On Long Island, Neil Best writes regardless of whether Fox announcer Gus Johnson "turns out to be the right man" to be Fox' main soccer announcer heading into the '18 FIFA World Cup, it is "past time for the sport to have a signature American voice." There is "no reason an American can't pull off calling the sport at its highest levels." Johnson said, "A network hasn't really made a serious commitment to establishing that voice and sticking behind that." He said that he "plans to preserve some British-isms, such as 'nil' and 'pitch.'" But he added, "I think I have a chance to make it rhythmic, and American. I think there is room to combine both" (NEWSDAY, 2/8). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes making Johnson the net's soccer voice is a "risk-reward challenge that Fox and its so-called attitude have no problem taking" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/8).
FCC WON'T LET ME BE: CABLEFAX DAILY notes a DC Circuit Court soon will "hear arguments on the FCC's decision that Comcast had discriminated against Tennis Channel by distributing it to fewer homes than Golf Channel and Versus." FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai on Thursday said he "strongly" disagreed with the FCC's decision. Pai: "The record showed that every major MVPD in the country at the time distributed Golf Channel and Versus to more homes than Tennis Channel. Indeed, even Dish and DirecTV, which have ownership interests in the Tennis Channel, distributed that network to fewer homes than both Golf Channel and Versus" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 2/8).
NO LANGUAGE BARRIER: The Red Sox have launched a Japanese language Twitter feed at @redsoxjp. The club is the first in MLB to have an official Japanese language-specific feed. Content will include translations of the English-language feed, and exclusive interviews with Red Sox pitchers and Japanese natives Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara, among other material. This is the club's second foreign-language feed, as it also created a Spanish one in '11 (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald reported former soccer player Alejandro Moreno has been "hired to replace Bob Rigby as the color analyst" on the MLS Union's local television broadcasts. He will join JP Dellacamera, who "returns for another season as the team's play-by-play voice." Moreno played for the Union during their inaugural '10 season (PHILLY.com, 2/7)....Former Thunder sideline reporter Kelly Crull has "joined Fox Sports San Diego as the host of the network's San Diego Padres magazine show, 'Padres Weekly.'" Crull will "fill in as sideline reporter for Padres telecasts and various other games on the regional network" (NEWSOK.com, 2/7)....Comcast SportsNet Chicago did not renew the contract of Gail Fischer "after 14 years as an anchor and reporter." The company in a statement said, "Her final day on our air was January 31" (TIMEOUTCHICAGO.com, 2/7).