Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - October 26th Update.....

Cleveland Cavaliers basketball won't be the same as the season starts, and that has nothing whatsoever to do with LeBron James. All but 2 of the past 40 NBA seasons have brought us Joe Tait as the voice of the Cavs. This new season was supposed to be Joe's final season leading into a well deserved retirement, and a chance for fans and media around the league to honor him on his last visit to each NBA venue.

However, Joe is having heart surgery this week, and it comes after a bout with pneumonia. Tait is not expected back until at least 2 months into the season, and that is considered "best case" at this time. Mike Snyder will step out of the pre-game and post-game studio role and handle radio play-by-play (along with Jim Chones on color), most likely for as long as he is needed on WTAM 1100 Cleveland and WAKR 1590 Akron.

Hardcore Cavs fans bemoan the loss of LeBron James. Longtime basketball fans have the loss of one of the best basketball play-by-play voices for an indefinite period of time. Here's hoping for a great recovery by Tait, and that it be enough to keep him around for one more FULL season after that.

Football and baseball continue to rack up the TV viewers during this busy sports month of October. TBS finished its post-season baseball coverage with a 9% increase in overall viewership for its Division Series and ALCS coverage. The New York vs. Texas ALCS Game 6 telecast finished as the 2nd most watched program in 34 years of TBS, helping the network achieve its highest viewership for any post-season series it has televised.

NBC-TV continues to soar in the Sunday Night Football ratings, with its Green Bay vs. Minnesota telecast (Oct. 24) winning the entire evening and being the most watched SNF telecast of the season to date.

In Milwaukee, WTMJ-TV's initial overnights showed a 53 rating and better than a 68 share, increasing to a 57 rating during the game's later stages. The curious trend continued with Norfolk and Oklahoma City (both cities without NFL franchises) each finished in the Top 10 of metered markets.

This ratings surge may not be limited to MLB and the NFL. Versus reports improved ratings for its early season NHL telecasts, and this week marks the start of the new NBA season, with TNT and ESPN each featuring 2 nights of doubleheaders.

Yet, all is not well in some of the NFL's TV markets. WTOC-TV Savannah had to defend itself on its own web site and in the media after NFL TV policy prohibited it from showing this past Sunday's Atlanta Falcons game vs. Cincinnati. The market is technically within 75 miles of Jacksonville FL, and as a result, the Jaguars game had to be shown. Since it was an away day for the Jags, the game had to be shown (since home games are not selling out). Granted, that is the rule under the current TV policy set forth by the NFL. One would think that given the staggering amount of money the networks pay the league for TV rights that the fans in various markets would be entitled to the games they would most like to see.

This past Sunday (10/24) also had a telecast schedule changed in San Diego, and it may not have been due to the Chargers. The Chargers' home game vs. New England managed to sell out and the game was shown in the local San Diego market. Hours later it came out that it was the (road team) New England Patriots that used a social media site to announce the availability of tickets for the game in San Diego, targeting fans in Southern California, to help get the remaining tickets sold in time.

With Gus Johnson out of handling New York Knicks play-by-play, his role for the Big Ten Network will expand for the coming college hoops season. Johnson will call approximately 23 games this season, nearly double the number of games his schedule allowed last season. Jim Jackson will return for studio analysis and occasional work on game telecasts. Quinn Buckner has been added to the BTN roster for color commentary when his schedule allows (in addition to color on Indiana Pacers telecasts). BTN has also signed Brian Anderson to call some games. Anderson just completed a full season of baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers TV and TBS Division Series coverage. Wayne Larrivee (Packers), Eric Collins (Dodgers), Dave Revsine, Tom Hart, and Tom Hamilton will also handle play-by-play assignments.

CBS-TV's Greg Gumbel will be the featured speaker on January 18th at the 46th Red Smith Sports Award Banquet in Appleton WI.

MIAMI: The Miami Heat radio station battle remains unsettled (at press time) hours before their much-anticipated season begins. What started over a battle over whether the Heat or the Dolphins would have priority next Sunday (10/31) when both the Heat and Dolphins games are both scheduled to begin at 1 PM ET has resulted in the Heat attempting to terminate their contract with WINZ 940.

While the contract status appears headed to court, WINZ may only be airing the Heat games through next week (Nov. 5). This includes the conflict on Sunday, when the Dolphins broadcast is reportedly being moved to WIOD 610 to give the Heat priority. Mike Inglis and John Crotty are set as the radio team regardless of where the Heat broadcasts wind up. Word is that The Ticket 790 has shown interest in taking over the rights.

NEW YORK: Seth Everett has been added to WFAN's broadcasts of the Nets effective in time for opening night. Everett has previously handled surrounding coverage of the Mets for SNY and for Fox Sports surrounding both Knicks and Nets games, along with hosting shows on ESPN 1050. Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw continue on play-by-play and analysis.

Ft. MYERS/NAPLES: Florida Gulf Coast University is receiving additional local TV college. "The FGCU Sports Report" will air on Saturday mornings on the local ABC-TV affiliate, and then in the evening on the local NBC-TV sub-station from now until May. Tom James, former Channel 2 sports anchor, hosts the show.

