Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Radio Extension For Soaring Eagles

Thanksgiving weekend is always a great one for sports fans since we get everything except for baseball. NFL, NBA, NHL and both college football and basketball throughout the weekend. There is certainly a lot to talk about.

In addition, many sports fans are off from work, traveling, and/or not on their "regular" schedule throughout the weekend. It should be a great chance for listeners to be able to hear more of their favorite sports talk station than usual. However, the sports talk stations don't see it that way.

As much as I respect that the hosts have families and deserve time off, it is their business to build their audience. However, you can bet the ranch that over the entire four day weekend what you will hear will be the fill-in hosts instead of the prime time talent.

Sorry, but this is the sports radio stations telling us that the listeners matter more during working weekdays. This Friday and Saturday morning there will be a lot of sports fans in their cars or around the house with a chance they don't usually have to tune to their sports station, perhaps for an extended time, before the various football, basketball, and hockey telecasts start.

Even NBC-TV is giving us a Boston vs. Pittsburgh NHL telecast at 1 PM this Friday (11/24). Yes, a live national hockey game on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Obviously, this would not happen on any other Friday afternoon this year, but the network knows the sports audience is available.

This while sports radio stations won't have their primary hosts anywhere to be found all weekend. The stars of the station, whether morning or afternoon hosts, should be hosting one or both mornings and perhaps promoting special guests. It could be a great way to introduce themselves to many "new" listeners to start tuning them in on Monday.

Instead, we'll get the weekend guy who does nothing but take phone calls and talk endlessly about the upcoming local NFL team and Sunday's game. It's another missed opportunity for radio.

Meanwhile, ESPN Radio is gearing up for the lower cost and programming shakeup which will start on January 2nd. It's bad enough that the network has broken up Mike & Mike after 17 years. This latest move gives Stephen A Smith the 1 PM to 3 PM ET spot, giving him two hours to shout and shout about whatever topic. Their 3 PM to 6 PM slot has Will Cain joining Ryen Russillo who continues.

Evenings will have Jason Fitz coming in full-time after a weekend stint, joined by Sarah Spain, and then late night adds one more hour to Freddie & Fitzsimmons. Other than breaking up their long time morning show and not bringing in anyone "new" to the radio network lineup, they are ready to bring in the new year.

Looks like CBS got stuck with their New England vs. Oakland telecast last Sunday (11/19) from Mexico City. Obviously, it's not their fault the game was a blowout which was hard to watch. Nor was it their fault that the production crew literally had to fill in the background with crowd noise to cover up the Mexico City crowd shouting gay slurs during kickoffs and punts made by the Patriots.

From what we saw (and heard about from others watching), only one or two of the slurs was audible during the telecast.

PHILADELPHIA: The Eagles picked an ideal year to have a great season, resulting in a fresh seven year extension of their radio rights contract with WIP-FM 94.1 which starts next season and goes through 2024. This not only extends a 25 year partnership between the two, but also keeps Merrill Reese and Mike Quick as the broadcast team. Word is that Howard Eskin will continue as sideline reporter as well.

MIAMI: Fans upset that the new ownership of the Marlins is possibly considering trading its star player now have more to be upset about. Word is that ownership does not want TV popular voice Rich Waltz to return for what would have been his 14th season, which will make the third consecutive season of a change in their TV booth.

This past season brought in Todd Hollandsworth as anyalyst, who, as of press time, is expected to remain. Early word is that Craig Minervini will be brought back as studio host.

HOUSTON: Low rated KFNC 97.5 is bringing in Lance Zierlein to (once again) pair with John Granato, this time on the station's brief morning show from 7 AM to 9 AM starting on Monday (11/27). The pair have previously worked together over the past 20 years on both KILT and KGOW.

Happy Thanksgiving !!

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