SBD/Issue 35/Sports Media

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  • Fox Sees More Huge Ratings As Yankees Tie Up World Series

    Fox Earns 13.6 Overnight Nielsen Rating, 
    Up 47.8% From Last Year
    Fox earned a 13.6 overnight Nielsen rating for Thursday night's Phillies-Yankees World Series Game Two, up 47.8% from a 9.2 for Phillies-Rays last year, and marking the best World Series Game Two overnight since Red Sox-Cardinals in '04 earned a 17.1 overnight. Fox won the night in primetime, marking the highest-rated Thursday night on any net since Fox' Florida-Oklahoma BCS National Championship game in January. Meanhwile, Fox earned an 11.9 fast-national Nielsen rating (19.5 million viewers) for Wednesday night's Phillies-Yankees World Series Game One, up 29.3% from a 9.2 rating (14.6 million viewers) for Phillies-Rays Game One last year. The game peaked at a 13.0 rating in the 10:30-11:00pm ET window, and despite the Phillies pulling away, the post-11:00pm portion of the telecast earned a 12.1 rating (THE DAILY). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's James Hibberd notes Wednesday's World Series Game One was the "most-watched and highest-rated Game 1 in five years, easily winning the night for Fox." The "promising start should help solidify Fox's ranking as the top-rated network for the season, a position the broadcaster hopes to maintain until 'American Idol' returns in January" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 10/30).

    OFF TO A GREAT START: Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Lou D'Ermilio: "There's a definite buzz to this matchup, and based on the audience for Game 1, we're off to a terrific start. If we're lucky to get a long series with compelling games, this should be the most-watched World Series in several years" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/30). In N.Y., Michael Starr writes the World Series "has returned as a TV event after years of striking out with viewers." Horizon Media Senior VP and Corporate Research Dir Brad Adgate: "It's a little surprising the audience was that big for Game 1. Those numbers are extraordinary. ... I would say, yes, baseball is back regarding the World Series. If this year's series goes six games or longer, they could be getting 20-million-plus viewers a night" (N.Y. POST, 10/30). In Houston, David Barron writes, "All logical thought dictates that the network will show substantial improvement over last year's weather-beaten Phillies-Rays series" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/30). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk wrote, "It's funny. Everyone outside of New York and Boston pitches fits over how no one wants to watch the Yankees and Red Sox that much and yet the only recent World Series to post any great numbers have involved both those teams" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/29).

    BROTHERLY LOVE FOR THE PHILLIES: Philadelphia topped all markets for Game Two with a 42.5 rating, while N.Y. earned a 29.8 (THE DAILY). In Philadelphia, Rich Hofmann notes WTXF-Fox earned a 44.5 local rating in the market for Game One, and "given that television ratings for the World Series tend to build as the drama of the series plays out," this year's event "has a chance to beat the television numbers put up" by the '93 Blue Jays-Phillies World Series, which averaged a 45.3 local rating in Philadelphia. By comparison, the Cardinals-Eagles NFC Championship game in January earned a 44.3 local rating in Philadelphia (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/30).

    Fox Announcers Say Yankees Crowd Quiet
    During Thursday's World Series Game Two
    COVERAGE REVIEW: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes Fox announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver during Thursday night's Game Two were "talking about Yankees fans who checked their mouths at the door ... basically saying the joint had all the audio ambiance of a morgue." Buck said he was "surprised" by the lack of fan response toward Phillies P Pedro Martinez. Buck: "It's a quiet place." Buck later noted chants of "Who's Your Daddy?" began when Martinez was warming up, and he said, "That chant started to get some traction with people inside the Stadium. Then about 30 seconds into it, when it began to pick up steam, the speakers started blaring Jay-Z music and drowned the chants out." Raissman notes the crowd noise "began coming through" in the top of the third inning, and Buck said, "And at 9:04 the crowd showed up." Meanwhile, McCarver "wondered where the noise was" when Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez was at-bat in the second inning. McCarver: "What a quiet crowd" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/30). Also in N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes McCarver called Game Two a "must-win situation for the Yankees," and Buck agreed with him. But the pair was "asking us to totally dismiss what they, far more than most, have learned from their many years covering baseball" (N.Y. POST, 10/30). Meanwhile, in California, John Maffei writes Fox' coverage of Game One was "outstanding," and the network's "use of its 20 cameras was first rate." Maffei: "I especially liked the slo-mo shots of catchers flashing signs and balls leaving the pitcher's hand." Fox also "had 80 microphones planted around Yankee Stadium, but they didn't make an impact on the telecast" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 10/30).

