NESN announced today that beginning tomorrow night, NESN Daily will be replaced with a new format and show, NESN Sports Today.
Here is the release from the network:
June 10, 2013 – NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, will debut a new sports program called NESN Sports Today on Tuesday, June 11immediately following the network’s Boston Red Sox coverage. Separately, there will be periodic specials, starting with Bruins coverage on Wednesday, June 12 (see below for more details).
“We want to give New England viewers a live, fast paced, nightly sports show that goes beyond opinions or scores with highlights,” said Joseph Maar, NESN’s vice president of programming & production, executive producer.
Over the past few months NESN has been developing a dynamic sports program that strives to be relevant, insightful and interactive for passionate fans using NESN’s unparalleled access to teams and unmatched resources.
“The new show gives fans everything they need to know in sports, plus interactive debates where viewers can weigh-in on the discussion,” added Maar. “NESNSports Today will look and feel different from any other sports show in the country and allow mobile device users to participate in the program.”
Maar began the process of transforming NESN’s sports programming back in August when he joined the network. In November 2012, NESN added three new anchors/reporters by hiring Adam Pellerin, Leah Hextall and Jamie Erdahl to team with Jamison Coyle. They will be joined by an already popular and talented group of NESN announcers and hosts that includes Don Orsillo, Jack Edwards, Tom Caron and Dale Arnold, plus regular appearances by analysts Andy Brickley, Billy Jaffe, Jerry Remy, Dennis Eckersley, Jim Rice and Tim Wakefield.
NESN Sports Today, which replaces NESN Daily, will air every night in 30-minute blocks from 10 pm to 12 midnight (or immediately following Red Sox or Bruins post-game programming). NESN will broadcast a best of edition of the show the following morning between 4 am and 6 am and again between 12 noon and 2 pm.
NESN Sports Today Specials
The program’s format will adapt during nights of major sports stories, devoting expanded coverage for special days like Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots playoff games. Beginning this Wednesday and before each Stanley Cup Championship game there will be a NESN Sports TodayBruins Pre-Game Special at 5:30 pm.
Thus ends a largely forgettable three year run for NESN Daily, which debuted in August of 2010 with hosts Jade McCarthy and Uri Berenguer. The original format was a bust, as chemistry between the co-hosts was non-existant, and Berenguer was taken off the show in November, and McCarthy left the network the following summer.
The show format, which originally was going to be a PTI-style debate program was quickly shelved, and the show basically reverted to the format of its predecessor, Sports Desk.
This is VP Joseph Marr’s first real chance to impact the network he joined last summer from FOX Sports North.
I’m not sure about you, but the term “interactive debates” when it comes to sports programming makes me shudder.
One of the most accomplished members of the Boston sports media is Dale Arnold. Arnold is currently working with NESN, hosting NESN Daily and pre/post game coverage of Bruins games. Previously he co-hosted The Dale & Holley Show show middays on WEEI, although he still hosts weekend shows, including NFL Sunday on Sunday mornings. Before coming onto the Boston scene he did play-by-play for the New Jersey Devils for two seasons. Arnold, a graduate of Bowdoin College is the only person in Boston sports history to do play-by-play broadcasts for all five of the area’s major professional sports franchises. Boston Sports Media Watch had the chance to catch up with Arnold, touching on a number of subjects.
BSMW: What does it mean to be the only person in history to call play-by-play for all five major Boston sports teams?
In some cases, guys like Curt Gowdy, guys like that could have done anything but there was no soccer when they were around. I was lucky enough to be here when there were five teams to do. Now that there’s lacrosse I should have tried to work that in there as well. The fact that no one’s ever done it, all five teams, means a lot to me that I was able to pull it off.
BSMW: Do you have a favorite moment or game that you’ve called?
