Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Toronto Broadcasts Can Take A Flying "Leaf"

While pro sports teams continue to expect millions of dollars for their radio broadcast rights, it seems that not all of the stations which air the games are willing to go all out. Incredibly, it took the expected fan and social media "pressure" to get the Toronto Maple Leafs    radio broadcasts for the coming season to originate from the actual arena where the games will be played.

Even though the Leafs are a flagship NHL franchise, the team had told Sportsnet 590 The Fan and TSN 1050, the Toronto stations which share the broadcasts, that radio broadcasters Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph would no longer be allowed to travel on team charter flights. As recently as last week, Bowen was reportedly told that he would instead call play-by-play of road games from the TV feed at a Toronto studio.

As you would expect, the public outcry even got the attention of the stations, prompting the change back to sending Bowen and Ralph on the road. How was this first announced? As far as people in Toronto know, the first indication came from Bowen's Twitter feed. The Maple Leafs are quite possibly the richest team in the NHL, yet they actually tried to get away with such a shabby radio presentation. Here's hoping that Bowen and Ralph get full reimbursement for their flight expenses.

Let's give credit to ESPN for scooping the local and national media on Tuesday (9/29) with the story about Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose needing surgery the following day after an injury suffered in practice. ESPN broke the news first, and continued on ESPNNews with "Breaking News" coverage with details and reaction from their Chicago correspondent. At the same time, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which at the time was airing a live sports discussion, did not include the story until more than 30 minutes later.

To its credit, ESPN ran the "Breaking News" story across the Bottom Line during the first inning of the Yankees vs. Red Sox telecast, alerting viewers to the live "coverage" over on ESPNNews. Glad to see such positive use of having more than one channel available and knowing to promote this option. That's how it is supposed to work.

MLB Network also deserves a ton of credit for its fast reaction to the rainouts involving playoff teams and contenders on Tuesday (9/29) night. Within an hour of the important St. Louis at Pittsburgh game being rained out, MLB Network had already announced and posted on its web site that it would air the make up game the following afternoon (9/30) live. In addition, MLB Network followed that telecast by joining the Minnesota at Cleveland make-up game in the late afternoon.

Although those games were not likely to draw the audiences they would normally get, the fact that the Network did what it could to make these games available to the fans so quickly is a step above and beyond.

Leave it to the NFL to take up government time, but that's what happened last week. The League got the Federal Aviation Administration to grant permission for the use of drones to fly during team practices. It seems that back in June, the FAA investigated the Patriots, Giants, and Cowboys for using drones without proper permission. (Yes, imagine the Patriots under government investigation for doing something without permission!)

As a result, the NFL becomes the first pro sports league to be able to use drones, although the permission is only for practice and not for any game action or any other purpose. There are size and weight limits involved, while prior written plans for specific usage must be provided.

For now, the focus is on the four live games that over-the-air viewers will have available this coming Sunday (10/4), thanks to the CBS telecast from London starting at 9:30 AM ET.

The radio ratings are out for the largest markets for the August to Sept. 9th time frame, and it is a mixed bag for sports radio once again. Let's take a look at a few of the key markets.

As always, we start with the biggest sports radio market, Boston. The latest controversy with the Patriots (the removed suspension of Tom Brady) made a huge impact on the rival stations. WBZ-FM Sports Hub rose to #3 in overall listeners, going from a 4.9 in the July-August ratings to an even more impressive 6.0 this time around. Significantly, the audience did not leave WEEI-FM, which increased from a 4.6 to a 5.4 rating.

In New York, WFAN 660 has risen to #9 overall, likely taking away from WPEN-FM. The ESPN station now has under one-third of The Fan's audience size, while dropping out of the market's Top 20. The amazing season by the Mets has propelled flagship WOR 710 to another increase, putting its overall audience at its best mark in three years.

Philadelphia has its pro teams all struggling at the moment, but that helps keep the phones ringing at both major sports stations. WIP-FM has risen one-half of a ratings point within the past three months and is back in the top 10, while WPEN-FM has also shown the same increase over the same time frame.

Sports fans in the Twin Cities are excited about the unexpected improved season by the Twins and some hope for the Vikings, with KFXN The Fan showing a full ratings point increase over the past three months to finish #8 overall. The current rating is more than triple the total audience of the two other local sports outlets.

