Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Bernie Wasn't Burned

While we wait to see if the Tuesday night (4/29) TV ratings increase for TNT's NBA doubleheader is the start of a trend or a reflection of curiousity over the Donald Sterling Clippers controversy, the Bernie Kosar story in Cleveland seems to have slipped under the radar, as it should.

(The TNT ratings for their NBA playoff doubleheader with Washington eliminating Chicago followed by the L.A. Clippers vs. Golden State was up more than 35% from last year.)
In Cleveland, the Browns announced that Solomon Wilcots, the former player who is now with the NFL Network and CBS Sports as an analyst, adds the role as analyst on the Browns' pre-season telecasts this August. Wilcots and his extensive network broadcasting experience replace former Browns QB Bernie Kosar in that role.

The media should be having a field day with Kosar's reaction, especially when Kosar is reportedly being considered for other employment by the Browns. Kosar was quoted as saying that his removal from the broadcasts "stems from my slurred speech impairment, which is a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL." and that the decision to remove him from the telecasts was "unfortunate".

Somebody should have asked Kosar how, if his slurred speech is a "direct result....", he got hired for the analyst position in the first place. There is also the matter of Kosar overlooking that former Browns CEO Joe Banner issued a public apology to the St. Louis Rams due to comments Kosar made last pre-season about QB Kellen Clemens and his receivers during the Rams vs. Browns telecast.

Perhaps equally as absurd is the media battle in Southern California regarding Time Warner Cable's high fees for its Dodgers Network which are keeping more than two-thirds of the market area from seeing the Dodgers games this season. TWC's CEO Rob Marcus was quoted as saying the company had added subscribers in the L.A. market, although he did not give any specifics. At the same time, TWC and DirecTV were publicly disputing whether or not they were still talking.

What is curious to me is that the Dodgers have been silent about this, although they collect their huge fees for the telecast rights. I'm thinking that the April radio ratings for L.A., which will be released within the next two weeks, will tell us a lot by whether or not flagship radio station KLAC shows an audience gain or not. If the KLAC ratings go up (and there isn't a whole lot of room to drop), it signals that fans are fine with listening to Vin Scully without being forced to pay up to watch them, if they are even given that option. The Dodgers would be fine with that.

We should also keep an eye on ratings for the Angels telecasts, readily available on most cable/satellite packages in the area, and see how much those increase in Los Angeles. I'm thinking the Dodgers won't step in until or unless their game attendance drops. Based on advance sales and season tickets for a promising 2014 season, that might not happen soon. However, the Dodgers risk losing younger and "new" fans by not having the games available for the majority of their fans.

Meanwhile, Fox Sports 1, seemingly operating in secrecy, has pulled the plug on its "The Crowd Goes Wild" weekday show when, well, it never attracted a crowd to do much of anything. Original host Regis Philbin had been reduced to occasional appearances in February, and next week's shows will be the last. Another run of NASCAR Race Hub will replace it, even though NASCAR on Fox has drawn disappointing ratings this year. Granted, weather delays including the huge on at Daytona, have played a role, but Fox Sports is expanding its NASCAR coverage by next year.

I'll say it again. Fox Sports 1 needs to counter program ESPN and the others, instead of acting as though they can compete. Their MLB Whiparound has value, but not when it runs head-to-head most weeknights with Baseball Tonight on ESPN. If FS1 moved it to one hour (or more) later, they might bring over the audience which is focused on baseball and doesn't want to sit through ESPN's other sports coverage during the summer.

Here is a note to management at radio stations which are NFL flagship stations. The Miami Dolphins are now using their own social media directly. On Monday (4/28), the Dolphins own Twitter feed exclusively promoted individual game ticket sales via a special pre-sale code to their followers.

This is another case of the teams taking over for the reporting media, and that's not good. If "my" radio station was spending millions of dollars for the rights to broadcast the games, then my station should be the one promoting this exclusive pre-sale. This would give Dolphins fans a reason to listen to my station. Instead, as a fan wanting tickets, all I need to do is follow them on Twitter and not bother with the radio station.

DALLAS: Norm Hitzges, who turns 70 this coming July, has been extended for another three years on SportsRadio 1310, where he has been since early 2000. He had been with KLIF for 15 years before that.

