Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - April 28 update

Those outside of the media often joke that "Anybody can host a sports show". Come to think of it, not all of them are joking. During all my years of sportscasting and teaching, I always found media outlets with an abundance of applicants for sports positions.

Imagine my shock when I saw a Baltimore outlet actually advertising for a sports host:

(This was a sports host position open as of press time.)

One would think that a major league city (which I consider any city with at least one pro sports team to be) would go along with reviewing tons of applicants. The station should know what sound it wants. Maybe even what person or persons it wants. I know of people in the industry who were hired as a result of being monitored over the air on another station or network and approached. I have had that happen to me a couple of times. With many markets now having 2 or more sports stations, I would like to think that management knows how it wants the station to sound and have an idea of personnel that would make a good fit.

Not only are game broadcasts and telecasts for most pro sports rising big time, but even a "non-game" scored well. The NFL Draft TV ratings soared for its first time as a 3 day event, even with both ESPN and NFL Network televising separately. The ratings could have been even better were it not for prior trades. The Chicago market is a huge NFL ratings market when it comes to the Bears. Due to trades, the Bears did not have a first or second round pick this year. If they had their mid-first round pick, the audience from the Chicago area would have kicked the overall ratings up even more. Again, this was not even a game. No betting lines, and the fantasy leagues were not impacted.

From a media standpoint, this was a nice innovation compared with the previous all day Saturday with hours of continued coverage. This plan makes it better for the fans to follow the draft.

This plan will undoubtedly be retained for next year because of the response of the fans. Yet, from a football point of view, I'd like to see one aspect addressed. Is it fair for the first 3 or 4 teams picking in Round 2 to have all day to debate and research their picks? Not compared with the 5 minutes max they have had over the years gone by.

Normally the Sports Emmy Awards are not what I call "stop the presses" news. This year it is different. MLB Network won 4 of them, and this as they are still in only their 2nd year of existence. If there was a category for "Most Incredible Innovations in Sports Programming" they would have won that as well.

Great to see the recognition for the outstanding work they have done and continue to do. MLB Tonight, understandably, received 3 of their awards, while Studio 42 host Bob Costas won the "Outstanding Sports Personality - Studio Host" Award. Added congrats to Bob, since that is his personal 20th Emmy.

It took rain to stop a strange ESPN programming streak. Had Monday night's (April 26) Dodgers at Mets telecast not been rained out, it would have been the 4th consecutive National League telecast via the ESPN Networks. If this were September and that's where the only races were, I could understand. We need more balance among the national games.

Speaking of network scheduling, no matter what Fox Network thinks, good for NBC to finally schedule a Sunday Night Football telecast that will go against a World Series game. The reason the NFL went to 17 weeks for 16 game seasons was because of television, yet the NFL has been conceeding to MLB for the past few years.

But the most interesting part of this story will come up in October. NBC is scheduled to show Pittsburgh vs. New Orleans for this Week 7 telecast. If the recent suspension of Ben Roethlisberger is upheld for the entire 6 games, that night would likely be his return to action. A sure ratings grabber. Since the NFL is all about TV ratings and is now bucking a World Series telecast, I wonder how likely the NFL would be to reduce the suspension and not have him return in prime time against the World Series.

Radio ratings for MLB broadcasts continue on the upswing. Three more markets added to the People Meters all showed noteworth local radio audience increases during the new season's first 2 weeks. It's even more interesting when you realize that Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Kansas City each have teams which are not likely to be contenders this season. The Reds' opening day radio broadcast averaged better than a 51 share among men 25-54 on April 5th.

ESPN and the Big Ten Network are already lining up Big Ten football telecasts for next season, and already there is an Ohio State flavor. The Buckeyes season opener on Thursday Sept. 2 vs. Marshall will be shown on BTN. ESPN has scheduled their first ever meeting against Miami for Sept. 11th. ESPN or ABC will show conference games on Oct. 16 at Wisconsin and Oct. 30 at Minnesota.

