Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Crowning Blow For Kings Coverage

Sports fans around the country are well aware that the Los Angeles Kings are looking to eliminate the Phoenix Coyotes and advance in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs this week, and that's fine. Yet, it seems that the local television stations whose job it is to report on the Kings don't seem to have a clue. And this is a third round playoff series, following a full-length regular season.

During just this series, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles showed the "Kings" logo in the background while reporting on the team, but with one problem. That logo was that of the NBA Sacramento Kings, and not the local L.A. Kings of the NHL. KCBS-TV later decided to be cautious and not show the Kings' logo. So they showed the "Kings" mascot instead. Not going to make THAT mistake, right?

The Kings mascot that KCBS-TV showed was the mascot for, you guessed it, the Sacramento Kings, named Slamson. Granted, these glaring errors were not made by the sportscasters, but these do reflect on the stations and their sports departments nonetheless. It makes you wonder how many other errors are being made that viewers don't know enough about to catch. And it doesn't stop there.

And then there was KTTV-TV, which, I'm happy to say did not screw up the logos or the results involving the Kings. Anchor Liz Habib took over and on one of her reports (so far) referred to the puck as "the ball". Whether it was Habib or a writer in the newsroom, that was a blunder even the most casual of sports fans would have caught. After all, the lesser fan wouldn't know that on that same report, Habib flubbed the names of Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty of the Kings while showing highlights.

Let's get back to KTTV-TV. It is true they did not screw up the Kings logo. Why is that worthy of mention? Because they used an "old" NHL Logo instead of the current one.
These all happened in the second largest media market in the country, and after the L.A. Kings have been playing constantly since October. This would have been bad enough during the pre-season or early on in the regular season, but there are no excuses for this. The next time I hear or read about local TV stations cutting back on their local sports coverage "because of all of the sports networks",
I'm going to immediately send this column to the source of that information.

Meanwhile, Fox Sports Midwest had a challenging night on Monday (5/21) when serious technical difficulties caused a complete loss of the Cardinals' telecast of their home game vs. the San Diego Padres. To FSM's credit, they had a solution. They were able to replace it with the Padres' feed, since Fox Sports also handles that. As a result, Cardinals fans got to hear the legendary Dick Enberg call most of the game along with Mark Grant. Fox Sports Midwest aired most of the game without commercials (due to the technical glitch) and was able to get Cardinals analyst Rick Horton into the Padres booth for a short time. Great recovery!

Elsewhere, let's give credit to ABC/ESPN for a new enhancement to the Indy 500 coverage planned for Sunday (5/18). While ABC airs the race for the 48th consecutive time (although not live in the earlier years), ESPN3.com plans a multi-camera stream from several "onboard" cameras. This is an incredible use of technology to truly supplement a telecast, giving viewers a solid reason to also be online rather than adding a distraction to the telecast.

Brent Musburger will again host the coverage, with Marty Reid on the call and Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever as analysts.

However, more evidence of ESPN harnessing too much power over the sports media has surfaced with the report of CBSSports securing a package of ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 basketball games starting with the coming season. It seems that this was not negotiated with the respective conferences, but results from a deal directly with rights holder ESPN.

The problem is that while it provides CBSSports channel with a more diversified offering of college hoops, I'd bet the ranch that these extra costs will be passed along to, you guessed it, subscribers. If ESPN had held on to these games, there wouldn't yet be another reason to jack up consumer costs.

At NBC Sports Network, Erik Kuselias comes over from The Golf Channel (also owned by NBC) to serve as a host on NBC SportsTalk which airs from 6 to 7 PM ET most weeknights.

MINNEAPOLIS: Congrats to Anthony LaPanta on being named as TV play-by-play voice of the Minnesota Wild for Fox Sports North. LaPanta has hosted pre and post-game shows on FSN for the Wild and has also filled in (and will continue to on occasion) on Twins telecasts. Mike Greenlay, coming back for his 11th season, will continue as analyst for the Wild telecasts. LaPanta replaces

Dan Terhaar, who had handled the call of the Wild for the previous seven seasons. The Wild's radio team of Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid will return.

HOUSTON: Rice University football will have a new voice beginning with the upcoming season, with an announcement expected within the next 30 days. David Saltzman will not return to the role he has held for the past five season, reportedly because of other commitments. Saltzman is expected to continue occasional fill-in at KILT 610 and Comcast Sports Southwest.

TAMPA: Tuesday (5/22) marked the debut of WDAE 620's new morning team. Tom Jones and Rick Stroud, both also with the Tampa Bay Times, now co-host from 6 to 9 AM. Previous host Dan Sileo was let go under previously addressed circumstances, although he now hosts a show on WQAM Miami.

TACOMA: Mariners fans in the Tacoma area were forced to scramble to find the team's games last week when KALE 960 made a sudden change to a country music format from having been all sports. With no previous announcement. The games are now heard on 1340 ESPN, along with University of Washington football and basketball and Gonzaga basketball in season. What makes this even more interesting is that 1340 is also simulcasting the daytime sports programming from Seattle's KIRO 710, including Brock & Salk in the morning and Kevin Colabro from 3 to 6 PM. At night and on weekends, the station will carry ESPN programming when not airing the local play-by-play.

CHATTANOOGA: 105.1 ESPN has named Jim Gumm as its afternoon drive host as of this week. Gumm began about 20 years ago at WJOC when it was the city's first all sports station.
BANGOR: WAEI 910's local afternoon show hosted by Rich Kimball will also be carried on WFAU 1280 in Gardiner, WIGY 97.5 Madison, and WRKD 1450 Rockland beginning on June 25th. These Fox Sports Maine stations will share the show which has only been on in Bangor since this past September.

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