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BASEBALL'S RADIO PARTNERS PONDER REPLACEMENT BALL
Published February 2, 1995
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).