The NBA national telecast schedule

By request, here is a calendar version of nationally televised NBA games as of now. Of course, the schedule is subject to change, especially later into the regular season.

The games listed on WGN-TV are those available on WGN America only. (The Bulls games carried just on WGN-TV Chicago are not available nationally.) NBA-TV continues having the fans choose the games for most Tuesday nights. All times ET.

Tuesday, Oct. 26
7:30: Miami at Boston (TNT)
10:30: Houston at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Wednesday, Oct. 27
8:00: Chicago at Oklahoma City (ESPN)
10:30: Portland at L.A. Clippers (ESPN)
Thursday, Oct. 28
8:00: Washington at Orlando (TNT)
10:30: Phoenix at Utah (TNT)
Friday, Oct. 29
8:00: Orlando at Miami (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Phoenix (ESPN)
Saturday, Oct. 30
8:30: Denver at Houston (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Oct. 31
7:00: Utah at Oklahoma City (NBA-TV)

Monday, Nov. 1
8:00: Portland at Chicago (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 2
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Nov. 3
8:00: Milwaukee at Boston (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Sacramento (ESPN)
Thursday, Nov. 4
8:00: New York at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: Oklahoma City at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Nov. 5
8:00: Chicago at Boston (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Clippers at Denver (ESPN)
Saturday, Nov. 6
9:00: Denver at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Nov. 7
7:00: Boston at Oklahoma City (NBA-TV)
Monday, Nov. 8
7:00: San Antonio at Charlotte (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 9
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Nov. 10
7:00: Utah at Orlando (ESPN)
9:30: L.A. Clippers at San Antonio (ESPN)
Thursday, Nov. 11
8:00: Boston at Miami (TNT)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Nov. 12
7:00: Utah at Atlanta (ESPN)
9:30: Portland at Oklahoma City (ESPN)
Saturday, Nov. 13
8:00: Washington at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: Golden State at Milwaukee (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Nov. 14
7:30: Houston at New York, (NBA-TV)
Monday, Nov. 15
7:00: Memphis at Orlando (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 16
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Nov. 17
7:00: Phoenix at Miami (ESPN)
9:30: Chicago at San Antonio (ESPN)
Thursday, Nov. 18
8:00: Phoenix at Orlando (TNT)
10:30: Denver at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Nov. 19
7:00: Oklahoma City at Boston (ESPN)
9:30: Chicago at Dallas (ESPN)
Saturday, Nov. 20
8:00: Dallas at Atlanta (NBA-TV)
Monday, Nov. 21
6:00: New Orleans at Sacramento (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 23
8:30: Orlando at San Antonio (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Nov. 24
7:30: Miami at Orlando (ESPN)
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Nov. 25
8:00: Washington at Atlanta (TNT)
10:30: Sacramento at L.A. Clippers (TNT)
Friday, Nov. 26
7:00: Houston at Charlotte (ESPN2)
9:30: Golden State at Memphis (ESPN2)
Saturday, Nov. 27
7:00: Orlando at Washington (NBA-TV)
10:00: Chicago at Sacramento (WGN)
Sunday, Nov. 28
7:00: Oklahoma City at Houston (NBA-TV)
Monday, Nov. 29
8:30: Houston at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Nov. 30
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)

Wednesday, Dec. 1
7:30: Portland at Boston (NBA-TV)
10:30: San Antonio at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Dec. 2
8:00: Miami at Cleveland (TNT)
10:30: Phoenix at Golden State (TNT)
Friday, Dec. 3
8:00: Chicago at Boston (ESPN)
10:30: Dallas at Utah (ESPN)
Saturday, Dec. 4
8:00: Houston at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: Orlando at Milwaukee (NBA-TV)
Monday, Dec. 6
7:00: Atlanta at Orlando (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Dec. 7
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Dec. 8
7:00: Denver at Boston (ESPN)
Thursday, Dec. 9
8:00: Boston at Philadelphia (TNT)
10:30: Orlando at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Dec. 10
8:00: L.A. Lakers at Chicago (ESPN)
10:30: Miami at Golden State (ESPN)
Saturday, Dec. 11
8:00: Minnesota at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: Utah at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Monday, Dec. 13
8:00: Indiana at Chicago (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Dec. 14
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Dec. 15
7:00: Boston at New York (ESPN)
9:30: Portland at Dallas (ESPN)
Thursday, Dec. 16
8:00: Atlanta at Boston (TNT)
10:30: San Antonio at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Dec. 17
7:00: Miami at New York (ESPN)
9:30: Phoenix at Dallas (ESPN)
Saturday, Dec. 18
7:00: Miami at Washington (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Dec. 19
7:00: Phoenix at Oklahoma City (NBA-TV)
Monday, Dec. 20
7:30: Dallas at Miami (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Dec. 21
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Dec. 22
7:00: Chicago at Washington (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Dec. 23
8:00: San Antonio at Orlando (TNT)
10:30: Miami at Phoenix (TNT)
Saturday, Dec. 25
12:00: Chicago at New York (ESPN)
2:30: Boston at Orlando (ABC)
5:00: Miami at L.A. Lakers (ABC)
8:00: Denver at Oklahoma City (ESPN)
10:30: Portland at Golden State (ESPN)
Monday, Dec. 27
7:00: Detroit at Charlotte (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Dec. 28
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Dec. 29
10:30: Utah at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Dec. 30
7:00: New York at Orlando (TNT)
9:30: San Antonio at Dallas (TNT)
Friday, Dec. 31
3:00: New Jersey at Chicago (WGN)

