Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 23 Update.....

Here we are getting ready for the barrage of sports on TV during the month of September, including the start of the NFL and college football seasons while the baseball races for the post-season will come to an end. But it's also time to look ahead to the October-November period. Although it's too early to tell, it's not a certainty that the NBA will have its scheduled season underway on time at the end of October, just as the World Series is coming to an end.

Yet, NBC and its family of networks are surging forward at high speed to have plenty of NHL action ready for an increasing viewing audience. It could be NBC wishing to show a more aggressive approach toward televising major sports, or it could be positioning for a weeknight audience that may not have a steady diet of NBA telecasts. It is probably a combination of the two.

Whatever the reason, NBC is very active in preparing to cover the upcoming hockey season and kick off its 10-year agreement with the NHL. Versus (which will be called NBC Sports Network starting Jan. 2) now plans 90 nights of "exclusive" NHL coverage, a significant over 54 nights from last season, along with expanded pre and post-game programming.

Even NBC itself is starting earlier than usual, planning an "original six" matchup for the Friday after Thanksgiving between Boston and Detroit during the afternoon. Versus will start the regular season with a doubleheader on opening night, Thursday Oct. 6th and show a total of 7 live games over the season's first 7 nights. NBC and (by then) NBC Sports Network alrady plan to televise 10 games during the final 7 days of the regular season to gear up for next spring's Stanley Cup playoffs. In a significant upgrade, NBC and NBC Sports Network will have telecasts of every Stanley Cup playoff game, even if on a regional basis, for the first two rounds of the post-season. Then, they will carry exclusive telecasts of the both Conference semi-finals and, as always, the Stanley Cup Finals.

NBC Sports Network will also have flex scheduling for its new Sunday Night NHL games. This is all in addition to an increased schedule of games picked up by NHL Network, bringing NHL action to many hockey fans just about every night during the season. If the NBA isn't ready, the NHL will be.

If and as the NBA season gets going, TNT and NBA-TV have added a new studio host for their telecasts. But he's a familiar face. Vince Cellini returns to Turner Sports and will host "GameTime" on NBA-TV during the season, working on nights Ernie Johnson doesn't. Cellini anchored sports on CNN in the late 80's back when CNN had regularly scheduled extended sportscasts.

MIAMI: The replacing of the late Jim Mandich on the Dolphins' radio team took all the way into the exhibition game season, but it's hard to question the choice. None other than Bob Griese will be the third man in the booth, joining Jimmy Cefalo and Joe Rose on WINZ 940. The team was able to talk Griese out of retirement, since Bob had left ABC/ESPN after 24 years as an analyst there. Of course, Griese stayed close to the Dolphins, using his Augusts to appear on Dolphins exhibition game telecasts for more than 20 years.

DETROIT: Local fans want to watch a winner, or in the case of this past Friday (8/19), two of them. The Tigers were playing the first game of their big weekend series vs. the Cleveland Indians at home, while the Lions happened to be playing in Cleveland at the same time. The Tigers game had a slightly higher rating for its Fox Sports Detroit telecast, made even more impressive when you realize that more than 40,000 attended the game in Detroit. (That would be at least one more ratings point if they could only watch on TV instead.) The Lions' win over Cleveland ran about an hour after the Tigers game ended, and the football ratings on WXYZ-TV increased more than 20% during that period.

Fox Sports Detroit is adding a weekly half-hour high school football score and highlights show, starting this coming Friday (8/26). Friday Football Overtime will air at Midnight late Friday and again at 11 AM each Saturday. FSD will also air the high school football state playoffs in October and November.

While Philadelphia adds an FM simulcast to its all-sports station there, Detroit is losing its version. The highly rated WXYT-FM The Ticket will lose its simulcast on 1270 AM after four years as of September 12th. The AM station will air syndicated (non-sports) talk shows, while 97.1 continues as is.

PITTSBURGH: Penguins telecasts will again have the announcing team of Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey calling at least 70 games on Root Sports. The pair was without a contract following last season and just signed what was announced as a multi-year deal.

LOS ANGELES: It's a long long way from his 25+ seasons of calling Dodgers games, but 72-year old Ross Porter has taken an assignment to call some high school football and basketball games for a streaming web site operated by IBN. Porter will do a "prep football game of the week" most Friday nights, along with some basketball games and other program features for the site.