MILWAUKEE: Bucks radio play-by-play voice Ted Davis, fresh off the team's horrible season, has been hired by WOKY 920 to co-host from 2 to 4 PM with Mike Heller starting next week (5/5). Davis had been a co-host on WSSP 1250, even though the Bucks remain on highly rated WTMJ 620.

The station (WOKY), which has only been around a 0.2 rating thus far, has Wisconsin Badgers play-by-play voice Matt Lepay co-hosting its morning show.

HOUSTON: The NFL Texans have added former KGOW 1560 host John Harris as a "contributor" to some team produced TV and radio shows as well as podcasts for the team web site.

VANCOUVER: Congrats to Dan Russell of CISL 650, who is voluntarily giving up his nightly sports talk show this week after almost 30 years in the market. Russell plans to continue with his blog and podcasts, and will continue on CISL's Sunday night golf show.

BUFFALO: Along the lines of stations serving their sports audience, a nice move by Howard Simon on WGR Buffalo last week on his morning show. Instead of what seems to be the norm for sports stations (having writers and analysts predict the upcoming NFL Draft), Simon had Bills General Manager Doug Whaley to specifically discuss the draft as it relates to the Bills. Whaley went as far as to specifically comment on a couple of the leading college prospects. That's more like it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ESPN Gets The Wild Card; Pistons No Longer The Ticket

A big sports media day with announcements and ratings:

First, the NFL media rights will enable them to print up even more money with today's (4/22) announcement that ESPN officially joins the post-season group as of the upcoming season. ESPN will air one Wild Card Playoff game, starting in January 2015 as part of an 8-year contract extension for Monday Night Football.

The significance is that it will become the first ever post-season game to be televised on cable, although ESPN promises that the participating teams will be able to air a simulcast in the local markets, as has been the case with Monday Night Football.

This change also impacts the other networks' post-season coverage. NBC now only gets to televise one Wild Card Playoff game instead of two, but picks up a Division Playoff game instead. The network, which airs the Super Bowl in February 2015, will alternate years of taking a telecast away from CBS and Fox, which lose out on some post-season coverage as a consequence of this new ESPN deal.

Meanwhile, a local radio deal may not seem significant, but there is plenty for others around the country to take note of following the Tuesday (4/22) announcement that Detroit Pistons radio is moving to Detroit Sports 105.1 starting with the coming season. Granted, Pistons fans are not exactly counting down the hours until next season begins, but that's another story.

Locally, the importance is because this rights acquisition breaks up the pro sports monopoly of WXYT-FM The Ticket, which lost the Pistons games. With having the Tigers, Red Wings, and Lions, it means that all of the local pro teams will no longer be on the same station (or sister station WWJ 950 for conflicts).

This comes on the heels of CBS stations (of which The Ticket is) losing the Flyers and Sixers broadcasts, in that case to WPEN-FM ESPN radio. In New York, WFAN (a CBS station) just began as the Yankees flagship after dropping the Mets, which were picked up by WOR-AM. And in Chicago, CBS Radio is reportedly in the running to get Chicago Cubs broadcasts away from WGN Radio for 2015 and beyond.

On the Detroit side, Detroit Sports WMGC-FM 105.1 also plans to stream its broadcasts, and open up 105.1 HD2 as "Pistons Radio" with extended coverage and game replays. The announcing team of George Blaha, Rick Mahorn, and Mark Champion, are being retained under the new multi-year agreement.

While that's fine and dandy, the Pistons are coming off another awful season, while WXYT-FM The Ticket had literraly more than five times the total audience of WMGC-FM in the most recent ratings period.

Elsewhere, fans continue to watch the post-season, whether NBA or NHL. TNT reported a 30% ratings increase compared with last season for its overtime telecast between Memphis and Oklahoma City on Monday (4/21), while the doubleheader telecast ratings were up approximately 19% over last year. What makes this even more impressive is that the opening telecast, again, was between Memphis and OK City. That's two of the league's smaller markets.

On Sunday (4/20) afternoon, ABC clearly beat out NBC's NHL coverage around the country.

Yet, the NBA has reasons to be concerned about several of its local team telecast ratings for the recently concluded regular season. In New York, both the Knicks and Nets local telecast ratings dropped at least 20% for the season, even though the Knicks were in the playoff hunt until the final week, and the Nets easily made it to the post-season. In Los Angeles, the Lakers, without Kobe Bryant and with their poorest record in years, saw their ratings drop by more than 50% for the season.