The trend in Detroit is likely to continue, but for now WXYT-FM The Ticket enjoys its third consecutive #1 ranking, even though it is tied for the position in this just released ratings book.
However, the station dropped .8 from just the previous month. With the Lions off to a poor start, the Tigers dismal season winding down, and little hope for the Pistons, it is doubtful that only the Red Wings will keep the audience in focus.

Similar situation in Baltimore, as WJZ-FM is at #8 in the market, but has fallen nearly a full ratings point over the past three months as well.

In Los Angeles, even the Dodgers being well into first place with barely visible TV games has not made a big impact for flagship station KLAC. The station's new ratings stayed the same, while KLAC failed to even crack the market's Top 25. KSPN 710, even with some of the Angels broadcasts and a hot team, has dropped .7 over the past two ratings books.

Houston listeners are excited about the Astros' bid for the post-season as well as the Texans season. At least that's the case for KILT listeners. The station rose another half point over the previous month. Over the past couple of years, the other sports stations in Houston would be reasonably close behind. No more. As of this ratings book, none of the others has even one-third of the total audience of KILT.

The power of the NFL was as evident as ever on Monday night (9/28). Even with two of its smallest markets on Monday Night Football (Green Bay vs. Kansas City), the cable ratings for the ESPN telecast wound up more than three times higher than the audience ratings for the highest rated "non sports" program on cable for the night.

This past Thursday's game between Washington and New York had an audience rating which was 20% higher than its second game telecast in 2014 on CBS and NFL Network. Viewers were also "treated" to a clear f-word following a punt return with no on-air apology or acknowledgement.

And now the latest from Fox Sports regarding Fox Sports 1. The network realized that nobody noticed the "America's Pregame" live show which had been airing during the 5:00 to 6:00 PM ET weekday slot as a preview of the night's games. Perhaps a few fans noticed it was canceled after last week (9/25). The replacement? Well, nothing live, at least for the moment. Sure, that will make a difference.

For however long it takes to find a replacement, FS1 is airing "The Best Thing I Herd" which is a "best of" the Colin Cowherd show. Even though it is a supposedly temporary move, there is nothing like airing recorded programming as a replacement for a live show in an effort to grow a sports audience.

ESPN Radio has completed its weekday lineup revision, and, as seems normal, it includes still another Miami radio connection at the national level. The Jorge & Jen Show now airs from 9 to 11 PM ET on nights with no game broadcasts. Jorge is Jorge Sedano, who was Program Director and host on Miami's WQAM 560 along with other Miami stations WAXY The Ticket and WINZ 940. Bomani Jones and Dan LeBatard also came to ESPN Radio via Miami radio.

Jen is Jen Lada, who was recently signed by ESPN Radio to work with Colin Cowherd just before Cowherd was cut from the Network. Lada came by way of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

CBS has announced that its SEC football telecast on October 10th will be Georgia at Tennessee at 3:30 PM ET.

BUFFALO: Sabres fans are pleased to hear that Rick Jeanneret, their play-by-play voice of the past 43 years, is now leaning toward staying on beyond the coming season, already agreeing to return for the 2016-17 season. Jeanneret again call 41 games this season, although no specific number of games have been determined for next year, which is understandable.

CHICAGO: This coming weekend marks the final White Sox broadcasts on WSCR The Score 670 after a pair of 5-year contracts expire. The team will be heard on WLS 890 starting with the 2016 season. As of press time, none of the team's radio or TV broadcasters have been signed for next season, opening a ton of speculation. The status of radio broadcasters Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson is uncertain, while TV voices Ken Harrelson and Steve Stone also have not been signed. Both Stone and Jackson are solid as analysts, but a change of play-by-play voices would be welcome by a lot of fans.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Is Comcast/Xfinity Blacking Out Games They Shouldn't Be?

My understanding is that the current contracts with MLB for TBS and most ESPN telecasts no longer allow national games to be blacked out in the local markets. While ESPN carries an exclusive for its Sunday Night Baseball, its regularly scheduled Monday and Wednesday night telecasts, though not exclusive, are also now able to be shown within the local markets.

Yet, it seems that Comcast's Xfinity Cable has been ignoring this of late, at least in certain markets. These markets include Chicago. For example, this past Sunday's TBS telecast of the Cardinals and Cubs was blacked out on Xfinity systems in the Chicago area. Last Wednesday (9/16), the ESPN Wednesday Night Baseball telecast between the Cubs and Pirates was blacked out from ESPN. 

