Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - November 2 Update......

Another example of an NBA player using the media to make news took place within the past few days, but this is much different from the LeBron James signing which became a TV event instead of a news conference.

For all of the gossip and speculation that appears within sportscasts and on the sports pages these days, it is practially refreshing to see a pro athlete concerned about his comments enough to the point of taking to the media on his own.

Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat took matters into his owns hands. It seems that last Tuesday in Boston Bosh commented to a Toronto Sun reporter to the effect of "It's all about being on TV, and if a player has great statistics and you don't see it, it doesn't matter". (Not exact quote.) It seems those comments were taken by Raptors fans as a slap against the Raptors, for which Bosh had been the marquee player until joining LeBron and the Heat this summer.

Even though Bosh no longer plays for Toronto, he and his agent reportedly contacted Toronto's FAN 590 and Bosh went on the air last Thursday (Oct. 28) to explain the comments to host Doug Farraway. Bosh indicated that his comments were not intended to be a reflection on the fans and media coverage in Toronto.

Agree or not, it's interesting that Bosh chose radio over the newspapers, likely so that his voice could be heard addressing the situation. It is wonderful to see radio be able to use its edge over the print media, and in this instance, also TV, by being able to get live reaction first.

It is also interesting that this story got very little media coverage, considering what a major use of all-sports radio this was. Generally, the sports stations do not have nearly enough player interviews, especially from their local teams, considering their resources. Yet, this was a case of a player (technically no longer local) actually making news on a sports radio station.

The inevitable football vs. baseball on TV comparisons will be flying throughout this week, especially with the World Series' final 2 games both being directly up against NFL telecasts.

At press time, early numbers indicated that the Giants' clincher on Monday night on Fox-TV drew bigger ratings than Monday Night Football on ESPN. Yet, NBC beat Fox on Sunday night with Sunday Night Football, even though this is the first time that NBC went ahead and televised a game up against the Sunday World Series. (And you know there are some NBC execs counting lost revenue from past years after that move.)

Yet, it appears that while Fox-TV scored well vs. its overall competition for the World Series that this year's will come in as the 2nd least watched World Series in recent years.

For NBC-TV, the trend continues among the Top 10 metered markets for Sunday Night Football. Other than NFL markets and Las Vegas, the 2 markets making the top 10 for the night were Richmond and Norfolk, which have scored very well in this category throughout the season.

On the World Series side, it turned out that the San Francisco market had higher audience figures than the Dallas market for every game of the World Series. Regionally, Austin and San Antonio were among the Top 10 metered markets for the World Series.

As the World Series ended and free agent talk starts, we have to pause and wonder whether the Giants' Game 5 win would be the final one that Jon Miller described for ESPN. The voice of Sunday Night Baseball for the past 21 seasons and the lead ESPN Radio voice in recent years now has an expired contract. Same for analyst Joe Morgan. It seems odd that Miller would not be locked up for next season and beyond.

ESPN might have rubbed it in to Fox and to some extent to MLB on Tuesday night (Nov. 2). It's "Bottom Line" scroll just happened to "report" that the World Series ratings were down this season. How that was "breaking sports news" and was given equal billing to scores, hirings, and transactions is beyond me. Face it, if ESPN had shown the World Series, that "report" would not have appeared the night following its conclusion.

The latest radio ratings, this for the mid-September into mid-October period, are coming out this week, showing the impact of the division races and post-season baseball in the cities involved.

As mentioned last month, we focus on the overall audience ratings, rather than the 25-54 male focus that other reporters seem to treasure.

In New York, WFAN and WEPN combined for a .5 total increase in overall audience, with WFAN 660 finishing 11th overall in the market. WCBS 880 showed well, no doubt helped by its Yankees broadcasts along with the all-news format.

Los Angeles listeners continue to not pay much attention to sports radio. KSPN and KLAC each rose .1, but combined their ratings would not make the market's current top 20.