MEMPHIS: ESPN 680 + 92.9 has added the Memphis Grizzlies play-by-play to its lineup starting, well, whenever the next season does. To beef up its Grizzlies coverage, play-by-play voice Eric Hasseltine now hosts the 2 to 4 PM sports talk show. The station also carries Tennessee Titans football.

SARASOTA: WTMY 1280 has changed to all sports and become The Sports Fanatic. At this point, its weekday local shows are Rich Spedaliere with "Spitz On Sports" from 6 to 9 AM and "The Sports Ministry" from 3 to 6 PM, with Fox Sports Radio filling up the remainder. It will also air Florida State football along with Riverview High School games.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16th Update

For some Philadelphia area radio listeners, it may not seem like football season during weekday afternoons following the announcement that Howard Eskin will no longer be hosting afternoon drive on WIP 610 after Labor Day. Some listeners will be disappointed, and it's likely that others will be pleased. Eskin has been talking sports in Philadelphia regulary for 25 years, longer than there have been any full-time sports stations in most markets.

Eskin's final 3 to 7 PM show is scheduled for September 2nd. As of press time, WIP has yet to announce a replacement, as the station needs to continue its battle against The Phanatic 97.5 and (Eskin's former co-host) Mike Missanelli.

For all of the tradition and ratings Eskin has delivered over the years, there seems to be some degree of mutual benefit from this announcement. Eskin will continue hosting the station's Eagles coverage and is expected to fill in for vacationing hosts. He also has done some fill-in work on Fox Sports Radio and rumors have begun circulating that Eskin has national aspirations in mind, and now has the time to devote to that.

WIP figures to have listeners check out the new afternoon drive show once the host or hosts are announced, and hopes to gain listeners who did not like Eskin's outbursts. Among those rumored for consideration are Anthony Gargano and Glenn Kacknow. I have to think that the announcement will be made prior to Labor Day. Going with interim hosts during the week leading into the NFL opening weekend would not be a good choice, especially with nearly 3 weeks to arrange for a replacement.

It's been a busy few days overall in sports media, even in the courtroom. Or out of the courtroom in this instance. The lawsuit over Conference USA Football TV rights has been resolved via settlement. While Fox Sports Media Group retains the majority of the rights, the settlement results in ESPN having telecast and distribution rights to the Conference USA Championship game for this year and through the 2015 football season. ESPN2 will air this year's game at Noon ET on December 3rd. Fox Sports Media will hold the regular season telecast rights during the same period.

Meanwhile, it was a sad day for long-time baseball fans upon learning of the death of Ernie Johnson Sr. this past Friday (8/12) at the age of 87. Ernie Sr. came to Atlanta with the Braves in 1966 (as did Milo Hamilton) to begin the team's tenure in Atlanta, and called Braves games until 1990. Ernie actually was part of the Milwaukee Braves broadcast team before the team moved to Atlanta.

Fans growing up during the late 60's and 70's around the eastern half of the country could hear Ernie, along with Skip Caray, call the Braves by picking up WSB from Atlanta. In the late 70's when cable TV started to grow, the WTBS (at the time) Atlanta telecasts of the Braves gradually grew to be seen in millions of homes, associating Ernie, Skip, and Pete Van Wieren.

Ernie enabled a lot of viewers around the country to watch and listen to him every day for years, and I'm sure helped to get a lot of TV viewers hooked on regularly watching baseball. Keep in mind this was years before we had practically every MLB game televised and regional and national networks showing games almost every day. For years it was "Braves or nothing" for a lot of cable TV viewers. He will be very much missed.

On the same day (Friday), Montreal sports fans lost Ted Tevan at the age of 78 due to a heart attack following hip surgery. Tevan hosted sports talk on CFOX going back to the 70's, and also worked on CKO, CFMB, and CKGM. Recently, he hosted a weekly sports show on The Team 990.

Two of our long-time play-by-play voices have been awarded more honors. Brent Musburger and Vern Lundquist have been named as co-recipients of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's "Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football" Award. Each will be honored at an Awards Dinner in New York City on December 6th.

DETROIT: Speaking of the end of an era, it is still hard to believe that it was a struggle to get University of Michigan games on a Detroit radio station. The school was without a radio station there until last week, when CBS Radio went for a five-year renewal after all. WWJ 950 will now carry the football and basketball games, starting in September (in place of WOMC 104.3), while WXYT-AM 1270 will also air some hockey and women's hoops broadcasts.