In both instances, the Cubs games were being televised locally by Comcast SportsNet Chicago. How about that? The network, which just happens to be partially owned and fully operated by the company which owns the cable system, just happens to be the only source airing a local team's game.

This is not to slight the local telecast, in this case. CSN does an excellent job all around. However, there are some fans who, for whatever reason, prefer the national telecast. Other fans might want to get the national perspective on their favorite team, whether for an entire game or even a couple of innings. They should have that choice. Especially when the league contract calls for it.

Chicago appears to be one of several cities where this (local games blacked out) has been happening when it shouldn't be, according to unconfirmed reports I have received. Since I have not been able to confirm these other cities, I'll stick with what I know for sure.

Consumers pay a lot of money for these channels, often when they don't even watch some of them. They should be entitled to every program and event the channels they are paying for are showing.  When two channels are showing the same event, the paying customers should be able to choose which one they wish to watch, or be able to switch around.

Baseball fans everywhere continue to mourn the passing of Milo Hamilton late last week at the age of 88. Not every baseball fan knew the name right away. But they all know "There's a new home run champion of all time, and it's Henry Aaron!!", perhaps his most identified call. Milo wound up in the right place at the right time on several occasions. He joined the Braves for their first season ever in Atlanta. He was with the Pirates during the "We Are Family" 1979 World Series season. And his many years in Houston were capped off by his being able to call the Astros' only trip to the World Series in 2005. Hamilton was definitely in the right place at the right time for us long time baseball fans. He was on the air.

The NFL ratings game continues to be amazing. CBS hit the jackpot on Thursday (9/17) when its first Thursday Night Football telecast (along with NFL Network) became its highest rated Thursday Night Football telecast ever. (Granted, it's the start of season two.)

Sunday's Green Bay vs. Seattle telecast on NBC was the most watched Week 2 game since 1991, and that '91 telecast was with Dallas taking on Washington.

ESPN Radio has announced its revised weekday schedule. As suspected, the August auditions of some of the hosts from its various big market owned and operated stations were an exercise in promotion only. It is official that "The Right Time" with Bomani Jones will air from 4 to 7 PM ET (moving up from its evening slot), starting next week (9/28). From 7 to 9 PM ET, ESPN Radio will air "Jalen & Jacoby", hosted by NBA analyst Jalen Rose and David Jacoby, known from his work at Grantland.

The timing is good in the sense that NBA training camps will open within days of this show beginning, which is clearly Jalen Rose's expertise. The network clearly hopes he can build up enough of a following by the end of June to maintain a following through the summer of 2016.

LOS ANGELES: While Time Warner Cable continues to refuse to give in on its price demands and the majority of Dodgers fans continue to go without telecasts, the impact is hitting home even harder this week. TWC has begun layoffs of personnel and cutbacks in its support programming of the Dodgers, as well as the Lakers.

No more "Dodgers Clubhouse" and "Larry King At Bat", among others, will soon vanish. Have to wonder if this will cost them any subscribers from among those few who actually get the Dodgers channel.

CHICAGO: Even with the Bears starting off at 0-2 and expectations of a disaster of the season, the unending hype still hasn't stopped. WSCR 670 The Score insists on its "Monday wrap-up" of every (Sunday) game to the point of moving part of it to online only. The station aired a make-up game on Monday (9/21) afternoon between the White Sox and Tigers. Therefore, the station went as far as keeping their regular hosts online only during the game broadcast in order to continue their discussion of the previous day's Bears loss. As if fans must know that "Steve from the north side" thinks "the team needs a new secondary". Way to tell listeners that what they have on the air isn't worthwhile enough.

As a follow up on last week's report about many Fox stations not airing the additional hour of NFL pregame programming on Sunday mornings, it should be noted that Fox has moved "Fox NFL Kickoff" to sister station WPWR-TV 50 at 10 AM CT each Sunday. By doing so, the network show competes against two local pre-game shows, including "Bears Game Day Live", which air at the same time on WFLD-TV, which airs all of the Fox programming.

St. LOUIS: No surprise here, as the Cardinals and KMOX 1120 have expanded their contract with a "multi-year extension". The team will actually continue to produce the broadcasts. Mike Shannon, John Rooney, and Mike Claiborne continue as the broadcast team.