Sunday, Jan. 2
9:00: Houston at Portland (NBA-TV)
Monday, Jan. 3
8:00: Philadelphia at New Orleans (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Jan. 4
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 5
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Phoenix (ESPN)
Thursday, Jan. 6
8:00: Oklahoma City at Dallas (TNT)
10:30: Denver at Sacramento (TNT)
Friday, Jan. 7
8:00: Houston at Orlando (ESPN)
10:30: New York at Phoenix (ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 8
8:00: Boston at Chicago (NBA-TV, WGN)
Sunday, Jan. 9
8:00: Cleveland at Phoenix (NBA-TV)
Monday, Jan. 10
7:30: Houston at Boston (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Jan. 11
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 12
8:30: Oklahoma City at Houston (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Jan. 13
8:00: Orlando at Oklahoma City (TNT)
10:30: Miami at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Jan. 14
8:00: Dallas at San Antonio (ESPN)
10:30: Portland at Phoenix (ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 15
8:00: Miami at Chicago (NBA-TV,WGN)
Sunday, Jan. 16
9:00: Denver at San Antonio (ESPN)
Monday, Jan. 17
1:00: Chicago at Memphis (ESPN)
4:00: Sacramento at Atlanta (NBA-TV)
8:00: Orlando at Boston (TNT)
10:30: Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Tuesday, Jan. 18
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 19
9:00: L.A. Lakers at Dallas (ESPN)
Thursday, Jan. 20
8:00: Dallas at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: L.A. Clippers at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Jan. 21
8:00: Phoenix at Washington (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Denver (ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 22
7:30: Utah at Philadelphia (NBA-TV)
8:00: Cleveland at Chicago (WGN)
Monday, Jan. 24
7:30: Washington at New York (NBA-TV)
10:00: Sacramento at Portland (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Jan. 25
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Jan. 26
9:30: San Antonio at Utah (ESPN)
Thursday, Jan. 27
8:00: Miami at New York (TNT)
10:30: Boston at Portland (TNT)
Friday, Jan. 28
10:30: Boston at Phoenix (ESPN)
Saturday, Jan. 29
8:00: Indiana at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: Atlanta at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Sunday, Jan. 30
1:00: Miami at Oklahoma City (ABC)
3:30: Boston at L.A. Lakers (ABC)
10:00: Utah at Golden State (ESPN)
Monday, Jan. 31
7:00: Denver at New Jersey (NBA-TV)

Tuesday, Feb. 1
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Feb. 2
8:00: New Orleans at Oklahoma City (NBA-TV)
10:30: Chicago at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Feb. 3
8:00: Miami at Orlando (TNT)
10:30: San Antonio at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Friday, Feb. 4
8:00: Dallas at Boston (ESPN)
10:30: Utah at Denver (ESPN)
Saturday, Feb. 5
7:00: Atlanta at Washington (NBA-TV)
10:30: Chicago at Golden State (WGN)
Sunday, Feb. 6
2:30: Orlando at Boston (ABC)
Monday, Feb. 7
8:00: Minnesota at New Orleans (NBA-TV)
10:30: Phoenix at Golden State (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Feb. 8
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Feb. 9
7:30: L.A. Clippers at New York (NBA-TV)
10:30: Denver at Golden State (NBA-TV)
Thursday, Feb. 10
8:00: L.A. Lakers at Boston (TNT)
10:30: Dallas at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Feb. 11
8:00: L.A. Lakers at New York (ESPN)
Friday, Feb. 11
10:30: Phoenix at Utah (ESPN)
Saturday, Feb. 12
7:00: Charlotte at Atlanta (NBA-TV)
8:00: Chicago at New Orleans (WGN)
Sunday, Feb. 13
1:00: Miami at Boston (ABC)
3:30: L.A. Lakers at Orlando (ABC)
8:00: Oklahoma City at Golden State (ESPN)
Monday, Feb. 14
7:00: San Antonio at New Jersey (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, Feb. 15
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Feb. 16
9:00: Denver at Milwaukee (ESPN)
Thursday, Feb. 17
8:00: San Antonio at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: Dallas at Phoenix (TNT)
Sunday, Feb. 20
TBD All-Star Game (TNT)
Tuesday, Feb. 22
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, Feb. 23
8:00: Oklahoma City at San Antonio (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Portland (ESPN)
Thursday, Feb. 24
8:00: Miami at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: Boston at Denver (TNT)
Friday, Feb. 25
8:00: Oklahoma City at Orlando (ESPN)
10:30: Denver at Portland (ESPN)
Saturday, Feb. 26
8:30: Chicago at Milwaukee (NBA-TV, WGN)
Sunday, Feb. 27
2:30: L.A. Lakers at Oklahoma City (ABC)
8:00: New York at Miami (ESPN)
10:30: Atlanta at Portland (ESPN)
Monday, Feb. 28
9:00: Boston at Utah (NBA-TV)

