Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Happenings For Sports Radio & TV

Two of the biggest injuries in the NBA this season will hurt in another way on Christmas. Along with the teams suffering the loss of star players (Chicago without Derrick Rose and the Lakers without Kobe Bryant), ABC/ESPN will likely lose out on viewers and ratings for their entire day of NBA games.

The opening game, at Noon ET, with Chicago at Brooklyn sure looked good on paper when the schedule came out. This will still be these two teams' first meeting since the 7-game opening round playoff series in the spring. However, with Derrick Rose out for Chicago and Brook Lopez out for Brooklyn, even the fans of those teams may have a tough time making this a "must see" game.

Game two, with Mike Breen and Hubie Brown, is Oklahoma City vs. New York, which features what has been a disappointing Knicks team thus far. Then, the third live game of the day, scheduled to be the marquee matchup, loses luster as the Lakers face Miami without Kobe Bryant. Mike Torico and Jeff Van Gundy will call that game. The best matchup of the five could very well be the L.A. Clippers vs. Golden State at 10:30 PM ET, with Dave Pasch and Jon Barry on the call. However, the late start for most of the country combined with four live games being shown nationally earlier, might take away some of the audience for those reasons. It is certainly not the fault of ABC/ESPN, which thought it had a monster when these games were originally scheduled.

Speaking of ESPN, their concept of multiple, or as they say, "Megacast" coverage of the BCS Championship Game on January 6th appears to be another idea "borrowed" from Turner Sports.

ESPN plans to use its video feed over its entire network that evening, with different audio on each. In addition to the "regular" telecast on ESPN, ESPN2 will present live analysis by guest coaches, players, and what it terms "celebrities". ESPNews will present other guest analysts and feature "multiple angles" of key plays. ESPN Classic promises a "no announcer" version with additional graphics and crowd noise, while online promises video feeds with the separate radio versions from both the Florida State and Auburn networks.

While I can understand ESPN wanting to continue to hype of this game and make it dominant over their entire network, this concept just happened to be unveiled a few weeks after Turner Sports announced a similar plan for the NCAA basketball Final Four tournament in late March.

On the NBA side, ESPN had already taken a page from TNT's coverage a couple of seasons back when they (ESPN/ABC) made their NBA studio coverage a crowded room of analysts. This came after the relative success of TNT continuing to add studio analysts such as Shaq to an already crowded room with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.

At least ESPN made a major improvement for this season by adding a true broadcaster as host, after a couple of seasons of not having a true host and causing the impact of the show to suffer.

Actually, I like the BCS coverage idea of multi-plexing, in theory. It is quite possible that the casual fan would enjoy switching around and hearing the different perspectives. I'm just not sure there could be enough different points of view to justify having all of the different analysts be available to comment after every play.

LOS ANGELES: As KLAC struggles to gain an audience, even with having had the Dodgers broadcasts this past season, the station has managed to get Petros & Money away from Fox Sports Radio and bring it back to being a local Los Angeles show each afternoon.

Even if a couple of days late, we want to wish L.A. Kings radio voice Nick Nickson a happy 60th birthday (12/21). Nickson is still going strong after calling more than 2,800 Kings games during his more than 30 seasons with the team. This goes back to when Nickson was often teamed with Bob Miller on radio when games were not televised, and his being Miller's analyst in the early days of Prime Ticket telecasts in the 80's.

NEW YORK: Sid Rosenberg is back on WFAN, but it's not what you think. Rosenberg is filling in over the holiday period and is expected to host (or co-host) several shows through New Year's Day. He last worked full-time on WFAN back in 2005. He currently hosts a morning show on WMEN in the Palm Beach FL area.

PHILADELPHIA: WIP-FM 94.1 is adding Josh Innes to its weekday lineup for its 6 to 10 PM slot. Innes comes to Philly by way of KILT Houston. In addition, the station has moved Glen Macnow off of the weekday afternoon co-host spot, but will keep him on the Saturday midday show with football writer Ray Didinger. Macnow will also be a part of Phillies pre and post-game programming on sister station WPHT 1210. Rob Ellis moves from a sports anchor into the weekday afternoon co-host spot along with Anthony Gargano.

HOUSTON: Just as KILT 610 has found some respectability in the ratings (not easy for a sports radio station in Houston), it loses Josh Innes to Philadelphia. Innes had been hosting afternoons along with Rich Lord for the past three years, and contributed to the recent growth of the station's audience.
KILT has announced that, starting no later than Jan. 6th, Sean Pendergast will become the new afternoon co-host, moving on up from KGOW 1560. 

PITTSBURGH: The Fan 93.7 is making a couple of lineup changes for the new year. Former Steelers punter Josh Miller is being moved from afternoons to co-hosting the morning show along with Gregg Giannotti, while Colin Dunlap will now host the 6 to 10 PM slot. The revised lineup starts on January 6th.

NEW ORLEANS: Well, almost New Orleans. Nearby KLRZ 100.3 from nearby Larose is dropping its talk format and picking up ESPN Radio starting on January 1st. The station's signal covers much of the New Orleans area.

PALM SPRINGS: Ironic timing indeed for KFSQ 1270, which just last week (12/18) switched over to Fox Sports Radio. Located just two hours east of Los Angeles, the station was hoping to have a regional feel thinking it would get the Petros & Money Show out of Los Angeles as part of the deal. Coincidentally, within a matter of hours after the change came the word that PMS (another name for Petros & Money Show) was going local for KLAC Los Angeles and coming off from the Fox Network.

Have a great holiday, and we look forward to serving you throughout 2014 and beyond.

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