Friday Megalinks

Due to being at jobsites for the last few days, I haven’t been able post links like I’ve wanted to at either my main page or the Fang’s Bites at BSMW site. I apologize for that. I have tried to be diligent in updating as much as I can.

Let’s get to the linkage.

But first, there’s always the Weekend Viewing Picks for your sports and entertainment planning.

National

John Ourand at Sports Business Journal writes that ESPN will do everything it can to head off NBC/Versus at the pass.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch asks if sports broadcasting and politics should mix?

Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press says the Big 12’s TV contracts helped to keep the conference together for now.

The Nielsen Ratings Wire blog notes that among various TV programming, sports in primetime continues to do well.

USA Today’s Mike McCarthy talks with CBS/WFAN/Westwood One’s Boomer Esiason on how the NFL should investigate the Dallas Cowboys’ medical staff for clearing Tony Romo to play last Sunday.

Mike says ESPN is denying any responsibility for the recent college football chaos and says the Longhorn Network doesn’t have anything to do with it. I think Texas A&M, Missouri and other Big 12 schools would beg to differ.

Bob Velin of USA Today writes that CBS’ 48 Hours Mystery program will investigate the mysterious and unsettling death of boxer Arturo Gatti.

Mike McCarthy and Michael Hiestand of USA Today debate whether schools or TV wield the power in college sports.

John Taylor of College Football Talk writes that Brett Favre gets his first taste of being an analyst next week for CSS.

John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable reports that the FCC has ruled that Cablevision-owned MSG Network cannot withhold its HD signal to other cable providers violating program-access rules.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News writes that YES received its second highest rating ever for the American League East Division clinching game this week.

Mike says Golf Channel and NBC Sports are teaming up for a promotion to give a lucky viewer of “The Big Break” a chance to win a trip to see Notre Dame play in Ireland next year.

Tim Nudd of Adweek says the NFL has pulled an ad for its fantasy football product which used a picture of Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles after he was injured last week.

David Lieberman of Deadline reports that Time Warner Cable is planning to offer a low cost tier that will not include ESPN in the lineup.

Timothy Burke of SportsGrid has the video of ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown calling Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones something else.

Glenn Davis at SportsGrid has the sixth and perhaps final installment of New Era’s Yankees-Red Sox Alec Baldwin-John Kraskinski ads. They have been quite good. This latest one may have taken it a bit too far.

Also from SportsGrid, Dan Fogarty reviews the ESPN Films documentary “Catching Hell”, on Steve Bartman and the 2003 Chicago Cubs.

Sports Media Watch talks with the crew of ESPN’s College GameDay.

SMW says despite being on tape delay, Fox drew a decent audience for its first English Premier League game on Sunday.

SMW notes that the ratings for CBS’ 2nd game of its NFL doubleheader dropped from last year.

SMW says the NBA lockout has forced the cancellation of the start of training camp and over 40 preseason games.

And SMW has some various ratings news and notes.

Joe Favorito looks at one imaginative marketing campaign that helped Eye Black this week.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell reviews “Moneyball.”

Darren has some interesting facts on sports participation in America.

Karen Hogan of Sports Video Group looks at how CBS Sports Network was able to bring the Tim Brando Show into a TV simulcast from his base in Shreveport, LA.

Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing has this week’s network TV on-screen typos.

Ben Koo from AA says tomorrow is when Gus Johnson and FX get their real grand opening in college football.

At The Stir, Maressa Brown feels ESPN’s Erin Andrews is unqualified to demonstrate CrossFit.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe writes that WEEI’s Glenn Ordway has suffered a rather severe pay cut due to low ratings for The Big Show.

At SBNation Boston, BSMW Fearless Leader Bruce Allen looks at a busy week in local sports media news.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette writes that Dale Arnold is pleased to be back with NESN after leaving in 2007.

Lang Whitaker and Ian Lovett of the New York Times give us an inside look at DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel and NFL Network’s RedZone.

John Jeansonne of Newsday reviews ESPN Films’ documentary on transgendered tennis player Renee Richards.

Newsday’s Neil Best says fans seem to be buying into the New York Islanders’ future.

Claire Atkinson of the New York Post has news that some Time Warner Cable subscribers have been waiting for, that the company appears to be close to a carriage agreement with NFL Network.