It’s so hard. There were individual things here and there. The Red Sox last game of the regular season in Baltimore (2011) wasn’t a favorite, but it was memorable. The Doug Flutie “icky balloky” game wasn’t a favorite, but it was memorable in that regard. I’ve had the opportunity to do some games that mattered in the NHL both here and in New Jersey. Truly if I looked back on the whole thing, from start to finish the most fun I had doing a game was a Maine Mariners-Sokol Kiev (from the then Soviet Union) game. It was the end of the Cold War, and the Russian’s just started coming over. I worked with a state department translator for about a month to get the pronunciations, and just being able to do that was unique at the time.
BSMW: You’ve called play-by-play, hosted radio shows, anchored television shows and worked pre and post game shows. Do you have a favorite or a preference?
Anybody who has done play-by-play will always tell you they always think of themselves as a play-by-play announcer. I mean I like a lot of the other things, I enjoy doing the radio, I’ve enjoyed hosting Bruins, but there is something about calling a game live, for guys who do it they’ll tell you it’s the most fun they have.
BSMW: Everyone knows what happened at WEEI a few years ago, are you happy with the way things turned out at NESN, or do you wish you were on the radio everyday?
I wish I was doing both. I’m thankful for NESN because they gave me an opportunity to stay in the market and do something that I really love, but it’s not like it’s an either or proposition. The time frame of doing Bruins and the time frame of when you host middays you could do both easily.
BSMW: How long did it take you to get over not being on the radio everyday?
I’m not over it now. It’s something that I liked, egotistically I thought I was reasonably good at it. I wish I was still doing it now.
BSMW: You’ve worked with a number of different people over the years, do you have a favorite person you’ve worked alongside?
Probably Michael (Holley). Neumy (Bob Neumeier), he and I got along great and I don’t mean to slight him when I say that, but Michael and I developed a pretty unique and pretty interesting chemistry. I thought it worked pretty well.
BSMW: What are your future plans? There have been rumors of you being interested in the play-by-play gig with the Patriots, would you be interested in going back there?
What rumors? … Nobody has ever asked me. I am not sure that there is a rumor that’s true, no one has ever asked me. As I’ve said, anyone who has been a play-by-play announcer thinks of themselves as a play-by-play announcer. I enjoyed the time I had with the Patriots, the three years I was there. I am certainly a different, and better broadcaster now than I was then, that was a long time ago. Like I said, nobody has ever talked to me about it, nobody has ever said anything to me about it.
BSMW: What are your thoughts on the NHL lockout and do you think there will be a season?
I do. Maybe I am just whistling past the graveyard here, I guess I think they are too close to kiss off a season at this stage. I mean my feeling is that they are not that far apart. I’m not sure they are as close as Donald Fehr says, but I also don’t think they are as far apart as Gary Bettman says. Everybody I’ve talked to in the hockey media, everybody I’ve talked to in the hockey community, is convinced that somewhere around December 31 or January 1 there will be a deal and they will be playing again.
While NESN Red Sox reporter Jenny Dell hasn’t been in the Boston media market for long, she certainly already has developed quite the following. Dell grew up in Southbury, Conn. as a Yankees fan, but once getting to college at UMass she converted to a Red Sox fan following the 2004 season. From UMass Dell went to work for ESPN in the event production department before being asked to try on-air positions after a few short months, which led to many appearances for the network before getting the Red Sox reporting job this past winter. A major change for someone who in high school had her own catering company and actually was offered a scholarship to attend culinary school. Boston Sports Media Watch had the chance to catch up with Dell following her first season covering the Red Sox for NESN:
BSMW: You didn’t take the conventional path to becoming an on-air personality. Was there a specific moment or advice that you received which made you really consider a career being an on-air reporter? As a child, what was your dream job?
JD:As a child, my dream job was to be a chef and own a restaurant. I loved cooking and even had my own small catering company in high school called “Simply Dell-icious”. This passion lead to my initial major at UMass Amherst in hospitality and tourism Management.
