Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - August 17th update

There is no excuse for the decision of Detroit Tigers' TV not to have shown the dugout confrontation which occured during this past Sunday's (8/15) game in Chicago.

After the (opposing) White Sox had batted bottom of the first inning, a heated discussion took place between Tigers starting pitcher Armando Gallaraga and catcher Alex Avila which resulted in the pitcher needing to be restrained from a possible physical confrontation with Gerald Laird (also a catcher).

When the top of the 2nd was beginning, the White Sox telecast on Comcast SportsNet did show the confrontation, with announcer Steve Stone making a comment to the effect of "the battery could be getting battered" and then getting back to the game. Obviously, fans in attendance seated on the 3rd base side could see it, and probably White Sox personnel from the 3rd base dugout, and the TV cameras caught it.

Yet, fans watching their Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit did NOT see this video, and it was their team involved. Media accounts from Detroit indicate this was a decision made by the crew and not by FSD executives or the Tigers. FSD did show the video of the incident on its pre-game show on Monday night, but that should have been the case even had it been shown right away on Sunday.

This should not have been a "cover up". FSD replays errors and poor play by the Tigers on the field. The dugout is in full view of fans and media. It's not like this incident occured in the clubhouse or someplace off limits and was secretly videotaped.

For example, baseball fans recall the June incident with Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano and his tantrum in the dugout that caused manager Lou Pinella to remove him after 1 inning and suspend him from the team. That was immediately shown on TV. The list goes on. If FSD is going to say the dugout "is not part of the playing field", then they shouldn't show the bullpen. They put Manager Jim Leyland on camera during the game, mostly when he is in the dugout. Why was this important incident off limits?

This is not the first time a TV crew has been called out for not covering an incident which happened during the course of a game. My memory even went back to the late 70's when Ohio State was in a bowl game and Coach Woody Hayes punched an opposing linebacker live on camera. Yet, the announcing team made absolutely no mention of what took place while local TV ABC-TV stations were all flooded with phone calls from confused fans.

Hopefully TV sports crews will take note of what happened, or as I should say, didn't happen, during Sunday's Tigers telecast, and make certain that the fans watching the game are given all of the pertinent "news" of the game. And not just the opposing team's telecast either.

Speaking of fans not seeing what they are entitled, it's time for another NFL season. Thus, the media "right of summer" that not everyone can get The NFL Network, even when they once had it.

It seems that Comcast Cable has taken away the NFL Network from some of the Digital Starter packages they offer, even though it was once a part of the package. Naturally, those who are effected by this could get it again, if (you guessed it) they upgrade to a higher package for more money each month.

On the NBA side, it's good to see the Portland Trailblazers get involved in a similar mess. Team President Larry Miller reportedly has written to the FCC regarding Comcast and its handling of the Blazers' TV rights, which will soon enter the 4th year of a 10-year agreement. Comcast is being accused of making it financially difficult for competing carriers to carry its Blazers telecasts.

Comcast isn't the only problem. The MLB Network is still not available on AT&T U-Verse, Dish Network, or Wow. With all of this, sports fans everywhere continue to be subjected to game telecasts being blacked out on cable and satellite, even though we still have to pay for a full day's worth of programming.

Maybe we should all write the FCC.

Meanwhile, Fox Sports sports adds coach Jim Mora Jr. and former QB Kurt Warner to its roster of analysts for the coming season. Mora will act as a 2nd analyst along with Charles Davis while Dick Stockton handles play-by-play on that crew. Warner will provide color commentary on the "Chris crew" working with either Chris Myers or Chris Rose.

ARKANSAS: Renee Gork should be pursuing becoming a household name, if she isn't already. Gork appears to have been fired by KAKS Sports Hog on Monday (8/16). Not because of anything she said or did on the air. Not because she is female. Not because she made an error of fact or missed an assignment.

All she did was wear a Florida Gators hat at an Arkansas news conference which got coach Bobby Petrino upset. Amazing that Petrino held back the tears. Here's hoping that a regional or national media organization hires Gork. Her first report should be to question University of Arkansas and SEC officials about why they allow a coach representing a major university to conduct himself in such a matter. Then find students on the Arkansas campus wearing items from other schools and ask if they feel safe. And keep on the story until Petrino is disciplined.

While one media member loses her job for no apparent good reason, another is about to be hired, likely without enough qualifications. If this is a legit advertisement, a Portland radio sports station is attempting to hire via Craigslist.


If this were for a small town I could maybe understand, but not for a "major league" market. Even at the low pay the position probably offers, you would think they could find applicants from other stations in the area. This is almost as insane as the contests to hire sportscasters.

Steve Czaban has become even busier. He has joined Sporting News Radio to co-host the 6 to 9 AM morning show along with Scott Linn from Washington D.C. Czaban will continue to co-host the "Sports Reporters|" with Andy Pollin on WTEM 980(Washington D.C.) from 4 to 7 PM. What about in between? He continues to contribute to The Hog 102.9 in Milwaukee during afternoon drive with segments for that rock station.

LONDON ENGLAND: BBC 5 changed its live MLB broadcast this past Sunday (8/15) in order to broadcast the Rogers Cup Final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray. They got a more important game in the process, taking the later starting Giants vs. Padres broadcast instead of the originally scheduled Yankees vs. Kansas City game.