TULSA: KTUZ 1270 has moved its Spanish programming to the lesser KZLI 1570 and picked up a simulcast of "The Franchise", which is Oklahoma City's KRXO 107.7 sports radio. Industry reports also have KZLI in the process of adding 107.9 FM to the simulcast, which is licensed to Broken Arrow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

NFL Ratings Surge Opening Weekend

No doubt about it. The NFL is back and the audience is ready based on the TV ratings from the regular season opening weekend. The first doubleheader game on CBS, between Denver and Baltimore, came in with the highest rating and audience share for a CBS doubleheader game since Sept. 15, 2013, when Denver played the NY Giants.

Sunday night, NBC scored its 2nd highest viewership for a prime-time game between the Giants and Dallas Cowboys since 1987, scoring more than three times the total audience of the Miss America pageant on ABC. To no one's surprise, three of NBC's top five local markets for the telecast were Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. To the surprise of some, the Philadelphia market actually scored a slightly higher rating than the NYC market. (Must be a lot of Jets fans with little to no interest in the Giants these days.)

Fox did well by having a closer than expected early primary game between Green Bay and Chicago. However, Fox Sports seems to be having a struggle to gain any traction for its expanded pre-game programming. Its attempt to get "NFL Kickoff", which airs from 11 AM to Noon ET and last year was hidden on Fox Sports 1, found that even some of the network's owned station didn't bother to air it.

Over the air Fox stations in NFL markets which did not air the show during Week 1 included Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and San Francisco, and Seattle, which all have local NFC teams airing primarily on Fox. In addition, AFC team markets not airing the show included Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, and San Diego. A couple of those markets did air the show on either another local TV station or a lesser known subchannel.

Fox Sports 1 also needs to quickly examine its MLB contract and gain flexibility for the 2016 season, if not sooner. Back in April, it was easy to understand how a mid-September (9/12) matchup between Detroit and Cleveland could have some appeal based on pre-season expectations for both teams.

However, with neither team being anywhere near contending status in September, FS1 still planned to air this matchup in prime time on Saturday night. This was hardly a way for the Network to promote its post-season coverage, nor to make even the smallest dent going up against major college football coverage on ABC, ESPN, and most regional sports networks.

The Detroit-Cleveland game was delayed more than two hours before being postponed, leaving FS1 with three hours to fill with studio updates on both the baseball and football. Of course, that could have happened even with an attractive MLB matchup, but the fact that it was a rain delay for a game few cared about was a blow to the network. As it was the Fox Sports telecast of the Yankees vs. Blue Jays game that same afternoon ran over into the Iowa vs. Iowa State football telecast as it was.
FS1 needs to have flexibility for its MLB games, at least for September.

After all, live sports is huge for the TV networks. Advertising Age just broke down a Kantar Media survey showing that, for the 2014-15 sports seasons, approximately 37% of the overall advertising sales for CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox came from live sports programming. That comes to a 35% increase from five years ago.

The NFL also benefits from regular Spanish radio broadcasts of its Sunday Night Football games, as Entravision Radio has started its three-year deal to air the games, along with two of the Thanksgiving games and the AFC playoffs. Tony Nunez and Erwin Higueros handle the call. Entravision also provides a one hour Sunday recap and pre-game show immediately prior to the game broadcasts.

On the Canadian side, the top four TV programs (sports or otherwise) this past weekend were the four games between the Blue Jays and Yankees. Amazingly, the Saturday post-game show, which followed more than nine hours of game action, also finished in the top 10 in the most watched programs for the week list. It probably helped that the Blue Jays won the doubleheader.

ESPN has officially added Molly Querim as a full-time host of First Take late mornings on ESPN2. In addition, Querim will regularly contribute to the last couple hours of the Mike & Mike Show.

BUFFALO: Local fans were ready for the Bills to open. The Bills telecast vs. Indianapolis on Sunday scored an amazing 43.8 rating, which was higher than the ratings for any of its games last season, and 40% higher than last season's opening day.

DALLAS: Even with the Cowboys' season underway, the Rangers have the attention of local viewers. The Monday (9/14) night game against division rival Houston, as the teams battle for first place, scored a local 4.4 rating, compared with a season average rating of just below 3.0.

KANSAS CITY: KWOD 1660 has dropped its business programming and added sports, even though it is Fox Sports Radio.