ABC or ESPN will also have Michigan State vs. Notre Dame on Sept. 18th in prime time, Iowa vs. Penn State on Oct. 2, and Michigan at Penn State on October 30th.

As streaming of games becomes more popular, Network1 Sports continues to add high school and small college games around the country. Maybe some more "sleepers" will be discovered for the pro drafts this way. You can see a list of the day's scheduled steams at:

MILWAUKEE: We all wish Bob Uecker a speedy recovery from his pending heart surgery and hope he beats the "10 to 12 weeks" estimate for his return to the Brewers broadcast booth, where he began 40 seasons ago.

Davey Nelson will move over from the TV booth to provide color on WTMJ Radio, with Cory Provus handling extensive play-by-play. The guess from here is that Wayne Laravee will take over during the interim, which would likely end around the time the Packers' training camp begins. Laravee, voice of the Packers and Big Ten football, would be an ideal fit because of his schedule. Laravee did Chicago Cubs TV play-by-play in the 90's.

LOS ANGELES: Sports radio continues its growth as the latest monthly ratings reflect. KSPN 710 and KLAC 570 combined for a 1.2 share increase in men 25-54, with KSPN showing the larger increase.

Joe McDonnell, formerly of the McDonnell Douglas Show and other sports hosting gigs, is now doing the morning sports updates on KNX NewsRadio 1070.

DETROIT: Still another example of the growth of sports radio. WXYT The Ticket again increased its overall audience share in the latest monthly ratings, surging to the #1 position in the 25-54 age group. While the Red Wings continue in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Tigers expect to contend, this also took place while the Pistons were finishing another disappointing season.

MIAMI: In addition to the Dolphins Radio Network changing for the coming season, now a multi-year deal for Spanish broadcasts has een announced. WQBA-AM will carry all pre-season and regular season games, complete with a 2-hour pre-game show and a 1-hour wrapup. Plans are underway for a 2-hour weekday show focused on the team.

BOSTON: NESN's Heidi Watney has returned to the network after missing about 2 weeks due to a concussion.

Word is that Boston College may be among the schools having one play-by-play voice for both football and basketball. Football voice Jon Meterparel could be replacing Ted Sarandis on basketball broadcasts starting in the fall.

DALLAS: While many of us consider the concerns about what athletes and media members post on Twitter to be of little significance, The Ticket 1310 had cause to make it grounds for a termination. Former MLB player Mike Bacsik, who was both a host and producer for the station, was let go following a racist tweet resulting from a Mavericks vs. Spurs NBA Playoff game. Adding to the mix was the reported admission by Bacsik that he was "drunk at a bar". This instance was much different from others who merely express a harmless opinion, agreed with or not.

WASHINGTON D.C.: While the NHL Capitals being taken to a 7th game by Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs was surprising, so was Comcast SportsNet reporting record ratings for its coverage. The Game 6 telecast from Monday (April 26) was the highest rated post-season game in the Network's history. (Game 7 numbers were not available at press time.)

TAMPA: 1010 AM has a new local show from Noon to 3 to replace "The Grind". Former Buccaneers QB Shaun King, who also played high school football in St. Pete, has been hired as co-host along with Toby David. The show is being called the "King David Show". Got to wonder if it will get a "royal" welcome in the ratings.

SYRACUSE: The AAA Syracuse Chiefs baseball team continues to celebrate 50 years of local ownership, and this Friday (April 30) they plan to celebrate with one of their prior broadcast legends on hand. Sean McDonough will join Jason Benetti on the WHEN 620 broadcast. McDonough called Chiefs games in 1982, 1983, and 1984.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - April 20th update

The media winner of Jackie Robinson Day - radio. That was probably the best tribute to the never-ending salute of Jackie Robinson. Having the games set aside to honor him being on the radio. The one place fans could enjoy the game without having to suffer through every player wearing the same uniform number.

