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Volume 24 No. 155


ESPN earned an 11.3 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Broncos-Falcons "MNF" telecast, up 28% from an 8.8 overnight for Rams-Giants in Week 2 last year. The 11.3 rating is also up from a 10.6 overnight for the comparable Saints-49ers in '10. In Denver, last night's telecast earned an 18.9 local rating on ESPN and a 21.4 rating on KTVD-Ind. In Atlanta, the game earned a 12.5 local rating on ESPN and a 16.3 rating on WSB-ABC (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In St. Louis, Dan Caesar reports the Rams game “drew a better rating in Week 2 for its rollicking victory” over the Redskins. The game drew a 20.8 local rating in the St. Louis market on Sunday, up from a 19.3 for the game against the Lions in Week 1. However, the number “was the lowest rating for the Rams' second game of the year in three seasons.” The Rams' second game has earned a 23.4 rating "in each of the previous two years” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/18).
SOMETHING FISHY: PRO FOOTBALL TALK’s Mike Florio reported a “key story regarding the ongoing officiating lockout has been removed from the website -- and a reference to that story has been scrubbed from a related article.” NFL Network's Albert Breer on Sunday “reported on the existence an internal officiating memo for Week One that, among other things, slammed the door on the practice of replacement officials working for individual teams during midweek practices.” But Florio noted the story on disappeared at one point yesterday and the link redirected readers "to a page with links to news items.” Later in the day, the link was “resurrected.” NFL Media Group VP/Communications Alex Riethmiller in an e-mail wrote, “Not sure what the issue was previously, but the link to the page you are referring to on is working.” Riethmiller in a follow-up e-mail said the link “was never taken down” (, 9/17). In Atlanta, Michael Cunningham wrote, “As a general rule, organizations do a terrible job of reporting on stories that can negatively affect their image/bottom lines.” If consumers “actually want independent information about controversies involving those organizations, it’s best to look somewhere other than the information arm of those organizations” (, 9/17).

NEW GAME PLAN: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes fans may see Thursday night games “as a tasty appetizer for Sunday’s main course,” but the NFL Network schedule “compromises legitimate competition.” For NFL execs and owners, this is “a small price to pay in return for increased subscriber fees, enticing cable operators to carry NFLN and lifting the value of a network they are heavily invested in.” Raissman: “In other words, this is a huge money grab” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/18).

DOUBLE DUTY: On Long Island, Neil Best notes NFL Network’s Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock “moonlight on weekends on big-time college games.” Nessler, who works ESPN games on Saturdays, now has to “study for both upcoming games Monday and Tuesday before focusing on the NFL starting Wednesday, and has no choice but to ditch college teams' practices on Thursdays.” Mayock is a “famously passionate film-room geek who now has two games to obsess over, and seems fully capable of doing so.” NFL Network Senior VP/Programming & Production Mark Quenzel said that there are “advantages to having college-oriented voices on NFL games.” Quenzel said, "These guys have seen a lot of the new players, the rookies -- not just the stars that everybody is talking about. I think that provides us a real benefit, particularly in the beginning of the season” (NEWSDAY, 9/18).

The Indians have “offered for bid the rights to their flagship radio broadcasts," with WKRK-FM "mounting a stern challenge for them to the incumbent, WTAM-AM,” according to Joel Hammond of CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. Sources said that CBS-owned WKRK “is the front-runner to obtain the rights” when the two-year contract with WTAM expires “after the current season.” A source said that the two stations are the “only entities involved in the bidding.” Another source, without disclosing the amount involved, said he was “blown away” by what WKRK offered for the rights. A third source said that WKNR-AM was “involved early but since has dropped out of the discussions” (CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 9/17 issue). Indians Senior Dir of Communications Curtis Danburg said, “We are making strides, but it’s hard to put a date in when we’ll get a deal done.” In Cleveland, Paul Hoynes noted the Indians are “seeking a longer deal than their current two-year contract.” It is “believed they prefer a three-to-five year arrangement.” Clear Channel-owned WTAM “has been the Indians' flagship station since 1998” and also is the flagship station of the Browns and Cavaliers. It has a 50,000-watt signal that “allows it to reach a larger audience.” WKRK, an all-sports station, went on the air in '11 and has “a stereo quality to its broadcasts and appeals to a younger audience” (, 9/17).

Lexington, Ky.,-based horse industry trade publication Thoroughbred Times on Friday “shut down and filed to liquidate its assets in U.S. Bankruptcy Court,” according to Gregory Hall of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. Sole owner Norman Ridker “authorized the filing of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means the publication does not plan to reorganize.” Although the "closing was a surprise," Editor Mark Simon said that the publication’s “financial struggles weren’t a surprise, with recent layoffs and the print magazine cutting back from weekly to every other week.” Simon at the time of the closing said that the publication “had 27 employees.” The bankruptcy court filing shows listed debts total more than $5.25M, "but most of those are owed to Ridker or what Simon said are Ridker companies.” The list of "unsecured creditors runs 25 pages” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 9/18). Simon said Ridker "couldn't afford to keep us running any longer." Simon: "Given the downturn in the economy, the Thoroughbred economy as well, it was difficult kind of getting through these times. We just racked up a lot of debt doing that, and we just couldn't service it any longer." Simon said that all the assets “have been turned over to a trustee.” Simon: "So the question now is, will somebody buy the assets and do something with the assets?" He said that the assets “include a library, photo files, and publications produced by the Thoroughbred Times which include books, buyers guides and a stallion directory” (, 9/15).