Yet, the Clippers, despite winning the Pacific Division title, saw a 19% overall ratings decline. In Chicago, the Bulls playing without star Derrick Rose, saw about an 8% decline over the previous season.

It's no surprise that Milwaukee, coming off the worst record in the NBA, saw a 65% overall audience drop. On the positive side, the Phoenix Suns "rose" most noticably, showing better than a 90% increase over the previous season. Oklahoma City and Indianapolis also showed nice audience gains, which were clearly bolstered by the great seasons each of those teams had.

On the NHL side, the majority of the first-round series are doing very well. Detroit and Boston showed double digit ratings in early games in both markets for that matchup. The Sunday national telecast on NBC from St. Louis showed its best ever ratings for a national telecast from St. Louis, up more than 30% from a N.Y. Rangers vs. Washington telecast at the comparable point last season.

Pittsburgh showed the highest "local" ratings early, while Columbus, making only its 2nd ever post-season appearance, showed ratings nearly four times as big as their regular season telecasts.

Only the Anaheim and Dallas opening round series has, as of press time, been a ratings disappointment.

While NBC has some things to be proud of, I must point out the story they put on the NBC Sports web site last week. On April 16th, NBC Sports posted a story about the upcoming release of the NFL regular season schedule. That's all good. However, the story, published on the NBC web site, also refers to "full one hour coverage" of the schedule release for both ESPN and NFL Network. ESPN, especially, is competition for the sports audience against NBC. While this release makes no mention of any such "coverage" on NBC or NBCSN, even though NBC's Sunday Night Football schedule will be a part of this.

It sure makes me wonder if anyone at NBC Sports is in charge of editing or checking stories before they are published. How does it happen that a story gets published which clearly promotes the direct competition?

Over at ESPN, more of its 2014 college football schedule has just been released. ESPN/ABC will show at least three live games on Saturday Aug. 30th, starting at 8:30 AM ET with Central Florida vs. Penn State from Dublin Ireland on ESPN2. Florida State takes on Oklahoma State at 8 PM ET on ABC, while ESPN has Wisconsin vs. LUS at 9 PM ET among its selections.
ESPN will also air the Saturday Aug. 23 game between Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington.

Big Ten Network has announced some of its prime-time telecasts, to include Michigan State hosting Maryland (yes - a Big Ten Conference game now) at 8 PM ET on Nov. 15th, making for the latest ever (in the calendar year) home night game in MSU history, and the network's latest outdoor telecast at night.

MLB Network has added another studio analyst. Former pitcher Ryan Dempster, who just retired prior to spring training, joins the network.

Finally, sorry to learn of the passing of Walter Hill, who for 20+ years was the voice behind "Saturday Night In Tiger Stadium" on the LSU Sports Network. Much of nation heard Hill, along with the late John Ferguson, provide play-by-play and color on WWL New Orleans from the early 60's until Hill left the booth in 1986.  Hill's final appearance on the LSU broadcast actually came in 1993 when he returned for the "Centennial Game" and guested with Jim Hawthorne and Doug Moreau during the broadcast. Hill was 86.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Eye Off The Tiger

The star power of Tiger Woods was never more evident than this past weekend when he did not play in The Masters, and the CBS-TV ratings for the final round were the lowest in 10 years. And the 2004 final round was on Easter Sunday (which this year's was not). It shows that the covering networks will need to do more next year and beyond in order to build up those ratings for years to come for the sake of televised pro golf.

ESPN covered the first two rounds on weekdays, yet did not start its coverage until the afternoon even though the tournament begins during the morning hours. The fact that Tiger Woods did not play and the live coverage did not begin until hours into each round are both pertinent to the need to grow the ratings and not be as dependent on a current star player.

The future "star" golfers just might be the ones that tee off at 9 AM. Yet, ESPN's later start, when the well known players are on the course, sends a message that the up-and-coming young golfers are not important enough to be shown. Since The Masters is supposed to attract a larger audience to see the biggest names in golf all together, this is a chance for the stars of the future to be showcased to a national audience.

Sports networks now show rookie and "future star" games surrounding all-star game events for the major pro sports as part of the showcase, Part of the reason for this is to expose the casual fan to stars of the future. But pro golf telecasts continue to pass up this opportunity, now to the point of suffering in the ratings when their biggest name is not on the course.