Don't get me wrong. I admire Jackie Robinson and his influence on baseball, pro sports, and society as much as anyone. However, the day to pay tribute has become the opposite of the punishment not fitting the crime. Have a pre-game ceremony in every major league park. Have the players wear a special uniform patch throughout the game. Show films of Robinson in action between innings on the big screens.

Please stop this crap of every player wearing the same number for an entire game, no matter whose it is. This makes a game telecast near impossible to watch. Fans lose the instant recognition of who is pitching or involved in a play. Showing game highlights on TV sportscasts becomes almost worthless for the same reason. Baseball loses a day in that regard. But nothing as bad as this past week. Now, this "salute" is going on forever. Not every MLB team was scheduled for last Thursday, April 15th, even though that (used to be) the day set aside to honor Robinson.

Imagine my frustration to be watching the TV pre-game show before the Tigers vs. Mariners game on Friday night (April 16) to find out that every player was wearing #42 since the teams did not play on Thursday, and that the same thing was taking place in the Padres game and other teams which did not play the day before. Where did it say that EVERY team has to do this, even if it means a different day? On Friday we had most teams wearing regular uniforms and others with all players wearing #42. Come on!

Then, on Monday (Apriol 19), the Mets hosted "Jackie Robinson Day" at home. Guess what. Every player for both teams wearing #42 - AGAIN. And this while the game was televised on SNY in New York and Comcast SportsNet in Chicago, along with being nationally televised on ESPN. A national TV game with fans' enjoyment spoiled by not knowing who they are watching. If the date was so important for the Mets, why weren't they scheduled at home on April 15th?

Teams not playing at home on July 4th don't have a fireworks display on July 10th. How and why did this happen?

All of a sudden we see things like red caps on Memorial Day, even for teams whose colors have nothing to do with red, confusing new and casual fans. Maybe the TV people can put a stop to this.

Now you are thinking, "But, Dave, this is a media column". I know that. To me, this has plenty to do with media. I'm calling for the TV stations and networks which televise the games during the regular season to call for an end to this "everybody wears the same uniform" bit.

They shouldn't want even one telecast which turns off viewers. The TV stations and networks spend millions and millions of our dollars to pay for the rights to show these games. They are counting on fans being interested enough to watch. Whether you like to think about it or not, we the fans are paying for this as well. Some of the dollars we are "forced" to cough up for cable or satellite each month are going to these networks and ultimately to these teams. As I see it, we fans are really paying for these game telecasts. And for my few bucks, I'm entitled to be able to easily identify who is pitching and who is involved in every play - every time.

Getting back to my original point. Listening to games on the radio that day, it didn't matter that every player was wearing the same uniform number. I'm sure it was a challenge for the announcers, but radio was the one way the game remained what it is supposed to be. The one time radio doesn't do anything special, it offers the best product out there.

On the NBA side, what happened with TNT's package? In past years, TNT has routinely placed overflow first round NBA playoff games on TBS, along with the start of "new" games when a telecast runs over. Yet, this week, NBA-TV is showing overflow games not airing on TNT, including a couple of doubleheaders.

TBS is available in many more homes than NBA-TV. As a result, millions of people cannot get NBA playoff games that they have been able to in past seasons. Again, some fans lose, have no say in the matter, and still have to pay the full amount for this month of their cable or satellite bill.

Two of the big names in sports reporting have made news within the week, one for staying in place and the other for adding on. Baseball analyst deluxe Peter Gammons has added some CBS Radio sports stations to his analyst schedule, along with MLB Network and NESN.

Gammons now appears once per week on WSCR "The Score" Chicago, WIP Philadelphia, WBZ-FM Boston, KDKA-FM Pittsburgh, and WJZ-FM Baltimore. The most significant of those stations is The Score in Chicago, where Peter will have his segment on the "Mully & Hanley" Morning Show. The Score 670 is still battling against rival WMVP, which is ESPN 1000. I can't help but wonder how much (or how little) of a factor it is in Gammons' decision to take this on that he could help knock off the ESPN station in Chicago. He, of course, paved the way for writers to become the "baseball analyst" on a sports outlet on ESPN for seemingly hundreds of years before leaving for MLB Network just a few months ago.