Tuesday, March 1
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, March 2
7:30: Phoenix at Boston (NBA-TV)
10:30: Houston at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Thursday, March 3
8:00: Orlando at Miami (TNT)
10:30: Denver at Utah (TNT)
Friday, March 4
3:00: Toronto vs. New Jersey at London (NBA-TV, YES)
7:00: Chicago at Orlando (ESPN)
9:30: Miami at San Antonio (ESPN)
Saturday, March 5
3:00: Toronto vs. New Jersey at London (NBA-TV)
Sunday, March 6
1:00: Chicago at Miami (ABC)
3:30: L.A. Lakers at San Antonio (ABC)
6:30: New Orleans at Cleveland (ESPN)
9:00: Boston at Milwaukee (ESPN)
Monday, March 7
7:00: Portland at Orlando (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, March 8
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, March 9
8:00: New York at Memphis (NBA-TV)
Thursday, March 10
8:00: L.A. Lakers at Miami (TNT)
10:30: Denver at Phoenix (TNT)
Friday, March 11
8:00: Atlanta at Chicago (NBA-TV)
Saturday, March 12
8:00: Utah at Chicago (WGN)
8:30: L.A. Lakers at Dallas (NBA-TV)
Sunday, March 13
3:30: Orlando at Phoenix (ABC)
6:00: Milwaukee at Boston (NBA-TV)
Monday, March 14
8:00: San Antonio at Miami (ESPN)
10:30: Orlando at L.A. Lakers (ESPN)
Tuesday, March 15
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, March 16
8:00: Oklahoma City at Miami (ESPN)
10:30: Dallas at Golden State (ESPN)
Thursday, March 17
7:30: Memphis at New York (NBA-TV)
Saturday, March 19
7:30: Denver at Miami (NBA-TV)
Monday, March 21
7:30: Boston at New York (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, March 22
7:00: Chicago at Atlanta (TNT)
9:30: Phoenix at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Wednesday, March 23
8:00: Orlando at New York (ESPN)
10:30: San Antonio at Denver (ESPN)
Friday, March 25
10:00: New Orleans at Phoenix (NBA-TV)
Saturday, March 26
7:00: New York at Charlotte (NBA-TV)
8:30: Chicago at Milwaukee (WGN)
Sunday, March 27
8:00: Portland at Oklahoma City (ESPN)
10:30: Dallas at Phoenix (ESPN)
Monday, March 28
8:00: Philadelphia at Chicago (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, March 29
TBD Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, March 30
7:00: Detroit at Indiana (ESPN)
Thursday, March 31
8:00: Boston at San Antonio (TNT)
10:30: Dallas at L.A. Lakers (TNT)

Friday, April 1
8:00: Boston at Atlanta (ESPN)
10:30: L.A. Lakers at Utah (ESPN)
Saturday, April 2
8:00: Toronto at Chicago (WGN)
10:30: Oklahoma City at L.A. Clippers (NBA-TV)
Sunday, April 3
1:00: Phoenix at San Antonio (ABC)
3:30: Denver at L.A. Lakers (ABC)
9:00: Dallas at Portland (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, April 5
7:00 or 8:00: Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
9:30 or 10:30: Teams to be determined (NBA-TV)
Wednesday, April 6
7:00: Milwaukee at Miami (ESPN)
9:30: Denver at Dallas (ESPN)
Thursday, April 7
8:00: Boston at Chicago (TNT)
10:30: Portland at Utah (TNT)
Friday, April 8
8:00: Phoenix at New Orleans (NBA-TV)
Saturday, April 9
8:30: Utah at San Antonio (NBA-TV)
Sunday, April 10
1:00: Chicago at Orlando (ABC)
3:30: Boston at Miami (ABC)
9:30: Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers (NBA-TV)
Monday, April 11
7:00: Orlando at Philadelphia (NBA-TV)
10:00: Oklahoma City at Sacramento (NBA-TV)
Tuesday, April 12
8:00: Chicago at New York (TNT)
10:30: San Antonio at L.A. Lakers (TNT)
Wednesday, April 13
8:00: Atlanta at Charlotte (ESPN)
10:30: Memphis at L.A. Clippers (ESPN)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - October 20th update....

This week brings still more examples of sports radio shows going to TV. In Chicago and several other cities, next Monday (Oct. 25) marks the debut of Dan Patrick's radio show going to the TV side by way of some Fox Sports regional networks and Comcast Sports regional networks.

In Chicago, this marks a move of Patrick's show off the radio and on to TV in perhaps the most significant move in the country. While it is true that Dan Patrick's radio show has been airing on 670 WSCR The Score since its start, the show has been airing on a severe tape delay. Airing the show from 1 to 4 AM and previewing games which have already been completed was never the best showcase for Patrick. Whether that was worth it just to be able to tell potential advertisers that the show airs in Chicago is up for debate. It's just that airing overnight after games were over has been a waste of time, and the better parts of Patrick's show never got a fair shake in the Chicago market.

Getting rid of the Dan Patrick Show means that WSCR The Score will be live and local 24 hours a day. Host Les Grobstein will no longer have a split show from 10 PM to 1 AM and then return from 4 until 5 AM, or need to host for 7 hours straight when there is no Patrick Show to air. Now, he settles into Midnight to 5 AM.

