Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Broadcast Booth - June 8th Update.....

Washington D.C.'s ESPN 980 has begun a 24-hour delay for show podcasts, rather than stream them live. From a radio standpoint, I personally think this is a positive move. I love the internet as much as anyone, especially as a sports fan, but in general radio stations have not handled this technology as well as they could. It's good to see this station acknowledge that the over-the-air station is the priority and that other forms of media should spin off from there.

Thus, if you want to hear what the station is doing, you need your radio. That's the way it was originally designed. I do understand that the station is streamed live over cell phones, which can be measured in terms of the audience ratings.

By doing this, the online site becomes a supplement to the station itself. Now, only if you miss a particular show or segment you wanted to hear, you can go back to it the next day or for a few days after for only those parts you missed. Until now, when "listeners" would instantly download the podcast of a just completed show, it took away from actually listening to the station and therefore being "measured" as part of the audience. In addition, same day listeners would then get scores and comments which were hours old and might have already been outdated, which could somewhat impact the credibility of the station in the listener's mind.

Whereas, going back a day or two later, you are going for something specific and understand the other information is outdated. This also frees you up to listen to what is live and current. It's the same thing as the amazingly large number of music stations which sell downloads of the songs they play. Once listeners download the songs they really like and can carry them around, they no longer need to listen to that station.

They are and plan to be a live radio station, and the priority should be placed on giving listeners as many reasons as possible to tune in and listen live.

KSL Radio Salt Lake City has unveiled a creative innovation, albeit geared slightly more toward current and potential advertisers than listeners. The station has taken to the web and its partnership with BYU to air its football and basketball games to boast about its listening audience. A new web page details the specifics about the popularity of its BYU broadcasts compared with University of Utah games on another station.

This story comes after the ESPN 980 story for a reason. These are both examples of radio stations using the internet to boost listening to the station instead of taking away from it. Looking at the KSL information leaves one with a more powerful impression of KSL and its BYU broadcasts for the future.

That link is:

Meanwhile, NFL fans could have a choice among father and son play-by-play voices next season (whenver that may be). Marv Albert has indeed joined the CBS-TV roster of NFL play-by-play voices, likely handling early Sunday games. He will have the same duties as son Kenny Albert, who calls regional NFL games for Fox TV. Depending on which games go to which markets, there figures to be Sunday afternoons when viewers will choose between Alberts in the same markets. Marv will continue his NBA duties with TNT next season. However, he will no longer call the New Jersey Nets games locally for YES. Ironically, when the Nets move to their new NYC arena next year, we can say that Albert won't be calling the games "from".

Of course, Marv is no stranger to calling NFL games, having done AFC telecasts for NBC-TV for 19 years and several seasons calling Monday Night Football on Westwood One Radio.

Speaking of NBA on TNT play-by-play voices who also call NFL games, Verne Lundquist has also picked up another assignment. Verne will handle up to three exhibition games for Denver Broncos TV in August, if there is a pre-season. Lundquist will call some football for certain, as he will be calling SEC Football telecasts starting in September.

Sporting News Radio is closer to changing its weekday afternoon offering. It appears that the network has decided to drop Two Live Stews (brothers Ryan & Doug Stewart) at the end of this month of June. The show continues as usual in Atlanta on WQXI, presumably with an even more local Atlanta focus, which is a positive for the WQXI listeners. No replacement show has been announced by SNR, with speculation leaning toward them picking up the KGOW Houston afternoon show, since the network is now based from Houston.

ESPN/ABC are thinking more and more about beefing up college football programming for lack of NFL games in September. Whether appearing on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2 (which may vary due to individual market location), the network has added more regional non-conference games for the first three weeks of the season:

Saturday, Sept 3 (noon): Akron at Ohio State
(3:30 p.m.): Western Michigan at Michigan
Saturday, Sept. 10 (noon): Florida Atlantic at Michigan State
(noon): Oregon State at Wisconsin
(3:30 p.m.): Alabama at Penn State
Saturday, Sept. 17 (noon): Pittsburgh at Iowa
(3:30 p.m.) Washington at Nebraska

This announcement 'just happens' to go through three weeks and be made when the NFL exhibition games are now being threatened by the current (at press time) NFL lockout.

HOUSTON: KILT 610 will carry the Rockets broadcasts with Craig Ackerman for a 10th consecutive season, with Joel Blank continuing as studio host for the 2011-12 season.

PHOENIX: Bruce Jacobs has returned to sports talk. After nearly seven years as a conservative talk show host (on KFYI), Jacobs has joined KDUS 1060 The Fan as of this week (6/6), replacing Kevin McCabe. He was popular as an afternoon sports talk host on XTRA 910 for several years prior. Mike Muraco and Dan Manucci continue with "Calling All Sports" from 3 to 6 PM on KDUS.

SEATTLE: Sister stations KTTH-AM and KIRO ESPN 710 have teamed up for a new three-year deal in support of Washington State University Cougars football and basketball. KTTH-AM will air play-by-play of both sports, while KIRO will feature regular segments with the coaches and related game information.

ANCHORAGE: KUDO 1080 has returned to the airwaves, and it is now Sports 1080 The Ticket. The signal had literally been off the air from December until this week (6/6). They will air Anchorage Bucs baseball, and are expected to carry college football and Dallas Cowboys football if and when there is a NFL season. At this point, the majority of the programming will be from Fox Sports Radio.

MUNCIE IN: Still another sports station got fed up with the demands of ESPN Radio at contract time, and WXFN 1340 dropped ESPN in favor of Fox Sports. With practically zero warning, listeners on Monday (6/6) heard Fox's Zakk & Jack Show instead of Mike & Mike. I'm told the change came literally at 12:01 AM.

WXFN will continue to carry Ball State football and basketball, as well as (non-conflicting) Pacers basketball and Cincinnati Reds baseball broadcasts.

SPRINGFIELD IL: The Central IL market lost a pioneer on Sunday (6/5) with the passing of 84 year-old Coley Cowan. After a stint in Huntington WV in the 50's calling Marshall University football, Cowan was hired in Springfield in 1960, eventually shifting to sports including play-by-play. Fans also know Cowan from his fill-in roles as P.A. announcer at U. of Illinois, Bradley, Illinois State, and Southern Illinois basketball games over the years. He also called minor league baseball when the Springfield Redbirds were a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate.

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