the network achieve its highest viewership for any post-season series it has televised.

NBC-TV continues to soar in the Sunday Night Football ratings, with its Green Bay vs. Minnesota telecast (Oct. 24) winning the entire evening and being the most watched SNF telecast of the season to date.

In Milwaukee, WTMJ-TV's initial overnights showed a 53 rating and better than a 68 share, increasing to a 57 rating during the game's later stages. The curious trend continued with Norfolk and Oklahoma City (both cities without NFL franchises) each finished in the Top 10 of metered markets.

This ratings surge may not be limited to MLB and the NFL. Versus reports improved ratings for its early season NHL telecasts, and this week marks the start of the new NBA season, with TNT and ESPN each featuring 2 nights of doubleheaders.

Yet, all is not well in some of the NFL's TV markets. WTOC-TV Savannah had to defend itself on its own web site and in the media after NFL TV policy prohibited it from showing this past Sunday's Atlanta Falcons game vs. Cincinnati. The market is technically within 75 miles of Jacksonville FL, and as a result, the Jaguars game had to be shown. Since it was an away day for the Jags, the game had to be shown (since home games are not selling out). Granted, that is the rule under the current TV policy set forth by the NFL. One would think that given the staggering amount of money the networks pay the league for TV rights that the fans in various markets would be entitled to the games they would most like to see.

This past Sunday (10/24) also had a telecast schedule changed in San Diego, and it may not have been due to the Chargers. The Chargers' home game vs. New England managed to sell out and the game was shown in the local San Diego market. Hours later it came out that it was the (road team) New England Patriots that used a social media site to announce the availability of tickets for the game in San Diego, targeting fans in Southern California, to help get the remaining tickets sold in time.

With Gus Johnson out of handling New York Knicks play-by-play, his role for the Big Ten Network will expand for the coming college hoops season. Johnson will call approximately 23 games this season, nearly double the number of games his schedule allowed last season. Jim Jackson will return for studio analysis and occasional work on game telecasts. Quinn Buckner has been added to the BTN roster for color commentary when his schedule allows (in addition to color on Indiana Pacers telecasts). BTN has also signed Brian Anderson to call some games. Anderson just completed a full season of baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers TV and TBS Division Series coverage. Wayne Larrivee (Packers), Eric Collins (Dodgers), Dave Revsine, Tom Hart, and Tom Hamilton will also handle play-by-play assignments.

CBS-TV's Greg Gumbel will be the featured speaker on January 18th at the 46th Red Smith Sports Award Banquet in Appleton WI.

MIAMI: The Miami Heat radio station battle remains unsettled (at press time) hours before their much-anticipated season begins. What started over a battle over whether the Heat or the Dolphins would have priority next Sunday (10/31) when both the Heat and Dolphins games are both scheduled to begin at 1 PM ET has resulted in the Heat attempting to terminate their contract with WINZ 940.

While the contract status appears headed to court, WINZ may only be airing the Heat games through next week (Nov. 5). This includes the conflict on Sunday, when the Dolphins broadcast is reportedly being moved to WIOD 610 to give the Heat priority. Mike Inglis and John Crotty are set as the radio team regardless of where the Heat broadcasts wind up. Word is that The Ticket 790 has shown interest in taking over the rights.

NEW YORK: Seth Everett has been added to WFAN's broadcasts of the Nets effective in time for opening night. Everett has previously handled surrounding coverage of the Mets for SNY and for Fox Sports surrounding both Knicks and Nets games, along with hosting shows on ESPN 1050. Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw continue on play-by-play and analysis.

Ft. MYERS/NAPLES: Florida Gulf Coast University is receiving additional local TV college. "The FGCU Sports Report" will air on Saturday mornings on the local ABC-TV affiliate, and then in the evening on the local NBC-TV sub-station from now until May. Tom James, former Channel 2 sports anchor, hosts the show.

The NBA national telecast schedule

By request, here is a calendar version of nationally televised NBA games as of now. Of course, the schedule is subject to change, especially later into the regular season.

The games listed on WGN-TV are those available on WGN America only. (The Bulls games carried just on WGN-TV Chicago are not available nationally.) NBA-TV continues having the fans choose the games for most Tuesday nights. All times ET.

