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The Jaguars radio network has grown to 21 stations and will "reach parts of the Panhandle, southern Georgia and Central Florida," according to the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. In addition, the team has "deals pending" with 34 stations with another 40 stations "being pursued to join." Officials at WOKV-AM 690, the Jaguars' flagship, say that by the "time all deals are final, Jaguars football will likely be heard" in Pensacola, Melbourne, Macon, GA, and Columbia, SC (Earl Daniels, FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 2/8).
CTV and TSN are posturing for broadcasts of the Raptors and Grizzlies in the NBA teams' inaugural seasons, but may face similar broadcast restrictions as U.S. networks. NBA Television Ventures' Matt Bostock says Canadian networks will "face a similar restriction" as their U.S. counterparts of only eight nat'l telecasts per broadcaster per team (Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/10)....In this morning's N.Y. POST, Phil Mushnick attacks the proposed "Telecommunications Competition and Deregulation Act" drafted by the Senate Republicans: "Instead of being furious about how cable exploited the baseball and hockey stoppages to steal millions of dollars from their constituents, the GOP's preparing to hand these bullies a matching set of brass knuckles." The bill would eliminate all cable-TV deregulation within a year (N.Y. POST, 2/10)....Richard Sandomir analyzes Fox's losses on its NFL contract in this morning's N.Y. TIMES: "By its measurements, the football strategy has worked, by roping in new VHF stations ... improving the value of its existing stations, enhancing its affiliate network, and expanding the network's reach from 93 percent to 98 percent of TV homes" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/10).... WJR, the radio home of the Lions from 1934-88, is making a bid to regain the team's radio rights from WWJ, whose contract expired after last season (DETROIT NEWS, 2/9). ...The Eagles, who will help produce their TV package next season, "won't rule out" the possibility of owner Jeffery Lurie having his own show (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/9). ...CNN's Nancy Newman is the leading candidate to become the Raptors' TV host. Newman worked at TSN before moving to CNN's "Sports Tonight." Mark Jones, and John Saunders are on the team's short list for play-by-play work (Rob Grant, TORONTO STAR, 2/10)....NASCAR's newest racing series, "SuperTruck Series by Craftsman," on TNN was the highest-rated sports program on cable last weekend (NASCAR).
TSN, Canada's cable sports network, has decided against broadcasting Blue Jay replacement spring training games. TSN Programming Dir Rick Brace: "Spring training's supposed to be a preview of the regular season, and this isn't truly representative of real baseball. We're not going to do spring training games. The network will give a decision on the broadcasts of regular season replacement ball halfway through spring training (Rob Grant, TORONTO STAR, 2/10).... In the Bay Area, the A's radio network will broadcast replacement games. The team sells its own radio ads, so flagship KFRC will not "take the lumps if the games are hard to sell." But Giants flagship KNBR "may be developing cold feet" about broadcasting replacement games. Two KNBR execs gave conflicting statements regarding the issue yesterday KNBR sells advertising for Giants games (Colin Seymour, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/10).
NBC has recently "sent out some feelers" to see if talks with Turner Broadcasting can be renewed, according to Robin Schatz in this morning's N.Y. NEWSDAY. Schatz reports that "enthusiasm still runs high" among both parties regarding a merger. Schatz sites Time Warner Chair Gerald Levin's announcement last week that his company would consider selling its share in the company as "a factor in Turner's efforts to buy a network" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 2/10). This morning's WALL STREET JOURNAL puts NBC at the "top of the list" of likely buyers of Time Warner's share of Turner. Turner, who has "rebuffed" NBC's overtures for a partnership, "still would like to buy NBC" and have majority control of that company (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/10). DILLER WATCH: Reports continued that outgoing QVC Chair Barry Diller might make a run at CBS. Morgan Stanley media analyst Alex Kassan: "What CBS needs at some point is someone who's going to lead them forward and develop the new hits. This is basically a hits-ridden business -- and if you have the hits, you're a hero and if you don't, you have problems. It's as simple as that" ("NBR," PBS, 2/9).