SBD/2/Sports Media

BASEBALL'S RADIO PARTNERS PONDER REPLACEMENT BALL

     Radio stations holding the rights to MLB teams are
questioning their obligation to carry replacement baseball.  John
Mainelli, program director for WABC, which holds the Yankees
rights, says his station will question broadcasting the
replacement games.  Mainelli: "If we're legally bound, we'll have
to do it.  But until we know more, we're not sure how it will
play out."  Stations are also questioning the amounts they have
to pay for replacement ball.  WFAN in New York paid $5.5M for the
Mets' rights and is worried about the prospect of replacement
ball.  WFAN Program Dir Mark Chernoff:  "First, are listeners
willing to listen to games played by replacement players, and
will advertisers want to advertise on games that have replacement
players, not regular players.  Everybody would feel more
comfortable if we were dealing with regular players, not
replacement players" (Donna Petrozzello, BROADCASTING & CABLE,
1/30).    BANNED IN BOSTON?  Officials from NESN and WSBK-TV
"soft-pedaled" reports from Boston's advertising community that
the use of replacement players woould reduce the value of spots
on Red Sox broadcasts by up to 90%.  While NESN GM John Claiborne
and WSBK GM Stu Tauber would not specify the potential damage,
other officials at the stations estimated the impact at about
50%.  Tauber admitted many advertisers "are voicing concern and
some are refusing to buy spots" for replacement games, but he
called a 90% cut "way too cheap, even ludicrous" (Jim Baker,
BOSTON HERALD, 2/1).
     NETWORK INTEREST IN PLAYERS' LEAGUE?  CBS is "denying a
report that it's interested in televising a series of games
played by baseball stars if the strike is not settled," according
to USA TODAY's Rudy Martke.  CBS Sports President David Kenin
said the network has had no "conversations of late" about a
players' league.  Fox "also was approached," but will not carry
any games (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 2/2).
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