Tuesday, Oct. 26
7:30: Miami at Boston (TNT)
10:30: Houston at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Wednesday, Oct. 27
8:00: Chicago at Oklahoma City (ESPN)
10:30: Portland at L.A. Clippers (ESPN)
Thursday, Oct. 28
8:00: Washington at Orlando (TNT)
10:30: Phoenix at Utah (TNT)
Friday, Oct. 29
8:00: Orlando at Miami (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Phoenix (ESPN)
Saturday, Oct. 30
8:30: Denver at Houston (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Oct. 31
7:00: Utah at Oklahoma City (NBA-TV)

Monday, Nov. 1
8:00: Portland at Chicago (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 2
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Nov. 3
8:00: Milwaukee at Boston (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Sacramento (ESPN)
Thursday, Nov. 4
8:00: New York at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: Oklahoma City at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Nov. 5
8:00: Chicago at Boston (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Clippers at Denver (ESPN)
Saturday, Nov. 6
9:00: Denver at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Nov. 7
7:00: Boston at Oklahoma City (NBA-TV)
Monday, Nov. 8
7:00: San Antonio at Charlotte (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 9
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Nov. 10
7:00: Utah at Orlando (ESPN)
9:30: L.A. Clippers at San Antonio (ESPN)
Thursday, Nov. 11
8:00: Boston at Miami (TNT)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Nov. 12
7:00: Utah at Atlanta (ESPN)
9:30: Portland at Oklahoma City (ESPN)
Saturday, Nov. 13
8:00: Washington at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: Golden State at Milwaukee (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Nov. 14
7:30: Houston at New York, (NBA-TV)
Monday, Nov. 15
7:00: Memphis at Orlando (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 16
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Nov. 17
7:00: Phoenix at Miami (ESPN)
9:30: Chicago at San Antonio (ESPN)
Thursday, Nov. 18
8:00: Phoenix at Orlando (TNT)
10:30: Denver at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Nov. 19
7:00: Oklahoma City at Boston (ESPN)
9:30: Chicago at Dallas (ESPN)
Saturday, Nov. 20
8:00: Dallas at Atlanta (NBA-TV)
Monday, Nov. 21
6:00: New Orleans at Sacramento (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 23
8:30: Orlando at San Antonio (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Nov. 24
7:30: Miami at Orlando (ESPN)
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Nov. 25
8:00: Washington at Atlanta (TNT)
10:30: Sacramento at L.A. Clippers (TNT)
Friday, Nov. 26
7:00: Houston at Charlotte (ESPN2)
9:30: Golden State at Memphis (ESPN2)
Saturday, Nov. 27
7:00: Orlando at Washington (NBA-TV)
10:00: Chicago at Sacramento (WGN)
Sunday, Nov. 28
7:00: Oklahoma City at Houston (NBA-TV)
Monday, Nov. 29
8:30: Houston at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 30
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)

Wednesday, Dec. 1
7:30: Portland at Boston (NBA-TV)
10:30: San Antonio at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Dec. 2
8:00: Miami at Cleveland (TNT)
10:30: Phoenix at Golden State (TNT)
Friday, Dec. 3
8:00: Chicago at Boston (ESPN)
10:30: Dallas at Utah (ESPN)
Saturday, Dec. 4
8:00: Houston at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: Orlando at Milwaukee (NBA-TV)
Monday, Dec. 6
7:00: Atlanta at Orlando (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Dec. 7
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Dec. 8
7:00: Denver at Boston (ESPN)
Thursday, Dec. 9
8:00: Boston at Philadelphia (TNT)
10:30: Orlando at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Dec. 10
8:00: L.A. Lakers at Chicago (ESPN)
10:30: Miami at Golden State (ESPN)
Saturday, Dec. 11
8:00: Minnesota at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: Utah at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Monday, Dec. 13
8:00: Indiana at Chicago (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Dec. 14
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Dec. 15
7:00: Boston at New York (ESPN)
9:30: Portland at Dallas (ESPN)
Thursday, Dec. 16
8:00: Atlanta at Boston (TNT)
10:30: San Antonio at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Dec. 17
7:00: Miami at New York (ESPN)
9:30: Phoenix at Dallas (ESPN)
Saturday, Dec. 18
7:00: Miami at Washington (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Dec. 19
7:00: Phoenix at Oklahoma City (NBA-TV)
Monday, Dec. 20
7:30: Dallas at Miami (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Dec. 21
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Dec. 22
7:00: Chicago at Washington (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Dec. 23
8:00: San Antonio at Orlando (TNT)
10:30: Miami at Phoenix (TNT)
Saturday, Dec. 25
12:00: Chicago at New York (ESPN)
2:30: Boston at Orlando (ABC)
5:00: Miami at L.A. Lakers (ABC)
8:00: Denver at Oklahoma City (ESPN)
10:30: Portland at Golden State (ESPN)
Monday, Dec. 27
7:00: Detroit at Charlotte (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Dec. 28
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Dec. 29
10:30: Utah at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Dec. 30
7:00: New York at Orlando (TNT)
9:30: San Antonio at Dallas (TNT)
Friday, Dec. 31
3:00: New Jersey at Chicago (WGN)