This would be more understandable if these were still the days of one network televising and having other programming it needs to air instead. However, the partial coverage of the first two rounds of The Masters was on ESPN, which has more than one network on which to spread out continuing live coverage. For example, ESPN airs the first part of the NFL Draft each year, and the later rounds are shown on ESPN2 in order to serve the more hardcore fan. Why doesn't the PGA allow the same thing?

Earlier in the week, we had the unveiling of "team coverage" from the Final Four, when fans around the country had the option to watch game coverage on any of three separate feeds of the same telecast, depending upon whether or not they had a team loyalty. The NCAA Tournament is to college basketball what The Masters is to golf, yet fans could not watch the entire tournament even on one channel.

Especially when you consider how much all of these regional and national sports channels are starved for anything that resembles quality programming.  Fans get plenty of the same shows being replayed multiple times, paid infomercials, and/or events that are a complete waste of time on most weekdays anyway.

For that matter, CBS Sports Network actually put out a Press Release to promote their telecasts of the NBA Development League playoffs this weekend. Their first round series between the Santa Cruz Warriors and Rio Grande Valley Vipers will be shown live on Thursday (4/17) and Monday, and on delayed telecast on Saturday.

Yes, CBS is promoting a delayed telecast of a Development League playoff game. While nobody can show live coverage of early rounds of The Masters?

Meanwhile, the March radio ratings generally did not show well for sports radio stations. In New York, where the April ratings will be most interesting with the Yankees and Mets having changed flagship stations, both WFAN and WEPN dropped again. WFAN has gone from a 4.1 in January to a 2.7 overall for March. Philadelphia and Dallas have seen their ratings dives continue. Philly's WIP-FM has gone from a 4.9 to a 3.6 overall this year, while WPEN has dipped by nearly 33% during the same time. Dallas' KTCK has lost 25% of its audience this year, while both KESN and KRLD-FM have dropped by at least 15% during the same time.

Houston's sports talkers are again on the down cycle, as it now appears that KILT showing some respectable numbers in late 2013 was probably due to the Texans' season. KILT has dipped by 33% from January through these new March ratings, down to a 1.4 overall. The other two stations don't even combine to add up to that. In Los Angeles, KSPN held steady at only a 1.0, while KLAC, even with Dodgers broadcasts starting, could only muster a .5. The next ratings period will be significant for KLAC, given the incredible TV situation in Los Angeles in which approximately 70% of households can not receive Dodgers telecasts even if they were willing to pay through the nose to get them.

Chicago saw a drop for WSCR, which now leads WMVP by only .3, with WMVP managing to regain what it lost during the February ratings period. Atlanta's WZGC-FM and WQXI are now both showing overall ratings of under 1.0.

(As of press time, the important Boston radio ratings for March had not been released.)

With a nice boost from technology, serious fans of a MLB team have a wonderful new way to follow the team's organization. Many minor league teams, especially AAA and AA, are now making their radio broadcasts available by stream this season via the free TuneIn app. The daily minor league schedule is available at This gives fans able to listen online or on the phone plenty of opportunities to hear a ton of minor league broadcasters and follow the prospects of their favorite teams. There are often some minor league games played during the day on Mondays and Tuesdays when there are no MLB games going on, with some teams starting games as early as 11 AM local time. What a welcome idea!

St. LOUIS: Mike Kelly, the University of Missouri football and basketball voice, has joined KMOX 1120 to host "Sports Open Line" on weeknights when there is no Cardinals baseball conflict. Chris Hrabe will host "Sports Hub" from 9 PM to Midnight (or after Cardinals broadcasts). Kelly replaces Kevin Wheeler in that role, with Wheeler having left to join WXOS 101.1.  Kelly will continue with Missouri play-by-play when football season begins, even though those games continue to air on KTRS.

KMOX is obviously glad to have the Cardinals again, starting their 2nd year of the current contract. Even with the excitement of the Blues being contenders for the Stanley Cup, KMOX plans to farm out Blues playoff games which conflict with Cardinals broadcasts to KYKY 98.1. The Blues take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks starting on Thursday (4/17).

