Monday, February 28, 2011

The Broadcast Booth - March 1st Update........

Usually when a media member is voted into a Hall of Fame it understandably takes a back seat to the players and coaches who are also honored. But not this time. The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame should add an extra wing for the induction of Eddie Einhorn, even though he never played at the college level.

I have often said that while James Naismith is credited with inventing the game of basketball, Einhorn should be credited with "inventing" college basketball as we know it.

Those of us over the age of 40 most likely remember how very few college basketball games were on TV until the late 1960's. It was Einhorn who formed the TVS Television Network of stations (regardless of CBS, NBC, ABC, or independent affiliation) to show a few of college basketball's biggest matchups on Saturday afternoons during the regular season. Prior to that, TVS only handled coverage of the NCAA Tournament. You see, it wasn't the billion dollar deal with days and nights of live games it is today. When Einhorn "invented" the game, none of the national networks so much as bothered with college hoops, even at tournament time.

At this time of the year, the "E" in ESPN should really stand for Einhorn. He paved the way for them.

The 1968 game between UCLA (with Lew Alcindor, later to be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) against Houston (with Elvin Hayes) played in the Astrodome was one of the first prominent regular season games ever to be nationally televised, and it was Einhorn's TVS that made it possible.

From there, the major schools (for basketball) of the day, such as UCLA, Kentucky, Notre Dame, LSU, and Maryland, began to appear on a series of Saturday afternoon telecasts. And the era of televised college basketball was born.

Induction ceremonies, including Einhorn's will be on November 20 in Kansas City. Any station or network which televises college hoops should be there in tribute.

Today, Einhorn remains Vice Chairman of the Chicago White Sox and is in his 30th season as a team official.

Elsewhere, it was good to see an error corrected because of a reporter knowing to verify what another source "reported". And in this case, it was as innocent mistake.

Orlando Cabrera, the infielder who recently signed with the Cleveland Indians for the coming season, then did a lengthy interview (reportedly nearly 2 hours) with a radio station in Cartagena in his native Colombia which was totally in Spanish. One of the questions had Cabrera addressing what things might be like when a player decides to retire from the big leagues. The Colombian Newspaper, El Universal, also picked up the interview. Then, in a translation to English, the quote was interpreted as Cabrera saying this would be his final season.

The "final season" story was picked up in the U.S. by several sources including MLB Network. It wasn't until hours later when local reporters began to ask Cabrera about his comment that he (Cabrera) issued a denial that it would be his last season. I am not certain as to which reporter(s) uncovered the error, but this shows the value of checking with the source rather than reporting what someone else is reporting.

Meanwhile, with ESPN being busy with a ton of college basketball games as tournament time draws nearer, NBA-TV keeps the ball bouncing with an additional slate of games this week.

On Tuesday (3/1) they originate the N.Y. at Orlando game. On Wednesday (3/2) they pick up a doubleheader (instead of ESPN) with local feeds from the New Orleans vs. N.Y. game followed by Houston at L.A. Clippers. After TNT does its usual Thursday doubleheader, NBA-TV will air the 2 regular season games from London this Friday and Saturday (3/4 - 3/5) afternoon between Toronto and New Jersey.

Unfortunately, sports media lost two of its major figures within the past few days. Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs are mourning the loss of Bill Grigsby, who was a part of the Chiefs radio broadcasts from 1963 through 2009. His biggest moments included the Chiefs' lone Super Bowl win in Super Bowl IV. Grigsby also called Kansas City A's games in the 50's and 60's (before their move to Oakland) as well as some University of Kansas football games.

Charleston WV sports radio host Wes Ryan passed away last week at the age of 33. Ryan was Program Director of WSWW Radio and a co-host (with Carl Lee) of a daily show.

In addition, University of Iowa radio football analyst Ed Podolak continues to recover from serious injuries after having been struck by a vehicle early last week in Scottsdale AZ. Podolak has been on Hawkeyes radio since the late 80's, after having played for the K.C. Chiefs in the NFL.

St. LOUIS: On a much brighter note, this week marks the return of Cardinals baseball to KMOX after a 5-year absence. The exhibition schedule includes 2 weekday afternoon broadcasts each week during this month, bumping KMOX's airing of Rush Limbaugh to the station web site on those days.

For this Saturday (3/5), KMOX will air the Cards on tape delay following the NHL Blues' Noon game aired live. Ironically, on Tuesday March 29th KMOX will air the Blues game live and move the Cardinals broadcast to KTRS, the station the Cards came from due to weak signal coverage at night. KMOX will give priority to the Cardinals once the regular season starts, even ahead of any Blues post-season games.

The end of the current college hoops season will end the University of Missouri's contract with KMOX. Word is that KMOX will not continue due to the return of the Cardinals and the number of the conflicts with the Cards and the Blues.

BALTIMORE: The Fan 105.7 has fine-tuned its weekday schedule as of this week. The Norris & Davis morning show has expanded until 10 AM, moving Mark Vivano's show back to 10 AM to 1 PM. Bob Haynie takes over the 1 to 3 PM slot from Bruce Cunningham, while Scott Garceau and Jeremy Conn air from 3 to 7 PM.

PORTLAND ME: The Western Maine High School Basketball Tournament broadcasts have returned to the radio airwaves via 96.3 FM and 1310 AM. But it's how they got there. A pair of local businessmen actually bought the time from the stations and are selling the advertising time on their own. It will be interesting to see how the broadcasts are received by the audience, and just how much advertising revenue is generated. In other words, whether the businessmen or the station lose revenue this season. (The station would lose if the businessmen sell enough time to make the venture profitable.) That will go a long way toward if or how the games are aired next year. So far, the men say that they are already considering adding high school football broadcasts for the fall.

WINNIPEG: Sports Radio 1290 adds a new local show in 2 weeks (starting March 16) with The Hustler & Lawless Show. Gary Lawless, a local columnist, and Andrew "Hustler" Paterson will co-host. What makes this even more interesting is that the show will also stream on the newspaper site.

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