Tuesday, April 28, 2015

From Rough Draft To Completion

Nice going last week on WFAN 660 New York's Boomer & Carton morning show when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was a live guest. They managed to get Silver to talk about the possibility of eventually legalizing sports gambling. This is a topic very rarely discussed on live airwaves with an executive who is directly involved.

Silver, of course, has been public about the subject in recent months, including his op-ed piece published in the New York Times last November. With pro sports commissioners under so much heat these days, it was refreshing to actually hear one address a matter which others have all but avoided over the years.

As we wind down the hours before the NFL Draft, Fox Sports plans to go ahead with its "Fox Sports Live 2015 NFL Draftcast". Their first round coverage for Fox Sports Radio (on Thursday 4/30) will also be streamed on FoxSports.com and available via their live app. What makes this interesting is that Fox Sports does not have official rights to broadcast the Draft, with ESPN and NFL Network both providing that.

Supposedly the Fox Radio crew will be stationed nearby at a Chicago restaurant getting the choices and with the analysts. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see whether the NFL decides to charge an additional rights fee for this in coming years, or if they restrict this in some way, even though Fox Sports is a media partner of the NFL. Not that ESPN or NFL Network have anything to worry about, given how much of Fox Sports activities are aired in relative secrecy.

My thinking is that ESPN won't complain because it makes for still another network adding to the endless hype about the Draft, which ESPN has been covering live for more than 30 years.

A proud moment for the Albert family this past Saturday (4/25) when father and son were each calling play-by-play on a national network of a game in New York City at the same time. Marv was on TNT calling the late afternoon Atlanta at Brooklyn playoff game, while son Kenny was on Fox Sports 1 calling the Yankees vs. the Mets.

Kenny Albert will also continue to call selected NHL playoff games for the NBC Sports Group, giving him the unique opportunity to call play-by-play of national telecasts for two separate networks within the same week.

NBC Sports will be doing an analyst crossover this Saturday (5/2)  when primary NHL analyst Ed Olczyk joins the NBC telecast of the Kentucky Derby as its Stanley Cup coverage begins Round 2. Olczyk has done analysis during Breeders Cup Series last year, during which he picked a couple of winners ahead of time. Then, on Sunday evening, he is expected to be back in Chicago for NBCSN's coverage of the Minnesota vs. Chicago Game 2 telecast.

Speaking of the Mets vs. Yankees series this past weekend, ESPN generated strong ratings for its Sunday Night Baseball exclusive telecast of the series finale (4/26). The local New York City ratings were the best for an ESPN telecast of an MLB regular season game since the 2011 season.

CBS Sports Network has announced it will again televise a series of ten minor league baseball telecasts this season, running from May 28th through August 6th. This season there will be AAA, AA, and A games included. Interesting idea, but it is tough to overlook associating CBS Sports Network with the minor leagues.

NEW YORK: This one was not the fault of the NBC Sports Group, which is airing every Stanley Cup playoff game again this season, but it sure didn't help matters any. WNBC-TV Channel 4, the nation's largest NBC station, embarrassed themselves big time on Sunday (4/26) on one of its morning updates. The station showed a graphic about the Islanders (then) playoff game, saying that "Nassau Coliseum could stay open for Game 8". Yikes.

HARTFORD: WTIC 1080 has decided to go with a sports talk show in afternoon drive as of this week to instead of its usual news and political talk. The Joe D. and Gresh Show features  Joe A'Ambrosio and Andy Gresh. D'Ambrosio, the voice of University of Connecticut basketball, has been with WTIC for more than 23 years. Gresh most recently was a host on WBZ Sports Hub in Boston, as well as a college football analyst for Comcast SportsNet New England.

The pair will now compete against 97.9 ESPN and the Rob Dibble Show, now in its second year. Yes, that is the former pitcher.

HOUSTON: Now that the Astros are back to being a major league team again, the TV audience is returning. Through the first 20 games of the 2015 season, Root Sports is showing ratings almost three times higher for Astros telecasts compared with the "late" CSN Houston ratings of 2014. When Root needed to bump the Astros game (for Tues. 4/28) to its "plus" channel due to the Rockets playoff telecast, it was actually a news item this time around. Last season there were several reports of 0.0 ratings for some Astros games.

LAS VEGAS: Makes me wonder if there will soon be a line on how many sports radio stations there will be in Vegas. Now KRLV 1340 is changing from a Spanish format to Fox Sports Radio, taking the affiliation away from KMZQ 670. The market already has ESPN 100.9 and 1100, KBAD 920 The Game, and KXST 1140 Sports Radio. And that doesn't count ESPN Deportes KENO 1460.

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