It appears that the networks are showing some concern about the slight drop in NFL ratings through the first quarter of the season. Some of the games being shown in key cities and announcer assignments would seem to confirm this.
As I have commented since even before Los Angeles got an NFL team again, there appears to be an impact from the #2 TV market in the country not always getting the more important Sunday afternoon games because of the Rams.
CBS has Cincinnati at Dallas for its doubleheader game this Sunday (10/9) to most of the country, but the Los Angeles market instead gets the Rams vs. Buffalo. You can't tell me that the casual fan or fantasy player would choose that game ahead of the Dallas game. It's just that for this week, CBS has no choice.
In markets where there is a choice, we are seeing some interesting developments. The St. Louis market has been stuck with the Rams telecasts thus far this season while there are clearly fans in that area who no longer care. The low point for them was last Sunday when Fox showed the Rams vs. Cardinals, the two teams which left St. Louis, against each other.
This coming Sunday CBS in St. Louis is sparing their viewers from the Rams vs. Buffalo and instead showing the Cincinnati vs. Dallas game.
Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and other Midwest markets will, obviously, get the Chicago at Indianapolis game as the early Fox game. What makes this interesting is that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will call this game, even though it goes to fewer markets than the Philadelphia vs. Detroit telecast. Interesting timing considering that it is a rare month when the Bears are not the biggest sports story in Chicago.
Kansas City and surrounding markets will get the Oakland vs. San Diego telecast ahead of the Cinci-Dallas game since it features division rivals.
Last Sunday CBS had to bail out on the finish of its Denver at Tampa Bay telecast when a weather delay ran the game well into prime time. Only KCNC-TV Denver and KKTV-TV Colorado Springs, along with WTSP-TV Tampa and WKMG-TV Orlando returned for the last part of the telecast. Stations including WBBM-TV Chicago which were also airing the game were sent off to the regular CBS Sunday night lineup.
At ESPN, while it continues with its post-season coverage, it became official this week that analyst John Kruk is no longer with the network, after having been there since 2004.
ESPN also reported that the 9.3 million for Louisville-Clemson game on Oct. 1st was 3rd most-watched regular season Saturday Night Football game ever, and the 2nd biggest since the 2008 season.
HOUSTON: Josh Innes, recently bounced from WIP-FM Philadelphia's afternoon drive slot following a ratings struggle, has returned to Houston. Innes will be hosting the 3 to 7 PM weekday slot on KMBE Sports 790. Prior to going to Philadelphia, Innes was heard on KILT 610. There will be other lineup changes on KMBE, which is the flagship for the Astros and Rockets along with airing U. of Texas football and basketball. "The Proper Gentlemen" Lance Zierlein and Matt Thomas will air from 6 to 10 AM.
KILT 610 has a new addition, bringing in Derek Fogel as a sports anchor and weekend host. He comes to Houston from WXLT 103.5 "ESPN Southern Illinois" and sister station WJPF 1340.
NEW YORK: Not only did the Mets go further than the Yankees in the regular season, but the local TV ratings went in their favor as well. For the first time since SNY began Mets telecasts 11 seasons ago, the Mets games finished with a higher audience rating than the Yankees telecasts on YES Network. Some of this is due to the dispute between YES Network and Comcast, which kept YES out of approximately 900,000 homes this season.
WFAN 660 is going hockey crazy for the coming NHL season. The station will air 59 New Jersey Devils games and has now picked up 30 of the Islanders broadcasts. This gives the Islanders a much needed strong signal and market presence. The remaining Isles games will air on 970 The Answer and WRHU-FM.
CHICAGO: As much as I try not to pick on sportscasters who mess up big time, this one is beyond belief. Lauren Magiera, who just this summer replaced the retired Rich King on WGN-TV Sports amazed local sports fans this past Sunday (10/2) night.
During her hosting role on "Instant Replay", WGN-TV's expanded 20 minute Sunday night sportscast, her first blunder was showing the highlights of the afternoon's White Sox season finale vs. Minnesota. Nothing wrong with the highlights package. However, after showing footage of this meaningless game she THEN presented the story that Robin Ventura announced he would not be returning as manager after the game. Most other TV stations led with the Ventura story that night, even ahead of the first Bears win of the NFL season. Instead, Lauren and the crew totally reversed the order.
If only that was the worst of this. Later in the show, while showing highlights of the NHL Blackhawks pre-season game against Detroit, Magiera showed a goal "in the third quarter". Yes, the "third quarter" of a three period NHL game. On the TV station which airs 20 regular season Blackhawks games.
FAYETTEVILLE NC: As much as we respect media members taking a stance when the occasion calls for it, WFAY-AM and its decision to cancel its scheduled broadcast of the East Carolina game at South Florida this Saturday (10/8) seems a bit extreme.
Station CEO Jeff Andrulonis said the station is doing this in protest of the school's band members kneeling during the national anthem last week in their game against Central Florida. This, even though the band members later apologized and the station acknowledges it will lose the advertising revenue. The station plans to, as usual, broadcast all of the team's remaining games this season. Even if the station actually airs the anthem (and not all of them do from the various college football games) this is still radio, and the listeners can't tell who is standing or not standing during the anthem.