BALTIMORE: Comcast SportsNet has switched a co-host for its "Sports Talk Live" show. Rob Carlin, one of the network's local anchors, will replace Chick Hernandez, who returns to covering the Redskins.

MILWAUKEE: Not sure that the demand is there, but Gus Johnson will be calling play-by-play for 20 of the Bucks telecasts (on Fox Sports Wisconsin) during the upcoming season as his Fox Sports and Big Ten Network schedule allows.

DES MOINES: KRNT 1350 has become ESPN Des Moines, bringing ESPN Radio back to the market after a more than two year absence. The station will also air Green Bay Packers football, Chicago Cubs baseball, and Drake University football and basketball. Chicago Bears football will now air on KPSZ 940.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ready For The "Stream" Of Football Games

This coming weekend is the football fans' delight, complete with the first full slate of college games on Saturday and then the majority of NFL teams opening up on Sunday.

What makes this football season different for the media is reflected in how much more the internet is a part of our collective football season, more so than ever before. The old saying, "You can't tell the players without a scorecard" is being replaced by a new saying, "You can't watch football without being online", or so it will seem.

The New York Times ran an extensive article this week about the number of brands wanting to advertise to football fans and ways they can actually do so within the period of specific live games.

The likes of Google, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are, according to the Times article, able to provide large advertisers with the ability to reach "viewers" of specific NFL games, along with fans checking games for information about their fantasy players.

To that point, for just last week (Aug. 31 through Sept. 6th), the Media Monitors report of the leading national advertisers had both Fan Duel and Draft Kings within the top 21 advertisers of any kind in terms of radio commercials purchased around the country. This shows us what a big business watching the NFL has become.

This follows recent Nielsen research claiming that more than 85% of both smart phone and tablet users are engaged online even while watching TV. What makes this even more interesting is that these advertising opportunities cost the advertisers much less (at the present time) than spending for network buys, while the major network fork out billions to the NFL for the rights to the live telecasts and to be able to profit from ad sales to do so.

Some of the networks are taking precautions already. CBS Sports now plans to stream all four of its playoff telecasts in January and the Super Bowl in February to laptops, tablets, desktops, and other opportunities including Xbox, with no cost or need for a cable or satellite provider, free of charge. In addition, CBS will stream the NY Jets vs. Miami game from London on Oct. 4th at 9:30 AM ET, and has also promised to stream the Thanksgiving game between Carolina and Dallas.

Speaking of CBS-TV, the network's coverage will be enhanced for many of its Sunday telecasts along with its Thursday Night Football telecasts (for CBS and the NFL Network). The latest innovation is the "Pylon Cam", which will be installed inside the pylons at both sides of the goal lines on both sides of the field. No word yet as to whether these low level views will be able to be used as part of League replay reviews. However, they probably will not be available for that purpose because these are not (yet) available for every game.

College football gets the viewers as well. Even the ESPN openers on Thursday Sept. 3rd saw sharp ratings increases when compared with the 2014 season's opening night. Its North Carolina at South Carolina telecast was up nearly 40% over last year's Ole Miss vs. Boise State telecast. That game wound up as one of the top 6 ESPN opening night telecasts ever. The TCU vs. Minnesota telecast later that night also showed a jump over last year.

Over at Fox Sports, they have something to be excited about, as the Fox Sports 1 telecast of Michigan at Utah, the opener for Jim Harbaugh as Michigan coach, was one of FS1's most viewed college football games ever. Ironically, Fox benefited from all of the publicity about Harbaugh, while it does not have a Big Ten contract. FS1 was able to air the game because it was a home game for Utah, and Fox Sports has a Pac 12 contract and could air the game.

CBS-TV announced plans to stream its 17 game SEC football telecasts this season, and do so free without requiring a cable or satellite company to authorize. The stream is also expected to include a "multi-view" feature to allow viewing from a choice of the camera angles used on the main telecast.

While the University of Illinois lost out on having its opening game televised this past weekend when its game was postponed from Friday night to Saturday afternoon due to a severe thunderstorm, their football broadcasts are making history. U. of I is allowing its football games to be broadcast in Chinese, making it the first college team to do so. Although these broadcasts are exclusively through the web site and announced by students Bruce Lu and David He, this is designed to serve the school's estimated 4,000 students from China. This is a brilliant use of a web site.

