Nice to see a new innovation to highlight the New Year in sports media. For as much hype as ESPN gave to its "multi-cast" of the college football championship game on Monday night (1/6), the "Film Room" portion on ESPNews received glowing reviews from media and fans alike. ESPN, picking up on a good thing, replayed the entire "Film Room" telecast on Tuesday (1/7) on its ESPNU, creating its own version of an Instant Classic game telecast. This concept featured current NCAA head coaches providing instant commentary on each play, as well as predicting trends within the game.
The question now will be to see how far this concept goes. Since ESPN has NFL rights for Monday Night Football, it could make for an interesting off-season in this regard.
It certainly didn't take a crystal ball to predict solid ratings for the NFL Wild Card weekend telecasts either. As if coming off a strong regular season of TV ratings wasn't enough, the frigid conditions gripping much of the northern part of the country certainly played a part in this. The San Francisco at Green Bay telecast, understandably, set a wild card playoff ratings record, according to early returns. You might say that all of the "elements" were there for this to happen.
One very curious thing took place at the end of the exciting game with New Orleans winning in Philadelphia on a last second field goal. I'm not sure if Al Michaels feared for his safety after the game winning kick or what happened. For whatever reason, Michaels' call of the big kick was extremely subdued. Not to be harsh, but his call was closer to a Pat Summerall version than what it should have been for the conclusion of a post-season NFL game.
Having listened to and enjoyed Al Michaels during the most exciting of calls going back to when he was doing the Cincinnati Reds games on radio (only) in the early '70's, I can't help but wonder why this was such a casual call. Perhaps it was how quiet the Philadelphia crowd became. Yet, the call of the kick and the end of the game telecast sounded more like a pre-season game than what it really was.
Sorry to learn of the passing of Jerry Coleman on Sunday (1/5) at the age of 89. Coleman was very much overlooked during most of his 40 seasons calling the Padres games and rarely mentioned in the same breath as other Hall of Fame broadcasters. Coleman was aware of this, as best remembered by a line of his many years back. It went something like "There is the ocean to the west, Mexico to the south, the desert to the east, and Vin Scully to the north!". He will be missed. As for his play-by-play, you can hang a star on it.
PHOENIX: An interesting move as KTAR 620 begins an FM simulcast, adding 98.7 KPKX. What makes this interesting is that the music station known as "The Peak" that comes off the FM signal has had much stronger overall audience ratings within the past six months. The addition of the FM signal will keep play-by-play conflicts 'in house', which is significant considering that everybody that's anybody airs on KTAR. This will solve the problem from the numerous conflicts of having hockey (Coyotes) and basketball (Suns and AZ State) all winter, as well as the NFL Cardinals and AZ State football during the fall which often conflict with Diamondbacks baseball.
In some markets, AM sports talkers are adding FM signals with regard to possible competition. However, in Phoenix, KGME 910 has recently held ratings of less than half of the KTAR-AM audience, while KDUS 1060 has moved "up" to have only about 10% of the audience that KTAR holds.
LIMA OH: WCIT 940 has become this market's second sports station, a sister station to WWSR 93.1 The Fan.