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A group of companies that operate TV stations affiliated with ABC are teaming up to develop new sources of revenue for their channels. The group said it will form a company called NewVenco Inc., which will pursue projects in programming, interactive media, and pay-per-view among other areas (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/11)....In Washington, Leonard Shapiro reports that, despite gossip to the "contrary" in the local broadcasting community, WTEM sports radio is not about to "a) fold, b) be sold or c) significantly change its format." But he also notes that WTEM, which has the rights to the Redskins, may lose them in a bidding war with two other stations (WASHINGTON POST, 11/11)....No officials involved will confirm it, but Red Sox radio coverage in Boston will likely switch from WRKO to all- sports WEEI next season (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/11)....In this week's AD AGE, Jeff Jensen examines the entrance of the pro sports leagues into the CD-ROM/interactive medium (AD AGE, 11/7 issue).
In Los Angeles, Larry Stewart writes, "It has to be said once more: The NFL's no-doubleheader rule is stupid, antiquated, asinine and unfair -- particularly to people living in two-team markets such as Los Angeles and New York." Because of the rule, Fox cannot show the Dallas-San Francisco game in L.A. because the Rams-Raiders game is a sellout. "What's behind the no- doubleheader rule? The NFL's original thinking was that a television doubleheader could hurt attendance at the local game. ... Nobody with the NFL will say it, but maybe the rule has been kept, despite public outcry, because the league knew it was getting into the pay-per-view business. That began this season with the Sunday Ticket packages for satellite dish owners" (L.A. TIMES, 11/11). In Miami, another city that will have the Dallas- San Francisco game blacked-out, Barry Jackson suggest the old rule "needs amending" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/11). OTHER NFL MEDIA NOTES: NBC's AFC games (11.8 rating) lead the NFC (11.5), now on Fox, at the 10-week mark for the first time since 1975. But for the 4th consecutive week, Fox's ratings are up (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 11/11).
The Women's Sports Network (WSN) plans to start up in September with 24-hours of live events, news reports and exercise, travel and nutritional programming. They hope to lure cable operators by dividing the money they receive "in subscriber fees with community sports programs for girls and women." Terry Kassel, creator of WSN: "So Cablevision, for example, would have a sponsorship in their name for a women's softball league on Long Island." Kassell added that it is also an opportunity for cable operators to "endear themselves to their communities." Although Liberty Sports has rights to many women's collegiate events, Kassel said WSN will be an outlet for other women sports, including amateur and recreational (Steve Zipay, NEWSDAY, 11/11).