JANESVILLE WI: WTJK 1380 is no longer all sports, with new management adding more general talk to the mix, while promising some local sports content. The station had been the local ESPN affiliate, although WMVP ESPN from Chicago continues to easily reach into this area with its daytime signal.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Less Coverage Means Less Interest From Fans

Too many people had the "Whatever!" reaction to the news that the (Portland) Oregonian newspaper has decided to no longer run all of the MLB box scores as of this new season. They are only running the full box for games involving the Seattle Mariners, S.F. Giants, and Oakland A's, the three nearest MLB teams. I'm already hearing that some other newspapers not in "big league" cities are already considering this. That's not good.

How is this decision similar to mistakes that sports radio stations often make? It's because this is another example of traditional sports media taking the approach of "They are getting it online anyway, so we shouldn't bother".

For years, the box scores and sports statistics sold a lot of newspapers. There were reports during that during the baseball strikes during the 1981 and 1994 seasons of specific declines in "big league city" newspaper sales. Yet, just as some of the sports radio stations fail to provide out-of-town scoreboard updates with any regularity, they also figure that "fans will get it online or on their phone anyway" and don't "bother".

My point remains that if the traditional sports media had beefed up, or at least maintained their level of reporting and contents over the past few years that they would not have lost so much of their audience to the online community.

Now, without the box scores, the Oregonian figures it will save on newsprint costs and reduce the size of its sports section. Well, that also provides one less reason to buy it, especially when consumers see a smaller publication at a higher price. Same thing to certain sports radio stations. As long as they want me to go online (or to my phone) for out-of-town scores, then we might as well look up what the online analysts have to say about my favorite local teams as well.

Ratings notes from the Opening Day period for MLB last week show that there are differences in how the local fans follow their teams when the openers are during working hours. Nielsen went as far as to release some of its research from that day (March 31), showing that fans tended to prefer radio OR TV.

In Pittsburgh, with the Pirates coming off their first post-season appearance since the early 90's, their early afternoon opener (vs. the Chicago Cubs) showed the Pirates radio broadcast with four times the audience share that the visiting Cubs radio had. Yet, the Pittsburgh telecast failed to draw ratings equal to the previous night's Penguins NHL telecast, which was "another" regular season game for the contending team.  The World Champion Red Sox opener at Baltimore showed that Boston's radio broadcast had a much larger audience share than the local Orioles did. The Giants' opening night radio broadcast from Phoenix had more than twice the audience that the local Diamondbacks broadcast had.

Later in the week (4/5), Fox Sports 1 began its regular season MLB coverage. The struggling network remains a secret, with its Giants vs. Dodgers late afternoon telecast drawing a 0.4 rating. And that was more than its early game, Minnesota vs. Cleveland, drew. As of press time, it was too soon to see if the Tuesday (4/8) prime-time telecast of Cinci at St. Louis registered on the ratings meter.

Monday night (4/8) was also the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th homerun, which was shown live on NBC-TV in prime-time. ESPN decided to try a unique twist and "cover" the historic moment for baseball by re-enacting coverage for those same two hours. The "coverage" included updates and player reaction. A nice tribute. However, despite the family of networks, ESPN only provided this "coverage" on

Someone please tell me how there was no room for this on one of their channels, especially with no more men's college basketball to televise for this season. Doing this tribute was an excellent idea. I simply can't believe this wasn't done on ESPN Classic. What could have possibly been more pressing?

Although ESPN Classic was a great idea and got off to a good start years ago, it has deteriorated to the point of showing poker and probably "Minor League Solitaire" at this point. Thirty-five years of history, and ESPN can't find enough inventory, let alone what they could get from the pro league archives?

The Hank Aaron anniversary should have been the start of this type of "coverage" that could make ESPN Classic relevant, and fun once again.

Speaking of memories from years ago, how sad to learn of the passing of long time sports TV producer Sandy Grossman last week at the age of 78. He helped to raise the quality level on NFL telecasts for so many years, as well as for 10 Super Bowls, 18 NBA Finals, and several Stanley Cup Finals for CBS and Fox. Not to mention the challenge of staying awake during Pat Summerall's play-by-play. Grossman will be missed, but his influence is and will be felt for a long time to come.

BOSTON: Steve Lyons is back as a baseball analyst, now for NESN's studio coverage of Red Sox games. He joins Dennis Eckersley and Jim Rice in this role. Lyons has previously worked with the Dodgers and for Fox Sports telecasts.