    VETERAN TEAM: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Steve Kornacki writes there is "one thing you can count on when the World Series rolls around: Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will be chatting away during the TV broadcast." This year's World Series "marks the 12th World Series" for Buck and McCarver as a broadcast team. The following chart presents the announcer pairings that have called the most championship games since '70 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/30).

    EVENT
    PAIR
    # OF YEARS (GAMES)
    NCAA Final Four
    Jim Nantz/Billy Packer
    18 (54)
    World Series Joe Buck/Tim McCarver
    12 (59)
    Stanley Cup Finals Gary Thorne/Bill Clement
    12 (57)
    Super Bowl Pat Summerall/John Madden
    8 (8)
    NBA Finals Dick Stockton/Tom Heinsohn
    4 (25)
    BCS Title Game Thom Brennaman/Charles Davis
    3 (3)

    FRESH VOICE: In Ft. Worth, Ray Buck writes under the header, "Ozzie Guillen Adds Pizzazz To Fox's World Series Broadcast." White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is serving as a guest studio analyst for the network's pre- and postgame shows, and "from a technical standpoint, Guillen could stand to slow down a bit with his rapid-fire commentary and maybe quiet his left hand." Buck: "But I like him on TV. So does the camera. And, trust me, he won't get out-talked." Guillen said, "I'm just trying to be myself and do what I do best. Hopefully, everything comes out all right" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/30).

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  • ESPN's "30 For 30" Documentary Series Drawing Rave Reviews

     
    Sports documentaries have become a Tuesday-night fixture on ESPN this month, as the net rolled out its "30 for 30" film series to celebrate the network's 30th anniversary. The most recent broadcast was "Muhammad and Larry," a piece by director Albert Maysles that documented Ali's last major fight. With four films in the books, and 26 more on the horizon, Assistant Managing Editor Brian Helfrich caught up with Sporting News' Chris Littmann, The Big Lead's Tyler Duffy and Fang's Bites' Ken Fang to gather some early thoughts on the series.

    Q: Have the first four documentaries exceeded your expectations for the series?

    Littmann: Definitely. Of the four, the only one -- based on subject alone -- that really interested me was "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?" That being said, I’ve loved all four and been drawn to subjects I wouldn’t have invested time in otherwise.

    Duffy: I don't think they have exceeded my expectations, but my expectations were high initially. I thought two of the films were fantastic and two needed a little work. I haven't been overwhelmed or underwhelmed, just whelmed.

    Fang: They have. I've been quite impressed with them. The four that have aired to date have been done very well. Very glad to see the directors were given plenty of autonomy for their subject matters. 

    Q: What could the films do better?

    Littmann: In the case of the USFL film, there was probably a greater need to focus on one subject. It tried to give an awful lot of history while also tackling the matter of why it failed. Stories about some of the owners could’ve been documentaries unto themselves.

    Duffy: Though it's difficult with an hour to work with, I think the films could do better incorporating a narrative arc. The films are meant to capture an event, but the context before and afterward are what make the event important. Because these are not omniscient narrator type documentaries on the history channel, the imagery needs to tell the story. In some films this was done brilliantly, in others it has been lacking.

    Fang: I thought the USFL documentary could have been quicker paced. It dragged a bit in the middle. For "Kings Ransom" on the Wayne Gretzky trade from Edmonton to Los Angeles, there was too much grainy video, maybe less of a dependence on that, plus I thought director Peter Berg was on too much. Other than that, the documentaries were just about right.

    Q: Bill Simmons notably said the series would outshine HBO Sports, more or less. Was Simmons off base with that prediction?

    Littmann: I think he’s right, in that these films have gone after subjects that are really virgin soil. Compare that to HBO’s next project, which is on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Now, that isn’t to say it won’t be well done, but haven’t we seen a million pieces on these two together?

    Duffy: I haven't really watched that many HBO documentaries, so I'm not really sure.

    Fang: Typical Bill Simmons, he has a tendency to overhype. I don't think "30 for 30" will outshine HBO Sports because HBO usually takes its time and does about 4-6 documentaries a year. If the future documentaries in the "30 for 30" series are not done as well as the first four efforts, then there's no chance that ESPN's efforts will outshine HBO. There's nothing wrong with having two sports network documentary units. There's room for both. And there's no need for ESPN to be better than HBO. They can be equals.

    Littman Says "Muhammad And Larry"
    Easily The Best "30 For 30" Thus Far
    Q: Which of the four has been the best? Which one that has yet to air are you most looking forward to?

