Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - June 30th update

Baseball makes broadcast history this Sunday, even if it will be in England. BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra plans to broadcast the Tampa Bay at Minnesota game live this coming Sunday (July 4). Due to the significant time zone difference, this will air live late Sunday night.

Although they will pick up one of the team local feeds (and we're not certain as to which one), BBC plans to have local commentary during appropriate breaks in the action. This will be first time a MLB game will air live in England. This is reportedly a one-time arrangement, but this doesn't mean it won't lead to more.

Meanwhile, the NFL will have its own "first" for interested TV viewers on September 26th. The league is allowing Telemundo to air the Dolphins vs. Jets game (a Sunday night game to air nationally on NBC) on its stations in South Florida and the NYC area. In addition, Telemundo's Los Angeles outlet will also show the game live. Now I wonder if, since it is a Sunday Night telecast, Telemundo will have about 20 different announcers involved in the telecast in order to compete with NBC.

For us U.S. baseball fans, this Sunday will include the All-Star Game team announcements being shown on TBS at Noon ET, prior to its 1:00 PM ET telecast of the Yannkees vs. Blue Jays. Due to Sunday being a holiday, the usual Sunday Night Baseball restriction does not apply. Sunday night games, such as the Chicago White Sox at Texas Rangers, will be shown on the regular local team outlets against ESPN's Kansas City vs. L.A. Angeles telecast.

TBS will show the Mets vs. Atlanta on July 11th at 1 PM ET, and then the Yankees vs. Tampa Bay on July 18 at 1 PM ET. Heck, I haven't looked to see which NY team has the more attractive game scheduled for July 25th, so we'll see what TBS chooses for that "national" telecast.

A few key broadcast assignments have been announced over the past couple of days. Kevin Harlan has been chosen as the play-by-play voice for Westwood One Radio on Monday Night Football starting this coming season. Harlan will become the sixth MNF radio play-by-play man in the nearly 40 years of the games being on radio. The joke used to be that Howard Cosell did more for the success of MNF on the radio than any of them. (Many did not like Cosell on ABC-TV and thus began the practice of turning down the TV sound in favor of the radio broadcast.)

If you are wondering, the previous radio voices on MNF were Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, Don Criqui, Howard David, and Marv Albert. Boomer Esiason continues as analyst.

On the NBA side, Steve Kerr has been hired back by TNT (and NBA-TV) to resume analyst duties for NBA telecasts and related programming starting with the coming season. Kerr in effect replaces Doug Collins who left to coach the 76ers.

Meanwhile, sorry to learn of the death of sportscaster Lorn Brown late last week at the age of 71. Brown had 2 play-by-play stints with the Chicago White Sox between 1976 and 1988, with the first one including TV and radio. In between he worked Mets TV on WOR-TV, but failed to catch on in New York when he relaxed his style for television. His basketball experience on TV included the (then) Washington Bullets, Notre Dame, DePaul University, and several Big Ten and ACC conference games. Lorn even called some hockey in Chicago for the old WHA Chicago Cougars in the mid-70's.

He was a hard worker, coming up with endless statistics and player information years before the internet and the information age. I had the privilege of knowing and even helping him in the booth on several occasions. It hurts to lose him so soon.

Fox Sports Prime Ticket did a solid job of televising the public Memorial Service for Johnny Wooden this past Saturday (June 26). It was nice to see the broadcast world so well represented at the tribute. In addition to Al Michaels as host, attendees (at Pauley Pavillion, of course) and viewers also heard from Dick Enberg and Vin Scully along with a host of players. People forget that Enberg was once the lead voice for NBC-TV's college basketball telecasts during the Wooden coaching era. I still find it hard to believe that there was only a local telecast in the L.A. area and for those around the country who receive Prime Ticket. This was truly an event national in scope.

SACRAMENTO: Long time radio host Don Geronimo, known nationally from his morning shows over the years, has resurfaced on the air. This time hosting a sports talk show. Geronimo now hosts Noon to 4 PM PT on KHTK Radio, and plans to relocate to the Sacramento area within the next 5 months. For now, he does the show from his Ocean City MD home. His show is now being streamed at KHTK.CBSLocal.com.

TAMPA: Congrats to Rays TV voice DeWayne Staats on calling his 5,000th baseball game late last week. Staats has previously done play-by-play for the Astros and Cubs, among others, following his stint back the in 70's as Sports Director at KPLR-TV in St. Louis.


The NFL has allowed the Baltimore Ravens games to be broadcast on a Washington station, as WFED 1500 will also air the games it can. When WFED has a play-by-play conflict, 1050 AM will carry the Ravens games, including pre-season.

On the TV side, MASN is bringing back the John Riggins (radio) Show to its afternoon lineup, simulcasting with WTOP 103.5 HD2. Starting within the next 3 weeks, Riggins is expected to air from 4 until 6:30 PM, with MASN continuing to carry Scott Garceau's show from 105.7 WJZ-FM from 2 until 4 PM. Riggins' "Triple X Sports" show aired on MASN from 2006 until 2008.

MIAMI: Even though we are just over a month away from the start of the NFL pre-season, the Miami Dolphins' broadcast booths are not yet finalized. Nothing has been made official yet regarding the radio calls, although Jimmy Cefalo, Jim Mandich, and Joe Rose are strong possibilities to return. On the TV side, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is among those speculating that the Dolphins' pre-season telecasts will have Dick Stockton on play-by-play. Lesley Visser, Stockton's wife, will again contribute to the telecasts, and the couple has a home in Boca Raton. WFOR-TV will have all 4 pre-season telecasts since none of the networks will show the Dolphins nationally. Craig Bolerjack, who had been commuting from Salt Lake City for the past four years, is not expected to return to the pre-season play-by-play role. Bob Griese and Nat Moore are already scheduled to be analysts.

WACO TX: Smoak on the water. KRZI 1660 Sports Talk has hired David Smoak as its station manager and a host. He comes from ESPN Radio Dallas where he hosted "SportsCenter Saturday", and replaces Tom Barfield, who leaves radio after 28 years in local broadcasting.

RALEIGH/DURHAM: WDNC 620 The Bull has added Bomani Jones to its midday lineup in addition to Sports Saturday on 850 The Buzz. Nearby WFAY 1230 Fayetteville had also added its afternoon "Nick Sekkas Show" to sister station WFBX 1450 serving the Spring Lake area.

SCHEDULE: The Steven Strasburg run of national telecasts continues this Saturday (July 3rd) as Fox has switched regional games and added the Nationals hosting the Mets to its lineup. Strasburg is scheduled to be the starting pitcher in that game as of press time. There is plenty of room for the networks to add games that he pitches to the schedule. It's not as if there had been any demand for Nationals games until he was brought up to the majors, so there is no danger of using up the maximum number of appearances.

The Fox-TV Saturday baseball regional schedule, as of now:

Saturday, July 3
New York Mets at Washington Nationals
Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins
Florida Marlins at Atlanta Braves

Saturday, July 10
Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers

Saturday, July 17
Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, July 24
New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies
Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles

Saturday, July 31
Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins

Saturday, Aug. 7
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves

Saturday, Aug. 14
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants
Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays

Saturday, Aug. 21
Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins
Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles

Saturday, Aug. 28
Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres
Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners
Florida Marlins at Atlanta Braves

Saturday, Sept. 4
New York Mets at Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Angels at Oakland A’s
Texas Rangers at Minnesota Twins

Saturday, Sept. 11
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels

Saturday, Sept. 18
Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

On the college basketball scene, CBS-TV has chosen the Duke at North Carolina game for next March 5th as a prime-time telecast on the network.

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