While college football fans await changes in the post-season format starting late this year, it looks to be a season of change for national media as well. When long time network college football voices such as Brent Musberger and Tim Brando both may or may not be calling games or hosting studio shows for their "current' networks, you know something is up.
Multiple reports have Tim Brando out completely from CBS Sports, where he has been a big part of their college football and basketball coverage going back to the mid-90's. A basketball replacement will need to be made relatively soon, in order to give the new host enough time to prepare for the CBS coverage of the NCAA Tournament in March.
Over at ESPN, Brent Musberger's contract has not been renewed (as of press time), even though ESPN increases its football post-season presence at the end of the 2014 season.
Can't help but wonder if these two could wind up switching places. While Musberger has spent many years with ABC/ESPN of late, his greatest accomplishment remains building the NFL Today from a time-filler into the institution known as NFL pre and post-game programming. There will never be anyone who could do it like Brent did it, even though there are much stronger supporting casts today.
Both Musberger and Brando have done their share of studio hosting and play-by-play over the years. It will be interesting to see if either or both CBS and ESPN/ABC are looking to go with "new" and younger voices, or if they would consider the other. Then again, it is still not over between Brent and ESPN/ABC. So we now get wonder who we will be "LOOKING LIVE" at later this year.
ESPN is already looking ahead to its 25th season of MLB telecasts. (Yikes! 25th season!) The network has announced its opening day telecast schedule, with the L.A. Dodgers at San Diego opening the season on Sunday night March 30th including an extended 90-minute pre-game show. The only change in the booth will be Curt Schilling joining the Sunday Night crew in place of Orel Hersheiser, who has joined the Dodgers' broadcast crew.
On Monday March 31st, ESPN will air five more games. These will be Chicago (Cubs) at Pittsburgh, Boston vs. Baltimore, and St. Louis vs. Cincinnati during the afternoon, with Colorado at Miami and Seattle at Los Angeles (Angels) at night. The Mariners at Angels game has the marquee matchup of Robinson Cano's first game with the Mariners and Albert Pujols returing to the Angels lineup.
Speaking of the Padres, there will be a new voice speaking "for" the Padres, as the team still needs to hire a Public Address Announcer to begin this season. In an interesting move, the team is going fan friendly, and is planning to hold live auditons for the job on Saturday Jan. 25th at the ballpark. http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/sd/fan_forum/announcer.jsp
As many of us continue to forget that Fox Sports 1 has been on the air for a few months, even their Fox Sports Live nightly report is showing signs of struggle. Industry insider Robert Seidman (TV By The Numbers) reported that the January 7th Fox Sports Live drew an estimated 7,000 viewers. Keep in mind that this was the night after the BCS Championship telecast on Fox Sports (which included several promos for Fox Sports 1), and was actually fewer viewers than FS1 had going up against the BCS Championship telecast the night before. And this show has content from the day's sports news, unlike so much of the filler that takes up the rest of the network.
BALTIMORE: WBAL 1090 continues as the Orioles' radio flagship for at least two more seasons, with the radio team of Joe Angel and Fred Manfra remaining in place. The station will also air 16 spring training games. The O's returned to WBAL in 2011 and this coming season will be their 45th season total airing on the station. In addition, this Thursday (1/16) begins the weekly Hot Stove show at 7:00 PM.
St. LOUIS: Putting the retirement rumors to rest, Mike Shannon will return for his 42nd season in the Cardinals' radio booth, although he will only be working less than half of the team's road games moving forward. Shannon will again be teamed with John Rooney on KMOX. No official word yet as to who will handle the duties for approximately 50 of the road game broadcasts.
HOUSTON: Looks as though KILT 610 is taking its recent audience growth seriously. Fred Davis is out after about two years on the station's night time slot, while co-host Ted Johnson (the former NFL linebacker) remains with the show. No replacement yet (as of press time) with Paul Gallant and Patrick Creighton filling in until the new co-host is determined.