I picked up my second major in Sport Event Marketing my sophomore year in college. UMass has a program where you can create your own major, called Bachelor Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC). You come up with a course plan that completes a certain number of credits and I combined my love for sports with my interest in event planning and marketing. I started working for the UMass athletic department my junior year, where I helped out in the advancement office and assisted with the event planning for the football and basketball programs. I loved the constant energy and excitement that came along with the job and it was then that I decided to pursue a career in the sports industry.
I applied for a position as an administrative assistant for three coordinating producers at ESPN, with the intention of eventually making my way to the Marketing department. They ended up offering me a position as a production assistant, working on the NBA. I immediately fell in love with production; helping in the creation of show segments and creative video packages for our live game broadcasts. It was about four months into my time at ESPN that I was approached in the ESPN cafeteria about working on-air. I’ll never turn down an opportunity, so I went for it. I started off doing a few fantasy segments here and there, and that turned into weekly shows, and major interviews. I truly believe that working both behind-the-scenes in production and on-air made me well rounded in the field. It’s been beneficial to know both sides.
I decided to pursue a career in front of the camera about a year and a half ago. I really enjoyed conducting interviews, being in the middle of the action and the challenge of working on-air. I realized I could combine my passion for production into a full-time career in front of the camera.
BSMW: Coming into this season were you nervous at all? What were your thoughts upon arriving in Ft. Myers for spring training?
JD: Coming into spring training, I was more excited than nervous. There were so many unknowns and I had so many questions, but I was eager to jump right into it all. My first priority was to get to know my production crew and introduce myself to the team. I wanted to establish relationships, get to learn everyone’s personalities and start to understand the job as a whole. The whole NESN crew and team were so inviting, and helpful. Even former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine pulled me aside and said, “We’re all rooting for you this season. Let me know how I can help.”
Getting this opportunity in Boston has been a dream come true. I welcomed the challenge and knew exactly what I was getting myself into. Boston fans are so passionate and knowledgeable. It makes me strive to be the best I can, and to always be prepared. There is an immense amount of pressure in this position and this market, but I think the majority of that pressure comes internally.
BSMW: What was the best moment for you this season? What is it like working for NESN with Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy? Has the teams’ struggles on the field impacted your job at all?
JD: My favorite part of my first year was the fact that I was able to experience the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. All of the ceremonies and events were so exciting and it was amazing that I could take part in all of the celebrations. I enjoyed being able to report on the Red Sox 100 Acts of Kindness, where the players and Red Sox Foundation completed 100 acts of charity throughout the year.
Working for NESN has been a dream come true. The production team is full of experienced and talented individuals, who all had my best interest at heart. They made me feel part of the family and did everything in their power to put me in the best light possible in this new career.
What can I say about Don and Jerry? They are simply the best. They made me feel comfortable from day one, and have given me advice and support throughout the whole season. Don and Jerry welcomed me with open arms and I couldn’t ask to be a part of a better broadcast crew. They keep me on my toes, keep me laughing, and made a long baseball season so enjoyable.
My job is to tell stories, to share with Red Sox Nation what is going on with the team, the match-ups, Red Sox Foundation, Fenway Park, etc… I’ve had the chance to get to know these players over the year, and naturally, when you are surrounded by the same people every single day, you want to see them succeed. Whether they won or lost, I would need to report on the game and situation.
BSMW: Have you ever gotten this much attention at any other point in your career? How long did it take for you to adjust to being a celebrity in Boston, having people come up to you everywhere you go asking for you to pose for a picture, etc.?
JD:I have NEVER received this much attention at any other point in my career. It’s all a bit crazy to me, because (in my eyes) I am just a normal girl who grew up in Connecticut, went to college at UMass and has been blessed with this amazing job opportunity. I will never turn down a request for a picture or autograph, and to be honest, I don’t think I will ever get used to getting those requests. The fact that I can help someone have a positive experience at Fenway, or that I can help make someone’s day a little better just by signing my name or taking a picture is really special. I feel honored.
BSMW: What does the off-season have in store for you? Will you be making any appearances on NESN? What are you looking forward to most next year?
