Monday, January 28, 2013

Changes and Additions In The Works.......

It's a modern innovation from KMOX St. Louis, as well as finally being an ideal use for a radio station web site. The station is running with the idea of naming the new expressway bridge over the Mississippi River into and out of downtown St. Louis in memory of Cardinals great Stan The Man Musial, who recently passed away. There is a petition for local signatures, and the CBS St. Louis web site is the place to go for area residents to "sign" it.

Finally, it's something on a radio station web site which does not take away from listening to the station(s) which power it. Whether the re-naming happens or not, it's good to see an innovation such as this one. It also fits the format. Even though KMOX is not a sports talk station, its having aired the Cardinals for most of the past 60 years, including the Hall of Fame career of Musial, makes it the perfect vehicle to promote this idea.

After several years, CNN is actually getting back to doing some reporting on sports, even though it appears to be only from a "feature" standpoint. New hire Rachel Nichols begins at CNN by doing some feature reporting from the Super Bowl this week. Although not as "meaty" as her work at ESPN, it signals a return to sports content. However, early indications are that CNN's sports features will not necessarily lead to bringing back sports only shows.

This is a far cry from the 80's and 90's, when CNN Sports Tonight was a solid competitor (in terms of content) to ESPN SportsCenter for at least one hour (two half hour segments) of its day seven days a week. You wouldn't even know of the partnership between CNN and Sports Illustrated from watching CNN. Perhaps that will change, but don't count on it just yet.

The surge of sports leagues providing a morning TV presence continues to rise. Now the Golf Channel is getting into the act. After only a few weeks of the live weekday morning show starting on NFL Network, MLB Network began theirs, although it doesn't begin until 9 AM ET currently. (That figures to change by Opening Day, however.)

Starting next week (Feb. 4th), the Golf Channel will provide a live morning show seven days a week, and is adding more co-hosts to start. After two years with live content during weekday mornings, co-hosts Gary Williams, Damon Hack, and Holly Sonders will add analyst Charlie Rymer and anchor Kelly Tilghman to the mix.

This will probably be the big media story of the week (with all due respect to the Super Bowl). At press time (on Monday afternoon), the preliminary announcements were coming through about the L.A. Dodgers regional sports network and the billions of dollars it will generate for the team. This will not impact the upcoming 2013 season telecasts on Fox Sports West and KCAL-TV. Coming on the heels of cable and local satellite systems having to deal with the high cost of Lakers telecasts on that team's new channel, the impact on consumer cable/satellite costs could very well have serious consequences over the next few months.

The Tim Brando Show is changing its radio affiliation starting next week (Feb. 4). The 9 AM to Noon ET show will air on Sirius XM Radio, while the TV simulcast will remain on CBS Sports Network.

As much as I have been fed up with the Manti Te'O situation and the amount of time it wasted in place of actual sports news and discussion, it continues to get even more ridiculous. Never mind what implications it may or may not have on Te'O's draft status. This whole situation shows how the sports media has gone to lazy reporting. This whole "story", and I use the term with hesitation, never should have gotten to the point it did.

When reporters learned of the death of the supposed (at-the-time) girlfriend, why didn't even one reporter investigate? Wouldn't someone ask for her name (if they didn't already have it), and seek out a death notice? Or at the ver least, some form of verification? Wouldn't interviewing a close friend or family member have brought more impact to that "story"?

Yet, not one "reporter" did that. Had someone done so, the phony story would have been exposed at a much earlier time, and not gotten to such a crazy point. Sure, I am old school media when it comes to reporting. But in this day and age when "reporters" merely "report" what others are reporting instead of confirming or denying with their own sources, somebody should have followed up on this.

Those of you who saw the movie "The Smartest Guys In The Room" about the fall of Enron a few years ago will recall that the entire demise of that corporation began after one reporter started asking questions and was not getting reasonable answers. Some of you might recall the Allentown PA newspaper reporter who published the Penn State scandal facts nearly three months before the story "broke" on a national basis. It can be done.

All this Te'O stuff took was for even one of the "reporters" who passed the supposed story along to seek out the information, at the time, about the "girlfriend". Frankly, the editors and TV shows who wanted to interview Te'O should have been scolding their "reporters" for blowing this story. And for wasting the time of sports fan who want news about the players and the games.

CHICAGO: Talk radio WLS 890 has obviously noticed that WSCR The Score 670 has been increasing its overall audience of late while its own "talk radio" ratings have slipped a bit. It's no coincidence that this week (Jan. 28th) begins WLS taking an hour of its afternoon drive general talk show, "Roe & Roeper Show", and adding a daily sports segment. WFLD-TV sports anchor Lou Canellis joins co-host Roe Conn and Richard Roeper during the 5 PM hour each weekday for a sportscast, discussion of the top sports stories, and occasional sports related guests.

This comes as WSCR The Score has announced that it will, again, have what it terms "Interactive Broadcasts" of White Sox exhibition games starting next month. The station takes four of its spring training broadcasts and wastes listeners time by having the game announcers take phone calls from fans instead of describing the game action after the 5th inning. I'm sure it is no coincidence that no other teams (that I know of) allow something like this to replace actual game action. Fortunately for White Sox fans, the team is increasing the number of webcasts this spring, so the impact of these ruined radio broadcasts will be minimal.

LAS VEGAS: Fox Sports host Mike North is involved with a new radio/TV studio designed for local or national sports talk shows to eminate from a major casino. In addition to North's weekend FSN Radio shows originating from there, "The Nick Bonsanto Show" on the Byline Radio Network is also originated at this location, which sits within a sports "Hall of Fame" exhibit with hundreds of memorabilia pieces. This studio does give visitors an opportunity, when in use, to watch these shows in person.

SEATTLE: Even just the possibility of Seattle returning to the NBA for next season has created a media buzz. Inside word is that Kevin Collabro, the long-time voice of the Seattle SuperSonics when they were in the league, is now campaigning (via an interview with KING-TV) to regain his play-by-play post in the event the Sacramento Kings are to actually move to Seattle. Yet, the fans haven't been able to ask Collabro themselves. Kevin continues to be "absent" from his KIRO 710 afternoon drive show, and has been for several weeks, even though he continues his play-by-play work for ESPN and the Pac-12 Network.

Yet, the Stattle Weekly just quoted Program Director Brian Long as saying that Collabro is still with the station, but in a reduced role due to his outside play-by-play commitments.

BILLINGS MT: The University of Montana basketball games have a new radio home as of last week, despite being a mid-season change. KBLG 910 now airs the basketball broadcasts, and will also add U of M football for next season. This happened as a result of KYSX 105 changing its music format and dropping the sports broadcasts.

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