    Littmann: "Muhammad and Larry" is easily the best of the first four because the documentary is largely left to stand alone without any sort of personal bias from the filmmaker. Of the remaining films, I’m undoubtedly looking forward to "No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson." I’m drawn to knowing the intimate details of how it all happened, and Steve James, who did "Hoop Dreams," should do an incredible job.

    Duffy: I thought "Muhammad and Larry" was the best. I'm looking forward to "Jordan Rides The Bus" because I think it's one of the most weird and fascinating sports events in my lifetime. It's probably the conspiracy theorist in me, but I'm not sure we'll ever get the full story there.

    Fang: Of the four, I liked "Muhammad and Larry" the best. Director Albert Maysles was able to cull from his own historical footage to make a very powerful documentary on the 1980 Muhammad Ali-Larry Holmes fight. The film was done very well and it was good to see updated interviews with Larry Holmes and members of the Ali circus. This is one subject I would have liked to have seen HBO handle.

    Q: ESPN hands you the reins to the 31st documentary -- what's your topic and what's your title?

    Littmann: This might sound strange, but I was a big baseball card collector growing up, and that industry has fallen off harder than the stock market last year. I’d love something that looks at the rise and fall and some people who absolutely lost their shirt. I had multiple card/hobby shops near my home growing up, but they’ve all been gone for years now. I’d love to see how it correlates to the MLB strike and steroid era, too.

    Duffy: "Flash In The Pan -- The Story of the NASL."

    Fang: Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I would focus on the 2004 Red Sox World Series Championship. The title, "Breaking the Drought."

    PACKING QUITE A PUNCH: NPR's Linda Holmes reviewed the series under the header, "Why Even People Who Hate Sports Should Be Watching ESPN's '30 For 30.'" The documentaries are "excellent, insightful television," whether you "care about sports or not." Holmes noted it is "hard to get me interested in boxing," but "Muhammad And Larry" is "fantastic, because it does what all four episodes I've seen so far have done: it approaches stories about sports as stories about people." These films are "not stories about athletes as titans, really, except in the sense that they are done with a keen understanding that being a titan carries personal consequences." All four documentaries thus far are "all aimed at answering seemingly perplexing questions -- 'How did that happen?'" Holmes: "When you're asking great questions about why things happen, it doesn't really matter whether the background is politics or sports or romance or the military" (NPR.org, 10/28).

    MOMENT IN THE SUN: In Newark, Alan Sepinwall wrote "Muhammad and Larry" tells the "ultimately happy story" of Larry Holmes, who "never got much respect as champ, in part because everyone felt bad about the whupping he laid on Ali, in part because he was a fairly bland, unassuming guy" compared to previous heavyweight champions. It feels "oddly refreshing to see a relatively well-adjusted champ, one who gets so much obvious, simple pleasure out of listening to songs written about him, and who's perfectly happy to still be living in his hometown" of Easton, Pennsylvania (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/28). However, Holmes said that he "felt discredited" by the documentary. Holmes: "They did too much about Muhammad Ali on the drug situation. They said he was taking thyroid pills, and that the pills were doing this and that. As far as that goes, it discredits me because they're telling me now that this man was on drugs, and that's the reason that I probably beat him like I beat him" (FANHOUSE.com, 10/28). 

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  • Writer Suggests Some Of NFL's Ratings Gains Due To Luck

    Packers-Vikings "MNF" Game Became
    Most-Watched Program Ever On Cable TV
    USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes "each NFL TV carrier's game ratings are up noticeably this year," though "some of those gains, especially ESPN's, were juiced by luck." While networks "lobby the league for good matchups, no one could have predicted when the schedule came out last spring" that the October 5 Packers-Vikings "MNF" game on ESPN "would end up the most-watched program ever on cable TV." Meanwhile, Hiestand notes NFL Sunday afternoon games "come with asterisks," as overall ratings for Fox and CBS are "beefed up by ... showing games in teams' local TV markets." Still, the NFL's "power to mesmerize can confound," as last Sunday's Falcons-Cowboys in the national window ranked as Fox' most-viewed Sunday telecast since '96, and it was a "solid game, but hardly the stuff of legend" (USA TODAY, 10/30).

