Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Broadcast Booth - June 2nd Update

It is always interesting when teams in different sports and local media work together for the enjoyment and benefit of local sports fans. Boston fans figure to benefit from just that this weekend.

While the Bruins are playing in the Stanley Cup finals, the primary sports focus is toward the ice during June for the first time in Boston. (I don't recall the Bruins being in a totally in June championship series prior to this season.) From a marketing standpoint, the Bruins' timing couldn't be any better. Local fans have moved on since the Celtics were eliminated in the 2nd round, and there is uncertainty over when the Patriots next game will be.

WBZ-FM The Sports Hub has shown a ratings increase for the entire station above and beyond its broadcasts of all of the Bruins games during this run.

Yet, June in Boston also means a major focus on the Red Sox, especially this season as the Red Sox are already battling the Yankees for American League East supremacy. Yet, the Red Sox have come to the rescue for Boston and New England area sports fans this Saturday (6/4).

Originally scheduled to host the Oakland A's for a night game in Fenway Park, the Red Sox have moved their game to a 1 PM day game. This was absolutely not a move for TV. This week, Fox Sports returns to its usual 4:10 ET start time for its regional games, and the Red Sox vs. A's games is not one of them. Therefore, this decision to move the game to the afternoon appears to be so that fans can enjoy both the Red Sox and Bruins games on Saturday.

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals is on Saturday night, which would have originally conflicted with most of the Red Sox game. WEEI certainly benefits, along with NESN, which air the Red Sox games. In this instance, so do the fans who want to follow both teams on the same day.

It is nice to see something like this done to benefit the fans rather than for a TV network.

One of my contacts at a sports station that competes against The Dan Patrick Show asked me privately if I was going to comment about The Dan Patrick Show being reruns again on Memorial Day. At first, I told him I wouldn't, since I was done with that last holiday season. Guess I'm not done with that.

On the morning of Memorial Day, the story broke about Jim Tressel resigning from Ohio State, a big sports story. Naturally, I (like other sports fans, I'm sure) wanted to get some reaction to it. Of course, ESPN on TV and radio had the usual live coverage. In fact, Colin Cowherd was live on ESPN discussing that very topic. Then, it's over to The Dan Patrick Show. At the time I tuned in, during its usual air time, Patrick was discussing the Celtics vs. Heat series. You know, the one that ended more than two weeks ago.

Again, I have liked Dan Patrick for the past 20+ years as much as most other sports fans. And, yes, he is entitled to days off. But, frankly, the show is not. A rerun or "best of"?

This is another insult to sports fans everywhere. Who would possibly be listening to analysis of a series that already happened?

As my contact pointed out, this was another boost for stations competing against The Dan Patrick Show. Sports fans wanting information about the Tressel story, and to hear about the Indy 500 from the day before, look toward the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals about to start, and the "one-third" point of the baseball season would obviously head toward those other stations or networks.

The Patrick Show airs on several regional TV sports networks which are based around live sports coverage, as well as on sports radio stations around the country. Their credibility is put at risk by this. And let's just say I'm glad I'm not an advertiser on that show, or responsible for placement, because they paid for nothing that day.

Based on the number of TV and radio stations supporting the show, there is no excuse for not having one or more other hosts doing a live show when Dan is not working. There are the "Danettes" in the studio on a daily basis. Better yet, there is no reason not to bring in a host from a major market to fill in, such as Fox Sports Radio does, and/or a current or former player in the studio to bring fresh, live, and interesting content.

DALLAS: The Rangers decided to end their announcer experiment less than 2 months in to the current season, giving the quick hook to John Rhadigan's TV play-by-play assignment. Rhadigan has already moved back to his studio pre and post-game role (since no official replacement had been named yet), while Dave Barnett moved over from the radio to the TV booth for at least the rest of this season. Former pitcher and analyst Steve Busby will take on some of the radio duties, along with pre and post-game host Bryan Dolgin handling some, each working with Eric Nadal for the rest of the season.

It's too early to tell whether or not the team will seek a fresh TV voice for 2012 and beyond and move Barnett back to the radio booth, or continue this arrangement and bring a regular partner for Nadal for next season. This all happened after the team did not rehire Josh Lewin, who continues to host a midday show on The Fan KRLD-FM locally.

MOBILE: WNSP 105.5 is another station which did not renew with ESPN Radio, reportedly over money issues, as of Wednesday (6/1). The station continues as all sports, and is keeping its local morning show with Lee Shirvanian and Mak Heim and afternoon shows with Paul Finebaum, and then Pat Greenwood with Randy Kennedy. In addition, the station now goes local from Noon to 2 PM weekdays with the "Sidelines" show with Randy Burgan. The station had carried ESPN programming since 1994, and now has added Sporting News Radio for the remaining spots and weekends. It will also continue to carry the New Orleans Saints games along with South Alabama football and basketball broadcasts.

NATIONAL: Speaking of Fox Sports Radio, their "Loose Cannons" with Pat O'Brien and others will be away from June 20 to July 1st. Of course, the network has replacements lined up. Andy Furman, the Cincinnati based sports talker who has filled in and hosted weekend shows for Fox over the past couple of years, will be teamed with Chicago talker Mike North from 3 to 7 PM ET weekdays during those two weeks. This is expected to be a tryout for Furman to move into a weekday slot at some point in the near future. Mike North, formerly of WSCR Chicago, has previously filled in on WFAN New York, and hosts weekend shows on Fox Sports Radio currently as well.

PHILADELPHIA: Local listeners will hear less of Tony Bruno, as Bruno is giving up his extra duty co-host spot on WPEN 950 early afternoons. Bruno had been doing these two hours just for the Philly audience along with his national late night show. WPEN co-host Harry Mayes will continue, likely with a new co-host being added in the near future to lead into Mike Missanelli's show.

SALT LAKE: The University of Utah's move into the Pac-12 is already resulting in added football exposure for the coming season. Now three of their games are scheduled for national TV on three different networks. The Sept. 10th vs. USC will be on Versus, Sept. 17 vs. BYU on ESPN, and Nov. 25 vs. Colorado on Fox Sports.

TACOMA: Sorry to hear of the passing of Clay Huntington at the age of 89. Huntington is believed to have been a factor in Tacoma getting a AAA baseball team in the early 60's. He called the Class A Tacoma Tigers back in the late 1940's and early '50's, and after that called recreations of MLB games for a 14 station network in the northwest states.

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