Friday, June 26, 2015

Will Rose Be A Thorn For Fox?

A few sports media reporting issues this week and in the days to come. First, there was the official Fox Sports "no comment" with regard to (its baseball analyst) Pete Rose facing new allegations that he bet on baseball during his playing days. Rose began his role with Fox Sports earlier this season. Hours after the allegations surfaced, Fox, understandably would not comment on these with regard to its employee. Nor should it have.

Rose is, as of press time, still scheduled to (next) appear on MLB Whiparound next Wednesday (7/1) on Fox Sports 1. I'm sure some will tune in specifically to watch Rose to see whether or not he comments about the current situation.  My feeling is that he absolutely should not within that show.

MLB Whiparound, which continues to air at staggered times during the week and lack any ratings momentum because of it, exists to feature the night's baseball action, and for Rose and the other reporters and analysts to comment on them. Sorry, but this is not The Pete Rose Show which happens to air highlights and look-ins.

If Pete wishes to publicly comment and use Fox Sports exclusively to do so, Fox could honor his request by using time during another of its shows or even schedule a special program to address this. It will be interesting to see whether or not this matter comes up during Rose's upcoming appearances with Fox Sports, especially with his added involvement with the MLB All-Star Game (in Cincinnati) in just over two weeks.

Still more sports "reporting" issues via the Chicago media in recent days.

This time WMAQ-TV 5 had a blunder while reporting the recent story about the hacking of the Houston Astros computer system, allegedly by one or more people within the St. Louis Cardinals organization. While reporting the story, the station put a Cardinals logo on the screen, which seems the thing to do. However, the Cardinals logo was that of the NFL Arizona Cardinals, and not the MLB St. Louis Cardinals, which was the focus of the story. Granted, the facts on the story were correct and the mistake is attributed to some graphics person. However, it makes us wonder if the carelessness is truly limited to the Graphics Dept. or not.

Another instance, which I consider to be careless, took place on Wednesday (6/24) during the WSCR Radio broadcast of the Chicago White Sox vs. the Minnesota Twins. In this case, it is what was NOT told instead of what was. It is safe to say that a large percentage (if not the vast majority) of listeners to an MLB broadcast, in any big league market, are baseball fans.

It so happened that, at the same time, Marco Estrada of the Toronto Blue Jays had a perfect game going into the 8th inning of their game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. Over the years, many a baseball broadcaster has kept the listening audience updated about such a feat. After all, this could be a big reason to keep a baseball fan tuned in longer to a broadcast awaiting the news of whether or not the pitcher gets his no-hitter (or in this case perfect game). Yet, play-by-play voice Ed Farmer gave only the score of the game, with zero mention of Estrada's potential feat.

WSCR is a CBS Radio station, is all-sports, and yet failed to mention a potential big story. (Estrada lost the perfect game in the 8th.) It is possible that Farmer had no idea this was even going on. However, these broadcasts mostly limit the "out of town scoreboard" to only the scores and rarely any details of the other games.

My point is that years ago an MLB radio broadcast regularly updated the other games with fresh scores, home runs, and even pitching changes. These days, when radio broadcasts have to compete with our (fans) attention along with phone applications, online scoreboards, and TV networks with live look-ins, the radio broadcasts have only responded with providing even less information than they used to. That is not good. Radio management sits around wondering where its audience is going, while some broadcasts provide much less than they did when there was not any true competition.

Perhaps WSCR doesn't care anymore, since the station is reportedly literally hours away (at press time) of losing the White Sox radio rights to WLS 890 starting next season. However, if this happens, CBS Radio is very likely to do what they did in New York City (when they let the Mets radio go to WOR and brought the Yankees over to WFAN to replace), and move the Chicago Cubs games over to WSCR for next season and beyond. If and when that happens, things probably will not get any better. WSCR The Scorer continues to not always provide out-of-town MLB scores on its "scoreboard updates" as it is.

Also from Chicago is the news that Jen Lada will be joining ESPN in August, departing from Comcast SportsNet Chicago by July 1st in the process.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech football may not seem the same starting this season, as Bill Roth is relocating after more than 25 seasons as the team's voice. You could say that Roth is going Hollywood. Roth has been hired to be the radio play-by-play voice for the UCLA Bruins starting this coming season. The task of replacing Roth in Blacksburg and on the nearly 40 VT radio affiliates goes to Jon Laaser. Laaser has been the basketball voice of Virginia Commonwealth, and has also been doing baseball play-by-play for the Richmond AA team. Laaser's first regular season call, along with returning analyst Mike Burnop, will be teams opener against the defending champion Ohio State Buckeyes.

SAN DIEGO: Speaking of "reporting", there is the story of Hank Bauer over the past few days. Bauer, who was suspended for one exhibition game last season over some comments on an earlier broadcast as the Chargers analyst on KLSD 1360, was reported as "not returning" to the Charger booth for the coming NFL season by management.  A couple of days later, Bauer became an NFL analyst for Sports USA, which is a separate company with completely different management.

Interesting timing!

JEFFERSON CITY MO: KZJF 104.1 has dropped "The Fan" sports format and has become a music station as of this week. The station will, however, continue to air all Royals baseball games with the new format. It had been sports since October 2013.

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