Phil Mushnick at the Post can’t stand ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Justin Terranova of the Post says last month’s Russian plane crash that killed 44 members of the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl really hit home for MSG Network analyst Joe Micheletti.

And Justin has five questions for Joe.

Lou Lumenick of the Post says “Moneyball” is one of the best baseball movies of all-time.

I’ll break my self-imposed embargo on the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman for a week for this story on the Yankees’ radio rights which are in flux and so are the fates of broadcasters John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that MSG Network has named Steve Cangialosi to replace Mike “Doc” Emrick on New Jersey Devils games.

And Pete talks with Steve about his new gig.

Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette is not a fan of a new local sports talk show host.

Ken notes that NBC Sports is extending its “Summer at Saratoga” series for at least two more years.

At Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com notes that Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic has announced its Capitals and Wizards schedules.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says the college football conference merry-go-round could have some legal ramifications.

Jim says the ratings for the NFL in both Baltimore and Washington were very strong.

South

In the Miami Herald, Joseph Goodman notes the irony of ESPN possibly saving college football from massive chaos.

Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel catches up with ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer.

Jeff Sentell of the Birmingham (AL) News says ESPN is not ponying up to air high school games from the region.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle notes that an Astros broadcaster is celebrating 25 years with the club.

David asks readers if they find the idea of the Longhorn Network offensive.

Mel Bracht at the Daily Oklahoman says an Oklahoma State wide receiver will be profiled on ESPN’s College GameDay.

Midwest

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Cleveland MLB team radio voice Mike Hegan is leaving he broadcast after this season.

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Reds voice Marty Brennaman can’t campaign on-air for his former partner Joe Nuxhall for the Baseball Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award.

Micahel Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press wonders why the DirecTV/NBC series “Friday Night Lights” didn’t do better in the ratings.

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says actor Brad Pitt saw “Moneyball” as a compelling story.

Bob says the Green Bay Packers will be showcased aplenty in the late afternoon window on both CBS and Fox this season.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business writes that the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship failed to draw viewers away from the NFL on Sunday.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times talks with WMAQ-TV sports anchor Paula Ferris.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders why Cardinals TV voice Dan McLaughlin has been missing of late.

Kevin Haskin of the Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal writes that CBS Sports Network was in town to air an NCAA Division II football game this week.

West

Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune says Big Ten Network won’t allow the local Cox system to pick up Saturday’s San Diego State-Michigan game on a one-time only basis.

The North County Times’ John Maffei writes that unless fans can find a sports bar, they’ll have to listen to San Diego State on the radio.

Jim Carlisle at the Ventura County Star says it’s too bad Southern California couldn’t see the end of the exciting Oakland-Buffalo game due to silly NFL rules.

Jim says HBO will replay last Saturday’s controversial Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz fight.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says a bankruptcy court has given the Dodgers permission to change their flagship radio station for next season.

Tom says the NFL secondary market rule needs to be changed.

Tom also has a few notes that he couldn’t get into his Friday column.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News looks at the Pac-12’s decision to stand pat, TV’s role in the whole thing and where BYU may be headed.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin from the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that CBC’s P.J. Stock is regretting his initial comments on Wade Belak’s death.

The Toronto Sports Media Blog is not so fast to forgive P.J.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog notes that CBC has made some additions to its Hockey Night in Canada crew.

And there you have it for your links today.

Advertisements

An Open Letter To Glenn Ordway

With the Red Sox off last night, (playing a doubleheader today) I’m taking this opportunity to respond to some comments made by Glenn Ordway on WEEI yesterday afternoon.

Dear Glenn,

It was with interest that I listened to your comments yesterday afternoon, regarding “those media websites”  and the things that were stated on “them” about The Big Show and WEEI’s extended discussion of the pictures posted by Barstool Sports last week of Tom Brady’s young son.

I can only assume you were talking about this site, and my comments. I haven’t seen much on all those other “media websites” about the topic. In fact, I don’t know of many other sports “media websites” in the Boston area, period, although at least one other blog seems to agree with me.

Let me clear some things up for you. You seemed to insinuate that the criticism here of you and your station was simply because you were condemning the posting of the pictures and the commentary that went with them. If that is what you really think, I fear for your comprehension level. To the contrary, I actually agree with you that the posting of the pictures was a bad idea, and irresponsible.