Chris Berman stays put at EPSN, extending his contract into his 4th decade with the network. I now believe that he will go all-----------the---------way to retirement in his current position. He has been and will continue to be a fixture on the Sunday pre and post-game NFL programming, where he has been since the mid-80's, even before ESPN was showing NFL games.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how much or how little the TV networks will play a role in how the NHL handles the next Winter Olympics. Following rumors that the NHL was not looking toward continuing to participate and interrupt its season for future winter games, along comes word that TV ratings for the finish of its regular season were up across the board.

NBC's "Game of the Week" package reportedly had a 13% increase this season, even more amazing when you consider the network did not always have consistent start times for each Sunday. Versus reported that during the final four weeks of the recently concluded regular season there was a 28% increase in ratings compared with the same 4-week period last season.

Given the ratings score that NBC gained for its Olympic telecast, and the U.S. team getting to the hockey finals, the belief is that from a marketing standpoint, the NHL did benefit from interrupting its regular season. Might make the NHL change its tune. Then again, the next round of TV negotiations, for both the over-the-air and cable packages for the NHL will take place during 2011, well in advance of the next winter games.

Back to MLB Network. They seem to come up with one great innovation after another. Just when you think they can't keep improving, along comes their announcement that the Network will show some minor league games, and it starts next week.

Next Monday (April 26) MLB Network shows AAA Gwinnett (Braves) at Durham Bulls (Rays) starting at 11 AM ET, with the Class A Quad Cities (Cardinals) vs. Burlington (Royals) at Noon ET on May 3rd.

More weekday afternoon telecasts, most picked up with local announcers, will be announced. Great idea!

St. LOUIS: ESPN 101 has signed former Cardinal Jack Clark an an analyst for its "St. Louis Baseball Tonight" show which airs on Friday nights and is hosted by Bob Ramsey. In addition, Clark will appear on the "Fast Lane" show at 4:30 each Tuesday afternoon.

Finally, a word of support for two sports voices now fighting a bigger battle than the games they cover. Cancer.

Jim Mandich, the former tight end who has been a part of the Miami sports radio scene continues to battle bile-duct cancer, and only recently returned to the air after roughly 3 months away. Mandich will co-host WINZ 940's NFL Draft coverage starting this Thursday (April 22) night. The show is also scheduled to be streamed via Still no word as to whether or not Mandich will remain on Dolphins radio (with Jimmy Cefalo on play-by-play) for the upcoming season when the team moves to WINZ from WQAM.

Meanwhile, any sports fan over the age of 20 undoubtedly got hooked on cable TV sportscasts in part due to "Nick and Hick" (Nick Charles and Fred Hickman) from their years of co-hosting CNN Sports Tonight. Their show drew higher ratings than ESPN SportsCenter for years at 11 PM ET. Sorry to report that Nick Charles has a serious battle against cancer, as indicated in this story from Atlanta:

Our best wishes to Nick and his family. As an alum of the same school, Columbia College Chicago, which Nick attended, I am especially sorry to learn of this. Word is that the school is looking in to honoring him in the near future for all that he has accomplished.

Here's hoping we hear a lot more of Mandich and Charles for a long time to come!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - April 13th update.......

Over the years I have probably been more tolerant of things that shouldn't be on the air than most people. Players and coaches get upset and microphones pick up their share of profane or otherwise ugly exchanges. But those things are real.

The NBA has had the big Pacers vs. Pistons fight scene a few years back and this season the unfortunate instance involving Gilbert Arenas to contribute to their very understandable pledge to do everything possible not to have any violence. On Sunday night (April 11), there was something actually planned and I simply can't believe it was put on the air.