    BLOWOUT BLUES: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar writes Fox' "antiquated policy of the way it handles blowout games sent you back to a bygone era last weekend, a time when there were just a handful of network-dictated viewing options." Fox first "flexed its muscles by removing the originally scheduled" Falcons-Cowboys game "in favor" of the Bears-Bengals game in the St. Louis market. That move is "debatable," but what "isn't debatable is that local viewers were scalded when that game quickly deteriorated into a mongrel and Fox was unable to switch to a competitive contest." The Bengals led 31-3 at halftime, but Fox Sports VP/Communications Dan Bell said, "Technically, we weren't capable to make the switch from the Bears game. We were just technically capable to make the switch from the Atlanta-Dallas game in the event that was lopsided" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/30).

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  • People & Personalities: Eagle Staying Busy With CBS, Nets Duties

    Eagle Can Be Heard
    Regularly On CBS
    In New York, Pete Dougherty profiles announcer Ian Eagle, who "can be seen regularly on CBS working NFL and college basketball games" and who also "works New Jersey Nets games on the YES Network." Additionally, Eagle this year will "begin his second season of calling NFL Thursday night games on Westwood Radio," and in the past he has "done the French and U.S. Opens for Tennis Channel and the Masters and PGA Championship for CBSSports.com and DirecTV." When asked if it is "difficult to shift into basketball mode ... during this busy season," Eagle said, "If I have [Nets C] Brook Lopez catching a touchdown on a Sunday, I know I'm in trouble." Eagle: "I've never gotten to that point. That's the one fear of any of the guys doing multiple sports." Eagle, a Syracuse Univ. graduate, added of working multiple events, "I know there are some guys that complain, 'I've got to do this,' well, then don't take the gig." Eagle: "This is what we all dreamed of doing when we got to Syracuse, the idea that you could be at the events, and that was always my goal" (Albany TIMES UNION, 10/30).

    WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: On Long Island, Neil Best writes ESPN analyst and former Mets manager Bobby Valentine and former ESPN analyst and Mets GM Steve Phillips, who was recently dropped by the net, working together on the ESPN set "would have been a delicious, outside-the-lines subplot at the World Series." Valentine: "I was really looking forward to it. I thought we could have been a real dynamite duo." Valentine added, "The things we could have bantered about. ... It could've been a good little niche for the show" (NEWSDAY, 10/30). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand wonders, "Will -- or should -- Steve Phillips get another shot on TV sports?" One should not "assume Phillips won't be back on-air." TNT's Marv Albert is "back as a prominent announcer" after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault in '97. Harold Reynolds also was fired in '06 by ESPN after the net alleged that he had "repeated 'sexual misconduct' with staffers and an intern," but he is "now big on MLB Network." Hiestand writes Phillips as a result of his highly-publicized affair with a production assistant is "now much more well-known -- a big plus in TV -- but now needs to seem hugely repentant" (USA TODAY, 10/30).

    ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: In Miami, Barry Jackson awards his "Best TV rookies" award to NBC studio analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison. While ESPN's Jon Gruden has a "commanding TV presence," Harrison and Dungy provide "refreshing candor in NBC's studio." ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski also has a "more critical edge than Gruden, and that sometimes translates into sharper analysis" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/30).

    PERSONNEL MOVES: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin reported Rogers Sportsnet's Mike Toth "has been let go." Toth has been a "featured host for Sportsnet's Connected newscasts, but lately had been spending more time doing radio with The Fan 590 and posting to Sportsnet.ca" (GLOBESPORTS.com, 10/28)....CSN Chicago has informed former Blackhawks studio host Josh Mora, "whose contract is up in February, that it won't be re-signing him" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/25)....Former NHLer Jeremy Roenick will be a "regular contributor" to TSN's "Off The Record" (TORONTO STAR, 10/30).  

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  • Final Nielsen Ratings From Recent Sports Telecasts

    The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts (THE DAILY).