What WEEI should have done, in my opinion, was condemn David Portnoy for the incident, release a statement that he would no longer be appearing on the station, and then drop the subject. Instead, WEEI went pretty much wall-to-wall with the topic, stirring things up, getting people agitated, driving more traffic to the posts of the pictures, and generally benefiting Barstool Sports with the added attention. It has even resulted in Portnoy making an appearance on the Howard Stern show. You can largely thank yourself for this. Instead of appearing on WEEI, now Portnoy got to go on the national Stern show. Well done.

Had WEEI just condemned and moved on, would this story have gotten as much attention as it did? While plenty of other media outlets did pick up on the story, there is no doubt that WEEI’s incessant banging of the drum increased the visibility of the story.

I heard you state that the extended discussion of the topic had nothing to do with ratings. That is a boldface lie. Everything done at WEEI is for ratings. Are you claiming that this was some sort of selfless public service you were performing here?

The way I see it, you knew this was going to be a slow day for the show in the ratings with the Patriots pregame show starting on 98.5 FM at 4:00 pm that afternoon. You saw this topic, and jumped aboard in hopes of drawing people in. It is a hot-button topic no doubt about it. I’ve gotten people posting comments on this site claiming that I must be a member of NAMBLA because of my post last week about your take on things. People are fired up, one way or the other about this, and you knew they would be.  You couldn’t compete with 98.5 just talking about the Patriots, you needed another hot topic to discuss, and this was practically spoon-fed to you. So you jumped on it, hoping for the ratings (and attention) boost. It worked, as evidenced by this post, and the one I made last week, as well as the attention from other people talking about your discussion.

I also heard you reference comments made on Portnoy’s website, and saying that “even the stoolies” were turning against him. Again the insinuation seemed to be that you believed you were being criticized simply for condemning the actions of Barstool, and used this as an example to show how everyone thought this was a bad idea, trying to muddy the waters and further indicate that I was hammering you simply for being critical of the pictures being posted. 

You are aware of course, that just because someone posts a comment on a website it doesn’t mean that they “belong” to that site? I’m guessing that a lot of people making those comments were not hard-core “stoolies,” but rather “drive-by” visitors, likely brought there after hearing you talk about the site. While some of the so-called “stoolies” no doubt did disagree with the posting of the photos, you can’t take comments from Barstool as ironclad evidence of that.

Finally, you made a comments along the lines of “these media websites have an agenda, they hate WEEI, and that’s fine, they’re welcome to go somewhere else.” That’s the type of arrogant comment that WEEI hosts could make in the past. Now? You are aware of how the ratings have been going, right? Keep pushing people away, and the ratings will continue to drop like a stone.

As far as “hating” WEEI, that’s an easy generalization to make. Anyone who is critical of the great multiple-Marconi-Award-nominated Glenn Ordway must simply be a hater, right? I’m pretty sure I must be doing a pretty good job here, because I’ve had supporters and staffers at both sports radio stations convinced that I hate their station and have an agenda against them, and are in the bag for the other station. A Tweet not too long ago accused me of being a “WEEI fanboy.”  On the other hand, I get angry Tweets and creepy Facebook messages from your buddy Mikey Adams telling me to keep sucking up to Felger. (That’s the edited, family-rated version.)

The funny thing is, that growing up in NH, Glenn, you were someone I admired greatly. We didn’t get many of the Celtics telecasts on TV, so I listened to every game on the radio that you and Johnny Most did. Those are some of my fondest, and earliest sports media memories. To get to this point, where the word “hate” is being tossed around, saddens me.

My hope Glenn, is that this letter clears up any confusion you may have had over what I was actually criticising you for last week, and to ensure you that I am not supporting or defending the actions of Barstool Sports in any way, shape or form. I do believe however, that you are responsible for bringing even more attention to this matter than it deserved, and exposed those pictures to even more people than would’ve seen them had you simply condemned and moved on.

Repeat after me – condemn and move on.

Sincerely,

Bruce Allen
Bostonsportsmedia.com

Mike Adams To Join Big Show, WEEI.com Partners with SB Nation

WEEI announced this afternoon that Mike Adams will be joining “The Big Show with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley” effective today. He will serve as the flash guy for the program, will be in-studio, ready to weigh in with a thought from Bill Lee or memory of the 1978 Red Sox.