JD:This off-season, I will be hosting NESN Daily, which will provide an incredible opportunity to anchor a studio show. I had my first taste of hosting last Thursday, with the special edition of NESN Daily: The Bobby Valentine Edition. Working in the studio is so different than my normal job on the field and I am looking forward to learning the anchor role. Also, I will be working at the Patriots home games- providing content and interviews pre-game and post-game. As a huge football (and Patriots) fan, I couldn’t be more excited to work with the team.
I am looking forward to next season for so many reasons. First and foremost, I will go into spring training having a much better idea of what this job entails. Last season was full of unknowns. Now, I have a much better handle on the position and have established relationships with the NESN production crew, and the Red Sox players and staff. There are going to be a lot of changes to this Red Sox organization over this off-season and I can’t wait to see what next season holds.
NESN announced today that they have hired former FOX Sports North Coordinating Producer and ESPN Coordinating Director and Dir of Operations Joseph Maar as their new vice president of programming & production, executive producer.
Here is their full release:
BOSTON, MA – NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, announced today that Joseph Maar has joined NESN as the vice president of programming & production, executive producer. Maar’s responsibilities will include leading, overseeing and managing NESN’s production, programming and network operations teams.
Maar comes to NESN with over 25 years of experience in the sports media industry, leading and developing the operational, logistical and creative aspects of studio and remote event productions. In his most recent position at FOX Sports North (FSN) regions based out of Minneapolis, Maar led the redevelopment of their original programming. He oversaw live events, studio shows, interactive projects, second screen media and new channel initiatives for two FOX regional sports networks across a five-state region of the Upper Midwest. The telecasts Maar oversaw included the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers (MLB), the Minnesota Wild (NHL), the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks (NBA), the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Vikings (NFL).
“Joseph has a rare combination of experiences in live sports, original programming, production, operations, and social media that he’ll bring to the management team at NESN,” said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO. “We’re thrilled to have someone of Joseph’s caliber join the management team at NESN.”
Prior to working at FSN, Maar worked in ESPN’s Original Entertainment division and helped launch 20 new shows including Pardon The Interruption (PTI) and Around The Horn. Throughout his career he has received three national Emmy Awards, three Telly Awards and over two dozen regional Emmys. In addition, for over a dozen years Maar wrote feature stories and a monthly print column on television production and operations for national trades Television Broadcast and SportsTV Production. He is an oft-requested moderator and panelist at national television industry conventions.
”I am very excited at the opportunity to work with the storied franchises of the Boston Red Sox and Bruins, combined with the tiffany reputation of the programming and staff at NESN,” said Maar. “I’m equally grateful to serve a network with such a high commitment to volunteerism and charity–something that speaks to my core values.”
Maar is an honors graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also taught for eight years as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He will be relocating to Boston with his wife and three children this summer.
Maar actually announced he was joining NESN last week on his Twitter account:
NESN’s coverage of the Bruins 1-0 overtime win over the Capitals in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Game #1 set a new first game of a playoff series ratings record for NESN with a 11.6 average household rating in the Boston DMA and a 19.3 share. The 11.6 rating is also the 7th highest Bruins playoff rating in NESN history.
NESN’s coverage of the Bruins-Capitals series continues on Saturday (4/14) with one hour of pre-game coverage from TD Garden beginning at 2 pm with Bruins Face-Off LIVE. Dale Arnold, Gord Kluzak, Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley and Naoko Funayama will team up for NESN’s pre and post-game coverage. NESN will also deliver complete post-game coverage immediately after the game on NESNplus with Bruins Overtime LIVE presented by Ace Ticket. Fans can visit NESN.com/NESNplus for the NESNplus channel in their area.
NESN and WBZ-TV today announced a partnership in which NESN will provide pre-game reports from each game for the WBZ newscasts, and WBZ will provide the official weather updates on NESN. In addition, WBZ-TV sports anchor Dan Roche will be a regular guest on NESN’s pre-game shows.