Sunday, Jan. 2
9:00: Houston at Portland (NBA-TV)
Monday, Jan. 3
8:00: Philadelphia at New Orleans (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Jan. 4
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 5
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Phoenix (ESPN)
Thursday, Jan. 6
8:00: Oklahoma City at Dallas (TNT)
10:30: Denver at Sacramento (TNT)
Friday, Jan. 7
8:00: Houston at Orlando (ESPN)
10:30: New York at Phoenix (ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 8
8:00: Boston at Chicago (NBA-TV, WGN)
Sunday, Jan. 9
8:00: Cleveland at Phoenix (NBA-TV)
Monday, Jan. 10
7:30: Houston at Boston (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Jan. 11
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 12
8:30: Oklahoma City at Houston (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Jan. 13
8:00: Orlando at Oklahoma City (TNT)
10:30: Miami at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Jan. 14
8:00: Dallas at San Antonio (ESPN)
10:30: Portland at Phoenix (ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 15
8:00: Miami at Chicago (NBA-TV,WGN)
Sunday, Jan. 16
9:00: Denver at San Antonio (ESPN)
Monday, Jan. 17
1:00: Chicago at Memphis (ESPN)
4:00: Sacramento at Atlanta (NBA-TV)
8:00: Orlando at Boston (TNT)
10:30: Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Tuesday, Jan. 18
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 19
9:00: L.A. Lakers at Dallas (ESPN)
Thursday, Jan. 20
8:00: Dallas at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: L.A. Clippers at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Jan. 21
8:00: Phoenix at Washington (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Denver (ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 22
7:30: Utah at Philadelphia (NBA-TV)
8:00: Cleveland at Chicago (WGN)
Monday, Jan. 24
7:30: Washington at New York (NBA-TV)
10:00: Sacramento at Portland (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Jan. 25
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 26
9:30: San Antonio at Utah (ESPN)
Thursday, Jan. 27
8:00: Miami at New York (TNT)
10:30: Boston at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Jan. 28
10:30: Boston at Phoenix (ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 29
8:00: Indiana at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: Atlanta at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Jan. 30
1:00: Miami at Oklahoma City (ABC)
3:30: Boston at L.A. Lakers (ABC)
10:00: Utah at Golden State (ESPN)
Monday, Jan. 31
7:00: Denver at New Jersey (NBA-TV)

Tuesday, Feb. 1
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Feb. 2
8:00: New Orleans at Oklahoma City (NBA-TV)
10:30: Chicago at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Feb. 3
8:00: Miami at Orlando (TNT)
10:30: San Antonio at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Friday, Feb. 4
8:00: Dallas at Boston (ESPN)
10:30: Utah at Denver (ESPN)
Saturday, Feb. 5
7:00: Atlanta at Washington (NBA-TV)
10:30: Chicago at Golden State (WGN)
Sunday, Feb. 6
2:30: Orlando at Boston (ABC)
Monday, Feb. 7
8:00: Minnesota at New Orleans (NBA-TV)
10:30: Phoenix at Golden State (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Feb. 8
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Feb. 9
7:30: L.A. Clippers at New York (NBA-TV)
10:30: Denver at Golden State (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Feb. 10
8:00: L.A. Lakers at Boston (TNT)
10:30: Dallas at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Feb. 11
8:00: L.A. Lakers at New York (ESPN)
Friday, Feb. 11
10:30: Phoenix at Utah (ESPN)
Saturday, Feb. 12
7:00: Charlotte at Atlanta (NBA-TV)
8:00: Chicago at New Orleans (WGN)
Sunday, Feb. 13
1:00: Miami at Boston (ABC)
3:30: L.A. Lakers at Orlando (ABC)
8:00: Oklahoma City at Golden State (ESPN)
Monday, Feb. 14
7:00: San Antonio at New Jersey (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Feb. 15
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Feb. 16
9:00: Denver at Milwaukee (ESPN)
Thursday, Feb. 17
8:00: San Antonio at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: Dallas at Phoenix (TNT)
Sunday, Feb. 20
TBD All-Star Game (TNT)
Tuesday, Feb. 22
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Feb. 23
8:00: Oklahoma City at San Antonio (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Portland (ESPN)
Thursday, Feb. 24
8:00: Miami at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: Boston at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Feb. 25
8:00: Oklahoma City at Orlando (ESPN)
10:30: Denver at Portland (ESPN)
Saturday, Feb. 26
8:30: Chicago at Milwaukee (NBA-TV, WGN)
Sunday, Feb. 27
2:30: L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City (ABC)
8:00: New York at Miami (ESPN)
10:30: Atlanta at Portland (ESPN)
Monday, Feb. 28
9:00: Boston at Utah (NBA-TV)