If they’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, this is the exact wrong move.

On the air, it was mentioned that the Planet Mikey show is not being impacted by this move,  but now that the Red Sox season has begun, most evenings are already scheduled with game broadcasts.

In another move, WEEI.com announced a content sharing partnership with the blog network SB Nation.

Some of the details about the deal, as outlined in the release from WEEI.com:

  • WEEI.com will feature headlines and content from SB Nation websites relevant to all the Boston teams, and SB Nation will bring WEEI.com’s highly-regarded reporting and personalities to its readers in Boston and beyond.
  •  A new feature on WEEI.com called “Behind Enemy Lines” will provide news and commentary from SB Nation’s network of team-focused blogs about upcoming Boston opponents. 
  •  A new, co-branded landing page will include links to SB Nation content appearing on WEEI.com as well as outbound links to national stories within the SB Nation network.
  •  WEEI.com and SB Nation will integrate relevant content within each other’s coverage of Boston sports teams, offering a unique diversity of perspectives on all the local teams.
  •  Content from each partner will appear on dedicated team pages & blogs in widget form for easy-to-use functionality.

Of interest from this desk is the fact that I write a weekly media column for SB Nation Boston. As far as I know, this does not impact me in any way. No one has said anything to me, anyway.  We’ll see.

Desperate WEEI Shakes Up Lineup

This afternoon Glenn Ordway was touting a “major announcement” to be made at 5:20. Most of these “major announcements” are little more than announcing a new weekly guest to the program, or something along those lines.

Today’s announcement however, is legitimately big news. After years of having the format of Glenn Ordway and two rotating co-hosts, Ordway announced that starting February 28th, the Big Show will add Michael Holley as a permanent co-host alongside Ordway. The name of the show will remain the same, and there will still be a whiner line. It is unclear whether there will be a third rotating co-host each day, as Ordway simply said that others “will be in and out of here all the time.”

The question was left then – what will become of the Dale and Holley show? This was not announced on the show, but The Inside Track at the Boston Herald reports that the duo will be replaced by former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni and weekend WEEI (and WGAM AM)  host Mike Mutnansky.

The track reports that Dale Arnold will be relegated to “fill in duty.”

These moves are clearly in reaction to the ratings gains made by 98.5 The SportsHub in the last year. The odd thing is, the Dale and Holley show was the only one that was still consistently beating their 98.5 competition.

WEEI was hamstrung however, by the salaries of their talent. They couldn’t make a move in the morning, with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan making big bucks, and Ordway is a fixture in the afternoons. I believe Holley’s contract was due sometime this year, so this move seems to be a promotion of sorts for him.

These are some big moves. I can’t wait to read all of your reactions to them.

WEEI Announces New Drive-Time ‘Dream Team’ (weei.com)

Glenn Ordway Tries To Clear The Air

Since the announcement on Wednesday that Pete Sheppard was being let go from WEEI due to economic issues there has been a lot of questioning and speculation about what the “real” reason for the move was.

I did it here at BSMW. Chad Finn (sort of) did it in the Globe this morning. Other sites and messageboards have been doing it.

When the Big Show opened this afternoon, Glenn Ordway attempted to set the record straight, and very seriously said that it was solely due to the economy. He even said he could understand why people might be skeptical because of gags that they’ve done in the past. (Such as Mike Adams “locking himself in the studio.”)

It was unlike Ordway, as he didn’t take shots at those of us who have been wondering about the episode, just stated repeated that this is just a product of the economy and while WEEI has done better than a lot of companies in terms of not having to make large-scale cuts, they haven’t been immune from the effects of the economic downturn.

He seemed sincere, and while we know Ordway is an actor, and in the entertainment business, I guess I’ll take him at his word. (That weasel Jason Wolfe is another matter, however.)

But even with that, I still don’t think Curt Schilling left WEEI entirely because of the Sheppard layoff.

Questions on the Pete Sheppard Layoff

Entercom/WEEI is insisting that yesterday’s announcement about the departure of Pete Sheppard is strictly for economic reasons, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the timing and details of this announcement.

Why on a Wednesday? Couldn’t get through until Friday? Couldn’t have done it last Friday before a three-day weekend?

