Wednesday (Feb. 6th) is one of those days where sports fans truly see the impact of having numerous all sports networks and stations around the country. College football "signing day" has gone from the local station doing a "home town player makes good" story to now warranting national and regional "coverage".
ESPN plans coverage at various times of the day, starting at 7:30 AM ET when ESPNU is scheduled to carry "the decision" with its top rated high school player expected to announce his school of choice. The network also has a 90 minute special scheduled to begin at 3 PM ET. Over at CBS Sports Network, a Noon ET one hour report is scheduled and includes coach Ron Zook as an analyst.
The Big Ten Network plans a 90 minute special at 3:00 PM ET, which will likely be repeated, while the Pac-12 Network plans a 2-hour special at 5 PM ET. I'm not sure there is enough demand for this many hours of programming about this, but it is good to see these networks making the effort to cover actual news and information which targets their viewers.
As many of my readers over the years know, I'm not in favor of promoting the media competition at all on sports reports or in any other situation. It seems, however, that The Dan Patrick Show took this unfortunate trend one step further last Thursday (1/31). The Show sent out more than one tweet about having Chris Berman coming up as a guest on that day's show.
Now, if the Patrick Show regularly tweeted out information about the day's guests on upcoming segments, I could maybe understand this. Heck, they should instead tweet out that they are on live so that listeners know it won't be another outdated rerun (like the Patrick Show does even on minor holidays instead of providing live content).
So of all the guests they have on, they think that having Chris Berman on the show is the most worthy? This isn't about whether or not you or I enjoy Chris Berman, since some do and some don't. It is about how Berman is known for being a primary voice of ESPN. While Dan Patrick is now on NBC Sports Radio. Berman wasn't even a former player now with ESPN. That's all he is known for over the past 30+ years. Sure, I know that Patrick used to anchor SportsCenter on ESPN and that was where he rose to fame. The point is that Patrick's Show was really promoting a competing and much more established and successful network than his own. It just doesn't make sense.
PHILADELPHIA: The listeners to Jon Marks and Sean Brace on their Saturday morning show over the past couple of years were not surprised when the pair was moved to weekdays on 97.5 The Fanatic. The pair air from Noon to 2 PM, with NFL analyst Brian Baldinger now co-hosting from 6 to 7 PM with Joe DeCarma, even though the football season is now over. The Fanatic feels that having Baldinger practically year-round will maintain its Eagles talk base. The Mike Missanelli Show continues from 2 to 6 PM on weekdays.
CLEVELAND: Fans who actually want to hear the Indians games this season will have plenty of opportunity on the radio dial. WTAM 1100 remains the team's flagship station through 2017, while the new contract extension also places about 144 of the games on WMMS 100.7. WTAM will also carry 15 of the spring training games starting later this month. Jim Rosenhaus has been signed to remain as the play-by-play partner of Tom Hamilton, as he is about to begin his third full season in the booth.
WKNR 850 has moved T.J. Zuppe into a co-host role on its "The Hooligans" afternoon drive show, along with Bruce Hooley and Greg Brinda. Zuppe replaces Chris Fedor, who was dismissed last week after nearly seven years with the ESPN station.
CHICAGO: Another one for the "What were they thinking?" list this week. WMVP ESPN 1000 went live from an on-air "Lunch With A Legend" broadcast it scheduled with midday hosts Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman even though former Chicago Bulls and NBA standout Dennis Rodman was the featured guest. Doing this is certainly not in the same category as CBS-TV picking up the live profanity from Joe Flacco just after the Super Bowl win.
To the surprise of no one other than WMVP management, the station had to drop its live broadcast from the air and dump into Scott Van Pelt on ESPN Radio after only a few minutes. During those few minutes, Rodman, for those keeping score, said the "s-word" two more times than the "f-word", at least during the portion which aired live.
SEATTLE: KJR 950 and 102.9 has paired Mitch Levy with Dick Fain for its 6 to 10 AM show, boasting that it has the "only local morning sports talk show in Seattle", as part of its revised weekday lineup. The station remains local through afternoon drive, with a new pairing of Jerry Brewer and Elise Woodward from 10 AM to Noon, and Ian Furness and Jason Puckett handling Noon to 3 PM. Dave "Softy" Mahler handles the afternoon show having replaced Mike Gastineau in that role.
MILWAUKEE: Although more pro sports teams are adding Spanish broadcasts of home games to the mix, this might be a bit of a stretch. The Brewers will have some home games in Spanish again this season, with Andy Olivares returning for his sixth consecutive season on play-by-play. However, Olivares won't be overworked in 2013. WRRD 1510, which is a daytime only station, is only going to air the daytime home games, which consist of less than one-third of the home schedule.
FRESNO: The only pro team is a AAA minor league team. Yet, KJZN 105.5 seems to think the market needs a third sports station in support of its play-by-play of the Fresno Grizzlies baseball broadcasts. And "The Game 105.5" is born. The station is a CBS Sports Radio affiliate, with no plans yet for local programming.
SCHEDULE: Spring training baseball isn't that far away, and ESPN has announced its schedule of weekday telecasts during March. Again this season, the network ignores games from Arizona, where roughly half of all MLB teams train.
Here is the ESPN exhibition game schedule, with each telecast scheduled to begin at 1 PM ET:
Mon, Mar. 11 1 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at New York Yankees
Mon, Mar. 18 1 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Tue, Mar. 19 1 p.m. New York Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies
Wed, Mar. 20 1 p.m. Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Mon, Mar. 25 1 p.m. Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Tue, Mar. 26 1 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets
Wed, Mar. 27 1 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies at Detroit Tigers
Thu, Mar. 28 1 p.m. New York Mets at Washington Nationals
MLB Network will be announcing its schedule of live and delayed spring training telecasts soon.