Fox Sports Arizona was doing its pre-game show leading into its telecast of the Suns vs. Houston. Studio analyst Tom Chambers was doing a segment to present is "Tommy Awards" based on his choices for NBA award winners based on the regular season. Nothing wrong with that.

However, I'm not sure how the method used to present these "awards" was chosen. FSN had a group of kick boxers on hand to "present". What they did was each time a choice of Chambers was announced was to show one of the kickboxers run up toward someone holding up photos of the two finalists, and then kickbox away the photo of the player or coach not chosen.

For example, for the Tommy Award for "Coach of the Year", a kickboxer was shown literally kicking in a photo of Bucks coach Scott Skiles to indicate that the choice was Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

The MVP Award went to Lebron James when another kickboxer kicked down a photo of Kobe Bryant. In other words, one of the biggest stars in the NBA was profiled on live television by a kickboxer kicking down a photo while the crowd cheers.

Over the years, some cartoons have been pulled from being shown on TV because they are considered violent. But kickboxing photos of star players and team personnel is OK? How is this acceptable but an expression of profanity during a professional competition is not?

Golf coverage usually isn't that big of a deal, but The Masters was due in full to the return of Tiger Woods to the PGA Tour. CBS-TV generated its highest ratings in nine years for its third round coverage of the Masters, while ESPN made cable ratings history for its coverage of the first two rounds, showing an increase of nearly 30% over last year.

At least for the past weekend Tiger Woods was a sports story rather than being tabloid material. Sports fans were curious to see how Tiger would respond after being away from the tour for weeks. Now we'll see the ratings dip over the next couple of weeks if Tiger indeed does not participate. That is unfortunate for the game of golf and its other star players. I'll admit that, not being a golfer, I also made an effort to watch some of the weekend coverage, and it was only because of Tiger's comeback.

Comcast owns a portion of Versus but is expanding its NHL Playoffs coverage among its CSN Networks via the web sites. The regional sports networks will provide streaming of video from practices, and more importantly additional pre and post-game reports. will provide additional coverage for the Blackhawks, for the Boston Bruins, for the Sharks, for the Flyers, and for Capitals coverage.

In theory this is a good plan, yet there should be room on these TV networks for expanded coverage. Unless these channels have another live sports event to show, they really should include their expanded coverage on the air before and after the playoff telecasts. Sending fans to the web site still takes them away from watching their current programming and increases the risks they will watch or listen to an outside source instead of remaining a captive audience.

The idea should be for the web site to send viewers or listeners to the station or channel they represent, not the other way around.

Meanwhile, the annual banquet for the Montana State football team probably hasn't attracted the attention it did this past Friday night (April 9). The special guest speaker was a Montana native - by the name of Brent Musburger. The 70-year old voice of ABC Sports also talked baseball with KFBB Radio's Jason Nitschke.

It can be interesting when major sports meet in some form. Good move by Bill Meth on his New York (Westchester) WVOX Metro Golf Show this past Saturday. Among his scheduled guests was an excellent golfer. None other than Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte. Great timing on the weekend of the Masters and the first weekend of baseball's regular season.

SEATTLE: The Groz will indeed have a new full-time radio home, less than one week after leaving KJR. It won't begin until August, due to a non-compete clause, but Dave Grosby will join KIRO 710 for the 3 to 6 PM spot where he will co-host with Kevin Calabro.

This will be in addition to his calling Seattle University games, and is expected to eventually be added to the station's coverage of the Mariners and Seahawks. The local show "Brock and Salk" with Brock Huard and Mike Salk continues from 11 AM to 3 PM. These shows, along with a promising season for the Mariners could tighten the ratings battle as KIRO tries to catch up to and pass KJR.

CLEVELAND/AKRON: WARF Fox Sports 1350 Akron decided to carry Fox's replay of the Stephen A. Smith morning show during the midday period this past Thursday (April 8). With good reason. Jim Rome was off, and filling in for him was Tony Rizzo and Aaron Goldhammer, who otherwise host the "Really Big Show" on Cleveland's WKNR 850.