If this move was solely economic, this was the best way they could cut costs? Why not cut the Mike Adams show altogether and just go with ESPN programming at night? How about firing Adams and giving Sheppard that spot?

If it was strictly economic, why is Curt Schilling so ticked off? He said yesterday he wouldn’t be on the WEEI airwaves until Pete was rehired, and has moved his 38Pitches Blog off of WEEI.com and back to its original domain.

The Entercom release wording seems rather final. The standard policy for WEEI is that once you leave, you’re dead. You never get mentioned again. A few who been announced as no longer being employed there, such as Bob Neumeier and Larry Johnson (after the Mustard and Johnson show was cancelled) have been back on the WEEI airwaves. It doesn’t seem like they’re expected to have Sheppard back on.  

He signed his last contract in May of 2007. The article quoted below in 2008 stated that Sheppard had two more years remaining on his contract, which would have it ending in May of this year. Is he getting paid the rest of the contract? If so, why release him now? To allow him to find another job with a few months of pay still coming?

Was he flirting with 98.5 for the role that Andy Gresh was eventually hired for and Entercom got wind of it?

Will he show up in another market? In a column written by Eric Rueb in the summer of 2008 for the Narragansett Times, Sheppard talked about his future –

As each year goes by, Sheppard makes a bigger name for himself without having his own show.

He’s a second banana – a big one at that – on the Big Show, where he fills in for host Glenn Ordway when Ordway is sick or on vacation. He’s in the second year of his contract and has two more years left on it and it wouldn’t be shocking if a bigger market or even satellite looked to give The Meatman his own show.

Whether Sheppard could take that offer is another question. “I could go outside the state or the region and be OK, but it just plays to my strengths. I wouldn’t have the same passion going to Chicago and talking about the Bears and White Sox or Cubs. It just wouldn’t be the same,” Sheppard said. “But like anything else in this business or anything in this business and a lot of other businesses, you’re only as good as your last contract. The ratings have been good at the station, but there’s always a possibility but you have to have leverage. If there’s somebody else that wants me or there’s a bidding war, that’s nice, I don’t expect it.

“Let’s put it this way – I expect myself at ’EEI for a long time.”

So what’s next? Will be end up at 98.5? Chad Finn’s column this morning had WBZ-FM program manager Mike Thomas saying that he had not been in contact with Sheppard, and that they currently had a full staff.

Does he wind up at another Entercom station trying to create their own version of The Big Show? Does he end up in Jacksonville talking NASCAR?

Wow, that’s why too much time spent wondering about Pete Sheppard, but yesterday’s news resulted in the biggest day, traffic-wise for BSMW in months. Apparently people are interested in the fate of an afternoon sports radio flash guy.

Pete Sheppard Out At WEEI

It appears that Pete Sheppard has done his final sports flash for WEEI’s Big Show.

From Regan Communications (PR firm for Entercom New England) today:

Statement Regarding Pete Sheppard from Entercom New England Vice President and Market Manager Julie Kahn and Vice President of AM Programming Jason Wolfe

“As we continue to operate in challenging economic times, it is with regret that we announce today that we have eliminated Pete Sheppard’s position as sports anchor on the Big Show. We’d like to thank Pete for his outstanding work with WEEI over the last ten years. He played a major role in our growth, and helped “The Big Show” become one of the top radio shows in the country. We wish Pete the best of luck in his future endeavors and remain extremely grateful for all his contributions over the past decade.”

Too bad for Pete. He was the one guy on that afternoon show who actually had some passion for sports. The elimination of his position also raises the question of what happens to Patriots post game shows next season, and who becomes the standard “fill in” host for Ordway.

If this really is a economic layoff, and I don’t have reason at this time to believe otherwise, what would prevent Sheppard from becoming just another rotating fill-in co-host or flash guy in the future? Or does he surface at 98.5?

Sheppard had signed a multiyear contract with WEEI back in May of 2007, so it doesn’t look like contract negotiations gone bad here.

The Boston Radio Watch fellow says that Curt Schilling called in and said he won’t come back onto the WEEI airwaves until Sheppard is rehired. 

Glen Ordway stated on the air that the company has decided to outsource the flash updates for the Big Show, similiar to what they’ve done to other shows (Dale & Holley) in the past.

Approval Ratings – Pete Sheppard (BSMW)

Sheppard out at WEEI (Boston.com)