Starting Monday, the Dan Patrick Show will air live on Comcast SportsNet each weekday morning.

In Boston, the popular WEEI morning show, The Dennis and Callahan Show, will be simulcast on NESN, starting the week of November 15th, from 6 to 9 AM. What also makes this interesting is that The Dennis & Callahan Show has changed over the past couple of years and is not all sports. It will be interesting to see how some political cross-talk goes over (or doesn't) with the NESN all-sports audience, especially since NESN plans to air the show on its outlets beyond the immediate Boston area. On the other hand, it will be interesting to hear if the show transitions back more to sports due to the addition of the TV simulcast.

These 2 cities add to the existing radio shows on TV, which includes portions Mike Francesa's WFAN show airing in the NYC area on YES, among other examples. The most prominent example is Mike & Mike's ESPN Radio show airing on ESPN2 each morning.

From the TV point of view, I understand these moves since the production costs are very little to pick up an existing "radio" show compared with needing a studio, fresh talent, producers, and the like. This is their way of going with a familiar and established entity for their viewers.

As a radio guy, I don't like to see this at all. While radio people sit around trying to determine why the medium is gradually losing its audiences across the board, it is actions such as this one that answer their own question.

In Boston, Dennis & Callahan enjoys strong ratings, especially within its targeted demographic. They have been a morning drive fixture since being moved there in 1999. But starting next month, radio will not have this show exclusively. Did WEEI executives stop to wonder what happens if several people who have PPM's (the meters used to monitor listening for ratings) are no longer listening to WEEI and instead watch NESN each morning?

If the radio ratings drop, the show will not be considered as successful, WEEI loses revenue, and radio loses a portion of the audience it has to fight hard for.

It's just like some of the music stations which want you to pay to download the songs they play and offer podcasts on their web site. They look at it as additional revenue instead of how they are also giving people more reasons NOT to listen to their station.

Some of the regional TV sports networks also already do their own version of a radio show on TV. A prime example is Sports Time Ohio's "All Bets Are Off" with Bruce Drennan. Bruce sits in the STO studio and takes listener calls, only occasionally showing an interview. For 3 hours on weekday afternoons and then 2 hours most Sunday nights. This is one example of TV copying radio, but at least they are originating their own show.

If and as radio continues to offer less unique programming, the overall audience is not likely to grow, or even sustain current levels.

NEW YORK: One can't blame NBC-TV for pointing this out. Sunday Night Football (10/17) with the Indianapolis vs. Washington game more than doubled the overnight ratings of Fox's NLCS telecast of the Phillies and Giants. Their report claims this was the best NFL prime time overnights vs. a baseball league Championship Series since 1997. The football ratings were reportedly 10% better than last season's Week 6 telecast.

A check of the Top 10 metered markets from this game understandably includes Richmond and Norfolk in the Top 5, due to their proximity to Washington D.C. The most curious markets to appear in the Top 10 are Knoxville and Greensboro. The markets with baseball teams still alive in the post-season, New York, Dallas, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, did not crack the Top 10 Sunday Night Football markets.

MIAMI: No update yet as to how WBGG-FM is going to handle their contract conflict on October 31st. It seems the station has "priority team" agreements with both the NBA Heat and the NFL Dolphins regarding WBGG, and the Heat is taking legal action. The teams are both scheduled for 1 PM ET regular season games on Halloween. The Dolphins broadcasts also air on WINZ-AM. The Heat will be into their first regular season weekend with LeBron James and company. In addition, the Heat is reportedly upset that the Dolphins get a 2-hour pre-game block whereas Heat broadcasts have a 30-minute pre-game. However, the Dolphins play once per week compared with 3 or 4 games for the Heat.

St. LOUIS: One more chapter in the "why radio is losing its audience" derby. Even though the Cardinals dropped out of N.L. Central contention by September, their TV ratings, up about 19% from the previous season, led local ratings for all of MLB. In addition, they averaged higher TV ratings over the course of their season than any NBA or NHL team during the 2009-2010 seasons.

Not so coincidentally, the Cardinals will return to KMOX Radio for next season after another season on a signal-challenged AM station that barely covered the St. Louis metro. Let's see what happens to their ratings for next season when fans throughout the region can EASILY get the games on radio.

By the way, the Minnesota Twins local telecasts averaged the 2nd highest in local MLB telecast ratings this year, understandable given the team's A.L. Central championship and their new stadium. They also beat out every NBA and NHL local telecast from the prior seasons. The Red Sox had won this category for the six previous seasons, but suffered about a 38% ratings decrease for 2010 and did not make MLB's top 5 local telecasts rankings.

SAN FRANCISCO/OAKLAND: The Oakland A's had one of the biggest increases overall in their local telecast ratings compared with other teams with more than a 48% improvement for their Comcast SportsNet telecasts. However, they still wound up with the lowest local telecast ratings of the season.

GAINESVILLE: Glad to see that Renee Gork is back working again on sports radio. Gork was the reporter fired from an Arkansas station following an incident where she wore a U. of Florida hat to a U. of Arkansas press conference. Here's hoping she pursues legal action on that. Meanwhile, WRUF 850 has hired her to be a part of the University of Florida operated station. On one hand, that is just as insane. On the other hand, she has a job in sports radio, like she should.