MINNEAPOLIS: KSTP ESPN 1500 has added local programming from 9 AM to Noon and has pulled Colin Cowherd's show. Judd Zulgad, who joined the station in February from the Star-Tribune, is leaving the newspaper (after more than 20 years!) to devote his full-time attention to the radio show.

ATLANTA: The hiring of David Pollack (former Cincinnati Bengal and U. of Georgia player) by ESPN means that Pollack is leaving his 3 to 7 PM co-hosting gig on The Zone 790. "The Pollack & Bell Show" with Mike Bell had become the highest rated show on The Zone, which just added the 4th hour to the show a few weeks ago. No word, as of press time, as to whether or not another co-host will be named, or if the show will continue to be four hours. Speculation has "2 Live Stews" moving back to afternoon drive and Bell to middays.

PITTSBURGH: The Pirates' recent fade in the N.L. Central standings started after the most recent ratings period. WPGB-FM certainly hopes the Pirates can jump back into September contention, as the station jumped up into 3rd place in the market during the July ratings period.

LOS ANGELES: KSPN 710 has decided to air all New York Jets regular season games this year instead of one of the national packages, and will carry the Jets broadcasts with Bob Wischusen and Marty Lyons. After being perplexed at first, I can see the reasoning behind this.

In addition to the following that Jets QB Mark Sanchez has in Southern California, there are a lot of transplanted New Yorkers in the area who would welcome this. Since the L.A. market is, for some reason, now considered a primary market for the Chargers telecasts, it means that not many of the Jets games would be shown there on Sunday TV. By taking one of the "national" NFL packages, KSPN would often be airing a game also shown on TV.

DENVER: The Ticket 102.3 has moved Joel Klatt and Charles Johnson into afternoon drive, while Les Shapiro and JoJo now air in the Noon to 3 PM position. A cost-cutting move via the buyout of Rich "G-Man" Goins from the afternoon show is part of the reason for the change. Yet, as still happens in radio, Goins, who left the station on July 15th, was not replaced, and may return to the station in a part-time or fill-in role.

BALTIMORE: WJZ 105.7 is adding Glenn Younes, who has been on the Sirius/XM Mad Dog Channel to its pre-game and post-game Ravens coverage.

LOUISVILLE: WHAS-TV has added Kent Spencer as a sports reporter, who comes over from WTVQ-TV Lexington. Also in Lexington, WLEX-TV sports anchor Mary Jo Perino takes over the Sunday morning sports talk show on WVLK 590 from Larry Glover, who continues his weekday afternoon show with the station.

NATIONAL: The Big Ten Network announced its football telecast play-by-play teams for the coming season. Eric Collins and Chris Martin will be the lead team. Other play-by-play and color teams are Tom Hart and Derek Rackley as well as Matt Devlin and Glen Mason.

Yahoo Sports Radio Network (formerly Sporting News Radio) has added "The Arian Foster Show" for Thursday nights at 7 PM ET for the rest of this year, naming the former running back as the host of a new weekly show, focused on the NFL.

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8th Update.......

The July radio ratings are starting to come out, and based on the top 3 markets (released as of press time), it means that we'll see what impact the return of the NFL will have on the sports radio audience.

In New York, WFAN held steady while WEPN dropped .2 overall. The result is that The Fan now has literally 4 times the overall audience (all ages) that WEPN has. In Chicago, WSCR is only 19th overall, but did rise .2 compared with the June numbers. That's impressive given the lackluster season the White Sox are having, and WSCR is the team's flagship station. However, WMVP ESPN 1000 dropped .3 overall. The two stations had been close together in the ratings for the past couple of years but now WSCR has opened a gap.

In Los Angeles, where is no NFL team, it's tough to be polite in reporting. KSPN dropped again and has now lost half of its overall audience since the May numbers. And while KLAC held steady, neither station made the top 30 ranked stations in overall audience for the July ratings. Yikes!

While fans await the start of the NFL exhibition season within the week, the sports media around the country begins to benefit from the financial frenzy the NFL costs us all along getting their share of the audiences of football fans.

