Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - July 8th update

Publicity and news have practically merged over the past month when it comes to radio and TV sportscasts. If this NBA free agent "scramble" were to have happened during the years that I was a Sports Director, it would have meant an occasional mention at best during the period from the Lakers winning the championship until last Thursday (July 1st).

Sure, LeBron James was going to decide which team to play for during at least the upcoming season. Wade, Bosch, and others were also possibilities to change teams. Because of the NBA time frame for the negotiation period, nothing (I repeat, NOTHING) could have happened officially regarding the contract status for those and other NBA players during those 2+ weeks.

Sorry, but every "reporter", sportscaster, writer, blogger, etc., has been flooding us with his/her opinion and speculation about who could sign where. That's fine, if done as a feature piece, column, blog, or some form of commentary. However, this total speculation has taken up valuable sportscast time for weeks.

The NBA could have spent millions (although they didn't need to) and not received this much publicity to sports fans. The majority of sportscasts seemingly worked to create a big event that wasn't going to happen until this week regardless of how much air time it got.

My problem with this is that virtually none of it was really news. Worse yet, I heard instances of sports radio stations using their "update" time to bring us more speculation and then not take the time to give all of the out of town baseball scores. As a result, I continue to spend more time checking scoreboards online after years and years and years of relying on radio or TV to bring me scores and actual game information.

If only they had waited until there was an actual news story, such as a free agent signing, I would have cared. By the time they are actually signing and making "news", my patience has run out. I need a break from the NBA, even though the NBA had nothing to do with this. If only sports reporters would report sports news.

St. LOUIS: The Fan 590 and Team 1380 will become sisters, as the owners of KFNS are in the process of purchasing KSLG. It's too early to tell if or how this will impact the respective on-air lineups. However, if KFNS loses the Cardinals broadcasts back to KMOX for next season, as speculated, it might not make much difference.

Cardinals fans in central Illinois are happier, as Comcast has finalized an agreement to continue to carry the full schedule of Cardinals telecasts this season from Fox Sports West. Since the cable service began carrying every game it could, those fans will get 130 telecasts this season, about 20 more than they previously received. Then again, it makes no sense that 20 more telecasts on the same network should even be a negotiation point.

PITTSBURGH: WBGG 970 is adding West Virginia University football and basketball beginning with the coming seasons.

BALTIMORE / D.C.: WJZ-FM 105.7 Then Fan began the "Norris and Davis Show" from 5 to 9 AM this week (started Tuesday 6th). Steve Davis has previously been with WBAL Radio and Channel 45 TV as an anchor.

University of Maryland football and basketball moves to ESPN 980 for the coming season. The Terps broadcasts will have priority over all play-by-play except for Redskins football, which would create few if any conflicts. This completes an indirect "trade" of college football and basketball broadcasts between ESPN 980 and The Fan 106.7, which will carry VA Tech broadcasts starting this season. Last season, these schools were on the other of these stations. I would think that Maryland broadcasts will attract the most interest among the two schools in the D.C. market. Unless there is a "school to be named later", I think 980 will get the better of this swap.

ATLANTA: Still another sports radio station is holding a contest to find a "20-something" to get some airtime, experienced or not. Applicants are to be aged 21 to 29, and can apply, through July 15, at The selected applicant will host the station's planned "Young Guns Show". I'm all for the American dream, but I'm even more in favor of someone with reasonable broadcast experience "winning" the position.

HOUSTON: Sports Radio 1560 is looking to make the NFL Texans a path to increased ratings as they battle with 3 other sports stations in town. For this entire month of July, the weekday morning, midday, and afternoon shows will all talk Texans during the last hour. Thus, John & Lance from 9 to 10 AM, Nuno & Hoffy from 2 to 3 PM, and Sean & John from 6 to 7 PM will focus on the Texans and the NFL, as we approach and begin training camp this month.

INDIANAPOLIS: The Butler did it. Butler University's run to the NCAA Championship Game in April has brought them to local radio prominence starting with the coming season. WFNI 1070 The Fan will carry the broadcasts, moving the games from a 5,000 watt station (WXNT 1430) to the 50,000 watt station.

While this is quite a coup for Butler, but for WFNI it amounts to replacing Pacers broadcasts (which moved to sister 93.1 FM for the coming season) with the Butler games. There are three times the number of Pacers broadcasts and much more regional interest in the NBA.

CINCINNATI: With two November games on cable, the Bengals have awarded the local telecast simulcast rights to WKRC-TV Channel 12, instead of WLWT-TV Channel 5. The simulcasts look to be important games. WKRC-TV will carry the ESPN feed on Nov. 8th against division rival Pittsburgh, and the NFL Network feed on Thanksgiving night when the Bengals face the N.Y. Jets for the first time since last season's playoffs.

This move makes a lot of sense for Channel 12. The CBS affiliate carries some of the Sunday home games, most of the road games, and the Bengals' pre-season games not shown on national networks. Brad Johansen, who will again handle the team's radio play-by-play, is also Sports Director of WKRC-TV.

COLUMBUS: Nice move by STO Sports Time Ohio cable network on Independence Day. The network carried the Columbus Clippers minor league game telecast, which it sometimes does. In this instance, the Clippers were taking on the Toledo Mudhens in Toledo. The result was a AAA game between affiliates of the Indians and Tigers, and happened to feature a matchup of pitchers who had each pitched in the American League earlier in the season.

STO carried the Toledo feed, showing the game live on Sunday night (July 4th) with a full midday replay on Monday the 5th. Play-by-play voice Jason Griffin did an excellent job by acknowledging the affiliations and that fans of both MLB teams would be watching, and providing plenty of information about both teams.

It was great to see a regional cable network show a game that would be of interest to a percentage of fans instead of the poker, paid programming, and 'garbage' programming that fills way too much time.

ASBURY PARK: Monmouth University football will continue for another 3 seasons on the Shore Sports Network of Shore Sports 1310 and WOBM 1160. The games will also be streamed live on

PANAMA CITY: WDIZ 590 has become ESPN Sports, dumping an adult standards format last week. The station starts with everything ESPN with the lone exception, as of now, being planned local high school football broadcasts. Yes, this station retains the W-DIZ call letters, which used to be for an Orlando FM, and continues as a station not a part of the Disney Radio Network.

SATELLITE RADIO: The idea is great, even if the execution isn't. Sirius/XM has launched a new sports channel dedicated to fantasy sports 24 hours a day. This is the sort of niche programming that provides satellite subscribers with niche programming which isn't (yet) found on the AM or FM dial. Even if it doesn't attract a large audience, there figures to be certain advertisers who would love to reach an audience of fantasy sports participants.

However, Sirius subscribers do not automatically receive this channel, unless they buy the "Best of XM" package. So instead of having a good idea to promote and attract every listener it can to, this supposedly "merged" company expects thousands of sports fan to suddenly pay extra just to hear it. No wonder "Fantasy" is in the title of this channel.

SCHEDULES: A fun idea by the great MLB Network to air the 1965 All-Star Game this Sunday night (July 11th) at 8:00 ET. There are at least 16 Hall Of Fame members in this game. MLB Network claims this will be the first time this telecast will air since it took place exactly 45 years earlier.

The game telecasts continue this week, including a Thursday (July 8) doubleheader. The Angels at White Sox at 2:00 PM with Cinci at Philadelphia at 7 PM.

On Friday, MLB Network will show Atlanta at the Mets, and its Saturday night game is Cinci at Philadelphia.

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