    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    RATING
    "NFL on Fox": Falcons-Cowboys (56%)
    10/25
    Fox
    4:17-7:27pm
    16.8
    "NFL on Fox": (regional)
    10/25
    Fox
    1:03-4:11pm
    11.4
    ALCS: Yankees-Angels: Game Six
    10/24
    Fox
    8:17pm-12:03am
    9.3
    "Sunday Night Football": Cardinals-Giants
    10/25
    NBC
    8:31-11:42pm
    9.1
    "NFL on CBS": (single)
    10/25
    CBS
    1:06-4:08pm
    6.4
    NCAA Football: (regional)
    10/24
    ABC
    3:30-7:01pm
    4.5
    NCAA Football: Tennessee-Alabama
    10/24
    CBS
    3:30-7:01pm
    3.6
    NCAA Football: (regional)
    10/24
    ABC
    8:06-11:26pm
    3.4
    "Football Night In America"
    10/25
    NBC
    7:30-8:15pm
    3.5
    "Fox NFL Sunday"
    10/25
    Fox
    12:00-1:00pm
    3.3
    NASCAR Sprint Cup: Tums Fast Relief 500
    10/25
    ABC
    1:30-5:32pm
    2.9
    "The NFL Today"
    10/25
    CBS
    12:00-1:00pm
    2.2
    NCAA Football: Boston College-Notre Dame
    10/24
    NBC
    3:43-7:15pm
    2.2
    Figure Skating: Halloween On Ice (taped)
    10/25
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    1.2
    World Gymnastics Championships (taped)
    10/25
    NBC
    2:00-4:00pm
    1.1
    World Gymnastics Championships (taped)
    10/24
    NBC
    1:30-3:30pm
    1.0
    ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (taped)
    10/25
    NBC
    12:00-2:00pm
    0.8
    "College Football Today"
    10/24
    CBS
    3:00-3:30pm
    0.8
    PBR Built Ford Tough Race to Vegas (taped)
    10/25
    CBS
    5:00-6:00pm
    0.7
    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    U.S.
    CABLE
    VIEWERS (000)
    "Monday Night Football":
    Broncos-Chargers
    10/19
    ESPN
    8:30-11:46pm
    8.3
    9.6
    13,471
    NLCS: Phillies-Dodgers:
    Game Five
    10/21
    TBS
    8:00-11:57pm
    5.0
    5.7
    7,978
    NCAA Football:
    Florida-Mississippi State
    10/24
    ESPN
    7:27-10:47pm
    3.4
    4.0
    5,668
    NLCS: Phillies-Dodgers:
    Game Four
    10/19
    TBS
    8:00pm-12:00am
    3.4
    3.9
    5,644
    NCAA Football:
    Minnesota-Ohio State
    10/24
    ESPN
    12:01-3:12pm
    2.4
    2.7
    3,478
    NCAA Football:
    Florida State-North Carolina
    10/22
    ESPN
    8:00-11:42pm
    2.0
    2.3
    2,973
    "Sunday NFL Countdown"
    10/25
    ESPN
    11:00am-1:00pm
    1.7
    2.0
    2,321
    "Monday Night Countdown"
    10/19
    ESPN
    7:00-8:30pm
    1.4
    1.7
    2,078
    NCAA Football: Auburn-LSU
    10/24
    ESPN2
    7:30-10:56pm
    1.2
    1.4
    1,938
    "College GameDay"
    10/24
    ESPN
    10:00am-12:01pm
    1.3
    1.5
    1,813

    OCTOBERFEST: ESPN and ESPN2 both posted their most-watched Octobers in history on a 24-hour basis. ESPN averaged 1.294 million viewers for the month, up 14.8% over 1.127 million viewers from the same period in '08, beating the record set in '06. ESPN2 averaged 336,000 viewers for the month, up 5.3% over 319,000 viewers for October '08, beating the record set in '07 (THE DAILY).

    GRIDIRON WATCH: KDFW-Fox earned a 33.8 local rating and 858,520 HHs in Dallas-Ft. Worth for last Sunday's Falcons-Cowboys game, equaling the combined local rating the team drew for the September 28 Panthers-Cowboys "MNF" game, which aired in Dallas on ESPN and KTXA-Ind (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/26)....WVUE-Fox earned a 49.3 local rating in New Orleans for last Sunday's Saints-Dolphins game, topping a 45.7 local rating and 47.2 rating in the market for Super Bowl XLIII and XLII, respectively (NOLA.com, 10/26)....WXIX-Fox earned a 39.0 local rating and 358,254 HHs in Cincinnati for last Sunday's Bears-Bengals game, marking the highest-rated Bengals game since a 45.2 local rating for Colts-Bengals in November '05 (CINCINNATI.com, 10/26). Meanwhile, WFLD-Fox drew a 25.9 local rating in Chicago for Bears-Bengals, marking the "lowest-rated game of the year" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 10/27).

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  • First Time, Long Time With WJFK-FM's Mike Wise

    Wise Says Not Many People Calling
    In About Post's Coverage Of Redskins
    Most journalists do not want to become part of the story, but sometimes they are forced to. When WJFK-FM personality and Washington Post columnist Mike Wise had Redskins COO David Donovan on his radio show this Tuesday, he was thrust into a debate about the Post's coverage of the Redskins and the team's increasingly controversial policies. Staff writer Preston Bounds spoke to Wise this week to discuss the team's relationship with fans and the media.

