SBD/4/Sports Media


     The Baseball Network premiered their regional coverage of
the divisional playoffs last night.  Scores were kept updated,
however replays were shown only of the big plays in each game.
During a critical point of the Indians/Red Sox telecast, TBN
split screens to record the final out in Yankee Stadium.
Afterward Bob Costas apologized to viewers for the untimely cut.
Costas was more subdued in his criticism of baseball's new
playoff format, but did say at one time, "it doesn't make any
sense" (THE DAILY).  In Boston, Jack Craig writes TBN's "claim
that it would break new ground on delivering out-of-town action
proved overblown ... but that was neither surprising or
disappointing."  He does note that "TBN's capacity to swing from
game to game is a nice advantage" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/4).  In San
Francisco, NBC affiliate KRON decided to go with local news
coverage of the O.J. Simpson verdict rather than show the
Dodgers-Reds in its entirety.  KRON GM Al Holzer believes
"virtually every station up and down the West Coast went with
O.J., not baseball" (C.W. Nevius, S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/4).
     SCRAMBLED OR NOT?  Patrons in two Boston bars contacted by
the BOSTON HERALD noted they shoed the entire Braves game, even
though TBN officials said the signal would be scrambled. But NBC
Spokesperson Ed Markey said the Atlanta affiliate sold its signal
to a distributor that can unscramble it for dish owners via a
DirectTV package."  NBC News reportedly considered replacing last
night's telecast with a special on O.J. Simpson, but were
"advised only a Presidential assassination could knock off a
contract event" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 10/4).  The S.F.
CHRONICLE also reports confusion as to the descrambling policy.
While several Bay Area bars were unable to pull down satellite
signals for games other than Dodgers-Reds, some bars had clear
signals (Bruce Jenkins, S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/4).
editor David Langford calls the regionalized format "a mess."
Langford notes viewer anger over CBC's decision on which
provinces will see what game.  But the "major problem" on the
horizon for CBC is that the network will not carry a MLB playoff
Game 4 on Saturday night, showing Hockey Night in Canada instead
(Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/4). In Toronto, technical problems
interrupted the Yankees/Mariners game on CBC-TV.  Some Canadian
cable companies dropped the simulcast with NBC and put U.S.
signals back in their normal position. CBC TV Sports Senior Exec
Producer Don Peppin: "This is a Baseball Network production and
we have to go through them.  And everything they have done has
been last minute" (Ken McKee, TORONTO STAR, 10/4).
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