Friday, December 22, 2017

Dick Enberg Will Be Missed

It's a sad day in sports media with the passing of Dick Enberg at the age of 82. The younger sports fans only knew him from his 10 years of calling Padres baseball which ended with his official retirement following the 2016 season.

For those of us that have been sports fans for many years, this marks the end of an era. Enberg was among the first of the network sportscasters to regularly call multiple sports at the highest level, paving the way for the likes of Joe Buck and Al Michaels.

Enberg called 10 Super Bowls, 8 of the NCAA Tournament Final Four and championship games, many Rose Bowl telecasts, and 28 Wimbledon tournaments at the network level. When UCLA's incredible 88 game winning streak ended, it was Enberg calling it on national TV.

He was the primary voice of the NFL in the days when NBC had the AFC telecasts, including calling games with ageless George Blanda leading the Oakland Raiders week after week and with Merlin Olsen as his analyst.

And that wasn't all. Los Angeles fans also had the benefit of him calling Angels baseball on radio for many years, as well as UCLA basketball during some of the Johnny Wooden years.

Personally, I was fortunate enough to be working in Los Angeles during the mid-80's when Enberg returned to the Angels radio booth for about half of the home broadcasts. He called every home game his schedule would allow. It was then that I got to experience how good he was at calling baseball on radio.

Maybe his best contribution on the air is how he would sound amazed at what was taking place on the field or court, doing so in such a way as to not dominate what was happening. Somehow he made sure that you remembered the play or the result but not his call.

Sorry to lose him.

After ending Mike & Mike, the personnel changes, and losing so many subscribers over the past year, it turns out that ESPN will have a new president by the end of the first quarter of 2018. John Skipper resigned earlier this week, although not for the reasons you would think.
Skipper's immediate resignation was due to "substance addiction". Former ESPN President George Bodenheimer has returned in an interim role until the replacement is named.

In a separate move that may wind up in the "missed opportunity" file, CBS Sports Radio (as it continues to be known with Entercom running the network) has announced its new morning show to begin on January 2nd. They are not missing a morning show, but with many listeners searching for a "new" sports morning show after the end of Mike & Mike on ESPN, all they came up with having a former wrestler as a co-host.

Their 6 AM to 9 AM weekday spot will be "Taz & The Moose". Taz is Pete Senerchia, former world heavyweight wrestling champion and Moose is Marc "The Moose" Malusis.

It's a show which debuts at the start of the NFL post-season, while the first quarter includes the NCAA Tournament which CBS televises in March. The NBA and NHL are in full swing, as well as college hoops. Yet, CBS Sports Radio puts two hosts together who do not clearly represent any of those sports.

NBC Sports will grow its app even further next fall, as the network has secured streaming rights for its Sunday Night Football telecasts starting next season. This is a separate deal from the phone carrier which has and retains and exclusive NFL streaming deal.

Those of us that thought that bringing two NFL teams to Los Angeles would do more harm than good as a TV market are seeing the proof. The fans prefer to see the best matchups over the air and not necessarily the local teams.

This past weekend, the Rams had a huge game against Seattle (which they won big), but the Los Angeles marketing rating was a 7.2. The night before, the Chargers telecast vs. Kansas City with AFC West implications drew a Los Angeles rating of (get this) 3.0. Again, those were the local team ratings.

By comparison, St. Louis fans remain (understandably) furious about losing the Rams and don't watch. This coming Sunday (12/14) will be the second consecutive Sunday that the Rams will again not even be shown in St. Louis. Consider this. The Dec. 10th game between the Rams and Eagles was the most recent one shown in St. Louis. The local telecast rating for that game was 11.3. Yet, as local teams, the L.A. combined rating last weekend was 10.2.

This Sunday, L.A. has the Rams on Fox and Chargers on CBS up against each other as early telecasts. The fans are probably glad about that since the market will receive the Fox doubleheader game with Seattle against Dallas.

PHILADELPHIA: With WIP-FM being the most recent top rated radio station overall, 97.5 The Fanatic will gain more visibility, literally, prior to the start of the next baseball season. NBC Sports Philly (formerly CSN Philadelphia) has agreed to simulcast the first three hours (2 PM to 5 PM) of Mike Missanelli's afternoon show. NBC Sports Philly will continue with "Philly Sports Talk" at 5 PM.

Although this continues the trend of regional sports networks picking up local radio shows, this does provide live and local content, making more sense than same day replays of (in this instance) The Dan Patrick Show, often with already outdated segments.

WASHINGTON D. C.:  Saying it is her decision only, Carol Maloney is leaving her role as sports anchor and host of Redskins programming on WRC-TV after six years. This Sunday (12/24) is expected to be her final time hosting "Redskins Showtime" even though the team plays the following weekend. Maloney's contract expires, and reports are that the two sides could not agree on an extension. No replacement named as of press time.

RICHMOND: WXGI ESPN 950/102.7 has added 99.5 FM to it simulcast for additional regional coverage. The stations will continue to air Washington Redskins football, University of Richmond football and basketball, and non-conflicting Westwood one play-by-play including its NFL package.

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