Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - October 5th Update

For all of the reporting of rumors, speculation, and marketing instead of sports news, it was refreshing to see the coverage of true breaking sports news on Monday in New York City.

While the Yankees prepare for their 2010 post-season run, it was the Mets who made news by making it official that Omar Minaya would not return as General Manager and that Jerry Manuel would not be back as Manager on the day after their season ended.

WFAN Radio provided solid coverage of the announcement, as did SNY on the TV side. SNY went with a 2-hour block including coverage of the press conference and then some exclusive interviews. Anchor Chris Carlin and analyst Bob Ojeda gave viewers detailed input, along with showing the entire statement made by Minaya upon his ouster. (A class move by Minaya to even address the media under the circumstances.) The telecast also included highlights packages showing clips important to Jerry Manuel's managing tenure and recapping the seasons under both Manuel and Minaya. I was also impressed with their one-on-one interviews with members of the Wilpon family (team owners) and how the Wilpons were shown accepting the blame for the Mets' failure to advance in the post-season over the last few years.

SNY also knew to replay the 2-hour block into prime-time, a no brainer to replace the lesser programming originally scheduled. They also replayed the Daily News Round Table show discussing the same topics.

Into the next morning, WFAN also addressed the Wilpon family acknowledging that the family did lose money in the Madoff scandal last year. Sister station WCBS also provided additional coverage of that aspect of the story.

This probably added to TV rival YES Network's frustration, as YES is not able to televise the game action of the Yankees in the post-season, while SNY was bringing fresh and topical programming to its viewers on Monday night.

As we move into the MLB post-season, it will be interesting to see whether or not moving up the start times for the upcoming World Series games will have an impact on the TV and radio ratings.

Games 1 and 2, along with possible games 5, 6, and 7, are scheduled to begin at 7:57 PM ET, about 40 minutes earlier than recent years. Game 3, scheduled for Saturday Oct. 30th, will start an hour earlier, making it the earliest scheduled World Series game start since 1987. Game 4 on Halloween will start at 8:20 ET for 2 reasons. It allows for the completion of Fox's NFL coverage and post-game programming plus a World Series pre-game show, and it so happens to be moments earlier than NBC's Sunday Night Football game will start.

NBC is doing a Sunday Night Football telecast up against the World Series this season.

Unless the matchup is Tampa vs. Cincinnati (2 smaller markets, 1 of which has a poor fan base), I have to think the earlier starts will be reflected in the ratings books. These earlier starts will keep the casual fan from getting into other prime time programming, and the possibility of seeing the games to conclusion in the Eastern and Central time zones makes a difference.

NBC won again with its Sunday Night Football telecast of Chicago at the N.Y. Giants on the 3rd with the best ratings for an October NFL prime-time game in 10 years. The ratings were nearly 20% higher than for the 2009 season's 4th Sunday night telecast of Chargers vs. Steelers. Curiously, individual metered markets TV ratings showed West Palm Beach, Richmond, and Norfolk (each market without an NFL team) with a higher audience rating than New York City. Other cities showing better included Indianapolis, which has an AFC team.

Quarterbacks stick together, but I don't think anyone corrected analyst Phil Simms on Sunday's (Oct. 3) CBS telecast of the Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh game. Working with Jim Nantz, Simms once (that I know of) referred to Ravens coach John Harbaugh as "Jim Harbaugh". Jim was a QB with the Chicago Bears in the 90's.

So much for regional coverage for Fox this past Sunday regarding the Arizona at San Diego game. The game failed to sell out in San Diego, resulting in Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan's call of the entire game being shown only in the Phoenix area and parts of Arizona. That could have been one of the least carried telecasts Fox has ever had during its NFL tenure.

As the NHL regular season gets underway this week, Versus has announced additional pre and post-game programming for its telecasts. The network has already added the Florida at Washington game on December 9th, bringing the total to 79 telecasts for the regular season. 53 are exclusive with 26 telecasts considered "bonus games". In another nice innovation for NHL fans, Versus also promises a telecast during each of the last 5 nights of the regular season as the Stanley Cup Playoff races narrow down.