    Q: How much have callers focused on the recent feud between the Washington Post and the Redskins? Are listeners following it?

    Wise: It's pretty miniscule, the number of people who actually call in and say, "The Post should be more positive," or "The Post needs to get after these guys." The whole time Donovan was talking, I didn't want to steer him away from it, because I wanted to give him his say. But at some point, I just thought to myself, "Does anybody out there really care that the Redskins believe the Washington Post is really at the head of this conspiracy?" I threw out a question once to listeners asking if the media was part of why the Redskins are doing so badly. And out of 20 calls we took, maybe one mentioned that we have it out for the team, and I'm not sure that one was a legit caller.

    Q: Roughly what percentage of listeners calling in to your show make direct reference to Redskins Owner Dan Snyder and Exec VP/Football Operations Vinny Cerrato when discussing the team's problems?

    Wise: Vinny and Dan have become the universal punching bags on the station. And frankly, I don't like that. Because one, I don't like personal attacks. But the main reason I don't like it is it kind of promotes the idea that this is where you can air your grievances about the team, and it turns into whiny radio. It's just become a cliché at this point to use Dan as a punching bag.

    Q: How do listeners feel about the Redskins' shift in policy regarding signs at games? Do they buy any of the explanations offered by the team?

    Wise: We didn't know this until after the Donovan interview, but the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg told me he's gotten tons of e-mails and pictures of signs, and the team actually passed out Geico signs Monday to fans. After the Donovan interview, we took reaction calls, and a woman named Catherine Kidwell called and said on Monday, a field security person took a sign from her about her son that read, "Sgt. Kidwell, No. 1 Redskins Fan. God Watch Over You In Iraq. We Love You." At the end of the call, she was almost crying.

    Q: How do the different pro sport organizations in DC handle the media? Are other teams as confrontational as the Redskins have been of late?

    Wise: It's a weird thing, because Redskins Exec VP/Communications Zack Bolno doesn't have that bent about him at all. For me to say that the Redskins deal with the media awfully is not fair -- their players are available, they put you together with people who are interested in talking to you. But the problem is, the people who don't talk are at the top of the organization. The Wizards are great. The Capitals are above and beyond. They're No. 1 in terms of dealing with the media, and that's a reflection of their owner.

    Q: Could the Redskins ever turn off enough fans that they would no longer be the most-cared-about team in town?

    Wise: No, it’s always going to be a Redskins town. The Wizards and Caps could make tremendous inroads if they won a championship. But when you talk to the people in and around DC about those 12 years when their burgundy and gold won three Lombardi trophies, they sound like they're talking about their grandfather taking them to an ice cream shop and paying 25 cents for a double-scoop. Sometimes, I want to blame the fans. They're the enablers.

    Hear podcasts of WJFK-FM's "The Mike Wise Show," which airs weekdays from 10:00am-2:00pm ET. "The Mike Wise Show" airs weekdays on WJFK-FM from 10:00am-2:00pm ET.

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  • Media Notes

    In Atlanta, Rodney Ho reported WGCL-CBS is "handing over all sports duties" to WQXI-AM, in a move that "should save WGCL-TV a few bucks." WGCL News Dir Steve Schwaid said that the "outsourcing was a way to continue the same amount of sports coverage but free up cash to expand regular news programming." Schwaid: "This will give us even more sports content over the next few years. I think this give[s] us more flexibility in the world of sports. The analogy I use is how ABC News uses ESPN for its sports coverage." Ho noted WGCL sports anchors Gil Tyree and Mark Harmon "will be let go at some point early in the new year but will continue with their regular duties for the next few weeks" (AJC.com, 10/28).

    STUCK IN NEUTRAL: In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich notes the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) "applied for its own channel almost two years ago and has yet to be granted a hearing on its application," as the COC's "boldest venture ever is stuck in neutral and in danger of slipping into reverse." COC CEO Chris Rudge: "We're quite frustrated. We would have expected a hearing by now and instead we're being told it will be some time until there will be one" (TORONTO STAR, 10/30).

    DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF BASEBALL? MLBAM has released a beta version of its popular MLB.com At Bat mobile application for the Android platform. The application, free for the duration of the World Series, will contain live game audio, game-day statistics and updates, video clips, and other content. The mobile version of Postseason.TV, however, remains tied to the iPhone and iTouch devices. The Android test effort is a run-up for a potential full version in ‘10 (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

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