ORLANDO: The good news for Rays fans is that all regular season games are now airing on Orlando radio. However, as seems to be the case more often these days, it will take two radio stations to handle the entire package. Most of the games will air on WORL 660. However, Saturday and any Sunday night games will air on WBZW 1520. Sorry, but fans aren't likely to find a Rays broadcast on a Saturday night by checking all the way over at 1520 AM.

Minor as it seems, it is another instance of radio needing to maintain its audience but making it confusing for listeners of a consistent program.

Meanwhile, Bright House (cable) Networks have announced a plan to air Spanish broadcasts of TV feeds of select Marlins and Rays games in the Orlando market and Rays games in the Tampa area.

ANN ARBOR: WTKA Sports 1050 is going all out later this week for the Michigan spring football game. On Thursday (April 15), morning show hosts Sam Webb and Ira Weintraub will broadcast live from Schembechler Hall during the 3 to 6 afternoon show and talk Michigan football. The station's coverage of Saturday's spring game and festivities begins at 11:00 AM.

BUFFALO: As the Sabres begin their playoff quest coming off a division title, the TV ratings dropped almost 20% for the regular season. It will be interesting to see how that does or doesn't change for playoff telecasts.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sports Media Report - April 7th update

Baseball on radio still rules in the big markets. On opening day of the 2010 baseball season, Arbitron used the day to release its "PPM Radio Listening for Pro Baseball" report covering the 23 top markets in which the PPM system was in use during the 2009 baseball season.

The report shows that 10 teams average more than 115,000 listeners per game in their home market. It comes as no surprise that the NYC market dominates with Yankees and Mets broadcasts holding 2 of the top 3 teams, averaging from 277,000 (Mets) to over 412,000 (Yankees) listeners per game. Finding Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and San Francisco among the top 5 markets is no surprise, based on population alone.

I find 2 of the top 10 to be worthy of note. St. Louis Cardinals broadcasts showed up as 7th in the majors with an average of 135,200 listeners per game. True, the Cardinals were in first place much of the season and made it into the post-season. But from a radio standpoint, this is fascinating because the Cardinals games continue on KTRS-AM and no longer on KMOX. Many fans not all that far from St. Louis have been upset about the move to KTRS because of its weaker signal, especially at night. This report proves that people will make the effort to find the broadcasts when the team is in serious contention. There have been recent reports that even though the Cardinals own part of KTRS, considerations might be made after this season about letting the Cards return to KMOX. This one bears watching, or should we say, listening.

Boston Red Sox games on WEEI-AM placed 8th in this report. Yet, I have to believe this report actually could hurt the scope of Red Sox broadcasts. More than any other MLB team, the Red Sox remain a regional team, while the 8th place rank is based only on WEEI in Boston. If the other "home" markets for Red Sox games, such as Portland ME, were factored in, their team rank would be much higher.

It also remains to be seen whether or not this report will actually help the radio stations. As commented on in recent months, more and more pro teams are taking over their own media packages and then are able to combine broadcast sponsorships with other team offerings. Radio stations risk losing out on revenue from potential game sponsors when teams can also offer game programs, stadium signage, team web site, and other advertising and marketing opportunities in addition to radio time. Stations seem willing to go along with this for now, not realizing it could easily siphon away potential advertisers for other station programming.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Versus' new "The Daily Line" sports recap at 6 PM ET on weekdays makes a dent in audience habits. My hunch is that it will with hockey fans, especially with a few more days left in the regular season to determine playoff pairings, and through the first round or two of the playoffs. Otherwise, it probably won't be enough to attract a new audience. The show competes with ESPN and regional sports networks reports, either of which has the proven resources to please the fans seeking either a national overview or local sports coverage prior to the night's game action.

Liam McHugh doesn't seem to be a big enough name, and model Jenn Sterger may not be able to hold the interest of the serious sports fan after the first glance or two. Comedian Reese Waters will also be a part of the show, but many sports fans want the information instead.