The Dan Patrick Show continues to increase its coverage, having been picked up by several Fox Sports Net and Comcast SportsNet regional networks. The majority will carry the show live in the 9 AM to Noon ET window. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the radio side of things, as many affiliates currently delay the broadcast. In Chicago, WSCR currently airs the show during the overnight 1 to 4 AM spot, driving listeners away while he "previews" games which are over with for hours by the time it airs. Now, Chicago's Comcast SportsNet will carry Patrick live starting Oct. 25th.

ORLANDO: 740 AM has officially lost its morning show to Tampa. Dan Sileo, who started doing mornings on 740 "only" in 2002 is now out. No replacement has been named as of press time.

Sileo stays on in Tampa doing mornings as he has been since the show was simulcast in both markets. Many Orlando listeners got fed up with Sileo talking much more about the Tampa teams and games than the Magic and other Orlando sports happenings.

MIAMI / Ft. LAUDERDALE: The Sun-Sentinel reports that the "Big O" Orlando Alzugaray is headed up to WFTL 640 to host afternoon drive and is leaving WQAM 560 after more than 12 years there.

CINCINNATI: The Reds' surprising appearance in the post-season is a chance to shine the spotlight on a possible "free agent". Marty Brennaman will handle play-by-play on Reds Radio, of course, along with Jim Kelch, and with Jeff Brantley on color. Yet, the elder Brennaman remains unsigned after this season, as are Kelch and Brantley.

Even though son Thom is not part of the Reds' radio team, local fans can hear from father and son on Sunday (Oct. 10). Thom will be calling the Bengals vs. Tampa Bay game for Fox TV. In fact, Thom Brennaman will join the #1 crew for Fox during the World Series weeks when Joe Buck moves over to baseball.

WASHINGTON D.C.: Tony Kornheiser has a new two-year deal to remain locally on ESPN 980 from 10 AM to Noon on weekdays. His show will also be available as a podcast at ESPN980.com.

HOUSTON: KPRC-TV adds Iain Page as a weekend news anchor and reporter, even though previous employers include ESPN and The Golf Channel.

BLOOMINGTON IN: WHTI-TV Terre Haute reports that the new Indiana University basketball analyst will be former Indiana State (and Hoosiers assistant coach) Royce Waltman. Don Fischer continues on play-by-play.

LOUISVILLE: WDRD 680 has picked up ESPN Radio after a 2 month absence from the market. However, this station, licensed to Newberg, is only a 1,000 watt station during the day and even less at night.

MEDFORD OR: After more than 5 years, KTMT 580 has brought ESPN Radio back to the market, dropping the Spanish language programming which had replaced ESPN Radio back in 2005. This gives the market a pair of 24-hour sports stations, as KEZX 730 is expected to continue as Fox Sports Radio.

ITHACA NY: WPIE 1160 has hired Jim MacKay (not related to the former ABC sportscaster) to host its local afternoon drive sports show.

KILLEEN-TEMPLE TX: The Eagle has landed. Or should we say retired in this market. KLTD 101.7 has stopped rocking as The Eagle as of this past Friday (Oct. 1) and has become The Ticket 101.7. Other than continuing a syndicated morning show, the station now airs Fox Sports programming.

DULUTH: My9-TV has increased its live coverage of University of Minnesota Duluth sports for this season. A new 2-year agreement results in the televising of 14 of the school's hockey games along with all of the school's home football games. Tom Hansen will handle the play-by-play. The channel also carries the Wisconsin state football, basketball, and hockey tournaments.

SCHEDULE: The TV slate for this coming Saturday's (Oct. 9) SEC football has been determined:

Tennessee at Georgia (SEC Network), 12:21 p.m. ET
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Arlington, Texas) (ESPN/ABC), 3:30 p.m. ET
Alabama at South Carolina (CBS Sports), 3:30 p.m. ET
Eastern Michigan at Vanderbilt (ESPNU), 7 p.m. ET
LSU at Florida (ESPN), 7:30 p.m. ET
Auburn at Kentucky (ESPN2), 7:30 p.m. ET
Mississippi State at Houston (CBS College Sports), 8 p.m. ET

No comments: