Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Let The Players Tell The Story

All of the wasted time on sports radio and TV shows and all of the wasted space in the print and online media about how post-game interviews are handled is nothing short of an embarrassment for the majority of sports media. So what if Cam Newton was upset after losing his first Super Bowl?

Suppose he had been cordial and cracked jokes after the game and at his 'day after' press conference. Would he have not been criticized?

Come on, reporters. Just say that Newton was too upset to talk, and move on to other players and team personnel for your quotes. That is your job. Cam Newton has generally been cooperative with the magnitude of press conferences and media requests he receives. It's not as though that is going to go away for him, either. Fans should not have to suffer through reporters complaining because they didn't get their juicy quotes.

If you must, quote Newton's one word answers and get the message across that he wasn't talking. Let the audience figure it out for themselves.

This represents a big change of media attitude over the years, and it is not necessary. For example, during the 70's and 80's the media had to put up with Bobby Knight when he was coaching at Indiana.

Knight treated the media horribly, resorting to handing out printed statements after games and not even facing the reporters live. This left many radio and TV stations without any quotes from him.

Yet, years later, after Indiana dumped him and little known Texas Tech was the only school that was willing to put up his antics and hired him as Head Coach, the media covered him like it was a big deal when they should have ignored him and the school.

Years ago, the media understood that it is their job to report on the games, players, coaches, and team officials that make news. Whether they get full cooperation or not. In the old days, when Knight would shun the media, reporters would go to the players and the opponents and give them the media time and space instead. Again, their job was (and is) to get the story.

This week, when Cam Newton wasn't talking, the reporters should have been asking his teammates whether or not he was acting different with them in the locker room at halftime and following the game. THAT would have been an interesting story. Instead, all we got was countless hours of on-air and printed reporter complaints about Newton not talking, as if he has a moral obligation to do so.
Tell the story. Don't try to be the story.

Marv Albert said "YES!!" to a multi-year contract extension with Turner Sports to continue as its lead voice for its NBA telecasts. While many fans still think of Albert from his days calling the NBA on NBC during the Michael Jordan era, this new contract assures that, health permitting, Albert will go well beyond his (current) 18th season with TNT.

In 2017, Albert will mark his 50th anniversary of calling pro sports, having started with the Knicks broadcasts in 1967. It appears that Marv is not slowing down. He is expected to continue calling regional NFL games with CBS, as well as helping Turner Sports with its NCAA Tournament coverage next month.

While the national ratings have been good for the NBA this season, and the ABC Saturday night package appears to be a strong addition, we still are not sure how the NBA will handle its network partners as the Golden State Warriors approach 70 wins later this season and then the possibility of becoming the all-time single season victory leader. The possibility for significant ratings could play a factor in lifting the restriction for the number of national telecasts per team. Or, the Association could keep it in house and put additional games on NBA-TV instead. No word yet.

A Nielsen report shows that 11 NBA teams are showing increased ratings for the first half of this regular season, with local telecast ratings up by approximately 6% over last season. Yet, the domination by the Warriors may be showing an impact the other way, as 15 teams are actually showing a decrease from last season. One of those teams is the Chicago Bulls, showing a 28% ratings decrease compared with last season as the team struggles.

CBS is getting ready to hype having a Notre Dame football telecast during the coming season. The Saturday November 5th road game in Jacksonville has been moved to an 11:30 AM ET kickoff, one-half hour earlier than the start for the remainder of the "early" college football games. Clearly it is an effort to capture the audience by being the first live game of the day. The opponent will be Navy.

CHICAGO: WSCR 670 The Score has extended the contract of midday co-host Jason Goff for another year. The station, which begins as the flagship station for the Cubs broadcasts, also announced that it has added Cubs TV voice Len Kasper for a segment on their Cubs radio pre-game shows.

Ft. MYERS: WFWN 1240 The Fan will be adding an FM signal to the mix during 2016 when it adds a simulcast on 94.1. A specific launch date for the FM had not been announced as of press time.

CHARLOTTE: A nice job of ad-libbing by WZGV ESPN 730 a few days ago when the midday co-host had the presence of mind to send the audience to a commercial break while keeping her composure. While on the air with co-hosts Marty Hurney and Tom Sorensen, an out of control vehicle came crashing into the studio building.

OKLAHOMA CITY: Congrats to Brian Brinkley who was officially named as Sports Director of KFOR-TV 4 after more than 25 years with the station. He began as a Production Assistant in 1990 and has been reporting and anchoring sportscasts since 1992. However, we all wish the circumstances were different. Brinkley replaces Bob Barry Jr. in the role due to Barry's untimely death (traffic accident) in June of 2015.

DESTIN FL: "The Game" sports radio has changed owners and its frequency, becoming "1140 The Game" and being able to air at night, even though it has a limited signal after dark. It had been operating as a daytime only station at 1120 AM.

WHITE PLAINS NY: WFAS 1230 has dumped its music format and picked up CBS Radio Sports full time. This distant NYC suburban station currently has no plans for any local programming or play-by-play.

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