Chicago's ratings saw movement among the two sports stations, even though they would not make the top 10 if combined. WSCR The Score dropped .3 and finished only 18th overall, while rival WMVP ESPN rose .4.

One Giants step for San Francisco radio was taken by KNBR 680, which rose along with the Giants' run to the post-season. KNBR went from a 3.6 to a 5.2 overall and finished #2 overall in the market. KTCT-AM also rose .4, normally a nice increase but it seems pale in comparison to KNBR's. With the ratings period having ended before the NLCS finished and the Giants in the World Series, the sports numbers figure to remain strong.

In Dallas, the Rangers' post-season run along with the Cowboys doing anything had its impact on sports radio as well. KTCK The Ticket led the 3 stations and showed a .2 increase. Rival KRLD_FM went up .6, while KESN still trails but also rose .4.

Philadelphia listeners were talking Phillies and Eagles. WIP 610 showed a .7 increase to #9 overall, while WPEN rose .5, giving both sports talkers a combined rating which would be 4th in the market.

However, in Houston, even though KILT leads the pack of 4 sports stations and rose .4 overall, the 4 stations combined wouldn't have made the market's top 20 stations. If this keeps up, 25-54 will be the sports radio listener estimate instead of an audience demographic when it comes to Houston.

Elsewhere, CBSC, the CBS Sports college TV network, is giving a free "preview" via some systems this week in an attempt to attract more viewers and subscribers. Carrying this Saturday's (Nov. 6) Utah-TCU telecast won't hurt. Fans of both teams might be hurt, as the strength of this telecast and the ability to attract "new" viewers could be keeping CBS from showing this matchup to a wider audience.

HOUSTON: The announcement of a Comcast Sports Regional Network for the Houston area starting in 2 years may or may not spell the death of Fox Sports Houston. After being forced out by similar moves in Chicago and other cities, FSH has 2 years to try and hold its own and prepare for losing both the Astros and Rockets after 2 more seasons.

Whether national Fox Sports programming, Big 12 Football, and coverage of the University of Houston and Rice sports will carry the bulk remains to be seen. Surrounding coverage of the Texans will also likely be threatened (if not upstaged) by a Comcast Regional Network, as these provide expanded NFL post-game and weekly programming in their other existing markets.

This will mark the end of an era. Fox Sports Houston was originally HSE and has carried the majority of Astros telecasts since 1983 and had the Rockets games most of those years.

CHICAGO: The Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks are still winners in the young NHL season. Not in the standings but in the TV ratings column. Comcast SportsNet Chicago aired 10 regular season games during October and reports a 77% ratings increase over last October. Both its pre-game and post-game shows have doubled their audiences compared with the first month of last season.

DePaul University basketball will have most of its basketball games aired on WSCR 670 starting later this month, including all of their (Big East) Conference games and the majority of the non-conference games. Zach Zaidman and Laurence Holmes will broadcast every game, with those not airing on WSCR being streamed online.

CINCINNATI: With the Bengals hosting Pittsburgh for Monday Night Football on Monday (11/8), Mike & Mike will do their ESPN Radio and TV morning show from Cincinnati that morning. WCKY 1530 is giving away tickets to attend the broadcast at the West Club Lounge inside Paul Brown Stadium.

SACRAMENTO: A tough week for listeners to and employees of KHTK 1140 this week. As of this week, Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear is now the only host (schedule permitting) of the 4 - 7 PM spot, as co-host Mike Lamb was let go, as was Program Director Mark Evans. Lamb and Napear were teamed for the past 6 years until this week.

CLEVELAND: Sports anchor Tony Rizzo will be out at Fox 8 as of December 31st after nearly 15 years there. As of now, his WKNR 850 "The Really Big Show" continues on weekday mornings.

WINNIPEG: The recently started Sports Radio 1290 is adding a Saturday morning hockey show starting this Saturday (11/6), as The Illegal Curve Show debuts from 10 AM to Noon. Plans include having current and former NHL players as guests as often as possible.

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