A few things that come from the "Oh My!" file from the past few days. First, the story about ESPN suspending Curt Schilling for the remainder of the season from Sunday Night Baseball. OK, that isn't a surprise, even though the inflammatory comments were not made over the air. What got me to react was that I first saw the story of this suspension, on, of all places, the web site.

I'll ask it again. Why on earth is CBS "reporting" about something that only involves an ESPN personality and telecast? They should be covering the games and breaking news instead of "reporting" about their competition. Yet, once again, ESPN manages to generate publicity, even if it's not the most positive, via other major reporting sources, to their credit. But that should never happen.

NBCSN contributed to this list on Monday (Labor Day) morning, even though they will say it's not their fault. But there was this national sports network, on the eve of the NFL season opening, NCAA Football hitting full swing, and the start of the final month of MLB, airing a "Best Of" Dan Patrick Show that morning.

Again, Patrick is entitled to time off. But sports fans are entitled to live and current sports programming. Especially when ESPN and Fox Sports (along with regionals such as CSN) are airing live and current highlights and interviews at the same time.

Fox Sports 1 will stop airing a simulcast of Mike Francesa's WFAN New York radio show after this week, as the network clears the way to add a different sports radio show, this time with Colin Cowherd. One key difference is that Cowherd's show is national in scope, as opposed to Francesa's show being focused more on New York City sports.

BOSTON: The July-August radio ratings have WBZ-FM Sports Hub edging out WEEI-FM this time around, although the stations finished overall at #6 and #7 in the market. In fact, both stations increased their total audience from the June-July ratings period. WBZ-FM Sports Hub has gained significantly since spring, while WEEI-FM has dropped slightly over the summer. With a dismal Red Sox season coming to an end while the Patriots season starts, it could be even more positive for the Sports Hub over the coming weeks.

CHICAGO: After years of hosting a ton of sports programming for WGN Radio, including a short-lived low power FM show and an online show shared with Comcast SportsNet Chicago, host David Kaplan reportedly accepted a buyout and is no longer with WGN. In addition to continuing to host "Sports Talk Live" and Chicago Cubs studio programming for Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Kaplan joins WMVP ESPN 1000 radio starting next week to host the Noon to 2 PM spot on weekdays. WMVP will face its biggest challenge in years starting next spring when it loses Chicago Bulls broadcasts after the coming NBA season and post-season, and will no longer have any major local play-by-play. Rival WSCR The Score will begin as the flagship station for the Cubs next spring, while the Bulls will move over (along with the White Sox) to WLS 890 starting in March and October.

WBBM NewsRadio 780 has added Kevin Jackman to its sports department on a part-time basis, where he will be providing weekend sports updates.

NEW YORK: As the Yankees enter a huge weekend series against Toronto for the top spot in the American League East, the Mets are also doing quite well in the ratings game as well as the National League East standings. The Tuesday (9/8) telecast of the Mets game vs. Washington showed the highest rating for a Mets telecast so far this season, as did SNY's post-game show.

PHILADELPHIA: You might be able to credit social media for helping ESPN. As the word spread last Saturday (9/5) that Temple was on its way to upsetting Penn State, the telecast rose to a 6.7 rating and 17 share during the 4th quarter of the game.

CHARLOTTE: Not that many people will notice, but the market quietly lost its CBS Sports affiliate this week, as WBCN 1660 (which has the call letters of the one time legendary Boston rocker) has dumped sports and returned to syndicated general talk. WFNZ 610 The Fan continues as the local sports leader, with ESPN 730 and Fox Sports 98.7 already on the scene.

RALEIGH-DURHAM: WDNC The Buzz has, as of this week, consolidated its local sports talk into its morning show, now known as "Mike Lauren, & Demetri". Mike Maniscalco remains, but is now teamed with writer Lauren Brownlow and a former local music radio host, Demetri Ravanos.

However, the station added Colin Cowherd to its Noon to 3 PM weekday spot to air live, and now delays the Jim Rome Show to its 3 to 6 PM spot. You read that right. They expand the morning show, but go to a tape delayed syndicated show for afternoon drive.

PORTLAND: Fans of the Trailblazers without cable or satellite are delighted, as the announcement has been made that KGW-TV will air 21 Blazers games over the air this season. This will be the most games to air on KGW-TV since 2008.