After all, the end of the lockout enables millions of people who are not even NFL fans to help subsidize the league and its thorough media coverage along with the millions who are fans. A big part of the reason that cable/satellite TV bills continue to rise across the country is due to ESPN/ABC being the most expensive programming package for most cable and satellite companies to carry. The cable and satellite companies "must" carry ESPN due to consumer demand. However, the high cost of this programming is, of course, passed along to customers, whether they are NFL fans or not.

Then, Comcast has filed a lawsuit against DirecTV regarding the market of its Sunday Ticket package, specifically regarding the methods that DirecTV uses to make the package an incentive for new subscribers. This is because Comcast also competes for sports fans to subscribe. No matter how this lawsuit turns out, it shows how much money is at stake just so that fans can watch the NFL games on TV. The number of TV viewers and subscribers is more important to NFL revenue than tickets sold, since millions of fans are paying more because of these telecasts.

Meanwhile, some of the sports radio stations are finding ways to provide information beneficial for NFL fans. ESPN Radio Chicago, WMVP 1000, is involved in a Fantasy Football Convention to be held in the Chicago area on August 27th. Two of the stations' hosts will lead the convention, which features a panel including Mike Ditka and others providing information and analysis for putting together an NFL fantasy team. As part of the day's convention, attendees will be able to break out into 10 team fantasy leagues and draft their players on location for a 13-week competition for prizes. Although this will be a paid ticket event, I like the idea of a radio station being involved with fantasy leagues to this extent, and providing football fans with information and presumably more reasons to listen to the station.

My point here is to bring across the idea of how many millions of dollars change hands because of fans' interesting in following NFL games, without factoring in ticket prices and betting, and why so much media competition for the audience exists. If only it wasn't so expensive whether consumers are interested or not.

Westwood One Radio has determined its announcing teams for the coming season, including Kevin Harlan calling its Monday Night Football broadcasts while Howard David will continue to call one of the network's Sunday afternoon games. Harlan will have either Boomer Esiason or Dan Fouts as analyst on Monday nights. Dave Sims and James Lofton will call the radio broadcasts of Sunday Night Football, while Kevin Kugler will call the Sunday afternoon game which Howard David does not. Westwood One will also air the Thursday Night Football games, assigning Ian Eagle and Trent Green to those.

On the baseball side, ESPN is taking an interest in Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals during August. The network has announced that the Cardinals will appear on 2 more Sunday Night Baseball telecasts, making it 3 times within 5 weeks. Just after Fox announced that it was dropping the Cardinals vs. Colorado game from its Saturday Aug. 13th regional game (in favor of picking up the Pirates game despite their recent losing streak) comes word that ESPN will show St. Louis vs. Colorado on Sunday night August 14. Then for Sunday August 21st, ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball again shows the Cardinals hosting the Cubs, the same matchup it featured on July 31st (but from St. Louis this time).

NEW YORK: Now that the recent DWI incident has passed, the N.Y. Knicks went ahead with the hiring of former L.A. Lakers voice Spero Dedes as their radio play-by-play voice beginning with the coming season (whenever that may be). Dedes will handle selected Knicks TV games when Mike Breen has conflicts with his ESPN/ABC responsibilities.

CLEVELAND: WKNR 850 will have competition by the end of this month. CBS Radio will enter the sports radio scene in Cleveland by starting "The Fan" on 92.3, replacing modern rock WKRK. The new station has already teamed Chuck Booms and Kevin Kiley for "Kiley & Booms" for the 6 to 10 AM weekday spot starting August 29th.. The station will shoot The Bull in afternoon drive, as "Adam The Bull", formerly of WFAN in New York, will host the 3 to 7 PM slot. In addition, the station plans to go football heavy by carrying Big Ten football and Westwood One's NFL lineup on weekends.

The Cavaliers have not announced who their new radio play-by-play voice will be (after Joe Tait), although it is probably due to the NBA lockout. If and when the lockout ends, most observers expect that WTAM 1100 Sports Director Mike Snyder, who filled in for Tait most of last season, to be named to the position.

MINNEAPOLIS: ESPN 1500 is reportedly planning to go local with its late morning weekday slot as the station tries to make inroads against Paul Allen on rival KFAN. The station wants to increase its Vikings talk instead of continuing with Colin Cowherd, whose show has a considerable audience drop following Mike & Mike's morning show.

