Thursday, January 12, 2017

Just The Facts Please

Mistakes happen in sports media just as they do throughout the news and entertainment media and in all walks of life.

The one made by Mike Francesa on his Monday (1/9) WFAN 66 afternoon show might have even been the result of incorrect information he was given, but we will probably never know. We understand that Francesa has his detractors among fans and others in sports media.

First, here is what happened. Francesa's live guest was "coach" George Karl, discussing his recently released book about his lengthy NBA coaching career. When discussing Karl coaching in the NBA Finals in the 90's against Michael Jordan and the Bulls, Francesa referred to Jordan's game winning shot in clinching Game 6 of the 1998 Finals.

However, that game, which wound up being Jordan's final game with the Bulls, was against Utah, coached at the time by the legendary Jerry Sloan. Karl's Seattle Supersonics had played against Chicago during the previous year's Finals and lost to the Bulls. That meant Francesa referred to the wrong game on the air, and was gently corrected by Karl, who wanted to continue the interview and receive his "free" publicity for the book.

This is not to defend Francesa or to dismiss his mistake. What irks me is seeing comments about it in stories and on social media from other sports media members. In this day and age it seems that some "reporters" spend more time looking into who reported a story "first" than getting the facts right for an actual breaking story. Just give us correct facts.

Even though the NFL Wild Card week TV ratings combined to be down as a result of games which were not very competitive, CBS did well with its Pittsburgh vs. Miami telecast on Sunday (1/8). The game's ratings actually were comparable with last season's prime time grudge match between the Steelers and Cincinnati. With all actual division winners and no wild card teams in the mix, having better matchups should lead to strong ratings for this coming weekend's playoff matchups.

CHICAGO: WSCR 670 The Score begins 2017 with a major change to its daily lineup. This past week (1/5) marked the on-air retirement party for 25 year host Terry Boers, who was part of the station's first ever broadcast day on Jan. 2, 1992. The five hour show featured guests including former on-air personalities and station management, along with local team officials and media members from other stations in town.

The station has completed its rebuild, moving midday co-host Jason Goff into the 1 to 6 PM show to replace Boers and work with Dan Bernstein, who remains in that spot. Goff had been co-hosting middays since Feb. 2015.

Matt Spiegel will be joined on the 9 AM to 1 PM spot by Danny Parkins, who leaves his successful afternoon show on KCSP Kansas City this Friday (1/13) to begin on The Score on Tuesday (1/17). Parkins is a Chicago native who quietly auditioned a few months back when he filled in for a week on the station's overnight show.

On the TV side, the Cubs announcing team of Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will stay in place for at least the next three seasons on CSN Chicago. Kasper is about to begin his 13th season as the TV play-by-play voice.

SAN DIEGO: This is a coincidence to the city losing the Chargers to Los Angeles, and, frankly, doesn't hurt anywhere near as much. XEPE ESPN 1700 is giving up a full seven hours of its weekday schedule to business related programming instead of sports. Three business shows will air between 9 AM and 4 PM on weekdays, while the station, for now, plans to continue ESPN Radio programming at all other times.

FLINT MI: Don't expect much change at WTRX Sports Xtra 1330. The station has named Tim Shickles as its new Program Director. To show the level of priority, Shickles continues both his on-air and Program Director duties at sister country music station WFBE 95.1.

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