Monday, March 16, 2015

Sports Talk Show Canceled Before It Starts?

Suppose they scheduled a talk show and no one came? That's not quite an old saying, but it is something that happened, or didn't happen, on Washington D.C.'s WTEM 980 this week.

Today (3/16) was supposed to have been the debut for "Man Cave" in morning drive with Jason Reid and Chris Paul (the local radio veteran, not the NBA star player). There appears to have been either a power struggle or management reversal, depending upon who people want to believe. However, the DCRTV (Washington media watch site) reported that Chuck Sapienza was fired from his Program Director position of the station, perhaps because he went to bat, so to speak, for the previously announced morning show change.

Mike & Mike continues to air in the mornings on WTEM, which loses badly in the ratings to WJFK 106.7's local "Sports Junkies" show in morning drive.

How I wish I could credit the radio executive, who requested that his name not be used, for saying "It figures this happens in a city with so many politicians!" But a lot of radio talent would say "Being fired before you start on a radio station could happen anywhere!".

No surprise here, but as MLB opening day draws closer, still no hope for Dodgers fans in Southern California to be able to receive the local Dodgers telecasts. Now that the FCC has again delayed the Comcast and Time Warner Cable "merger", it gives those involved even more time to deflect the blame on negotiations.

Here is the link of the official story:

The NFL continues to aggressively pursue the international market and worldwide income. Within the past week, the League granted media rights to MP & Silva, under a five year agreement, to handle 42 countries/territories throughout Europe in what was reported to be a $50 million deal.
Included are all games, from pre-season through post-season, along with NFL Red Zone and even the NFL Draft telecast, and includes full media rights beyond television. Incredibly, this deal does not include the UK or Germany.

It does include: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and the Vatican City.
MP & Silva now handles certain international distribution rights for MLB, the NBA, the MLS, and ATP Tennis, as well.

NEW YORK: A series of announcer conflicts caused YES Network to move reporter Sarah Kustok in to the analyst role for this past Saturday's (3/14) Nets vs. Sixers telecast. With so many college tournaments and national NBA telecasts taking place, none of the regular YES Network analysts were available, as Mike Fratello, Jim Spanarkel, and Donny Marshall all had other commitments.
This assignment enabled Kustok to be the third female to serve as an analyst during an NBA telecast (Doris Burke and Cheryl Miller). Kustok continues to rank 4th in field goal percentage in DePaul University history from her playing days and also served as an Assistant Coach of the DePaul women's team for one season (2005-06). She also worked as an analyst on the recent Big East Tournament women's basketball telecasts.

LOS ANGELES: Sorry to learn of the passing of long-time sports reporter and host Joe McDonnell over the weekend at the age of 58. McDonnell had been a part of several radio stations going back nearly 40 years, including KFI, KMPC, KABC, KLAC, KFWB, and KNX. Joe was never one to keep an opinion to himself, yet earned the respect of team officials, especially the Lakers, because of his professional demeanor at all times. It was my pleasure to have known Joe for a while back in the 80's, before he overcame a lot of health issues which had many believing he would not have lived into the 90's as he did. I also remember talking about other topics, such as music, with him. He will be missed.

Speaking of the past in L.A. media, Todd Donoho is back on morning radio, joining Mark Thompson's new morning show on 100.3 The Sound (a rock station) to handle the sports. Fans around the country who recall the FNN Financial News Network in the late 80's may remember Todd as on of its primary nightly anchors.

St. LOUIS:  Maybe the coin toss for a format came up tails, but whatever the reason, KXFN 1380 suddenly returned to all sports radio this week (3/14). Kevin Slaten, off the air since November from sister station KFNS 590, was brought in to host the 3 to 6 PM time slot, with management hoping to have a full local weekday lineup in place by April. The station suddenly switched, airing Yahoo Sports Radio, over this past weekend, and plans to have Slaten on the air within this week.

CHICAGO: One more unfortunate example of why local TV sportscasters should, at the very least, know what is going on with the local teams they supposedly cover. I'm sure some readers will tell me "It's only spring training, give him a break", but it is still a matter of being paid to be factual.

This past Thursday (3/12) WBBM-TV Channel 2's Ryan Baker was racing through his afternoon news sportscast and giving the spring training report. He showed a highlight from the just concluded Cubs game from Arizona. Then he said "And the White Sox play the Giants later" and went on with his report.

Had Baker been paying attention to the local teams he reports on, he should have known that the White Sox had already played (completed) a split squad game against the Texas Rangers which had ended over a half-hour before this sportscasts. In addition, the game against the Giants was already underway, so it was not "later".

So much for ever watching him if a big sports story ever breaks. Sometimes you need to pay attention, at the very least to the local teams.

MOBILE: WNSP 105.5 is finally taking being the only full-time sports station in the market seriously, announcing last week that the station will soon feature at least eight hours of local programming each weekday.

The morning show will now be called "Opening Kickoff" from 6 to 9 AM, with Mark Heim moving from afternoons back to the morning slot and being teamed with Lee Shirvanian. The "Sports Drive" will air each afternoon, featuring Randy Kennedy (who remains in that time slot) and being joined by Patrick Woo.

Finally, may your bracket be the winner!

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