Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Broadcast Booth - March 15th Update......

This figures to be a wonderful week for college hoops fans with the NCAA Tournament starting with every game finally shown live. No more gripes to the local TV stations across the country about which game was chosen over that game. Granted, many will have a challenge finding Tru-TV which gets to carry a couple of unopposed games. However, the important fact that every game will also be streamed live and free should make up for that.

There are other benefits for the fans. All of the first week's games are scheduled to be completed by midnight ET (with the possible exception of the last games of the day going into overtime). This is better than past years when CBS would show games starting after the late local newscasts which sometimes wouldn't start until after 11:30 ET.

The more casual fan may not enjoy this as much, as there will not be the switching to the endings of games and a "primary" telecast as in past years. CBS, TBS, TNT, and Tru-TV do each plan on cross-promoting other telecasts and keeping viewers very much updated on other games being played at the same time. Have remote will travel!

Where is the reprimand for Bobby Knight due to his use of an obscenity on ESPN earlier this month? It was back on March 5th when Knight was on College Gameday and refered to a "chicken s--- defense". The only apology came moments later on the show, but from host Rece Davis. Thus, there was no apology from Knight himself, who is a member of the media and is employed by ESPN. Why was Davis the only one to apologize?

It is bad enough that some media members continue to bow down to Knight even after his childish antics ruined the success he had as a coach. The fact that Knight (to the best of my knowledge) was not reprimanded and did not apologize for his own serious error is, well, chicken s---.

This was different from the incident last week in Philadelphia. Sports radio personality Mike Missanelli was on Fox-TV during a 5:00 newscast, and supposedly "didn't realize" he was on the air when he let loose with the f-word among others while anchor Lauren Cohn continued with her segment.

AT&T U-Verse cable subscribers are finally getting MLB Network after more than 2 years on the air. Earlier this year, the regional Fox Sports Networks were quietly pulled (except for those viewers paying up to $10 per month additional for AT&T's sports package), yet AT&T failed to reduce the price for its sports package even with around half of the channels pulled.

It was good to have proof that ESPN did not air a "report" from another media source without checking first. It seems that sports radio host Bob McCown "reported" last Friday on The Fan 590 Toronto that he heard that Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins was considering retirement while looking to comeback from his current injury. ESPN got denials from both Troy Crosby (Sidney's father) and from Sidney Crosby's agent. Good to know that at least one major source of sports news is doing their follow up.

On the other hand, there was the attempted "joke" report from Jim Crandell on Sacramento's KTXL-TV 10:00 PM News last week. Basketball fans in the Sacramento area have been concerned about the rumored move of the NBA Kings to Anaheim, especially since the Kings are the only "big 4" pro sports team in the city.

Yet, Crandell ran a clip of NBA Commissioner David Stern from the 1985 announcement that the Kings were moving TO Sacramento and dubbed in a voice to make it appear, however jokingly, that the announcement was about a move from Sacramento to Anaheim. (Again, this was on the 10 PM news.) As if this wasn't bad enough, Crandell had promoted the "announcement for Kings fans" earlier in the evening on the station. How awful for the team, its fans, and I would think eventually on the station's ratings for their newscasts.

There is still more of this "reporting" insanity. Talk show host Scott Moore is gone from WZZN 97.7 The Zone. Moore supposedly had tapes with Auburn star Cam Newton reportedly knowing about the "pay-for-play" controversy. It took WAAY-TV's Cole Cubelic to ask Moore if Cam was actually heard on the tapes, to which Moore said "no". The tapes also never aired.

On a positive note, The Library of Congress has acquired The John Miley Collection of sports broadcasts made between 1920 and 1972. The collection now cosists of more than 6,000 TV and radio broadcasts, and the Library plans to eventually digitally preserve and make them available for listening or viewing at the Library of Congress. Included are Wilt Chamberlain's last college game at Kansas, Arnold Palmer winning his first pro golf tournament from 1955, Curt Gowdy calling Oklahoma University football games from the late 1940's while at KOMA, and SMU's "near upset" of Notre Dame in 1949.

ATLANTA: The Falcons finishing with the best record in the NFC last season didn't help in the post-season, but it did for radio rights. The Falcons are moving to WQXI 790 The Zone for the coming season, with plans to add Falcons related programming to its lineup. Wes Durham and Dave Archer will continue as the broadcast team, with the game broadcasts also simulcast on WSTR Star 94 FM.

CHICAGO: WLS-TV gains a new sports anchor starting next week (3/21), even if it is a partially familiar name. Rafer Weigel leaves Headline News' "Morning Express" to join the station's sports staff. Rafer's late father Tim Weigel was both a sports and news anchor for the station for 17 years.

The NBA Bulls' surge to the top of the Eastern Conference has also surged the TV ratings. Bulls regular season telecasts on Comcast SportsNet are now up more than 65% over last season (as of late last week). The team's Monday (3/7) win over New Orleans was Comcast SportsNet's highest rated Bulls telecast ever (regular or post-season), even higher than the 3-overtime game vs. the Celtics in the memorable 2009 opening round NBA Playoff series.

MINNEAPOLIS: How the mighty have fallen. WCCO 830 has now lost University of Minnesota football and basketball, leaving it with only the NHL Wild among its play-by-play schedule.

KFAN 1130 will carry Gophers football on Saturdays along with the NFL Vikings most Sundays, with Gophers broadcasts also airing on KTLK-FM 100.3. KSTP-AM 1500 will carry basketball and hockey broadcasts as part of this 3-year package deal.

WASHINGTON DC: MASN will add a baseball oriented show weekdays at 5 PM starting on March 31 (the day of the MLB season openers). The show expects to devote segments to the Nationals, Orioles, and baseball in general. On many weeknights it will lead into the pre-game show of Orioles or Nationals telecasts.

CINCINATTI: Congrats to Xavier University play-by-play voice Joe Sunderman on winning the 2011 Bob Vetrone Atlantic 10 Media Award as he wraps up his 30th season on the Xavier broadcast team. The former Xavier player (and a member of the school's Hall of Fame) began his broadcast career as the analyst before switching over to play-by-play.

HILTON HEAD: 1130 AM has dropped ESPN Radio and gone to a music format as WHHW.

MACON: WPLA-AM Sports 1670 is adding a local morning show as of March 28. Charles Olson and Daniel Shirley will air from 7 to 9 AM. Hopefully the "And don't call me Shirley" jokes will stop after the first show. The station is already local from 3 to 6 PM with Bill Shanks.

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