Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Out Fox The Coverage

Promoting the wrong game might not rank with giving out inaccurate scores or information, but it does show the need to verify information before it goes out on the air. Fox Sports seems to have gotten away with promoting a non-existent game this past Saturday (9/8) several times during an approximately 90 minute period. Looks like a case of their Saturday MLB Game going up against a strong weekend of college football helped save some of the embarassment.

The upper midwest was shown the Chicago White Sox hosting the Kansas City Royals as one of its regional telecasts. Each half inning during the scroll of MLB scores and runs of Fox Sports promos (including the following day's NFL openers), included was the schedule of Fox regional games for Saturday 9/15. Or so they'd like us to believe. This game was also of interest to Detroit Tigers fans, since their team is chasing the White Sox in the A.L. Central and was playing later that night. Yet, for the first five innings, Fox promoted "Det @ Minn" among its scheduled upcoming games.

It so happens that on Saturday 9/15, the White Sox are playing at Minnesota, and the game is NOT one of the Fox games. I couldn't help but wonder why no one double checked or caught this. Finally, in the 6th inning, with no fanfare, the promo was changed to indicate that the "Det @ Cleve" game will be among their regional telecasts. Yet, no correction (at least that I was aware of) was shown, nor did play-by-play voice Steve Physioc mention the correction. Not faulting Physioc, but viewers should feel insulted that Fox Sports simply changed an error and didn't acknowledge it. Considering how fans often rely on the bottom line scroll, especially when also watching other games or sports, it makes me hope that we are getting accurate scores and fantasy information.

As it is, I have no idea if this wrong game also appeared on the other regional telecasts or not, since none of my friends or contacts were watching.

Of course, Fox Sports was all over the media news due to its involvement in the Big-12 Conference TV rights deal made public late last week. Fox Sports and ESPN/ABC will be televising Big-12 games to their hearts' content. I'm thinking the only winners with all of this are the play-by-play announcers and analysts, since so many college games will continue to be televised.

How can rights fees for college sports have reached the point where the biggest networks are now sharing a package? That is disturbing for people getting fed up with the increased cost of cable or satellite. The networks, in this instance, will undergo processes for selecting which network shows which games and when. Fair as it may be, ESPN and Fox will be losing key games to the other. In addition, there will be numerous conflicting telecasts, and many "other" telecasts such as "smaller" sports and additional women's basketball.

(I'm not against women's basketball, by the way. Just not seeing how those telecasts should be part of a multi-million dollar agreement when the ratings and the audience aren't there.)

CHICAGO: Bears receiver Brandon Marshall has been signed as a "regular weekly contributor" to WMAQ-TV Channel 5's Bears related coverage, having been scheduled to make his debut hours after his first regular season game with the team this past Sunday (9/9). He is scheduled to appear each Sunday on "Sports Sunday" throught the regular season.

Former WMAQ-TV Sportscaster Chet Coppock attended the Bears' season opener hosting the Indy Colts this past Sunday. Normally not anything worth reporting. Until you realize that Coppock always attends, going back to growing up and aspiring to be a sportscaster. This was his 62nd consecutive Bears home opener in person.

It turns out that Dial Global Sports' NFL broadcasts will air in Chicago after all this season. It did not look like there would be room on any of the sports or talk stations until classic rock station WLUP 97.9 announced it will carry Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football broadcasts which do not involve the Bears.

NEW YORK: An interesting move by ESPN Deportes at 1050 AM (which was ESPN Radio until the move over to the stronger 98.7 signal earlier this year). The station has announced a deal to air Jets football games in Spanish. Interesting that all of a sudden both NYC and Chicago stations are now broadcasting local NFL teams in Spanish - after all of these years of none.

BOSTON: Former Celtic and fan favorite Brian Scalabrine is returning to the Boston area now that his NBA playing career has ended. Scalabrine has joined CSN New England's Celtics coverage. His role is expected to include studio work, and filling in as analyst in place of Tommy Heinsohn for the 11 telecasts which Heinsohn is scheduled to miss.

As a result, CSN New England picks up on the popularity of Scalabrine's appearances a few years back on the Toucher and Rich Show on 98.5 Sports Hub. We have to believe that eventually taking over full-time for Heinsohn is Scalabrine's job to lose for the next season or two. But this seems like a good hire.

BUFFALO: You can tell the only major league team in town is into their season. WGR-AM Sports Radio 550 is overdosing on its Bills coverage. Take the weeks of 1 PM ET Bills broadcasts (with John Murphy and Mark Kelso). Their local pre-game shows now begin at 7 AM and continue up to kickoff. Post-game coverage will run until 8 PM, ending moments before the Sunday Night Football game. Then, on Mondays, every daypart includes at least one Bills related segment, including on-air visits from coach Chan Gailey and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick during morning drive.

BALTIMORE: Congrats to Johnny Holliday, the long-time voice of University of Maryland football and basketball, who will receive a well deserved John Steadman Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame in early November.

TAMPA: WHBO 1040 Sports Talk Florida adds Charlie Bernstein (from Fox Sports and NFL Radio on Sirius) as its afternoon drive host.

PHARR TX: KVJY 840 has dropped its sports-talk format and gone to Spanish programming. However, the station will now air Astros baseball and Cowboys football play-by-play, but each will now be the Spanish versions.

CRESTON IA: KSIB 1520 has switched to sports, adding Fox Sports Radio. However, this is a daytime only station, so they'll be off the air when the weeknight games are taking place.

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