Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Two NFL Teams Means Four NFL Telecasts For L.A.

While NFL fans in Los Angeles don't yet seem to be taking having two home teams as a big deal, the TV networks certainly are. So much for the NFL "rule" about markets having a maximum of 3 telecasts on days when a local team is home. At least for L.A.

This Sunday the Rams play Dallas an the early primary regional game for Fox, with Chris Myers on play-by-play. Since CBS has the doubleheader this week, that would be the lone Fox telecast in Los Angeles. However, the Chargers are at home, and hosting the Eagles, which is also a Fox telecast. KCBS-TV has the doubleheader, to which it is entitled, with Pittsburgh at Baltimore followed by the Oakland at Denver telecast.

Thus, the NFL is scheduled (as of press time) to break their rule and air the Chargers telecast, but it will air locally on KCOP-TV Channel 13, which is a MY TV affiliate owned by Fox Channel 11. Unless the NFL manages to stop KCBS from airing the CBS doubleheader game of Oakland at Denver, it means having four over the air games available in the market, even though one of the local teams is home. This is a scenario which has not taken place in the New York City market over the years regarding the Giants and Jets. Very interesting.

Ironically, Fox in San Diego will air the Chargers vs. Eagles as its lone telecast of the day, while the CBS affiliate shows the Raiders at Denver game up against it. Can't wait to see the local ratings during those games.

Fox Sports got caught up in a nightmare this past Saturday (9/23) when their early afternoon MLB telecast between the Cubs and Brewers ran long and then went extra innings. The national network was scheduled to air the Michigan vs. Purdue football game, and delayed the start of the football game a few minutes in hopes the baseball game would be over in time.

The baseball game ran longer, which caused Fox to air the start of the football game on Fox Business Network. This, understandably, sent many viewers scrambling to find that channel. Fox affiliates in Michigan and Indiana did pull out of the baseball telecast early to carry the entire football game.

Even though it was not the fault of Fox Sports that the baseball game ran over, it should be pointed out that Fox no longer airs an MLB game every Saturday, especially in the afternoon. Other than their prime-time telecasts, which are mostly prior to the All-Star Game, their national games air on FS1 with little fanfare or promotion. Yet, they choose one of their few Saturday afternoon telecasts (for Fox Sports) on a day in which they have only a three hour window before their heavily promoted football telecast, and it backfires.

As ESPN gets ready for the upcoming NBA season, they have promoted Doris Burke into a regular in-game analyst role for several of the ESPN and ABC telecasts. She will also continue her sideline reporting role for other telecasts including the NBA Finals. Although she is quite knowledgeable and does a decent job, it is ironic considering how many former NBA players are used in studio analyst roles.

Burke replaces Doug Collins in that role, with Collins having officially left ESPN after taking on a management role with the Chicago Bulls.

Congrats to Jason Benetti for his 'three games in two cities in 23 hours' broadcasting accomplishment last Saturday. Benetti originally had the day off from ESPN due to his commitment to do play-by-play of the Chicago White Sox telecasts against Kansas City on Friday and Saturday nights from Chicago. However, ESPN had an opening for the Florida State vs. N.C. State telecast from Tallahassee when Beth Mowins (originally scheduled to call that game) was tapped by CBS to call the Indianapolis vs. Cleveland NFL game on Sunday (9/24).

Benetti left Chicago after 10:30 on Friday night following the White Sox telecast for Midway Airport to fly to Tallahassee, and called the football game for ESPN as planned along with Anthony Becht in what turned out to be an upset win for N.C. State. After that telecast, he hurried to the local airport, flew back to Chicago, and with a police escort made it to the White Sox telecast during the second inning and called the remainder of the game. He then wrapped up his weekend by calling the White Sox vs. Royals game on Sunday afternoon. He will be calling the North Carolina vs. GA Tech telecast on ESPN2 this coming Saturday (9/30).

NEW YORK CITY: You had better believe that WEPN ESPN 98.7 was concerned about the possibility of afternoon host Michael Kay jumping over to WFAN as the replacement for Mike Francesa (who leaves after Dec. 15th). WEPN has signed Kay to what was announced as a "multi-year extension", which also given to co-host Don LaGreca.

The station clearly saw how devastating it would have been to lose Kay to The Fan and took swift action. In addition, the show is also adding Peter Rosenberg, morning man at sister station WQHT Hot 97, to be a "regular contributor" to Kay's show. The Michael Kay Show celebrates 15 years on the station this fall.

At the same time, it brings back the mystery as to what WFAN will do to replace Francesa by the first of the year.

PHILADELPHIA: WPEN The Fanatic has made it official that Bob Cooney is the co-host of the morning show along with Anthony Gargano. In addition Cooney, the long-time beat reporter for the Sixers for the Daily News, will also be a part of WPEN's expanded coverage of the Sixers. WPEN also just extended its multi-year agreement to continue as the Sixers flagship station.

CHICAGO: Speaking of extending a multi-year agreement, WBBM 780 and WCFS 105.9 have officially re-upped for what was announced as "at least three more seasons" as the flagship station for the Bears broadcasts which they have held since 2000. The stations will air the games through (at least) the 2020 season.

This is a significant extension for the CBS stations, given the possible merger approval of CBS and Entercom Radio during 2018 which would give the new group the broadcast rights to 45 pro sports teams. In addition. WGN Radio, which airs the Blackhawks and Northwestern University football and basketball, reportedly made a strong bid for the Bears broadcasts.

Monday October 9th could be an interesting day for Chicago TV viewers. We now know that the Cubs are scheduled to host the Nationals in Game 4 of the NLDS (on TBS) on a day which could feature up to four MLB playoff games. However, Monday Night Football will originate from Chicago with the Bears against the Vikings at 7:30 PM CT. At this time, it is also possible that, if Minnesota wins its Wild Card playoff game against the Yankees next week, that the Twins could also host Game 4 at a time to be determined that same day. Depending on game times, it could be some interesting viewer choices that night.

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