MILWAUKEE: While it's a problem the local sports fans enjoy having, WTMJ 620 appears to be flexible when it comes to scheduling for its play-by-play conflicts. The Brewers' success in leading the National League Central puts more importance into their games over the next few weeks, which includes games scheduled at the same time as the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers exhibition and regular season games. Usually, WTMJ gives priority to the Packers broadcasts, but the Brewers aren't usually in serious contention.

Word is that WTMJ will go with the "most important" game during conflicts, and will move the other broadcast over to WLWK 94.5 FM. It is likely that 94.5 will carry University of Wisconsin football broadcasts until the Brewers season is over when Saturday conflicts occur.

It's good to see that this will be a week-to-week decision, since WTMJ's signal covers a wider area and the station is the #1 rated station in the market.

CINCINNATI: The Bengals continue to expand their radio coverage, while WLW also increases its team related program on Sundays for the coming season. Alan Cuter, also the Sports Director of WLEX-TV Lexington KY, has been brought back to handle the "Countdown to Kickoff" show starting 90 minutes before kickoff, as well as halftime and the "Locker Room Report" for approximately 90 minutes after each game. Cutler was studio host for Bengals broadcasts until 2009. Ken Broo, who hosted the radio post-game for the past two seasons, will host "Sunday Sports Talk" on WLW starting at 9 AM and then return for "Bengals Feedback" following the post-game show and continue until 8 PM.

WLW will again broadcast those Bengals games which do not conflict with its Reds baseball broadcasts, while all Bengals games will air on WCKY 1510 and WEBN 102.7. The new radio broadcast team of Dan Hoard with Dave Lapham begins on Friday (8/14) with the exhibition opener vs. Detroit, while Brad Johansen and Anthony Munoz call the game on Channel 12.

INDIANAPOLIS: WNDE 1260 is changing its afternoon drive show in an effort to gain on WFNI 1070. Mark Patrick is out and former WXLW host Derek Schultz and IMS Radio Network's Jake Query will team up from 3 to 7 PM starting on August 15th.

OKLAHOMA CITY / TULSA: Cox Communications will be providing extensive high school football coverage this season, announcing a total of 17 telecasts on Friday nights, not to mention replays on Satudays, serving both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa regions. Steve Marshall will call the games shown in the OK City area, while Mike Wolfe will handle the games shown in Tulsa. Plans include one game from both region to be shown on Sept. 16 and 30th.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Broadcast Booth - August 1st Update....

August just arrived and already it signals change in sports media. Normally a change of name without a change in the "product" is overrated. But certainly not in the case of Sporting News Radio making way to be known as Yahoo Sports. This one is a surprise, at least to the "over 40" generations.

Once upon a time, and a land that is still here but at times seems so far away, The Sporting News was as important to sports fans as the internet is today. Years ago, long before cable TV and the internet, TSN was our link to sports teams beyond our local teams' coverage area. Fans would practically wait at the mailbox for the new issue for the weekly sports newspaper to arrive. It had every box score of every MLB game, reports on each team, and excellent columnists. More importantly, it had credibility among sports fans.

In later years, the onslaught of ESPN, regional cable sports networks, and even newspapers such as (the former) The National and USA Today came along and took away from the impact of The Sporting News as a magazine. Yet, the brand name held up as TSN moved more to radio and other ways of being an information source.

As a result, those in the "over 40" age range most likely consider The Sporting News to have more credibility as a sports news and information source than Yahoo, which has come along within the past 15 years, and is not solely a sports reporting entity. Sure, it's merely a name change, as the Yahoo Sports Radio Network will have the same content. But to the "over 40" range, this takes away from the Sporting News credibility. It's as if this should be the other way around, with Yahoo Sports movin' on up to become a part of TSN's stable.

Yet, to those under the age of 40, they are seeing this as a growth of Yahoo Sports, and see it as taking over for "some newspaper" or a source they never had the opportunity to worship.

Yahoo Sports Radio will continue with the same shows and content, and continue to broadcast from the network's Houston studios. It's nothing more than still another name change for this network, which was known as "One on One Sports Network" in the 90's before The Sporting News purchased it. To me, it's the same content with a "lesser" name behind it.

On the other hand, NBC is upgrading its brand by finally eliminating the Versus name from the sports TV scene at the end of this year. There will be little to no impact on the cable network's programming. This, too, is just a name change. It took until the past 12 to 18 months for the audience to find this network, and that was due to NHL fans finally finding where most of the games are televised. Sports fans rarely, if ever, use the term "Versus", and the name never caught on. Once it becomes known as NBC Sports Network, it should make a difference, given NBC's presence with the NFL and NHL.

