It was supposed to be just another advertising promotion in Cincinnati, but it wound up being a controversy involving WLW Radio, the Reds, and to some extent the St. Louis Cardinals. While Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa was missing a series against the Reds due to having the shingles, it seems that not everyone in Cincinnati treated that news seriously.
It seems that the Reds' management had to ask WLW to remove a "promotion" for which a local (Cincinnati) roofing company was giving away "the shingles" in a contest. Needless to say, Cardinals management wasn't pleased about this either. This giveaway was specific to supporting the Reds in the series against a prime division rival, and not a coincidence.
What we don't know is exactly where this idea came from. It could have been the client, an ad agency, the radio sales exec, or a promotions department employee. Most people agree this promotion was not in good taste since it targeted a specific person sidelined with an illness.
Yet, other local media in Cincinnati reported on this story, and it became a topic on some of the local talk shows. Several of the stories included giving the name of the roofing company. I know I wouldn't. If you take the "any publicity is good publicity" approach, the roofing company behind the promotion generated more than their share of publicity, even with this promotion being removed. This was media time and space which should have been used for something else, and without comment from the Reds or the station.
Now that the April ratings are coming out, my phone has been ringing and the e-mails increasing from people who are still not concerned about a decline in the sports talk over the past few months. With most of the top 10 markets ratings being available at press time, the trend seems to be toward sports stations with active local play-by-play showing the overall audience increases. While I hope I am eventually proven wrong, it appears it is the games (especially baseball)|, rather than the phone calls, making the difference.
In New York, WFAN (with the Mets games) is up .4 overall, while WEPN held steady. In Chicago, WSCR increased .5 overall (with the White Sox games) while rival WMVP 1000 stayed the same. I'll also point out that WGN Radio (with Cubs broadcasts) increased .9 overall during this same period.
This baseball trend was even more obvious in San Francisco with the start of the season for the World Champion Giants. Flagship station KNBR went from a 2.5 to a 4.4 overall. Yet, the 2 other AM sports stations both were slightly down during the same period, while it's too early to tell for the new FM sports station which now airs the A's games.
In Dallas, KESN, which airs the American League champion Rangers games as well as having the NBA Mavericks in the playoffs, rose .7 overall, while rival The Ticket showed only a slight increase.
While in Los Angeles, where the sports stations don't even combine to make a serious dent in the overall radio audience, KSPN (with the Angels broadcasts) rose .1 while KLAC held steady.
Meanwhile, Miami's 790 The Ticket will continue to host the Dan LeBatard Show each afternoon even as LeBatard adds a daily TV position on ESPN2 starting this September. In fact, word is that he will record his ESPN show earlier each afternoon and literally be on both TV and radio in the Miami area doing different shows at the same time. LeBatard had been impressive on the PTI show filling in during recent months, prompting ESPN to find a spot for him.
NFL fans could have a "competing" father and son choice for the next season. It seems that Marv Albert could become a regional NFL play-by-play voice for CBS, while son Kenny Albert continues calling NFL games for Fox. There are sure to be times when both has an early game assignment. Marv called NFL games on TV years ago when NBC had the AFC package.
Although many listeners across the country choose satellite radio sports ahead of the local and national sports shows, it seems that ESPN Radio and Sirius XM are about to be working together on some level. The satellite radio provider has begun airing WEPN New York's Mike Lupica Show along with the Michael Kay Show each afternoon, along with Waddle & Silvy from WMVP Chicago in the midday spot. With the number of cars and trucks with satellite, this figures to be an effective counter to CBS Radio streaming its sports stations around the country, including WFAN New York and WSCR Chicago.
DETROIT: Congratulations to Fox Sports Detroit on winning 10, count 'em, 10, local Emmy Awards this past Saturday. This keeps a very impressive stretch alive, as the regional sports network now has 37 Emmys over the past 3 years.
STARKVILLE MS: Mississippi State has announced its new basketball broadcast team to follow the retirement of long time voice Jack Cristil earlier this year. Bart Gregory, who has called women's hoops, select baseball games, and handled MSU's football pre and post-game shows, will call the games. Jim Ellis continues as analyst.