MILWAUKEE: Challenges for local play-by-play voices. At press time (10/19), 40-year Brewers voice Bob Uecker was scheduled to have additional heart surgery to repair a tear from his prior heart valve replacement. The 75-year young Uecker missed much of the just concluded season when he had to have heart surgery in April. We most certainly hope he will "get up....get up....and get out" of the hospital as soon as possible.

Bucks radio voice Ted Davis went to Texas to help his ailing mother but is expected back prior to the end of the pre-season. TV voice Jim Paschke has filled in on at least one Bucks pre-season broadcast so far.

CLEVELAND: It's not just Milwaukee announcers. Sorry to report that Cavaliers voice Joe Tait, scheduled to retire after the coming season, was hospitalized on this past weekend due to chest pains. TV voice Fred McLeod filled in for Saturday's (10/16) pre-season game vs. Dallas.

PITTSBURGH: Stan Savran is back, and is now a part of the Steelers Radio Network. He will be heard during the pre-game, half time, and post-game shows. In addition, he will make weekly Steelers related appearances on the WDVE Morning Show, WXDX's Mark Madden Show, and "Tunch & Wolf" on Fox Sports 970.

PHILADELPHIA: Former Sixer Eric Snow made his debut last week (10/12) as analyst working with Marc Zumoff, becoming the 4th analyst in 4 seasons to do so on Comcast SportsNet. He replaces Ed Pinckney, who joined the Chicago Bulls as an Assistant Coach. Bob Salmi and Steve Mix handled the seasons prior to Pinckney.

DALLAS: While the Rangers battle to reach their first World Series, the team will have a new TV play-by-play voice for next season. The team is not renewing the contract of Josh Lewin after 9 seasons. This does not impact Lewin's other duties as play-by-play voice of the San Diego Chargers (radio) and baseball assignments for Fox TV. Tom Grieve continues as the team's TV analyst.

CINCINNATI: Xavier University's basketball team's success has carried over to the TV side. As of now, every game with the exception of the Paradise Jam tournament they are scheduled for will be televised. Fox Sports Ohio will air at least 9 games, CBS College Sports will show 5 games, and ESPN has 10 games scheduled. Brad Johansen and Steve Wolf will call the Fox Sports Ohio telecasts.

DAYTON: Last week's big area high school game between Wayne and Centerville had plenty of coverage. In addition to being televised nationally on ESPNU, WONE 980 broadcast the game as its Greater Western Ohio Conference Game of the Week, while WSWO 97.7 aired it along with all Wayne H.S. games, and WCWT 107.3 airs all of the Centerville games.

ALBANY: Sorry to learn of the passing of Bob McNamara, sportscaster in the market from 1966 into 2001, at the age of 76. He worked at WTEN-TV in 1966, then to WRGB in 1967 for 14 years before going to WNYT.

BANGOR: The Bangor Daily News reports that WZON The Sports Zone 620 will cut back its sports talk programming in favor of news/talk shows between now and the end of the year. Play-by-play is expected to continue, including high school football and hoops, Husson University games, and Red Sox baseball (for which it is under contract through the 2011 season).

TERRE HAUTE: Brazil Indiana's WSDM 92.7 has dropped its country rock music format and moved ESPN Radio from WSDX 1130. The AM signal suffered from being only 500 watts during the day and even less at night. This provides better coverage for ESPN Radio, also carried on WBOW 1300 in Terra Haute.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Broadcast Booth - October 12th Update

Sometimes it is better to not give enough information in order to keep your entire audience. A prime example took place during last week's Roy Halladay no-hitter in the Phillies vs. Reds NLDS opener.

In most time zones, this historical game climaxed during afternoon drive when a lot of baseball fans were on their commute home.

On WSCR The Score 670 Chicago, the anchor at the update desk informed listeners about the no-hitter through 8 innings. Under certain circumstances, there would be no problem with him doing this. However, the Phillies vs. Reds game happened to be carried on rival WMVP 1000, the ESPN station, and WSCR's chief competition. Therein lies the problem.

I heard about this from a long-time radio friend, who, of course, immediately switched over to the game broadcast on WMVP for the remainder of his drive home. He wasn't that interested in an opening playoff game with "out of market" teams, choosing WSCR instead. Suppose even a handful of people with PPM's reacted the same way and switched to the game broadcast. Essentially, the WSCR anchor likely helped the ratings of the competition.

From this corner, what he should have done was give the current score, that it was Philadelphia leading Cincinnati 4 to nothing in the 8th inning. We can be reasonably certain that hardly a baseball fan would be inclined to switch to the competing broadcast based on that information, given their choice to listen to the local call-in show instead.

What baffles me even more is that this same WSCR did not even give an in progress score during the 2 late nights I personally listened while the San Francisco vs. San Diego series was being played late in the regular season to help decide the N.L. West. The one time they SHOULD be giving in progress scores they didn't, and then they give "too much information" at a time they didn't have to. They would have kept their audience by waiting and talking about the no-hitter after the fact.