CLEVELAND: Congrats to Joe Tait on receiving the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame this past Friday. This honor comes a few weeks before Tait begins his final season calling the Cavaliers games on his way to retirement. Hopefully he will be honored throughout the NBA on his "final stop" at the various arenas throughout the season. He has called the Cavs' games for most of the seasons since 1970. He will also be remembered for calling Indians games during most of the 70's and 80's along with Herb Score.

St. LOUIS: Even though the Rams are not considered a threat to make the Super Bowl this season, I still like the idea of an HD Radio channel "Rams Radio" as unique programming. Now Rams fans around the country can hear it, at least for the time being as this channel is wisely being streamed since hardly anyone has purchased an HD Radio lately.


NEW YORK: Michael Kay and WEPN 1050 pushed one under the rug last Wednesday (8/11) when they were not able to interview Isiah Thomas during the 4 PM hour as originally scheduled. The N.Y. Daily News reported that the NBA and the Knicks may have played a role in canceling the interview after Thomas was not allowed to have a consulting position with the Knicks due to his college coaching gig.

It would have been interesting to hear Thomas' take on the situation. Wonder what is being hidden that he couldn't go on the radio to talk about. WEPN was deprived of a chance to have a newsworthy interview. Might have helped, considering that the latest monthly ratings show WFAN with literally 3 times the overall audience of WEPN, finishing at #10 in the market overall.

CHICAGO: AM radio listeners preferred sports radio a bit more often during the June - July ratings period. Sports stations WSCR The Score and WMVP 1000 combined for a .5 overall ratings increase, while NewsRadio WBBM and News / Talk WGN combined to drop .6 overall.

DETROIT: WXYT-FM The Ticket picked up enough of the ratings it lost in June and regained the #1 spot overall in the market for the July ratings. In a similar trend to Chicago, NewsRadio WWJ fell by .3 overall.

MINNEAPOLIS: KSTP 1500 isn't taking any chances with its Twins contract, given the big attendance and standings year the team is having. The station has successfully extended for 2 more seasons, continuing as the flagship station for the Twins' Network through the 2012 season. The Network totals 85 stations for this season.

DENVER: It is all but official that the Nuggets and Avalanche broadcasts will quickly be moving to a better signal. KRWZ 950 is expected to air the games of both teams, with KCKK 1510 only being used when there is a conflict with both teams playing.

DALLAS: Bruce Gilbert replaces Tom Bigby as Program Director at The Fan 105.3 in hopes of improving the station's ratings quickly. Gilbert was P.D. at The Ticket for about 6 years until 2003, and returned to Dallas from Washington D.C. where he was with the sports stations owned by Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Last week's Rangers telecasts vs. the Yankees (on Tuesday 10 and Weds. 11) set ratings records for Fox Sports Southwest. They were the most watched Rangers telecasts on FSS since 1998, and its most watched event since a Mavericks game vs. the Lakers late in the 2001-02 regular season.

With TV voice Josh Lewin also calling San Diego Chargers pre-season games as of this past weekend, Dave Barnett moves over on the games Lewin is not available for to handle TV play-by-play, while Bryan Dolgin fills in for Barnett.

CINCINNATI: While WLW again tops the ratings with its Reds broadcasts, the full-time sports stations again did not fare well, even with the Reds in contention. WCKY 1530 finished tied for 17th overall, while Fox Sports WSAI 1360 failed to crack the top 25 overall. Same for WQRT 1160 which is not a sports station other than Andy Furman's afternoon drive show.

St. LOUIS: KMOV-TV Channel 4 and WXOS 101.1 will utilize each other's reporters starting in 2 weeks. Channel 4's Steve Savard will do a 5:45 PM report on WXOS while radio reporters will handle some of the weekend sports reporting on the TV side.

BALTIMORE: The Ravens games will also be heard on Washington's WTOP-FM 103.5 starting this season in addition to WBAL Baltimore.

PITTSBURGH: The Fan KDKA-FM has overtaken WEAE 1250 ESPN by 1/10 of a ratings point in the latest ratings, while WBGG Fox 970 is a very distant 3rd.

LEXINGTON: To some it was only a 3-game exhibition series for the University of Kentucky's basketball team in Ontario Canada this past weekend. But not to Kentucky fans. All 3 games were shown live on WKYT-TV in Lexington and WMYO-TV Louisville along with Fox Sports South, and broadcast on WLAP Radio Lexington and WHAS Louisville.

SCHEDULES: ESPN will again kick off the college hoops regular season with a 24-hour marathon of live games on November 16th, with start times Eastern:

Midnight Miami at Memphis ESPN
2 a.m. St. John’s at Saint Mary’s ESPN
4 a.m. Central Michigan at Hawaii ESPN
6 a.m. Stony Brook at Monmouth ESPN
8 a.m. Robert Morris at Kent State ESPN
10 a.m. Northeastern at Southern Illinois ESPN
Noon Oral Roberts at Tulsa ESPN
2 p.m. La Salle at Baylor ESPN
4 p.m. Virginia Tech at Kansas State ESPN
5:30 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off (from Villanova): Marist at Villanova ESPNU
6 p.m. Ohio State at Florida ESPN
7:30 p.m. CBE Classic (from Durham): Miami (Ohio) at Duke ESPNU
8 p.m. Butler at Louisville ESPN
9:30 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off (from Knoxville): Belmont at Tennessee ESPNU
10 p.m. South Carolina at Michigan State ESPN
11 p.m. CBE Classic (from Spokane): San Diego State vs. Gonzaga ESPN2
11:30 p.m. NIT Season Tip-Off (from Los Angeles): Nevada or Pacific at UCLA ESPNU

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