Wednesday, June 1, 2016

On The 'Verne' Of College Football Season

Just as Keith Jackson was "the" voice of college football for all those years on ABC-TV, the same can still be said for Verne Lundquist on CBS. At least it can be said only for a few more months, because it is now official that the 2016 season will be Verne's final one calling college football.

Lundquist, whose credentials also included being the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys years ago, will call the prime SEC games for CBS this year, a role he has handled since the 2000 season.

Even with an announcement of this magnitude, CBS didn't waste a moment before revealing that Brad Nessler will replace Lundquist as its SEC football voice beginning with the 2017 season, also being paired with analyst Gary Danielson.

Nessler will be calling a couple of SEC games this year, along with the Sun Bowl and will also continue to call some of the college basketball telecasts. He is, of course, known for extensive play-by-play work from this 24 years with ESPN, which also included some NFL play-by-play.

The good news is that this is nothing more than a schedule reduction for Lundquist, who is expected to continue to call some basketball telecasts along with some of the PGA golf tournaments. 2016 is his 53rd year of calling sports on TV.

It could have been the nicer than usual Memorial Day weather throughout much of the Midwest, but for whatever reason, Monday's (5/30) Indy 500 telecast on ABC was over a full ratings point below the 2015 telecast.

This was certainly not the fault of the people of Indianapolis. As soon as the race was officially announced as the first ever "sellout" of tickets, it meant that the race was shown live in Indianapolis for the first time ever. It's hard to believe that ever since ABC began televising the race live (after years of airing it around the country on tape delay) that it was not shown in Indy previously.

Early results showed a Nielsen audience rating of 33.6 for Indy (which means that more than one-third of TV sets were tuned to the race, including those not even in use. This added somewhere around .2 to the national rating.

The comeback from the Golden State Warriors from a 3-1 series deficit to return to the NBA Finals was major for TNT. Games 6 and 7 of the Warriors' comeback against Oklahoma City showed huge ratings, as one might expect. TNT had already reported a 33% increase in viewership, through the first six games of the series, over its previous Western Conference Finals coverage in 2014.

Looks like ESPN Radio wants to beef up its college football coverage for this season. Or, it wants to see how many of its affiliates around the country want to. For this coming season, ESPN Radio will not limit the Paul Finebaum Show on weekday afternoons to only the markets which cover SEC football.

Finebaum will be available during the 3 - 7 PM ET time period to any ESPN station which wants to air the show, even instead of the regular network programming during that time period.

ATLANTA: This week brings an area sports radio "network" to Macon and Warner Robins as 93.1 in Macon and 99.5 in Warner Robins will simulcast local shows in addition to being "Middle Georgia ESPN".

The Bill Shanks Show will air from 3 to 6 PM on weekdays along with a 2-hour midday show, while the remainder, at least for now, will be ESPN Radio programming.

SCHENECTADY: WOFX Fox Sports 980 has added a local show for its 3 to 6 PM slot as a move to compete with the local programming on WTMM 104.5 The Team. The Tred Show began on Tuesday (5/31), as hosted by Tred Hulse, who is more known in the market for being a music host., and now competes against Levack and Wolf.

Fox Sports 980 had been airing Jay Mohr Sports during the afternoon. However, rather than dumping Mohr all together, the station now airs Mohr on delay from 6 to 9 PM, replacing Steve Gorman Sports". Sure, the audience wants a show on delay while the evening's games are taking place.

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