Ken from Fang’s Bites with your Friday Megalinks once again.
I was working until 11 p.m. so I’m late getting the Megalinks to you, but I’m here and barring any emergencies, I’ll give you the Weekend Viewing Picks, then the rest of the links.
Sunday is probably one of the best days of the NFL season, Conference Championship Sunday. Both the NFC and the AFC Championship Games are taking place. Fox25 and Fox64 have the NFC Championship between Philadelphia and Arizona at 3 p.m. Then at 6:30 p.m., WBZ and WPRI carry the AFC Championship with bitter division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh facing each other for the third time this season. NFL Network has a four hour pregame show starting at 11 a.m. Sunday. I have my recommendations for viewing in the NFL Viewing Picks for Conference Championship Sunday.
After a rare Friday night off, the Celtics spring back into action on Saturday with a trip to the Meadowlands Arena and an afternoon matinee against the Nets. Comcast SportsNet has the game starting at 1 p.m.
The Bruins are in Washington on Saturday to take on the Capitals. NESN picks up the broadcast at 7 p.m.
WHDH and WJAR will air the season premiere of the NHL on NBC with the New York Rangers visiting the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Believe it or not, tennis’ first Grand Slam tournament begins Down Under in Melbourne as the Australian Open gets underway Sunday night at 7. ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel will combine for coverage with the Alleged Worldwide Leader providing the bulk, a staggering 157.5 hours for the fortnight. Unfortunately, Maria Sharapova withdrew last week, but there are plenty of others to watch.
The PGA Tour is still in Hawai’i and Golf Channel will provide thorough coverage of the Sony Open from the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Third and Final Round coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
College Basketball is steaming ahead to traditional conference rivalries. Plenty of games to watch, CBS has a doubleheader on Saturday and ABC has regional coverage starting at 3:30 p.m. Saturday as well. I have the national and regional schedules in the College Basketball Viewing Picks.
HBO’s Boxing After Dark makes its season premiere with a WBC Welterweight title fight between champ Andre Berto defending his belt against Luis Collazo at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.
Now to your links.
USA Today’s Michael McCarthy asks you to choose your favorite NFL announcers.
The Big Lead gives its choices for the USA Today poll. And TBL has a very good interview with ESPN’s crazy man, Scott Van Pelt who talks blogs, Chris Berman and being charged up in Bristol, CT at 12:30 a.m.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell goes over the “Obamabilia” that’s being sold over the last couple of months. Darren talks with former tennis star and current philanthropist Andre Agassi. Darren reports that Kobe Bryant has signed a deal with a web site in Communist China.
Joe Favorito says the Harlem Globetrotters continue to expand their brand worldwide.
Keith Thibeault of the Sports Media Journal defends Joe Buck.
The Sports Media Watch says the ratings for the NFL Divisional Playoffs were down considerably from last year. And the SMW says despite all of the hype, ESPN did not see a big bump in ratings for the NBA game in which Dick Vitale worked.
Steve Lepore’s Puck The Media looks at the NHL if Fox got involved again. Steve suggests that the NHL spread its content over several of NBC Universal’s platforms. And Steve has NHL Network’s plans for the All-Star Game.
Linda Moss of Multichannel News says court papers reveal that the NFL Network and Dish Network entered into an agreement for carriage shortly before it obtained its 8 game package.
Noreen O’Leary of Adweek writes that Budweiser will use Conan O’Brien and the Clydesdales in its Super Bowl ads.
East and Mid-Atlantic
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe discusses Gil Santos’ retirement from WBZ Radio.
Neil Best of Newsday writes that Mike Fratello was Charles Barkley’s replacement in the TNT studio on Thursday. Neil says NBC gets back into the NHL game this weekend. Neil also previews Real Sports’ profile on Al Michaels. Neil lists his Top 15 Sportscasters of all-time. And Neil talks with Civil War, The War and Baseball director extraordinaire Ken Burns.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says legendary sports anchor Sal Marchiano is looking for a new gig.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick hates everybody.
Justin Terranova of the Post talks with CBS’ Phil Simms and Dan Marino and Fox’s Troy Aikman about the NFL Conference Championships. And Justin has five questions for Fox Sports’ Michael Strahan.
Pete Dougherty from the Albany Times Union writes about ESPN2’s extensive coverage of the Australian Open which begins in earnest Sunday night.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun facetiously goes over the NFL’s conspiracy against the Ravens. And Ray does not like the cliche, “pack a lunch”.
Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner writes that the NFL Today will be live from the AFC Championship.
Tim Lemke of the Washington Times talks with IndyCar racer Sarah Fisher about her new team and crying on national TV last year.
The Dayton Daily News’ Marc Katz talks about ESPN airing Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses which quarterback is under the most pressure this weekend with CBS’ Bill Cowher and Phil Simms.
Ted Cox of the Chicago Daily Herald writes that the loss of Mike North still hurts WSCR.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business does not rule out the possibility of the Sun-Times and Tribune sharing sports coverage. Ed writes it’s a good thing the White Sox did not move to Tampa. And Ed wonders if Chicago could support two NFL teams.
Paul Christian from the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says there’s some support among the NFL TV analysts for the Arizona Cardinals to go to the Super Bowl.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the NFL’s Cardinals are still a ratings draw in town despite the team having moved two decades ago. Dan has some news and notes. And Dan has a look at the NFL playoff TV ratings both nationally and locally.
From The State, I believe Doug Nye wrote this story, but there’s no byline. Anyway, a former DJ has joined a sports radio morning team and is not missing the music.
The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson gives his best and worst announcing performances during the NFL playoffs.
Dave Darling in Friday’s Orlando Sentinel says a local ESPN Radio affiliate is now mixing in some local talk.
Also from the Sentinel, Jerry Greene writes that it’s time to stop bashing Versus.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Dallas Stars are changing radio stations for the first time in 15 years.
Ray Buck from the Star-Telegram writes that former King of Queens star Kevin James loves his Mets and Jets.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News feels the Stars’ move from its current home is a good one. And Barry writes that the Stars’ broadcast team of Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh is Dallas’ favorite. Barry has some observations on the NFL Conference Championships.
Completing the Texas Trifecta today, David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus is having a busy week coordinating coverage of the AFC Championship and the Presidential Inauguration.
David also writes about Ken Burns updating his “Baseball” PBS documentary.
Mel Bracht of The Daily Oklahoman talks with Fox’s Troy Aikman. Mel has some news and notes, but erroneously labels Al Michaels as being with ABC.
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News wishes DirecTV and KJZZ would stop fighting so Jazz fans can watch their games.
The Arizona Republic’s Jim Gintonio talks with Arizona State broadcaster Tim Healey.
Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune hopes the referees don’t get in the way of his enjoyment of NFL Championship Sunday.
John Maffei from the North County Times writes that CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus is pulling off a rare double.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventury County Star has quotes from various NFL TV analysts about Championship Sunday. And Jim says the Best Sportscaster of All-Time is a familiar voice to SoCal fans.
Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says Dick Enberg is comfortable as being known as a tennis announcer first.
Tom Hoffarth of the crosstown LA Daily News looks at ESPN’s latest episode of “Homecoming” featuring John Elway. Tom has his extensive media news and notes in his blog. Tom shares his thoughts on ESPN’s latest gimmick. Tom looks at ESPN2’s coverage of the Australian Open. And Tom reviews his week in blogging.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail reports that CBC is dropping the Toronto Blue Jays due to declining ad sales.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star writes that the economy was a major factor in CBC’s decision.
And that does it for your Friday megalinks I’ll be back next Friday.