It will be interesting to see how NBC Sports Network works to increase their presence starting in 2012. Perhaps they will look to supplement Sunday Night Football with expanded pre and post-game coverage only on the cable channel, and more NFL related programming during the week. I'm sure that TNT and ESPN/ABC are now pleased they have longer term deals with the NBA, since you would think NBC will start bidding for other major sports once again.

Meanwhile, there must be a logical explanation for the big audience that NFL Network received last week for its coverage of the start of the free agent and trading period which began as the lockout was settled. NFL Network jumped in with 12+ hours per day of live "coverage" of the signing and trading period, which resulted in an audience increase of more than 200% over the same time period last year. One explanation is that fantasy players have less time to track the players before their drafts.

On the baseball side, we have the Red Sox vs. Yankees coming up this weekend (Aug. 5 - 7). At times, it seems as though the networks expect the rest of MLB to shut down completely so that the entire nation can focus on nothing but the Yankees - Red Sox series. It's as if it's in the national contracts that these two teams can't play a game not shown nationally or regionally.

This Friday's game will be on MLB Network, Saturday on Fox, and Sunday night, of course, on ESPN. What makes this weekend "different" is that this time around it really is the best series in baseball as the two teams are in a battle for first place (at press time). For once, the hype for this series is legit. Let's see how the audiences respond. Many are so used to the overhype of this matchup that it might take an adjustment to get more people to tune in this time around.

Of course, this means that TBS gets shut out from showing either team this Sunday on its supposed "national" package. Oh my! So, TBS will show the NY Mets hosting Atlanta on Sunday Aug. 7th. Not to worry. On Aug. 14 TBS shows the Yankees hosting Tampa. (This past Sunday 7/31 it was Boston at Chicago.)

In some ways it's the end of an era in southeast Michigan. A month away from the start of the college football season, and (as of press time) the University of Michigan still does not have a radio deal finalized for the Detroit area. WOMC 104.3 still has not renewed its deal for football, nor has WWJ 950 for the school's basketball games. WJR 760 continues with Michigan State football. Yikes.

DALLAS: The Fan 105.3 will have a major presence for fans attending Cowboys games at Cowboys Stadium for this new season. Roger Emrich is taking over as the new Public Address announcer at the stadium. In addition, the station's Armen Williams will act as "In-Game Emcee". This is expected to include fan interaction, contests, and probably commercials. Seems to be a growing trend in the Dallas market, as Jim Knox has been doing this during Rangers games. Here's hoping that Williams' role doesn't get overbearing and acts as a quick promo for the station rather than becoming an annoyance to fans who spend a ton of money on game tickets.

St. LOUIS: Now that the NFL exhibition season is upon us, KTVI-TV 2 is preparing to televise all four of the Rams' exhibition games, since none were picked up by national networks. The new play-by-play crew consists of Andrew Siciliano (an NFL Network host) on play-by-play with former Rams all-pro Marshall Faulk hired as the analyst. Their opening telecast will be the Rams vs. Indianapolis Colts on August 13th.

ALBANY: With the growth of the NFL on TV, it might not matter as much, but it seems that area radio listeners will not have as many choices for the upcoming season. The NY Giants broadcasts will again by on WPYX 106.5, and the NY Jets will air on WTMM 104.5 when there are no Yankees baseball conflicts. WOFX 980 is able to air the Westwood One NFL doubleheaders, but airs Mets baseball as a priority. And, WQBK 103.9 has chosen not to carry the Buffalo Bills broadcasts. Thus, on September Sundays when both the Mets and Yankees are playing, local NFL on radio choices will be very limited.

BRYAN TX: KZNE 1150 The Zone will begin airing a 2-hour weekday show dedicated to Texas A & M sports starting Aug. 22. Gabe Bock will host the show, which will air from 9 to 11 AM Monday through Friday.

LUBBOCK TX: Sorry to learn of the passing of former Texas Tech football and basketball play-by-play voice Jack Dale. He lost his battle with cancer at the age of 79 this past Friday (7/29). Dale actually began his broadcast career in Lubbock in 1952, and was hosting a morning sports show on 1340 AM until he was hospitalized a few weeks ago.