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Flyers C Eric Lindros will "receive an apology and money for a charity of his choice" from WIP-AM to settle a claim after one of WIP's talk-show hosts reported that Lindros missed a game last season because he was "hungover," according to Tim Panaccio of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Details of the settlement should be worked out by month's end, but those familiar with it said the station would "issue a written apology," Lindros would receive "financial compensation" from WIP which will go to charity, and WIP would "broadcast news of the settlement during its station breaks." In addition, the deal stipulates that the situation "will not be discussed" by on-air talent or by callers to the station. The Flyers and the Lindros family "have been pushing" CBS, WIP's parent company, to impose "strict guidelines" on WIP hosts as to what can be "reported as news and what they can discuss as rumor." Craig Carton, the talk-show host who made the claim, left WIP in July and declined to comment yesterday (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/25).
TV: Fox's Monday night boxing card got a 4.3/6 national rating, while the Academy Awards broadcast on ABC averaged a 34.9/55 (John Carmody, WASHINGTON POST, 3/25)....Fox VP/Media Relations Lou D'Ermilio told the L.A. TIMES that the network expects to have the FoxTrax glowing puck back by the playoffs (L.A. TIMES, 3/24)....CBS Sports will air "The Great Skate Debate" Friday night at 9:00pm ET. The live figure skating competition will be judged by the live audience and home viewers, who will vote via the Internet (N.Y. TIMES, 3/25)....CBS's first NFL telecast since '94 will be the 49ers-Seahawks American Bowl game in Vancouver on August 15 (USA TODAY, 3/25)....MEDIAWEEK's Langdon Brockinton reports that the Ravens are "looking to create" a half-hour weekly kids show. Ravens VP/Sales & Marketing David Cope said that talks "are underway" with Baltimore stations on the show, which would air on Saturday or Sunday mornings this fall. The team wants a time-buy where it would sell the ad inventory (MEDIAWEEK, 3/23 issue). MARCH MADNESS: Although CBS is experiencing its highest ratings for the men's NCAA tournament in four years, basketball analyst Billy Packer says, "The ratings are so ridiculous. Name me any other event that has such a following. You cannot go anywhere in America where people aren't involved in the tournament." Packer, on statements he made regarding "60 Minutes" and its stories on college basketball: "I haven't heard from anyone in [CBS]. ... I may be full of it on this, but somebody has to explain to me how somebody in our organization can go out to hurt our relationship with the NCAA, which was most critical to us until the NFL deal" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 3/25)....In DC, Tony Kornheiser wrote on the NCAA tournament: "You can keep the NBA. ... Give me this tournament." He adds, "It's gratifying to know TV ratings are up. It means the American public has some sense about sports and the compelling theater of this tournament" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/24). ...Finalfour.net, the official site of the NCAA men's and women's tournaments, has had 7 million visits so far. The site, produced by Total College Sports Network, has set a record for online traffic, recording 92,145,116 hits and 36,859,597 page views. Last year's tournament site got 34 million hits for the entire tournament (TCSN). GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR? In N.Y., Steve Zipay reported that MSG is negotiating with WJWR-AM, One-on-One Sports, to carry Liberty and MetroStars games (Steve Zipay, NEWSDAY 3/24).
Former 49ers TE Brent Jones will join CBS Sports as a studio analyst on the "NFL Today" pregame, halftime and postgame show (CBS Sports). In S.F., Susan Slusser reports that House Speaker Newt Gingrich "tried to pry" Jones away from his TV plans when Jones "expressed an interest in entering politics" after his retirement. Jones: "I was getting a lot of calls from top Republicans and ... Gingrich called and said 'We need you to come back and spend a few days with us in Washington.' It was very tempting, but I stuck to my guns." Slusser reports that Jones signed a multiyear deal with CBS, and that the net "is still looking" for two more studio analysts (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/25). Jones retained The Marquee Group in NY to represent him in all broadcasting negotiations (THE DAILY). ELWAY JOINING JONES? In Denver, Todd Phipers reports that an industry source said John Elway "is in contact" with CBS regarding a position at the net, but CBS Sports President Sean McManus dismissed the report. McManus: "We have not talked to John Elway, and everything I've heard is that he is going to play another year" (DENVER POST, 3/25).
PGA Tour Radio, which reaches 17 of the top 50 U.S. radio markets, is "redefining itself and its approach to covering the game," according to Dale Gardner of GOLFWEEK. While CEO Warren Elliott say the changes are a result of "baptism by fire," GOLFWEEK's Gardner writes, "They're also survival tactics." The Atlanta-based company has "pulled" its mobile studio and production truck "off" the Tour. Live tournament coverage, which used to be produced from the site of the event, will now be done from its Atlanta studio using TV feeds and "natural sound" feeds (GOLFWEEK, 3/21). AD RATES DROP: PGA Tour Radio has "cut its advertising rates in an effort to make itself competitive with other media," and corporate sponsor packages which used to cost $50,000 will now sell for $20,000 a week. During programming, the net splits the ad time with the affil. PGA Tour Radio airs 36 events over the year, and Gardner writes that stations in 17 markets "included the play-by-play weekend shows for most of the events," while 28 others broadcast play-by-play for 12 to 15 events. Gardner adds that most of the network's 208 affiliates "opt not to carry the play-by-play, choosing instead to participate in other programming offered by the company" (GOLFWEEK, 3/21 issue).