Years ago I worked for one Program Director at a music station who would not even allow the air personalities or news reporters to announce who the local teams would be playing that day. "We don't want to remind them to listen to or watch a game", he would tell us. A News Director I worked with at another station in a university town would tell us to promote every football and basketball telecast of the local school. His reason was that since the biggest competing station carried the games, we would rather steer the audience to TV and not the other station.

Sports stations not only talk about the competition among the teams and leagues they cover. They compete for the same audience. At least, they are supposed to.

Speaking of audience competition, I took a different approach to the latest batch of monthly ratings of the sports stations in the major cities. It is time to examine how prominent sports radio is, rather than one station vs. the other.

Admittedly, I have previously fallen into the trap and commented on the sports radio battles in Houston (with 4 sports stations) and Miami, among others. Looking at where the sports stations combine (since there are more than one sports radio stations in most markets now) sheds new light. In addition, I'm not sure that only focusing on the 25-54 males regarding sports radio is a true reflection. Teens and women are also sports fans, along with many males over the age of 55. They count, too.

In Houston, KILT remains ahead of KMBE and KFNC in overall audience figures. However, when you combine the overall audience totals for these 3 stations, the combined figure would NOT make the top 20 in overall listening.

In Los Angeles, it is the same story. KSPN 710 and KLAC 570 are within .1 of each other for overall audience. However, these stations do not combine to make the top 20 overall in the Los Angeles market. They are both getting swamped by more than 97% of the radio audience.

Plenty has been discussed about the competition in Miami, especially with the Dolphins switching stations. Again, there is more to life than males 25-54. WQAM, WAXY, and even WINZ combined would have been #20 in the market in terms of overall audience.

For Pittsburgh, relative newcomer KDKA-FM has done very well in just a few months as a sports station, leading the pack among sports stations. While faring better than Miami, Houston, and L.A. in total audience, KDKA-FM, WEAE, and WBGG combined would not make the top 10 in overall audience.

Yet, this is not reflective of the trend in sports radio in terms of overall audience. Look at many other "major league" markets and you then realize why there are so many markets with competing sports stations.

New York's WFAN triples the overall audience of WEPN, but if combined they would be #6 in overall listening in the market. In Philadelphia (for this ratings period from mid-August to mid-September and not including the Phillies clinching period) WIP has twice the overall audience of WPEN, and both stations increased over the ratings period, which would put them in the top 7 if combined.

Same story in Chicago where WSCR The Score doubles WMVP ESPN overall (and we shall see about the current ratings period!), but the 2 stations would combine to be in the top 7 in the market.

Even better for sports radio in Dallas. The Ticket continues to lead KRLD-FM and KESN, but sports radio stations would combine to be #2 overall right now, and these ratings only included the Cowboys' opening week.

In San Francisco, KNBR 680 is 7th in overall audience on its own, more than 4 times the combined audiences of KTCT and KTRB.

Boston listeners continue to support both WEEI-AM and WBZ-FM Sports Hub overall. While the Sports Hub edged up .3 and WEEI dropped .2 during the recent ratings period, these 2 stations combine for a top 4 placement.

WXYT continues to the The Ticket for ratings in Detroit. The nation's best example as the sports station claims its third consecutive month as #1 overall. Not to mention that WWJ News 950 rose to third overall and now provides sports updates at :15 and :45 each hour.

Minnesota Twins baseball moving over to KSTP-AM for the just concluded season paid big dividends in the ratings with the station up nearly one full point in overall audience during the past 3 ratings periods. KFAN The Fan, however, finished at 16th overall in the market.

In St. Louis, WXOS has better than 4 times the overall audience of KFNS and KSLG, but combined would hold a top 10 position in the market.

Kansas City's WHB is 13th overall in the latest ratings, but in this instance it should be noted that the sports station is actually 2nd overall in "non-music" stations. This market likes its music. Yet, when combined with KCSP's overall ratings, sports radio would be #3 overall.

Although these are the markets I examined, there is enough to make the point that some markets have much more of a demand for sports radio than others, and how this should be the measuring stick.

Yet, there are at least 2 markets where the sports demand is subject to interpretation. In both Cincinnati and Milwaukee, play-by-play seems to rule the roost, while talking about sports is further back.

WTMJ is a long-time solid #1 in the Milwaukee market, offering little actual sports talk but the majority of play-by-play. The station carries the majority of Brewers, Packers, Bucks, and University of Wisconsin football games (except when conflicts occur). Yet, neither of its sports stations, including one which offers extended Brewers post-game programming without the broadcasts, even register a 1 rating.

Same story in Cincinnati, where WLW dominates the ratings while carrying the Reds and most Bengals broadcasts with only occasional talk specific to sports. Even with WCKY showing more than 6 times the overall audience of WSAI, these 2 stations combined would not make the top 15.

While it's true you could make the same argument by combining various music stations and other formats and they would be #1 or #2, my point is the variation of interest in sports radio among major league cities. Looking only at the 25-54 males group does not show the whole story.

NBC-TV keeps racking up wins for Sunday night Football. There is a higher significance to the Philadelphia vs. San Francisco game winning on Sunday night (10/10), considering it was in competition with the Phillies playing Cincinnati for the NLDS, and followed the Giants' comeback win over Atlanta minutes prior.