PORTLAND: KFXX The Fan 1080 has added more local programming to its weekend lineup. "Sinner and the Saint", with Keith Hill and Luke Andersen, airs on Saturdays from 9 to 11 AM. "Sports Sunday", with Mike Lynch and Rashad Taylor, now airs from 8 to 10 AM.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Play Ball! Who's Watching?

A discouraging start in TV ratings for MLB as the 2014 regular season begins. And I'm not referring to the opening game telecasts from Austrailia the previous week when the regular season started just before 5 AM ET after a rain delay.

This past Sunday night (3/30), the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the Padres' opener from San Diego vs. the Dodgers drew about the same ratings as the 2013 opener. The "however" in this year's similar rating is that the majority of L.A. Dodgers fans are not able to see Dodgers local telecasts this season because of the cost disputes with Time Warner Cable over the new Dodgers Network. (Even Vin Scully can't watch the road games he doesn't call from home.) While their fans are in a uproar over the reality that they'll rarely have a telecast, the Sunday night game was a chance for a far greater percentage of their fans to watch them on TV. The NCAA Tournament games had ended prior to the first pitch, so that's not an excuse either.

Thus, if there were a lot of Dodgers fans watching, it means that just as many fans from around the country did not watch this year. This marks the fourth consecutive season for which the Sunday night opener ratings have not increased over the previous year.

ESPN's ratings for its five national telecasts on Monday (3/31) were not spectacular either. What makes this discouraging is that for this season the prime time telecasts were not competing against the NCAA Championship game, which often conflicts with the MLB Monday opening day.

The problem is that I don't see the MLB national telecast ratings moving up at all this season. Fox Sports (over the air) is not airing games on Saturday until late May when their prime-time telecasts begin and run into July. They wait until September to air on Saturday afternoons. (Fox Sports 1 will air at least one game each Saturday, for those fans who know to pursue it and/or remember where FS1 is on their cable or satellite system.) Over at TBS, they won't be doing Sunday telecasts until the second half of the season, which gets viewers used to finding local or regional telecasts of area teams instead. (At least MLB Network is picking up the slack, adding Sunday afternoon telecasts for the first three months.)

While the networks are paying even more rights money but gearing more toward the post-season, now they face fewer chances to draw interested fans and get them excited about their post-season coverage.

Having unrest among fans in two of the top five markets does not help either. Again, Dodgers fans are livid because even those who might be willing to pay through the nose to watch Vin Scully call the Dodgers games cannot do so. In Houston, the Astros again look like a last place team, while CSN Houston continues to show their games to, well, a few people.

On Tuesday (4/1) night, the CSN Houston telecast of the Astros vs. the Yankees (in which the Astros took an early lead and won the game) finished behind women's college basketball on ESPN in the ratings. And none of the teams involved in those games were local to the Houston area. Ouch. And all of those telecasts (Astros and NCAA Women) were crushed by the NBA on TNT with the Rockets against Brooklyn.

NBC Sports has been concentrating on personnel over the past few days. Josh Elliott joins NBC upon leaving ABC Good Morning America. Word is that Elliott, among other assignments, will be included on Sunday Night Football. Yikes. Seems like that would make about 25 on-air people during SNF. There will soon be more hosts, reporters, and analysts than players on those games.
On the radio side, NBC Sports Radio has extended the contract of Donovan McNabb to continue co-hosting weekday afternoons with Mark Malone, after what management considers a successful first year for the former QB. The show, being on NBC Sports Radio, continues to be a well-kept secret.

NEW YORK: Speaking of ratings, YES Network reports an increase for its afternoon simulcast (from radio) over the past two months when compared with last year. They now simulcast Yankees play-by-play voice Michael Kay's radio show, resulting in about 5,000 more viewers than last year's simulcast of WFAN and Mike Francesa. Francesa's TV simulcast is now hidden away on FS1 and FS2.

PHOENIX: A nice promotion for ESPN Radio 620 and 98.7 this past Saturday (3/29). Colin Cowherd broadcast before a live audience of local contest winners at Chase Field, as well as fielding questions from fans and signing autographs. It is good to see radio get out there and get "interactive" in the truest sense of the word.

DES MOINES: KXNO 1460 has brought back "Cardinal Talk" on Friday afternoons as a weekly focus on the St. Louis Cardinals, whose games are again broadcast on the station. Ken Miller and Jim Brinson co-host the segment.