LOS ANGELES: Opening day also meant the regular season debut of the Angels TV broadcast team of Victor Rojas now working with Mark Gubicza. It was nice to see them both take a couple minutes out of their hour long pre-game show leading into Monday night's opener against Minnesota to remember the loss of play-by-play voice Rory Markas since the end of the 2009 season. In a touching moment, Gubicza shared his memory of having talked with Markas on the very day he passed away.

Less than one week prior to the season opener, KLAA 830, which is partially owned by Angels owner Arte Moreno, has increased its relationship with KSPN 710. In addition to KSPN picking up a minimum of 60 Angels broadcasts (providing increased signal coverage to more of Los Angeles County), the stations are working together on additional ESPN programming. Late night and overnight ESPN programming will air on both stations, while ESPN Radio national programming from the midday will air on 830 AM.

SAN DIEGO: This past Friday (April 2) marked the return of "The Scott and BR Show" on XX Sports 1090 after a 3-week salary dispute which took the 5-9 morning show off the air. Just in time for the opening of the Padres season, and for their games carried on the station.

NEW YORK: WPEN 1050 began its revised weekday schedule this week, including shortening Michael Kay's afternoon drive show by one hour from 3 to 7 PM. Seth Everett now hosts a one-hour midday show from 10 to 11 AM including columnists and beat reporters. Jody McDonald and Brandon Tierney will air from 1 to 3 PM. The station is also catering to early risers with "The Leadoff Spot" recap of the prior night's games, hosted by Ryan Ruocco from 5 to 6 AM.

SEATTLE: This past Monday (April 5) marked the end of an era for KJR when Dave Grosby hosted his final show for the station. The Groz began his initial stint with the station upon its birth as a sports station in 1991 and had been back since 1996.

Word is he will move over to 710 ESPN to do more than call Seattle University basketball, possibly joining Kevin Calabro to co-host afternoon drive.

DALLAS: 103.3 ESPN began its revised schedule on Tuesday (April 6). The Ben and Skin Show moves into the 9 AM to Noon spot, while the new "Coop and Nate Show" with Chuck Cooperstein and Nate Newton airs from 2 to 3 PM. Galloway and Company now airs from 3 to 7 PM.

BOSTON: A couple of lineup tweaks at 98.5 The Sports Hub take effect this week. The Toucher and Rich Show continues as co-hosts Fred Toettcher and Rich Shertnelieb reportedly signed contract extensions. However, CSN New England's Andy Gresh replaces Gary Tanguay on its midday show, while Scott Zolak continues. Tanguay continues his CSN hosting duties for Celtics pre and post-game programming, but it has not been announced (as of press time) whether or not he will be with the station to handle Patriots programming for the coming season.

PITTSBURGH: WEAE 1250 expands its airing of the Stan & Guy Show from 10 AM to 2 PM as of this week. Probably in response to The Fan 93.7.

The ESPN station will be the host station for Mike & Mike's national show this Thursday (April 8) as the pair will be in Pittsburgh for a book signing later that day.

RICHMOND: The baseball minor league (Eastern League) Richmond Flying Squirrels begin airing on Sports Radio 910 later this month, including having all 142 games also streaming on the station's web site.

SALISBURY MD: The area's first FM sports station debuted last Thursday as 95.9 FM became The Sports Animal, changing over from active rock. The station plans different programming from sister station Sportstalk 960 including carrying Orioles broadcasts. No word yet on whether or not the station will carry over Washington Redskins broadcasts, which were carried in its rock station days. One local show has already begun on the FM side, with Scott and Jon 'Whiskey' Wilson hosting "Off The Bench" in between syndicated sports programming.

SIOUX FALLS: KWSN-AM adds "Calling All Sports" at 2 PM starting on May 3rd, bringing its local sports schedule to 2 to 7 PM on weekdays.