The Colts will replace WIBC-AM as its radio flagship
for WFBQ and WNDE, according to Robin Miller of the
INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS. Colts Exec Dir of Business
Development Ray Compton said the deal was not signed "yet,"
but that the team had "verbally accepted another offer."
Compton added the new deal enables the team to market their
own advertising and programming. WIBC was the original
flagship of the Colts in '84, but lost the rights to WFBQ
and WNDE in '92, before "regaining them" in '95. WIBC Owner
Jeff Smulyan, who has "lobbied long and hard to keep" the
Colts in Indianapolis, was "seething" after the decision.
Smulyan: "My understanding is that the offers were
identical, and it's incomprehensible they could have offered
more than we did. ... Where's the loyalty?" Compton said it
was "as tough a decision as he's ever made." Although terms
were not disclosed, Miller reported that WIBC paid $1M for
rights fees in '97, and that Compton is "hopeful" that
figure "can double by selling in-house advertising" (STAR-
NEWS, 1/9). Miller writes today under the header, "Colts
And Irsay Hit All-Time Low With Radio Deal." He calls the
move "an appalling breach of trust, friendship and community
relations" from team Owner Jim Irsay to Smulyan after
Smulyan "gave Irsay invaluable support in reworking his
stadium lease with the city" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR-NEWS, 1/12).
Fox Sports will air "Oscar De La Hoya's Big Fight
Night" on March 23 -- the same night as ABC's broadcast of
the Academy Awards. The telecast is being dubbed "Oscar
versus 'The Oscars.'" The card, which will air live from
8:00-10:00pm ET, will take place at the Foxwoods Resort
Casino in Mashantucket, CT and feature four fights. Fox's
James Brown will call the action, and De La Hoya will serve
as an analyst. Top Rank will also promote the bouts (Fox).
THE ICE MELTS: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke reports that
Fox's James Brown has the "first joint interview" with Nancy
Kerrigan and Tonya Harding which will air on Fox on February
5 (USA TODAY, 1/12). The show will be titled "Lillehammer
Revisited" and be seen in prime-time (THE DAILY).
In N.Y., TV critic Eric Mink gives tonight's "Real
Sports with Bryant Gumbel" three-and-a-half stars. Mink:
"This program needs to appear more often" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS,
1/12)....Sunday's N.Y. TIMES' "Money & Business" section
featured a cover story by Mark Landler titled, "From Gurus
To Sitting Ducks: Media Executives Lose Their Edge."
Landler writes that today's top media execs are "spooked" by
the Internet because they "did nothing to develop it and
little to popularize it." Landler: "And even now, though
they all maintain sites on the World Wide Web -- some of
them, like the Disney-owned [ESPN SportsZone], are extremely
popular -- it is not clear how genuinely the media chiefs
embrace the net" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/11)....After signing its
over-the-air rights to Silver King Broadcasting for next
season, the Heat "has lost its halftime show and its
postgame coverage for the balance of the season" on current
over-the-air carrier WBFS-UPN (SUN-SENTINEL, 1/12).