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Volume 24 No. 133


ESPN first covered yesterday's news of former NFLer Junior Seau's death more than an hour after other media outlets broke the story, but the net "made a very wise decision to wait until the story was officially confirmed" before reporting it, according to SPORTS MEDIA WATCH. ESPN "waited until the very last minute" of the 2:00pm ET edition of "SportsCenter" before mentioning the story. NFL Network also "waited to report on the Seau story until after 3 PM." Some people have "argued that the media should be quick to report in the 'Twitter' age," but that mindset "tends to lend itself to carelessness" (, 5/2). SI’s Richard Deitsch wrote on his Twitter account, “When people die, be right, not first. You want news orgs to be diligent in such matters. There will be no criticism of ESPN/others here.” Awful Announcing's Twitter feed stated, "Anyone criticizing ESPN for waiting to report the Junior Seau death doesn't remember what we sadly went through with Joe Paterno."

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE: ESPN's Bram Weinstein wrote on Twitter, "Espn takes the reporting of stories like junior seau very seriously and will not report until confirmed. I appreciate that about my employer." ESPN's Jemele Hill wrote, "Like many, began to hear the reports about Junior Seau. Find it interesting that ESPN is being criticized for trying to be thorough." Octagon First Call's David Schwab wrote, "Junior Seau story is absolutely awful. TMZ has been discussing for 36 minutes. When will or ESPN TV acknowledge?" The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill Jr. wrote, "is junior seau dead for real..espn is now dropping the ball..they arguing about the saints suspensions and not talk about" Deadspin's Timothy Burke wrote, "ESPN finally acknowledges the Seau shooting 70 minutes after TMZ reported it. ... Here's something weird, though. ESPN Deportes ran the Seau news on its bottom line ten minutes before ESPN did."

MEDIA MONITOR: Last night’s edition of NBC’s “Nightly News” led its broadcast with a 2:45 report on Seau's passing. ABC’s “World News” aired a 2:53 report on Seau three minutes into the broadcast, while CBS’ “Evening News” aired a 27-second report on Seau at the 11:15 mark. All three network morning shows today included a report on Seau as well. ABC’s “GMA” hit the story 10:18 into its broadcast, with a 3:51 report examining whether Seau’s football career and the potential for brain trauma contributed to his suicide. “CBS This Morning” first reported on Seau at the 12:20 mark, with a 5:20 report that included a live appearance via satellite by CBS Sports’ James Brown. NBC’s “Today” reported on Seau at 12:42, with a 2:53 report that included live coverage from NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez from San Diego (THE DAILY).

Rangers P Yu Darvish has helped the team post MLB's biggest local TV ratings increase during the first month of the season, according to FSN. The first-place Rangers have posted an 89% jump over last year's first month and have outrated the first two games of the Mavericks-Thunder NBA Playoff series head-to-head in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market. Games started by Darvish have drawn particularly large ratings -- accounting for three of the four highest-rated Rangers games ever on FS Southwest. The RSN has carried four of his five starts, which have averaged a 9.1 local rating. Overall, FSN says MLB game ratings have increased by 20% across its RSNs so far this season, which has helped the group's ad sales efforts. "We have had a great response from advertisers -- especially in renewals from last season," said Home Team Sports Exec VP Kyle Sherman, whose company sells the inventory.

% +/-
FS Southwest Rangers
FS Prime Ticket Dodgers
FS Arizona D'Backs
Sun Sports Rays
FS Detroit Tigers
SportSouth Braves
FS Midwest Cardinals


Hocutt discusses Texas Tech's
broadcasting plans
Texas Tech Univ. has spent "months seeking a broadcast partner for its third-tier sports programming and assessing how much and what type of Red Raiders to produce and distribute," according to Don Williams of the Lubbock AVALANCHE-JOURNAL. Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt discussed the progress being made in a Q&A with the newspaper. Excerpts of the conversation can be found here (Lubbock AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, 5/2).

: What’s new regarding Texas Tech’s plans for its third-tier programming?
Hocutt: We continue to work through the process and have had numerous conversations with Learfield Communications, and it remains our goal to have our plan in place by the beginning of the new academic year, so fall of 2012.

Q: What are the odds of having something in place by fall?
Hocutt: I believe very good. I remain optimistic. There are certain elements that have got to be worked through, which I’m not at liberty to go into detail on at this time. It would be our goal to broadly distribute the content that we’re able to beginning with the next academic year. I’m optimistic.

Q: What form might it take?
Hocutt: At the current time, it looks like the most feasible option and approach for us would be to secure ‘x’ number of block hours over the course of a given year that we could take our one football game, five or six basketball games, five or six baseball games ... to distribute within this certain block of hours. That looks like the appropriate approach for us, given the information we have at this time and the conversations we’ve had this time. We would be, in a 24-7 channel, occupying x-hundred number of hours over the course of a given year. When that content is being aired, it would be branded as "Texas Tech Athletic Productions," "Texas Tech Athletic Channel" or however we determined to brand it at that particular time.

Q: Is this venture sort of the great unknown?
Hocutt: It’s new territory for us, and I think it’s a tremendous opportunity. It’s an opportunity for us to really distribute content with sports other than football that maybe don’t get the distribution they deserve.

Q: What’s the timeline? What are key dates that must be met to launch by fall?
Hocutt: Our goal is to find a broadcast partner to allow us to reach a television audience in this five-state region that we focus on.

Q: Those five states being?
Hocutt: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas.

FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick yesterday said that a full panel at the regulatory agency “would decide” whether Comcast discriminated against Tennis Channel by putting it on a sports tier, which put it “at a competitive disadvantage,” according to Meg James of the L.A. TIMES. The dispute began nearly three years ago when Comcast placed the Tennis Channel on its sports tier “as part of an agreement between the two companies when Comcast agreed to provide carriage.” However, Comcast “appeared to run afoul of the rules because it offers the sports channels that it owns, the Golf Channel and NBC Sports…in the basic programming package.” It is “unclear when the commission would make the final call.” Until that time, Comcast is “not required to move” the net to a "less exclusive environment (L.A. TIMES, 5/3). MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Todd Spangler notes Comcast “must reposition the Bloomberg Television business news channel into ‘news neighborhoods’ in 106 headends -- spanning the 35 largest U.S. markets -- within 60 days to comply with a condition of the FCC's approval of the NBCUniversal deal,” the commission ordered yesterday. Comcast “plans to appeal the order” to the full FCC, saying it "'misinterpreted’ the terms of the Comcast-NBCU order" (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 5/3).