Yesterday, I provided two overdue sports media thoughts. Today, it’s time to do some more. As always, they’re in bullet form.
- I like what the NBC Sports Group has done on the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Covering all the games has paid off with higher ratings thus far. By giving all of the games a national outlet, fans have found them and establishing CNBC and NHL Network as secondary homes in addition to NBC and NBC Sports Network was a wise move.
While I miss having the local feeds in the Conference Semifinals, I understand why NBC Sports Group bought exclusivity there. If you’re going to grow the game nationally, you have to sacrifice the local feeds at some point. We get less of a Jack Edwards or Sam Rosen or Bob Miller, but we also get more games aired in their entirety and that’s good for hockey.
A few things to improve upon for the future.
Less local simulcasts on CNBC and NBCSN. NBC Sports Network should not be relying on Comcast SportsNet, CBC or TSN in the first round. NHL Network is another story, but less of the local simulcasts, please.
Double weekend doubleheaders on NBC should be standard next season. I liked NBC’s Sunday doubleheaders in the first round. Expand them to Saturdays as well.
And do not. Do not. Do not allow Erik Kusilias anywhere near a set next season. He is a bad host. NASCAR fans thought he was a butcher when ESPN put him as host of NASCAR Now. His brief stints as host in the Conference Quarterfinals on CNBC did nothing to dispel that notion.
Other than those complaints, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs gets high marks.
- Sports radio on FM is becoming more of a trend across the country. The latest market to get an FM sports station is the largest in the country, New York City. Last week, ESPN Radio flipped legendary Urban station KISS 98.7 FM to sports. It gave ESPN Radio NY a fighting chance against long-time Big Apple sports leader, WFAN. While the ‘FAN has dominated the New York market head-to-head against ESPN, that was when both were on the AM dial. WFAN’s ratings have dropped recently, but ESPN has not been able to pick up the slack. We’ll see if ‘FAN’s owner, CBS Radio, decides to give the station a new home. Right now, it’s not in the cards, but if ESPN Radio starts to cut into the lead, then CBS could rethink its strategy.
CBS Radio has been successful with FM sports talk in other markets including Boston so we’ll see if it happens in New York down the road.
- Good on the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to give former CBS Sports and ABC Sports Essayist Jack Whitaker a Lifetime Achievement Sports Emmy last week.
It would behoove the Academy to recognize Brent Musburger for his pioneering work as host of the NFL Today and CBS Sports Saturday/Sunday.
I still find it hard to believe that Brent has never won a Sports Emmy. He should have won one for hosting the Pan American Games for CBS in 1987 and again for ABC in 1991 when they were held in Cuba.
- Belated congratulations to Ed Sherman, formerly of the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business on the launch on his new national sports media site, The Sherman Report.
- Finally got to see this season’s version of “The Rundown” on MLB Network. I like the show and new co-host Lauren Shehadi has developed a very good chemistry with holdover Matt Yallof. I make sure I watch the show when I’m home. Now if MLB Network can do something about The Abortion Known As Intentional Talk…
Ok. Plenty of thoughts for you to absorb. I’ll try to provide more tomorrow.