Tuesday, March 1
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, March 2
7:30: Phoenix at Boston (NBA-TV)
10:30: Houston at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Thursday, March 3
8:00: Orlando at Miami (TNT)
10:30: Denver at Utah (TNT)
Friday, March 4
3:00: Toronto vs. New Jersey at London (NBA-TV, YES)
7:00: Chicago at Orlando (ESPN)
9:30: Miami at San Antonio (ESPN)
Saturday, March 5
3:00: Toronto vs. New Jersey at London (NBA-TV)
Sunday, March 6
1:00: Chicago at Miami (ABC)
3:30: L.A. Lakers at San Antonio (ABC)
6:30: New Orleans at Cleveland (ESPN)
9:00: Boston at Milwaukee (ESPN)
Monday, March 7
7:00: Portland at Orlando (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, March 8
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, March 9
8:00: New York at Memphis (NBA-TV)
Thursday, March 10
8:00: L.A. Lakers at Miami (TNT)
10:30: Denver at Phoenix (TNT)
Friday, March 11
8:00: Atlanta at Chicago (NBA-TV)
Saturday, March 12
8:00: Utah at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: L.A. Lakers at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Sunday, March 13
3:30: Orlando at Phoenix (ABC)
6:00: Milwaukee at Boston (NBA-TV)
Monday, March 14
8:00: San Antonio at Miami (ESPN)
10:30: Orlando at L.A. Lakers (ESPN)
Tuesday, March 15
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, March 16
8:00: Oklahoma City at Miami (ESPN)
10:30: Dallas at Golden State (ESPN)
Thursday, March 17
7:30: Memphis at New York (NBA-TV)
Saturday, March 19
7:30: Denver at Miami (NBA-TV)
Monday, March 21
7:30: Boston at New York (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, March 22
7:00: Chicago at Atlanta (TNT)
9:30: Phoenix at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Wednesday, March 23
8:00: Orlando at New York (ESPN)
10:30: San Antonio at Denver (ESPN)
Friday, March 25
10:00: New Orleans at Phoenix (NBA-TV)
Saturday, March 26
7:00: New York at Charlotte (NBA-TV)
8:30: Chicago at Milwaukee (WGN)
Sunday, March 27
8:00: Portland at Oklahoma City (ESPN)
10:30: Dallas at Phoenix (ESPN)
Monday, March 28
8:00: Philadelphia at Chicago (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, March 29
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, March 30
7:00: Detroit at Indiana (ESPN)
Thursday, March 31
8:00: Boston at San Antonio (TNT)
10:30: Dallas at L.A. Lakers (TNT)

Friday, April 1
8:00: Boston at Atlanta (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Utah (ESPN)
Saturday, April 2
8:00: Toronto at Chicago (WGN)
10:30: Oklahoma City at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Sunday, April 3
1:00: Phoenix at San Antonio (ABC)
3:30: Denver at L.A. Lakers (ABC)
9:00: Dallas at Portland (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, April 5
7:00 or 8:00: Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
9:30 or 10:30: Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, April 6
7:00: Milwaukee at Miami (ESPN)
9:30: Denver at Dallas (ESPN)
Thursday, April 7
8:00: Boston at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: Portland at Utah (TNT)
Friday, April 8
8:00: Phoenix at New Orleans (NBA-TV)
Saturday, April 9
8:30: Utah at San Antonio (NBA-TV)
Sunday, April 10
1:00: Chicago at Orlando (ABC)
3:30: Boston at Miami (ABC)
9:30: Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers (NBA-TV)
Monday, April 11
7:00: Orlando at Philadelphia (NBA-TV)
10:00: Oklahoma City at Sacramento (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, April 12
8:00: Chicago at New York (TNT)
10:30: San Antonio at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Wednesday, April 13
8:00: Atlanta at Charlotte (ESPN)
10:30: Memphis at L.A. Clippers (ESPN)