In looking at the top metered markets for the night, I continue to be amazed that Richmond and Norfolk seem to show up in the top 10 markets most weeks, even though they are not NFL areas. It could be that the Washington Redskins have a bigger regional following than people realize. That would make sense, in that Skins' division rivals the Eagles and N.Y. Giants have been featured over the past couple of weeks.

Through the first 4 weeks (figures not available at press time for week 5), the Redskins' TV ratings were up 44% in the Washington D.C. area, which represents the 3rd biggest TV ratings increase among NFL teams locally. Houston Texans ratings were up 55% in the Houston market, followed by St. Louis at 51%. (Keep in mind this was before the Rams were destroyed by the Lions on week 5!)

On the NHL side, Versus got off to a great start with its first 2 nights of NHL games for the just underway regular season. The opening night telecast from the new Pittsburgh arena now ranks as Versus' most watched regular season game, including a #1 rating overall for the Pittsburgh market. Then, the late game telecast of defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago at Colorado set a record for most viewers for a "post 9 PM ET" start.

COOPERSTOWN: The finalists have been announced for the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rene Cardenas, Tom Cheek, Dizzy Dean, Jacques Doucet, Bill King , Ned Martin, Tim McCarver, Graham McNamee, Eric Nadel and Dave Van Horne.

The lone winner will be announced on December 7th during the Winter Meetings in Orlando. In this instance, it's too bad there will only be one. Tim McCarver is the most known based on 30 seasons in New York and at the network level. Cardenas helped to create the first ever Spanish broadcast back in the late 50's when the Dodgers moved to L.A. and worked for MLB teams for 38 years. Van Horne has just completed his 43rd season of broadcasting games, most for the Montreal Expos and now the Marlins since 2001.

What is puzzling is MLB announcing this to coincide with the playoffs in progress. These candidates deserve the spotlight to themselves. Here's hoping that in the future this announcement will come after the World Series when it can hold the spotlight.

BLOOMINGTON: As Dick Enberg comes off a tremendous season calling the Padres on TV and wanting to come back for more, he has an admirable off-season project to start on. Enberg will be doing a one-man play, "The Untold Story of College Basketball Legend Al McGuire". Enberg & McGuire were the NBC-TV #1 college basketball team for many years.

Enberg will be performing the play two times (afternoon and evening) at his alma mater, Indiana University on October 23. In a typical classy move, Enberg has already said he will engage the audience after each performance.

NEW YORK: Although the NHL is off to a good TV ratings start, it's not easy being an Islanders fan these days. If you want to hear their games. I suppose it's better than nothing, but Hofstra University's WRHU student run station is now the radio home of the Islanders. Sort of. Some of the game broadcasts will actually be a simulcast of the TV sound, while Chris King will call others. However, students will be handling the surrounding programming including intermissions and pre and post-game shows. At least they'll be on one station for this season. For the past 2 seasons, night games were on WMJC-FM while day games were on WHLI-AM, and were always the TV feed as a simulcast.

To put it politely, WRHU is something like 500 watts. Meanwhile, New Jersey Devils games air on 50,000 watt WFAN, while ESPN 1050 airs the Rangers games.

KANSAS CITY: Speaking of signal concerns, University of Missouri football fans in the K.C. area have more challenges than the team this season. KXTR 1690 is a classical music station with a limited signal that carries the day games. Their night games air on KMBZ 980, which is easier to get. The school hopes to (and needs) a better arrangement after this one expires at the end of the season. The previous arrangement with KCSP 610, which continues to carry the Royals and Kansas University, expired after last season.

BOSTON: Looks like the Red Sox fans gave up on the team long before their elimination from the post season. TV ratings for the NESN telecasts reportedly finished the season down more than 33% from the 2009 season. Thus, this is the first time since 2003 that NESN's Red Sox telecasts have not finished first among local telecast ratings.

HOUSTON: KGOW's morning show with John Granato and Lance Zierlein will be getting additional play starting this month. Comcast Sports Southwest will show the morning show's first hour (6 to 7 AM) live in the Houston area. The pair are expected to devote a couple minutes just to TV during longer radio breaks.

While the NBA Rockets play a couple of pre-season games in China this week which will be televised, it won't exactly be with the local flavor. It seems that Bill Worrell and Clyde Drexler will be calling the telecast off the monitors in a Houston studio. I would like to think that the main reason for televising these games is to share the experience of playing in China. Why couldn't they send Worrell? He could have talked with Drexler from Houston and shared what it was like. Under this setting, it may not be worth the effort to televise.

Then again San Antonio Spurs fans aren't getting any actual local telecasts of pre-season games. Spurs fans that can get Fox Sports Houston can likely pick up 2 of the pre-season telecasts done by the Rockets' crew. The Tuesday (Oct. 12) game between the Spurs and L.A. Clippers from Mexico City will be shown via NBA-TV.

WASHINGTON D.C.: Author John Feinstein made news with his appearance last week on WTEM 980, but not because of his comments. He was being interviewed live on the air when the car he was in was sideswiped and Feinstein let out an obscenity. Although the word and bleeped out over the air (though reportedly not online), the segment ended right then and there.

LOUISVILLE: NBC-TV has extended its right to cover the Kentucky Derby through 2015 with the new contract to include expanded coverage.

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